VS 142 Addled Alynx

Varanis — 1626 0814 Addled Alynx

????, Earth Season, Fertility Week


Context

Earth Season, Fertility Week, Wildday, late afternoon. [[[s02:session-9|Session 9]]]
Varanis scared Xenofos by attacking him without warning during a training session. They talk about it.

Events

Xenofos wanders into baths having divested himself of armour and weapons. His expression thoughtful.

Varanis is already there. She’s sunk deeply in the hottest pool, shrouded in steam and mainly identifiable by the mass of red hair piled on top of her head.

Xenofos recognizes the other bather, but says nothing to her and lets the servants get him clean enough to get even close to any of the pools. He is not looking at Varanis while he is getting cleaned up. He seems to be making a point of talking calmly and reasonably though with not very many words. Eventually he descends into the steaming hot water pool. He is a bit pale in the steamy room.

Varanis is tired. All the animation has drained away and now she’s just drifting in the steam. She opens her eyes as Xenofos steps into the water, but doesn’t say anything. The uncomfortable silence continues for some time.

“Are you alright?” she asks at last, the words barely audible over the sound of water.

Xenofos turns to look at Varanis. “Yes. Why in the name of Ty Kora Tek did you do that?” His voice is controlled. Almost.

She frowns, considering her reply for a long time. “I’m not entirely sure. I…” Suddenly sits upright in the water, and glares at him.

“It was stupid, you stupid…alynx.”

“I’m so angry with you. I’ve been angry since the moment I found out about that duel.” Her eyes alright with rage. “Who are you calling stupid, you prideful idiot? Manners? You’d risk your life over manners?!”

“I could have hurt you with you rushing in to a naked blade. You could have died for no reason at all!”

“You have more control than that,” she says dismissively.

“With sharps blood flows, and sometimes people die. That point takes very little power to slide through you if it finds chink in your armour.”

Varanis shrugs and the Death rune glistens at her throat. “Then I’d have died again. That doesn’t seem to have stopped me yet.” With an abrupt change of subject she suddenly demands, “Are you in love with Berra?”

“And if you want to die again you need to find someone else than me wielding the blade!”

“You were one hurrying ahead!” she roars at him.

“Well at least it was just couple of barbarians, not rushing with armed retinue to question another noble house how they treat their daughter!’ More prudent servants are scattering out of sight. More curious ones no doubt stopping well within hearing range.

“That’s Vinga’s affair!” Fury is writ across her features.

“And you, you are absolutely the last person to lay blame for rushing into a fight!”

“I’m Vinga’s and I follow the path she has set me on. Of course I don’t turn from a fight!”

“And I am nobleman of house Saiciae and it is not a noblemans thing to shirk from a fight, at least that is what your father taught me.”

“But he’s dead!” she yells at him. “He’s dead! And so is my mother. And you can’t die too. You aren’t allowed to go ahead of me. I won’t permit it!”

Even hardiest of baths staff have disappeared except for old Kralori masseurslave who is practically deaf and to judge from his mutterings close to senile anyway.

She brushes strands of hair from her face impatiently as she glares at him through the steam. “You wrote about your broken heart. I saw it. If you aren’t in love with Berra, then you are obviously in love with someone else. Was that what the duel was about? Some woman? There are women worth dying for,” there’s a little hitch in her voice as she says this, “but not in Nochet.”

“Saw it?” Xenofos asks quietly.

“I swore you my sword and my council. My heart. Or parts or it you did not steal long time ago, remains my own and I will take care of it and its sorrows.”

Varanis looks ashamed suddenly.”I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have read it. I was looking for you and it was sitting on your desk…” She trails off. “It wasn’t right,” she adds at last.

“I see. … I must be more careful with my writings” Xenofos scoops some water and rinses his face. His voice sounds almost absentminded.

“I must be more careful of your privacy. You had no reason to expect it to be read.” She watches him, all the anger drained from her.

Xenofos just nods. “You startled me with your attack. Before I let that point drop I saw you run through with it. Just a momentary vision but that scared me, badly.”

“They used to do that to us when I was training. You learned quickly that an attack could come from anyone at any time. It was meant to scare you, but not in that way.” The explanation is something of a peace offering, though not a very good one.

“I can see the point. It runs counter to care and courtesy in practise I was taught.” He does not sound angry. A bit tired or sad maybe.1What would your father think? That is where his customs come…

She looks stricken.2 I tried to roll on insight. It’s a fumble. He hates her. He’ll never forgive her. She suddenly dunks herself under the water and comes up with her hair streaming around her and a smile that does not reach her eyes. “Oh well. Next time I’ll give you more warning,” she says with a brittle laugh. “I’m going to go rinse myself off in the cold pool. Enjoy your bath, cousin.”

“Varanis?”

She stops. There’s a brief hesitation, but then she turns to look at him. The redness in her eyes could be caused by the water. Perhaps. “Yes?” she says, abandoning her attempt at merriment.

Xenofos looks Varanis steadily in the eyes “You are wrong. For me at least, there is a woman in Nochet worth staking my life for.”

A series of mixed emotions cross her face, with confusion being the most obvious. “It seems that I am frequently wrong,” she says, adding with a laugh, “It’s very disconcerting.” She flounders for something to say. “I wish you luck with her then, cousin,” she offers tentatively. “If she means so much, then don’t give up too easily. Unless it is Berra. She has no room in her life for anyone but Humakt, as Lanasha has finally learned.” She’s talked herself into an awkward circle and doesn’t seem to know what else to say.

Xenofos blushes but looks amused at the same time. “You have no idea who I was referring to?”

She looks at him blankly.3Fumbled that Insight roll a few min ago. Still riding that.

“Here is a clue, you addled little alynx, I followed her to Hell and back.” There is warmth creeping into Xenofos’ voice.4Hope she does not take that as mocking.

Varanis bristles at his description of her, but as she processes the rest of his words, she becomes almost flustered. “I… even though… Hell, Xeno. I’m not sure I’m worthy of such devotion.”

He shrugs. “I can’t help it. Not that I would wish to.”

Varanis breathes deeply and as she exhales, she pulls herself upright. Despite her disheveled appearance, she somehow manages to convey the impression of a noble lady. “Then I’d better work harder at being worthy of it,” she says solemnly.

Xenofos just nods.5Passed truth, failed int5 suggesting confirmation might not be needed this time. Also failed insight roll. He is looking at mosaics of the pool. 73/35

“I’ve another party tonight. Marta will be waiting.” The words are calm, devoid of emotion. “I’m sorry I let you down, cousin. I’ll try not to do it again.” She turns to leave the pool.

“Another party? I hoped the end of Holy week would have brought some respite…”

“Duty always calls, Xeno. There is no respite in Nochet.”

“It was not always this hectic… Well, I will try to sneak out to countryside for some chase in next few days. Horses need space to run and my head might need some airing too.”

Varanis simply nods. “Say goodbye before you go.” With that, she steps out of the pool and into the towel held by one of the braver servants.6V: Now she’s confused and feeling troubled. And Xenofos is blithely ignoring it.
X: And with so much yelling, Xenofos ignored part of questions/allegations without comment.
V: Varanis noticed. But opted not to pursue.
X: Xenofos was feeling mentally exhausted after that shouting match. Not that he ever is the most perceptive guy when it comes to reading emotions. Though I suspect that even with failed insight he may have noticed the drop in room temperature.
V: She wasn’t trying to be cold though. She was trying to be what she thinks he wants from her. A noblewoman worthy of respect.
X: Devoid of emotion was expression that led my thoughts towards cold, can of course just mean control of uncertainty, sorrow or anger.
V: Rolled on and passed illusion for that. She was covering up how she felt and doing so reasonably well.



The next day…

After breakfast, Xenofos gets ready for the day in the baths. Servants may note him whistling a heortling tune.

When ready, he walks with springy steps past Varanis rooms. He pauses for a moment, raises his hand to doorframe, hesitates, shakes his head, does not knock and continues his way.