VS 184 Not Paranoid

Varanis — 1626 0906 Notparanoid

????, Dark Season, Disorder Week


Context

Dark Season, Disorder Week, Godday [[[s02:session-19|Session 19]]]

Events

A bit after dusk there is a knock on the room of Varanis.

There’s a long stretch of silence, before Varanis’ voice carries through the door: “Yes?”

“Xenofos here, may I come in?”

The door opens to reveal Varanis, naked sword in her hand and a bleak look in her eyes.

Xenofos looks at the sword for blood and past Varanis for enemies.

She steps back to let him in. Nothing is out of place and her blade gleams, looking as though the bronze has been freshly polished. She’s no longer wearing the blood-stained tunic from earlier in the day, which is draped over a stool in her room, looking damp. Beyond that is her sleeping space, blankets pulled up over strange, vaguely human shaped lumps.

“I thought Rajar would be guarding you?”

“He needed to sleep, so I sent him away. I can take care of myself. It is unlikely anyone will attack me in the temple, anyway.”

Xenofos shrugs. “Well he was kind of tipsy. Like Berra. She is in the Swordhall now and told she will meet with us in the morning, but should not be sent for.”

“Fine.” She studies him.

Xenofos seems thoughtful perhaps a bit melancholy. “Not sure if that is the wisest course of action, but I did not stop to argue on that point.”

“I’m more likely to need him tomorrow. This way he’s rested and clear-headed.” She scowls. “They attacked in broad daylight, cousin.”

“Oh, I was thinking of Berra walking the streets alone. The warding here should give some warning if attack comes during the night.”

Varanis blinks. “But she’s staying the night at the Temple of Humakt, isn’t she?”

“Yes – and walking here in the morning. Without escort if we honor her wish.” he tugs his beard.

“I suppose she’d be annoyed if we tried to intercept her.”

“Annoyed is better than ambushed and dead…” the scribe points out. “But I am sure she would be.”

“Do you want us to meet her? Do you remember the route to the Temple? I will go with you in the morning,” Varanis offers, sheathing her sword. She picks up a pile of rags from where she’s discarded them in the corner of the room. It looks as though she was camped out there for a while, probably cleaning the blade. “I need to clean my scabbard properly,” she grumbles, “but I lack the right tools.”

He shrugs. “She did not know when she would be finished with her business at the temple so that might be a bit hard. And we don’t know when you need to meet that Waha-priest? But still, thank you for the offer. It might be the thing to do in the morning.”

“Right, the priest. I need to arrange some cattle for him, if he says yes.”

“What exactly are you planning, Varanis?” Xenofos is looking at her steadily.

She shrugs. “The shaman might give us a spirit quest to find out who is targeting me. Suuraki says that an animal sacrifice would be appropriate.” She hiding it, but Xenofos knows her well enough to recognize the signs of anger and frustration under the surface.

“You trust a barbarian spirit talker to guide you on such journey,” Xenofos inquires, almost casually.

“Do you have any better ideas? We’ve barely arrived in Prax and assassins have targeted me in the full light of day. I don’t want to wait around for the next attack. Sooner or later, someone will get through.” The frustration has bubbled closer to the surface now.

“That was astonishingly soon, yes. If you were intended target. It could have been Suuraki… or even attempt at daylight robbery…” Xenofos does not sound convinced, more like he is weighing options.

“Suuraki does not believe he was the target. And they were apparently most definitely assassins. A local cult, I think.” She moves about the room, pausing to carefully peer out the window, but being sure not to stay too long. “Apparently, they use poison and crossbows, so I suppose those are things to be on alert for. Not being allowed to wear my armour is problematic. I’d like to get out of the city as soon as possible.”

“Berra was talking in same vein. I need to finish my business at the local library or rather put the task forward for someone else. But that should not take too long.”

“I’m not really sure what to do next, Xenofos. I had anticipated finding Argrath and fighting Lunars. Now?” She shakes her head. “I’m worried we’ll find him like we did Kallyr. Laid low by Lunar magic.”

“Hmm. His people know we are here, but who else? Still this would have been remarkably brisk action and I would not expect Stormbull to employ assassins to do their killing… ” Xenofos thoughts seem to linger on the attempted killing.

“It wouldn’t be Argrath,” she dismissively. “Anyway, go get some rest. I have some preparation to do. Check on me in the morning please.”

“I’ll sleep after first watch.”

Varanis stares at him. “First watch?” She raises an eyebrow.

“You need to sleep too. More so, if you plan on taking part in a spirit quest tomorrow.”

She scowls at him.

“So I’ll take the first watch.”

“I’ll be fine, Xeno,” she insists.

“With your blade out of its sheath, you don’t look very restful.”

“Look, if I let you guard for a little while, will you leave me alone after? I’m in no kind of mood for company.”

“I can stay outside your room. Do you wish to be woken up when I leave?”

She glares, but eventually her shoulders slump in defeat. “Check if I’m asleep and wake me when you leave if necessary. If I am asleep, wake me from a distance, Xeno. Don’t get too close.”

“Please, do sleep, if you can.”
He turns towards the door.

She nods reluctantly as she follows him to the door.

He stops at the doorway, looks to the courtyard and steps outside.

The door closes firmly behind him.

After some minutes, the steady, quiet sound of stone sliding on metal starts to pass through the door. Like sharpening of a blade.

Varanis rolls her eyes. Pulling herself up from the corner she has tucked herself into, she opens the door again. “How am I supposed to listen for footsteps with you making all that noise?”

Xenofos looks along the blade of his rapier “You are not? You are supposed to sleep so you are sharp and calm tomorrow, not a tired bunch of nerves?”

Her expression turns very dark. “Well even if I was planning to sleep, how would I do it with you outside my door, sharpening your blade?”

“I did not think sound was that loud. But I am done now.” He snaps the blade into the scabbard he has across his knees, places the sharpening stone carefully to his belt pouch, and looks up towards her. “Please try to sleep. You need it and that is the main reason I am here. Or are you afraid of dreams again?”

She glowers. “I’m not afraid. I’m just being cautious. Go. You’ll hear me if I need you.”

He shakes his head.

“Xenofos, I’m… I’m giving you an order. Go to bed.”

“You are not cautious if you ignore sleep. Just stubborn. I can not make you sleep. But I will be here first half of the night – awake.”

She glares, turns on her heel, and shuts the door, firmly, without slamming it.

Xenofos resumes his watch, wrapped in his cloak, sword ready to be drawn. When Uleria has risen second time on the eastern sky Xenofos gets up and knocks quietly at Varanis’ door.

There’s no answer.

He opens the door quietly and enters her room. After crossing the threshold he stops to listen and look carefully around. The bed is lumpy, with a vaguely Varanis shaped form visible in the dim light.1V: How much around are you looking? Bearing in mind, it’s pretty dark. X: He saw that decoy earlier… And Varanis’ sulking corner…

“Ranie?” he calls quietly.

She’s in the corner. She startles as he speaks, rising swiftly to her feet with the naked sword in hand. She’s moving in his direction before she finally seems to recognize him. “Xeno. Sorry.”

“Kind of sorry to wake you up. But since I promised… Still some time before dawn. I will try to catch some sleep now, do you wish me to wake Rajar?”

“No, leave him. I’m fine.” She sheathes her sword as she speaks and goes to the little wash basin, where she splashes water on her face. “Go, get some rest.”

“Did you manage to sleep?”

“A little,” she admits. “There was a dream, but….” She shrugs. “Maybe it will come back to me.” She nods at the door again. “Go. I’ll be fine.”

“I could just drop in the corner? I’ll probably drop like a sack of rocks, so you would not have to suffer company, but there would be two swords in the room if they are needed.”

“Thank, but no. Go sleep in your room. Sleep soundly so you can do what you need to do at the library and then we can leave this cursed city.”

“Very well. See you in the morning.”

When the door closes behind him this time, there’s the sound of something heavy being dragged across the floor. Then silence.2X: She is losing it. But even if you are paranoid everyone can be out to get you. V: You got into her room without waking her. She needs to barricade that entrance to buy herself time to respond. X: So send the guard away. Makes perfect sense. And the stubborn man disobeys your direct command… Way less shouting than I expected. V: Defiant wretch. It would have woken others. X: You let them out of Esrolia and they get uppity. GM: Time to get the whips out.