Lucent has called Zahara to a shrine to the worship of the Sun amidst a lake in the Sunlands. It is a small affair, but it works for the needs of the village. Its only important part are the collumns on it, apparently made of Orichalcum. Lucent leaned on one of them, watching the flourishing mountains beyond the lake. "You have a beautiful country, you know."
zahara has arrived looking rather plain, though it is difficult for her to do so. She paces a little near him. "It is beautiful," she agrees, though she does not stop to study the landscape.
Lucent "Well, Empire, I suppose." On the other margin, a few of the populace were gathering to look at them, already. Lucent waved at the particularly fair, young or elderly. "You know, I have been thinking about that play. We need to get them to know our tales..."
zahara shakes her head a little, "I prefer the view they have of me already."
Lucent "As a distant Empress? What if they saw that... and THIS?" Light expressed from him, all the way over the lake. The lake reflected him... and images appeared in the air before them! The Solars had stole into the Imperial Capital, and now the Ebon Dragon was hot in their heels! Imrama Stormfound guided his airship and giving the Yozi a wild chase, and as the Ebon Dragon neared the craft, it was Zahara and her floating armory that pushed him back!
Lucent The bell sounded in the air, quite a facsimile of it, ebon tendrils went towards them and she cut them, and Lucent, at her side threw the orbs of the Coronal! Demons that Lucent knew from old times jumped on the back of the airship, and Lucent and Zahara fought them in synchrony before throwing them off the craft, as Imrama finally cut the dark mists... and they were home safe!
zahara tips her head to one side, watching with a half-smile
Lucent It finishes them, with the Ebon Dragon cursing them from behind the shadows that shrouded the Blessed Isle. And then the lights begin to vanish, and an effusive cheer comes from the other side, prayers and love to the Empress and the Adamant Sun! "You see? They love a heroine even more. Not just their just ruler. I do not mean to give them Birds' books... but to let them know, all know, how great we have been."
zahara "I suppose that would help to assuage some of the rumors that have been going around about our disappearances."
Lucent "Oh, there have been rumors?" He blinks. "Well, of COURSE there would be. What sort?"
zahara "Oh various theories about where we've gone. From extensive shopping trips to clandestine meetings with various people - good and evil, depending on who you ask."
Lucent "See? And yet, we have been out there, like heroes out of tales, saving the world again and again. Do you not think they should know? About us killing the Ebon Dragon, beating the Herald... all that?" He waves at them again. "Tales make the hero. Just ask Riordan."
zahara looks at the cheering populace thoughtfully, feeling the essence from their adulation washing up against her skin. "True... And you would craft visions such as these for all the Sunlands?"
Lucent "I would go arond the country showing them, yes. When I had time. Set specific dates and times so I can give long stories. But what we need is... a series of books. Maybe Cerin could illustrate them! Written like... something like a cross between children's books and real literature, fast and furious but not naive. Something that can be distributed and read to the populace!"
zahara ceases her pacing to lean up against the opposite pillar, "But who will create them, with Bi... Phoenix gone?"
Lucent waves again... and from the light, shapes appear to rise out of the water! Zahara Zhan and her floating arsenal. Cerin the Wolf, forming a bow made of light, both together! Markuran the Bear, surrounded by flowers, dead. Lucent Copper Haze, young, then growing in what was but a flash!
Lucent Birds-of-Trinity, disappearing in a haze of fire to become Phoenix of Ashes! Kai, wielding the Daybreaker, fading into the background, with all others looking. Thirteen Blooming Flowers, coming from beyond, fighting... and them flourishing into Spring! Imrama Stormfound, coming from the North, turning into many over his shining airship... and holding Admiral Longwhiskers!
Lucent And finally, Varanim the Last, a Marigold on her hair, a face smiling, a perfect sculpture far more beautiful than the woman herself was. "That is... a good question. We do need to find a chronicler. Spring may have learned the books, but he lacks... romantic, adventurous gusto! He is still far too... analytical."
zahara "Imrama perhaps?"
Lucent "Hm! Good one. He is good at it, has enough of a deference and distance from the happenings to write a great story... and it will give him something to do while he is bedridden." Events important to all figures shine all over their shapes.
zahara smiles, "Perhaps you two can work together, then, with Cerin."
Lucent "Those are great ideas, Empress." He bows. "I shall implement them to your satisfaction." He smiles... and then, the images vanishing, walks to the center of the shrine. "Can you call your blades, please?"
zahara raises a brow, but waves her hand for effect, and the swords materialize, meandering over to Lucent before she gets there.
Lucent raises an arm. "Stay there, please. Call back the swords. All of them." He closes his eyes, setting himself in a fighting stance. "... and throw them on me. All of them. Throw them as if you mean to kill me with them." He stops, then the edges of his lips curl into a smile, "... just not mean TOO much, please."
zahara brings the swords back to her and studies Lucent for a second, waiting for him to be distracted by a pretty lady walking past... and then the four blades, glimmering with the liquid sheen of water, leap from behind her shoulders like arrows from a bow. A high-pitched whine cuts the air as they strike him
Lucent lifts his open palm... and his anima explodes out of him, the sun made of glass stopping the swords! Stopping them mid-air and holding them there! He jumps them, picking one of them and using his newfound crafting knowledge and cutting at one of the pillars!
Lucent The carving finished, and as he was about to fall he just touched another blade in the air and continued the carving. As soon as he finished with every blade they could return to Zahara, but no sooner, as he inscribed the secrets of the Red Mirage Swordsman Style on the wall... and, Zahara could see, lost every movement as soon as they were carved.
zahara follows his movements with a professional eye, watching how his Essence shifts and changes with each carving that flows from him into the wall with precise movements... how he leaves pieces of himself there, behind him in the wall itself. Pieces of perfection, for those to come to study from.
zahara "Lovely..." She states, with a sad smile. "And now you are free to become someone new again."
Lucent finishes the last carving, every collumn in the shrine carved in the movements of the Red Mirage now, as he lands before Zahara, the last, most exquisite blade with its tip buried on the ground... and his eyes finally open, looking up. "Yes. I will now be Spring's Disciple in the Martial Arts. And learn the Moth's Veil."
zahara "The Moth's Veil?"
Lucent "Before, you remember, before I met with Hesiesh I was not so... Adamant. My wife, she felt she had to protect me. Moth Chases Every Flame, she called it. Jessica..." He lets go of the sword, getting up. "I had always so much... light. So she found this way to seek it and protect. And I think I... need to protect now."
zahara frowns to herself. "I never knew you were married."
Lucent "I told you I had the blood of my children on my hands once." He nods. "I was married twice."
zahara "Ah, yes." She shakes her head. "So much has gone on."
Lucent "You are all so young." He looks up at the sky. "So young..."
zahara "I feel old sometimes." She runs her finger along the edge of the carved sword in the wall.
Lucent "You all do. You are stronger than you should be, and... something like the Eclipse? Too much, too fast, for you." He shakes his head, "But at the same time... it just takes meeting the right people, going through the right situations, to feel young again, you know."
zahara "It is strange, isn't it? From all that I remember, and all that I know about Exaltations, we are aberrations..." her thoughtful look melts as she smiles a little. "Such as certain women?"
Lucent "You are. You should be as old as I am before achieving this power... and Solar Circle Sorcerers were so rare." He remakes the images, watching the figure of Varanim more than all others... "... yes. When you meet a person that makes you feel... like a bumbling teenager once again."
zahara chuckles, "Especially when they inspire such passions in you..."
Lucent "The need to rip their clothes, to pull them against the nearest thing, to forget your higher soul and give in, and lose yourself in her body..." He closes his eyes, sliding down a collumn, the words coming so... expressive, from his lips.
zahara "Oh, Lucent!" she swoons, "I never knew you felt that way about me!" A wicked grin lights her eyes.
Lucent whirls around in shock, halfway down the column, tripping on his own feet and falling on his bottom. "N-no, it is nothing like that! I am talking about Var..." He stops himself, looking at her grin, "... about NOBODY IN PARTICULAR."
zahara "HA!" she crows. "I knew it!"
Lucent blinks. "You did?"
zahara grins. "Lucent, knowing people is my specialty. And you, my friend, are as transparent as ice. Varanim is a bit more difficult to read though."
Lucent gets up, attempting to appear dignified once again. After all, there were people looking. "Am I so transparent? Hmmm..." He sighs. "I think... I am not sure she likes me. Sometimes she acts like it does, but... just like it is some sort of dirty secret."
zahara "And how do you act?"
Lucent "Well, I... try not to embarass her."
zahara "Oh? How's that working out for you?"
Lucent blushes a little, looking up at the shrine's painted ceiling. "... strange." He looks at it, giving out a deep sigh before looking at her, hopeful. "Did she... say anything about me? Anything at all?"
zahara tilts her head to one side, "She is excellent at avoiding subjects she does not have a definitive answer to."
Lucent "She is excellent at avoiding subjects period. Whenever we talk, I come off knowing even less than I did walking in. In fact... she manages to never answer a single question of mine. Sometimes, it is easy to imagine she is in league with the Green Lady, with Quen, she is just using me. She acts like it."
zahara "Do you really believe that?"
Lucent "I am not sure WHAT to believe!" He snaps. "She tells me she is not, but she will not tell me the truth, either! I confronted her about the Green Lady before that gift, and she lied to me! She lies to me about everything... but what I want her to."
zahara "I seem to recall you having lied once or twice in your past, hmm?"
Lucent frowns. "That was different, Empress. I was trying to save the world!"
zahara "And of course, she must not have a good reason for keeping the truth from you."
Lucent "What would be a good reason? When I am interested in her, when I know that green-lipped whore must be trying to corrupt her like she did Quen? When all she had to do is... what could possibly be her reason, Zee?"
zahara "Perhaps..." she tips his chin up so she can look into the golden pools of his eyes, "She thought that you would judge her, think her corrupt, think that she was trying to fool you. Perhaps she thought you would react poorly to the knowledge that she had contact with the Green Lady, however briefly or long."
Lucent begins to say that he would NOT, that he would understand, that it was nothing like that... but he looks into her eyes, sees himself reflected in them, his past acts... and assents. "And I... I probably would." He lets out in resignation. "But I have trusted her. And even though she says nothing, I still..."
zahara "Have you trusted her...?" She lets that hang in the air. "You, who have planned to lead her into corruption all the sooner so that you may rescue her like a golden knight? You should be GLAD the Green Lady is alive, in that case."
Lucent looks away from her eyes. "I did not... trust her back then, true. And maybe I still do not... but I still go along with it. All we do, I still go with her, and have yet to make such a move. It is just... so hard for me to trust, like that."
zahara "We trust, or.." a pang of pain crosses her face, and she lets go his chin. "Well. Trust her or throw her in the dungeon."
Lucent "NO." He spats out. The golden knight she had just mentioned coming to the surface, and suddenly he had only one choice. TRUST or DIE. "I will trust her, then. I will keep her safe. She is not going to the dungeon." He nods. "When she comes to me again... I will just trust her."
zahara "Can you do it, Lucent? Trust her without reservation until she proves otherwise? And I do mean proves."
Lucent looks into her eyes intently. She sees the liquid gold of his eyes as a storm... a storm that calms. Crystallizes. His intent more and more solid on his mind, until his determination is solid. "I will trust her. To the best of my ability, I will attempt to trust her." He stops. "... does that mean I have to stop asking her?"
zahara x1;ACTION lets her hand drop from his chin to rest comfortingly on his shoulder. "It means that you have to stop accusing her when you ask. And if she does not wish to answer, when you come to her calmly and... rationally, THEN you stop asking." She smiles faintly. "If it helps, I am also concerned about the 'green-lipped whore' but I believe that we must have Varanim on our side. It will do us no good at all to drive her off, straig
zahara to drive her off, straight into their arms, by our anger and mistrust."
Lucent "No. It would do us no good..." He stops. "Do I accuse her that much?"
zahara nods slightly. "The walls shake when you two are together."
Lucent grins, a little awkwardly. "And here I thought we had been careful."
zahara chuckles and ruffles Luc's perfect hair. "You have a fantastically flexible definition of careful."
Lucent smiles. "Well, it seems like we need to meet out of the Cascade, now..."
zahara shakes her head, smiling. "If you wish to continue hiding, I suppose."
Lucent "She wants to. She did not accept it until I said nobody had to know." He sighs. "When did you even find out?"
zahara "I was not sure until today, but both of your reactions beneath the Cascade, when we were swimming... well..." she trails off with a knowing look
Lucent blinks... then laughs. "So you saying we make the walls shake was..." He sighs, exhasperated. "I walked into your trap, Dreambreaker. Riordan is doing a great job of making you act like a Fae!"
zahara laughs, "Oh come now, I need no faerie to pluck the truth from an old man like you."
Lucent makes a face, reaching to her hair and mussing it! "Hey, now! Just because I am older than the children here does not make me an old man! For Exalted standards I am only... middle age. Yes. Middle aged. NOT OLD."
zahara laughs and ducks away from him, "Hey! I'll have you know that my extremely ancient friend spent hours fixing my hair!"
Lucent laughs, running after her! "I said I AM NOT OLD!"