VS 200 Earth Witch Hedges

Varanis — 1626 0930 Hedgewitch

????, Dark Season, Movement Week


Context

Dark Season, Movement Week, Late Night Clay Day [[[s02:session-21|Session 21]]]
Straw Weaver Bison Camp

This follows after [http:journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/xenofos:guardduty Guard Duty]


Events

It’s late on the night of the Bison Tribe’s Eirithan celebrations. Nala has been dancing with the women for hours and recently retreated to the yurt to be with her pack before things got uncomfortable for her. For a while, they have it to themselves.

Some time after, the door flap opens and in steps Varanis. The Vingan manages to make it through without touching the door frame, though she doesn’t look completely steady on her feet. Silently, she strips off her bison coat and drops it onto one of her neatly packed bags. She then collapses into a long-limbed heap on top of her sleeping furs. She lays still for a moment, the sighs and heaves herself into a seated position and begins to remove her jewellery.

“Does that stuff have ritual significance?”// Says Nala in her native tongue, before switching to Trade Talk. “Just wondering what’s impression you want to make by wearing ornamental metal in Prax.” She is curled up in the arc of Tiwr’s legs, as per usual.

Varanis glances over, surprise quickly masked by courtesy. “Hello Nala.” She unhooks a spiral from her ear. “It has meaning to me. It’s not necessarily about making an impression on others.” All of the jewellery Varanis wears is comprised of runes, with air and movement being the ones repeated most frequently.

“Did you make them all?”

Varanis shakes her head. “No. This ring… my father gave it to my mother a very long time ago. When I went through my initiation rites, my grandmother gave it to me to remember them by. I made the other ring when I was first learning to work metal. It’s imperfect and it reminds me of my own imperfections.” She points to the heavy spiral arm ring in front of her. “Of course, this one Kallyr gave me. The earrings I made. And these.” The last objects she points to are the wide cuffs that she wears whenever she isn’t wearing armour. “I spent a month on each of these. Meditated on every rune before I engraved it. I made these when I returned from Prax the last time…” For a fleeting moment, she looks haunted, but she schools her expression into polite neutrality again. “A healer suggested making them might help me.”

“Time doesn’t mean much,” observes Nala, settling herself further. “Are you still coming back from Prax?”

Varanis stares blankly at Nala, then looks thoughtful. “Maybe. I think I was hoping that seeing Argrath again, maybe fighting under his banner again, would help me make up for last time. I can only hope we’ll be permitted to see him when we return to Pavis.” Carefully, she wraps the jewellery in strips of linen and returns them to her bags. “Maybe there’s a message we can carry from him to Kallyr. If they joined forces we might be able to drive the Lunars out of Sartar for good.”

Nala cannot dissemble, so she turns to combing Tiwr’s mane. The unicorn half-wakes, affronted. “I know it is hard to keep your hands off so much magnificence, but a unicorn has his right to sleep,” he grumbles. Nala keeps her attention on the unicorn, but offers, “Marriage is best for alliances. But I don’t think Kallyr cares for Prax?”

Varanis shrugs. “Marriage for nobility has very little to do with what we love or want for ourselves, Nala.”

“My tribe says differently,” says Nala neutrally. ”But Prax is a hard country. You have to love it to rule it well.”

“I rather think Kallyr would leave the ruling of Prax to Argrath. I don’t get the sense that she wants to rule more than Sartar.” Varanis shrugs. “Anyway, he should know the flame has been relit, if he doesn’t know already. Kallyr should be able to unite Sartar because of that, which means the Lunars are going to try to push back hard.”

“So what is important about Sartar other than more land? It doesn’t have any ports or anything. Why is it important to people who aren’t Sartarite?”

“Dragon Pass,” Varanis replies. She yawns widely. “If you want to go anywhere over land, you need to use the pass. And that’s in Sartar.” She shucks her woollen tunic and folds it with the care of someone trying to concentrate. It’s almost tidy. “You coming with us when we head back to Pavis? Need to see Argrath before we leave for Sartar again. It’d be good to have you and your pack on the road to Pavis.” She’s not looking at Nala as she prepares for sleep, focusing her attention more on getting through the steps so she can collapse into her sleeping furs.

“I need to go to the Paps. Otherwise the alcohol will do horrible things to Tiwr. And now he isn’t honoring our bargain. I’ve seen what happens when people drink too much. They shrivel.” It is not clear whether she means physically or mentally, and with her usual lack of social skill the thought that saying this to an inebriated friend might not be politic does not occur.

“So you’ll not be returning to Pavis?”

Nala temporises, saying, “My friends in the army said all was not well with Argrath. I’m sworn to help him.”

Varanis blinks and some of the sleepiness drops away. “He’s not well? Like Kallyr wasn’t? It could be more Lunar sorcery. Nala, of course we have to help him. We should talk to the others in the morning. You can tell us what you know and when we return to Pavis, we can speak to Venna again.”

Nala, says, persuasively but a bit too much in the manner of Dormal, “When we traveled we did it without going through Dragon Pass. We were sent to Kero Fin, you see, and had visions there.” The effect is slightly marred by Tiwr snorting. It is not clear if he is asleep or awake.1Successful buff with illusion, very narrow failure on Fast Talk.

“I put that poorly. I’m tired. For the Lunars to go anywhere overland, they have to go through the pass and thus Sartar. The pass is Tarshite on one side and Sartarite on the other. And Kero Fin is in the pass. My tutors said it was the highest peak in Dragon Pass. So you entered Dragon Pass to get there.” 2By tutors, I mean the RP in Glorantha book, pp.100, 105. Also, passed INT*3 – I gave her a penalty because booze rots the brain, but she’s not that dumb. Varanis frowns. “But Nala, you didn’t answer my other questions. If Argrath has been attacked by Lunar magics, he needs help. This is important!”

“I haven’t heard anything about Lunar magics. Though I’d hope I’d learn enough here, even with a Daka Fel shaman, to be able to separate those out, if there were any. My friends said that some were finding Argrath ‘odd’. They didn’t specify. And it is odd, the way the White Bulls have become so kind of hostile, taking taxes off their own, even to veterans of the battle for Pavis. So there isn’t a lot of information.”3Special on fast talk this time.

Varanis yawns again. “We should talk it over with the others in the morning. I think they should know.” And another yawn. “But I should probably sleep now. Too much kumiss.” She wriggles into her sleeping furs and, from the sound of her breathing, falls asleep almost instantly.

“Time to work,” Nala says quietly, and, force of long habit, starts dreaming instantly