VS 167 Who Needs Love?

Varanis — 1626 0875 Whoneedslove

????, 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:1628-0874-cousinlyconcern Cousinly Concern]

Events

The bath attendants carefully hide their curiosity if this is again going to result in an encounter worth retelling in the servants’ quarters.

Varanis strips off her vambraces and greaves and hands them to a servant to transport to her room. The fighting clothes she was wearing get dropped in a heap on one of the benches. “I’ll meet you in the steam room,” she suggests. “You need a bit of a scrubbing before they’ll let you go anywhere in here.” Tossing her plait over her shoulder, she vanishes into the steamy depths of the bathing complex.

After throughout scrub and a dip to the cold pool Xenofos enters the steam room.

Varanis is sitting on the highest level, her back to the corner opposite the door. Her head is tipped back against the wall and her eyes are closed.

Xenofos settles on same level. “Rough night?”

“Rough season,” she murmurs. “I’m sorry I blurted that out where anyone might hear. Do you want to talk about it, now that we are alone?”

“Is it that obvious to everyone but me, Varanis?”

She considers his question thoughtfully. “No, perhaps not. But to those who know you well? I think so. I wasn’t certain until this morning though.”

“More than I can say.” He shakes his head. “I am still not certain what I feel.”

“I know you like to keep things close, but talking might help you work it through,” she offers. “I’ll not say anything to anyone.”

The scholar looks sideways at Varanis. “Thank you. I don’t know. I mean I really enjoy her company. And at other times she just drives me mad the way she ignores all manners and hops from one thing to another.”

Varanis chuckles. “Would her lack of manners bother you so much if you weren’t already drawn to her?”

“Well if she is kin her conduct reflects on us… But you are right it probably would not.” Xenofos leans back to savor the heat. “It is ridiculous. I catch myself looking at her. Waiting to see her smile. Looking at her eyes.”

Varanis murmurs, “Her smile is worth waiting for, I’ll grant you that.”

“It is isn’t it.1No insight human needed for that light on X face. Have you noted the cute wrinkles on her nose when she bites at something really spicy? “

Varanis grins. “Don’t ever say that where she can hear you, love.”

Xenofos looks a bit startled. “No, I don’t think I will.”

“Or if you do, warn me in advance, so I can pick a good viewing point?” The teasing is gentle; Varanis’ voice is warm.

“You are mocking me Varanis…” Xenofos does not sound offended.

“It’s a sign of affection, Xe.” She sounds subdued, her moods shifting as restlessly as her feet usually do. “What will you do?”

“I don’t know Ranie, I don’t know.”

The look she gives him is sympathetic. “Well, if you do decide you want to get drunk over it sometime, let me know. We can drink to the hopelessness of love.”

“She told me once there is no place for love in her vocation. And she does not lie.”

Varanis doesn’t reply, though the sympathy in her eyes deepens.

“So no need for you to talk to her relatives or try to sell the match to Granny…” Xenofos seems to be talking to the opposite wall. His joking is a bit off mark for surely infatuation with some barbarian is no grounds for discussions and he knows that well.

“If she goes with the Praxian…. you could go with her. At least then she’d be near.” There’s a hesitancy in the words, like she’s not certain of them.

Tired smile to Varanis “I went looking for her yesterday to hear if she is going to Prax…. I never even asked that after I found her. I don’t know. Maybe it would be good to stay away from her.”

“I don’t know, love. If I could have gone with Serala, I would have. But the situation is not the same, I know. I just know that I would give anything to see her smile, or even to have her yell at me again.”

Xenofos closes his eyes and leans forward. Maybe that is a nod maybe not.

“If you decide to go, I won’t try to keep you with me. Our oath goes both ways. And besides, I can protect myself, most of the time.” She tries to lighten the mood, but the words are forced.

Xenofos nods and looks at Varanis. “Thank you. I don’t know what I want. But I know I can tell you if I find out and we can discuss it.”

She nods her acceptance and doesn’t speak for a time. Then, into the silence she murmurs, “Why didn’t we find nice Esrolian girls from good families to fall in love with?” The laughter that follows is bittersweet.