VS 045 Be Careful

Varanis — 1626 0675 Be Careful

????, Fire Season


Context

Fire Season, Some time after Varanis, Xenofos, Serala, and Finarvi got on the boat to Nochet [[[s01:session-34|After Session 34]]]

Events

On the boat to Nochet, Varanis looks for a quiet moment to talk to Xenofos. Xenofos raises look from his notebook “Yes, cousin?”

“Do you think…” she start, then hesitates. Finally she blurts out, “do you think Dormal is Eurmali? I’m trying to think of why Tennebris is sending us after him. Unless he’s meant to be our Flesh Man. But, that doesn’t seem right, and Tennebris knows we need a Eurmal for the ritual.”

Thoughtful pause. Nod. “Now that you say it aloud, yes. Yes I do.”

“I’m not sure how I feel about that,” she admits. “I’m also worried about what price he will demand for his cooperation.”

“It is despicable. And a risk to his welfare. But it would free him of some of the demands of honour.”

“He’s still our cousin, Xenofos.” Varanis looks torn.

“Yes. Still of our blood. But outside the law of honour, outside the law of nobles, in a way even below the common people.” The Lhankor Mhy looks quite stern and sounds like he’s reciting a lecture.

Varanis is clearly troubled. “I know, but maybe we can help him find his way back? Surely he can change.”1Too funny – I just rolled on loyalty Saiciae and made it for the first time in ages.

Xenofos gives her a long questioning look, then shrugs. “Would he want to? “

The Vingan looks away. “Probably not,” she answers eventually. “Which brings us back to the question of how we get him to cooperate in the Quest.”

“Cajoling. Threats. Bribing. I honestly don’t know. He took part in the hero quest for Voria – going into trance just before me. That is why I suspect him of being Eurmali – for Eurmal had just talked with Arroin… who was Mellia… who knows this for sure…” Xenofos trails off while he gets logical confirmation to his thought.

“I don’t think threats would work with him. Bribery might though. I’ll have to consider what I’m willing to offer in exchange for his help. I’ve already rejected the one thing he asked me for and I think he’s still angry with me for taking a swing at him on the road.” She looks regretful. “He’s probably right to be angry about that.”

“That is price of being Eurmali… “

“Hmmm…. perhaps. Do you think Grandmother knows?” She grimaces at her own question. “She either knows or she suspects and doesn’t want to know for certain. She knows everything.”

“Granny? Well I could ask her.” Xenofos seems a bit oblivious to the general reputation of Grandmother.

“Let’s consider that. If she knows we know, she might understand why we need him. And if she sees value in our Quest, she might give us the leverage we need to get his cooperation.”

“I don’t see why not. Though it might be tricky. He seems a bit greedy, but is not economical like Irillo. Eurmal the Fool is one of Orlanth’s ring but Dormal might not appreciate that kind of recognition. Or maybe he would.”

Varanis sighs. “I don’t know what motivates our cousin. He is a difficult man to understand. First, we have to find him. Are you familiar with Rhigos at all?”

“Never been to the place.”

“Me neither, but I’ve heard rumours about it. I don’t know that I’m looking forward to visiting it.”

Xenofos raises an eyebrow. “I could think worse places. And I can see attraction it might have for Dormal.”

Varanis stares out over the water for a time. “When we get to Nochet, you’ll be spending a lot of time at the library and in House Saiciae and you should be safe enough there. But, be careful in the places in between. I’m not entirely happy leaving you behind,” she says at last.

His eyebrow shoots higher. “Are you planning on running somewhere? Unattended, that is?”

“No. I’ll stick to Finarvi and Serala, as planned. Who knows what might happen to Finarvi in a place like Rhigos?”

“Still only two blades beside your own. Good bows for the road, but foreigners when in town.”

“I’ll discuss an extra guard to two with Grandmother, if you also agree to consider extra precautions whilst in Nochet,” Varanis says.

She gets a silent stare. Or glare. Varanis meets her cousin’s gaze evenly. There is no hint of compromise in her expression.

“I don’t try to cage you. It would be courteous of you to not try putting leash on my goings either.” Xenofos is clearly displeased.

“All I ask is that you think about it. I make no other demands, Xenofos. I trust you and have faith in you. It’s the rest of Nochet I don’t trust right now.” Her tone is slightly conciliatory, but only just.

“Precautions make sense. Letting you out of my sight for extended period does not.”

Varanis snorts. “Now who is attempting to put a leash on someone?” Her tone turns serious again. “We need you to do this research, but we also need to recover Dormal. Time is a factor here, cousin.”

“Your trip south would not be made slower by my riding.” His tone is a bit less sure.

“It’s not your riding, Xenofos. I don’t want you to rush the research. We need to know what our options are for this Quest. We need to learn anything we can about Indrodar’s necklace as a route into the Underworld. And we need to know about how changing a quest midway through might affect things.” She adds, “we also need to know anything we can about Sartar himself, including his original quest.”

“For once it sounds like you have thought this through. I will be still worried about you taking a headstart to the quest.”

Varanis bristles a little at the “for once” statement, but her tone is free from annoyance. “We will come right back for you once we have Dormal,” she assures him.

“Very well, mylady. At your request I will remain. And be cautious even though I worry not for myself.” Xenofos is clearly against the idea, but he cannot argue with the logic Varanis is using.

Varanis impulsively hugs her cousin. “Thank you for having faith in me.”

“Be careful, Varanis.”

“Always.”