Good to be King

1629, Fire Season, Harmony Week, Fireday


Varanis has been sent by Kallyr to Whitewall, to ask them to swear to Sartar. She is in Wilmskirk, on the way there. Session S5-S-01.


Farinst, King of the Locaem and the current City Rex for Wilmskirk in the absence of a candidate who can do better, spends his time between his tribe and the city. His residence is in the Western end of town, where there is a compound with brightly painted walls. Within, statues of WIlms and Sartar guard the doors to the house, along with an actual guard, a Humakti with a greatsword and no sense of humour. He seems to recognise Varanis, however, and pushes the door open. A doorman scrambles to his feet.

“Vareena, here to see the king as requested,” she tells the doorman. “The trussed up one is mine. I’d like to keep the guards on him for now, unless Farinst would prefer to use some of his own in his own hall?”

Varanis is accompanied by two grouchy looking warriors from the Storm Temple, who are flanking Devolin. The Durulz is still mostly bound and his beak is wrapped with cord.

Devolin sits down. He manages to make it look almost casual.

“You’re expected,” the doorman says. “Please come in. Guards too.” He bows, and indicates a waiting area.

“Get up, Devolin,” Varanis says with a sigh. “Now.” She strides into the space indicated, leaving the guards to ensure the little Eurmali obeys, but then casually calls back, “I’d hate to have to use a lightning bolt to get you moving.”

Quack-squark-patter. He runs to catch up. “Ngngnnngnnngnnn!”


She glances around the place they’ve been directed to, taking in the overall appearance.

The doorman is not away for long, but comes to bow to Varanis. “Lady Vareena, this way please.” There are several doors, and he has gone through the most decorated. As this is Wilmskirk, that is a lot of decoration. This one is painted with scenes of Sartar’s founding of the city, the building of the walls, and the making of the city ring.

Beyond, there is a room with oak floorboards, stained and then varnished, to make a pattern of Earth Runes. A dais at the end has a throne on it, where a man sits. He looks like a warrior, a Wind Lord, and an irritated King, all at once.

Varanis makes her way forward, giving the precise bow of a Wind Lord to a king who is not her king. “Good king, I report as summoned, to answer for the crimes of my Eurmali,” she says, going directly to the matter at hand.

“Vareena daughter of Vinga, by association you have conspired against my authority,” he says. “It is good you come freely to answer.”

There are a couple of his guards present, but this is not a formal court.

He looks at Devolin. “Such a small thing to cause a great deal of trouble. Sometimes tiny vessels do indeed hold the loudest Air.”

Varanis winces at the accusation of conspiracy, but does not argue.

“Before I enforce any penalty, do you have something in mind? He is after all yours to punish, even if you are within my law.” Farinst leans back on his throne. His muscles flex enough to endanger his expensively blue tunic.

Devolin sits down again. Farinst ignores the duck.

“I contemplated removing his tongue, so he can’t abuse my name or that of Berra Jarang’s Daughter again,” she admits. “But I am loathe to make such a mess in your hall.” She stares hard at Devolin as she says this. “I will, of course, pay any fines you deem necessary in addition to those already levied by the Storm Temple. Banishing him from Wilmskirk would be wise, though I have no wish to be exiled from your city myself if that can be avoided. My cousin often has need to send me places and banishments make that awkward at times.”

“The decision on banishment will be yours, but I must ask now, if I levy a fine, will he pay it, or will you?” King Farinst might now be drily amused, but the irritation is still there in the background.

She sighs. “He has little, as far as I can tell. I suspect it will be me who pays. I thought about putting him to work to earn the money, but I’m not sure I want to inflict him on anyone else unsupervised.”

She considers further, then brightens. “Got any spare tar? A Eurmali should wear black and white. We could paint stripes with tar on his feathers!”

“I did consider ordering the most traditional of punishments for you,” he says, standing up. He steps easily down from the dais and turns out to be slightly shorter than Varanis, muscular with a layer of fat even a warrior’s life cannot fend off. “But black and white stripes strike me as appropriate. We can dye it, or paint it, as you wish.”

“Let’s use dye, so long as it won’t cause lasting harm. I don’t really feel the need to maim him, this time. But I feel that it’s important to ensure he is clearly labelled for as long as possible so that others don’t fall for his tricks.”

“I’ll have it called for.” Farinst’s approach is half swagger, half promise. “And on a more personal… no, let us have him out of here for this.” He nods to the guards, who are, after all, under his orders as members of his city. One picks up the duck and starts carrying him out.

She watches, then calls after them, “Don’t you dare disappear, Devolin!”

“Keep a hand on him,” Farinst calls out. Then once the doors have closed, his face changes. The irritation is gone, replaced by a distant, maybe superior smile. “To be honest, I am more impressed than angered,” he says, “But then, my name was not invoked. You will have no problems coming back here.”

“Thank you, my lord king. He is a pain in the ass, but he’s also a Lightbringer. He helped me in Hell and I owe him for that, much as it pains me.” She glances again at the door, then back at the king. There’s a question in her eyes, but she doesn’t speak it.

Farinst pulls a slim silver ring from his arm, where it is keeping his tunic sleeve from belling too much. “Send him away from my city, please. And, in token that my anger is not at you, but at your left hand, accept this.” It is chased and etched with water patterns, deep zig-zags and subtle shifts of polish direction giving it texture and making the surface complex despite the basic bent-metal shape.

Her eyes widen in surprise. “That is generous, my lord. Thank you. Do you need any news from Boldhome? Or any messages carried to Whitewall? It’s where I’m headed next.”

“I would be delighted of news,” he says instantly. “As for messages, I think there is little I could ask that does not already go by messenger. Let me go and deal with the dye, and then we will speak. I do not mind keeping your trickster waiting, but every moment he is out of sight is a moment he may be out of grasp.”

She nods. “You are wise in the ways of Eurmali Durulz, I see,” she says wryly.

“That’s a terrible accusation to make to a King,” he points out. Not a fowl accusation. He has more class than that.

Varanis laughs.