Long-buried memories of intently-studied diagrams have assisted Lucent in locating the place he seeks in the Heavenly City, and so now he has found himself here: in the somber, darkly-curtained hallways of the Violet Bier of Sorrows.
Lucent looks for its caretakers, his step light. He had never been here, but he knew his mythology, and he aided to its silence. Light steps, light manners, and no sunlight from him. Who to speak to?
Ae The gods who walk by mostly seem somber and quiet themselves, absorbed in their respective tasks, but after a short period of searching, Lucent finally notices one -- a rather slender, purple-hued goddess with hair like sharp knives and a dress of jet black that seems to flow downwards into the floor with every step -- who seems like a good candidate.
Cerin "Lucent," Cerin indicates the Goddess with an inclination of his head.
Lucent He nods to Cerin in turn, smiling at him, "Excuse me." His voice is but a shade above a whisper. "I am Lucent Copper Haze from the Exalted Deliberative in a mission of utmost urgency for the Exalted Host and the very existence of Fate Itself. I need to speak to those in charge of The Sword."
Ae The goddess stops and turns to Lucent and his companion, with a slightly haughty expression on her face. "Your kind is always on a mission of utmost urgency," she says. "That is part of why you are not supposed to be allowed in here." At the end she smiles very slightly, just at one corner of her mouth.
Lucent "Indeed, and in another occasion, I would not come here for aid. Unlike my friends, I do not have such hubris, and believe our mandate is to deal with the problems ourselves." He notes, "But in this stance, one who has sinned against Fate has used the powers of the Sword to do it. A chosen of this very house, more than likely. We seek to deliver him or her to swift justice."
The goddess widens her half-smile slightly. "Against fate... or against you?" she says, slyly.
Lucent He laughs, then, leaning in closer in a conspiratory way, his face contrite, not as a child caught in a lie, but as a friend sharing a secret, "Why, you got me. Against us. However, after the nigh-destruction of the Sidereal Exalted, I have case to believe the one who performed it is one of those branded criminal, as the others are on our side. Qian Mian, if my suspicions are correct..." He dropped the name innocently...
Lucent ... as it ignorant of the weight he HOPED it would have in the bier.
The goddess leans in in almost exactly the same manner. "Well," she says. "Normally, you'd be shit out of luck."
Cerin almost looks a little disappointed that it seems this might happen the complicated way. Still, this had been Lucent's idea.
Lucent winces. "... I imagine. But...?" He looks at her, hope shining in his eyes. First sunlight!
"...but I happen to be very close to the individual who is directing matters with the Sword," she says, and flashes her own eyes.
Lucent "Ooh?" He looks so... bright, at it! "Can you introduce us?"
"I'll... see what I can do," she says. She looks around the hallway for a moment, and then nods. "This way."
Lucent follows after her. Quite calm.
The goddess leads them along through the darkened corridors, past innumerable curtains and darkened passageways, until finally she leads them into a specific room... a small, dark chamber, with nothing but a small, rough table and chairs within -- then she closes the door behind them.
Lucent "Um." He looks at her as if there was a mistake. "There is no-one here."
The goddess turns to Lucent and grins, baring her teeth. "I know," she says. After Cerin had turned off somewhere on the walk down, to look at something that had caught his eye, it was now just her and Lucent.
Lucent sits down in one of the chair, all etiquette, eyeing the goddess expectantly. And wishing he had Imrama's glasses on.
Without speaking again, the goddess reaches into her dress and pulls out (as if from nowhere) a rather large, sharp-angled, two-handed sword, which she immediately raises high above her head, as if to strike.
Lucent looks at her, surprised... and then, he just sighs in exhasperation.
Lucent "For the Heavenly Record, I would like to point out that I am unbreakable."
She slams the sword down with as much force as she can muster -- not into Lucent, but point-down into the table, just inches from where he sits, until only about a foot of the blade still emerges. Then she releases her grip and immediately folds her hands daintily behind her, grinning again.
Lucent sighs in such a relief he makes the room tremble. "You had me worried for a moment there."
She grins and takes a single step away, even as some manner of dark air begins to swirl around the handle of the sword, and then through it, tiny dots of light begin to appear.....
Lucent "... oh." He looks around the room, then finally at her. "The sword is... here."
Lucent "Was it with you, all along?"
The goddess laughs, and gestures with one hand towards the sword.
Lucent nods. "My name is Lucent Copper Haze, eminent sword. It is an honor to be in your presence."
The stars glitter in greeting. The language of words is not that of the stars, of course, but clearly it recognizes Lucent's presence nonetheless.
Lucent "We have been besieged by one who has called upon your auspieces for a personal destiny. He has done so recently in the East. Do you know of whom I speak of? Who has been the Eastern Sword of late?"
The stars twinkle and shine brilliantly. "The Sword can't just give up all of its secrets," she says. "Even for a pretty face."
Lucent "Then what do I have to do." He asks with a bow, light playing about him on his gems and golds. Light playing about his caste mark, the power of the zenith. Light playing on his golden pools, reflecting his history. "To learn of those who have recently been granted your gifts?"
The goddess looks at Lucent carefully, up and down, head to toe. She consults the sparkles on the blade's stars -- which seem unusually sharp -- for a moment, then Lucent, then the stars, then finally Lucent again. "It... knows you. You have... a destiny with it."
Lucent "I do?" He blinks, urgent. "Is that the List?"
"I can't tell you what it is," she says, "but the Sword needs you to accept it anyway." She pauses, and her grin fades into a muted look. "Do you know what the Sword represents?"
Lucent "Slow and painful deaths. Failure. Illness. Tribulation. Resignation. The Vanquished." He looks at the sword, then gives the faintest smile. "Perseverance. So, will he tell me, if I accept the Destiny you will place upon me?"
"This destiny is already yours," she says. "It is only a question of whether you accept it with eyes open, or stumble upon it with eyes shut," she says, a grim look on her face. Then that look widens into a sad smile, and she finishes: "And yes."
Lucent looks at the sword. Then at the goddess. He deliberates for a moment, and in that moment the goddess can see the faces of the floating undead of Solaria in his eyes. There is no need for more than a moment as, right after, Lucent takes a grave bow. "I accept it."
The stars begin to sparkle, brighter and brighter, growing in size and stature, even as the room seems to grow dark... until all that Lucent can see, briefly, are the stars of the constellation... and then, he feels something settle about his shoulders, something heavy and yet, somehow, familiar and comfortable.
Lucent "And so, I am damned."
The goddess smiles sadly. "Now you learn how to live, even when hope is gone," she says, and draws the Sword back out of the table.
Lucent "Wait! What about my query?"
The goddess smiles. "I suppose now's the time to tell you, then," she says. And then, she leans over and whispers in Lucent's ear.