1627, Earth Season, Stasis Week
Venlar and Varanis are sitting together, drinking determinedly next to the hearth. “You know, I knew and then somehow I forgot,” she tells him. “How do you forget something like that?”
Venlar says, with a sigh, “Enough drink. However, remembering often then happens when one is sober, and the recollection is all the worse for coming with a headache to play the drums.”1Damnit. Special CON. He can’t put it back fast enough. 2Varanis: Not to be outdone, I just rolled 001
“Do you think they gave us the children’s perry?” Varanis asks, staring into her cup.
“Perry? Mine’s mead.” Venlar offers his own jug over. “But some things keep the mind cold. I remember my first battle, right up until the point it started, and then afterwards I could not write poetry, but I found myself throwing a knife up and down without harm, and watching it spin.”
Varanis nods thoughtfully. “Where was it? Your first battle, that is.”
“Heortland,” he replies. “Other than that, and a few raids, it was only Dragonrise for me. Until that first one, nobody could tell how I would react when it came to it.” He seems entirely at peace with not having fought much.
She nods thoughtfully as she refills her cup. “It’s hard to predict how anyone will react the first few times they fight,” she acknowledges. “And sometimes even later.”
“My father and my sister had a particularly difficult situation,” he notes softly. “They had to trust me with it, and commit to keeping me alive, and then Lord Cracksrock had to persuade others to follow me. I was terrified I would not be whole enough to give command to my sister.”
“And yet you all managed.”
“It is good of you to include me in that,” he says with an amused smile, which fades to proper Orlanthi melancholy. “I think my mother was the bravest of us all. There was nothing she could do, save wave us off.”
“The role of a mother is the hardest of them all, I think.” Varanis looks pensive at this and for a moment it seems she might say something more. Then she changes the subject abruptly. “I’m going to buy a house in Boldhome.”
“A splendid idea,” he says, allowing the change of subject. “Have you chosen one?”
“Not yet. I need some advice and was hoping that you might aid me.”
“Ah, if I can, of course. What is the purpose for which you make this purchase? To be there? To be known to be there?”
“To have a place there, so that we are not always relying on others. A place for any of us to feel at home when we need it. I suppose I may have to be able to entertain from time to time, but that is not my primary purpose.”
“And the position in town, and the various echelons there?” Venlar holds his cup almost idly, but he knows himself, and he holds it over the table that has the jugs.
“That is part of what I need to know more about. I am still trying to understand the intrigues of the place. What will it mean if I find a place in the Ambassador’s Section, for example? Or the High Quarter? Would it be a problem to choose a place in the part called Downtown, presuming there even is a place to be had in such a busy area of the city.” She chews her lower lip. “One of the pockets would put me high up, but I don’t want to go into the mountain side. I want sky above me.”
“You’ll have to balance that against the size of the house and how large a space you want around it,” Venlar notes. “Personally, I’d be asking at the Palace if I wanted to be helpful there, and other than that I would choose a cliffside house, one with a view over greenery if possible.”
“I don’t think I want something the size of a villa. Will Sartarites think poorly of me if I buy something a bit smaller than that? To be honest, it might raise eyebrows in Nochet, but mainly because they’d think I should be in the family palazzo.”
“If you were closer in status to Kallyr, perhaps. This is a matter of how much you wish to boast of yourself, and how much you boast for her. The villa says you are confident, rich, and powerful, but it does come with expectations of gift-giving and entertainments, where a smaller house does not.”
“I do not want to shame her by living too poorly, nor do I want to appear a threat by living too richly.”3Pass Intrigue
“Then a large, comfortable house, bought with her blessing, would be best. If you have that sort of relationship, then being seen to ask where should be might be helpful, I suppose, but the courtly part is outside of my understanding. Something with a room for you, one or two for friends, perhaps even one each if you can house your whole band, and one for the servants, is appropriate.” Venlar glances around. “I may have more here, but I want to have reasons to spend money on the village.”
“I want to be able to comfortably house the whole band. Did you know that some of them have never had a room to themselves long-term?” Indeed, most people outside of a certain class probably haven’t had private rooms, but Varanis seems unaware of this.
“Some have tents, I understand?” hazards Venlar, and takes a deep drink.
She nods. “Yes, but I can’t imagine choosing a tent when there is a better option available. Mind you… Serala always did. Tent or stable for her.” There’s a certain wistfulness in the way she says that name.
“I suppose if one does not want to learn differently,” he says with a mild, dismissive gesture. It is not one he learned from his father.4Did that just look like Eril? 5Depends how much time you’ve spent staring at Eril. But it wasn’t Silor. INTx3 maybe? 699 7… It looks like something Thenaya would do, to put a problem away.
“Well, so… more mead?” Varanis must be offering to get more, because there’s no jug of it near them and her perry has vanished.
“Indeed. I did have some business to talk with you, but perhaps now is not the time.” Venlar is pink-cheeked but holds his drink well. There is a lot of it.
“I’ll get us more and then we can talk. Or drink more and talk tomorrow.” Varanis stands abruptly, wavers a little, and then looks a little green. “Or perhaps… sleep. I might go sleep for a while. After I visit the jacks. Sorry, Venlar. I think I’m done for now.”D8ecided to check CON again. Failed badly this time. 9You criticalled before! Now this means I have to check again too… 10I figured you had because you were rosy cheeked. But also, I don’t know about you, but during an evening of drinking I often discover I’m drunk after I try standing. 11He’d only specialled and you had criticalled, so I was aiming for us both being amazing, but him being a bit tipsy. 12Ah well. Too late. I rolled again. 😛 13And you need to do something else with your day? 14That too. Plus, V drank more – she refilled her cup/emptied the jug of perry.
Venlar says, “I could turn in, I suppose, after a drink of water – I cannot in conscience advise you to drink such as your advisor, but you should, as a friend, accept that advice – we should have a drink of water. This does not have to be in each other’s company.”