Summary:Lucent and Varanim learn what they can from ex-sleeper agent Jena.

XP:L1, V1


< A Hidden Pyramid | Sol Invictus Logs | To Speak With The Gray >

Lucent stands on a floating garden of Crystal, blooming heedless of troubled times. Sprawled over a glass table is the unconscious body of Jena Roderick... and with a single touch on her third eye, comes conscience. "Good afternoon. You have been asleep for a little while."

zahara stands opposite Lucent, running a silvery scarf through her fingers and watching the woman intently

Jena's eyes blink, very slightly and slowly. She looks up at Lucent's rather imposing form and starts to move her body into a defensive crouch -- though her muscles are still unresponsive, and the result is more like throwing one arm up wildly into the air while the rest of her body spasms awkwardly.

Lucent "How do you feel?" Lucent asks... quite non-threateningly!

alsoquin covers her eyes and tries to take in the full count of who all is surrounding her. "Alive," she says, looking out from under her sheltering hand warily.

Varanim smirks back, and takes a drink.

Lucent "If you feel pain, nausea or any manner of discomfort, Jena, I can make it go away."

Jena shakes her head. "No," she says, as she sits up.

Lucent "Right." He nods. "Are your memories clearer now?"

As it becomes clearer to her who the rest of her interrogators are, Jena narrows her eyes as the full nature of Lucent's... costume comes into clearer sight for her. "I remember some," she says, still speaking somewhat curtly.

Lucent "You seem to still be on your guard around us. Why is that?"

Varanim "She's not an idiot?" Varanim suggests generously, slouching against a statue.

Jena pushes herself back as much against the wall as she can. "Professional habit," she says, roughly. "What am I doing here?"

Lucent "This is Crystal. You work here."

Lucent "I thought this garden would be a good sight for you upon waking up."

Jena stands up, still wary, and her eyes still clearly having some trouble adjusting to the light. "...of course," she says. "Which leads to: what are you doing here?"

zahara smiles slightly. "We work here too."

Lucent "Waking you up. You were recovering from your surgery. Turned out you had an infection of the Necrotic variety - a piece of the Dragon of Salt and Bone imbedded into your MIND. It was devouring your memories and, I imagine, directing your actions to an extent. Varanim here, she took it out of you."

Jena looks over at Varanim with an odd expression.

zahara "I suppose the interesting questions are still ahead."

Varanim "There was a cute little worm," she says helpfully to Jena, looking at her through two soulsteel fingers and then pinching them. "I went like this."

Jena involuntarily shudders.

Lucent "There were memories only supressed, however. Attempting to get out. You must have been under terrible stress with them so bound -- we saw echoes of them, screaming to get out of the cage of which Auna was the warden. If you feel lighter, now, able to form clearer chains of thought, that would be the reason."

Varanim "Contrariwise, if you're hating life and wishing you'd never agreed to get your head-plumbing unblocked, that's also us."

The Lunar nods. "I... see," she says.

Lucent "The Lion will attempt a coup of the Underworld and from there, existence, tomorrow."

Lucent "As you have a vested interest in existence, I hoped you would have useful information."

zahara "Lucky you!"

Jena ponders for a moment. "I don't know what his plan is," she says, and shudders again. "I..." For a moment, her guard seems to fall, and she looks like a small, scared thing.

"My interactions with the dead were limited," she finally says. "I... remember coming to the Thousand," she says, and looks up at Varanim, who she is sure remembers that as well. "I remember hearing instructions." She shakes her head. "A date." She thinks for a moment. "'s been over a month that I've been out, hasn't it?"

Lucent "Six weeks and three days."

Lucent "I was actually going to wait for eight weeks for proper recovery, if not for the fact he moves tomorrow."

Varanim "Your cuddling with the dead may have been limited, but it was close enough to be giving the big soulsteely guy advice on who to send to the pits and who to keep," she notes with no apparent grievance.

zahara twists the scarf between her fingers distractedly. "What I'm curious about is how you got that little" she wiggles her fingers wormlike "piece inside your head in the first place"

Jena sighs. "My nation is poorly placed," she said. "And a sacrifice was needed to preserve it against the tide." She looks at Zahara carefully.

"I remember... quite a bit from that time, now. But I can't speak to the reason for any of it. What they asked is what I provided."

zahara muses, "Your priorities shifted, yes?"

Jena nods. "They have perhaps been... misplaced, in the past."

zahara "And where are they now?"

"With existence."

Lucent "They always were." Lucent interjects. "You tried to protect your people. Against all odds."

Lucent "You gave yourself away. I admire that, Jena."

Varanim "You would."

Lucent "But now you are free. Standing upon the armed Warcity of the Exalted Deliberative as one of its valued and loved members. As part of a host that exists to fight that very thing. I understand that before us, it was a dire, lonely existence. You do not need to apologize for what you did, to save lives."

Lucent "Think only on how to make them suffer for making you prostitute your soul."

Lucent ignores Varanim. Pointedly.

Jena thinks for a moment. "Those... shadows," she says, finally. "T

"They've been watching me."

Varanim "How many, how often, and how can you tell?" she says promptly, slouching forward in interest.

"One, sometimes," she says. "Maybe up to two or three. Hiding in the shadows" -- Netheos, Varanim would guess -- "so no one would spot them, and not following me all the way to the meeting chamber."

Varanim "That's a lot of babysitters for one brain-smudged delegate."

"Yes," she says. "It seems that way."

Lucent "Are there any of them still around?"

"Without the fog, I... I can't just tell, now."

Lucent "Fog?"

"Everything seems... brighter now, since whatever you did to me." The hand that has remained shielding her eyes seems to speak to that. "But I can't see the shadows anymore, either."

Varanim Her eyes narrow. "Why did you need the fog, before?"

zahara "They're probably still there, hmm?" She glances over at Varanim

"They... hrmmm." She stops and thinks for a moment. "Why... did I..."

After a moment, she seems to realize something. "I... I didn't," she says, then, more forcefully: "I didn't. I didn't need it for anything I'd been asked to do yet."

Varanim "What do I look like, a necromancer?" she says crankily to Zahara, then nicks her palm and drips blood in her eye to check the other side of the Shroud.

zahara "Oddly enough..."

Varanim checks around, but it looks like, at the moment, the coast is clear.

Lucent "So?"

Varanim "No spectres," she says with obvious disappointment, then looks thoughtful. "Luc--uh, Lucent, do you still have that annoying little toy that lets you pull out things in people's heads?"

zahara "What things have been asked of you so far, Jena?"

Lucent "Yes." Lucent nodded, rising his hand. A golden latticework of crystallized sands was over his right hand, Mirage melted and remade into something more... portable. "Ask away."

"To... take certain positions, in the Deliberative. Nothing worth the guard, nothing to make the fog necessary." She starts gesticulating with her hands. "That's got to be it!"

Lucent blinks. What cannot be seen under his helmet! "... WHAT is it?"

"...the Lion has something planned for tomorrow."

Lucent "... yes? I told you that as soon as you woke up!"

zahara "What about tomorrow?"

Varanim spends another moment concentrating, filling the entirety of her mind with the constellation of facts and inference available, then nods to Lucent. "Take what's in my head," she says with careful concentration, "and show it large enough to walk through."

Lucent "... and we are back where we started." He nodded, walking closer to her. Without any familiarity at all. Touching her forehead with the latticework... and pulling out the images, of whatever it was, large phantoms all about them!

Varanim The image thrown cast out is a complicated multidimensional diagram. Central are known aspects like a node for Jena, one for the Ija spectres, the Deliberative, the First and Forsaken Lion, and so on. There are also a host of supplementary pieces: Tyrian, Varanim the Younger, Jena's homeland, others, all connected by threads that mean lies or violence or secrets or unknown.

Varanim smirks briefly to Lucent and walks, tracing a path through the array of shadow images that outlines a plan years in the unfolding, but whose purpose is still obscure. At the end of the road is an empty spot, a missing link between Jena and one last symbol: tomorrow. She steps onto it to complete the bridge--and in a flash, in retrospect, the road that led her there is made clear.

Varanim looks at the plan, and marks out the known portions of it: the agreement of convenience with the agents of the Ebon Dragon, which allowed the Lion to reach into Creation and conquer much of the Blessed Isle; the monitoring and spying on nations across the surface of Creation;

the subjugation and mind control of agents like Jena; the carefully arranged choice of a specific date, to freeze time across the whole of Netheos...

It all points to a single inescapable conclusion: that the Lion's key purpose is to accomplish something in the territory he'd staked out on the Isle in the window of time he'd provided for himself, and that the only possible purpose to be served by an agent like Jena in such a circumstance was to keep attention away from that purpose.

A moment's thought reveals a wealth of possibilities, each worse than the last, for how an Exalt -- free to move even in time-halted Netheos, and the ability to see into the shadowy realm -- might do so, and Jena -- the real one -- looks away from the wealth of hypothetical atrocities projected out into the air by Varanim's Charm, via Lucent's Essence.

zahara sighs. "It's a shame we don't have more Solars."

Varanim To clarify the welter of resulting images, the pattern which hangs complete only in her head, Varanim smirks beatifically at Jena. "Diversion," she says succinctly, and then taps a link between 'Lion' and 'tomorrow,' sketching the symbol for 'Blessed Isle' in the air with her finger. "This is all that matters."

Lucent "Abadis." He says as he sees the symbol. "He is after Abadis."

zahara "Gee it's too bad we didn't capture the Blessed Isle or anything."

Lucent "He storms the Imperial Mountain tomorrow." He turns to point to the mountain, the only thing that stands to their eye-level amidst the clouds. "That is where we stop him. We need to know the exact location of Abadis' tomb so Long-Awaited Spring can tell us the best place for an ambush."

Varanim blinks at Lucent, for a moment seeing him superimposed with the first time he shouted that name, then she nods in agreement. "It seems like the clever thing to do."

zahara "I'm starting to think letting it all go to Oblivion isn't a half-bad idea."

Varanim "No boys in Oblivion, I checked."

zahara "You say that like it's a bad thing"

Varanim "I thought you still liked yours."

Lucent looks at them, shrugs, and begins to walk out. "You coming, Jena?"

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Page last modified on July 04, 2009, at 01:17 AM