Summary:Lucent pays a visit to his old "friend" Quen in Zahara's prison.



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In a symbolic gesture, Zahara had put it in the empty space once occupied by the Aurora District.

Now, over smoothed-over ground, blessed by Solar Sorcery and carefully cleaned by legions of demons, an elaborate device wrought in soulsteel and orichalcum alike, constructed entirely of triangular bars bending at 30 degree angles, stretching up one hundred feet from the ground,

it stands a tall and imposing structure, casting a huge pyramidal shadow even as tiny spheres and twisting beams spin around it at occultic angles and its own chambers reorganize internally, all the better to ensure that local geomantic power maintain the intensely powerful whiteroom effects, wards and protections Zahara had built into the Edifice of No Return.

Lucent sends his Essence and flares his banner to iconic levels to prove his Essence is what it is meant to be -- unimitable, inviolable. Anima still fading he steps through the wards, the armor treated to look like it did back then, with a facsimile of the red-gold robes he wore over it that one Calibration Party millennia ago.

Lucent Clad in nostalgia he stepped into the space holding Larquen Quen, curious to see how Zahara locked a Deathlord up.

Lucent finds himself in a pramidal chamber, perhaps fifteen feet tall. One corner of it where he enters is in the shape of a tinier pyramid, with floor of black marble and a gauzy diagonal field of yellowish-gold Essence dividing him from the greater part of the room: the cell, walled in white marble that seems to almost glow faintly.

Within it sits a familiar, tall figure: the black-robed form of the Mask of Winters, his ceremonial sunburst mask adorning his forward-looking face, and his arms held in a pose of silent meditation.

Lucent knocks on the field. "Good evening."

There is a long moment as the prisoner completes (or pretends to complete) his current round of meditations, and then -- with, as usual, no changes of facial expression -- he speaks, slowly, without rising. "Hello, Lucent."

Lucent "Hello." Lucent nods to the Deathlord, smiling a little before he catches himself and places a grim mien on its place. A moment of awkward silence later, he adds, "So, I need you to tell me just one thing: what was the POINT?"

The Mask of Winters stands gracefully, then turns his back on his visitor, hands crossed behind him -- though Luc is only too aware that he can still see him just fine in that position. "The point of what?" he says. "The point of striving to build an empire amidst the ruins? To stand as a realized being in a world of slaves?"

Lucent "The point of letting ALL THAT go to waste over... what? You had us hogtied, for Saturn's sake! We wanted to move against you... and there was nothing we could do! And you let all that go to waste. You wasted your higher ground on some pointless desert massacre, you wasted your higher ground on torturing ME. What is... just what is the POINT of that, Larquen?"

The Mask takes three steps forward. "Though we may plan against the years, we are all, at base, creatures of the moment," he says, wistfully.

Lucent blinks. First, in disbelief. Then, crestfallen. "And decades of planning were lost over a single, petty vendetta."

Lucent "And a vendetta for... what?"

Lucent "What did we ever do to you?"

There is a long moment as he prepares his response. "Live," he says, simply.

Lucent takes a step back, almost as if that single word had hit him. "... I am not sure I follow."

"Your existence is problematic," he says. "You hew to ancient, discredited sources of power. You move to change the foundation without steadying the peak. You refuse to look beyond your own petty scores and take in the Grand Guignol which swirls all about you."

Lucent "So." Lucent attempts to wade through his rhetoric, not the easiest of tasks for him. "... you hate us because you think we are not as good Solars as you thought you were once? That I am squandering this... gift?"

"Gift? A regrettable relic of another time, perhaps. You shouldn't blame yourself -- anyone would do as poorly with the same ill-begotten tools." He unfolds his hands and stretches them out in front of him. "No, there is little to be said for your kind no matter what poorly-raised child seizes the reigns."

Lucent "If there is, why did you torture ME? Not my kind, you were gunning for ME." Lucent punches the field. "Why?"

Lucent "We were FRIENDS. No great rivalries. No enmities. FRIENDS."

"Oh, well," he says, a trace of a dry chuckle in his voice. "That was different. That," he says, turning around so Lucent can see his featureless Mask as he speaks, "was business."

Lucent is taken aback by it once again, growing impatient. "And here I thought it had been due to emotions making you a 'base creature of the moment.'"

"Oh, it was," he says. "It was but a moment's weakness that led to your capture. But as much affection as I might hold for you and your misguided ways, once that die was cast, I could hardly let opportunity slip through my grasp. I had to... learn things."

Lucent taps his forehead. "You could have just asked Glimpse. Your Malfean lives in my head, remember?"

Rebe shakes his head. "If I had wanted from you only that which you knew, I could also have asked you." He pauses and turns his back again. "You would have told me."

He keeps his back turned. "But now that is all water under the bridge, no? I stand here, imprisoned."

Lucent "You tortured me. I believe that is something a little hard to forget."

Lucent sighs. "Moreover, what did you want? What did you find out?"

The Mask chuckles. "I wanted to find a key," he says, "a phrase, a hidden mantra. And I did." He folds his hands again. "So a thousand times a thousand times, over and over again, I would change nothing."

Lucent curls his hands into fists. "And in true textbook villain fashion, you will refuse to tell me what that key is, I am sure."

The Mask shrugs. "If you wish to pretend that it might prove useful to you in some fashion," he says, and pulls a tiny scroll out of one sleeve. "I won't deny you that which I ripped free from your soul." With a dismissive gesture he flicks it out of his hand over to his visitor.

Lucent picks it up and opens it! Wondering just how much he has inside those sleeves anyway?

There is a series of 27 characters in a script Lucent has never seen before, written in grey ink.

Lucent "I hope you will not mind me taking those to my girlfriend."

The Mask makes a dismissive hand gesture.

Lucent nods. Disappointed. Quite disappointed overall. "It is not going to be much use to you, though. You are locked in."

MaskOfWinters nods sadly. "And you are ignorant and rash," he says. "So I suppose it will be of no use to anyone, now." And with that, he sits down back into his meditative position.

Lucent "Were you any different?" He smiles, "Void and light. We were rash, but we still saved the world."

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Page last modified on May 04, 2010, at 03:56 PM