Illyria ran an impersonal hand along the leaves of the potted plants beside the elevator. Their whispers filled her mind, sweet rustlings of nothingness and matters inconsequential to an Old One. There was something calming in hearing blank, directionless voices instead of the sneers and mutters of the human lowlifes regrettably sharing her existence.

She would always hear them, of course; in the back of her mind their jibes and even their thoughts followed her wherever she went, the miasma of their existence hanging around her as she passed through the halls and doors of the domain of the Wolf, Ram and Hart. Her hand caressed the stem of the plants, feeling into their consciousnesses.

They were so empty, so alone. There was no sun here; no windows in the lobby. Even the reflected bounces off the walls were filtered, something lost outside the shielded windows. They had never felt the touch of rain; once a day, every day, at the exact same time, they were watered coldly and distantly. They'd never had the sudden, unexpected burst of crystal drops falling from the sky. They knew it was missing and they longed for it, they ached for everything they would have if they weren't kept caged.

Something inside Illyria came close to sympathy; more remote than empathy, it was perhaps a level of understanding. She, too, was but a shadow, a suggestion of a shadow of what she had once been. From one of the supreme powers of the universe – she had seen the birth of this pathetic world and countless thousands before that – to being contained within the frail vessel she had been thrust into. So much of her power was lost that it was astonishing the creatures around her still feared her at all. So she could eavesdrop on the thoughts of plants… once she could have fully entered the minds of everyone in this world, stripped them of everything and left them bare and broken in an instant. So much lost. So much she would never have again, trapped in her shell as the plants were trapped in their box.

Illyria turned her head as she regarded the greenery with new eyes. They were so like her, she thought now. So lost, so alone, such an anathema to this cold world of lawyers and demons and demon lawyers and humans crawling everywhere. They stood out starkly against the frozen panels and harsh lights. They were cut off from everything they were meant to be, and she didn't belong here either. She should be roaming among eternity, or at the very least entombed among the others of her kind, as the plants should be outside in the living soil of the weeping world.

She had been everything; she had had everything, and now she was left a broken and ignored fracture of her once-great self. Just as the plants were ripped away and tamed, so she had been. They were the same –

Illyria turned her head again and dropped her hand. How far she had fallen! The God-King of the universe comparing herself to a shrubbery. She stalked away, disregarding the green waves behind her, but unable to resist one last glance behind her. Maybe there was someone who could understand her. Maybe she could find a way to talk back.

Maybe she wouldn't have to be alone.