Act I, Scene 2

Darkness.

(enter Gelal)

Xastur:
(voice out of the darkness) Gelal.

Gelal:
Mistress? (she reveals herself. She is attired similarly to Gelal, with a mask and gloves. Gelal kneels.) To what do I owe this honor?

Xastur:
You should not be too quick to assume that you are honored, Gelal. (gestures for him to stand. He does so.) I think you know why I have come to you.

Gelal:
Mistress, my adventures are many. I know not which of my numerous misdeeds you wish to laud.

Xastur:
Your arrogance is galling, Gelal. I am not here to express my esteem to you, but rather, my displeasure.

Gelal:
Oh? It pains me to hear that, Mistress. What is it that I have done that displeases you?

Xastur:
Gelal, I know you are not the fool that you pretend to be. You know our rules. Why then did you show yourself to the human girl?

Gelal:
Oh. You must mean Sindi.

Xastur:
(makes a disgusted sound.) Honestly! Does she know your name too, then?

Gelal:
Not yet. But that will come in time, I think.

Xastur:
Gelal, what is the meaning of this? You aren't in love, are you?

Gelal:
What, you mean with the human? Of course not! I'd sooner beg my way back into heaven than lower myself to the level of those primates!

Xastur:
Then why did you reveal yourself to one of them? Why honor her with the vision of such exalted beings as we are?

Gelal:
She's an experiment I'm trying. Suffice to say that I wish her the worst. Furthermore I'm confident that with the fullness of time, the worst will certainly come to her.

Xastur:
Dear Gelal, you know that I'm all in favor of experiments, especially cruel ones. But whatever are you thinking, showing yourself to her? What do you hope to gain that you cannot attain by more subtle methods?

Gelal:
(murmurs) My subtlety has gone wasted for thousands of years...

Xastur:
Gelal? What did you say?

Gelal:
I could be subtle if I wanted to. I could speak as a shadow in her mind, poisoning her with psychic venom: obsession, temptation, flimsy rationalizations, false resolutions and vicious advice. Such is our way, after all.

Xastur:
Indeed. You and I are amongst those whose duty is to toy with the human heart, so as to lead the weak into damnation. But you still have not explained why you appear to be straying from our usual methods.

Gelal:
As I said, I have an experiment in mind. And for the purposes of this experiment I must deal with her directly. But you can rest assured, mistress, that no warmth stirs in my heart believe me, Xastur, I am as devoted to our sinister goals as ever.

Xastur:
If you are devoted to our goals, you should also be devoted to our laws, Gelal. Remember, the less subtle you are in your dealings with humans, the greater the risk that you will become like unto them.

Gelal:
That doesn't concern me. I could never be like them. Just look at them! Weak-minded, indecisive, completely lacking in self-awareness! They're all fools. Even the worst of them aren't evil so much as incompetent at being good! Mistress, if I ever succumb to pity or affection for humanity, I invite you to punish me. In fact, I implore you!

Xastur:
Well then, I suppose that attitude will keep you out of trouble - so long as you aren't masochistic.

Gelal:
Quite the opposite. But I think you know that.

Xastur:
Indeed. Well, my warning stands nonetheless. Emotions are not the only human weakness that can rub off on our kind.

Gelal:
With all due respect, I can take care of myself, mistress.

Xastur:
Then I will leave you to do so, Gelal. Farewell.

Gelal:
Farewell.

(Xastur disappears into darkness. Gelal likewise - blackout.)

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