VS 129 Burning the Candle: Chaste Girls and Boys

Varanis — 1626 0798 Candle6

????, Earth Season, Season/Death Week


Context

Earth Season/Death Week/Godday Eve [[[s02:session-7|Session 7]]]

Events

Coming home from the Temple…

For Varanis, today’s meditations go badly. She listens to the lessons and tries really hard, but she lacks focus. It’s a day of failure and frustration.

She meets Berra at the Temple gates just after Yelm sets. Something about the set of her shoulders and the crease on her forehead suggests the day went poorly.

Berra looks pale, like she has not eaten or drunk, and asks, “Is it permitted for you to eat yet?” as her

“Yes, but no meat and no sweets,” Varanis replies. “But whatever we do, it has to be quick. I’m expected at the Yelendar party tonight.”

“Shortest queue that does not sell meat, then. I think there are only a couple of places that do.” Berra wends her way through the evening crowds with her usual grace for a moment, then glances back at Varanis and changes how she walks so that the crowd just parts for her. Something about the little Humakti’s glare, and the armour, and the way she is letting people bounce off her, give Varanis an easy stroll. In short order, she is handing over a flatbread and has some dried fruit and nuts for herself. She looks Varanis up and down.

“What?” Varanis says before taking a bite of the bread. It’s not belligerent, but it probably wouldn’t take her long to get there.

“You look tired. Eat. Drink. Are you allowed a palanquin? We can order one and you can get some sleep. If you have a function to attend you need all the rest you can get.”

“I need to walk. I’ve been trapped all day, trying to meditate. I think I’d be tempted to murder the palanquin carriers if I had to ride in one.”

“Then eat. Home to change?” Berra keeps on walking as she was, until they are at the far side of Storm Plaza, and then relaxes a little. “When D’Val taught me Fireblade, I panicked one day, and nearly hit him.” Belatedly she adds, “Sword D’Val.”

“Home to change,” Varanis acknowledges before taking another mouthful of the bread. When she finishes chewing, she asks, “How do you do it? How do you meditate on death for hours on end???”

“Because Death is a sword, and separation. And also… really badly. It’s hard. I hate staying still. But I do it because it’s important. Is that what you are doing?” She has finished her snacks, and drinks water.

“There’s a lot of meditation right now. Some lessons on the sword and on the practicalities of fighting whilst your sword is on fire. But a lot of today was me trying to meditate on death and failing. I just kept remembering dying. And thinking about the people I loved who have died. And the ones I love that I can only hope haven’t died.” The emotions behind the words are complicated. Maybe Varanis doesn’t even understand them herself.

“Death is the great Separation,” Berra says quietly, “But it is also nothing to fear. The true Separation is that of body and spirit. They have gone on, and we may meet again.”

Varanis sighs. “I know that when I think about it. But it’s different when I feel. I don’t know if that makes sense.”

“Yeah. It does, but you don’t get to define the Truth. Separation is a yawning void, and also the width of a hide away. It is anything cut by the sword. It’s helpful, at least I’ve found, to think about the Truth of it. Try to be objective about what it is, rather than feeling. To look from the outside is to put away those things that are not needed.” More water. Berra starts to look less dehydrated, but is cheerful enough to be ignoring her own state.

Varanis looks like she’s trying to listen, but she has the same air of distractedness that she wore on the way to the Temple. She finishes the bread and drinks a lot of water as they walk. She has very little to add to the conversation.

Berra spends some time being quiet, and as they approach the house says, “Try to sleep as much as you can. I’ll be on the other side of the bed, unless you want me to guard anything.” She has the look of someone peaceful within themselves, ready to hover over another, but willing to be sent away.

Varanis takes a deep breath. “Here we go again. I have to hurry. Don’t wait up. I probably won’t see you until morning.” She forgets to speak to Serzeen.

The party at House Yelendar and subsequent affairs…

Mellia is ordered to stay at hospital overnight. Xenofos spends the whole day in the Library, as it is Lhankor Mhy’s High Holy Day. No poems have arrived during the day. The evening’s party will be hosted by House Yelendar. There isn’t really time for a bath. A quick wash at the basin in her room, and then frantically getting ready. She tries not to yawn too much while Marta styles her hair. Marta is looking very stern. But she might not be tugging quite as firmly as at some other times.

There’s a simple, elegant dress for tonight. It is like the canvas for the gold she wears. Complex chains of tiny gold fans. Large spirals of gold in her ears. Cuffs of gold on each wrist and Kallyr’s arm ring, as always.

Varanis goes to this party expecting to be alone. Of course, there are other people in the Saiciae party, but none of them are the people she thinks of as hers. The palanquin take her down towards the harbour. The razed area of the former Lunar settlement is still not rebuilt. House Yelendar stands defiant on the edge of those ruins. Party is actually quite boring. The music is conventional.

You fail to see any pair of enchanting green eyes.1Varanis fails scan. She apparently spots a couple of nice pairs of bosoms and well muscled calves though.

When at last, she can go home, Varanis calls for her palanquin. As she climbs inside, she recognizes the scent. It is her perfume. She looks around and then queries her guards. No one admits to having seen a young woman fitting Lenta’s description. She searches the palanquin, but finds nothing.

On her return to the palazzo, Marta tells her there is a note from Lord Xenofos on her dressing table. Xenofos has nice, tidy handwriting. She can read this. As long as his words aren’t too flowery or long.2Yay! She passed the reading roll.

Why would her cousin send her a poem?

We chaste girls and boys
Are under the tutelage of Voria
Chaste boys and girls
Let us sing to Voria etc. etc.

Varanis is so tired that none of this makes sense.3Failed both INT x 3 and CON x 3 She stares at the poem, reading it multiple times. Finally, she tucks it into the box with the others and falls into bed still dressed for the evening. Too tired to even wonder where Berra is, she drifts off.

Come midnight that sleep is disturbed.

A beautiful tenor voice in the night sings like a nightingale of the beauty and grace of Varanis. The singer is accompanied by a couple of woodwinds, kithara, and a drum.4Because Varanis is mentioned early on the troupe is not with a hail of missiles immediately.

She blinks herself awake and listens for a moment. As awareness grows, she drags herself from bed and makes for the balcony. Her hair is tumbling around her shoulders and all her jewellery has been removed, probably by Marta. But she still wears the silken sheath that formed the basis of her outfit earlier.

There is someone dressed in a nobleman’s cloak and street-thug’s hood leading the small orchestra and looking for response from the palazzo.

Varanis listens carefully. Is the song flattering or offensive? It tells of her grace and beauty, courage and strength.

After listening for a short while, she summons a servant. She asks the servant to deliver an amphora of wine, but then to encourage the party to move on. If possible, the servant is to gather a name. No matter what, the servant better get a good look and be able to report back tomorrow evening with descriptions. Then she falls back into bed and dreams of eyes the same shade as her own, beneath raven-coloured tresses, though she catches glimpses of Lenta’s gorgeous green eyes too.

One of the players gets to the door when it opens, the man himself hides into the shadows opposite Varanis’ balcony. And they depart with a salute Varanis no longer sees.