Xenofos — Comfort
????, Dark Season, Season/Movement Week
Dark Season/Movement Week/Water Day/Before and around noon. For Xenofos continues from [[[Xenofos:Snow on the eyelashes]]] Berra continues from Chastisement. [[[s02:session-21|Session 21]]]
Xenofos returns, way before noon from direction of riding animals. Someone had groomed his zebra. No shoe is evident.
He gathers his shield he carelessly abandoned at the training ground and sweeps snow off it.
He looks at Saiciae serpent bared from under the snow, shakes his head and walks to the yurt.
Yurt is empty, although a wax tablet with some words on it is balanced on his things.1 failed read/wrie for Varanis
Xenofos looks at illegible scratches for a moment.
‘ Dear Xenofos greetings <we are absent >’ it gets less legible as it goes, like the hand of the writer tired as she went along. It is no surprise. Her strokes go most of the way through the wax.
The tablet could perhaps be snapped close with a bit less force.
It does not break, however.
Xenofos looks around the yurt, checking if the weapons and armour of the two women are here or if they have donned them for their trek.
Berra has taken her swords, and hide armour. It seems Varanis has done the same.
He shrugs. He would expect them to have same kit in the camp or outside.
Scribe peers out of the yurt and scans the plain made grey by rolling clouds depositing wet snow over everything.
Grey-white. Cold. Wet. Full of big people and huge yurts.
He assumes they can not be far since they are on foot. They should be safe.
He sits down by hearth, unwraps his cithara and lets his fingers run on strings. Instrument is badly out of tune and his fingers have trouble remembering melodies, but he continues despite that.
The sound of catgut being tortured brings in a Humakti after some time. She walks in, pink-cheeked, and nods a greeting.
Xenofos nods and drums couple of more wailing notes.
“Hey. Hi.” Berra hangs her wet cloak not far from the door, where a series of hooks have been sewn into the thick wall of the yurt. Underneath she is wearing a fur jacket. She looks too hot.
“Hello. Have you lost Varanis somewhere.”
“She’s taking a moment. I think she might have been hoping to find you alone, or at least not come back with me and find you. We went to visit people just so we wouldn’t be hanging around. It took her a while to stop being angry at herself.” Berra hauls off the jacket. She still has her armour underneath.
“She was angry with herself? I thought it was me who was target of her ire.” Xenofos answers looking at the small fire.
“Yeah. That’s why it took her a while.” Berra puts the jacket away before she starts on her breastplate. “She…. had to admit she’d been unjust. How are you?”
“Better, I guess.”
“Neela had called Varanis a liar a lot. What were you playing?”
“Just going through bits and pieces I have sometimes known. And making sorry work of them all.” He concentrates to more important things “But what was Varanis saying so she said that?”
“That you loved me, as far as I can tell. Neela didn’t want to believe it. It’s not the sort of accusation I’d fight over, personally. I mean, not if it wasn’t repeated. People get upset.”
“Well I suppose she does believe now, and Varanis can count that as satisfaction.” scribe answers
“Yeah. She’s a bit pissed off you sent her to go talk, to be honest.” Still in her greaves and the right vambrace, Berra comes to flop down by Xenofos. “That probably wasn’t a good idea.”
“I did not send her. I asked if she would, since that could be less embarrassing to Neela.” He looks at her. “But in retrospect it was – like you said – not a good idea.”
“One of Neela’s friends would have been better. So they could know what she was already like.” Berra stares at the fire. “We went out so we didn’t have to light this. But if we two go out now she may come back and not find us.”
“Maybe. But it was Varanis since Neela at least spoke to her of being angry. She said nothing of it to me.”
“Yeah. You got trampled without warning.” Berra looks up at Xenofos, sympathetic.
He shrugs. “At least the one who trampled new she was doing it. I trampled on her feelings withoug even noticing.”
“Yeah. Which happens, and is nothing to do with any flaw in you.”
“Yes and no. Not my intent. But consequence of my actions. Made worse by blindness to some of my surroundings.”
Berra shrugs, like that part, she can’t approach. “I don’t think like that, myself.” She wriggles forward a little to warm herself. “I can go look for her, if you like? For Varanis.”
“I would like you to stay here for a while. She will come when she comes, like you did.” Scholar answers quietly.
Berra nods. “Sure.” She stares at the fire for a bit, not feeding it.
“She did listen. And I think she understands even if she is unhappy.” says Xenofos after a short silence.
“Mhm.” The Humakti makes a supportive noise.
” After that it is time that heals, I think.”
Berra sighs, muscular back rising and falling.
“And distance. When we are gone.” He shrugs with lopsided grin “Not that I feel qualified to give anyone advice on this particular subject.”
“Nah. People are their own…” Berra runs into difficulties. “People. You get to make your own decisions. Everyone does.”
“Is it awkward to be waiting for us to come back, or settle down? Does that happen a lot?”
” Does what happen, little cousin?”
“Here you are, and I came back, and she will too, but you had to wait.”
“I was pretty sure you two would arrive sooner or later.” he shrugs “and I find no awkwardness in staying in place. Truth be told, after morning I much rather sat put in solitude than meet anyone and ask around to find you.”
“Fair enough. I tend … well, you know that.” Berra wriggles backwards from the fire. “Sometimes I don’t want to talk to people either.”
“Are you awkward now, stopping?” he looks at her questioningly.
“Nah. If I had to stay, it would be bad, and I’d fight someone, but I can choose to.” Then, being Berra, a moment later she adds, “Until I choose not to.”
He nods, leaning backwards and looking at the Humakti quietly.
She is entirely engrossed by watching the fire, right up until a small, shiny beetle marches up to one of the hot stones, and then that has her attention instead. The act of watching a thing happening keeps her still.
Xenofos does not break the comfortable silence.
After a while, Berra gets up to go over to her kit and take off the rest of her armour. She sheds the fitted sleeve that is the protection for her left arm as well, and stacks everything neatly so she can grab it at speed but it is out of the way.
After that, Berra sits down to meditation, settling quickly into a peaceful stillness that has nothing to do with mere waiting. She looks satisfied with whatever answers her god is giving her.
Xenofos looks at her silent chores and meditation quietly. Apart from the fire a single fatlamp provides only light. He feeds the fire just enough fuel to keep it from going off. Letting it shine as pile of rubies in between.