Xenofos — Attack
????, Earth Season, Illusion Week
Earth Season, Illusion Week, Waterway. Follows on directly from the last scene. [[[s02:session-17|Session 17]]]
“Sage Arganat, a word if you please?”
The man pauses, finds he has to look up into the eyes of the young scholar before him, and gives a small smile. “Of course. Is it sufficient to walk with me, or would the word need more?”
Xenofos tilts his head “I don’t know, I can walk with you and see if matters become clear on the way.”
“Aaah, indeed.” The smile becomes slightly fixed. “Then walk with me.” He proceeds the young man out of the door, and Ethurtl gives Xenofos a supportive little nod.
“I suppose the main question I have is whether the proceedings were concluded by todays hearing? Was that it?”
“I’m not entirely sure, until any subsidiary questions come in, but it is only a light matter. The correct titling and filing may be-“
Distantly, Xenofos hears his name.
“-unfinished, but the bread of the matter – was it a Full or Partial quest – is answered. So too is the question of your intent. Nothing else should be troublesome or worry a young scholar. Certainly not a Lightbringer scholar.”
“So should I be here tomorrow? I was not even aware I was supposed to be here today?”
Xenofos looks discreetly around. Oh. A meandering decoration motive runs close to the ceiling.
“It was short notice, I know,” says Argranat. “Still, is anything too much trouble for the god?” Then he stops dead, eyes fixed on the other side of the hall he was about to walk along the edge of. “Do you know Dresdel?” He gets the name slightly wrong, but heading over towards them at speed is Xenofos’ mother’s brother.
Argranat looks faintly puzzled. “He has one of the voiceless ones with him? Is he in trouble of a sort that I should not yet hear about?”
“Mute servant? One was waiting for me, I think, before I came to the hearing.”
The crowd within the hall is getting in the way, and Desdel is obviously in a hurry, but the servant has less dignity and ducks down under the hands of a demonstration of oratory and bounces up just ahead of the Saiciae now following him. “Oh dear,” says Argranat. “I am very sorry. Dear boy, you need to deal with this. Send me a note when you know all is well, if you wish.”
Xenofos nods to Arganat and stays to wait the mute and Desdel.
Argranat walks off at a sedate pace, but is out through the nearest door in a few short moments. Desdel gets close enough to speak and his first words are, “I’m so sorry, Xenofos. I did my best.”
Raised eyebrow. “What is it, uncle?”
“You have been censured for letting down your station as a Lightbringer by failing to bring due honour to the God on Holy Days.” He does not shrink from the truth, but it hurts him. “The Wyter was…” He looks Xenofos up and down. “Do you feel entirely well?”
“I feel quite well uncle, thanks for asking.” He pauses to think “Indeed, Godsday may have passed without me attending the temple. That censure is earned.”
The mute man looks miserably at the pair, and with defeat in his body language, turns to plod away, an actor perfect within his role.
“Twice,” says Desdel quietly. “And a Lightbringer. This is not a small matter, as it was presented. Your career… your chances of becoming a Sage…” He trails off.
Xenofos smiles to his uncle reassuringly “Calm yourself. With the pace my thesis -and linguistic studies – are advancing my chances of becoming a sage cannot have worsened in any material way.”
“There are even those who say you should be struck from the record – idiots all of course. But still. People who envy the great are never kind to them in secret.” Desdel does not look calm. “That the Wyter was invoked over such a matter! You could have been killed. Worse! Damaged in the mind or memory!”
“You have been in presence of the spirit of the Lore today?” Xenofos sounds curious.
“I was not, but I was there when they called it down on you. Are you sure…” Desdel looks Xenofos in the eyes. “Your gaze is still steady, your speech good. Yet the Lords of Lore insisted that it be sent to try you. To clear you, as some called it. Others were not so open with their words.”
“Interesting – I have been in a hearing until now, reciting the quest. Seems I might have had two summons on my person at same time.” Xenofos smiles drily.
Desdel stares. “You were…” He swallows, and then looks around. “I had not realised… The voiceless one sent to look for you came back in agitation.”
“He was less eloquent than the sage who took me to the other hearing.”
Desdel shakes his head. “This is bad, Xenofos. Very bad. Against the Wyter’s decison there is no appeal. But to send it to one who is young and unprepared… This was done against you, I am certain. Have you good friends within this building, with power and high station?”
“Well, if issue is my absence from the services I feel no need for appeal.” Xenofos looks carefree “But having those hearings at same time with no invitation sent to either was rather disorganized, if I dare censure the Sages.”
“It was not disorganised. There are ways.” Desdel shakes his head. “It is not just the appeal. It is how they did it… If the Wyter had hurt you in a search for knowledge, there would have been no blame attached. Do you understand that?”
“I should have nothing to fear from the wyter as long as I stick to the Truth. But who was chairing the other meeting? This one had sage Argranat. And matron who led me there was one with gift of Lankhor Mhy on her cheecks.”
“The Wyter has driven the untried mad, Xenofos. Did you not hear a thousand voices, all clear?” Desdel shudders delicately and changes the subject. “Sage Haffron was the Chief of Table. It’s always hard to tell who he favours. You have to know who he talked to last. The matron is Sage Triskia. She was born able to grow a beard, they say. She might well have called you away from one to another, but she is not … I would not call her dishonest in her inner thoughts.”
“Oh the voices, yes I heard them. Now I understand the disappointment… ” Xenofos strokes his beard. “Does word leaper court say something to you?”
“It’s not a phrase I’ve heard, no… A leaper jumps from place to place and has a great many eyes, if that helps?” Desdel looks around. “Let us walk out of here. If I am to help you, perhaps it would be best if we were not seen talking too much.”
“I need to do some copying first, and then clear a detail with our august chief priest” smile Xenofos flashes might be called sarcastic.
“Then I shall go and find out what I can about who might have allowed such an error of timing to come about.” Desdel gives Xenofos a tiny smile in return, and it does not reach his eyes.
“I know, boy. You take care too.”
Xenofos considers warning his uncle about taking unnecessary risks for mere career concerns, but deems that unnecessary and nods.
Desdel walks off, his pace measured and slow.
Xenofos marches to the archive. His sandals striking to the floorstones in aggressive cadence. There are disapproving looks when he locates a free table in middle of the hall and puts down his helmet with a metallic clang.
Nobody hushes a warrior, as they say. Still, several people tut quietly behind their stacks of clay and wax.
Xenofos acknowledges these with a nod, but proceeds to copy latest instalment of saga of Varanis.