VS 082 Xenofos returns to the Bothy

Varanis — 1626 0735 Bothy 04

????, Fire Season, Season/Illusion Week


Fire Season/Illusion Week/Clayday/ Shortly before Yelm’s Rise. [[[s01:session-42|Session 42]]]

Varanis has been standing guard over Berra, the bothy, and the dire relic contained within all night.

This continues on from [http:journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/varanis:1626-0734-bothy-03 Xenofos at the Bothy]//

SPOILERS for Xenofos’ inner demons.


The first rooster has sung, dew has fallen. Xenofos is looking for Varanis.

Varanis is still guarding the bothy. Berra is still asleep. The Vingan looks tired, and grateful to see her cousin.

With bloodshot eyes and pale skin, Xenofos looks pretty awful in the cold morning. It would seem he has not slept.

“I have meditated on Truth and Honour. I found no answers.”

“Then try again in a few days. Try on Godday, when you will be close to Lhankor Mhy.” She can be as merciless as the Humakti sleeping nearby.

The Humakti sleeping nearby looks small, and peaceful.

“You have requested to hear truth of things I rather keep hidden, hidden from the world, hidden from myself. I still don’t believe summoning those dragons brings any good.” Xenofos speaks quietly, at times slowly, but not with enough pause to reply, silencing possible attempts with a gesture. “But you have vouched for me, when I have strayed from Truth.”

His cousin listens and does not try to interrupt.

“And you are my liege whom I failed in service, so I try to be… Try to say…” He pauses. “You are entitled to Truth as far as I can tell it. You were not present at Dragonrise. I was. So were many others, most just glad of Lunar defeat and great victory. I felt just terror, but that was normal. So did many others. But for most it passed when the wyrm had flown. “

She listens intently, watching his face as he speaks. She doesn’t even make her usual listening noises, though Xenofos’ quiet words don’t fall into silence. The birds are beginning their chorus, celebrating Yelm’s rise.

“Somehow it felt like nothing was ever the same after that. The horror that had been unleashed for good cause just made wine sour and bread taste like ash. I was happy to return to home and not worry of mundane dangers of war, of course. Studied, caroused at times. Hunted. Played my part as gentleman. The dreams, well they were are times bad but seemed to lessen with time. The wings, the gaze. Standing on deserted beach under Full Moon… Emptiness just grew. Returning to Sartar was bad for the dreams. You see those mountains?”

She nods, without breaking her silence. Yelm is still behind the line of hills to the east, silhouetting them clearly.

“Behind that third ridge is the place it started its flight. But Sartar was good in other ways. The feeling of being totally detached has lessened. I have more reasons to get up in the mornings than mere custom. I am less numb.” He continues, “I suppose the change was in Boldhome when I was sure Kallyr wanted you dead and I wanted to guard against that. I even suspected little Berra of being her assassin… These latest days though, finding myself in Lunar form, returning under that ridge, following those relics…” He nods towards the bothy.

The Vingan’s eyebrows shoot up at the reference to Kallyr and she looks like she is about to speak, but then she bites her lip and waits. Berra stirs in her sleep, but wakefulness is not in her.

“Stupidly I thought I could flee with that stuff. Like poppy seeds, just stronger. That was hugely stupid.” Xenofos raises his head and looks at Varanis.

She is watching him intently, eyes suspiciously damp, though no tears are in evidence.

“That is true. Is it truth? As much as I dare seek it myself,” Xenofos adds.

“You know you aren’t alone, right? You don’t have to face this alone.” Her voice is hoarse with emotion.

“I will tame my dragons. Myself. I don’t think anyone else can.” There is stubbornness and determination in that voice.

She steps forward until she is toe to toe with her cousin. She gently pulls his head towards hers until their foreheads rest together. “You are not alone, cousin,” she whispers.

“I … I know and that means a lot.”

She steps back. “We both need some sleep. Even a couple of hours before whatever this day brings. Yes?”

Xenofos is wiping his eyes and nods without a word.

Varanis turns to look at Berra, still happily sleeping. “It seems a shame to wake her, but…” She shrugs. “Berra,” she calls out, not loud, but hopefully loud enough.

Berra turns over, stretching as she comes towards waking.


“Your turn. I’m going to get some sleep. It was a quiet night, mostly.” At least it was in terms of the bothy, so it’s not really a lie.

“Yehna?” Berra half opens one eye, and then is awake, instantly. “Oh. Right.” Just like that, there is another warrior on duty.

Seeing that the Humakti is truly awake now, Varanis turns to go, nudging Xenofos to get moving in the right direction. “I’m glad you came to me, at last,” she tells him. “For now, let’s find some sleep. We can take some more strides forward when we’ve rested.” She yawns suddenly. “Goddess. I haven’t slept more than a few hours in a row since… well, probably since the Wilmskirk healers made me sleep.”