VS 130 Burning the Candle

Varanis — 1626 0799 Candle7

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


Earth Season/Death Week/Godday [[[s02:session-7|Session 7]]]
Temple of Humakt


Morning of Godday. There was serenading in the night. Even though she went to bed before midnight for the first time in days, Varanis looks tired.

Berra comes down to the room before dawn, probably woken by a guard change, and checks to be sure Varanis is awake.

Marta has even gotten up early to help this morning, providing a basin of warm water to wash and then braiding the Vingan’s hair in a single plait.

Berra’s arrival coincides perfectly with Varanis being ready to armour up for the day.

Berra, already in armour, looks like she often does on days that prayer takes her to her Temple. She is used to night sacrifices, and other than a bit of graininess around her eyes, is definitely wakeful and ready to go. “Shall I do your straps?” she asks.

For a moment, Varanis looks like she might argue, but then she just nods. “Yes, please.”

Berra nods Marta out of the way, with something like a smile. “No more apples?” she asks quietly, once there is no servant in easy earshot.

“No apples. Another poem though. It was pinned inside the curtains of my palanquin. Wait, that was the night before. Xenofos left me an odd little poem yesterday. It was waiting when I got home from the party. And then … I didn’t dream the serenade, did I?” She looks hopeful at this.

“I don’t know. I slept through the whole night. The roof was comfortable. If you’d prefer me to be in, I can, but I think you need people out of the way, to be honest. The world’s full of barracks-dwellers who don’t believe they snore.”

“No, it’s fine. It’s the only time I can be alone right now.” She looks thoughtful. “Maybe it was a dream though. No… I sent a servant down to try to find out who they were. I need to remember to speak to the servant when I get home.”

“Get someone to do it on your behalf and … or don’t bother. It’s not important. This way, you can concentrate on Separation properly. You asked me how… Hang on, this tie is getting frayed. I’m going to be careful…. you asked me now to meditate on Death. Separation’s important. Don’t get concerned with worldly things.” Berra takes off a tiny bit of leather with her belt knife. “It’ll hold for a while yet.”

Varanis nods. “I’ll put it from my head. For now, I have more important things to focus on.” She doesn’t talk about much more as she prepares for the day and she is ready to go early.

Berra is good at silence sometimes, and now she presents it as a gift to Varanis, saying nothing more.

The walk to the Temple is punctuated only by the sounds of the city, as it starts to come awake.

Berra casts her usual spells before leaving the house and before crossing the grounds to the Temple, and that is all she says.

The day at the Temple goes well. Varanis manages to put her worries from her head and bring all her attention to her lessons. The Sword runs her through drill after drill while her feet fly and blade flashes in the sun. When it is time to do so, she meditates on Vinga and Humakt, on Air and Death, on Movement and Separation. She learns the stories of how Yelm found Fire, how Orlanth killed Yelm, and how Humakt made Orlanth bring Yelm back again, but all told from the perspective of Humakt’s faithful. When the day draws to a close, she is exhausted, but hopeful. This was a thing that she could learn.

When she meets Berra at the end of the day, Varanis looks content. “Today was better,” she tells her friend.

“Good. Anything on tonight?” Berra has the bright eyes of someone who has been communing with her god.

“The House Drero party is tonight.”

“What are you planning to get from it?”

“Nothing. But I have familial obligations. These parties are not for my own entertainment. I’d rather climb into a box with a dozen alynx kittens and stay there all night. But, Saiciae must be seen. It’s hard to explain, Berra.” Varanis shrugs.

“I know that part. I don’t think it’s about entertainment. Are these people who you want as allies, personally? Would Lord Eril call this your community? That’s what I was thinking. If the family are doing it, what will you be doing there?” Berra is not pushing it. Her voice is light and without judgement.

“I will be mingling, charming, winning people over to my side and that of my House. It is a social dance of sorts.” She doesn’t look as sleepy as she did in the morning, but she’s definitely tired and possibly not saying things as clearly as she might usually do.

“Remember Sartar,” Berra says, and looks that way, and sighs only a little. “And if you want, I’ll look out for these problems. What’s a distraction for you is a form of service for me.”

Unconsciously, Varanis touches her left wrist. “I don’t forget Sartar,” she says. “I just don’t fully understand how Sword Eril expects me to use my influence in Esrolia to help. The matrons aren’t sure if they approve of me, yet. For now, I am trying to win the hearts and minds of the scions of the noble houses, in the hopes that if Kallyr calls me back to fight, I can rally support here. It needs the support of the elites before I can call on the temples.”

“That’s pretty much all to be done, I think. And if there is a way I can help with that, too, I should. Because if you’re getting that done, I will too.” Berra looks down, the set of her shoulders as she walks showing that she does not look forward to that task.

Varanis glances over. “You are helping. You help me shake the old patterns and remind me of my purpose. You keep me safe, even when I might wish otherwise. You gave me the introduction to the Temple of Humakt, and yes that’s about me learning the magic for Fire Blade, but it works to my advantage in other ways too. I become more than just a name they might have heard of. And if I call on the Regiment in Kallyr’s name, maybe they will come. If they do, it’s because of you.” She walks in silence for a few paces. “It would be good to consider how else you might persuade the Regiment to come when Kallyr needs them.”

Berra sighs. “The Battalion structure will never move, but if you were to want a Regiment, they’ll come for the right price. The High Sword in Boldhome should probably write the letter. I’m making sure to be as polite as I can on his… well, it might be a her by now, if Sword Graria is chosen. But Great Sword Chettoria will let me in the door. She won’t be swayed by me, but by the right arguments. That is going to be the good of Esrolia, the good of Humakt, and the call of honour. And the costs of marching, of course. Worship has costs.”

“Of course.” Varanis looks thoughtful. “It is likely your High Sword has considered this already. Do you expect to have a role in any such arrangements, or will it happen over our heads?”

“I’d guess there would be a message sent. Possibly with someone like me, possibly a Rune Lord. It depends on whether there was any chance of ambush. It might be a more regular approach, but likely the High Sword or a emssenger from the Prince directly. Probably a Rune Lord so they had the right to negotiate on behalf of the Temple. And there is, I GUESS, but can’t be sure, already writing happening. Polite greetings to fellow Lords. Um. I think. But also having the Regiment is not necessarily the thing that’s needed. There might be relic-bearers. Battalion keeps a lot of old weapons, that are carried by the worthy.”

“So for now, is there anything further you think we should be doing?”

“Learning, then. Becoming better at what we do. So what we’re doing, but when we reach the end of it, don’t stop. Do more things. I should learn more spirit magic. Strengthen the magic in me. I…” Berra shakes her head. “I don’t know. I can’t think of anything. Make sure Venlar gets married, maybe.”

Varanis chuckles at that. “Preferably to Mellia.”

“I decided not to say that, but I think they would both prefer it. He says Lord Silor talked to him… oh. I think Venlar is missing home. Sartar, and maybe his Tula. So something for him that makes him happier in the Blue Tree Clan. We should do that to try to make sure his marriage is a success. He asked me to tell him about home. Talked to me about his. I get the idea he’d been settled before we came along.”

Varanis shrugs. “I don’t know how to help with that, Berra. I don’t know enough about Blue Tree and honestly, I’m not sure if I can relate to his sentiment. There were things I missed about Nochet, but nothing that would make it hard to me to settle elsewhere for the right reasons.”

“He’s proud but he’s not rebellious. He didn’t want to change until he met Mellia. I think. But Yamia said she never used to leave the Tula because she was his bodyguard. How can you make someone want to move?” Berra shrugs, maybe not even expecting an answer to the question.

“Will Yamia stay with him?”

“Probably. The risky time was when she had just got herself back. She might have been cut off, but I think she’s still connected to him. I don’t know, though. She might count as part of his household, or her father’s, or her own. I haven’t asked.” Berra steers towards the middle of a road rather than pass a series of side turnings and alleyways.

They continue this way back to the palazzo, discussing plans and sharing thoughts about Mellia and Venlar’s future. It is an easier subject to dwell on than the future of Sartar.