Serala — Unmeeting Of Minds
????, Fire Season, Season/Movement Week
Fire Season/Movement Week/Freezeday/Early Afternoon
Serala and Xenofos, in the White Grape, using the War of Words
Serala and Finarvi have been camping out by Dormal’s door, but as Xenofos passes by in the afternoon, the female Grazelander stands from her easy position. “Finarvi, stay put. Call me if Dormal arrives.” Apparently she is in the mood for giving orders and expecting to have them obeyed. She pauses, regarding Xenofosfor long moments. “You. We’ve rarely talked. I’m bored of you dismissing me as an ignorant barbarian. Your room. Now. We’re going to talk.” The usually-silent one suddenly has a lot to say for herself it would seem.
“You would have words lady? Very well.” Xenofos seems to have been pondering something and is a bit startled before answering in perfectly politely. His tone is icy cold though.1Serala fails to read anything into Xenofos’ demeanour: Insight Human Fail
There are heavy shadows under Serala’s eyes, and just the edge of bleariness in her gaze. “I’m offending you already?” she asks. “Fair enough, I can work with that. I’m still a barbarian to you, but I won’t accept ignorant.” She lifts an eyebrow, tilting her head towards the door of Xenofos’ room; at least she has the courtesy to wait for him to open it.
“Please come in. No, you have not offended me, as far as I know. “
“Then why the lack of warmth?” Blunt, to a fault, perhaps. Or simply too driven by truth and honour as she perceives it to sugar coat. Or maybe just tired. “Should I have brought beer?” She steps into the room and leans herself up against a wall. “I need to know what you’ve found out so far. Irillo says you went to the library to find out about this damned heroquest. I’d also like to hear your version of it.” A very near smile on her face, lips managing to quirk upwards just a little, “If you would be so kind, sir.” If he’s going to ‘lady’, she’s going to ‘sir’, apparently.
“It was a red dawn to wake to, hence my lack of mirth. But very little solid to know. And even less that I would be willing to speak before understanding the matter. Despite your reasonable request.” Nod. Xenofos is not smiling. “Library offered no clear answer.”
“Stop wallowing. We all woke to a red dawn, and it sounds like Irillo came off worst.” Serala points out. “Tell me what you do know. And I’ll tell you what I know. Which may be less, or more, but until we start talking and exchanging information we are not helping each other; and by extension, helping the Lunars.” Chilly blue eyes fix on your face. “So. From the beginning. How did you get into this mess? Dormal? Varanis? How did you get there, and who were you?”
“You seem to make mistake me for a vendref, mylady.”
“I seem to mistake you for a travelling companion, and someone who gives a damn about what is happening. I am not going to kow-tow to you because you wear silks.” Serala snaps right back. “If you want me to get Varanis and get her to order you to talk, then I will, but I am damned tired of information hoarding. And if you have no interest in being of help and use to this group of people, I will act accordingly. I am asking for information, not your firstborn.”
“Gathering and saving information is what Lhankor Mhy do, my lady”
Serala appears, in general, to be oblivious to offence caused or anyone else’s point of view other than her own. 2Honour: 98. Fail. Truth: 93 Fail.
Serala steps forward towards Xenofos. “For your information, the Vendref have earned my respect. You have not,” she whispers quietly. “I am open to you doing so, or even… you telling me what you damned well want from me. But do you not understand, information gatherer… that you need my information too, and I came in here offering it? A small fact you appear to be overlooking in your eagerness to look down your nose at me and stay that way. Your Grandmother offered me respect, but you will not even accept there may be anything I have to offer this party? Are you really sure that is the tack you wish to take here?”
Raised eyebrow. “You came in here with commands on people that are not yours to command. Making demands, disrespectfully. And I refused your demands. But I assure you there is no disrespect in that. “
“Why do you think I can’t command you?” Serala asks. “Who do you think is in charge around here? Because if you want a hierarchy, I’m sure we can arrange one.”
Shrugged shoulders “I am a free man. I do what I choose to, minding the demands of honour, clan and the Truth.”
Serala steps back, forcing down her anger. “Fine. Fine.” She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. “Shall we begin again? I am Serala of the Pure Horse People and I would appreciate your help, Xenofos of House Saiciae. Would you do me the courtesy of sharing your experiences of last night with me?”
“Serala of Pure Horse People, I am grateful you choose to frame your question more politely. I am troubled and mystified by last nights events, having been roused from my sleep and having a vision of fall of Boldhome when on the streets. I want to understand this more fully before I discuss it.” He looks less stern, “… and you were not there.”
Okay. Progress. Serala manages to not twitch, forced – from her perspective – to dance around what needs to be said in circuitous routes, but she will work with it. “We all shared the same vision,” she clarifies. “Everyone I have spoken to, at least. We all have different perspectives. We all reacted differently. Would it not be of benefit for all that were drawn in to share their personal viewpoints in the hope of finding a greater truth?”
Slow nod. “You had a vision?”
“Why yes. I walked in the steps of Sanra-Eel,” Serala notes, still obviously, consciously breathing slowly, trying to control herself. “So if I am a little more terse than is even normal for me, I pray, good sir, you will forgive me, for I had to battle the spirit of an abhorrent creature into submission and that may.. just may.. have taken away what few reserves of patience I have at the best of moments. This, Xenofos of House Saiciae, is not a good moment. And that might help you understand why it is taking all.. all.. of my energy not to knock together the idiot heads of the fools who dragged us into this with no warning and left my skin crawling with the touch of a filthy Lunar. It also might explain why I came to you, seeking answers, because unlike everyone else, I didn’t walk where she led, but forced her to take my path. I assure you, if Eril had found Sanra-Eel in that ‘vision’, he would not have been shot or burned, because some of us have the strength of mind to not bend to parasites.” She takes another deep breath, before her legs suddenly start shaking, and she slides down the wall to sit on the floor. “I have not slept since. I cannot sleep until I have answers. I do not want to feel that touch on my soul again, Xenofos. Help me find answers.” She looks up, the ice melted for a moment, and something rarely shown is there. Vulnerability. “Please?”
Cold expression is returning. “I would not see this repeated.”3And still Serala fails to understand what might be troubling the Esrolian. Insight Human: Fail. Again. Serala, not so good with people…
Serala looks up, her expression almost betrayed as she takes in that cold expression. She closes her eyes for long moments, and he can see the line of her jaw harden. “Well, Xenofos of House Saiciae, you got what you wanted. My information. Some of it, at least. And have given nothing in return. I hope your God is happy.” Another long pause, girding her loins for the simple act of standing up. “I shall, therefore, bid you good day.”
“I woke to people having left the inn. A boy told us Varanis and Irillo would need us down in the streets. Finarvi will tell you what the alleged plan was. I suppose that patrol leader will also tell you the vision we had. Like I said, the library gave no clarity.”
The Grazelander comes to a halt, listening as Xenofos speaks. “I swear I’m finding and disembowelling that helpful boy,” she mutters, before turning back once more. “Thank you,” she says softly. “I assume you do already know it was the 1602 invasion of Boldhome? Sanra-Eel was one of the commanders. I did not find the rest, I was going to find them, to kill them, vision or not, when it faded. I think.. and this is speculation.. that Eril was captured, rather than killed. He has some sort of history with Jar-Eel, I believe. I know they are not truths, but perhaps they may help. I.. would be wary of Eril. I think we need to find out what happened, but I don’t see him telling us. I am waiting for Dormal, to find out what he expected to happen. It may fill in some missing pieces.” She holds up her hands, “That’s all I have to offer you, but perhaps you will find it of some use.”
“I thank you. I still don’t understand, but your piece of the puzzle may make it easier to see whole red picture. And Dormal… yes Dormal… It will be fascinating to hear what he has to tell… “
“Won’t it just…” For a moment, near amusement flickers on Serala’s expression, before she offers you a half bow. “Tomorrow, I shall return to being a barbarian for you. But I… think.. we may have more in common than either one of us might admit in public.” With that, she does slip away and returns to her Dormal-vigil.
- 1Serala fails to read anything into Xenofos’ demeanour: Insight Human Fail
- 2Honour: 98. Fail. Truth: 93 Fail.
- 3And still Serala fails to understand what might be troubling the Esrolian. Insight Human: Fail. Again. Serala, not so good with people…