< Impact: Aurora District | Sol Invictus Logs | Where Strange Trees Grew >

Imrama The Fable deposits some of the Circle in the Tea Garden atop the Cascade. The ship moves as swiftly as ever, but somehow with a seething anger, mirroring the mood of its captain.

Imrama produces brush and paper, and begins to write furiously on one of the low tables in the garden. Without looking up he speaks to Zahara. "This is a infamous day for your capital, Empress."

zahara drops over the edge of the ship and onto the ground, and begins to pace back and forth. "I shall add it to the rest." she says shortly

zahara pulls out one of her favorite knives and methodically begins sharpening it, peering over Imrama's shoulder to see what he is writing

Imrama is writing out names in Rivertongue. "So much woe. So much to lament, so much to avenge."

Varanim sticks her head out into the garden. "If it helps, while I'm passing through I'll manage some of the mess on the dead side."

zahara "Vengeance indeed shall b..." she looks up as Varanim

zahara enters. "You're back."

Imrama looks up for the first time. "Varanim: terrible things have happened in your absence."

Varanim "Briefly," she agrees with Zahara. To Imrama she nods, "That green flash was visible from the Yellow River. It seemed relevant to check."

Varanim steps out into the garden, something a little off about her appearance--she's still dressed like a peasant from some backwater, but the somber clothes are clean and unwrinkled, and her hair is brushed neatly back and caught at the nape of her neck. Her left hand is unbandaged, which has never been her habit.

Varanim **Yanaze

zahara 's brief smile fads as she squints at her, thins her lips into something not quite a frown at her comment, and turns to the window.

Imrama "The Broken Sun Conspiracy has struck Solaria, and struck brutally hard. Their most effective weapon was necromantic in nature. Any insights you could offer into it or the conspiracy generally would be greatly appreciated, Varanim." Imrama continues to write.

Varanim looks over at Zahara with a faint frown, then spreads her hands at Imrama's suggestion. "It may take a while for the mud to settle, but I'll send my findings when I have them." She pauses a moment, still by the doorway, then adds, "And the others?"

zahara "They are all fine, as you would know if you were wearing your ring still." Her voice is mild.

Varanim looks down briefly, then up with a shadow of her usual smirk. "Luckily your mouth and my ears still work, so now I know just the same." She considers for a moment, then adds, "I told you before I didn't plan to track mud on your doorstep. It's still true."

Imrama "In the absence of any more promising leads, I believe we should start working down our Circle's enemies list. The Lion seems a good place to start - time to pay Jena Roderick an overdue visit." Imrama's voice is anything but mild.

Varanim "Oh, Jena's a good one," she says with a look of some interest. "Might ask her what happened to Tyrian, if there's a spare moment."

Lucent "Not like that, Imrama. Trust m..." Lucent appears on the edge of the Garden, his presence... muted. His eyes all but vanished under his hair, dressing suits of Pluto's dark blue in grief for those broken in Solaria, and for himself, his voice having stopped at the moment Varanim begun to speak.

Varanim "...ah. I'll be going, then." Varanim sticks her hands in her pockets with a tiny, strained smile.

zahara looks over the two and sighs.

Lucent "Wait."

Varanim pauses, turned toward the door. Over her shoulder she says, "If you're looking for a refund, I'm afraid the money is probably spent by now."

Lucent shakes, although his eyes are still shrouded, "No. I am looking for you."

Varanim Varanim's shoulders move in a silent sigh, then she turns back with a flat expression. "I'm really not up for a screaming match today. Maybe tomorrow?"

Lucent makes a waving motion to the others, "They need you. They missed you. You are a part of this, Varanim... part of the family." He takes one step foward, "I was wrong. About all but one thing."

Varanim winces slightly at the word "family," her eyes flickering over Zahara and Imrama before turning back to Lucent. "You really don't need to do this."

zahara tilts her head down slowly, curling her hands into fists. She says softly, her voice wavering the slightest bit. "He's right. We do need you."

Lucent "I do. I was wrong with what I said, with what I did. I was wrong for not understanding what was right before me the whole time. Blinded by my light." Another step closer, "Kelen would admire you if he could see you now, and that is the truth. You can tell, I know that."

Varanim Varanim's hands clench briefly in echo of Zahara's. "Stop it," she says quietly, looking away. "I've caused... several problems here."

Lucent "I am sorry I disrupted your work," Step, "I am sorry I brought you pain," Step, "I am sorry that I said the things I did," Step, "I am sorry that I threw you out," Step. "Out of where you belong." He hands landed on her shoulders.

Varanim Her shoulders are shaking a bit, then she straightens and looks directly at him. "Where's this going, Lucent? I can't... I'm not interested in repeating that business at the gate."

Lucent pulls her closer and kisses her full on the lips. In front of everyone. Without fear.

Lucent In a way that made Crow's kiss be like the act of a clumsy teenager, his light engulfing her.

Imrama In the background, Imrama has risen to speak, ready to reinforce what Zahara and Lucent have already said: that the Circle needs her. He stifles his words, however, not wanting to interrupt the long-in-coming embrace. And somewhere, deep in the depths of his being, a part of Imrama sighs and thinks, "Things are never going to calm down enough between those two for me to hit that, are they?"

Varanim freezes for a moment, hands hanging at her sides, then wraps her arms around Lucent and returns the kiss in full. A tear slips down her cheek, unnoticed in the brilliance.

Lucent breaks the kiss after what seemed like forever. "I love you."

Lucent "I am sorry it took so long for me to see what was right in front of me."

Varanim looks down, though her hands tighten on Lucent's shoulders. "Let's... let's talk later, okay?" Then she steps back, and her eyes take on the sharp gleam of a new problem. "Right now, there's a city still in flames."

Lucent "Yes. First things first, we must fix that damage. Then talk to a fallen heroine."

Lucent "Then crush the Deathlords."

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