Smoke and Mirrors

1628, Dark Season, Disorder Week, Clayday


It has been two days since the Wyter was bound. Session SA3.13.


Once Berra comes home from the Temple, brought by a palanquin, she is greeted by her sister, who commandeers the small lower room off the Praxian chamber, rather than have Berra walk upstairs or be used as a climbing frame for Haran.

Varanis wants to help carry Berra’s sleeping hides and other stuff down personally. ((Someone present and observant might note that she searches the stuff first.1Devolin was in the House
Berra sleeps on and under a folded hide, on a wooden platform. Her sister has added a fluffy woollen blanket, and some grass-stuffed pillows.

The sword comes with Berra, although now it has a case to keep profane eyes and hands from it. Berra keeps it next to her. Her own weapons, Wind Tooth and Alum, are sheathed and hung from the wall above her.

Haran wants to sleep with the horses once he finds out he cannot sleep in with Aunty Berra. Yehna persuades him to look after her cousin and husband, in Berra’s room. Yehna should be in politics.

On Clayday, late in the eve but midnight, there is a scream from the kitchen, and a crash.

Varanis, who had been in her room, comes tearing down the stairs and into the kitchen. She has her sword in hand, but is unarmoured.

Ore is outside the kitchen, on the other side of the Praxian room, trembling.

Within the kitchen is a figure made of smoke, the golden scar glowing gently. A lamp has shattered on the floor. It looks like Ore woke up and went to use the latrine. Her bed is empty.

“Am I really such a terrifying prospect?” the figure asks, glancing down at Varanis’ sword without apparent worry.

His voice is modulated for disappointment. Upper-class Sambari disappointment, with added regret at others being so foolish.

Varanis mutters a choice curse or two, goes to sheath her sword, and realises that her belt, with the scabbard, are still in her room.

“We’ve had a problem with Eurmali recently,” she tells the Wyter, after resigning herself to standing there with sword in hand. “You know, if I lose my staff because if you, I’m going to be very cross. Where is Heleris?”

“Have you tried laying down poisoned bacon fat?” he suggests. “And while on that subject, how is this kitchen laid out? I have no idea where or indeed who Heleris is. I was just screamed at by someone who dropped a lamp and ran.”

At that point, the door slams open, and Heleris shouts in alarm, framed in the doorway. He was apparently outside.

“I’ve got it, Heleris,” Varanis says, ignoring the Wyter for a moment. “It’s just Lord Raven. He’s with Berra. Ore is in the other room and could probably do with some soothing. Can you check on her while I sort things out in here, please?”

“Oh, you have a stick. How useful,” Lord Raven tells Heleris. Helping.

Heleris backs away a step. People made of smoke were not in his training.

“Oh, just shut up, will you?” Varanis says irritably. “Heleris, come on. Let me walk you through the kitchen. You,” she says jabbing a finger in the Wyter’s general direction, “Let me get him across. You can harass me, but not my people.” She glares, then heads toward the servant, clearly assuming everyone is going to do as commanded.

“It’s brave to come in without a weapon,” the Wyter replies. Heleris backs away further. “I’ll go round the front,” he mutters, and flees into the darkness.

Lord Raven tsks.

“Argh!” Varanis glares more. “What are you wanting? Why did you invade the kitchen?”

“Invade? I felt hungry, and my Wyter Priest is asleep.” Lord Raven says that like it is the most obvious thing in the world. Of course you go to the kitchen for snacks.

Varanis blinks. “Can you… can you eat?”

A withering look from someone made of smoke is still a withering look. He reaches out to prod the wall. “Solid. I have weight, mass, and upon occasion, hunger. As your servants are out, please direct me to the nut jar.”

“Right. Well then…” Disgruntled, Varanis points to the section of the kitchen where Ore keeps things like dried fruits, nuts, and other useful snacks. “If you’ll give me a moment to deal with the lamp, I’ll show you around properly,” she tells him, attempting to rediscover her manners.

He looks a little confused. “Oh, yes. I suppose you do have rank here. This is your house as well.” He is tall enough to reach everything down, and he does that, investigating the pots and jars, before reaching for an expensive-looking bowl to put everything into.

Grumbling, Varanis gingerly picks up the broken shards of lamp. “Ore, there’s lamp oil and smaller fragments on the floor,” she calls out. “Tell me where there’s a rag or something I can use to clean it up?”

“On… on the shelves at the far end,” Ore calls. “In the woven basket. Is it still there?”

He is,” Varanis says, stepping through the kitchen carefully, so as to avoid putting her own bare feet in the oil or stepping on any broken pottery.

Lord Raven hums tunefully as he works, shaking out food into the bowl. “As I am taking the part of your staff, I suppose I should be certain whether you want any. You could do with feeding up, of course.”

She shoots another glare in his direction, bristling, “I’m fi..” then sighs. “Yes, please. A small snack would be suitable.”

He finds another bowl, and divides up what he has poured out, expertly, then brings both bowls to the table. He sits with the elegance of someone who has forgotten how tall they are, and then looks irritated by having misjudged the stool.

Having cleaned up the mess as best she can in the dark, Varanis says, “I’ll be back in a moment,” before slipping out to talk to the servants.

“He seems set to eat in there just now. If you’re not comfortable returning to the kitchen, there are blankets and rugs in that basket by the hearth. You could use those and I’ll tell you when he’s gone back to the other room.”

She tries to sound matter-of-fact, like having a Wyter in the kitchen is nothing of note.

Heleris takes a while to get around, and Ore is still opening the door to him when Varanis gets there. “Is he a ghost?” asks the groom.

“No. He’s a new Wyter. He lives in one of Berra’s sword and he’s still getting used to it,” Varanis tells them.

Ore puts a hand into her husband’s. “I don’t like him.”

From the kitchen Varanis can faintly hear an exasperated, exaggerated, sigh.

“Listen, just go curl up by the hearth. I’m going to have a snack and later we’ll try to work out how we’ll all get along.” She pats Ore’s shoulder awkwardly, and heads back into the kitchen.

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    Devolin was in the House