Summary:Lucent and Varanim discuss the Mask of Winters.

XP:L1, V1


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Varanim was supposed to meet Lucent at sunset in the tea garden. Uncharacteristically, she's on time, but instead of slouching out of the nearest hallway she arrives on the back of Algorab, landing in a smoke-scented gust of air and startling away the servant who'd come to light the lanterns.

Lucent is there, sat on the edge of the table, watching her landing with a sullen face. "You are disturbing the flowers."

Varanim exchanges a brief glance with the great crow, which furls itself into a much smaller shape and flaps away into the dusk. "Would you describe them as distraught, or just a little annoyed?"

Lucent looked around before fixating on the crow. "Cute. But I would say? Just a little annoyed. That kind of things adds up."

Varanim "Really, because I didn't think that the average plant had a long mem... wait, this is one of those things where you're being subtle, isn't it." She shrugs off her mud-caked coat, fishes briefly in it for a flask, then frowns a little and replaces it without drinking.

Lucent "Maybe I was just talking about flowers. Did you ever speak with one?" He steps away from the table, and handles her a bouquet of flowers - red roses. "Nice voices, interesting worldview, but they never tell you everything."

Varanim "It's good for me that I can't hear their tiny little voices, then. If I want something that talks a lot but says little, I already know where to find it." She takes the roses, looks briefly annoyed, then slouches down in a seat looking tired and not particularly attentive.

Lucent "The Mirror?"

Varanim smirks briefly, then begins stripping one of the roses of petals, making a methodical but absentminded little pile. "I was going to say the library, but that's not bad. Hold on, let me set up something for your next line--no, don't tell me, I'll get it. 'But trampled flowers can never give their secrets,' how about that?"

Lucent That... got Lucent to be silent for a moment, considering. "That. Right."

Lucent looks down. "When were you going to tell me about the Crow?"

Varanim She looks briefly startled. "What's to tell? It flies, sometimes it does other things."

Lucent "But... you have a pet. I never even new about it."

Varanim "You know how it is. Some people are dog people, I'm a hekatonkhire person. And, since you'd think I was sick if I left such an obvious one sitting, there are a lot of things you don't know."

Lucent curls his hand into fists, crushing a few flowers throughout the garden "So you admit it."

Varanim "Oh, sure. It can be hard, accepting the shortcomings of a person you sleep with, but after long struggle I'm at peace with your ignorance."

Lucent "I thought I was a part of your life!" Lucent snaps, a sudden wind kicking out a cloud of flower petals

Varanim "Is that what this is about? Like every other spellcaster in Creation I finally got a familiar, and you're upset that I didn't check first that you liked the color?"

Lucent "Or after! I thought... that's the sort of thing we come to each other and show, and... and care what the other thinks!"

Lucent "We should have lives together, not walled structures that intersect in bed."

Varanim opens her mouth to say something with a smirk, then closes it. After a moment she says, unsmiling, "You were gone at the time. It hatched from the skull of Abadis."

Lucent "... oh."

Lucent "Abadis."

Varanim "Big guy, destroys the air, could be seen for miles when you set him on fire. That one?"

Lucent "And from that fire, came your crow."

Varanim "See, that was easy to explain. Do you feel like we're closer, now, or just the normal nagging sense of disgust for my work and everything surrounding it?"

Lucent sits back on the table again, holding one leg up against his chest "Why do you DO that?"

Varanim begins picking apart another rose, to replace the stack of petals blown away by Lucent's earlier annoyance. "Do what?"

Lucent "All this? Not telling me. Keeping everything hidden. You told me you never lie... but you never tell."

Varanim "I could say it's because you don't want to know, but it's really just that I hate explaining myself." Abandoning the rose project, she stands, looking irritable and not meeting his eyes. "Are we done here? My odds of living out the century have dropped again, so I'm in the middle of throwing out my dirty laundry and porn."

Lucent sighs. "Whatever Charms did I use to make you tell me about your past? All you do is AVOID now..."

Varanim Her eyes go hard, and she steps closer, tilting her head at Lucent as if a slightly different angle will suddenly make him comprehensible. "Just because all of this started with me slapping you doesn't mean that great sex will always be the outcome from that conversational tactic. What you couldn't get from nagging me about my past, you eavesdropped; what was still missing, you stole. ...

Varanim ...You never like what you find when you go digging down there, anyway."

Lucent "What? I LOVE what I find. It is YOU. I could see ever more of you and never be satisfied, even if I HAVE to steal!"

Varanim "You can't love my person and hate my work, Lucent. If there was a time when they were separable, it's years gone now."

Lucent "I am wary of your work. That does not mean I HATE it. Per se. But I am even more wary when you do not tell me of it!"

Lucent "You would have no need to hide something good."

Varanim "So... anything I don't talk about is bad, and talking about it is always good? That's what you're saying?"

Lucent "Communication is important, is what I am saying! I do tell you all that I can think of, right?"

Varanim "Like that thing about how you were expecting to disappear soon, so you had a secret plan to impregnate me as a memento?"

Lucent looks down, embarassed. "That... is an uncharitable way to put it."

Varanim "Charity comes from pity, and my mistreatment of you has never included that." She flexes her soulsteel hand, joints creaking faintly, then shrugs. "But if you want openness, let's talk about the Mask of Winters' death."

Lucent "I was working my way to it. For the life of me, I cannot fathom why you acted like you did."

Lucent "He was my friend, and I thought best to let him die."

Lucent "He was YOUR past. That which you want to be rid of. And you... did not."

Varanim "My professional opinion, as much as I had one, was already aired. The rest was public theater, and you should know by now how much I love that."

Lucent "I do not want your professional opinion. I want your own, honest opinion, and WHY."

Varanim "You're doing that thing where you think they're separate again." She is quiet for a moment, then says, "I have complicated feelings about his death."

Lucent purses his lips awkwardly for a moment. "Tell me?"

Varanim "The Mask of Winters was looking for something. In exchange for his help learning Void Circle necromancy, I said that I would tell him if I saw it. There's no reason to think that his death has unbound this oath." She's quiet again, to let the implications of that sink in.

Lucent "Tell him if you saw... what?" He asked, seriously... spooked.

Varanim "Oh, I'll know it when I see it." She shrugs again, taking out a cigar but stuffing it away again unlit.

Lucent "That is all he told you? That you would know? You think he put some sort of... mental trigger on your mind?"

Lucent "Like a mini mental mask?"

Varanim "No, I think that I'll know it when I see it, and it was important enough to use the third candle in his special friendship promise lantern. However, if I do see it, I'll now have to go considerably farther than before to tell him about it."

Lucent "And you... did not see fit to tell me that before I gave the kill-order on him?"

Varanim "I told everyone, including you, after I returned from the Blight of Aeons. And I'm assuming that you had him killed for reasons of world-shaking importance rather than personal feelings, in which case any side effects of inconvenience to me were irrelevant."

Varanim "So if I seem extra cranky, it's because reminders of my own mortality always make my to-do list look longer." After a brief but very difficult pause, she adds, "I'm sorry."

Lucent appears to be intently staring at something on the ground. "... I had forgotten. I did not... did not even..."

Lucent just reaches to Varanim's Soulsteel arm and pushes her to himself.

Varanim "It doesn't matter," she snaps, then after a moment of stiffness she rests her head on his shoulder, leaning into him.

Lucent "I do not think you will die. Maybe YOU are the Mask of Winters for that purpose. His memories are in there..."

Varanim "It'll wait until I need to care. But if you take that, and my general disinterest in killing everyone, you have most of the pieces you need to understand me at the execution."

Lucent "... I do. I am... I am sorry..."

Lucent "You could have told me before..."

Varanim "I would have, if it mattered," she says in flagrant disregard of her previous track record. "Now, what will you need to stop moping about it? If it'd make you feel better we could do something sentimental but morbid, like clean up my old village's Shadowland and visit your ghostly descendants."

Lucent "I would ask you to promise me something... to always tell, or... or something. But promises are what you need least right now."

Lucent "So. Just." He picks up her chin, planting a kiss on her lips. "Remember you are alive."

Varanim "Ah, back to instructing me in the absolute rock-bottom fundamentals of my job. There's my Lucent feeling better." After the kiss she squeezes him briefly, so he can't see her smiling into his hair.

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Page last modified on May 04, 2010, at 03:57 PM