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Ahh...times were good. The sky was bright and blue. The wind just so. Enough to cool and caress without distracting or becoming an annoyance. Of course sorcery and Heaven had arranged it such. The personal estates of the Solar Exalted always had perfect weather. Anything less would be an insult to the Princes of the Earth. With the walled octagonal compound, near to the great shining tower that rose stories above even the largest trees in the area rested on of those said Princes. Well a Princess. Hair the colour of spun gold, no, more golden then the common gold you can dig up. Somewhere between Gold and Orichalcum, a body lightly tanned and dressed in a gown of white that could shame earth Jade she rested upon her front on a cushioned counch, lazily drawing a finger through the water of a pond and watching her fishes move.

Now by Solar terms she was young. A scant 5 centuries of life she had lived through. She had died before fighting against the horrers that sometimes crept up from the Wyld. Those few behemoths left from the Primordial War at the dawn of Man's time. Times were safer now though. The warning systems more accurate, the Sword of Creation being expanded ever outward. The weapons and armors now crafted intricate beyond what could have been dreamed of when she was born. A shadow blocked her sun and she smiled. There was only one person who would ever do that and get away with it. She rolled onto her back and extended her arms upward. "Rinazi." She said with affection as the white haired, broad shouldered Lunar leaned down to embrace her.

The Lunar knelt beside her. The age difference had been hard to adjust to at first. He was some 700 years her elder. It got better as she got older though and now things were mostly the same between them. She loved him just as much as ever though and whenever he held her in his arms she got the same warm feeling she got when she was just a newly exalted Hidden Sun. He was handsome, charming, caring, brilliant and hers. He was of the Half Moon caste of the Lunars. A strategist and thinker and planner. More importantly though he was a lover and husband and father.

"Oh Rinazi I was just spending time with the fishes." She says softly. The fish had been a gift from him. They captured some of the sun's light and at night they would emit it making beautiful patterns as they seemed to swim in dancelike patterns. He smiled and kissed her brow softly. "I am glad you like them. A message came though from the Deliberative. It would seem they have work for you my princess." She smiled. She loved how he called her that. Though in truth she outranked him in Creation it was the first thing he ever said to her and it always made her heart swell like a woman first learning the joy love can bring.

He pressed a sealed letter into her hands and she opened the seal up. It bore the seal of Dorhan ol-Sohim, the Dawn caste who had the title Father of the Legions for his masterful training techniques. She scanned the list of things in it. The usual pleasentries and such had been discarded for a purely business and military request of her. However it was something she thought she might have some fun with. He wanted to test out the latest Legion he was training and wanted her to try to infiltrate the fortress he had established in the southeastern mountains. If she could do it he had a reward for her.

"Well...its business and pleasure Rinazi. Dorhan needs the help of one of the Iron Wolves. Says there is even a prize for me." She smiled and giggled even. Looking at her you wouldn't think she was more then 5 centuries old but compared to her fellows she was still young and acted it. Rinazi gave her a nod as he sat down on the couch with her holding her hands. "Will you be needing me for anything on this my princess?" He asked softly and she shook her head and smiled. "No just...well if Quick Hunter should come home while I am away make sure he gets my birthday gift ok? Its the one in the armory." She said as she spoke of their youngest son who was attending a fine school for painters. He assured her all would be handled and to just try to hurry home when she was done.

Days later she was resting comfortably along a boulder looking down to a walled compound. "Lets see...Terrestials check. Dragon Armor check. No Warstriders but there are automatons. Hmm...hmm...a Life Grid too." She said as she regarded the fortress with eyes that could see Essence. A Life Grid was an artifact made with four pylons. Arranged in a square they formed an area in which they would detect any life larger then a rabbit trying to get within their radius of detection. Gone was the white robes of before. In their place was a suit of black sorcery forged leather the cloaked her top to bottom in form fitting blackness. Her hair hidden, a visor over her eyes cutting the darkness of night easily without her needing to worry about spending energy on additional charms. Staying still as she was the suit seemed to make her look like part of the boulder itself.

No Celestials she could see though. The guards though did seem allerted. Dorhan had warned them she was coming. So she would have to be quick. The Patrols only gave her a small window of opportunity to work with. She hopped up and started to run down the hill. So fast and light on her feet was she that not even a pebble was displaced as she hurtled down the slope. She counted off quietly in her mind then snapped a hand out to send a pair of blunt batons hurtling through the air to the nearest guardpost. She jumped after them, a second behind them and as she landed inside that post near to the Life Grid sensor the batons had found their mark. Two Terrestial soldiers were unconscious at her feet. The light was blinking softly for attention to inform them she had penetrated the defenses. A tap with the retrieved baton and it was off. No one was alterted yet.

Leaping again she ran along the inner wall. The soldiers in the courtyard weren't looking up and the ones on the wall were looking out as she flipped herself into an open window. A woman inside opened her mouth to cry out at the sight of her but before the brain had finished sending signals to the mouth to scream she was beside her and a knife hand chop to the back of the neck sent her into a heap. Seconds later the woman was walking the hallways. To any eyes but those with the power of Essence she looked just like the simple serving woman. She winked to one who waved at her and took a few moments to gossip with another maid as she went deeper into the fortress.

She ducked suddenly and the disguise faded as an ax made of white jade slashed over her head into the wall. Her feet pushed up and standing on both palms she avoided the sweep of the spear that had jabbed where she was. Spinning in place with a flare of energy around her a combo of hers activated in response to the ambush by the two Dragon Armor wearing Terrestials. A few light golden petals seemed to float off her feet as she spun on her hands. Her legs split and she kicked out striking them across their armored guts. Yet there was essence behind those blows and then doubled over as she pushed up with her hands sending herself upwards onto the ceiling. From there she kicked downward and grabbed the backs of their heads carring herself and them down to the floor. Their faces smashed in and she was balanced lightly with her hands on their heads. Her legs swung forward and she flipped up onto her feet and started to run. Time was important now.

Three women in gunzosha armor stepped out to try to block her path. She weaved past one under the sword swing as her baton struck her gut. Then she just seemed to not be where she was and was behind the other two with her batons lashing out and sending them cumpling. It was a race now. While she could get to the vault easily enough if she took too long at it the whole base would be up in arms. Effectively a failure. Charms and essence leant her speed. Too quick for mortal eyes and with a hearthstone at her belt to guide her. The final door she didn't even try to open she just leapt at it and went through rolling to her feet as the vault room suddenly flared with light.

"Surprise! Happy 550th!" Came the voices from around the room. Her birthday wasn't for a season really but at her age do you know how hard it is to arrange surprise parties. Rinazi hugged her tight as she beamed widely. That her friends would go to such lengths for her birthday filled her with pride and happiness. Tables were laid out, panals on the walls depicted beautiful woodland scenes, friends and family and even her son there to congratulate her and share in the moment. And at the far end on a stand rested a spear of some white wood, inlay of Orichalcum with a silver and gold bag on one end of it.

And then it was gone. Lu Zhin opened his eyes and sat up in his bed pressing a hand to his forehead. Resting in the bed with him, a dark candle almost out and offering the faintest light was a pale woman sleeping softly, peaceful and with pleasent dreams. He breathed slow and deeply, calming himself as he tried to sort out who he was and why that dream felt so real, a memory. He lowered the hand from his brow to the woman's hair, brushing some of the beautiful red locks from her face and smiling as her lips twitched in a smile and she stirred softly. Slowly he lowered himself back into the sheets and she curled up to him. Holding the small and beautiful woman in his arms he lay awake for a while staring at the ceiling until sleep took him once more and his dreams were once again the dreams of normal men.