Varanis — 1626 0704 Echoes
????, Fire Season, Season/Movement Week
Fire Season/Movement Week/Freezeday/Afternoon [[[s01:session-38|Session 38]]]
After the events of the second Lunar quest, most of the group is sitting in the common room of the White Grape, drinking Rondrik’s alcohol and pondering recent events.
Follows immediately after [http://journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/finarvi:language-lessons Language Lessons]
Xenofos has returned from his errands before Varanis and Finarvi come from training. He is scribbling in corner of the common room. He does not look angry. There is weariness and sadness in his visage though. The Vingan and Grazelander, sweaty and full of laughter sit and drink for a while.
Finally, Varanis rises from the table with a wave to Finarvi, and swings by Rondrik to pick up another amphora of wine and a jug of water. She slides into a space at the table where Xenofos is working and pours them both wine with rather generous amounts of water. She doesn’t say anything, just watching as Xenofos works.
The Scribe finishes the sentence and accepts the cup with a nod. He meticulously cleans the quill and makes certain the inkhorn is well closed. Slowly he rolls his shoulders and leans to the wall. For a moment he closes his eyes before turning his head and looking at his cousin.
She looks back at him, steadily. She appears to be relaxed for the first time in a long time and the merriment she just shared with the Grazelander lingers in her expression.
Xenofos starts to speak quietly “Harsalter, separated. Andrin, separated. Jarang, separated. Farnan, separated. Saronil, separated….” List goes on and on, with slow but steady pace.
Varanis listens carefully. She’s confused by the recitation, but does not interrupt. When he reaches the end, she asks quietly, “The Household of Death?”
“The Doom. Yes, the record of dead of Household of Death.” Xenofos shakes his head. “We heard their names recited at temple and now I seem to hear it echo on and on.”
Quietly she asks, “It is their relics we will search for?”
“All dead. Not just throwing dice with their lives and accepting the risk but setting the loosing combination on the table on purpose.” The Scholar looks pained.
Varanis looks startled. “What do you mean? I know that Harsalter swore an impossible vow, because Berra told me a bit about him when we first visited the place where the Flame should be.” She looks slightly pained as she recalls it. It could be the memory of all those stairs, but it might be the irony of having sworn her own impossible vow at the same location.
“He was eight!!!” That is almost a sob.
Varanis puts her hand on her cousin’s. “It was war. People do desperate things. He made the Lunars pay, and we will too.”
“I have been to war and fought. It is never pretty, but that is madness… It hurts Our Mother Ernalda.”
Varanis just nods sadly, and pours a bit more wine into his cup.
“If relics of that household are hidden it were perhaps better they were never found…”
“Why?” She thinks for a moment. “Is this was Dormal was trying to do with the quest? And if so, why? And if they are hidden, why were they hidden and why shouldn’t we find them and restore them to Sartar?” Varanis seems to have many more questions, but forces herself to stop lest Xenofos be buried under the onslaught.
“Does the hall of Humakt not have enough heroes already? Would it do Sartar any good to have another household of massacre?”
“What do you mean? Are they not already heroes? Or do you think this would lead to the rebirth of the household?” Varanis sounds puzzled.
“I mean the Sword Hall and its dead denizens. Not halls above ground and initiates and Swords breathing and living. And yes repeating the deceased household is what I fear.”
“So you believe that if we find the relics, the Household of Death will be reborn in some way, and more people will die because of this?” She considers her words carefully. “Xenofos, aren’t they going to die anyway? The Humakti are already drawn to death. Berra already speaks of the Sword Hall and seeks to join it one day. Do you think that finding the relics will make it worse somehow?”
“We all die, but we should not hasten it in vain.” There is a small pause, Xenofos drains his cup and you can almost see how he slowly gets on top of his emotions and starts thinking. “I fear… But no I don’t really know what use these relics would have to anyone. They could serve as focus for recreation of the deed. But also just as focus to Humakti regiment… In Lunar hands they could perhaps be used in finally defeating the household, not just killing its members”
“What good is there in finding them? Switch sides in this for a moment, and tell me why we should look for them.” Varanis refills the cup with wine, but leaves room for water.
“That is a very good question my lady. I don’t know.”
“Think, Xenofos. There has to be a reason why we are looking for them. Who stands to gain? What did Berra say? I assume she went with you or that you have told her about this already.” Her words are meant to goad him, but gently.
“We come back to whose idea this was originally. Also royal funds were hidden.” Xenofos looks solemn.
“With the relics? Do you think this is about Dormal trying to get rich? He has lands now and is rather well off. There has to be something more,” Varanis insists.
“I don’t know what he is up to. I think there is someone else on similar tracks so we may have to follow the leads anyway.” Xenofos says the words with distaste. “And those others may be following him, co-operating with him or even leading him. Or be him in disguise…”
“And if someone else is trying to do this, can we afford to let them get there first? What if they are working for the Lunars?” She looks embarrassed. “It wasn’t Dormal who sold me the information to find him. He’s right – that was a stupid thing for me to do. At the same time, if I hadn’t, we wouldn’t have a clue about what is going on now.”
“Tricksters know illusions…” he says. “But Berra brought instructions from temple of Humakt to correct things by going through that quest again. So we maybe on path that does not hurt the temple of Humakt and advance base lies.”
Varanis shakes her head. “It wasn’t him, Xenofos. He was genuinely furious with me for following him. There was no deception in that.” It takes her a moment to process his next statement. “Wait… again? We need to do that quest again?”
“We already did, as instructed.”
“So these are not new instructions?” Now she’s definitely confused.
“No. The ones Berra brought yesterday, after the first debacle. So even though Dormals creativity brought us into red haze temple of Humakt suggested just pushing through again. And mysterious critter on the street brought instructions how. I wonder where Dormal was then?”
“I had been following him and Salid, but I lost them in the streets and somehow ended up finding Finarvi instead.” She shakes her head in puzzlement. “I’m still not sure how that happened.”
“And conveniently someone had the information where he would be, and later on how we could continue…” Xenofos mutters. “It is all muddy, but we should discuss what we are looking for and why.”
“Yes, I’m willing to agree that was too convenient. But, I don’t think it was Dormal. He was probably someone trying to make sure that our cousin was unsuccessful. A competitor, perhaps?” She nods. “Yes, we should discuss that and probably with everyone all at once.”
Raised eyebrow. “Perhaps, at least the what and why. Uncovering secrets just because one can is not always wisdom.”