VS 053 We need to talk, Cousin

Varanis — 1626 0695 Talk

????, Fire Season, Season/Movement Week


Context

Fire Season/Movement Week/Freezeday/Early Afternoon [[[s01:session-37|Session 37]]]

Xenofos and Varanis have a talk in Varanis’ room at the White Grape Inn.
Takes place after [http:journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/serala:unmeeting-of-minds Serala talks to Xenofos] and before [http:journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/serala:making-sense Serala and Finarvi talk to Varanis]

Events

There is a knock on Varanis’ door. She opens it and on seeing Xenofos, she steps back to invite him in. The Vingan is dressed in the clothing she usually wears under her armour, but doesn’t have the armour on yet. Her hair is neatly plaited, but in a single plait rather than the Saiciae style. The room is surprisingly tidy, for Varanis. There’s a table and a couple of chairs, in addition to the bed.

“Again we need to talk cousin.”

“We do,” Varanis agrees quietly. “Will you sit?” She indicates one of the chairs and seats herself in the other.

Xenofos eases his sword belt and takes a seat. “Library was of no immediate use. Treasure chest information otherwise. Though the stories I read were rather sordid.”

Varanis tries not to look disappointed at the lack of success in the library. She’s wearing her emotions pretty openly at the moment, so she doesn’t fully succeed. “You tried,” she says in response. “Where can we look next?”

“I have a pretty good idea, not that I like it though” Xenofos draws the rapier idly for an inch and snaps it back into the sheath. “Do I understand correctly that you were following Dormal, to give him aid if he needs it, without instructions from him?”

“Or to stop him, if needed,” she answers defensively.

“I see.” Xenofos stares through the opposing wall.

“There wasn’t much time to explain,” she adds, still defensive.

“Did Dormal say so?”

“Dormal didn’t say anything. I didn’t speak to him. I overheard him sneaking out. I just wanted to follow to see what he was doing….”

He gives her a long look. “I trust you tell me the truth. Good. I would hate to think you were actively launching what looks like a Lunar heroquest in Boldhome.”

Varanis looks stormy suddenly. “Never,” she snaps.

“Yesterday I would have said that I never show up as Lunar trooper in a vision.” Xenofos is speaking softly, quietly, with cold stare.

“I didn’t make that happen,” she growls at him angrily. “I was a Lunar too.” The anger flees as quickly as it came and now she looks horrified. “I didn’t make that happen… did I?”

He shakes his head. “You and I got involved by putting our nose forward for protection of others. And I am burning with shame for it. But it would seem our former kinsman is the origin of this.”

“Former kinsman?” Varanis looks startled.1 Varanis rolls on insight: 10/35. Insight: You may never actually have seen Xenofos angry before, now you do.

Xenofos is slightly pale and hiding a small trembling. “Eurmali are outside honour. Outside law. Outside kin.”

“And yet, Orlanth protected Eurmal…” she says quietly.

“That is what they s-say in these barbarian lands.”

“Do we know, for certain, it was him?” Her words are still quiet, her expression a mix of hope and worry.

“It seem so, 143 chanches to gross. And if it is so it would seem he deserves a knife in the back, crabs to eat his flesh and no memory.”

Varanis looks devastated. “But, he saved Berra. How can he be a Lunar supporter?l

“I don’t know if he supports anyone but Dormal. But this time he seems to have crossed one red line too much.”

“I…” She’s at a loss.

Having gotten rid of some of his bile Xenofos slumps down a bit. “But we don’t know for certain, yet. “

“And what do we do if it was him? I won’t kill him, Xenofos. He is still my cousin. And we need him…”

“It would not help to kill him publicly anyway, shame on family name would still remain.” Xenofos looks sideways to Varanis “And with association your reputation…” Cold analysis flows with small interruptions. “Yet I have no stomach to finish him in secret and cover one shame with shame of murder. So he lives as far as our actions determine that.”

Varanis asks, “Has anyone been able to find him yet?”

“Not to my knowledge. The Grazelanders are keeping watch, but I find it unlikely for him to appear.”

“He promised to help with our quest. He can’t just disappear!” Varanis looks upset. She’s worrying at the tail end of her plait. “You don’t think he’s been hurt, do you?”

“I don’t know. But I do think that there are people who would gladly see him hurt. “

“How do we fix this mess, Xenofos?” She looks vulnerable and at a loss. The confidence that has so often been her shield is stripped away, suggesting that it was a flimsy construction to start. Unconsciously, she begins to chew on the tail of her plait in a gesture that reminds Xenofos of the gawky child he first met back home.

“It is possible that we can’t. But we start by trying to pick up every scrap of knowledge to explain how a runt of an enlo with a vagrant trickster could weave a ritual strong enough to draw in people not prepared, just by association to roles of their own enemies, to roles of mortal men, not heroes.” Some of the cold anger has passed. Xenofos is back to business of amateur historian trying to sort out tales from varying accounts of unreliable writers.

Varanis seems to realize what she’s doing with her hair suddenly, because she glares at it for a moment, before flipping the plait back over her shoulder. She takes a long, deep breath and visibly steels herself. “Maybe we should see who we can find and start working on a plan,” she says.