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Varanim Some time after the talk with Imrama to read the names from Varanim's vision, she's taken herself off and disappeared again, until a mental knock. ::Lucent?::

Varanim settles herself against a grave stone, humming quietly and unwrapping her sandwich.

Lucent ::I missed you.:: He was on the caves. His armor brought the earth to him, created a dragon out of water, attempting to kin to it as he had the pole of fire, stopping both as soon as she calls. ::Was it seeing all that?::

Varanim ::I'm waiting for the exact moment of a murder to sort something out, so I have some time,:: she says, avoiding the question. ::Would fighting about the recent business make you feel better?::

Lucent ::Yes.:: He smiles, light playing around him so as to make her face. Not that she could see. ::Oh, yes, Lethe. Your job.:: He stops. ::What are you going to sort out?::

Varanim ::Oh, it's not very interesting, just some local housekeeping. You, on the other hand, looked pretty rough earlier.:: Brief pause. ::How are you doing?::

Lucent There is a long pause. Very long, for Lucent. ::How do you think?::

Varanim ::Since you ask, I think you were lying through your teeth when you said you were fine.::

Lucent ::Perceptive.::

Lucent ::Amusing, right? I spent so much of my time doubting everything and everyone, and in the end, I am the one who might be evil incarnate and not know it. A plant. A traitor. Whatever I am.::

Varanim ::Sarcasm is definitely not you.:: A pause while he continues, and then unseen Varanim sits up a little straighter with a frown. ::What's all that about? Did one of the others say something to you?:: Her tone is sharp.

Lucent ::Zahara is worried that I will turn to Malfeas. For the third time, apparently. Who knows, maybe she is right! Using this armor, being connected to everything, it feels so RIGHT, to me! Maybe that is who I am, maybe she is right.::

Varanim ::Zahara worries that cute little puppies and adorable street urchins are going to betray her. Now, what's the business with this armor? Does it feed off the Essence of the dead, require nightly blood sacrifices to maintain, what? Those are usually good telltales.::

Lucent ::No, none of that. It runs on my Essence. It expands it, connects me to the world. Like a Primordial, I am my own hemisphere, to rule over Gods, to identure them to me.:: He pauses. Again, too long.

Lucent ::To understand the Exalted, to destroy them.::

Varanim There's a short pause. ::Don't do the last part.::

Lucent ::Not going to. I have been trying not to think on what it shows of you all...::

Varanim ::What are you talking about?::

Lucent ::Nevermind. Forget I mentioned it.::

Varanim ::Too late; I remember everything. And you need to explain that bit.::

Lucent ::It shows me the weakness of the Exalted. Their strengths and weaknesses. Whenever I look at them. It floats around you like... symbols, glyphs of all-understanding. And I can pull them, write in them, when I force my will on an Exalt... you know. But even if I do not do that, I see it.::

Varanim ::Huh.:: There's a fairly weighty pause. ::That sounds fairly disturbing for you.::

Lucent ::It is. I have tried not to look, to abstract them, not to interpret them.::

Varanim ::How's that working out for you?::

Lucent ::Harder not to look at yours'.::

Varanim ::Should be easy, since you've already figured me out.:: There's a distinctly snide edge to her tone, which vanishes for the next part. ::You have plans for the armor that makes it worth the weight?::

Lucent ::I am going to manage. And like I said... it increases my capabilities so much. It is apotheosis, Varanim. Being able to touch you from afar, to rend the earth, to pull the power of deities to me. That is worth having to relearn how t o look at the Exalted... right? Not to different from Necromancy, I imagine. Except that it never feels as good as being connected to everything... does it?::

Varanim ::Hm, yes, I imagine being too perceptive is very disorienting for you. And, what, you're worried about how necromancy makes me feel now?::

Lucent ::I always did. It must be... very good, to have such a draw. And make you walk around like... that.::

Varanim ::Ah, and now we come to it. Do go on.::

Lucent ::How does it feel? Elating? Pleasurable? Is it a high? Ecstastic?::

Varanim ::What, sticking a hook down my throat to vomit out my po into my shadow? It feels about as nice as it looked, I expect.::

Lucent ::Then... why?::

Varanim ::Because I like myself better when I'm not chopped into pieces--you may recall that was on the table, at the time.::

Varanim ::The same spell was what left my shadow ambling around in Tara Zhan Keep, which you may recall was relevant in that business with the Herald.::

Lucent ::When you saved me. Yes, I remember.:: A deep sigh. ::But maybe you can craft a... nicer one?::

Varanim There's a slightly awkward pause at his first words, then she snorts. ::You... want me to put my po in a dress so you'll like it better?::

Varanim ::Hold on, haunt's here.:: Then silence from her, for several moments.

Lucent ::I want you to place your soul into something that will feel elating, rather than demeaning.::

Varanim After a medium length pause--Varanim watches a haunt play out for a few seconds, then stands up and walks over to a nearby wall to scribble Merella did it--she answers. ::So your urge to make the world pretty extends to necromancy. That's... consistent, I guess. Do you give Zahara the same quizzing about sorcery, or do you just trust her to do as she pleases without your oversight there?::

Lucent ::She can make flowers bloom, unite people in dreams, and summon Neomah...::

Varanim ::Well, it's basically the same thing, if you replace "flowers" with "zombies," "dreams" with "grinding corpus engines," and "Neomah" with a fairly lengthy list of admittedly less sexy things. See? All fixed. Just think of her as tainted with icky golden Essence, and the symmetry is complete.::

Lucent ::And Gylmine, and Angyalkae.:: He looks at his reflection. ::Necromancy is Memory.::

Lucent ::Netheos is the reflection. The nostalgia. Why keep to the rotting death?::

Varanim Varanim's mental tone is becoming increasingly exasperated. ::Necromancy is a set of Essence manipulations that enables certain of my research goals. And ignoring the rotting death is sort of like trying to read one of Imrama's novels with the first word of every sentence missing. Look, did you used to hassle him this way?::

Lucent ::Oh yes. I did. Look, he may have been a hero, he may have been my savior more than once, he may have been great at parties, he may have been the only one around who was at the same height as me when I was in my young shape, but his sense of aesthetics was lacking. He loved the dying, the rotting, he was fascinated with death.::

Lucent ::But even he was doing more than following the motions. He was told dead is dead. He was told that you should shape the living, and there was nothing to be gained by a dead body. But like the Sorcerer who decided it was more than Demons, Curses and River of Blood, he thought that he would find power in Netheos. And he DID.::

Varanim ::Just so I can follow this line of illogic to its end... the problem with the Mask of Winters is his lack of aesthetics? Or that he was short? I'll try to remember that if I ever meet him.:: Now finished with her graveyard business, Varanim strolls in the general direction of the cascade, whistling a funeral dirge two tempos too fast and an octave too high.

Lucent ::No. But they never helped! Do YOU enjoy that? Is that what you wish to do?::

Lucent ::Or are you just following through their motions, instead of creating your own path?::

Varanim ::Oh, it took us a full twenty minutes to get to "you're turning into Quen"--our time is improving. Now that we've completed that little circle, I hope you can get some sleep.::

Lucent ::You did not answer. Is that your path? Your aesthetics? Or are you just following their shadow, going through the motions? Is THAT what you want to do, in your own way, or are you just doing that, following their path, since you have no other idea of what to DO?::

Varanim ::Good night, Lucent.::

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