Setting Wards

1629, Sea Season, Movement Week, Windsday Eve?


Nayale messed up badly at the Library. Varanis talks to her afterwards. Session SA4.16.


Once they escape the Library, the cool night air refreshes them both.

“Do you understand what I did there? Why I did it?”

“You were angry? I understand why.” She looks upset by having failed.

“No. Do you remember me warning you that I would need to seem angry?” Varanis asks, watching Nayale’s face closely. She has a hand on her shoulder, not yet allowing her to fall behind to her usual guarding position.

“Yes, but … you looked so cold, and so hard!” Nayale is still trying to keep an eye on the surroundings, but looks as nervous of Varanis as she does of getting Varanis hurt on her watch.

“And with me being so awful about it, how could the sages make a fuss? I effectively made myself the monster, so that they had to be reasonable,” she says.

Nayale blinks. Now as she walks, she is coming to terms with that.

Varanis gives her time, before asking softly, “Can you forgive me?”

“You’re my ward,” she says stoutly. “So I don’t have to.”

Varanis comes to an abrupt halt, turning to take the young woman by both shoulders. “You do not have to put up with shit from someone just because you serve them,” she says fervently, giving Nayale a little shake. “You get to stand up for yourself. I can be a real pain in the ass to serve and I did my best to make sure any bodyguard I was assigned did not want to keep the job when I was younger, but you do not have to put up with that. You are worth more.”

Nayale stares. “But I’ve been told to look after you!”

Varanis snorts. “And sometimes, looking after people like me means telling us to shut up and listen. Or telling us when we’re being brats. I know you don’t think it right now, but you did well in there. You made a mistake, you took responsibility, dealt calmly with cruelty, and then worked to make things right. But, now that we’re out of sight and earshot of witnesses, you can absolutely be angry with me. Mind you, maybe save anything loud until we get somewhere we won’t wake anyone. My point is that part of protecting others is being able to think for yourself and decide if they are wrong. I don’t think I was wrong in there on the whole. I had a plan and followed through on it. But, I didn’t consider how it might affect you.”

Nayale takes a few moments to be at a loss, and then says, “You’re still my ward. Even if you were protecting me!”

“Good. You’re arguing. That makes me happy. Now, let’s get back and get some sleep. How do you feel about taking a shortcut down that alley?” The alley in question is foreboding.

“We should go left up the road instead.” She is back to professional.

“Good call,” Varanis agrees.

They make it back to the inn without further invitation to explore dark alleys. Varanis does not even suggest a single rooftop climb the whole way.

Nayale gets chatty for a bit, as the fear wears off. She talks about Harmakt and how he is going to be guarding Berra tonight, and about how they helped exercise the Wyter Priest’s animals on the way down, and about how Berra keeps them on their toes. Then she remembers herself, and shuts up, and they are not far away from the inn and the alleyway.

“Will you be able to sleep?” Varanis asks.

“I’ll try. I know I need to be awake tomorrow.”

“Good. Let’s slip in quietly and we can both seek out our sleeping hides. Tomorrow will come early. I’ll be off before Berra awakes, to greet Yelm. I’ll come back for you and we’ll head back to the Library immediately after breakfast.” To Raven, she adds, I should leave you with Berra tomorrow, I think. I’ll need to go from the Library to House Saiciae and she will need you as she prepares for worship. I’ll be back from the palazzo in time to offer you my prayers and partake of the rituals.

She is my Priest, he notes. I will let her know you are well, if she is not awake. He seems to doubt that last part.

Nayale nods. “I’m outside the door tonight, but Harmakt’s taking my place, so I’ll come in. We sometimes swap.”

“You’ll need some sleep, so you have a clear head in the morning.”

Nayale nods. “I will sleep, but this way you get privacy. Does Lady Berra not sleep outside your door sometimes?” That confuses her, but she remembers to keep her voice down. “I thought she protected people. And they say she sleeps in mid-air.”

“She has protected me many a time,” Varanis answers softly. “Even when I was an ass about it and didn’t deserve her. She’s… you keep her safe. As long as she’ll let you, guard her back.”

Nayale draws herself up, ready for action. Taller than Berra. “Yes. It’ll be our lives.”

Varanis squeezes her arm. “Thank you.”