From Palace To Palazzo

Xenofos — From Palace To Palazzo

????, Earth Season, Stasis Week


Context

Earth Season, Stasis Week, Godsday. [[[s02:session 16 |Session 16]]]

Events

Berra discusses some matters with Xenofos when they walk back from royal palace.

When Saiciae are dismissed from the royal hall Xenofos watches as the Hulta pass, following Lenta’s palanquin. He takes position on right flank looking at the road ahead with evaluating look.

Berra gives her recitation of events to Dormal, and steps away from him with what might be relief. She looks around in the group and then heads to the right as well, stepping in to the left of Xenofos, with a hand lifted to grasp his shoulder briefly. “Still don’t have a proper nickname for you. How are you holding up, kin’s cousin?”

“Decent I’d say, Berra.” Xenofos looks at Berra briefly. “You did give me… us a scare for a while.”

Berra looks puzzled. “Uhhhh… oh. The warehouse?”

“On the boat. For a while I thought you were gone.”

“Oh, right. I had meant to ask about that. Who tied him up, and… no, better. What happened while I was not on that floor?” She too is keeping her eyes on events around her.

” I think Irillo searched and tied him. I was tending to Varanis after Irillo got her off those ropes above the water.”

“Alright. I’ll let him know too. The best way to deal with someone like that is to cut his clothes off. If you’re not sure if you’ve found everything, you haven’t. Same for if you are sure. Clothes, boots. I’d have liked to bring him in alive.” She seems placid, unworried by events. “And Varanis?”

The quick glance that Berra gives Xenofos and the way she looks off again indicate deep emotion, maybe to do with him. There is no victory buried beneath her calm, but instead a well of something that must surely be holding her heart captive.1blundered insight human. Oh boy.

Xenofos seems to have lost coherency of his thoughts for a moment, and needs to gather them while looking at the route ahead. “Varanis? Yes Varanis… she found an object, a small box from that sack she seemed quite fascinated with. Giving out a mockery of a young womans weeping.”

“I heard it,” says Berra after giving him a moment. “All of these things should go to your House, to be looked at. That was quite a slander that Lord Kesten brought.”

Xenofos shrugs his shoulders. “They had reason to believe that, if even Lenta was fooled and their were witnesses. “

“Yeah, but it’s still slander. If your grandmother isn’t about to apply a base-stone and a rock-hammer to tender parts, then I’d be surprised. And Keste… Lord Kesten didn’t insist on what happened, he only reported what he had found out at that point. He said nothing about later.”

Xenofos looks at Berra inquiringly. “Lord Kesten answered to what the Queen demanded to know. In this I find no fault in his conduct. He kept his observations and guesses separate.”

“Yep. He said a small number of things and answered exactly what she asked. Did I say I was finding a fault with that?” Berra gives Xenofos a grin, and there is no Air in her question, no wounded pride.

“You said it was slander… But we now have queens judgement there was enough evidence and reasons for this assumption so it was not.” Scholar seems to accept the judgement at face value.

“Oh, right. Still a big offence against the house, but you’re right. I thought she was just saying the feud was not to happen, not that she was judging on anything else. I mean, Kesten let it slip badly, but…” Berra shrugs and trails off. “You didn’t answer how Varanis was.” Her mind jumps off one thing and back onto another.

“Well when you told her she can’t talk with Lenta she looked really frustrated, and she has had even shorter temper than usually…” Xenofos tries to keep up the pace with sudden changes of discussion.

Berra considers. “It was just for a moment. She got to talk later, but I wanted to be sure Agri didn’t … Lord Agri did not see Lenta making that accusation too. Not until I’d talked to him. I’ll make sure she knows she did well. It’s hard to keep a temper in check.”

“Varanis blames herself. It was not her fault. It is good if you can tell her she did well, maybe that helps…” Xenofos is shaking his head and talking on low voice, surreptiously glancing at Varanis.

“Oh, I know that,” Berra says, in a tone indicating she means, ‘that old problem’. “But I won’t be around so much. I’ll ask her to help me move, maybe. Or for a drink, while I check my things.”

“So you are still moving? ” says Xenofos lightly.2Berra failed insight Human

“It was never about the duel. That happened afterwards. This is different and it’s a personal matter. I should stop messing the Fifth around.” Berra shrugs. She is more casual now, less filled with studied calm, and more relaxed.

“Oh yes, the duel. I suppose I will hear from Agri what Kesten does about your apology.” Xenofos looks a bit concerned. “It seems there might be some complications from the battallion.”

“I don’t know about how that works,” Berra admits. “But it sounds like in setting up the area he stole a lump of city. Or borrowed it without permission, anyhow. Something. It made her city smaller. And most people would see it as duelling inside the city anyhow, if they just looked with their eyes.”

Xenofos nods. “Queen said it would be handled by temple of Humakti though.”

“That Temple which she pays for a lot of the upkeep of,” muses Berra. “And has a command structure that can be replaced as one item, because it’s basically the unnamed Regiment? Yeah. She did.”

Xenofos just nods. It seems he was considering saying something, but decides against it.

“I should find out what I should have known about it.” Berra shrugs that off for the moment. “You did well.”

Xenofos is quiet for a minute. “I did pretty little this time to be honest. But thank you anyway.”

“You came. A lot of people wouldn’t. I know you say it’s your duty, but not everyone would, and you came into danger with Varanis again. I admire that you do.”

“I am an Esrolian nobleman, that is what we do. Or so I was taught once.”

“Mhm.” Berra walks in silence for a moment, then stretches her shoulders, and looks about her. “I should talk to Varanis,” she says, but does not pull herself away from the conversation.

“It was her father who taught me, you know. Before he went to Sartar.” Xenofos falls silent and seems to stare far, way past the houses along the street.

“I didn’t. I don’t know much about the House.” Berra’s voice coasts smoothly into polite and neutral.

“Taught me basics of warriors craft, and showed what it is to be a gentleman. As uncles do.”

“Or warriors. My uncle Torfai is Esrolian. My grandfather’s daughter’s husband. She died, but he kept us in his house. Yehna learned to cook there.” It is a sort of answer, and not an answer at all.

There is a pause, almost imperceptible shake of head and a nod.3 Xenofos is taken by surprise by a fleeting thought that crosses his mind, but supresses it quickly.

Berra lets the conversation quiet for a while, and then as it seems she might be about to leave says, “He taught you well.”

Shrug of shoulders. “He did indeed, I just try to follow that.”

More silence, although Berra does not lose her habitual watchfulness, and then she pats him on the shoulder as she peels off and heads away.

Xenofos tries to concentrate on his watch, but follows the Humakti in her scorched armour with his gaze.

Her hair is shorter now; the ends are blackened. The casual confidence in her walk is unchanged.