Orlanthi Obligations II

1627, Sea Season, Harmony Week


Context

Sea Season, Harmony Week, at the beginning of Clayday TrollLOLOL

Varanis tells Xenofos and Berra about an earlier conversation with Nala.

Events

One evening on the way back to Dangerford to find Irillo, Varanis corrals Xenofos and Berra for a private conversation.

Berra has oil on her hands and is probably glad to have been drawn away from caring for a blade almost a foot too long for her. Her right hand rests on Wind Tooth, where her left use to caress the sword on that hip. She doesn’t like the one she has.

There is some ink on Xenofos’ fingers. “Yes Varanis, what do you want to talk about?”

Berra gives Xenofos a quick grin of greeting.

“So…. have I told you about Nala’s um… appointment as my spiritual advisor?”

He shakes his head. “No cousin, you have not” he sounds a bit sceptical.

“You said she had some sort of vision,” Berra replies, and takes half a step back to check the reaction from Xenofos.

“Well…. she says she was assigned to guide me by the centre of the world, whatever she means by that.” By her tone, it’s clear that Varanis is a little confused by it all.

“Well, the centre of the world can sod off. Nala didn’t join your clan. She doesn’t get to tell you what to do from the outside.” Berra shrugs.1And passes a Loyalty roll.

Xenofos raises eyebrows.

Varanis shrugs uncomfortably. “If it’s the will of the gods, I’m not sure it’s my place to argue.”

“Prax has different gods. It’s not the will of Orlanth… well, you could ask. But it is your place to argue if she won’t do what she’s asking you to do.” Berra has opinions, it seems.

“Lots of gods out there. Not all of them wish us well…”

The Humakti points to Xenofos, and nods in agreement.

“Regardless…. well. She came to me to ask me about which aspects of Vinga and Orlanth I follow. It was odd. At times, she seems to confuse me with Kallyr. She was…. unhappy that I didn’t talk about Orlanth’s fertility. And that’s where things became very strange.” Varanis frowns, clearly still deeply confused.

“Who did she say she spoke for?” Scribe asks.

“The centre of the world.”

“Well… I wondered before. But what in actual hell does that mean? Did you ask her?” Berra sort of grins.

“She said… it was my duty to… what was the word she used?” Ignoring the other two for a moment as she searches her memory, Varanis chews on her lip. “Generate.” She adds, “with Kallyr.”

“Heheheh.” Berra manages to shut up. “Yeah…. WHA?” Then she quirks a brow, and her jaw drops a bit.

Xenofos shakes his head. “She also thought bringing Salt and Tears back was a good idea… I would take her words with a pinch of salt.”

“By adoption or ‘other means’, as she put it.” Varanis looks slightly flustered. “I pointed out that I’m not exactly cut out to be a parent, whether father or mother, and that I’m acting to negotiate a marriage on the Prince’s behalf.”

“I was about to say she couldn’t mean have kids – but yeah, she’s off her Tula. That doesn’t happen like that in Sartar.” Berra shakes her head.

“Either of you could become Ernalda… but not remain Kallyr or Varanis” Xenofos muses.

Varanis adds, “At first she thought I was negotiating marriage with Kallyr, rather than for her. I’m not sure she pays much attention to what is going on around her.”

“She seems to be slowly getting more in tune with the spirit world. And less with middle one,” the scribe notes.

“So, whatever her vision was, it’s confused. It happens sometimes.” Berra shrugs. “But she’s still worth listening to. Just not as a spiritual advisor who thinks you’re marrying Kallyr.”

The Vingan’s hair, it seems, has grown long enough to gnaw on again. “She says that Sartar needs balance. I told her the Prince would bring that. When I explained that I am no more than Kallyr’s kinswoman, she seemed unsatisfied by my response. And she kept talking about children. I’m supposed to adopt, or set up a school, or some such thing.” The lock finds its way between her teeth again, before she catches herself and lets it go. “Me. Children?” She shakes her head.

“Yeah, that bit’s not worth worrying about. She has no idea how Sartar works. Listen to her about Prax, or something.” Berra looks unimpressed.

Xenofos shrugs and opens his hands away from Ernalda. “Children? Any one of us? But that is the way of the world if it is to go forward.”

Varanis arches an eyebrow at him. “You would make a good father one day, Xenofos. Me… I’m not sure I could be mother or father to a child.”

“Unlikely for all of us,” Berra notes. “And not a plan that Varanis has. Nala’s been eating weird mushrooms.”

“It’s been weighing on me. She kept coming back to me being Orlanth and as such, I have a role… It was confusing and much as I hate to admit it, disturbing.”

“Yeah. She’s wrong about what the role is. I mean, how much practice has she had knowing about Orlanth?” Berra’s expression has a touch of disdain in the lift of her lip, but she manages to calm it and keep it to her body language.

“She comes from a very special tribe. Eschewing sex for those who ride the Unicorns. So although they venerate Ernalda – and she does – devoutly – how does she understand these things.”2Passed homeland lore Prax – that may or may not be accurate for Nala, but close enough for common run of Unicorn tribe.

“Thank you. I feel better for having talked it through. Bringing it into the open air makes it easier to have perspective.” She offers them both a warm smile.3Both fail insight. For the record, V is pretending she is ready to let this go, but it’s still not sitting right with her. She’s deceptive that way sometimes.

“Remember that time … well, you’ve been touched by weird visions before, and I’ve had really confusing ones, even maybe some that I thought of wrong, when I was …. sorry. Definitely some that I got wrong, when I was Divining. She’s got wrong visions and she doesn’t understand Sartar. Anyhow, Kallyr needs…. oooh. Maybe a Praxian god would want Sartar to be just Sartarite so that Argrath has some kind of claim. Later, I mean.”

“Is Nala of the White Bull too?” Xenofos asks.

“What do you mean by ‘just Sartarite?’” Varanis asks Berra.

“Not bound to Grazelands through marriage to the Feathered Horse Queen?” Xenofos asks.

“Yeah, just that,” Berra says to Xenofos. She might not have heard the question about the White Bull.

“Oh. Right. Well, I wouldn’t be a way to do that anyway. Sartar will always see me as Esrolian, I think. Even those who call me Varaena.” This last with a pointed look at Berra.

Despite her words, the Vingan looks more Sartarite than ever. With her cuirass off, she’s dressed in her padding and wrapped in a blue cloak with air and movement runes. Her hair hangs loose, still too short for anything resembling the Esrolian noblewoman’s plaits she used to favour. She’s even left off her jewellery again, save for the Prince’s arm ring.

“Sartar was barren and empty before people came from the Holy Country…” Xenofos says quietly.

Berra shrugs. “We can’t all be as lucky as I am,” she says wisely. “But yeah, also, that. Colymar, and the rest.”

Xenofos shrugs. “I guess Sartar uniting with his ancient mother Esrolia could suit Argrath’s claim to more legitimacy if he could become King of the Pass. But Kallyr lit the flame, with your aid, and that is something the king of Pavis can not go around. As long as Kallyr lives she has strongest claim to throne of Sartar.”

“Yeah. Tradition’s important there. But who carries the tradition, less so. Esrolia or Sartar, we’re pretty much blood-kin, anyhow.” Berra shrugs. “Want to go get a drink, either of you? We have small beer, or water.”

Varanis nods. “My duty is clear. Win the Feather Horse Queen’s hand for my Prince. That needs to be my focus.” She gives Berra a grateful look. “Beer is fine, though I could wish for some of Irillo’s wine right about now.”

“Yeah…. not in the field. But beer. Sober beer, and the smell of oil.” She gives one last look around at the landscape before she concludes, apparently, that it has nobody for her to kill lurking in it.