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Cerin Cerin is silent for a time, just holding Zahara, arms wrapped around her as the waves wash in and out on the shores of the dream. Eventually though, he straightens, sitting up and smiling down at her. "I am sorry," he said softly. "For not noticing sooner."

zahara leans into his embrace, seeking surety and solidity in his presence. "You could not have known. I didn't want anyone... to know."

Cerin "I should have known, it is my job to notice things," he says, holding her to him. "And you should not have to suffer such nightmares, ever." From the edge to his voice, the dream in question had unsettled him.

zahara is silent for a moment, a shudder running through her body. "I'm sorry." There is guilt in her eyes, and she looks away.

Cerin holds her a little tighter as she shudders, and he is silent too. "Don't be, please," he says after a few moments. "Just ..."

zahara shakes her head, "I shouldn't have hidden it from you. I shouldn't have... let you see..." The landscape shifts around them slightly, the calm waves becoming somehow menacing. She whispers, "I don't deserve to dream this... I deserve much worse than that."

Cerin "You do not," he says firmly. "Even when I was so very angry with you, for the thing you thought you had done, I did not wish and would not wish such things upon you."

zahara "Love is blind, but even so, you can see that my soul is dark." And so he can, dark and jagged, and dripping with black ichor. "I... I have wanted to kill them all, the ones I have called friend. I have considered joining the darkness to ease the contradiction of being so close to them, but burning with false light. I have thought of taming the Lacuna and rending the world in two instead of saving it."

Cerin "And my soul is brighter?" he speaks softly. "We are all of us flawed in one way or another it seems. That is no reason to tear the world apart and start over."

zahara x1;ACTION shakes her head again and lapses into silence, staring unseeing out over the sea. "We are flawed, yes. All humanity is flawed. But we have the power to affect everything. To destroy everything. I have studied the spells in the Auric Temple. I could learn one that would curse an entire country to darkness. To rend a soul unrecognizably. To call down flame that would incinerate everything. I do not learn them, because if I did

zahara I do not learn them, because if I did I would use them."

Cerin "And that is a good thing. That you show restraint in that way. To resist power can be hard."

zahara "If I don't remember... how will I resist?" She pulls away from him and walks to the water's edge, kneeling where the waves wash over the sand. "I'm so tired."

Cerin "Of?" he asks softly, letting her have her distance for the moment.

zahara lets her fingers trail in the water, bloody swirls drifting away on the tide. "Of fighting. Of living. Of not being able to trust anyone... not being able to trust myself. Of waiting for the next blow to fall."

Cerin "Then don't," he says softly. "Don't wait for that blow to fall, don't be a prisoner of your own mistrust, don't be scared of living. Please don't be scared of living."

zahara bows her head, closing her eyes. "It's not that easy."

Cerin moves over, kneeling behind Zahara and running his hands through her hair. "I know," he says softly. "But it has to be possible."

zahara sighs softly at his touch. "I've been so alone."

Cerin continues to slowly brush her hair. "You shouldn't have been," he says softly.

zahara turns to look at him again, finally. "Don't.... tell anyone. About my weakness. They can't know."

Cerin "You know your secrets are safe with me, my love."

Cerin "You should tell someone else though. They can be trusted."

zahara "No, they'll... they'll use it. They'll push me over the edge, and I'm so close..."

Cerin "They won't," he reassures her. "You have to learn to trust others."

zahara "I... will try." She says doubtfully.

Cerin kisses her softly. "You should not be so afraid. The woman who I first heard spreading a rumour of such terrible punishments for betray should not be so afraid."

zahara Phantom images of the betrayals that have occurred to her crest along the foam of the waves as she kisses him back, almost desperately. "That woman is afraid to follow through on her threats for fear of starting a civil war."

Cerin allows her to kiss as long as she desires, returning the kiss with a need of his own. "Then perhaps part of the new you should not make such threats," he says. It was with no censure, just ... a statement of fact.

zahara "I'll think about it..." she says, pausing for breath, and then, she kisses him again, pushing him back against the wet sand, the waves washing over them like fire, her hair falling around their faces, the blonde shading to black. "... later."

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