Summary:Messengers' arrival in the Sunlands sets the Solars on a fateful course towards recovering a companion.

XP:I4, L4, P4, S4, V4, Z4


< A Sightseeing Tour | Sol Invictus Logs | Violence is Enjoyable >

zahara "So," she says, looking around the room with an air of mystery. "Cookies?"

Spring "Where?"

zahara "You'll see."

Imrama looks down at the half-eaten apple in his hand, his faced dressed in modest disappointment. ::Why did I start this apple if there were going to be cookies?:: he asks himself.

zahara After an interminable, anticipation-laden wait, a small army of cookies seem to march through the door, leap up strategically placed footholds, and circle around the table. They do a little dance, spinning and whirling, sprinkles and sparkly bits flying everywhere in their exuberance, then arrange themselves neatly in front of the Solars in a pretty fan of five flavors for each. Then the tiny spritelike creatures who had been carry

GhostNarratorLucent 'Cookies', she said. Little did she know what she would bring with those fateful words!

zahara Then the tiny spritelike creatures who had been carrying them, scoot out from beneath them and chorus, "Cookie time!" in squeaky unison, then parade out.

Bertrand walks into the room, staring so intently at the bizarre cookie sprites as he does that he almost walks into Zahara before stopping, correcting himself, and bowing politely. "Empress."

Imrama eyes the cookies approvingly. He looks about for a place to dispose of his apple and, seeing none, breaths a gout of flame into his open hand, incinerating it. He pockets the ash, picks up a cookie and takes a bite, with relish.

zahara "Oh, hello Minister." She flashes a quick smile at him - he did, after all, NOT bump into her. "What do you think? For the next festival?"

Bertrand "They seem very... effective," he says. Bertrand's drastically higher workload has put a few years on him, and his hair is prematurely graying at the temples now, but overall he seems to have handled the responsibility quite well -- the Bountiful Harvest festival had come off without a hitch, and even the Revels Valentine had eventually been a success... in a manner of speaking.

Bertrand "I have come, however, on slightly more important business."

zahara sighs and snags a blue cookie from her pile. "Let's have it then."

Bertrand "There are two messengers waiting to speak with the Empress of the Sunlands and her fellow Exalted Companions," he says, using the latest iteration of polite language preferred for Zahara and her Circle.

zahara looks over at her companions. "Always business, isn't it? Do you have any news or et-cetera to share before we send them in?"

Bertrand "Nothing... at the moment," he says, still a little confused by the cookie sprites.

Imrama raises his index finger as though about to share something pertinent. "I was out for a stroll along the edge of the outermost North with your great-great-great-great-etc aunt last night and..." Imrama thinks a bit more about where this story is taking him. "Never mind."

zahara shifts a bit. "Right then. Send them in."

Bertrand turns on his heels and walks out. A few moments later, two individuals enter. One is a rough-looking soldier in a torn uniform and close-cropped hair; a mon displayed prominently upon his breast marks him as a member of the Flame and Steel battalion. The other is shrouded in mismatched rags that cover him from head to toe, including a large greenish-grey hood, and makes no effort to reveal himself.

zahara vaguely wonders if rag boy-or-girl is Cerin

zahara "I understand you both have messages for us." She raises a quizzical brow.

Bertrand The soldier steps forward first. He makes an elaborate, if clipped, gesture of obeisance and then begins to speak. "Mnemon Ekatha reporting as ordered to the Empress of the Sunlands," he says.

zahara "Proceed."

Bertrand "Our battle against the forces of the dead grows more desperate by the day," he says. "Since the opening of the void nexus in the Red Kingdom, all who perish against the forces of the dead are but one or even two new soldiers for the Lion's army."

Imrama "That is a grim picture you paint, officer."

Bertrand "It is," he says. "Even with the aid from the Atomnosi and the Deliberative, their forces are more than we can muster."

Imrama "That is sour news indeed. Have you anything more specific to report, or to request?"

zahara drums her fingers against the table.

Bertrand He shakes his head. "I act on orders of the Queen, to keep those of the Sunlands fully apprised of our situation," he says, "nothing more."

Spring "Thank you."

Spring "If only we had the aid of a Zenith."

Spring eats a cookie.

zahara "How long will your forces be able to hold out, without reinforcements?"

GhostNarratorLucent If only I could be there.

Bertrand "Hold out? Some time, perhaps, but foot by foot we are being forced to yield."

zahara nods thoughtfully, picking little army shaped sprinkles off a cookie. "We will look into it."

Bertrand The soldier salutes again and turns to leave.

zahara "And you?" she looks at the ragged messenger

Bertrand The man reaches up with shrouded hands to pull the hood back from his head -- and all that is underneath is a rotten skull, its eyesockets empty and its jaw hanging loose.

Bertrand "The cycle is breaking..." it rasps out in a cruel, harsh, airy voice, and then, without waiting for a response, collapses into a pile of bones and rags.

zahara eyes the pile of bones dubiously. "Great." She sighs morosely. "If only we had a Zenith..."

Spring "Or a necromancer."

Zahara "I guess that would help too."

Varanim Varanim, who has been out of the Cascade more often than she has been in for the past six months, sticks her head in. "Did I smell cookies?"

Varanim Then she makes a face at the pile on the floor. "Ew, that's not a cookie."

Zahara "I was going to give him one, but he melted instead."

Varanim "How long ago?" Varanim is already rolling up her sleeves.

Zahara "Speaking of..." She offers a cookie to the representative from Ekatha

Zahara tilts her head. "Oh... maybe a week ago... or possibly about a minute and a half."

The soldier takes the cookie with an uncertain outreached hand.

Imrama "What do you think, Varanim? A message from a Deathlord, or something else?"

Varanim "Neat. This might not work really badly," she advises as she squats by the body. She grips its throat with her soulsteel hand and stabs her free hand down in several points in the pile, leaving gleaming smears of Essence. Finally she tilts her head back, inhales sharply, then leans down to press her mouth to what's left of the corpse's and breathe in new air.

The corpse coughs, almost as if alive.

Varanim "Talk fast," she nods to Imrama after spitting out a bit of messenger.

Zahara wrinkles her nose. "Are you convinced he's not a cookie yet?"

"It is spreading," the voice hacks. "Death is spreading and life receding..."

Phoenix` scratches her head. "That's odd, what with Zee running around erasing shadowlands all the time..."

Zahara "Hmm maybe we should visit Lethe again"

Imrama "Quick that-which-was-once-a-man. Use what little time you have wisely. Try to be specific about the nature of your concern."

"I... come from the distant south..." he says, coughing and rattling. "We... survived the great... veiling" -- a moment's consideration suggests that his nation fell under the Wyld's blanket when the borders of Creation shrank -- "but now we are ended. The ground opens, the dead walk, and... cough" He pauses a moment as if gathering the energy to finish

then spits out the last with surprising force. "They have Exalts... caged and shackled... and they execute... one each day, and chain its ghost to their war machines..."

Zahara "Exalts? What type?"

Varanim In the middle of gesturing vigorously to Zahara for a cookie, Varanim raises her eyebrows.

"Dragons, moons... and even... two... suns...." Varanim can see he's just about to run out of juice.

Spring sighs.

Varanim "Name the suns," Varanim says in a calm but absolutely flat voice.

"Vojec," he says, "and Lu..." And then, his effort expended, the dusty corpse collapses, its constituent parts spilling out over the floor.

Zahara hisses a sharp breath, looking over at Varanim. "How did they hide this from us?"

Varanim is expressionless for a moment, then dusts her hands off with a shrug. "And here I thought the hour-long version of that spell would never be useful."

Imrama "Well then." Imrama rises from his chair. "The Fable flies for the South in ten minutes. Any of you who would care to be come along are welcome."

Zahara stares distractedly at the other messenger for a moment, then says "Spring, if you could figure out the logistics of what we need to do to make sure the Realm does not continue to lose ground while we are en route, that would be lovely."

Spring "Mm." Spring strolls out, doing complex mathematical analysis with cookie crumbs.

Imrama "Yes. If there are any states within the Deliberative that are not pulling their weight of the war effort, please let me know, so that I can speak sternly with their Deliberators when I return." Imrama says on the way out the door.

Zahara "Bertrand, are you coming? Or will you be showing our guest out?"

"I will be happy to..." -- he looks askance briefly at the corpse on the floor -- "see to it that Spring's instructions are suitably followed and messengers mobilized where necessary," he says.

Spring is already relaying coordination plans to Belladonna via the ring, and copies Bertrand in when he hears this.

Varanim After a brief and unreadable look at Zahara, Varanim leaves to pack.

Belladonna, as always, is swift to respond and coyly assures Spring she will be right on it.


Soon thereafter, the group find themselves in the Fable, rocketing across the sky towards a desert expanse far south, beneath the edge of the Olani Woods.

Thunderclouds roil the sky and hard rain falls upon the fiery sands beneath, whose elemental heat is great enough that the rains burst violently into puffs of steam with every drop. On the edge of the horizon, the beginnings of the settlement -- a small place built in a black triangular architecture, by the name of Akar, begin to crop up -- and past it, several blocks of less solid ruins that jut partially out of the sands beneath.

From here, no motion can be seen in the city... none whatsoever.

Spring stands by the wheel, discussing the Deliberative with Imrama. "Calin has claimed repeatedly that its manpower is too limited to send military support, and has refused to do so."

Spring "The White Flats Mounted Guard, by contrast, has arrived in reasonable numbers and with commendable dedication, but are singularly ill-suited to the task of defending and holding territory against the undead assault. They are, however, well-designed for the purpose of making the White Flats Alliance look impressive."

Spring "A similar criticism might be leveled against the Wheat Golem Squad of Ezelakis."

Spring "While I attempt to keep an open mind and an understanding of the various uses to which the tools of warfare may be put, there are some military traditions that confuse even me."

Imrama "An ignominious beginning to Calin's membership."

Varanim slouches against the railing, crow on her shoulder, and frowns at the view ahead. Dripping blood in her eye, she checks the landscape on the other side of the Shroud.

Zahara is standing quietly about a foot away from Varanim, staring out over railing. "Ruins, probably twisted by the Wyld at one point," she says to no one in particular.

Imrama "And the matter of regiments unfit for actual combat aught to be resolved quickly and decisively. The time for such wasted energies, if indeed there ever was such, has passed."

Spring "Indeed."

Spring "Unfortunately, as constituted, the United Deliberative Forces have neither the power to compel specific troop contributions, nor to refuse them."

Phoenix` "It would be uncharacteristically insulting to retrain or demand retraining of such troops. How can they be best put to use?"

Imrama "True. These problems remain, therefore, matters to be resolved between Deliberators."

Spring "A good question, Phoenix. I have ascertained that it is considered extremely rude to eat a Wheat Golem."

What Varanim sees is a striking distinction from the desolation that covers the living world here: ghosts, half-formed ghosts, ghostly shapes, plasmic animals, jets of pyreflame, reddish-purple smoke, and all manner of other chaos in a state of constant eruption roils and churns the land of the dead.

The animate dead on the ground far beneath seem disorganized, merely breaking against one another in an orgy of meaningless "death," but out further on the horizon Varanim sees the ruddy glow that often accompanies spots in which sufficiently powerful emenations of death-energies are present and leaching over from the living side.

Varanim "Busy busy," she says, pointing her stick helpfully in the direction of the red glow she can see.

Zahara "With what?"

Imrama "The first damn lead we've had in months, I'll wager." TheFable speeds on.

Zahara "While likely true, that assessment is not quite as helpful as a hint as to what we will be facing," she says wryly

Varanim "Lots of people dying," she clarifies, lighting a cigar and shifting her bag of work supplies.

Zahara "Oh good." She sighs. "What about the war machine?"

Varanim "The way those things usually work, it'll be right around there, but I can't see it yet."

Zahara "Ah well. What's the worst that can happen?"

On the very edge of hearing, the sounds of shouting and metal grinding against... non-metal things begins to carry on the wind, even over the loud sound of exploding raindrops.

Zahara cracks her knuckles and prepares to not-die horribly.

Phoenix` "Oh Zee, always asking questions you don't really want answered."

Phoenix` gives her a big hug.

Zahara musters a somewhat-dignified squeak

The ship flies further. Looking down on Akar suggests that little still possessed of life still dwells there, based on the blood smears lining the streets and the overall quiet, but a few buildings where the ice-fires favored in the distant south long ago let up plumes of blue smoke suggest that at least a few inhabitants still live.

In the nearest of the desert ruins -- a city once known, long ago, as Kita-O -- however, things are quite a bit more "active," if not necessarily "alive": zombies and ghouls run amok through the streets, ghosts flick about with abandon,

and at one edge of the ruin, a vast black machine, all full of grinding gears and horrifically spinning blades and cudgels, sits, a force of twelve hungry ghosts of exceptional size chained within it -- and above, hanging from eroded red stone that once formed the edges of a hall of commerce or art gallery, perhaps, the corpses of Dragon-Bloods -- Shogunate survivors, by the look of it -- their hearts and eyes torn out and their bodies slowly rotting.

Lucent, thankfully, does not appear to be amongst them.

their hearts and eyes torn out and their bodies slowly rotting.

(9:18:18 PM) alsoquin: Lucent, thankfully, does not appear to be amongst them.

Zahara opens her gaze to the realm of Essence and studies the monstrosity critically, with an artificer's eye

It is truly an impressive work. No expense was spared in rendering an extremely efficient Essence-driven tool of woe and misfortune here. The ghosts bound to it seem to be one, but not the only possible, means of powering it to do what it does best: proceed through any surface or substance in search of death and destruction.

Imrama passes the draglines to Mr. Iggles-Lux and draws his guns. "Everything is dead and yet walks, gets to stop walking. Anyone have any nuances they want to add to the plan?"

Spring "Some things slither."

Imrama "Good point. No more moving of any kind then."

Zahara "Save the Exalts"

Zahara "Don't get our Essence cut off"

Varanim "Give me a minute," she says to Zahara, recognizing that breaking-things look in her eye.

Zahara nods, eyeing the chains that bind the ghosts thoughtfully, and contemplating whether the extremely pissed off looking hungry ghosts would be more likely to turn against those that freed them, or those that had brutally murdered their original bodies."

Zahara -=

Spring "Plan, Varanim?"

Varanim "Just to check the ownership label while you kids are smashing."

Zahara "Speaking of smashing, Varanim, do you think you could aim the Hungry Ghosts at the bad guys instead of us, if we managed to free them?"

Varanim "In the short-term, yes. They're not very good at anything but being hungry, including taking orders."

Zahara "should be good enough, for at least a fun distraction."

Varanim shrugs the crow off her shoulder, and a moment later with a violent tearing sound and a spray of blue-black feathers, it occupies a much larger volume: seven red eyes, mandibles as big as a man's torso, and a wingspan more than broad enough to bear her on its back. She vaults lightly over the railing onto her ride, which wheels on a carrion updraft closer to the machine.

Zahara "...That's new."

Imrama "New and...disturbing."

As Algorab veers over towards the vehicle, the ghouls and ghosts beneath look up at her. From closer, the horrific machine is even more intricately awful.

Zahara "But kind of cute in its own way."

Imrama "Non-symetrical features and gargantuan size do if for you, huh?" Imrama smiles with his orichalcum lips.

Zahara grins for a moment. "

Zahara "But of course."

Varanim Frowning at the mess below, Varanim realizes there's too much clutter to land and ask the interesting questions yet. She reaches sideways to pull out the Mask of Summers, then speaks intently for several seconds, ragged streamers of anima gathering around her shoulders.

Varanim With a final snap of her soulsteel fingers, a black rain of arrows begins to fall below. Where they strike, hungry ghosts are moliated into half-animate chains that fly to the sides to bind more ghosts.

The black rain tears away at the crowd of ghosts far beneath, binding them down in chains built from the bodies of their own companions and clearing a vast space, more than large enough for the Fable to land.

Imrama The Fable comes to rest a few spans above the open expanse, facing down the menacing engine of misery and woe.

Some of the hungry ghosts still remain within the engine, straining against their restraints, even as the others have been broken out by Varanim's black arrows and used to chain the legions of other nearby ghosts. But from beyond the borders of the Blackstorm Coffle, other undead beasts rage and roar, all ready to close in on the position of the newly-alighted Solars.

Zahara runs up the ethereal rigging, giving her a commanding view of the battlefield, and as she ascends, her weapons shiver and fly from their perches amongst the ropes and dive gracefully for the chains still binding the Hungry ghosts to the war machine, those on the side of the oncoming noise.

With efficient slices and strikes, Zahara begins to free the hungry ghosts from the machine -- though they have little visible love for their rescuer, and turn their raging jaws upon her almost instantly.

Zahara sighs. "No respect. I mean really."

Phoenix` shudders visibly and begins the elaborate process of awakening her Essence to combat. Ready in three breaths. One...

Imrama walks up an invisible staircase to stand near Zahara at the top of the ship's drive ring. He aims for the distant cloud of ghastly horrors, levels both his weapons, and fires. Twin birds, both fantastically huge and forged of alchemical fire, burst forth from Kilauea and Pentecost, fly with deadly speed towards the oncoming swarm, and explode into a brilliant holocaust.

Varanim On the wake of the firebirds goes the crow, with Varanim ignoring the carnage below to look for a good landing spot high up on the machine.

Imrama's birds tear through the assembled creatures like hot knives through zombies, parts of the undead exploding outwards in every direction.

Varanim's steed finds plentiful spots for its large claws to find purchase atop the great machine, where the great gears and blades stand currently quiet, even as more of the dead close in around them.

Spring grabs a pennant and slides smoothly down to the ground. Choosing a comfortable-looking spot directly in line with the Fable's main guns, he crooks a finger negligently, beckoning the monstrosities towards him.

The mindless dead are only too happy to comply.

With even greater eagerness, huge swathes of ghosts and zombies peel off to direct their anger at Spring specifically, charging directly towards his position.

Spring ::You may fire when ready, Mr. Iggles-Lux.::

Phoenix` ...two, three. Phoenix's anima bursts into flower as she inhales for the third time. Screaming a battle-cry, she lands with a soft thump next to Spring, salutes him, and advances into the gibbering mass.

The dead flail their broken limbs and phantasmal claws out at the Solars who have come to greet them. With Spring and Phoenix on the ground, they finally have a few targets they can actually reach, and they eagerly strike out with a vigor that belies their unliving state.

Her blade spinning rapidly through the air, Phoenix carves through the oncoming dead with a precise and elegant flourish, ducking beneath their strikes even as she tears them apart, clearing Spring the space he needs to carefully adjust his placement in readiness for the ship's guns.

Zahara Taking advantage of the plumes of smoke, dust, and zombie parts choking the air, Zahara runs quietly through the air, high enough above the heads of any potentially sentient zombies that she will be unnoticed or at least unreachable. Behind her, the toll of the bell wreaks further havoc on the conveniently rounded up mooks. The shadows of essence are enough for her to keep to her course - inside, and towards Lucent.

Varanim slides off the back of the massive crow and crouches on a ledge, running her hands along the quiescent gears and blades while her mind races ahead, tracing out the shape of the person who would own such a thing.

Zahara ducks under a half-fallen sandstone arch and climbs over some piles of rubble littering what were once grand, sweeping hallways. She follows a hunch for a moment until it leads on to a crossroads where she can hear moaning, and from there she crawls over the corpses of zombies and the... remnants of... something that was once alive, to turn towards the sounds.

Imrama "Port arms! Concentrated fire!" Imrama calls out from the top of the drive ring. In the belly of the ship, the order is heard clearly, and four doors slide open in the ships hull. Sitting behind each of the great golden guns revealed is a member of Imrama's crew, grinning with the same wild joy for which their captain is known. Together as one, they fire, and release the full breath of the...

Imrama ...sun onto the mass of scurrying dead below.

Zahara Just before she is completely out of sight of the others, she pauses, sensing Varanim's presence via Essence signature and the rings. Two of the water-enchanted swords cross themselves into a flattened platform in front of her, and Zahara's voice echoes into her mind. ::More exciting dead things inside! Come join in the fun.::

Meanwhile, far above, Varanim focuses her attentions closely on the vast war machine, seeking to find the hand of the person who owns it. She pushes past echoing, phantasmagorical echoes of false impressions -- the burdensome souls of the Exalts slain to drive the device, the rough hands of a hundred thousand spectres who have poured over its surfaces...

Spring smiles and waves at the muzzles of the guns, before vanishing in a shower of sunlight as the deadly bolts strike home.

Standing above the fray, even as Imrama's guns atomize hundreds of the restless dead and carve a brutal swathe through the risen armies far wider than the Fable itself, Varanim reaches down to the true core of the device, to learn who lays claim to it, and the answer she gathers is disconcerting: for the one who controls it is one known as the Derelict Kshatriya -- but its original owner is none other than Larquen Quen.

Varanim "Hmm." Varanim blinks, then glances up at her familiar. With a disturbing furling process it folds itself back into the body of a normal crow, landing on her shoulder as she steps onto Zahara's crossed swords. ::You always did know how to sweet-talk me.::

Zahara ::You won't regret it.:: She grins as the swords swoop neatly beneath the arch, trailing tendrils of smoke that tear off from the clouds, and pause where it gets too low to continue.

Varanim hops off, heading deeper in until she's caught up with Zee.

Just down the half-broken hallway, the sounds of moaning fight with the sounds of the boys (plus Phoenix) mopping up more of the ghouls outside the ruins for which can be the louder horrific screams of agony.

Zahara ::Any leads?::

Varanim ::This dump was recently owned by Derelict Kshatriya,:: Varanim passes on to everyone, ::courtesy of Larquen Quen.::

Zahara :: Quen?::

Varanim ::It's probably that totally different guy of the same name who was all into necromancy. They get each other's mail all the time, I hear.::

Even as Varanim thinks her response, they round the corner and the contents of the room rear up in front of them.

A huge rounded chamber, its ceiling cracked open to let the sky pour in brilliant light, stretches out before them. On its floor, a pool of stagnant brownish-red water glitters in the inflowing sunlight where it has settled on cracked slabs of stone.

And on the walls, they see what has been held here: twenty five Exalts, at least -- each held to the wall with soulsteel blades driven through their limbs, and vast black collars mounted at their throats. Some have already expired from the pain; some hold on tentatively to focus and sanity; but most seem to have slipped into an empty delirium, or simply moan in intractable pain.

On the furthest wall, they see a Lunar -- a burly man, his sinuous tattoos in green heavily contrasted by the red blood that flows over his limbs... the one who must be Vojek, by the gold circlet clinging to the man's brow... and then, in a niche set back in the wall, at first obscured by shadow...

Unconscious, gaunt, his skin colorless and his hair matted, his helm nailed crudely to the wall a full meter above his head and his armor stacked in a mocking pose beneath, leaving him clad only in dirty rags... is Lucent.

His blood stains the walls, and only the massive black collar keeps his head held up.

Varanim "Zahara, if you don't mind?" she says quietly, nodding at the collar. Just as quietly, her mental voice relays to the others, ::Ah, and here's Lucent.::

Zahara unconsciously touches the gold leaf collar around her throat as she looks up at the walls, her eyes flitting over the various forms until they rest on...what's left of Lucent. She takes a fraction of a step forward, then stops, scanning for traps, doors, alcoves or cracks from which something might leap out at her, and various and sundry other dangers, before walking over to him

Inasmuch as one might say so, the coast appears to be clear: no horrific necromantic curses or brutal deathtraps await Zahara, as best as she can tell, should she attempt to remove the device.

Imrama ::How is he?:: Somehow, the slightest hints of the sound and smell of roasting undead flesh seems to leak through Imrama's ring-speech.

Varanim ::Looks like shit, but alive.:: Varanim's mind-voice is calm, but her hands are clenched as she follows a step behind Zahara.

Zahara runs her fingers over the collar cautiously, looking to see how similar it is to her design so she will be able to neutralize it

Much like others she's encountered, it seems ''very/ similar to her own designs.

Zahara nods to herself, and in an eerie echo of her past, delicately carves the sixteen runes of reversal into the pattern of the collar.

Varanim While Zahara is doing that, Varanim slides off the Mask of Summers, takes a drink, and looks at Lucent with unreadably weary eyes. Over his image she superposes the Lucent she knew, vibrant with annoying detail. Then, carefully, she strips the proceedings of sentiment and asks of the remaining evidence: are they identical, or different but connected things?

The collar clicks open softly, even as Varanim verifies that yes, this is indeed the same Lucent.

Varanim "Ah," she says, as she steps forward to catch him.

Luc's unconscious form tumbles forward into Varanim's awaiting grasp.

Varanim ::Spring, if you're done prancing in the sunshine apocalypse out there, a doctor might be helpful.::

Zahara "Luc," she says softly, running her fingers through his matted hair, then, leaving him to Varanim's embrace, she steps over to the other Solar, looking to see if he is awake

Vojec is definitely not awake.

Varanim After a brief internal struggle, Varanim decides not to leave Lucent with just her coat as a pillow, and instead carefully lowers him to rest his head on her lap. Before the others arrive to see, she bends to brush his forehead with her lips.

Zahara carves fifteen of the runes in the Solar's collar, and grasps the soulsteel blades driven through his limbs, pulling them out one by one, and catching him before he drops off the wall, setting him down gently.

The other Solar looks noticeably better off than Luc, at least.

For a brief moment, Luc's body seems to stir; his torso shifts uncomfortably for a moment, and then a faint moan escapes his lips before, a moment later, his lids tentatively open to reveal slivers of bloodshot eyes.

Lucent opens his just as Varanim brushes her lips to his forehead, looking up, his eyes murky, with the blood meshing with the golden pools to create something akin to copper. Dirty copper. "Varanim...?" His voice is faint, broken. "Thank you..."

Spring bursts into the room, trailed by various horrific monsters. "Lucent?"

Varanim "Don't be ridiculous. I said I'd find you," she says, her hand stopping in its motion to smooth his hair back. She clears her throat and leans back, looking up with relief when Spring bursts in.

Lucent looks at Spring... and smiles. "... so this is not a dream?"

Spring snaps his fingers, preserving Lucent's life, before kneeling to examine him more closely.

Spring "Hmf."

Lucent "Is he dead? Did we... did we do it?"

Zahara makes a neat pile of soulsteel blades as she moves around the room, pulling the victims off the wall. The live ones she lays next to eachother in reasonably comfortable positions. The dead ones, she piles in the alcove for easy burning later.

Spring "He will be all right."

Spring "Who?"

Varanim "Yes."

Lucent looks up at Varanim with tears on his eyes, reaching for her head, holding it. "... so it was worth it."

Varanim "If you like to count things that way, yes." To Spring she says, ::Thank you.::

Spring ::Of course.::

Lucent "All the pain... was worth it. All..." He closes his eyes. "Nothing ever... hurt that much."

Zahara dispatches the slavering zombies that have followed Spring, with an annoyed air about her.

Lucent "Empres..." He chuckles, watching that, pulling 'nim's hand to his heart.

Zahara flicks some rotting brains off the tip of her daiklave, and turns back to Lucent, her expression warming as he laughs, then turning cold as she sheathes her blade. "They will pay, Lucent. For every drop of blood, and every ounce of pain."

Lucent looks up. At Varanim. With eyes so, so red. "I wasn't talking about them."

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Page last modified on November 29, 2009, at 02:20 AM