Xenofos — Address Unknown
????, Earth Season, Fertility Week
Earth Season, Fertility Week, Clayday dusk. Imarja’s Day is a day for the giving of gifts and celebration of family, in Esrolia. Xenofos has ordered a dress for Berra, as a surprise gift, although Varanis leaked his name to the Humakti when Berra said she was not going to wear it. [[[s02:session-7|Session 7]]]
On Clayday eve a package containing a dress is delivered to Berra’s room.
There is nobody staying in Berra’s room, although the Humakti – sleeping on the roof or elsewhere, apparently – is informed.
The maid informed a guard who looked at Berra surprised and relayed the message without any mirth. None whatsoever.
Berra, meditating outside Varanis’ room, just nodded and went back to her efforts.1Pass meditation, for the record. Thank you, D’Val!
Later on Clayday, Berra comes to click her fingers outside Xenofos’ room, and then tap with her knuckles. In effect, one-handed clapping followed by a knock.
Berra does just that, bringing a small cloth-wrapped packet with her. She bows, and comes over to offer it. “For you.”
“Thank you, what is it little cousin.”
“A sharpening stone. One of the ones with two sorts of surface. You’ve been making do with one that I don’t like the look of, and you don’t deserve to have to struggle. It’s two joined sorts of rock.”
“Thank you. Your packet of Imarja-day is in your room.”
“Yes. About that – thank you, but please don’t.” She gives him a fond smile.
“Ah. I see. You don’t wish to wear it? “
“It’s not a Humakti thing. But I am grateful that you care enough to do that.”
“Why would you say it is not a Humakti-thing?”
“Death is Separation, and you get close with self-denial. You’re inviting me to glory in the world, not in the God. It’s more an Ernaldan thing. It would feel good to wear, if I wasn’t dedicated to the path, I think. So it would be a distraction.”
“Quite many Esrolian Humakti wear silk. It helps them to concentrate on their skill and skill alone, when they are not distracted by discomfort of ill fitting or flimsy clothing. But maybe you consider the warriors of battalion less Humakti than yourself.”
“No, but I am pretty Sartarite.” Berra shrugs, with a smile that has no anger in it. “Bet you they don’t wear silk party dresses in battle. Not often, anyhow.”
“Would you consider sword Eril a model Humakti – of Sartarite type.”
Berra thinks about that. “I’m in awe of him. He’s a hero. I don’t have to like him. I want to be… not like he is, or even was, but I want to be that good. Sword D’Val is probably who is at the end of my path, though. Lord Eril is a politician and a Regimental leader. I couldn’t do that, so either he’s not a model Humakti, or there is more than one way of doing that, because I want to be like D’Val, and then step further.” She seems to have been working that out almost as she spoke.
“Very well. I just thought to point out that the black robe he has worn when I have seen him is silk. Unadorned, not glistening like some, but black like night and very expensive. Probably comfortable too.”
Berra gives Xenofos a polite look, masking anything she is feeling there.
“Now, I will not argue that point further. But I promised the maker to ask you to wear it, and by extension to ward possible doubts you might have on the subject. You did not ask for it – so I have no right – or wish to make any demands on that.” The scholar’s voice is even and calm.
Berra nods, and from whatever was behind her calm expression, her answer wells up. “Any time you want to ask him about that, I’d like to watch. From a distance. Other than that, how’s it going?”
“We are not done with the dress discussion yet I am afraid.” He is smiling.
“Well, fine, but in my imagination you’re telling Lord Eril he should wear armour. Just so you know. It’s probably going to go badly.” Berra shudders a bit.
“I am saying he does not feel the need except when he aims to fight, if then.”
“He doesn’t. But he’s a politician. I’m not.” Berra’s voice and expression, too, are polite.
“You speak of long term strategy to Varanis, are you sure you are entirely honest in that assessment of being not-politician.”
“If you’re going to talk about war, you need to know what you’re supporting. I’m really not a politician. I’m just a very good warrior.” Berra grins. “Me in a room full of nobility is always a bit dangerous. Like an Alynx very carefully not pouncing the bears, and then it gets bored.”
“Matter of being a good politician or amateur – of degree, not quality. But let us pass on.”
“Sure. I have a while.” Berra stays where she is, casually.
“I promised to explain the skill required to make it to you. Did you put it on?”
“No. I haven’t looked at it yet. I will.”
“Her skill in that creation is comparable to one you use with the blade. Whereas you destroy she creates. Understanding creating fully would make you a better swordswoman.”
“Any time, Xenofos, that you want to tell me about swords, you’re quite likely to find me at practice.” Berra curls her lip a little. “That argument’s not good enough to stay on your tongue for long.”
He smiles. “I may have to take that option more often than. So far I know more than I can demonstrate with the blade.”
“Well, I’d hope so. Next?”
“But be assured skill required is no less than yours even though it is different.”
“I understand that. She’s good enough to be offended by me not liking her work. She’s an expert. And you knew already that I might not want to wear it, because you had to tell her you’d try. So try, and then I can go.” Berra looks peacefully resigned to this.
“A couple of more objections you have not raised aloud, but that might concern you. That is not a wooing gift. “
“Oh, don’t worry.” Berra holds up a hand. “I really hadn’t thought that. You don’t think of me that way, I’m pretty sure.”2Berra fails Insight (Human).
“Well Varanis pointed that as one reason for gift giving so I had to give that some thought. I could not marry you, not with my cult responsibilities. So that reason is moot. And our earlier conversation rules out the possiblity of you choosing me as lover so logically that is moot too.”
“Yeah. No. You’re not female enough for me even if I hadn’t given up girls. Anything… oh. That poem. Did you notice it was written in blood?” A full change of subject there, from an expert in such.
“I thought it could be.”
“If there isn’t an ink that REALLY looks like blood, it was blood. I think someone threw it in from outside. So apparently the house feels really peaceful, or those doors would be closed. What else?” Berra jerks the subject around by the neck until it gives up.
“That guy has poor reputation. I wondered to Varanis if I should seek him out.” From the phrasing, Xenofos is obviously thinking about a duel.
“That’s for her to decide and do, and if she does, she should ask one of her guards, or me, to deal with it. But I meant anything else about the dress. I have meditation to get back to.”
“I hope you would wear it. But choice is – of course – yours. It has no strings attached.” He has been calm and logical through whole discussion, he looks a bit melancholic now. But he may be a bit tired of parties and trying to keep eyes on Varanis.
“Thank you. It’s good of you to understand choice. I like that you’ve never forced that on me, and that the scarf’s a beautiful thing that goes under my armour and doesn’t get seen. The dress will be helpful to me, but not to wear.” She gives him a smile that is still fond, despite her stance being that of someone ready to leave.
He nods politely.
Off she goes, happily enough.