VS 099 Wyter’s Welcome

Varanis — 1626 0761 Wyterwelcome

????, Earth Season, Season/Disorder Week


Context

1626 Earth Season/Disorder Week/Fireday/middle of the night, after [http://journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/varanis:1626-0759-helping-hand Varanis tucks Mellia in for the night] [[[s02:session-1|Session 1]]]

Events

As quietly as she can, Varanis taps at Xenofos’ closed door.

Xenofos opens the door quietly. His armour is in the corner. Some writing on the desk, illuminated by the lonely flame of oil lamp.

The Vingan is in full armour. “I can’t sleep. I’m going to the Flame,” she says softly. “You can come with me, if you want. I promised not to slip away again.”

Xenofos nods. “Thank you, Varanis. I’ll just throw my armour on”

“I’m going downstairs to see if Berra is in. I will wait for you there.” In full armour, it is difficult for her to be quiet on Rondrik’s old stairs, but she does her best. When she gets into the common room, she peers into the darkness in the general area of Berra’s bedroll. “Berra? Are you there?” Varanis calls quietly into the darkness.

Xenofos is surprisingly quick in reaching downstairs. He has left his greaves and spear behind but carries shield and javelin.1He might not fully trust the patience of the Vingan and the Humakti.

A grunt from the corner indicates the Humakti is awake enough to hear. The sound of someone picking up their sword is easily discernable in the darkness.

Varanis greets Xenofos with mild reproach. “I promised to wait. Why would I have woken you if I didn’t intend to keep my promise?” She turns back to the direction the sound came from. “I’m going to the Flame,” she says by way of explanation. “I wanted you to know and to have a choice about whether or not you will come. I can’t leave Boldhome without seeing it one more time.”

He looks at Varanis questioningly, then himself. “…. I know those stairs. Thus the lighter kit.”

Berra asks, “Is there a problem?” She is a pale figure in the darkness, in just her padding.

“No. I just wanted you to know that I’m going to the Flame. I didn’t want to leave without saying anything and I wanted you to have the choice of accompanying me, if you choose.” After a pause, she clarifies, “Part way. You can accompany me part way.”

“I’ll come. Give me a moment. And I should check the area before you go to it.” Berra goes to haul her armour on.

“Need help, little cousin?” Xenofos offers.

“No, just need to get good at these buckles.” Berra bedecks herself with bronze, including the helmet with its single black feather. She does not seem to have the other set with her.

He nods his acknowledgement.

Varanis waits, with uncharacteristic patience. Her breathing is slow and steady, her thoughts seemingly turned inward.

Berra does not waste time, and is soon a short but impressive-looking warrior. She goes to wake Rondrik to lock the door behind them.

Xenofos observes Varanis silently.2She’s thinking hard about something. It’s not agitating her at all, but it’s got her focus. Xenofos observes that this is a nice change.

The Vingan waits politely for Berra to deal with the door. Door, spells, walking out casually. Berra makes it look like she has done this before.

Xenofos looks to Berra questioningly. “Risk of proper attack should be pretty low, but how do you want us formed?”

“One out front,” says Berra, “One behind. Left and right. But not too far. We’ll see anyone coming anyhow, or hear them.” She sticks easily within earshot, walking with the pace of someone sweeping the various houses and alleyways by habit. A little out in front and to the right, Berra paces without hurry. She does most of the looking forwards, but sometimes walks facing the way they have come. Varanis matches her pace to Berra’s, staying a few steps behind, heading in the direction of the unofficial stairs to the brazier, with Xenofos keeping watch on the left flank, occasionally looking back the way they came.

Varanis doesn’t argue. She even looks around as she goes, not letting her internal distraction dominate too much.

“Varanis?” the Lhankor Mhy says in the darkness.

“Hmmm?”

“Please only makes new vows if you absolutely have to.” Berra, out ahead, laughs quite a lot.

His cousin turns to look at him, raising an eyebrow. Xenofos returns the look steadily. “I will do my best,” she offers.

He looks quite serious, but corner of his mouth looks like it was twitching. “I know.” The voice of the sage is free of joking.

“Listen, you two can come most of the way. But, I want to have time alone with the Flame.” Varanis takes a slow breath. “Please.”

“Of course,” Berra says. “But we check the area first.”

He nods. “Of course.” Then adds, “But Berra does make sense…”

His cousin sighs, but nods agreement. The streets are relatively quiet this time of night. Anyone who is out, doesn’t seem interested in crossing their path.

At the foot of the stairs, Berra starts up first, going at the pace in which she would climb in her lighter gear. Halfway up, she pauses where a natural landing allows for three to pause, and two even to sit. After checking there are no lurkers around the next corner, Berra says, “Pause here. Please.” The city beneath them glints in the light of the Flame, or nestles in shadow.

Varanis pauses, turning to stare over Xenofos’ shoulder, back the way they came.

Xenofos nods to Berra and looks at the dark rise ahead.

Berra seems lost in the gleam of the city. “I don’t really want to go. This is my place. I hate to be pushed away.” She sounds resigned rather than sullen.

Xenofos tries to reassure her. “If you have your place, you can return.”

“I’m sorry that we are taking you away from your home again,” Varanis says softly.

“If it was the Balkoth, I’d stay and try to fight them all. But I can’t fight my tribe.” Shrugging is easier in scale than in her leather. Berra does that, glimmering lightly. “But it’s not you. Don’t worry. Be angry, not sorry, or don’t bother having a feeling. If you’re not going to win, you shouldn’t be in that fight.”

“It was for Sartar though…” Xenofos says quietly.

“Mhm.” Berra stands taller, suddenly. She is still not very tall.

Varanis looks at the Humakti. Standing above Varanis on the stairs, they are almost at each other’s eye level. “I can feel sorry about what you have to sacrifice. And I can be angry about why you have to do so.” She shrugs beneath the bright bronze of her armour. “Emotions are meant to be felt.”

Berra, in her helmet, leans back on the wall again, and takes a moment to think before speaking. “But you don’t have to. That’s my decision. I’m not sacrificing. I’m deciding. It’s up to me to think about being angry, and then even that… no. It’s not a place for anger.”3Insight: that moment spent before speaking was spent reacting to Varanis, and something in what she said hit home, hard. Yet when she speaks it seems to be the truth.

Varanis smiles gently at the Humakti. “Part of friendship is knowing that others care for you too. Just as you are entitled to feel your own pain, I can share in it without taking anything from you or surrendering who I am.” She shrugs again. “You can’t change me, Berra. When I love a person, then I laugh with them and I hurt with them. As long as I don’t let it cripple me, then let it be.”

Xenofos is scanning surroundings but nods.

“Besides, it’s been a long time since I felt anything but guilt and resentment. I’m enjoying the complexity of all of this.” She smile makes the corners of her eyes crinkle.

Berra gives the stair behind her another glance. “You’re made of storms and Earth. I’m a river, I suppose. Always moving. So if you’re worried about me on a day, there will be a different day and I’ll be different.”

Varanis laughs. “How about you flow your ass up those stairs before Yelm rises,” she suggests.

Berra tsks. “Such language,” she says, and turns to keep going. She is breathing pretty hard by the time she gets to the Flame, and there was certainly the use of a spell to help on the way, but she makes it in one try. Then she indicates Xenofos to take one route around, and she takes the other.

Xenofos scans his area and seeks a vantage point far enough from the Flame to give Varanis privacy for her discussion.

Berra, having done a circuit, walks some way up towards the Palace to put herself on that path and give Xenofos the thinner, narrower way to hold.

All signs of laughter and teasing are gone as the Vingan’s eyes are drawn to the Flame. She approaches the brazier.


Varanis approaches the Flame, getting as close as the heat permits. Then she kneels facing it, her sword placed carefully on the ground in front of her knees.

The warmth is not purely physical. It is also an enfolding sense of nurturance.

She tries to clear her mind, to meditate.4And passes on the first roll! She’s never tried to meet a Wyter on her own. The times that she has done so before were led by priests and priestesses and with ritual. She reaches with her mind, as best she can, mentally calling out, “Grandfather?”

The sense is momentarily overwhelming. No words. Just a solid force of power. A brief flash of vertigo as she soars over Sartar.

“Grandfather?” she asks again. In her there’s a deep longing for place. A need to find a home and to know her family. As she reaches for him with her spirit, she is asking for that. Is she of Sartar? Is this who she is?

The feeling she receives in return is one of acceptance. She enfolded in the warmth.

She tries to communicate what is happening, apologizing that she has to leave for a while.

This appears acceptable. The flames almost hug her, and then release.

Varanis rises. “Thank you.” Before she departs, she offers the Wyter some of her magic in gratitude and is rewarded with a final warm embrace.

After some time, Varanis quietly rounds up Berra and Xenofos. She’s ready to go back down and possibly sleep a little before Yelm rises. She’s silent the whole way back, but has a peaceful look to her.

Berra does not lose the air of professionalism, and asks no questions, save, “Left or right?” to Xenofos as they walk her back. He remains silent, merely responding to the questions and suggestions with hand signals and nods.

When they arrive back at the inn, before they step back inside, Varanis quietly asks Berra for an escort to meet with Eril in the morning.

Berra just nods, and scratches at the door to signal to Rondrik.