1629, Sea Season, Harmony Week, Clayday
It is around mid-morning the day after the celebration at the water shrine near Beasts Gather. Varanis has a horrible headache, but wants to present her idea to Lenta anyway. Berra comes along to offer opinions. Follows on from Roles and Responsibilities. Session 4.07
After Varanis returns from her walk with Berra, she pauses to drink more water and to wash her face in the pool. Then she goes to seek out Lenta.
The Ernaldan is sitting near Irillo and twirling the end of one of her plaits around a finger.
“Lenta, would you be willing to join me for a stroll? We will stay close, so there is no danger to fear.” 1Insight or first aid: Varanis is still battling a headache.
Berra is not far away, having also refilled her water bottle, but without getting wet. She is now casually on watch, and seems thoughtful.
Lenta blushes a bit and nods.
The Vingan keeps their path close to the others, circling the area around the shrine while keeping it and people in sight. She’s silent for a couple of minutes, seemingly deep in thought.
Berra gives Varanis a glance as if to ask if she is needed, but does not follow.
The Vingan signals to Berra, inviting her to follow if she wishes.
Berra comets in, her course spiralling towards Varanis and Lenta. She looks casual, but has her infantry feet on – she walks fast and makes it seem like little effort.
Lenta glances at Berra, but does not comment, her face a polite mask.2Insight: polite mask that covers some irritation.
“I was thinking,” Varanis says at last, “that I’ve not been doing right by you.” She chews her lower lip as she considers her next words.
“You have been a most considerate host accepting me at your hearth, Varanis.” The smaller woman assures formally and glances at Berra.3Insight beneath politeness there is embarrassment.
“But, you don’t have to be a guest forever,” the Vingan says. “What if there was a role for you in my household? You could be my Steward, for example, much as Venlar is my Advisor and Berra is my Commander.” Varanis seems so caught up in presenting her suggestion that she is oblivious to how Lenta is taking any of this.4Failed Insight twice in a row.
Berra looks a little nervous, nothing more than that. There’s a wince in waiting, but it has not escaped.
Lenta raises an eyebrow. Her hand seeks the end of her plait, touches it and lets go.
Berra might have something to say, but if so she keeps it in.
“It’s a Heortling version of Chamberlain, I think,” Varanis says by way of explanation.5Ooc – I was looking at Mesopotamian chamberlain type roles. It’s a mix of political and practical – the official responsible for managing a royal household. Not a servant. A person with a lot of political sway. I decided that I’d use the word chamberlain to represent the Esrolian word/concept and steward for the Heortling near-equivalent. It’s possible Varanis doesn’t fully understand differences between the Sartarite and Esrolian ways of doing these things though. So, it’s an honourable and high-ranking position that she’s offering.
“I am honored by your offer, thane Varanis. Thank you. I… I need to think about it.” Lenta stammers as an answer.
Berra steps closer, like she has a thing to add, but does not blurt it out.
“Please do think about it,” Varanis says. “Talk to Berra if you want. Seek advice from Irillo. Maybe even Venlar if you want.” She glances back at Berra. “Yes?”
“I figure that before she agrees, she should know how I think about this.” Berra’s expression is one of light thoughtfulness, not of sulky rejection, nor wholehearted welcome.
Varanis nods. “It would be good for both of you to clarify some things. When Lenta is ready though.” Varanis gives the other Esrolian an encouraging smile. “Take your time.”
Berra nods, and looks quizzically at Lenta.
“I will think about it with care, Varanis Saiciae,” the Ernaldan answers and glances at Berra. “And I would be both imprudent and ungrateful to not listen to you.”6Insight: damn if I let you dictate the decision though.
“Kay. The main thing is that I don’t want to step on your toes, and if I take the title Commander, you know not to step on mine, and that sounds a bit harsh, but… well, a lot of what happened was because there wasn’t a clear line of who did what and when.” Berra keeps her hands behind her back, shrugging her shoulders back and forth as she speaks.
Lenta answers with a raised eyebrow.
“I talked over this a bit already with Varanis. I didn’t have clear instructions from her, or give clear instructions to her, because we suddenly got into a tearing hurry. And there’s going to be times at home when you’re the one that’s the authority in the house, and we’ll need to talk that over to. But Commander means a thing – it means protecting the household, and finding out from the household what they want, so they can be protected.”
“I have heard your opinion, Berra.” Lenta nods. “Anything else?”
“And being the Chamberlain, the Steward, means talking to the Commander so she knows what is needed. Talking to me so I can provide what the Household needs. Helping me to meet my responsibilities…” Varanis glances between them.
Lenta looks back at Varanis and returns her gaze at Berra.
“Yeah. I don’t know what you want, and that’s kinda alright,” Berra says unsurely. “Except the times when it’s not. Sometimes I’ll need to know your short-term goals. It’s not up to me to tell you or be told about the other stuff, but if we’re out where things are dangerous, the more I can protect Varanis’ household, the better. I guess I’m asking you to trust me?”
Lenta nods. Her hidden bristling mellows a tiny bit. Again her hand seeks the plait and leaves it instantly.
“I nearly lost you, because we didn’t communicate, and that’s a two-way alley.” Berra looks down. “Sorry. I really am.”
“I am grateful for what you did Berra Humakti. I do not blame you for anything, so I cannot forgive you anything.” Lenta says. Her tone is polite, perhaps a tad formal but less tense than before.
“Yeah… Um.” Berra thinks only for a moment. “Forgiveness ain’t it, then, because only I know if I… no, because the best thing to do from now on is better. Maybe a week from now we’re going to go back out into that place, and then I want you talking to me more. And then it’s gotta be down to me and Varanis to make decisions. S’awkward, because you don’t know how to be out in the wilds, right?”
Lenta shrugs. “I suppose the meadows of Monros were kind of tame in comparison.”
“And it falls to me too,” Varanis says. “Sometimes I find myself being indecisive at times when I just need to get on with things. Other times, I need to listen to people who know more or who have a different perspective. As my Steward, you would have the authority to speak your mind and know that I would hear you out. I might not agree. I might overrule, but I would always listen. Even about food,” she adds with a wry smile. “The context would affect whose words must take priority, but even if I can’t listen in the moment, I would make the time to hear you out later.”
Berra points to Varanis. “Pretty much that, yeah. Stuff I do around the house sometimes annoys Yehna, and I just don’t get why, but if it annoys you, or if it’s politically dangerous, you get to let me know.”
Lenta nods at Varanis. Slower and more formally than she did to Berra.
“I want you to think about it, as you asked. Please don’t feel pressured. If you wish, we could do it on a trial basis. A season or two? And if you hate it, so be it. But I hope you will consider it.” A particularly high-pitched bird calls out from a nearby tree. Varanis glances up sharply, then winces. “My damned head hurts,” she grumbles. “I need more water. Can I safely leave you two here or would you rather return with me to the pond?”
“I will come with you, Varanis.” Lenta answers. 7Insight: possibly there was emphasis on I, perhaps not.
Berra nods, and continues in her walking course, without apparent offense.
Varanis heads back with Lenta at her side.
- 1Insight or first aid: Varanis is still battling a headache.
- 2Insight: polite mask that covers some irritation.
- 3Insight beneath politeness there is embarrassment.
- 4Failed Insight twice in a row.
- 5Ooc – I was looking at Mesopotamian chamberlain type roles. It’s a mix of political and practical – the official responsible for managing a royal household. Not a servant. A person with a lot of political sway. I decided that I’d use the word chamberlain to represent the Esrolian word/concept and steward for the Heortling near-equivalent. It’s possible Varanis doesn’t fully understand differences between the Sartarite and Esrolian ways of doing these things though. So, it’s an honourable and high-ranking position that she’s offering.
- 6Insight: damn if I let you dictate the decision though.
- 7Insight: possibly there was emphasis on I, perhaps not.