Varanis — 1626 0718 Haziahaze
????, Fire Season, Movement Week
Fire Season, Movement Week, Wildday? [[[s01:session-41|Session 41]]]
Wilmskirk, Temple of Chalana Arroy
A messenger arrives at the Temple to Chalana Arroy in Wilmskirk an hour after the party left town, with a verbal message for Mellia: “I need to see you. Can I come to the Temple? -Varanis”
Mellia says to the messenger, “Tell her to come – Jaldis isn’t here.”
It isn’t long before Varanis arrives. She’s dressed for the road, fully armoured and with her horses carrying her gear. “Is there somewhere quiet we can talk?” she asks when she sees her cousin.
Mellia nods and leads Varanis to a quiet spot. “Are you feeling better?”
“Yes,” the Vingan says, “but I’m really confused. I don’t understand what happened.The last clear memory I have is of going to check on Xenofos. After that, things are really hazy.”
“Someone,” Mellia replies, “put a mixture of dreamroot and hazia on the coals of that brazier. You didn’t get as large a dose as Xenofos. We had to drag you both out and treat you at once.”
“It was awful. Everything was wrong in my head. You know, I even thought about cutting out my water runes…” She shudders. “How is Xenofos? Can I talk to him?”
“Xenofos is unconscious and best left to sleep for now, Varanis. He breathed in quite a bit more of the drugs than you did.”
The Vingan looks really worried. “Can I see him before I go?” she asks quietly.
Mellia nods. “He’s in no danger of dying now. He may have used either dreamroot, hazia or both before. If he has, especially hazia, his body will crave more and be weak for a time.”
“Surely not.” There is disbelief and denial in Varanis’ expression. “But if it’s true, you can help him, right?”
Mellia nods. “We can help him. I am taking him to Jaldis in Boldhome in the morning. She is better than I am at treating such disorders. Don’t worry, we’ll have an escort of spearmen. It seems that hazia is banned here and Xenofos is in trouble.”
“What? It is? He is? What can I do?”
“I am not certain what you can do, other than talk to the priest of Orlanth Rex. Hazia is banned here. A search of Xenofos’ room turned up a quantity of unused hazia. I don’t believe that he was selling it for a moment, but that is the charge.”
Varanis looks stunned. “I will speak to him,” she promises. “Um… Mellia, do you need funds for his care? Donations to the Temple?”
“Donations never hurt,” Mellia says with a faint smile. The smile fades. “I just hope this isn’t from that huge heap of Chaos-tainted hazia we found at that farm, the one with the Chaos temple beneath it.”
“Where else could it be from?” Varanis asks quietly. She rubs her temples.
Mellia shrugs. “Dormal would know better than I who sells hazia in Sartar.”
Varanis hands a pouch of coins to her cousin. “For expenses or donations as needed,” she says quietly.
“I’ll talk to the local Storm Voice,” she promises. “Is there anything else I can do?”
Mellia nods and tucks the pouch safely away. “I don’t know. I almost hope this was a sneaky poisoning attempt. He took too much of the drugs, Varanis. You may have saved his life by checking on him and making enough noise to bring the rest of us up there.”1Mellia rolls successfully on insight: The idea that Xenofos nearly died terrifies Varanis. She’s covering by being practical and leader-like, but she’s deeply shaken.
“Can I see him?” Varanis asks softly. “I won’t disturb him. I just need to check on him.”
Mellia hugs Varanis. “It will all be well. You’ll see. It may take some time, that’s all.” Mellia leads Varanis to where Xenofos is sleeping in a cot. “Don’t wake him; he was having a bad time.”
Varanis stares at the pale man on the cot. She swears quietly under her breath. “Can I just sit a while?” she whispers. “I’m going to follow the others shortly, but I just want a few minutes, please?”
Mellia nods. “Would you like me to leave?” she whispers.
Varanis shrugs. “It’s ok, either way.” She takes a seat near the bedside.
Mellia tiptoes out and finds something useful to do within range of a shout.
Interlude: From Varanis’ perspective
I’m sitting by Xenofos’ cot, as he lies unconscious. I’ve promised not to disturb him, so I talk to him quietly.
“What happened to you? Did someone do this to you, or did you do it to yourself?” He looks so pale and thin. Has he been losing weight he didn’t have to spare these last several weeks? Has this been going on under my nose and I’ve just failed to see it?
His breathing continues slow and deep, as if he is in calm sleep.
There’s a lock of hair on his forehead. I gently smooth it away. “I feel like I’ve failed you in some way. And now I’m going to leave you. Mellia will care for you and make you well again.” I feel guilty, like I am abandoning him. “I have to go. They need me. If you don’t find your way to us, I will come back for you. But I need to get to Cinder Fox Tula. I have to. It feels… urgent.” Am I making excuses?
“Wings,” he whispers. “Always the wings.”
“Shhhhh,” I whisper to him, smoothing my hand over his forehead again. “They aren’t here. You are safe. When you are well again cousin, we are going to talk. There are things you’ve buried deeply and they’ve left wounds that need lancing. You are either going to tell Mellia or you’re going to tell me. But things can’t stay as they are.” I feel strongly about this, but I try to keep my voice gentle, so he doesn’t sense the turbulent emotions I’m struggling with right now.
” ‘Zza Troll in the corner. Dormal’s glowing red. All the eyes flow. Glow.”
I have to go talk to the local Storm Voice and smooth things over. Rising, I lean down to kiss this forehead. “Goodbye, Xenofos. Get well and find your way back to me,” I whisper to him.
He gives a little scream at the touch. “M-maggots!”
I jerk back and try not to look panicked. I’d promised not to disturb him. “Shhhh… it’s ok,” I whisper, hoping I sound soothing. “Shhh, Xenofos. You are safe.”
Silence. Just the pale skin and pink-blue lips.
With a sigh, I leave the room to find Mellia and say goodbye. Before I step through the door, I turn back to take it in one last time. I don’t know how or when he went from annoying cousin to beloved friend, but he has. And I need him to get well. I can’t do anything about that, but maybe I can help with the local authorities. Time to find out.
He looks like a corpse. Maybe it’s an omen.
When she’s done, Varanis steps out of the room, head high and spine straight, looking more like a noblewoman than a worried cousin. She finds Mellia. “I’m going to find the Storm Voice now and then I’ll hit the road. Travel carefully and take care of him, please. Take care of you too.”
Mellia nods, looking more like a worried cousin than a skilled healer. “Travel carefully, Varanis. I don’t know where the others are headed in the long run, but it’s probably nowhere good.”
“That’s why I need to catch up. We are losing people. First the Grazelanders, and now you and Xenofos need to return to Boldhome…” There’s a worried frown on the Vingan’s face, as she adds, “I hate leaving you two, but I think they might need me more.” There’s something about her tone that makes it sound like she’s reassuring herself that the choice is the right one.
Mellia nods. She suddenly puts on her professional manner. “They do need you. Xenofos will have the best of care this side of the Great Hospital.”
Varanis pulls Mellia into a hug. “Take care and be extra careful with Jaldis,” she whispers.
Mellia hugs and whispers back, “I always am. Fare well.”
The Vingan nods and turns away, striding out of the Temple without a backward glance.
- 1Mellia rolls successfully on insight: The idea that Xenofos nearly died terrifies Varanis. She’s covering by being practical and leader-like, but she’s deeply shaken.