VS 049 Negotiations

Varanis — 1626 0680 Negotiations

????, Fire Season


Context

Fire Season, back in Nochet after the aborted trip to Rhigos [[[s01:session-34|After Session 34]]]

Events

Back at House Saiciae, after returning from the aborted trip to Rhigos, Varanis seeks out Dormal. She eventually finds him in quite a large, well-appointed room in one of the swankier parts of the palazzo.

“Dormal?” Varanis calls from the hallway without entering the room. “May I come in?”

He looks up. “I suppose you may.”

She steps in. She’s dressed more in a man’s fashion than a woman’s but looks more Esrolian than Sartarite today. “I need your help,” she says directly.

He takes a sip of wine. “That must be a bitter pill to swallow.”

Varanis shrugs. “I had to answer you as I believed was right and I still believe that sneaking into a place to take something is wrong. I know it seems different for you… I’m Vingan, you’re….” Her voice drops really low, just above a whisper. “You’re Eurmali.” She watches for a reaction to her words.

He doesn’t react to the statement for a moment. “An interesting theory. And just what is it you need my so very undesirable help with?”

“Orlanth always needs Eurmal sooner or later.” There’s no judgement in her words when she mentions Eurmal. She continues quietly, “We need to retrieve the spark for the Flame of Sartar. It’s in the Underworld. We think it’s going to require something like a Lightbringers Quest and for that, we need a Eurmali. You’re kin, and while I might not always agree with the choices you make, I’d rather have you at my side than any other of Eurmal’s chosen.” She pauses and draws in a deep, slow breath as she considers her next words. Always, she is watching him.

He laughs. “Just a quick jaunt to the underworld in the middle of the hardest heroquest there is, eh? So you get your shot at the throne of Sartar. Other than almost certain death, what do I get?”

Varanis shakes her head quickly. “Not for me. For Kallyr and for Sartar. He was my grandfather many generations back and I need to save him.” Her eyes are shining with sincerity. “I will shield you,” she offers. “You would be under my protection, as long as you didn’t do anything so heinous that even the gods would look on you in horror.”

He chuckles. “I don’t care about being protected. And I’m certainly not going to wander into the underworld so you can hand the throne to someone else. And how, out of curiousity, were you planning to survive bringing the flame back? You have a claim to the throne. And now you’re going to bring back, from the underworld, the absolute sign of authority in Sartar. And you think you’re not going to be a candidate for the throne? Who else knows you’re doing this thing?”

“What can I offer you, cousin?” There’s a soft emphasis on the final word. She doesn’t yet answer the other questions.1Dormal rolls on insight and passes. ((insight: She’s pretty much in all out truth mode right now, and may not have answers to those questions. She also seems to be completely willing to accept him as family in spite of fully believing that he is Eurmali.))

“You can start by telling me what you know. I won’t make a decision like this blindly. Does Kallyr know you are doing this? Does Leika? How did this come about?””2Varanis also passes insight. ((insight – is dealing with you as an outsider to the clan – does not trust you))

Varanis nods thoughtfully. “Kallyr, Tennebris, and Eril know and offer their support. It was Eril who sent me to find you and Irillo. At Dormal’s raised eyebrow, she adds, “He had a vision.”

“Kallyr knows you are doing this thing. And how were you planning, assuming you get the flame, on surviving the political situation once you bring it back?”

“The others in our party know as well. Berra and Rajar went to Prax to find Nala, because according to Eril’s vision, we need her too.” She seems a bit confused by this last part, as Ernalda isn’t part of the Lightbringers Quest.

“You realise if you do bring it back she will have little choice but to… neutralise you before someone, possibly you, possibly Leika, uses you to take the throne?”

“I will declare my support for Kallyr publicly,” she says. “Kallyr knows that I have no desire for her throne. Grandmother seems to support me in this too.” The last has slightly less certainty.

He laughs again. “That is not how it will play out. You are a Collymar, and of Royal Blood, and you will have brought back the flame. Your protestations that you do not seek power will make good propaganda for when the knife plunges into Kallyr’s back. “The only question is whether you will be permitted to live to take the throne. More useful perhaps if you died heroically, and you new clan can move in to take the throne to honour your memory.” Varanis listens in horror as he continues relentlessly. “Win -win for them really. And the equation is the same from Kallyr’s side. Did you pay any attention while those oh-so-expensive tutors were teaching you the secret history of Nochet?”

“I am sworn to this thing and it’s the right thing to do,” she protests.

“I’m sure that will make a pretty couplet at the end of the poem whichever faction wins will commission in your honour. You know, to thank you for your sacrifice. If you want to survive this thing, plan to take the throne on your return, and quickly.”

“Dormal, I have to do this. And maybe I won’t survive it, but maybe it’s about more than me. The Lunars are coming and Sartar is the buffer between them and Esrolia. Whether I’m alive or not, a strong Sartar protects our people.” Her confidence has returned and her eyes once again shine with sincerity and something more.

“Either take the throne or find a way of committing suicide that doesn’t involve dragging me to the underworld.”

“It’s not about me. And I can’t do as you ask. I would be forsworn. If you won’t help, so be it. I will have to find another way. There’s always another way.” She holds her head high, but there’s regret in her eyes.

“Well. I suppose that’s it, I expect you’d be unwilling to meet my price anyway…”

“What is your price?” she asks.

He raises an eyebrow.

“Surely we can at least consider it?”

“Five hides of land here in Esrolia, ceded to my family, officially, before we go. And…”

Varanis waits expectantly.

“Next time that barbarian Humakti instructs you to offer me violence, or insults me in your presence, you will strike her. Successfully. And you will not, ever, on your honour, ever explain why.”

Varanis takes a long, slow breath, and considers his words. “I will have to ask Grandmother about the land. I cannot be certain that I will be allowed to give you even my own land, but given that I am unlikely to have children of my own to pass it to, that might be the best choice.” She nods decisively. “I will speak to Grandmother.”

Another breath as she thinks about the second request. “What you ask regarding Berra is possibly the more costly of your demands. I need her and to strike her without explanation is likely to result in destroying the bond between us.”

“How tragic,” he says. “I imagine the very same chain of thought passed through your mind when you hesitated for… what was it… no time at all when you attempted to strike me on her command.”

“It undermines what we do. You will be willing to go into the Underworld with me, knowing that Humakt and Orlanth are at odds?”

“Very well then forget the second request. I think we know whose cousin you truly are, and on whose kinship you call merely because it is convenient for you. You may go.” He turns to look out the window.

Varanis looks ashamed when reminded of her attack on her cousin. “For what it’s worth,” she says regret in her voice, “I was wrong. I should never have attempted to strike you. It was a betrayal of our kinship. I’m sorry.” She walks away.

Some time later, she returns to find Dormal still in his new room. “Grandmother has consented to one hide of land for you and four for your family. And while I will not strike Berra without explaining why, I will protect you from her.”

“Acceptable, I suppose.” His answer is curt. “When do we leave? I need to buy armour.”

“Is tomorrow too soon?”

He shrugs. “Probably not, if I get started now.”

Varanis nods and leaves him to his preparations.