Varanis — 1626 0779 Mastyr Minds
????, Earth Season, Death Week
Earth Season, Death Week, Waterday. Midmorning. [[[s02:session-5|Session 5]]]
At House Saiciae in Nochet
Continues from [http:journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/berra:up-on-the-roof Up on the Roof]
Continued in [http:journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/varanis:1626-0781-varanis-venlar Cousins to Be]
The sound of knocking on the door comes not long after Xenofos has left. The door is answered by an elegantly clad woman, whose red hair is piled high in the complex style of the women of this house. “Yes?” she asks curiously.
Mastyr, the nandan kept largely as a cook, is a familiar face to Varanis. He is wearing malachite eye shadow today, and silver earrings, and a long, elegant robe of striped linen, tight around the waist. He bows gracefully, hand fluttering in the style of high class women here. “Lady. I bear a message from the Lady Yamia.”
“Hello Mastyr,” Varanis greets him warmly. “What message does your lady send?”
“She asks that you should countermand instructions recently given to a tailor,” he says. “The result will be harm no matter what is intended. The notion is distressing her, but I can tell you no more, for she could say nothing more.” Mastyr’s shoulders slump a little, and he looks helplessly at Varanis.
Varanis looks startled and then confused. She takes a deep breath. “Right, where are they?”
“I… don’t know, mistress. Their workshop, perhaps?” It could be that Mastyr has misunderstood.
The look she turns on him brooks no argument. “Where are Berra and Yamia?”
Mastyr steps back. “On the roof, but they are meditating. Tomorrow is an important day for the Mistress, and the tailor has already interrupted them!”
Varanis brushes past him and makes her way down the hall. Her long strides are at odds with her gilded appearance.
Mastyr, a little taller than Varanis, struggles to keep up. He is not built for quick advancement, but for cookery and cleaning.
En route, the Vingan spots a pair of guards. “You, with me. You, please inform the duty captain that I require your colleague’s services for the time being.” She continues, expecting no argument. The guards exchange quick glances, but do not hesitate to obey. It’s not long before she makes her way to the correct hatch. She glances at Mastyr for confirmation that she’s in the right place.
Mastyr looks worried, but he does not think to stop and fetch his own allies or re-inforcements. He just follows. At the hatch, he tries to put himself between Varanis and the ladder, thus confirming it is the place. “This is preparation for holy time for the mistress!”
“Fine. Move.” She turns to the guard she has brought with her. “Nobody disturbs them. When and if they come down this way, they are to be left alone. Nobody is to go up there without being summoned from above. Do you understand?” This gets a sharp nod from the guard. She turns her stormy gaze on Mastyr. “Move. I will be but a moment.”
Mastyr, a cook by training and a coward by nature, chooses this moment to rebel as a thrall. “No.” He barely makes the sound, but he says it.1Passed Loyalty (Venlar) and failed at Loyalty (Self), which I made up as a score.
Varanis mutters to herself in a language Mastyr doesn’t understand. Then she gently wraps her hands with their gilt fingertips around his arms and picks him up as though he weighs nothing. She turns in place and sets him down, then turns back to the ladder.2Varanis casts strength. “Do not try my patience right now, Mastyr,” she says coolly without looking at him. “I have none left.”
Mastyr does not resist, but he does back away and then hurry off. Now, finally, he has gone to get someone.
At the top of the ladder, Varanis lifts the hatch easily. She doesn’t climb all the way to the top, but simply scans the roof for Berra and Yamia.
They are in sight, both seated in the shadow of the central rise of the building, inside a charcoal cross that has been freshly scrawled into being. There are guards further off, but the pair are being left well alone.
Yamia looks towards the hatch as it opens, but it seems that Berra is deeper into her own thoughts, and does not hear it, or fails to understand what it means.3Yamia, at least, passes Listen.
Varanis meets Yamia’s gaze then looks to Berra. She turns back to Yamia, “Tell her that I’ll ask the tailor to hold for now. But I want to speak to her in a day or so when she’s free. For now, no one will come through this hatch again without permission from one of the two of you. You might need to reassure your nandan though. He’s very loyal and rather brave, but I think he believes I’m going to cause trouble. I suspect he’ll be back with help soon.”
Yamia stares, and she repeats that in a worried voice, and Berra gives the faintest of bows of the head. Then the shorter of the pair smiles and opens her eyes. “Separation. What is important?” She stands, and puts a hand on Yamia’s shoulder. This is not for reassurance, but to keep her down. “He will be fine. I will reassure him if necessary. You relax and concentrate on that feeling again.” Berra steps out of the cross, at the end of the long form that is the blade, and pads over to Varanis bare-footed.
Varanis pulls herself up through the hatchway so that she is sitting on the edge of it, with her feet hanging below. “I’ve not come to argue or to disturb you further, Berra,” she says. “Just to relieve the one worry for now and ensure that there is no further interruption of your preparations. Mastyr seemed to think that you or Yamia were upset about the tailor, so I will ask the tailor to stop her work.”
Berra nods. “Yamia was upset,” she says. “I’m mostly worried that you’ll be hurt if I don’t wear a gift. I don’t want that, but it’s a small thing compared to tomorrow. And really…” She lowers her voice. “I’m not the one who needs preparation. But Yamia just had a good moment, and we’re looking for that.”
Varanis nods. “When you have time again, please come see me. I understand that it may be a day or so before that is the case.” There’s something of a conflict in her eyes, a storm that is being tempered. “Do either of you require anything?”
Berra shakes her head. “No. Thank you. But we’ll be away all night, and probably sleep most of the afternoon.” She stands up, automatically moving into a warrior’s stance as she looks around. Her left hand rests on Wind Tooth’s pommel, not the crossguard, which is unusual for her.
“I’ll leave you to your worship then. Close the hatch behind me?” With no further warning, the Vingan simply drops through the ceiling, eschewing the use of the ladder. The guard below starts, but quickly relaxes. He’s seen her do this before.
Berra does not close the hatch, but looks down it. She nods and walks away, footsteps light and slow.
And then Mastyr gets back with Venlar. For once, the tall Orlanthi looks entirely at home in his body, clumsiness forgotten. He stays at a polite distance, and with a gesture that is elegant and confident, orders his thrall back. Mastyr drops back several paces, and gives Venlar the floor.
Varanis ignores Mastyr for the moment, focusing her attention on Venlar. “They are meditating,” she says. “I’ve left orders that they not be disturbed and Rostan here will see to it. If they stay on the roof for long, someone will replace him until a guard is no longer needed.” Then she turns her gaze on Mastyr. “You are to be commended for your courage and your loyalty,” she says. It’s the closest the thrall will get to an apology from her.
“Your roof also has guard posts,” Venlar says. A memory rises up. His voice is deep and commanding, his posture just exactly like Eril’s. “It would not do to inconvenience them.” The way he is standing is different to how he normally treats with the world. “I can arrange for my people to be up there. It would be no trouble. Mastyr would be delighted, I am sure.”4Varanis passes an insight roll: Venlar is, obviously, a lot less worried than Mastyr, but right now there is something else about him too. It seems to be confidence. He is not angry, but directed. He could turn his attention to a task far more easily than the diffident, half-shy Venlar who is usually present.
“There are always guards on the roof. Replacing them with your own people will disrupt the rota,” she points out. “But, if you want to have someone join Rostan, I’m sure he won’t object to company.”
“I would not dream of asking to replace your guards,” Venlar replies. “Of course. An internal perimeter, however, would solve both problems. Still, I shall only insist if you think it a good idea. I am in my hostess’s house.”5Venlar passes insight: Something about her tone suggests that she’s not entirely as self-assured as she’s trying to look.
“More people on the roof will disturb what tranquility they have managed to create. Send someone here.” She glances around like she’s beginning to feel caged. “You can check if you want to, but do so quietly please,” she offers, indicating the ladder and the open hatch. “I have to go see about soothing the temper of Nochet’s finest tailor. If you’ll just pardon me.”
Venlar steps aside. “If you would like a drink afterwards, I will be in my room, alone,” he says. His bow is, of course, elegant. When he turns to Mastyr, it is with the authority of Orlanth himself, and all he says is, “See to it.”
“Perhaps I will take you up on that,” she replies politely. In a rush of green silk and gold jewellery, the Vingan sweeps past them both.
Venlar leaves immediately, but walks slowly enough that he is easily left behind.