Varanis — 1626 0888 Alynxkitten
????, Earth Season, Illusion Week
Earth Season, Illusion Week, Freezeday [[[s02:session-17|Session 17]]]
Some time on Freezeday, after Varanis has returned with the released Blue Tree prisoners she will be addressed by young messenger boy who tells her she has a visitor calling in.
“A visitor? Did the visitor give a name?”
“Lady Lenta of Hulta wishes to inquire if Lady Varanis of Saiciae would spare her some of her time.” Youth looks at Varanis “That is what her attendant said”
Varanis nods and looks thoughtful. “The inner courtyard. Please have her brought there. And pass word to the kitchens that I require wine and something to eat delivered to the courtyard for a guest.”
“Offer them a place to stay within the inner courtyard and simple refreshments for them as well. But, they should be placed where they can keep watch over the Lady.”
The youth nods and dashes off to fulfill her orders.
She turns to the mirror to check her appearance. The lost weight shows in the angles of her cheekbones. The shadows from beneath her eyes have mostly faded. The hair is… well, there’s nothing that can be done about it and she isn’t seeking to impress anyone.
The inner courtyard contains lush gardens, maintained in the heat of the Esrolian summers by a small army of gardeners. Late into Earth Season, the garden has begun to enter dormancy, but there is still abundant greenery. At the heart of the garden is a large fountain, featuring Ernalda in full glory. Large snakes wrap around her outstretched arms, and water spouts from their open mouths. The inside of the fountain is tiled with flower mosaics, repeating in full colour, the poppy that is the Saiciae emblem.
Lenta awaits in the inner courtyard, standing in formal attire of a noblewoman. Hair elaborately arranged, showing her rank and clan. Face covered with impeccable makeup. She is an Esrolian rose, just beginning to bloom.1Culture Esrolia= you don’t dress more formal than that.
“Lady Lenta. Welcome to House Saiciae,” Varanis greets her politely. “What brings you to our humble palazzo so soon after your ordeal?”
“Thank you for seeing me Varanis. I… I was not sure you would.” Her eyes are red behind the lining of kohl and her posture is very, very straight. She is afraid, but she is determined not to let that show. Makeup and formal dress are like an armour, but slight tremble in her voice betrays her.
“Of course, Lenta. Would you like some wine?” Servants are arriving with a small table, wine, and a platter with dried fruits and tiny pastries. They set it near a bench. Wine and food are also delivered to Lenta’s guards, where they have been stationed in a corner of the courtyard.
She nods. From the point of view of her guards, she looks like the epitome of calm Esrolian lady.
Varanis pours wine for them both. She adds a generous portion of water to her own and raises an eyebrow at Lenta in inquiry.
Lenta tastes from her glass. “My mother did not want me to come. She blames you. But I told Grandmother why I want to come and she gave me permission.”
Varanis waits patiently, taking a sip of wine and watching the young woman over the top of her glass. Gilt fingernails gleam against the brilliant blue of the glassware.
Lenta swallows and looks ar Varanis. “I came to thank you – for saving me and taking awful risks with your companions.”
Varanis shakes her head. “Thanks is not necessary. Garin was using you to punish me. I couldn’t let him do that.”
“If I had not behaved so irresponsibly you would not have been involved at all.”
“Lenta, he’s a determined man and he’s very angry with me. He would have found a way. I’m only sorry that it brought you harm.” Sincerity shines in her eyes.
Lenta looks at Varanis with those green eyes that this time are more determined than dreamy. “I showed whoever did it a way to get at you and stupidly fell in the trap not thinking at all. I am sorry.”
Varanis gives Lenta a considering look. It’s clear that the young woman needs this, as she seems determined to take responsibility. And, to be fair, Varanis has to admit that there’s a certain amount of truth in her words. She says none of this aloud, but rather simply replies, “your apology is accepted then. Do not let it concern you further, except that I ask you to be vigilant. The Merelts have not been found.”
“Garin and his sister. They were behind the attack on you, Lenta. I believe it was his sister who posed as me. And Garin is the one who taunted me with your capture in the first place. He dropped a violet scented hanky in my path, after warning me that he always gets what he wants. Speaking of which, is this yours?” The Vingan pulls a delicate linen hanky from within her dress. It still has the faint scent of violets clinging to it.
Lenta shakes her head. “Garin? Friend of Agri? “
“I don’t know if Garin Merelt is a friend of Agri’s. He’s a pompous man who struts about like a lion. Favours an orange cloak.” Varanis does not sound particularly impressed by him.
“Yes. Wears Orlanthi colours, though they say there is blood of Uleria in that family. Agri used to hang around with him quite a lot.” She wrinkles her nose. “He used to tease me like a child.”
“Just be careful around him. Please.”
“I will, if I see him” she says and nods.
Varanis nods, apparently satisfied. “Do you want a pastry?” she asks, indicating the plate. “The cook makes them with honey from the House hives.”
She shakes her head and looks thoughtful. “I can’t believe I could mistake Elanka for you. I have seen her.”
Varanis considers the pastries. They are a favourite of hers and she suspects that Marta may have had a hand in their appearance. She takes one and bites into it. There’s a little smile of pleasure. When the Vingan has finished, she says, “you were meant to think she was me. And others were too. Do not feel badly about it, Lenta. You were not the only one deceived.”
“Well she is blonde, but that is no problem to hide. But she is way shorter and rounder than you. Not much taller than me.”
“I do not suggest that Elanka herself did this, but I have seen illusions used on other people. Kallyr’s closest advisors were made to think they were escorting her corpse when she wasn’t even present. That illusion lasted many days and fooled too many people to count. If something as big as that is possible, it probably does not take much to make one woman look taller and leaner to a handful of people for a matter of such a short time.”
Varanis looks at the plate of pastries again, shrugs, and helps herself to a second. They really are very good.
Lenta is looking at Varanis with awe. Then she gathers herself and rises up.
The Vingan rises too, brushing away a crumb as she does so. She offers Lenta a reassuring smile.
“Let me repeat my thanks, they are deserved even if you deny it. Would you please also pass my gratitude to your companions?” She is holding her head up and talking in a manner fitting to noblewoman. Effect is slighly spoiled by her not quite knowing what to with her hands. ” You can tell those who were with you that Lenta of House Hulta considers her in their debt, and if a day comes, may it never come, that they need her help, she will try to repay.”
Varanis gives her a polite nod. “Of course, Lenta. I will let them know. I’m sure that I will see you again at some party or another soon. Until then, take care of yourself. Be watchful, but do not be afraid. You will not be fooled so easily a second time, I think.”
She bows a bit. “Thank you for accepting my apology… I will try to not let you down again. And I promise I try to not bother you by clinging to you.”2Insight human was passed, so…. She is not crying. She is not crying, she is going to hold her head up and smile and look calm and adult.
Varanis smiles gently. “You will find the right person for you, Lenta. Be patient. I am sorry that my carelessness has caused you pain.” The Vingan offers a small bow of her own, and adds, “Be well. Our paths will cross again soon, I’m certain.”
Lenta makes smallest of steps towards Varanis, nods and turns. Gliding serenely out of the courtyard, leaving a faint smell of violets behind her.
Varanis smiles after her. “Well done, Lenta,” she murmurs once the young woman has made her escape.