Lucent Empyrean Harmonia. Before, the 'Sunrise' Cathedral. This immense, labyrinthine affair betrayed Zahara's hand in its construction, when the Empress had nurtured it from merely a house of worship into a cloister for the faithful, Hearthstone Chamber being a square at the heart of an assemble of cathedrals.
Lucent Overlooking it, Lucent waited his lieutenants in a lavish-decorated room in most gold and crimson, where unbeknownst to him Cerin and Zahara had spent a grand ol' time(Cerin is quite throughout in hiding evidence, as usual; we will never know wether or not Lucent would consider that a blessing).
The gathered generals -- a motley crew, to be sure, but loyal to a fault -- arrive, one by one, and seat themselves. "We greet you, Lucent," says Obsidian, and makes the ritual gesture of greeting that the Kashaen have preserved, all these years since Lucent first introduced it to them many centuries ago.
Lucent "My good friends." Lucent bows to them, humble as always, the seal shining on his hand. The Red Seal, which marked him as their Lord, which allowed him to speak to them even from afar and call them there. He was clad in most harmonious presence, every bit the patriarch of their lands. "How goes life in the Sunlands?"
"It goes well," says Painted Wind, a sense of serene calm, as so often is true, sitting upon his face.
Lucent "Do you like it here?" He asks, mildly. "Or would you prefer to return to your homeland?"
Lucent There is no accusation in the voice; it is the most neutral and uplifting it can be.
"It is comfortable here, and we are wealthy beyond our previous imaginings," says Ten-Tooth Serpent. "We need not languish in the desert, as we once did." (...)
"Languish?" says Obsidian, though he does not extend his thought further.
"The desert is the land that tests us," says Laughing Heart, her cruel visage seeming to punctuate her speech. "That is what makes the people strong."
Lucent "It is. And yet, there is strength to be found in this bontiful place, as well." He nods. "I called you here because you are all so different... and I need to make use of this difference at this time of crisis." He stops, and looks at all of them, and in his eyes, they see a message addressed to each of them, and each personally, although what it says is simply: Choose.
Lucent "My friends, I intend to go back to the South, and reclaim your homeland, make it strong, make it a place of a shining civilization and a bastion of protection to the South. My friends, I intend to create a great army to fight against the First and Forsaken Lion, and crush him for Creation. My friends, I have begun the rebuilding of Gem, and need our people to go there, to work there, to rule over it and Southern Trade."
Lucent "And I need your help, in those three endeavors."
"Vital tasks, all," Obsidian says. "The Lion must be crushed, and the South rebuilt without his dark influence."
Lucent "Zahara has offered to make the Kashaen homelands bountiful; it will become as an immense Oasis in the desert, and thus I will call it Eden. I need some of you there, to safeguard it. Those who do must go find the Dragon Kings of the desert, and then call me to oversee an Alliance; they will protect it with you, and turn your garden into your fortress."
Lucent "Would any of you be up to this task? To seek the Dragon Kings, to lead the exodus of our people back to the Homelands, and to help rebuild it as more glorious than it has ever been?"
The various generals look at one another for a moment, as if slightly uncertain of what shall occur here. "Are we all to depart, then?" says Painted Wind, finally. "The Kashaen shall depart the Sunlands as one, to retake their homeland once more?"
Lucent "No." Lucent shook his head. "Some have to depart to Gem, to safeguard it. To hold the heart of the South's economy, to keep the Raksha who are to rebuild it in check, to live on the razor's edge between the Wyld and the Southern King's interests."
Lucent "And others have to remain. To organize the army that will shine against Creation's twilight."
Lucent "I called you here, because I think you are the ones to do those tasks. But it is your choice if you are, and which you will take."
"I will go to Gem," Serpent says, a hint of bitterness in her voice almost entirely obscured by a sound of slightly disturbing glee. "With your leave, for the first time, the city shall be ruled in the manner which is best fitting."
"And I will stay here," says Diamond Dog Night, simply, which earns a quick mournful look -- but no more -- from White Sun.
Lucent "You have my leave, of course, Serpent." He bows. "The greatest riches of the South will be at your fingertips, I do hope you are responsible with them..." He says with a smile... and then a nod to Diamond Dog Night. "It is good to know I will have your aid in this fight, Diamond."
"Another war is coming," Diamond says. "I shall lead our warriors into it, whether to victory or glorious death in battle. I desire nothing less," he says, and performs another hand gesture, this one of willing submission to one's military commander. (...)
"I, too, shall stay," says Obsidian. "The army that we shall field shall be most glorious and bright; a beacon of hope in a world that grows dark." (...)
"And Laughing Heart and I will return home, to build the new land of Eden," Painted Sun says with a misty and far-off look, not waiting for Laughing Heart to state her own choice -- but she merely cackles and does not object.
Lucent nods to them all, a smile appearing upon his face... and then he looks at White Sun. "Shall you go to Gem with Serpent, White Sun, or... shall you remain, to aid the army with your magic?" The look he gave her and Diamond Dog Night was a most respectful one.
"I... must return to the south," she says. "It... calls to me." And she turns her head away slightly.
Lucent "Go to Gem, then; we need one such as you to deal with the Faerie and keep Serpent safe." He nods... and looks over them all. "Very well, then. Three pairs, this is auspicious! Here is what you will do."
Lucent points to Obsidiana and Diamond. "You two must look after those of the Kashaen, and even others of the Sunlands who may wish to join us, who are the best at fighting. You will move with them to an area just outside of Solaria where I will aid their intensive training. You will be all honed to perfection."
Obsidian nods and slaps one fist into his other open palm. "It will be done," he says. "We shall hone an army for the ages."
Lucent "Serpent, Sun, you must learn everything you can and prepare to resist the Faerie of the Lapis Court. Zahara will make artifacts for mortal use, for greater protection for the two of you. Also, learn how to reconstruct the trade routes and the functioning of the city. But you will only go there when me and Zahara go, to make sure you are under our aegis."
"It will be my pleasure," Serpent says, with perhaps just a bit more of an edge than the statement truly requires.
Lucent "And you will need to organize some people to go with you, of course. Those ready to work the mines, to work the commerce. But no need for too many, you will soon find yourselves with many imigrants, I believe." Lucent nods, "Wind, Laugh... you need to gather more, all the people who miss the Homeland. After you do so, you must go to Rathess and speak to Ssitumi-al-Hotep."
Painted Wind nods. "There are many who will journey with us, and we know their names," he says. "We will speak to Ssithumi as soon as we might."
Lucent "After you find the Draconis to help us, call on me, and I will come to settle the details of our treaty. They will be your protection, your guard, and will help you to rebuild it in glory known not to Draconis and Man for ages." His anima flares... and touches them all, as one with him, for a moment.
Lucent "I have a dream of a great Empire, of a great Civilization, astride the South of a Safe Creation."
Lucent "Let us do it."
The six generals, each in their own way, smile, and in unison gesture their deference and honor towards their leader, the lord of the Kashaen.