Xenofos — From The Palazzo To A Warehouse
????, Earth Season, Movement Week
Earth Season, Movement Week, Freezeday – on the evening following return from the Queens judgement Xenofos wishes to speak with Berra who has left the building. [[[s02:session-16| Session 16]]]
Pretty late on the evening of the Freezeday Xenofos is asking the servants if they know whereabouts of the Humakti guest. He is still in armour minus vambraces and helmet, but not armed.
That, of course, gets him directed to Yamia. The answer is correct if not helpful.
The Humakti guest, rising from meditation on a roof terrace, bows with her hand on her sword, and just waits. Blankly curious, she lets the silence curl around them.
“Apologies for disturbing your meditation sister-in-law, I was seeking Berra.”
“You will not find her if you seek within comfortable walks and walls, Singer of Knowledge.
She has gone to the Du’Quasnay warehouse.”
The lightly accented Esrolian she speaks gives away that she has not heard the name sounded out by a native. That is how Berra says it.
There is a pause, this was not the answer the scribe was waiting for. ” I see. Alone? “
“I do not know, but she asked that I send a letter to Lord Kesten Hulta – Kesten Humakti.
The contents are not private; she told him where the place.” Yamia looks wistful, in the dim light.
Scholar looks thoughtful “That would be highly irregular, with the matter of the duel not yet resolved, communication should go through the seconds.”
“I think that a Sartarite might not know that. Duelling is alien to us. It is either less formal, or more official.” Such elegant phrasing for leaving the house to have a blood-fight immediately.
Deep sigh. “I suppose she really does not know despite having been in the Battallion.”
“In Sartar, Kesten Humakti would likely have invited her to walk outside straight-way.
We do not have a word ‘Provoke’ with the same undertones of honour injured. Only of anger.
Lord Kesten was ‘provoked’.” Either she is trying out the Esrolian word, or she is judging the Esrolian’s temper.
“I see. Did she set out a specific time and how long ago did she leave?”
“She wished to be out of the Harst Gate before it closed. She left on Godday, in a hurry. I believe she intends to return.” Yamia’s smile is mostly in her eyes, and a tiny twitch of the lips.
There is silent curse and apologetic nod, when gate is mentioned. “Thank you sister-in-law.
I think I know what I must do, I just don’t know how.”
Xenofos bows curtly and turns to leave.
“Oh?” Yamia looks interested. “A communication with Lord Agri, perhaps?”
But as the bow interrupts her, she too bows, and steps back.
Xenofos stops and looks back a bit surprised: “Yes, and getting to the warehouse in time though we are probably already too late…”
Yamia replies, “Then no need to worry about time. Take a moment to plan.”
Then she steps back again, turns with a nod, and walks gracefully the other way, feet silent in slippers. Xenofos nods again and strides from the roof.
On his way to his room he checks the stables if Berra left on foot or with mounts.
Both her horse, and her bison, are gone. Stablehand gets quiet order to saddle Xenofos’ horse and one spare for a lantern bearer. Naturally, this is done, the man doing so in silence after no questions at all.
Xenofos appears calm and methodical despite his rather disheveled appearance.1 which might get comment on later speculations among the servants
On his way to his room he tells one of the guards that he needs a messenger right now.
In his room he quickly rearms himself and writes two notes, one for Agri, one for Varanis.
There is a messenger knocking on his door by the time the first note is half-written.
This is rather faster than such things usually happen.
The boy bows. “You called for me, Lord.” He is young, probably sixteen or seventeen, a far remove from the twenty-two years that Xenofos has lived.
“I need a message delivered to lord Agri Hulta, presumably in Hulta palazzo, as soon as I have finished writing it. Any possible answer to the Harst gate.” He looks at the boy. ” And take a guard with you so you are not robbed by footpads in tbe way.”
He nods, and is professional enough to step outside and call for the guard at that point. “Lord Agri Hulta,” he says coming in again, to be sure to remember. “And answers to the Harst Gate. Any person there?” He is faintly familiar, in the way of all the servants here.
“That would be myself, for a short while. But I will not tarry long, Enakas.”2 pass int5 to remember boys name. Kas… Kas something. Oh, Enakas. His mother died a year ago, and his father looks after him.
The young man bows, having no answer to that. The little Voriof charm he wears slips out of his collar, ruining his youthful gravitas. Letter is given to the youth and Xenofos starts writing another. Youth bows, and goes out at a swift walk.3 note to Lord Agri: ” To lord Agri of house Hulta from Xenofos of Saiciae salutations and greetings. It has come to my attention my principal has contacted your principal for discussions at warehouse we visited earlier. I do not think she has meant to call him out, but since the matter of duel between them is yet formally unresolved it is not wise they meet without witnesess in such location, for should their disagreement and temper flare up encounter would not be to honor for either. Therefor I will endeavour to reach that house and invite you as other second to accompany me so that no shame will result of this meeting.
I will wait you or your answer briefly at Harst gate and then – with or without your presence – proceed to the said location. I remain, your sincerely Xenofos of house Saiciae.”
Xenofos leaves Varanis’ rooms with swift steps, gathers a lantern carrier and rides towards the Harst gate. He keeps the pace safe but brisk.
At the gate he waits impatiently for about the time Lhankor Mhys grace would sharpen his understanding for either his own messenger or Agri Hulta to arrive.4 ( About 15 minutes.)
With no answer, messenger or Agri forthcoming Scholar proceeds. Shrugging his shoulders as if to shed water Xenofos instructs the lantern bearer to knock on the doors of guardroom at the side of the gate.
” I am Xenofos of Saiciae. I have urgent errand in the westerners enclave. I vouch my matter is honourable and not of risk to the security of the city or the Queen. I beseech you to open the gate. “5 fail, buff with honor but still manage to pass oratory. Maybe Xenofos doubts a tiny bit about honor of telling them to make exceptions to guard duty.
The guard who opens the view hatch in the door gives him a faintly sympathetic look. “Take a water path, or wait,” he replies. “Gates don’t open at night.”6 Not given that he passed his Loyalty (Not Getting Chewed Out) roll.
Xenofos passes a wheel to the servant to pass on. “Water path is not practical with horses, and my business is urgent.”7 bargain roll 74/20 clear fail asking price 30 L
You are making fool of yourself, Xenofos. So embrace it.
Xenofos is not really bargaining in a way Irillo would approve. When first coin is met with a look of mixed greed and regret second is handed over.
When the guard makes sign of acceptance a third coin is shown. “I may return , alone or with a companion or two later this night and have no wish to renew this discussion then. If lord Agri Hulta inquires, do tell him I have passed the gate.”
“So, both ways settled?”
There is a grunt that is probably acquiescence. A yes, of a sort.
“Are we in agreement, good man?”
“Letting you out is one thing…”
The lantern bearer, who has not handed over the whole sum, does not yet commit to paying the man.
“You speak truth in that, loyal guardsman.” To lantern bearer ” Give the man two wheels for his troubles, Valinos, I have no stomach for haggling. Open the gate!”
There is a bit more discussion, and then the little hatch slams shut, and the gates are opened far enough to let Xenofos out. Xenofos, the horses, the servant – and a few quiet words that he has with the guard.
Xenofos seeks his way left towards the quiet street above the waterfront lined on one side by warehouses.8 pass POW5 No problems meet him on the way, and soon he is there, in front of a warehouse. The double doors on either side are closed, and there is no sign of Berra, Kesten, or bloodshed.
Xenofos points the lantern guy to open either pair.
Himself he scans the street to both directions
The servant pushes, and says, “Locked? Barred.”
“Use a knife or something to the bar”
Xenofos dismounts self, so that if caught in the act he shares the risk of capture with the servant.
Continues in [http://journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/berra:writ-in-water Writ in water]