Shadows of War (Tsatse Intro Pt.2!)

Talia only went halfway through her glass before setting it aside. Since coming in, Tsatse had focused her attention on her exclusively, and saw faintly just the emission lines of her emotional spectra, as they shifted from relaxed and enjoying the visit to forlorn, upset, in the kind of way someone was when something was bothering them but they didn’t want to bring it up. It had a particular hue that she could probably place between navy and indigo, a stark change from the previous light colored green and yellow. A long silence drew between their conversation.

“I don’t suppose you’re open to talking about it, are you?”

She had learned early on about her emotional sight, letting out a sigh. “I miss him.”

Tsatse raised a brow, “Who, Ra's? I thought you and Nyssa despised him?”

“No, not Ra's,” she replied. “Bruce. I miss Bruce.”

Now the silence really hit, and she was without words. Talia had of course been associated with Luthor and LexCorp, and word was she had aided in strategy to taking him and the Justice League down, but she had never spoken on it until now. As far as Tsatse was concerned, if it was true, then Talia had made a decision that likely was between her own life and the lives of those she was always at odds with anyway, even in their good times. Because of it, she survived, and no one could knock her for that. Especially not Tsatse.

She gazed up at the tapestries and searched them for her words. “He was in love with another, someone whose only worthwhile difference from you was an ideal he shared. One that, at the end of the day, cost them everything.”

She looked down and caught an emotionally exposed Talia staring back. “Sometimes,” she continued, “the life we desire conflicts directly with the life we have, and to try and resolve those conflicts equally leads to the destruction of both. Though our hearts may ache for those we've lost, what more can be done but treat the heart as it is, a vital muscle of our body that must rest after exercise. I can’t begin to tell you how many lost loves I’ve endured before I finally learned it wasn’t for me, and to try and do so would only cause more harm.”

For a few moments she waited, gathering thoughts and gauging Talia's state for an acceptable response. “I can say with certainty that you are alive, and have a legacy to uphold if you choose to do so. I never agreed with their methods, but the heroes of old were champions of the best people can be if they choose to do so. Let your lost love guide you in that, and make the best out of the life you have, rather than letting the life you desire dismantle that.”

It appeared to sink home; she was looking a little better. Tsatse raised her glass and downed the last of it. “Now finish up, you’re the only person I know that can keep pace with me on the blade, and I’m absolutely choking on all this soft and mushy talk.”

As she rose from their little picnic, Talia spoke up, stopping her in her tracks. “He still has all the records, Lera. You’ve encountered his soldiers, and his hunters, haven’t you.”

She turned, hands on her hips. “Maybe, what’s your point?”

Talia swirled the last of her glass. “He is going to come after you, in force. If it isn’t today, or tomorrow, its soon, and I can’t protect you here.”

Tsatse smirked. “Well, ya see darlin’, that’s-"

“I don’t want to lose you too, Lera,” she said. “You’re the only friend left I can count on.”

And there it was, the thing that was truly bothering her. The thing that was honestly bothering them both. What would happen when Luthor made his move. Soldiers, they were small fry, but his metahuman hunters? She’s bested plenty, but none recently, and certainly none as devoted and supported as Luthor's elite. And if he loosed his beast on her? Could she guarantee that she could match that monster?

“I’ve lived on this Earth for over fifteen hundred years… give or take a couple decades. No one has managed to oust me quite yet, and Luthor is still just a man. I’ve mastered keeping a low profile, and if he is on to me, then he'll be in for the wildest hunt of his life.”
_________________________________________

In the seat of the White House, Luthor read the reports once more, comparing notes and rereading passages side by side. The emergence of his father, combined with this revolutionary discovery, could not be a coincidence.

“And your team is certain? The translations are accurate?"

His chief archaeologist nodded. “Yes sir, we cross referenced them over a hundred other documents in their respective languages and then again between three study teams with outside language experts. We could never be more certain.”

He set the papers aside and thought on it. “I want you to keep working, see if there’s more to be learned. Past motives, recent history, potential weapons at our disposal, all the works.”

The chief gave a snappy nod. “Yes sir, right away!” Then, he was off, and the Oval Office was empty except for him. He reached out and depressed the call button. “Mercy, draft up a meeting with the Society, soon as an opening is available. And find me a day to travel, I have some business to oversee.”

A tart, “Yes sir,” came back as a reply. He needed someone to follow this new lead while he focused elsewhere, and if they came back with confirmation, he wanted to be sure his monster in the closet was ready once more. Just in case.

“Apollyon,” he let the name roll off his tongue, “where have you been all these years.”

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