The Old Chief

1628, Earth Season, Truth Week, Wildday


The group is back from the Upland Marsh, and is in theory victorious, but is waiting for Berra to be well enough to exile. Session SA3.12.


It is Wildday, in the afternoon. Truth Week is coming to a close, and with it, Earth Season. Berra has been given the room that now belongs to Venlar, when he stays here, and that used to belong to his uncle. She has rested much of the day already. That leaves a lot of people at a loose end, including the chief of the clan himself.1Varanis passes Intrigue and Insight.

Yesterday, Silor was working frantically, sending messengers and messages, and praying privately. As much information went out East as went West to Wilmskirk. The obvious inference is that he was communicating with and about the Enstalos, as well as anything he sent concerning Berra. Today, he is morosely wandering the palisade, making his guards nervous. He has inspected both gates twice.

Varanis joins him on the palisade. “She’s sleeping again,” she says by way of greeting. “Did he do that too?”

“Oh, he got back and opened the door to his room by falling through it,” Silor says after taking a moment to catch up with the conversation. “Thenaya was waiting there to see if he returned. Just in case he went there.” The big man looks like he did not sleep much, himself.

“I hate this. Wanting to help but also knowing what needs to be done. What comes next.” She runs her hand through her hair, disrupting the plaits she’d carefully created that morning. “Did you have an inkling of what he was going to put himself through? If you’d known, would you have let him?”

“I had no clue. He just asked me that thing on the road. I regretted helping him all my life.” Silor stops to look over a wide expanse of fields with the local river running through them. “He said he had a plan, that he’d likely be back within two years, and if I hadn’t heard from him, to use the money he gave me. If you end up with a sack full of gems and matrices, don’t spend it on a revolution. It doesn’t work.”

Varanis snorts, then nearly sobs. “I know what’s coming for her. At least, I have a good idea of it and so does she. It’s ugly and horrible and I’d do anything I could to protect her from it, except that I also owe her my full support.” She glares, glassy-eyed, at the Cinderfox lands. “I hate this!”

Silor turns to look at his village, which lets him lean back on the palisade. “Then think of other things. What will you do to be useful to Kallyr? What is the political situation in Alda Chur?”

The Vingan keeps staring across the fields, but draws in a deep breath and then another. “Staying useful to Kallyr is ever a challenge,” Varanis admits. “I worry sometimes. We are too alike in some ways and it seems I serve her best when I’m not underfoot. I’ll go where she needs me to be, but right now, I’m having a hard time seeing where that is. I’d hoped to return to Alda Chur and work to strengthen the alliance with King Koraki, but that might not be possible for a while yet. Berra… well, no matter. We do need to return that general direction on an errand for your brother. I was wondering about Heortland though. It needs strengthening. I having been thinking about who may be rising in power there and whether or not they can be persuaded to ally with our Prince.” She chews at her lower lip. “What are your thoughts on Argrath?”

“A wily snake, who would be well suited to intrigue were we not already immune to such through our loyalty,” Silor says. It has the glibness of a pre-prepared reply, used before. “You’ll have Dark Season, and maybe Storm, to make plans and plan what you’ll make. Heortland is a good place to look, but they are as divided as might be. They’ve not recovered from the King’s death.” Broyan, who so nearly held off the Lunars, and who threw them off and brought Orlanth back from the dead.

“He has his eyes on Dragon Pass. I’ve heard rumours… rumours only, you understand, that he might have wished for Sartar itself if Kallyr were not on the throne. He has done amazing things. I witnessed some of them myself and once offered him my loyalty. But… something has shifted. I’m not as sure as I once was about him. There are moments…” She shakes her head. “I don’t know what I’m trying to say, except that above all else, Kallyr is my Prince.”

Silor nods. “It is easier to serve than to find a good leader. You have goodwill in Alda Chur, and King Koraki can do with good allies, in particular those who help him at all times, not just when they want something. What else is there to do, then?”

“Well, Berra might need some forgiveness before visiting Koraki is possible. She got kicked out of Alda Chur.” There’s a wry laugh. “Did we forget to tell you what she did?”

Silor perks up. “I had heard, but only rumours,” he replies. “I could think of them all as true… But we are talking of your friend again. You will have … ah, to hell with it. Tell it. Sing it. Make it good. Then talk of other things.”2Varanis passes Sing.

Varanis manages to compose a passable piece in the epic tradition to describe Berra’s exploits in the wake of the battle. The potentially troubling events are treated with gentle mockery through the medium. While it’s not worthy of a bard, the song has good bones and could probably be made workable with effort.

Silor listens with a smile, and at a couple of points he even chuckles. Finally he pulls from his arm an invisible, intangible arm-ring, and offers it over. “Fine imagination deserves fine imagination,” he tells her. “And you will have to imagine just how fine this is; the purest of gifts, therefore, more refined than gold.”

Varanis laughs. Together, it seems they’ve shaken some of her gloom. “Thank you, mighty chief!” she tells him, sliding the arm-ring on. It fits amazingly well, despite being slid over her vambrace.

Silor nods approvingly. “Now, I need to go find out what is going on three hours’ travel from my door, and perhaps see my wife and discuss whatever it is that is on her mind, and probably eat. Give an old man a headstart and then drop down from here, and everyone will know I feel old and they should leave me alone?” He pushes himself away from the chest-high wall of the palisade, and his body language is not old at all.3Varanis fails Insight to realise that Silor is feeling old and like his work is still ahead.

Varanis watches him go, a look of admiration in her eyes. He’s not so very old, despite his words. After a couple of minutes, she makes a showy jump from the wall, ending in a graceful roll to her feet. Orlanthi to the core.

He goes down the steps lightly, raising a hand to someone down there, and disappears into the tangle of roofs and rooms and greenery that is his Greathouse.

  • 1
    Varanis passes Intrigue and Insight.
  • 2
    Varanis passes Sing.
  • 3
    Varanis fails Insight to realise that Silor is feeling old and like his work is still ahead.