Summary:Spring cooks up a plan to unite the Silver Pact and brings Varanim in on the details.

XP:S1, V1

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Spring_ throws a pebble at where the window of the Treehouse would be if it had windows. It flies through the empty space and clatters along the floor.

`Varanim "Fuck off, I'm not buying anything!" drift out the gentle dulcet tones of the mistress of the house, followed by a smallish brick.

Spring_ "I want to complain about Raksi." Spring catches the brick, glances at it speculatively, then sets it to one side.

`Varanim There is a small but pronounced scuffling from inside, as if someone were clearing a previously busy reading agenda, and a moment later the trapdoor nearest Spring swings open.

`Varanim The brick appears to be of moderately, but not entirely chthonic origin.

Spring_ flips the brick into the Labyrinth and climbs through the trapdoor.

`Varanim waves at an outswelling of tree from where she perches on another next to a small stack of books. "So." Her tone is elaborately neutral.

Spring_ "It is unfortunately not what you think."

Spring_ "While I would, in fact, prefer never to have seen or interacted with Raksi, I am actually concerned about the necessity of eliminating her."

Spring_ sits down heavily. One of the books slides off the pile.

`Varanim "Before we go further: is this a serious enough thing that I need to pretend I don't think it's funny?"

Spring_ "What could possibly be that serious?"

`Varanim "Oh, good," she says with obvious and profound relief. "Back up then, you lost me at the part where you're not here to complain about her naughty monkey bedroom performance."

Spring_ "As you might perhaps expect, I have developed a strategy that should result in the uniting of the Silver Pact, the elimination of Raksi and the ennoblement of Yija."

Spring_ "Unfortunately, I am not sure how to create such a plan without Raksi being killed in the process."

`Varanim "Hmm. Remind me, which one's Yija and why do you care about uniting the Silver Pact?"

Spring_ "Yija is the hero that was trying to prevent the Contagion when Raksi killed him."

Spring_ "Uniting the Silver Pact is a necessary step towards bringing it into the Deliberative as a whole."

Spring_ "Otherwise we would have to engage with each separate Lunar stronghold on its own."

`Varanim "You want jurisdiction over them, and Raksi wants jurisdiction over your various parts. Sounds like a pretty easy swap."

Spring_ "It may not have been immediately obvious to you, but Raksi is dangerously insane."

Spring_ "Though I suppose we could attempt to cure her..." Spring considers this. "Imrama would be upset."

`Varanim "Because Imrama thinks she's a special monkey lady just the way she is, or because he wants to see you eaten? I never did trust that guy."

Spring_ "Because he wants her to die."

Spring_ "Or, at least, be brought to justice."

Spring_ "My plan is to find Yija and prepare him to challenge Raksi for leadership once she has brought the remainder of the Lunars together."

Spring_ "In this way we redress the sins of the past, create a unified Lunar body under a leader who owes us and whom we can trust, and set an example to demonstrate that allowing ninety percent of the humans in the world to die is not acceptable."

Spring_ "Unfortunately, I am not sure the Lunars will accept the victory if Raksi does not die."

`Varanim "I like the part where you tricked me into opening the door by saying that you were going to complain about Raksi, and then started talking strategy as a long way of avoiding the subject."

Spring_ laughs quietly. "Let me rephrase."

Spring_ "I am upset that Raksi seems to be so irredeemable that even I can be forced into breaking, indirectly, my oath not to kill."

Spring_ "I do not wish to end anybody's life. As you know, the results can be unfortunate."

Spring_ "But as our war proceeds it becomes difficult to find approaches that adhere to this law, and Raksi is a paramount example."

Spring_ "How do you solve a problem like Raksi, without resorting to murder?'

`Varanim "My Raksi-sized problems are all already dead, which is a pretty neat way of cheating if you think about it. But if you're not willing to stick to ghosts... well. What do you want from her? For her to not be able to kill anybody again, ever?"

Spring_ "What do I want?"

Spring_ "Ideally, I want her not to want to kill anybody again, and to regret her past actions, and seek to make recompense."

`Varanim "You could curse her."

`Varanim sits up, a strange gleam in her eyes. "With benevolence, see."

`Spring "Hm."

`Spring "Please elaborate."

`Varanim "Well, Zahara or Cerin could give you a more sorcery-based grounding of examples, but one of the primary characteristics of any curse is the isolating effect it has on the victim. Entire family lines are divided from the rest of humanity or a single person breaks off contact with others to hide their assorted shames--the principle endures."

`Varanim "Work out a way to invert it, and reconnect her with the world and her consequences on it."

`Spring "Hm.'

`Spring "An inverted curse."

`Spring "You could call it a blessing."

`Spring "If you had a truly obnoxious sense of humor."

`Spring "How is Lucent, anyway?"

`Varanim "My obnoxious sense of humor would be pitted directly against my scorn for religious ritual. I wouldn't say many nice things about you, but you do have a delicious eye for paradox."

`Varanim "Lucent is still as Lucent as ever. Possibly moreso."

`Spring "As I understand it, when you are attempting a blessing, a priest is the person you need."

`Spring goes from finger to finger. "Zahara to organize the ritual. Lucent to broker the deal with Luna. You, to design the curse. And Imrama, so that he does not try to kill her."

`Spring "I think this might work."

`Spring "How unfortunate for Yija, though."

`Spring "He was going to be a hero."

`Varanim "Heroism is one part brutality and one part farce, so I wouldn't waste too much time feeling bad for him. Did you think I wouldn't notice, though, that you left out the part where you place the spell with a kiss? And don't hold back on the tongue, either."

`Spring shudders for a surprisingly long time. "That also sounds like Lucent's specialty."

`Varanim "It's really cute how you think he won't completely back me up on this one." She considers that for a moment. "I should thank you, really. I can't remember the last time he and I agreed on something."

`Spring shudders a little more.

`Spring "And how are things going between you two?"

`Varanim "Better than any reasonable person would expect."

`Spring "That badly?"

`Varanim "We're between crises, as evidenced by the lack of either of us storming out of the Cascade. Nice try with the small talk, but next time try a topic I don't know you already know."

`Spring "How are your countless undead slaves?"

`Varanim "Still dead. How are your trees?"

`Spring "Still alive."

`Spring "What about your pet projects? Any niggling little details to resolve?"

`Varanim "An ever-growing number. How big a curse do you need?"

`Spring "Big enough not to wear off or be overcome."

`Spring "Do you ever tell anybody how you are feeling?"

`Varanim "Hm, pretty big. Are we bantering or are you worried about me?"

`Spring "It is the curse of my current incarnation that even my banter grows out of honest concern."

`Varanim "Nice ambiguously ironic use of curse, there. Did I... do something to make you worry?"

`Spring "Do you remember when I asked you what you wanted and you did not know?"

`Spring "Exalts last as long as they have something to do."

`Varanim "Take heart, I'm not out of fetters yet--if nothing else it'll take me years to run out of Black Mastodon offspring."

`Varanim "And I've already substantially outlived my first predictions for this job."

`Spring "How fortunate for all of us."

`Varanim "Oh, it's far too early to say that--I'd put nearly even odds that I'll end up an Abyssal and Zahara will have to put me down."

`Spring "I doubt that will be necessary now that I am a Deathlord."

`Spring "I will take good care of you, either way."

`Varanim "Necessary, pish--she promised." She smirks, then it fades. "Would a few moments of candor from me help set your mind at ease?"

`Spring "That obviously depends, but please try."

`Varanim "Aside from a brief time where the Green Lady was tampering with my mind, I haven't had a restful night of sleep for years. I can barely remember what it felt like to not be exhausted, and if I were the sort of person who felt contentment I would never have lived this far. My list of necromantic crises grows with every major move I make, and the stakes are always higher."

`Varanim "So if I seem short when explaining myself, it's because caring what other people think takes a great deal of energy for me, and most days I don't bother."

`Varanim looks like she's about to say something else, but stops.

`Spring ""You do not have to be responsible for everything yourself."

`Varanim "No."

`Varanim "I went home to my village recently, as part of Amaya's manufacture. Adar and Kelen were gone."

`Spring "Is that...good?"

`Varanim looks away.

`Varanim "Maybe. I've never gone looking before. I had... assumed they would be where I left them."

`Spring "I am sure you could find them again if you needed to."

`Varanim "Probably, but I think we've discussed how I don't mix personal business and necromancy." She smirks, briefly. "Also, of course, I'm terrified of seeing them again. It's worked out for the best, overall."

`Spring "I suppose so."

`Varanim "Your mouth says 'I suppose so,' but your eerie fake eyes say 'Varanim is a big dumb liar'. Watch it or I'll start asking about your family."

`Spring "That would probably be uneventful. My family is mostly dead."

`Varanim "Oh, it's funny being on this side of the conversation. Who are the mostlies?"

`Spring "I may have one or two surviving siblings. The war made it difficult to identify where everyone ended up."

`Varanim "Right, and it's not like you know any world-class finders of things. What about the parents?"

`Spring "They are certainly dead."

`Spring shifts, but only a little.

`Varanim "What a coincidence, at least one of mine is too. Who were they?"

`Spring "They were the leaders of my tribe of Wasirrans. Before me."

`Varanim "And how did they become ex-leaders?"

`Spring "I killed them."

`Spring "Arguably they were ex-leaders before that, since I returned from the Spire with the power of Wei Dan, and at that point I was clearly the leader, regardless of any preexisting power structures."

`Spring "But I think your question was clear enough."

`Varanim "Huh." Varanim looks at him for a moment, but after all no one is friends with her on the basis of her tact. "Why did you kill them?"

`Spring "They were not enthused about being ex-leaders."

`Spring "It is easy to imagine that one day the chosen one will come and take the reins of power."

`Spring "It is more difficult, when you are holding the reins of power, to hand them over...especially, perhaps, to a person who was once your son."

`Varanim "I'm told parents often have trouble accepting that their children have grown up. I see you dealt with it in the traditional royal style of filial piety."

`Spring "We were always traditionalists."

`Spring "I think I ought to go. There are so many people who need to not be killed nowadays."

`Varanim "Be sure to come back as soon as you want to discuss our personal lives again."

`Spring snorts, and steps out the window.


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Page last modified on October 29, 2010, at 01:27 PM