VS 166 Cousinly Concern

Varanis — 1626 0874 Cousinlyconcern

????, Earth Season, Movement Week


Context

Earth Season, Movement Week, Freezeday [[[s02:session-16|Session 16]]]
House Saiciae, the morning after [http:journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/varanis:1628-0870-praxianpresumption Praxian Presumption], continues on from [http:journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/varanis:1628-0873-muddledmail Muddled Mail]

Events

With the way she’s moving, servants clear out of Varanis’ path on the way to Xenofos’ rooms. If there’s any complaints, they aren’t expressed until she’s safely out of earshot.

When she gets to her cousin’s rooms, she knocks firmly on his door. There is no answer. The Vingan takes up watch. Sooner or later, he has to return here.

Pretty soon Varanis can see Xenofos approaching. Armored, not visibly injured, and looking pretty serious.

She waits, watching his approach. If she were an alynx, an observer might think she was about to pounce. But, she’s not a hunting cat – she’s an Esrolian noblewoman and she falls back on the manners drilled into her since childhood. When he is close enough that she does not need to raise her voice, she says, “Good morrow, cousin. You are well, I hope?”

Xenofos totally fails to read any non-verbal warning signs. “Well enough cousin, I hope you had restful sleep. It looks like you needed it.” Xenofos answers warmly.

“And Berra? Is she well?”

“Walking to the Barracks when we separated. Quite hale and well.”

“Good. Is there anything I should know?” The look she gives him is sword-sharp.

“You read my note I trust?”

“Yes. As best I could. You were clearly in a rush.” There’s the barest hint of accusation behind the words. “Thank you for leaving it.” Maybe the accusation is imagined. She’s being polite after all.

“I was indeed. Quite beside myself to be honest.”

“I see. Well, if there is nothing else you need to tell me, I’ll leave you to your morning.” She studies him, like she’s looking for something. Whatever it is, she doesn’t seem to find it. 1Failed insight.

“Long story short, I found her in time. The Hulta’s, Kesten and Agri arrived in the morning. The apology was accepted and there was no fight now but Berra has the option to return to it to avoid trouble with the battalion.”

“Return to a fight to avoid trouble? Explain, please.”

“With the temple involved I am not quite certain, but I imagine they might take Berra’s avoidance of a fight in a bad way.”

“We can stand witness to her reasons if necessary.” The Vingan dismisses the concern.

“Maybe. I hope you are correct,” Xenofos says uncertainly. “I could not even imagine giving apology after promising to give satisfaction, and there was talk even before that, to judge from the queen’s words to her.”

Varanis raises an eyebrow at him. “She can deal with it. She doesn’t care what others think of her. Humakt knows her worth and that’s enough for Berra.”

Xenofos is about to say something, but bites his lip and paces around with his hands behind his back. “I know she does not care, I know she is not coward but she can still be shamed in eyes of the people. And thought of that pains me.” The Scholar seems agitated.

Varanis looks at him a long time before saying softly. “Oh you poor fool. I was right. You love her.”

Xenofos blinks.

“Right. Have you slept at all?” she asks, her tone turning brisk.

“That would… a couple of hours I guess.”

“A bath first then. And probably sleep after, if you can. Come on, drop your armour off in your rooms and let’s go.”

Xenofos nods silently.

She opens the door to his room and ushers him inside. “Where do you keep your wine? We’ll bring a bottle with us.”

The Scholar nods towards a shelf and starts removing his armour. “Perhaps a tad early…”

“You are in love with a woman who can’t love you back. You’ve just spent all night out with her, doing who knows what, and say you’ve only had a few hours sleep. You look a mess and don’t smell terribly great either. I don’t think it’s too early for wine.” She pulls down an amphora and scrounges for a pair of ceramic cups. “C’mon. We’re going to the baths.”

“Baths sounds good….” Xenofos’ voice drifts.

Varanis turns to study him.2Passes insight! Insight: Your start got reaction visible, even from behind. Resigned sigh and sagging shoulders perhaps. Activities of the night get X to look at his hands.

“Come on. We’ll drown your sorrows and wash away your night. There’s not much we can do about the rest of it just now. I warned you away from loving her, but sometimes…” She’s rambling, trying to sound practical, but there’s sorrow in her eyes.

“Not feeling like getting drunk now Varanis. Not struck by grief either.” She gets a tired smile from him.

She pauses, returns the wine to the shelf and sets the cups beside it. She turns back to Xenofos and closes the distance between them, pulling him into a hug before he has a chance to react. “I’m sorry, Xe. I was worried and when you weren’t here, I worried more.”

Xenofos holds Varanis quite tightly and mutters quietly to her, “I did not want to worry you, but I had to go.”

Her hair smells faintly of almonds. “You know that’s impossible, right? By binding yourself to me, I will always worry about you. I promised to protect you. I can’t do that if I don’t know where you are.”

“Also…. you really do need that bath, you know.” She stifles a giggle.

“I tried to tell you, you know, but…”

She steps back to look at him. “That you need a bath? Or…?”

“Where I was going, Varanis.”

“Well yes, you left a note with Martha, which I appreciate, even if your handwriting was abysmal.”

He raises an eyebrow. “I might have been a bit in a hurry, but still…?”

She nods. “I ended up asking Yamia to help with it and she had trouble too.”

“She has had Sartarite tutors, but you should have been able to read it pretty easily.”

This gets a scowl and a shove, though not too hard. “You wrote it too quickly. Anyway, I don’t want to talk about that. You came back and both of you are hale, so that’s what matters. You. You told me poppy would help me sleep. You didn’t warn me that it would trap me in my dreams. I was trying not to dream at all.” She turns to the door. “Baths, now. How do you handle the mornings? My head was thick and my tongue felt fuzzy when I woke up. I don’t think poppy suits me.”

He shrugs. “I thought I said it will not help about the dreams but knock you to sleep despite fear of them. If you feel ill afterwards it probably is not for you. But yes the baths. If thick headed, the steam room alternated with cold water. “

She glances back over her shoulder at him. “You sure you don’t want to talk about it?”

“We can talk in the baths. So the servants here at least need to compare notes with the bath attendants…”

She laughs and leads the way.

Continues in [http://journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/varanis:1628-0875-whoneedslove Who Needs Love?]