VS 168 Don’t Kill the Messenger

Varanis — 1626 0878 Messenger

????, Earth Season, Movement Week


Context

Earth Season, Movement Week, Waterday [[[s02:session-16|Session 16]]]
House Saiciae, Varanis’ rooms

Events

Waterday. There is a knock on the door, and the red and blue songbird gives a shriek of panic and scuttles for safety.

Varanis looks up from the project on her table. She glances at the bird, then at the door. “Come in, Yamia,” she calls out.

Yamia does that, and gives the bird’s little palace a predatory smile. “Well done,” she mouths that way, and then gives Varanis a nod. She is in Berra’s leather armour, with fine linen underneath instead of padding or stout leather. “I bear a message from your friend.”

The Vingan is seated at her table. There is a hide covering the surface and strewn across it is an array of small tools. A thin sheet of gold sits amid the debris. If Yamia is observant, she will note that the sheet bears row upon row of beast and fire runes. It looks as though Varanis’ hair had been plaited and piled in the Saiciae style, but now it is disheveled, as though frustrated hands had run through it more than once. She raises an eyebrow at Yamia’s words.

“Berra is preparing to leave. She wants to know if you want to walk with her.” It is put almost entirely neutrally.1Insight bird-of-prey Human please? V: Really dice??? Really???? 000 B: HAHAHAH Oh god. Insight: Yamia is definitely hoping for a no, for her own reasons, and they are probably to do with ownership of one of the few Humakti shorter than she is.

The little red and blue bird trills, unexpectedly.

“She is preparing to leave? Of course she is. She said so.” Varanis glances down at the project she was working on and sighs. She extracts the gold strip and places it carefully on the table. The tools are slotted neatly into a series of pockets at the top edge of the leather and then it is folded and rolled. Only when her work is safely stowed does the Vingan rise and turn her gaze back to Yamia. When she looks at the Humakti, she stops. For a brief flash her expression shifts to defensiveness, then resignation, and finally settles on courtesy.

Yamia has not moved. Not an inch. Hardly a muscle. When she has attention on her again she says, “We will be going slowly, and there is a risk of assassination.” Then and only then does she give a reassuring smile.

“Assassination?” Varanis gives a polite little laugh. “If it is risk to me that concerns you, you need not worry. I know Nochet and I know when to be cautious. This is my city.” There’s a subtle emphasis on the last, like she is underscoring that she belongs here and Yamia does not. “And if the target is Berra? Who could possibly be that foolish?”

“My answer depends entirely on whether magic for listening to a place can be blocked within this room.” Yamia did not miss a beat.

Varanis raises an eyebrow at that. “It cannot. Grandmother would not tolerate her spies being excluded from any place within the palazzo.” This is said as though Varanis expects to be overheard and doesn’t really care. “We are leaving the House, I take it? I will need a few minutes to put my armour on. As I do not wish to travel with an excess of guards, this is a necessary step.”

“We are. I shall go let her know, unless you wish my help in dressing?” A terrible soft patience waits in her, as if she could take any answer including violence, all the same.

“I will be fine, thank you. I will meet you both in the courtyard, if that is agreeable to you?” The Vingan gives little away, resorting to the polite words and subtle courtesies typical of the Esrolian courts. She holds Yamia’s gaze, offering no challenge but also no space for disagreement. The nod of farewell she gives to the other woman is precisely measured to suggest equality between them.

Yamia gives just the same but a little slower, allowing the difference in them and the fact this is a Saiciae place. She goes, and the bird does not come out of hiding.