Summary:Lucent and Varanim work out more issues in the mental space.

XP:L1, V1


< The War of Black Thorns | Sol Invictus Logs | Seeking a Monstrance >

Varanim A number of hours after the meeting to discuss the disposition of the Mask, Varanim rings Lucent. ::You should stop by my room.::

Varanim A moment later, she adds, ::And probably bring a sandwich or something.::

Lucent opens the door (without knocking) a mere few minutes later, and as he does, petals of all colors swoop in! Over his right shoulder he is carrying a bouquet as long and large as a Grand Daiklave, with a liberal number of marigolds. On his left hand, he is carrying an immense basket filled with peaches, strawberries, candied rose petals, candied apples, apricots, peeled and divided passion fruits, and a ring of snacks floating about him!

Lucent All of them looking like members of the circle. Imrama is delicious with his cherry admiral hat, Zahara very sweet with her 'goldspun' (sweet egg candy) tattoos, Lucent and Varanim dancing together in chocolate! "Sorry, it took a moment to get everything! Where do I put the flowers?"

Varanim The crow on the windowsill cocks its head at Lucent, and a moment later Varanim's voice comes from the bedroom. "In here. Wait, what the hell...?"

Lucent pets the crow as if it was a cat, then follows along to the bedroom, depositing the bouquet on her bed with a FLUMP!

Lucent also eats a Zahara

Zahara tastes like Alveua

Lucent "... huh."

Varanim The crow takes off with a slightly charnel-scented flapping, and Varanim has an odd look on her face when Lucent comes in the bedroom. She's sitting propped up on her pillow, just setting aside a stack of papers and looking short on about a year's sleep.

Varanim "I didn't ask for flowers," she says after a distinctly bemused moment.

Lucent "I thought you wanted me to bring you something?" He picks one of them in the air, "Here, try a Phoenix. It's spicy."

Varanim doesn't even raise her eyebrows at that, taking a bite of the pastry and then setting it aside after a thoughtful chew to reach for an un-candied fruit. "Mostly I want a po realignment. I'll be in bed for a few weeks, so it doesn't matter much, but it's annoying me."

Lucent sits in bed next to her, planting a peck on her lips - it would be gross to kiss with food! - and admires her. What there was to admire of a sleepless slouch, but he always found so much to. "You went and hurt yourself again... you should be less careless. Without me, that would be permanent, gambling pieces of your soul..."

Varanim grins, feverish glitter in her eyes for a moment. "Spend 'em like you got 'em. Totally worth it." Then she looks at him for a moment, eyes gone serious. "Thank you."

Lucent is taken aback by that, looking at her a little confused. "What for?"

Varanim "Never mind." She coughs. "Also, there's some crap in my head from when you were being all Doom Lucent. Might as well clear that out while you're in there."

Lucent blinks. "Did I... hurt you? I did not... I do not remember, I... I am sorry."

Lucent "What did I do?"

Varanim "What? No. Uh, you'll see when you get there. I think."

Lucent "Right..." He brings his forehead to touch hers', locking their eyes. "You know, if you want to thank me, you could prove the bad guy wrong when he claims you are not my girlfriend. Which you are."

Varanim "YOU could try getting territorial at less tacky times." Then Varanim's outer consciousness dissolves...

Varanim --

Varanim Inside were the windswept cliff and the sea from before, though now the tree's branches were bare with winter and the sunset was a sullen red line below a covering cloak of clouds. Part of the cliff face had crumbled and fallen away, obliterating the graves at the base of the tree and leaving half of the roots bare.

Varanim A smallish form crouched at the edge looking down, about the same size and with the same suspicious hunch to her shoulders as the child-Varanim from last time.

Lucent "Winter?" He walked closer to the figure, "I thought things would get brighter, here..."

Varanim She looks around, and it is the child Varanim the Younger, but her face is wrinkled and her hair is shot through with white. "Oh, it's you. Hand me that rock, would you?"

Lucent looks around. "What rock?" He does take a random rock from the weathered cliff face and puts it on her hand, however.

Lucent "You look... weary."

Varanim "You ain't seen nothing, yet. It's her or me, if this keeps up." She grins with the same glitter in her eyes that the waking Varanim had, and grabs the rock with bony hands. Dropping it, she leans waaaay over to look, then scowls. "Missed him again."

Lucent "I do try to tell her to be careful..." He grimaces. "Missed who?"

Varanim "Careful is for chickenshits. Careful people stay in the same place all their lives and never find out what's past the gate." In answer to his question, she points--at the base of the cliff, where the bitter slate-gray rolls turn into slashing sprays of foam, the small figure of Haze is picking its way along the slippery rocks.

Lucent "... that is me."

Lucent "Is that what was past the gate? I thought it was power..."

Varanim She snorts. "That's power." She points at the last of the sunset, which glints with gold filigree and crystal. Then she points down, "That's a nuisance. Showed up a while ago, looking for, I dunno, goddamn seashells or something. Here, hand me a bigger rock."

Lucent And Haze did indeed, pick a beautiful seashelll, admiring it with a vacant smile as he watched the ocean. Then, he put it in his ear. "That IS a beautiful seashell." Lucent added, agreeing with the little one. "... no, why are you trying to hurt him? Is that your view of me as a vapid person who collects beauty and is not interested in you?"

Varanim The child-Varanim climbs to her feet, scowling. "Don't you get it? None of that stuff matters. Seashells and flowers and pretty words, that's nothing but distractions people use to tell themselves the end isn't coming. I'm cold. I'm going inside." With a last kick of her foot that dislodges a few pebbles down the cliff, she stalks back in the direction of the old trapdoor.

Lucent "So that is how you see me, as someone who never does what matters?" He considers, following her. "You know, they are the things that make life worth living. What about the sunset? You used to like the sunset, that is the same thing, right?"

Varanim "Want to know a secret?" She looks back over her shoulder at him as she reaches the trapdoor--weatherbeaten boards now rotten and half missing, so that she can pick her way down onto the stairs without opening. "She doesn't like anything. She thought hard about the smallest number of human reactions she can keep faking so that no one will bother her, and she does just that much."

Lucent grimaces, once again, at that. And then... he just reaches for her, picks her up, and hugs her tight!

Lucent "Warmer now?"

Varanim "Agh." She squirms and finally wiggles free, glaring at him. "STOP that!" Then she runs downstairs, footfalls vanishing into the darkness.

Lucent grins, then plucks a Marigold out of thin air and lets it fall downstairs, carried by the wind. "You do like some things."

Lucent He follows onwards, however, to find more productive mental spectres than Varanim's... self-doubt? Loathing? Cynism? Hrms.

Varanim The stairs are slippery with frost but the tunnels warm up quickly to an almost organic moist softness. The puddles splashing below his feet reflect shadow-mottled maps of Creation, branching lines of a family tree, a moment of green lips smiling. Around a corner is the sound of singing, coming from the young woman Varanim rocking a cradle with one foot while she reads by candlelight.

Lucent If anyone was watching, they would see Lucent's face light with anger at the green lips and suddenly turn surprised, and humbled, by the sight of Varanim rocking the cradle. He moves along fast, not wishing to interact that one, to touch or talk to her - it was too personal. And some things were not even for lovers to touch.

Varanim Under Lucent's feet, the ground is going crumbly, cold breeze snaking through increasingly numerous cracks in the walls and floor--until finally there are only tenuous clumps of earth clinging between roots, and the sense of vast depths yawning below him. "Go home," calls the child Varanim's voice scornfully from the darkness ahead.

Lucent steps carefully. And he issues to the child Varanim a challenge! "No." He speaks as smug as he can manage.

Varanim A mud clod splats off a nearby root--apparently, her aim isn't that good. "Get out! And take your pieces with you."

Lucent "My... pieces?"

Lucent "Oh, come on." Comes a voice much like Lucent's own but with a peculiar edge from the darkness. "We are having so much fun!"

Varanim "Out, out, out," she insists. "We don't have space in here for other people's diseases."

Lucent "There IS no disease in mindspace, you know." The voice continued

Lucent blinked. "... is that how you imagine me?"

Varanim She laughs. "Guess again--I don't think of you at all. Come see for yourself, and watch your step." Her tone suggests that she hopes he doesn't.

Lucent "So, do you want to see him hurt because then you'd have company in pain? Do you ALWAYS enjoy it when he's hurt?"

Lucent finds that eerie, and begins climbing down, one step at a time... very, very carefully. "Sounds like you do. And that you think I am a right bastard, apparently."

Varanim "Why not? He's pretty when he cries," she replies to Copper. After a moment, the roots Lucent is climbing down shake as something strikes them sharply.

Lucent Copper "Bet you loved it when we met him again. All the blood and tears. You ARE soooo much like him."

Lucent holds tight. "She did not. I SAW her face. She was worried. She just tried not to SHOW it!"

Varanim Under Lucent's hands, the roots grow slicker and warmer, vibrating faintly in a regular pulse. "She may have been worried upstairs," the child Varanim's tone is thick with contempt, "but from down here it's easy to see you're in the way."

Lucent begins to climb down faster, touching it... was it like the storm? A tangle? "In the way of what?"

Varanim "Moving on. Leave everything that's too heavy to carry, that's how it works. Sooner or later she'll drop you too." The roots were akin to the storm from before, representing some kind of damage--but they were also becoming more like veins, and a moment later the child-Varanim was visible below, nestled in among them as they wound their way into her arms and neck and hands.

Lucent takes a final leap to land before the girl, looking down at her horrified. "Why... why are you doing this? Why do you ENJOY being hurt, Varanim?"

Lucent ''' Copper steps out from the shadows, still a Lucent-shaped shadow with burning red eyes. "For the same reason she likes you, and you like her. She enjoys being broken. It is what she feels she deserves, after all, why else would everyone she cares about be dead?"

Lucent "That is NOT it."

Lucent Copper "Yes, it is - are you telling me you did not enjoy that? Chastising her? Dirty little necromancer."

Lucent "I always wanted to save her. Because she worried. Because she is a nurturer Because she is SOLAR."

Lucent Copper "A corrupt Solar. You had a thrill reminding her of that. Stop lying to yourself..." He steps out of the shadows, like Lucent except for the eyes and dressed in the old armor, face-to-face with his counterpart with a wicked smile. "... I was there. I was the part of you that enjoyed that. I KNOW the thrill. And she knows I do. She ALWAYS did. Even before I ever came here. She hates me for it. I love her for it."

Lucent Copper "Well not now that she looks gross. But in general principle."

Varanim smirks and blows a kiss to Copper, wrapping her vein-snared arms around her knees and rocking like a child listening to a favorite story. "He's right, you know," she says to Lucent. "Dirty people are the ones who worry the most about being clean. And people who make stupid rules like no revenge, no ambition, no anger, they're the ones who snap the hardest when they go."

Varanim Far above, roots groan and settle. Flecks of dirt, pebbles, and silver coins scatter down on the group before vanishing into the darkness below.

Lucent Copper Bows to Varanim-the-Vine "Snap. Remember snapping? Throwing her out and paying her? Now, that was satisfying after getting jerked around so much like a wimp. I can understand the guilt, though... you HAD told her," he points at Varanim-the-Vine, "That she was family, forever, before you did it."

Lucent "I was angry. It happens. We just need to have a better grip on our emotions." Lucent kneels next to Varanim, perceiving the vines, tracing the manner in which they entered her... to perceive how long she had, to understand what was happening to her. "I apologized. I saved her. We were forgiven by our mistakes... we both did our share."

Varanim The nature of the damage is the same as the last time--a snapped spell rebounded, the po displaced out of the body and then violently returned. The lingering damage is fixable, although it's debatable how many times a person should do such a thing to half of their soul.

Varanim "Ooh, wait, I know this one," she says brightly to Copper, then glances at Lucent as if only mildly curious about what he's doing. "You don't have to promise anything, you know. I won't care, and you'll just feel bad later when one of you fucks it up again."

Lucent "I make promises. I am just wired that way. I did promise to save you, remember... I. Will. Take. You. Back."

Lucent Copper "And you never did."

Lucent "Shut up."

Lucent Copper "She keeps ripping her own soul apart. Because she saw you hurt. Because she wanted to hurt the one who hurt you. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy, you never helped her against anything you did not cause in the first place! The only reason you hang around is because you ENJOY seeing the bitch suffer!"

Lucent "I remain around because I LOVE her!"

Lucent ''' Enter Haze, almost tripping on the vines. "Will you two SHUT UP AND HELP THE GIRL ALREADY?!?"

Lucent "..."

Lucent Copper "..."

Lucent Haze "You." He points to Lucent, "He is part of you and you enjoy it. Stop being an hypocrite. You." He points at Copper, "You LOOOOOOOVE her and wrote all those love letters becaue you feel bad. So shush. You." He points at Varanim, "Are a dummy!"

Varanim She makes a face at Haze. "Killjoy. They were about to start hitting each other, I can tell." Then she holds her vine-embedded arms out to Lucent. "Go ahead, fix it. I'll still be here next time."

Lucent picks her up... and pulls her to him. Holding her. Planting a kiss on her hair. Letting his essence flow from her form into the vines, disentangling them, filling that abyss. "I do, you know. Love you. All of you. Including you. Not because you are broken. But because you gave her strength, you kept her alive."

Varanim "It's what I do," she says with a modest smirk, but there is no warmth in her glittering old eyes.

Lucent closed his eyes, asking to no spectre in particular. "And when did this happen? This appearance?"

Varanim As the last of the vein-roots slip away, the child Varanim becomes increasingly light and brittle-feeling. Just before she vanishes entirely, she whispers in Lucent's ear, "How about this: if you love each other so much, why can you only really talk when one of you is unconscious?"

Varanim In the echo of that passing, a calmer voice--still sounding like Varanim, but older and rather bored--answers from above. "Around the time of the second po rebound, although the little monster's been looking peckish for a while. Honestly, are you sure you aren't enabling these antics of hers?"

Lucent "I try not to. Is she...?" He looks at his hands, as she disappears in it. "... gone?"

Lucent '''Copper and Haze speak, in unison, "I hope not."

Varanim "Oh, definitely not." Sitting with legs crossed on a much sturdier root is an adult Varanim, hair in a neat braid and dressed in a slightly threadbare but impeccably neat scholar's coat. She's wearing spectacles, and the light glinting off them obscures her eyes as she smiles thinly. "Now, all of you, clear out. I have cleanup work to do down here."

Lucent "You are the savant, right?"

Lucent ''' Haze begun to lead Copper out. "Sorry about the mess."

Lucent ''' Copper shrugged. "It was a beautiful mess. Well, gross. You know."

Varanim "I'm sure I'm the embodiment of the hun, or something equally tiresome and metaphorical. Now, did I stutter? ''Out./" She makes little shooing motions with one hand, encouraging Copper and Haze as they go, then snaps her fingers and the sound of water falling becomes deafeningly loud, carrying Lucent out of the dreamscape.

Lucent opens his eyes, his forehead touching hers'. He did not move away, just... blinked.

Lucent "How do you feel now?"

Lucent His eyes seemed... more alert. More daring. More worried. More focused in her than they were before.

Varanim blinks, looking vaguely cranky out of habit for a moment, then her expression clears a bit. "Better." After another moment, she looks vaguely uncomfortable. "What?"

Lucent just... smiles. More carefree and cheerful and mischievous than he had been in... months! "I love you, you know."

Varanim looks grumpy again, then looks like she's deciding on something against her better judgment, and finally rolls over, turning her back to him but making room on the bed at the same time. "I'm tired. If you want to make yourself useful, lie here and be a good pillow for a while."

Lucent blinks. And blinks. And blinks. Watching her back in disbelief for a moment... and then just letting himself rest on the bed, staring at her back for a moment... almost as if he had the mother Varanim, as if touching her, on that moment, was going to dispel it, to ruin it.

Lucent And then he did.

Lucent Sliding his arms on her sides, above and below. "Don't think you get out of jail free, though. We still need to talk about it."

Varanim "Sure," she mumbles so agreeably she can't really be paying attention, settling in against him and dozing off.

< The War of Black Thorns | Sol Invictus Logs | Seeking a Monstrance >

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