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Varanim After her late night/early morning talk with Spring in the dojo, Varanim stops by the kitchen just long enough to grab some food for the road, earning a strange look from a green-haired servant girl that she ignores completely.

Zahara is sitting near the hearth, staring into the flames. She looks up as Varanim enters. "Ah, you're back."

Varanim "And you're up early, as long as we're going rounds on the obvious." Varanim shuffles over to the hearth and extends her hat, damp from the spring rains, to dry for a few moments.

Varanim She pauses for a moment then, looking as if she expects she'll regret asking, adds, "Something on your mind?"

Zahara stretches her back a bit and turns to Varanim. "You've been disappearing a lot lately."

Varanim "And yet like a bad luck coin, I recur. Don't worry, I'm not tracking Labyrinth mud home with me." Varanim holds out her hands to warm, then smiles crookedly at the old habit and pulls back the left one.

Zahara shakes her head. "Why are you so worried I'll think you're getting the manse dirty and disrupting things?"

Varanim "Right, I keep forgetting you people do that sort of thing all the time. How many Abyssals and demons and the like DO you have in the basement, anyway?" She tilts her head. "Innocence counts as half, provisionally."

Zahara "None... at least as current prisoners. Fierce Red Star is down there, but he's a rogue Sidereal. I have quite a few demons and an Abyssal working for me though. And, now a Fae. I do miss having Tevezst as a prisoner though."

Varanim "Well, there you have it. What's a little more necrotic mud on the carpet after all that?" She spreads her hands as if she's cleared up any lingering questions.

Zahara "Exactly." She looks back at the flames. "So why are you so eager to leave?"

Varanim smirks over at Zahara, looking more tired than usual--or possibly it's just the hour. "I'm sorry, are you trying to test whether I'm asleep enough to think you don't know what happens in this manse?"

Zahara chuckles quietly. "Ah yes. Your rejection of Lucent has caused a few ripples indeed." Her eyes flicker to the door, where the green-haired girl lurks and waves her off wearily. "Do you intend to leave, then?"

Varanim Something flickers across Varanim's expression as she looks away, gone by the time she glances back. "Of course I'm going to leave, I've got special magical mucking around to do. I would say I'll be back in time for dinner, but probably not. Keep the bed warm for me." She leers, but it lacks her usual joie de mort.

zahara "That's not what I meant." She rubs her forehead, not responding to the leer. "I'm not going to stop you from running away before you can be hurt or abandoned again. But running doesn't solve anything." Again her gaze turns to the fire and she looks somewhere beyond it, through it, not seeing. "What happened to your husband? Your child?"

Varanim Varanim, who had been shaking out her hat as if to restore its suggestion of a shape, pauses for a moment. "You've either been doing some extra snooping, or someone didn't mean it when he said he wouldn't tell." Then she shrugs, a little stiffly. "It's not important. Zahara, I'm not abandoning the work I've started here, so don't worry about that."

zahara nods a little. "Good. Sorry to bother you."

Varanim "Well, then." Varanim nods, pushing herself away from the hearth and reshouldering her bag. Half turned away, she pauses and after a moment of silence speaks over her shoulder. "How is he?"

zahara looks at her, meeting her eyes for a moment. "Brokenhearted. Still in love." She curls her fingers into fists, watching the way the tattoos catch the light. "He doesn't understand what it feels like to be loved by someone who thinks they are... superior. Who wishes to change you and mold you into something...pure."

Varanim "Ah." That's all she says for a moment, but she doesn't go. After a few more seconds she says, "It's an emergent benefit of necromancy that people are only interested in you for your problems. I don't imagine the solar priesthood teaches quite the same lessons, no."

Varanim Then she turns back enough to look at Zahara directly. "I did what I thought was best. It wasn't--and it never has been--out of malice."

zahara "I.." she looks as if she might say more and then she closes her eyes. "I know, Varanim. And it may well have been for the best."

Varanim shrugs. "Right or not, it's done, and now I have a whole lot of working and drinking to do. And... thank you, Zahara. It's always a rare treat to have things understood without explaining them." She slaps on her hat to tip it, and shuffles for the door.

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