1627, Fire Season, Fertility Week, Clayday Eve
Varanis and Berra settle down to drinking at Nochet’s primary Temple of Uleria. Xenofos is there for moral support. The binge drinking session begins in Drinking Party (Part I).
Part 3/11: Xenofos puts on a show
The roast is brought in. Piece of finest Esrolian hog surrounded by apples, carved into thin slices and glazed with a gleaming sauce. Davorelia picks up a morsel, gestures to the women and asks Xenofos to please pick up a kithara while they eat. After all it is only proper that also guests participate in making a meal a shared occasion of friendship and joy. Xenofos looks around and takes the instrument from the shelf on the wall.
“I am but a dabbler in this art, but I can try.” He sips a bit more water and listens to the tuning of the kithara. “Lovely resonant sound…”
“Do you know anything Sartarite?” Berra asks. She reaches to eat.
“I have heard a couple of ballads of course. Not played them.” He closes his eyes. “This one I have sometimes attempted. I don’t remember the words though. It was sung in Heortling.”
“Something familiar’s fine,” Berra assures him. Her earnest look is lost on him, but she sounds like she means him to look to his own comfort, not hers.
His fingers start dancing on the strings. His eyes still almost closed as he listens to the memory of the tune inside his head. An echo of Sartarite fog seems to rise from the corners of the room, pierced by rays of Yelm. Strings echo the footsteps of the marching feet and gleaming spearpoints. In dark tones they tell of a broken wall. Lost streets. And a Prince who falls a hero with a company of other dead heroes.101 on play kithara – he is not that good really, but this is best his ever been.
To tell from Berra’s expression, she is not saddened by the music, but buoyed up. She also looks tremendously proud of Xenofos as he plays, and rather undermines his performance by herself forgetting to eat in favour of listening.
After playing, he lowers his head, puts away the instrument and sighs heavily. Already as he is playing Berra can spot a few tears in his eyes.2Berra specialled insight.
“That was beautiful,” the Humakti tells him. She should know, being a professional in Death. “Thank you.”
Varanis raises her cup to him. “Berra’s right. It truly was haunting and beautiful. Well done, Xeno.” She eyes him thoughtfully. “You know, I’m not sure you have ever played better.”
He lets his fingers stroke the curve of the instrument and answers quietly “Thank you. It just… flowed.”
“Well, since you can’t have any wine, I’ll drink some for you in celebration of your performance,” Varanis says warmly before draining her cup.3Cup #5
“Mm.” Berra remembers where she is, stops staring at Xenofos in awe, and pays attention to her food. The intensity of her stare might mean she is concentrating on not eating is all at once, or on a lost Prince far away.
He raises his cup in answer to Varanis and wipes his eyes.
Varanis helps herself to a small portion of the roast, nibbling delicately.
Berra checks how Davorelia is doing, looking to the hostess’s plate and back to the woman, checking if she wants more.
The hostess stopped for a while when Xenofos was playing, but has eaten couple of slice with healthy appetite.
“I’m just drinking for myself,” Berra says. “Which is good because I’m out of practice.” She adds, for Davorelia’s benefit, “We haven’t had relaxing time for a while.”