Ahh Meru. The shining jewel of Creation. High upon the slopes of the Imperial mountain it was the seat of Solar rule. It was the start of what was known as the Era of Dreams. Only one week ago it had been Founder's Day to celebrate the 2540th anniversy of Queen Merela moving the Deliberative to Meru. It was 2649 and the world was entering a new period of prosperity. The Solar Ashima was in Meru as was required by law. 2 years spent there of every five. She was not at her home however. Instead she was visiting a long time friend of hers. The Solar Aurica, one of the Eclipse Caste and famed for her work a millenia ago in helping to create the directional tongues, was in Crown Boulevard. Ashima's floating guilded carriage, flanked by some of her loyal Dragonblooded gens, went along those golden streets as they wound their way past one sublime manse or home after another.
Eventually they came to one manse, set atop an air aspected desmense it was was still a place of refinement and beauty. By design it had no doors. Only doorways and enchanted cloth screens hanging across them. As she approached it her followers stopped and waited outside the gates, moving to talk with the other men on duty. Parking in front of the manse she stepped out slowly, the constant wind that seemed to whirl around the great straight tower caressing along her hair a moment before she moved inside.
"Aurica? Its me Ashima." She said as she stepped into the manse. As always the place was artfully furnished, each room seeming to emulate a different culture, filled with tasteful gifts and tribute from 100 different cultures over more then a millenia of life. She paused in one room and touched a small wood carving. She had given her this gift long ago. Taken from the Pole of Wood itself and hand carved by one of the Lesser Elemental Dragons of wood it had been one of the most expensive gifts she had ever gotten anyone not her husband.
"Hello Ashima." Came a voice behind her. Turning she saw the woman. A woman from the west in her long life she had maintained her well tanned features, her hair a warm brown. She dressed in the traditional clothing of her people though far finer then anything any of them would have ever worn. She wore little in the way of jewelery or magical materials. She was rich beyond most Exalted and as such found little point in showing off her wealth. Rather she would attire herself in things of personal value to her. The moonsilver ring on her finger was quite plain really but her wife had made it for her long ago and she wore it still.
"Aurica, I really am sorry I didn't get to spend much time with you at the party. I just wanted to make sure everything is still going ahead for our anniversery?" Ashima said this warmly to her, speaking of a 25 year tradition of the Five Mountain's River Circle where they would all gather along with their mates and toast their past selves who died in service of Creation. Things were a little awkward this year. For the first time since the tradition was started in the later part of the First Deliberative Era they were missing someone. Yasalin, their circles Twilight, had recently lost her mate in battle along the worlds edge. It was awkward because he had not exalted again yet.
Aurica gave a small sigh and gestured to one of the couches. Sitting down with Ashima she started to gently explain. "Yasalin is...obviously distraught but I have spoken with her. She will attend. It will be a more somber affair this year then years before but it will go on. Poor woman..." It was a remarkable part of her character that even after all she had seen she still felt keenly the pain of those she cared about and yet managed to not let the weight of those pains over centuries change her or bring her down and low. She might always have felt her losses and the losses of others deeply but she felt the good times just as strong.
"Rinazi said that he has something in mind for that. To honor Scholar. He wants to do it when we are all together before the funeral. I know they were good friends and its hitting him hard too." Ashima hadn't known Spotted Scholar that well. He was always more the husband of her friend and friend of her husband then her friend. They had just never connected much which now with him gone she felt a bit guilty about.
"I am sure she will be very touched." Aurica replied then gently changed the topic. "Since you brought up Rinazi I wanted to ask, how is he doing? I heard that you had to remind him of his oaths to have him stay in tending to your territories rather then rush to your side when he learned you were pregnant."
In an instant the grief melted away to be replaced by a warm joy, like the deep heat from being outside at noon with the Daystar overhead. "He is good. I couldn't have him rushing up here. This isn't our first child and he can't just go overboard every time like he used to. Its important he takes care of things while I am here. He allready was going to visit next month he can wait until then." She tried to sound stern but there was obvious love and indulgence in her voice. She never realized that Aurica had used her charms to turn the talk to something else and it wasn't until she was older that would recognize how deeply pained talking about the loss of Spotted Scholar had been to Aurica. In later years she would wonder about that. If that perhaps there was something more to her feelings then the normal loss of a close friend but she never asked and Aurica never spoke of it.