1627, Fire Season, Illusion Week
Varanis needs to prepare for Divination and asks Venlar for help.
At the camp of the Esrolian Free Company. After Session 2.44 (Queen of What Now?)
After dinner, while the evening is still young, Varanis seeks out Venlar.
He is not far away. He has, since putting on a new shirt when he returned, been close by without obviously hovering. His sense of timing is well trained.
“I prefer to worship outside, when possible,” she says with little preamble.
“Ah indeed,” he says. “I had been thinking of converting the tent into a spiral. More open than that?”
“I need to be able to see the sky and feel Vinga’s breath on my skin.” She glances upwards and then at Venlar. “It helps.”
“There would not be a roof,” he says, but he is already looking around for somewhere. “I suppose I am your guard for the evening?”
“You ought to be fresh for travel tomorrow and I rather suspect I’ll be up most of the night. I was contemplating having you get me started and then having the guards be drawn from the camp. It might give them…” she searches for a word, then shrugs. “Connection, perhaps. Purpose?”
“That is a fine idea,” he says. “Is it too late to have them find a place, or would you prefer to do that?”
“I’d prefer to choose. I want some kind of elevation if I can. It’s coming into Clayday, so the more height the better. I love Mother Ernalda, but I need to fly rather than being grounded, so that Orlanth can hear me.” She looks around for possibilities, then adds, “You mentioned that you have brushes for woad? I have my Blue Tree woad, but would need help applying it.”
“I have,” he says. “No mirrors, but my hands are steadier now.” Venlar’s hair is mostly escaping from his hairband’s grasp, but he has not really got the bandit look down pat. He looks like someone very rich, accidentally out camping, and enjoying it.
“I’ll get the guards sorted while you begin preparations? I imagine that you’ll need time to prepare the space once we have located it. There were some rocks that looked easily climbable down the road that way,” she says pointing. Then she looks at him. “Um. How well do you climb?”
“Slightly better than I ride,” he answers. “I am not dressed for it, but I could gird up my skirt.” Expensive linen is good for crushing up into easy to wear shapes.
“Hmmmm… We could just use the boulder. It’s not of any great height, but I’d be off the ground and I already know it’s stable. Smaller rocks to construct the spiral.”
“It should be where those who do not know the mysteries cannot see. Not all here are Orlanthi, and if you wish to reach the goddess, you should start from the right place.”
“As you say. But let’s try to ensure that no one falls.” The decision made, she looks eager to move, and then she hesitates, her confidence slipping. “Would you… advise me? I know what I think I should ask, but I am unsure about how best to phrase it.”
“We will have to be bringing guards up,” Venlar says in agreement. “And informing those not of air what is happening.” Then he takes a few breaths, and admits, “I am not entirely sure what you wish to learn. How can you best put it to me, then?”
She thinks a moment, then speaks in carefully measured words, “I wish to ask Orlanth the King how best to use these warriors to serve Prince Kallyr and Sartar against the Lunars.”
“Orlanth the King,” Venlar notes. “Then he may talk of honour, of leadership, of what is right. It should be a question about you, and not a question about them, I feel.”
“I see. Then perhaps I should ask how best I can serve Kallyr and Sartar and fulfil my responsibilities to these people? Or even more fundamentally, is my place at the head of this company?”
Venlar considers the possibilities for a while. “The former seems to rely on Orlanth having current knowledge, unless the entire answer is to be ‘as best you can’. The latter, I think, could well work. Are you a fit Orlanth Rex for them?”
“Yes. That is the right question. Thank you. I have to know the fundamentals before I can even contemplate what comes after.” She looks relieved, hopeful even. “I’ll go seek out the guards I need and a guide to a good location. It’s already late enough that I’ll want help choosing after all.”
Venlar bows his head slightly. “I shall see that we have the makings of a fire,” he replies, and goes off to do that.