Lucent Varanim left, and Lucent turned around with cruel eyes. A single servant in the garden watched him with wide eyes, receiving a violent shove to a tree and a warning to mind his own business. ::Cerin, there was an argument between me and Varanim in front of the Cascade, just like you wanted. I am going to move to the Summer Palace, make my presence felt, prepare for my assassination.::
Lucent Lucent dealt with some last few businesses within the Cascade, and before long the ground shone beneath him before the immense Scorpion burst forth from it, and he strode out with Amika, with all of the Sunlands' populace watching in awe as the Solar moves atop the immense beast...
Lucent He settles upon a palace-garden far from the Cascade but in one of its well-off neighborhoods, one inhabited by wealthy families, with grand gardens and orchards separating the houses - if the assassination was to be had, every different house in the neighborhood was, for all practical purposes, a city block away from each other; nobody but Lucent - and his assailants - was to get hurt.
Cerin ::An argument, yes:: There was a certain hint in Cerin's voice, of disapproval. ::I shall be over there presently.::
Lucent Lucent was alone in a study as Cerin got there, a chalice of red wine slowly moving on his hand as he watched the view from the top balcony. Quite a sight, the Sunlands.
Cerin Cerin makes his presence known within the room, and then after a few moments, speaks "Greetings, Lucent."
Lucent "Hello, Cerin. I trust the location is adequate for your ends?"
Cerin "Yes, it should be sufficiently isolated," he nods.
Lucent drains the chalice in one gulp. "Good."
Lucent "We know when it will happen, I imagine? I would hate to be alone until then."
Cerin "I am still not sure. It will be soon, though. Not longer than a week, and probably less than that."
Lucent "Good, I will give myself four safe days to fill the halls with song."
Cerin "I shall inform you if I hear word to the contrary," he nods
Lucent "Good. Now, is there anything else, or are you going to stay there like a gargoyle all day long?"
Cerin "Yes. There is something else. I am not sure why you turned on Varanim like you did. An argument with her in no way needed to involve throwing her out on the street like a cheap whore."
Lucent "Because she IS a cheap whore. Or, at least, that is what she wanted to be."
Lucent "I made her wish come true."
Cerin raises an eyebrow.
Lucent "How was it that she put it? Oh, yes. On the Circle:" images of light begun to play in the air about him, his anima showing her face and her words, "We aren't anything. You are a bunch of warrior-aristocrats busy trying to rule the world in the name of saving it, and you specifically are turning to anger to avoid thinking the true things I've said to you. I haven't broken a damn thing, I've just refused to participate in the general pretense. There is no dream, no unity of vision, no grand destiny ahead. "
Lucent And about us, she said simply that " 'it is not over, because it never was.' "
Lucent "I put her in the place of one who has no use for us warrior-aristocrats. The gutter, together with her friends."
Cerin "And yet, in doing as you did, you confirmed that much of she said was true." (...)
Cerin "That you are an aristrocrat who cares little for those you consider beneath you. That you are ruling instead of saving. That you do turn to anger to avoid thinking." (...)
Cerin "Never the less, it is done, now. It does, however, compell me to make a promise to you. One that in no way should be construed as a threat. If you attempt to hurt Zahara like that, I will kill you."
Lucent begins to giggle, then to laugh. "What, you think I am still afraid of you, Cerin? That was a nice time, but I am over that. And I am as Solar as you. Every technique you learn to destroy me, I will learn one to protect myself. I have sworn not to die, remember." He turns to Cerin with a sneer.
Lucent "Is that your wish? That we be two immortals locked in battle until kingdom come?"
Cerin "I said kill Lucent, not fight. I know where you sleep." And with that, he is gone.
Lucent The words rang on Lucent's ears for a moment, and a backhand sent his chalice flying to the wall, staining it with the red of wine. Lucent looked at it, contemplating his anger with Cerin, the fear he wished countained but still made his fingers shake... and then, it hit him, like sunlight through clouds.
Lucent And Cerin, just as he was moving out of the house saw the Coronal falling upon him, exploding as it missed him JUST so, breaking the walls and the trees, from a hundred yards away and rising in incarna-colored smoke.
Lucent "YOU COME BACK HERE!" Lucent said in words that all could hear, "Want to fight, is it?"
Lucent ::Play along.::
Cerin "No, Lucent, I have no desire to fight you," he announced, although warned by his specialized danger sense, he was already clad in the Essence he needed to fight. "But if you insist." He was already stringing the motes across his bow. The wall of the study caved in under their impacts.
Lucent The wall caved upon him, and all was silent for a moment as Lucent existed only under the rubble. ::Spring had told me that, pehaps, I was not the best target. And you just gave me the best idea, Cerin... what if we fight, in front of all? You can strike me with all your might... and I can make sure I am just hurt ENOUGH.::
Cerin ::This does have potential, yes::
Lucent His might rises as a pillar from within the rubble, and everything rises upwards! Pieces of rubble rising, between the light and the terrible king within... who begins to walk towards Cerin, on the walls. "You thought I would be killed this easily?" ::I met others with similar Abilities as you before... you can pretend to be dead, can you not? Or at least, as if you are... quite incapacitated?::
Cerin "No, but I thought perhaps you might see reason." He starts to draw back more motes along his bow. ::I can indeed. Spring should be ready however. He is known as a healer of some renown. He must be public as he announces me near death, only saved by his magic.::
Lucent ::That will certainly increase his renown.:: Lucent walks over plataforms made by the coronal, over the lights of heaven, stopping high above the garden, looking down on the hunter at the wall. "See reason? You are the one insulting me over those whores in the Cascade. You take it back... or else."
Cerin "Or else what?" ::Spring, your presence on the edge of the city would be greatly appreciated.::
Lucent ::You know about enmity of Essence? Techniques that can dull of prevent healing? You are a killer, I hold the Saturn Orb; we can pretend to have used them, and Spring can announce to all that it will take a long time even for him to heal us.:: His voice touches all of the rings now. ::That way, they will believe us still weakened when the attack is to start.::
Lucent "Or else." The Sun orb flares above Lucent... and all Zenith Caste Marks to ever exist fall upon Cerin the Wolf as a torrential Cascade, certainly leaving nothing of the wall, together with nothing of him!
Cerin Cerin has already launched his own attack, sending bolts of brilliant white light glowing upwards even as he escapes Lucent's cascade along a glittering trail of sunlight, ending up standing upon a tree branch. "I do not take lightly to threats, Lucent." Then he fires again.
Lucent People were beggining to gather. Called by the security and garden workers, the owners of the mansions, the rich of Solaria and their servants watching the fight of two veritable gods. "Neither do I --" But Lucent was stopped as the arrow went into his chest.
Lucent He closed his eyes, and made his heart into untouchable orichalcum, the arrow striking non-vital tissue. He coughed blood... and then looked up, angry! "... you... will... DIE for that!" The Coronal all fell over Cerin in a thousand Caste Marks, herding him into the street!
Lucent ::I have just turned off my pain, and this is nothing. No holding back. Perfect aim, by the way.::
Cerin "First blood to me" ::Naturally. I am not afraid of hurting you accidentally.:: Cerin flows backwards under the cascade of castemarks, heading back towards the manor, allowing one or two to clip him, the golden disks stained red. He responses with a trio of bolts which leave vivid trails across the vision of all who watch.
Lucent Lucent, of course, was not holding back at all. In fact, if Cerin did not know better, it would seem as if the Solar was honestly trying to kill him. His Primordial Aura impelled him out of the ground in an immense leap, hovering above Cerin... and letting out another barrage.
Lucent The street below them cracked, stones shattering.
Lucent The light of Lucent's lightplays played over his wounds, and they were... different. Even as Cerin's Essence-arrows begun to fade away, the wounds were more grievous than they should be, covered in... diseased Essence. It was like his SOUL was bleeding out of them...
Cerin Cerin seemed dance admidst the shattering stones and Coronal rain, though he was always moving back a little, and once or twice he failed to dodge fast enough, blood settling the dust. The pair of arrows he launched as he suddenly seemed to vanish and then reappear leaping out of a building, were unerringly targetted for Lucent's heart.
Lucent ... and they struck at his heart. Lucent's blood splayed on the sky in one crimson moment, for the aristocrats and servants looking up in the sky, it was like the blood was splattered accross the sun. And then, he fell...
Lucent ... heavily upon the street, breaking cobblestones and kicking off smoke, nothing of Lucent could be seen.
Cerin "Lucent?" he called out, stalking over, even as he looked through the street to find Lucent's actual body. And make sure it had been an act.
Cerin The astute amongst the watchers will note he still has a mote strung across his bow.
Lucent It was like an explosion. Sheer force breaking out of the hole where a heavy Lucent had fallen, cobblestones and earth and even uprooted trees rising upwards as Lucent does so, hatred on his eyes. "CERIN!"
Lucent ::Time to place you on a coma. Can you stand closer to a wall to make the explosion appear more impressive than it otherwise is -- and to pretend to be struck by it amidst all of the smoke kicked by a broken wall?::
Cerin ::Spring, now would be an ideal time for you to make your appearance:: "Not dead yet, I see." Cerin doesn't approach closer to Lucent, instead circling around to the side of the street, the deserted houses there, firing as he goes.
Spring ::We will be there momentarily.::
Lucent "TIME TO END THIS." His voice booms like thunder, the orbs of the Coronal ending their orbits to become one with him, becoming an Adamant Sun as he holds the orb of Saturn on his hand... and the Maiden of Endings appears close to him, spreading her robes and letting out a storm of swords towards Cerin! "FIRE FROM HEAVEN!"
Lucent A storm of swords of Essence falls upon Cerin, in such a thunderous explosion that it could be seen and heard on the other side of Solaria, kicking so much dust, making the ground shake... and, at the same time, as an arrow struck through his Adamant Heart, and Lucent Copper Haze fell down.
zahara The wind kicks up even more as the sky darkens coming from the direction of Solaria and a swirling funnel of wind whooooooshes through the city towards the battling Solars. It picks up the lights of the animas flaring before it as it dissipates into mere dusty breeze as it deposits Zahara and Spring neatly on the edge of the rubble
Cerin Cerin falls out of the explosion on the other side. His face is ashen, his hair matted with blood, and his chest unmoving.
Lucent Passerby had ran to them. Lucent was on the ground, blood dripping from his wounds and his soul appearing to wisp out from Essence-diseased burns, coughing blood as people tried to hold his head up... and some went to Cerin, touching him and going white in horror as they looked up at their Empress. "He.. he's DEAD!"
Lucent "His heart's not beating..." "All cold..." Horrified, they begun to move away from he Night Caste, fearing the Empress' wrath.
Cerin radiates reassurance through the unity, though he elicits no reactions to the touches.
Spring walks through the passerby, neatly inserting himself between their motions, and kneels before the body. He glances just once at it, then takes a deep breath, the air around him growing cold, and leans over to breathe that warmth back into Cerin's body.
zahara takes two steps forward, her eyes scanning the rubble, "What in Sol's Name is going on here?" she demands as she spots Lucent, and then... "CERIN!" She leaps over the rubble, knocking aside a mortal too slow to get out of her way and drops to her knees next to his body. She lifts his limp body into her arms, cradling him against her chest. "Cerin, NO! Spring! He needs healing!"
Spring **switch those lines
Cerin looks less pale, as he is craddled in Zahara's arms and Spring breathes life into him. Was that a flicker of his eyelid?
zahara looks up as Spring works on restoring Cerin and fixes one of the mortals with an icy glare. "You... Tell me what happened! Who hurt Cerin and Lucent?"
Lucent The Mortal - gardener to one of the houses - looks in fright to Zahara. "Th... they were fighting! Lucent and Ce... your consort! They were fighting, and Lu... he threw his things on Cerin, who hit arrows on his heart, and... and..."
Lucent raises his head just enough, looking at Cerin in horror. "Ce.. rin?"
Spring frowns, and pries open an eyelid to gaze at Cerin.
zahara rounds on Lucent as much as she is able while still cradling the barely-breathing body of her love. "YOU did this? YOU, LUCENT? How could you betray him - betray me - like that!"
Cerin ::Please try not to be too effacious Spring, I must remain 'injured' for some days::
Spring turns Cerin's body so that the light of the sun falls upon his face. "He will live," he announces.
Lucent ::Remember what I said, state that the injuries cannot be healed in a long while.::
zahara leans down to press a kiss to his forehead. "How long until he is well, Spring? He does not look much better than he did a minute ago..."
Lucent Lucent's face is a mask of terror and guilt, playing the part. "He... insulted me. I was angry... I was so angry... I did not think. I just wanted to hurt him, not to..." He begun to cough blood, his wounds exhaling broken Essence.
Cerin 's lips twitch upwards at the corners as Zahara kisses his forehead.
Spring "It is difficult to say. Apparently Lucent's attack was deliberately calculated to make healing it challenging."
Lucent "Endings... Essence." Lucent coughs more. "I... I was angry."
zahara She turns her icy gaze back on Lucent, her fingers ruffling through Cerin's hair gently. Her voice is dripping with menace as she speaks "You wished to hurt him and you did. And he hurt you as well, I see. Spring, please heal Lucent just enough to bring him from the edge of death. And then we will see how he likes being hurt."
Lucent looks up, tears streaming down his eyes. "It was a mistake, Zahara."
Spring glances up, his unreadable eyes meeting Lucent's, and reaches out to grab the beam of sunlight still protruding from his chest. There is the hint of a twist, and a jerk, and the wound is clear, closing somewhat...but only somewhat.
zahara "Yes," she forms a pillow from the Bonds, making sure that Lucent can see them as she removes them from around her waist, but then simply lets Cerin down upon them gently, looks down upon his face tenderly, and rises. She stalks over to Lucent and reaches down to him, the golden gleam of an Essence-Blocking Collar catching the light of his anima and throwing it back in his eyes. It closes around his throat with a click.
zahara "It WAS a mistake, Lucent." Her voice is almost a whisper, yet it carries across the square easily. "You know what happens to betrayers, yes? I would kill you here and now, but I need you still." Her fingers reach down to caress his cheek, leaving a bloody gash behind them. "So I will only hurt you, Lucent. And I will only punish you for a season."
Lucent holds his cheek. "It was a mistake. I apologized."
Cerin "Zahara .." he says softly from the bonds. "That is ... enough, my love."
zahara "He is almost DEAD, Lucent! You will do more than apologize," she hisses, and turns back to the Gardner. "You, pick him up and follow me. I won't have his "mistakes" in the Cascade until he has atoned properly." She turns and looks up at Spring, "Thank you." Then walks back to Cerin and lifts him in her arms again - once again tender and merciful. "Not enough yet, but soon, my love. Soon."
zahara moves into the building, to find a solid room for Lucent's stay.
Lucent The gardener tries to lift Lucent in his Primordial Armor, but is unable to do so. Others come to help, and they manage to lift him, carrying him into the home... their folly and wrath seared in the minds of all those who had eyes to watch. Zahara finds it easily enough, only one room in the last floor was caved in.
Spring stands outside the building, silent for once.
zahara forms chains from the very sunlight of her Anima, and embeds them deeply into the wall, locking each of Lucent's limbs in a position that will only grow more painful the longer he spends that way. Then she turns to the others in the room and gives each of those who helped a jade piece and shoos them out.
Lucent looks up at her, eyes full of guilt and anger.
Lucent ::That was a perfect act, Zahara.::
zahara ::Thank you, Luc. I put the bracelet that goes with your collar under your left wrist chain. You may use it at your leisure to free yourself from mortality.::
zahara steps out of the house, sealing it behind her with a slab of the broken wall that she seemingly melts into the hallway and pauses by Spring. She has Cerin with her once again. "We should go home," she says quietly. "He needs rest."
Cerin "Thank you, Spring," he says, as he looks up at the healer.
zahara "Yes... without you, he would be lost."
Spring "I am glad to do my part," he says, almost silently.
Spring "Shall we?"
zahara nods. And they depart on the wind.