Varanis — 1626 0830 Returning
????, Earth Season, Stasis Week
Earth Season, Stasis Week, Fireday Evening. [[[s02:session-11|Session 11]]]
The palanquin on Fireday has a slightly wired Humakti in it, next to Varanis. She ate a lot, and drank watered wine and watched the dancing and has been on duty, and now she is finding it hard to settle, but at least she is leaving Varanis room. Short bodyguards have an advantage.
Varanis, for her part, looks wilted. She’s staring blankly at the closed curtains, her hands resting in her lap.
After a bit, Berra snakes an arm around Varanis for a hug.
The Vingan looks startled at first, but is unresisting. “What was that for?” she asks after a moment.
“You need it. Although I should have asked. Given what I was thinking. Are you alright?”
“Yes. Just tired.” Varanis twists a little so she can see Berra’s face better in the gloom of the palanquin. “What were you thinking?”
Berra looks up at Varanis, still close. “That girl. She kissed you against your will. Do you have the right to sue?”
“I hadn’t thought about that. Perhaps. But she’s just young and not happy about my resistance to her, I think.” Varanis’ shoulders rise and fall with the shrug.
“Well… alright. But think about what you’ve just said. She needs telling that she’s behaved badly. Being young’s the same as being stupid, I suppose, but that wasn’t stupid. It was selfish. She got what she wanted despite what you wanted.” Briefly the Humakti lays her head on Varanis’ arm, but she does not stay that way for long, disentangling herself and sitting straight.
“She doesn’t know how to disentangle sex from love. She’s so earnest and I worry that I’d hurt her if I gave in. It would be easy to give in, but it wouldn’t be right. I wish she could understand that.”
Berra makes a noise of discontentment. “Not your place to teach her,” she says. “And you shouldn’t worry about it. Not when you’ve tried already.”
Varanis heaves a tired sigh. “I miss Serala. I wish I knew how she was doing. I had a note from her when we were still in Sartar, saying that she was alive, but I don’t even know where she was going next. Maybe I should try sending something in the direction of the Feathered Horse Queen’s army. Since Serala and Finarvi were called to serve her, they are likely with her army, right?”
“That’s the best way,” Berra agrees. “Unless you want to hire someone to go out there and find them. If the army does not know then they’ll probably send it along to the Grazelands and the Clan.”
Varanis sighs again.
“Tomorrow night, you have Temple duties, don’t you?”
Berra raises her hand, nearly thumps her gently on the shoulder, and then does not. “Service, yes. And I should talk to the Command there about staying. Maybe. I don’t know.”
“I wish you wouldn’t. You are in the right, after all.” Varanis stifles a yawn.
Berra shrugs. “That makes it easier. But being in the right and also not getting a house irritated at the house I’m staying at… at least, not as much as I otherwise would be…” She too yawns, in answer to Varanis, and being from the uncivilised North she does not stifle it. “You sleep. I’ll guard. We’ll be back soon.”
Varanis shakes her head in the darkness. “No point. We are almost home. I’ll sleep then.” Another yawn. “I should check on Vahnfar again soon.”
“He’d like that. I’m not sure anyone else would, which is another reason you should do it.” Berra gives Varanis an over-exaggerated shrug, the better to be seen in the dim lighting.
Varanis laughs. “You enjoy being contrary, don’t you? Why do you think people wouldn’t like me seeing him? Or… do you mean that no one else will visit?”
“It was just me being contrary… but his family haven’t paid for his voice to be healed. So he’s not worth much. He’ll have to save up for himself, I think. I’m not sure, but I think that. If he’s got hides he’ll be alright, but he might not have enough to give the White Ladies the donation he thinks right. And yes, I really do enjoy being contrary.”
“I understand that honour keeps him silent about the duel. But the damage done to him goes beyond the bounds of a mere duel, regardless of what Xenofos believes. Taking away his ability to sing feels like deliberate destruction.” Varanis sounds angry and her body goes rigid with tension.
“You should not be able to swear away telling a thing like that,” Berra replies. “I wonder how they made him. What you might say to find out. But he wouldn’t tell before.”
“Honour, Berra. Honour and foolhardy youth. Even Xenofos can’t seem to see the wrong in it that we see. Don’t get me wrong. Honour is at the core of who we are as people and without honour, we are nothing. But I think his honour was used as a tool by someone who cares little for his own honour, but knows how to manipulate people using theirs.” The tension hasn’t lessened. If anything, it’s grown worse.
“We can find out, probably. It’ll take a while. But…” she trails off. “I’m sorry. I might be busy. But I might be free. I don’t know yet.”
“The thing with the Hulta. Lenta is Hulta. Did I tell you that? The girl who kissed me. She’s a daughter of that house.”
“That should make things interesting. But yes, we went to see her, sort of. If she’s the same person. Which you just said she is.” Berra is still alert, but Varanis is getting much of her attention. This is on-watch Berra.
Varanis twists one of her rings around and around on her finger. “I’d like to protect her from what’s coming, but I couldn’t say why. She just seems so very young.” Lenta is probably close in age to Berra.
“Because she has never had to grow up yet. She needs to learn that she is not the only person in the room.” Berra shrugs. “Can’t stop that if it’s going to happen.”
Varanis nods, but says nothing more, staring into the darkness in silence for the remainder of the trip to the palazzo.