Summary:Spring and Zahara discuss the enemies they have gathered into the Deliberative's midst.

XP:S1, Z1


< Plenty of Walls | Sol Invictus Logs | The Young Nation of Jabal >

Zahara looks up from her examination of several old jade artifacts she'd had lying around and leans back in her chair. "Enter."

Spring does so, holding a few documents in his hand. The emblem of the Exalted Deliberative is visible on them.

Spring "Hello, Zahara. How are you today?"

Zahara 's gaze flickers to the documents and then up to Spring's face. She rises and crosses the room to the small table and comfortable chairs, indicating that he should sit across from her. "Well enough, given the state of Creation. And yourself? I see you've brought Deliberative papers."

Spring "Yes. I have been reviewing the events that have occurred in my absence. I see many new faces around me when I enter the Deliberative chamber nowadays. You have been assiduously expanding."

Zahara "Imrama has really been the one leading the expansion," she says semi-modestly. "We discuss things, but he is the one doing all the heavy lifting, as it were."

Spring "I am sure he enjoys it."

Spring "He seems to even have allowed some of our most hated enemies to join our alliance."

Spring "This must truly have been a victory of diplomacy, hm?" He raises an eyebrow ironically.

Zahara "Using the old adage of 'it is better to keep your friends close, and your enemies closer,' I suppose it is. And it is theoretically better to have them playing by our rules than their own. But I admit I am not completely happy with this."

Spring "The question, I fear, is whether they begin to play by our rules or whether we begin to play by theirs."

Spring "Tell me, Zahara. What are your plans, with regard to Akuna Ravdash?"

Zahara x1;ACTION scowls. "We have spoken before on dividing up the world into reasonable parcels. As long as he stays in his, I cannot reasonably attack him." Abruptly, she cuts off speaking and takes a jug of wine, pouring some in a goblet. She starts to pour for Spring as well and recalls that he does not drink and so puts it aside once more. "Imrama had spoken of learning his weaknesses, maneuvering against him politically somehow.

Spring shakes his head thoughtfully. "He expects that. Indeed, he invites it, otherwise he would not attempt to join the Deliberative in the first place."

Spring "We might prevail there, but there is no need to grapple with him on ground of his choosing."

Spring picks up a few crackers and begins chewing them thoughtfully, thinking back to his last meeting with Akuna. "He imagines himself a wolf, but a wolf is just a dog in the end. Feral. Alert. But thoughtless."

Zahara "What ground would not be of his choosing? He is powerful militarily, has a strong country and rich forests."

Spring "Yes. Politically, economically, militarily, he has prepared himself well."

Spring "His country is powerful. But he is just a Lunar."

Spring "I have also been reading with interest of your visit to Lachu Atapis."

Zahara " 'Just' does not properly describe him. He is old and powerful. Perhaps not as powerful as our dear friend Surkha, but still. No easy target."

Spring "Certainly not easy."

Zahara takes a long but controlled sip from her wine, restlessly turning the goblet after setting it back down. "What do you suggest?"

Spring "Have we ever encountered a Lunar of such power before?"

Spring "Have we ever, in fact, encountered a Lunar who was not part of the Silver Pact?"

Zahara "Hmm. Perhaps not."

Spring "On one hand, our difficulty in understanding Akuna can be traced to our lack of understanding of the Lunars."

Spring "On the other, there must be some reason why a Lunar as powerful as Akuna does not trace his roots back to Lachu Atapis."

Spring "There is a secret there. For our protection, for the sake of understanding, and in order to have power over Akuna, we must penetrate it."

Spring "When we have done that, and we know what the Silver Pact is, we may have a better idea of what Akuna's weaknesses are."

Spring "Then we can begin."

Zahara "Perhaps their values do not match. The Lunars in Lachu Atapis seemed content to dwell on the borders of the wild and the Wyld, holding their territory but not expanding. Akuna is ruthless, ambitious and amoral." She blinks at a sudden vision of his eyes staring into hers, calculating.

Spring "Serenal said that when you become a Lunar, your past self is erased -- destroyed -- and Luna fills you with a person more suited to her interests."

Spring "This no doubt explains why the Lunars find it so easy to cooperate and have such common values."

Spring "It also makes it even more interesting that Akuna differs so greatly."

Zahara "He remembers."

Spring "If Luna wanted their values to match, surely they would...unless something unexpected happened."

Spring "Remembers?"

Zahara "His past. He could not stand having a blank slate behind him, so he dug like the wolf he is until he uncovered the truth."

Spring "How do you know this?"

Zahara looks up to meet Spring's eyes though hers are opaque. "We had several interesting conversations while he played host in Halta."

Spring "Ah."

Zahara "For the record, what he discovered is that he was exalted after going on a rather intense murdering spree. Vengeance killings.

Spring "...ah."

Spring "I am not sure he learned the same lessons I might have."

Zahara "Are you sure? He learned to overcome his past in order to unite the two warring nations involved."

Spring "With diplomacy and peaceful activism?"

Zahara "Something like that, I'm sure." She gives him a razored smile.

Spring smiles back briefly, then glances down at the table.

Zahara swirls the liquid around her glass and takes another sip.

Spring breaks the silence. "Meru has certainly been ravaged in the aftermath of the Red Lily."

Zahara "Yes, I was considering holding more festivals in the Sunlands to help rebuild the population."

Spring "A wise idea. But there are many other parts of the plane which have been damaged or destroyed. In some cases, the rightful rulers of some countries have been exiled. Halta, for example."

Spring "Now that we have become somewhat established, it might be time for the Deliberative to consider organizing formal reparations to the countries that were so damaged. Their leadership could be restored and control over their countries returned to them."

Zahara "Are they still alive?"

Spring "Perhaps not. Varanim is always looking for projects, though."

Zahara "Hmm interesting - but would that not also apply to the Sunlands?

Spring grins slightly. "You forget that we were the winners."

Spring "It would be wise to get this process underway before the situation with the Hundredfold becomes any more dangerous."

Zahara "I do indeed." She swirls her glass again, "I always assumed winning would be better than this."

Spring "Given that there exists a certain state of detente, though, we might call up the forces of the members of the Security Council, and place them under the command of the Deliberative for the duration."

Spring "We will, of course, need a place to bivouac them, and put them through maneuvers. I am sure some of the Council members will have volunteered their countries to provide the support that will be necessary."

Zahara laughs. "You are devious."

Spring "I have heard it said that politics is war. Never let it be suggested that I am unprepared for one."

Spring "I doubt any of this will make a serious dent, but it will give us time to investigate Lachu Atapis thoroughly."

Spring "Will you accompany me?"

Zahara "I will indeed. Though we no longer have Markuran as envoy of brutishness to bridge the gap between us, I'm sure something can be worked out."

Spring nods, and eats another cracker.

Zahara "Someday," she says with quiet venom, "Akuna will be at my feet, and I will tear him apart slowly."

Spring glances up, then away, then back. "I am sure that is what he would expect."

Spring "His actions have been unconscionable and inexcusable."

Spring "He takes them so that he may control you -- push you into making the decisions he wants you to make. I expect he would die with a smile on his face, knowing that he was successful in driving you mad enough that only his dissection would satisfy you."

Zahara "It would not be the first time I was used this way."

Spring "How have you enjoyed it previously?"

Zahara "I was angry at first, but I have come to consider that my life would have been unremarkable and utterly...mortal...without it."

Spring "Mm."

Spring "You are the Empress of the Sunlands."

Spring "Your word is law."

Zahara "Indeed." She leans back in her chair, watching him.

Spring looks calmly back at her.

Spring "Thank you for taking this time with me, Zahara. I have every confidence that we will make great progress on this together."

Zahara "I will think on what you have said, and begin to implement these plans as soon as is feasible." She breaks his gaze and looks away.

Spring "Let me know if I can help you."

Zahara "I will." She says quietly.

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Page last modified on March 16, 2009, at 08:36 PM