Varanis — 1626 0745 Grave Conversation
????, Fire Season, Season/Illusion Week
Fire Season/Illusion Week/Fireday/Afternoon [[[s01:session-44|Session 44]]]
At the White Grape Inn.
Warning, contains spoilers for Varanis’ and Xenofos’ emotional states as the quest looms closer.
Varanis heads up the stairs to find Xenofos. She knocks quietly on his door, in case he is sleeping.
“Who is it?”
“Varanis,” she replies softly. “May I come in?”
“Please enter,” accompanied by the metallic sound of sword placed on a table.
She opens the door and steps into the room, glancing around. “I have a couple of questions for you, cousin.” Another dim lit room, again vellum on the table.
Nod. “As do I for you. Please take a seat, cousin.” He motions to the chair and leans against the wall.
She takes a seat, shifting her sword as she does so. “Do you want to start, or shall I?” she asks him, gazing up at him seriously. “And would you sit? You are looming. There’s enough looming over me without adding you to the list.”
Xenofos sets himself to edge of his bed. “Please, do start.”
“First, how have you been doing? Any issues with the poppy?” She’s not pulling punches on this. Blunt and to the point.
He raised an eyebrow. “No. Should there be?”
She shrugs. “Mellia says it can be unpredictable. I had to ask and I trust your answer.” She takes deep breath. “So, second. I may not survive what we are planning and there are things I need to take care, just in case. I need your help.”
The eyebrow shoots even higher. He takes a deep breath. After a small pause, he asks quietly, “In what way?”1insight human? Pass. Hidden feelings. Worry or anger. And he was going to say something else.
She studies him. “What was the other thing you wanted to say?”
“Nevermind, what kind of help?”
She raises an eyebrow at him, but doesn’t press for more. “I need some letters written. I can do it, but not well and not quickly. And some of the letters need to be in some sort of code.”
“That I can do. I think.”
“I need to report to Grandmother Saiciae. With that letter, I want to send one to my grandmother Mirava asking her to warn my sister and brothers. But that message has to look innocent. I don’t know how many people know about my siblings and I’d prefer not to expose them or the children. Mirava visits my sister, who is her name sake regularly, to see her granddaughters.” Her nostrils flare as she inhales deeply again. “And I need you to find out what happens to my hides in Blue Tree Tula, if I die. If I have any say in it, I’d like the tenants to be permitted to stay and the land be used to help support Mellia’s temple. But I don’t know if Sartarite law allows me to determine what happens to the hides.”2Xenofos rolls on and passes insight: She’s working very hard at being practical. Underneath that mask of calm, she may very well be terrified.
“I will ask around in the Temple,” he says. “The first one may take some thought, but should be doable.”
“And maybe… would you help me write to Serala?” She rushes on, “I don’t know where to find her right now, but I know her clan. We could send it there.
“Can she read?” he asks. “Stupid question from me, she’ll use scribe to read like many others. Of course.”
From around her neck, Varanis pulls out a crystal hanging on a gold chain. “I need to wear this, but… if the worst happens, will you make sure it is returned to my sister? It’s a family heirloom.” Gazing directly at him now, she adds, “Burn me with the arm ring, my sword, and whatever else you deem fitting. And bury my urn somewhere up high with a good view.”
“Those instructions will be followed if possible.” Xenofos is holding his voice steady and almost succeeding. “Anything else, milady?”
“When do you want me to dictate the letters to you?” she asks.
“Maybe after I have asked my questions to you?”
She nods and watches him expectantly.
“Do you honestly think we have a chance of succeeding in returning spark and Kallyr with this heroquest?” His question is preceded by short silence, but comes with clarity and no hesitation. Honestly gets extra emphasis.
“Yes. I do. We have a chance. There are no certainties, but it is the best chance we have right now.” She is committed to this.
“You trust Eril, with history of deceit and killing for Sartar, to be honest now?” Words are harsh, tone – not judgemental, but inquisitive.
“Yes, I do. His Honour is unbending and I’m certain that he would kill for Sartar again and won’t hesitate to kill me if that’s what it will take. But he would not be proposing this if he did not believe that there was a chance we could save Sartar.”
“And do you do this because it is in your mind the right thing, or are you perhaps hoping to throw your life away heroically, instead of living it day in day out? Afraid to face life after Kallyr is dead?” Xenofos speaks clearly but quietly, looking intently at the face of Varanis.
There’s a hitch in her breath at these questions. But she looks at him directly as she says, “I’m certain it is the right thing. And I’ll be honest with you. I think I need Kallyr, in some way, but I am even more afraid of dying. I feel like a coward, Xenofos. My hands shake and my knees will barely hold me when I think on it too closely. But I also know it’s right.”
“Then I will not try to talk you out of it, even though my heart would command so.” Xenofos’ voice is a bit sad but quite steady; tears are flowing from his eyes.
Varanis’ own eyes are glassy. “Thank you. Your support matters to me more than you can know.” Quietly, she asks. “Do you mind if I rest here a while? You can keep working on whatever you were working on and I could sleep for just a bit. I didn’t sleep much last night.”
With a nod, Xenofos gathers himself up from the bed and goes to the table.
Varanis takes his place and curls up on the narrow bed. “Wake me in a little while, please.” She’s asleep almost before the words are finished.