House Of Love And Baths

Xenofos — House Of Love And Baths

????, Storm Season, Season/Movement Week


Context

Storm Season/Movement Week/Clay Day/ [[[s02:session-29 |Session 29]]]
Continues in: [http:journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/xenofos:exaltation Exaltation] and [http:journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/xenofos:broken-reed Broken Reed].

Events

(Mildly spoilery)

At the White Grape, Varanis has tried and failed to get Berra’s attention. She gives up and seeks out Xenofos instead. Rondrik points upstairs. Apparently the scribe is still napping after his nightly escapades.

The Vingan takes the stairs two at a time. In the hall, she raps briskly on the door frame of the room Xenofos has been given.

She gets a sleepy grunt from inside as response.
“Who is it?”

“It’s Ranie. Time to wake up! You’re wasting the day.” She sounds far too enthusiastic for someone with so little sleep.

Soft steps approach the door and Xenofos opens it dressed in his undertunic, hair and beard in a mess and eyes half closed.

“I heard that the Temple of Uleria has a bathhouse. Is this true?” Her eyes sparkle and her smile is huge. “Kalis mentioned it when we were… Well. She mentioned it, anyway.” Varanis laughs. “A proper steam! Much better than the cold stream I used yesterday.”

“Yes there is.” He looks at himself. “Would not hurt me either to be honest. And there at least was that lady who knew proper braiding…. Wait a moment so I put on some clothes.” He turns back in an picks up his greaves from the floor.

The Vingan shifts from foot to foot, impatience and anticipation in the movement.

Mechanically and efficiently, the scholar snaps his greaves into place, throws on a tunic, belts it, adds his cuirass and vambraces and finally picks the helmet and rapier.

Varanis is unarmoured. She is wearing a blue wool tunic with strips of gold silk and gold embroidery. Her sword is at her hip. “Ready?”

He tightens the sword belt and nods.

She dashes down the stairs, stopping at the bottom to collect her dignity. Her cheeks are flushed, but she makes her way through the common room at a more reasonable pace and waits for Xenofos by the door.

Xenofos follows in a bit more sedate pace. It seems his eyes are looking for something as he navigates the room.1Fail Scan – where is Berra? too short to be visible behind those cattle drivers who are trying very hard to not look at her.

The Vingan waves in Berra’s general direction before stepping through the door and into the courtyard. It’s as though she’s forgotten her agreement on the road to Boldhome about allowing herself to be under guard and follow the protocols Berra has established for her protection.

The eyes of the scholar sweep the road ahead remembering the alleyways and rooftops.2 pass scan It may be that Varanis has forgotten, but he remembers.

She tells him about her visit to the market with Valseena earlier. She is clearly pleased with herself for having been able to surprise the Praxian with a gift.

“That was nice and proper. Who did you have as guard?”

She has the grace to look sheepish. “Myself?” she ventures.

He raises an eyebrow.

“Kallyr has welcomed me back. I think it’s safe to assume that she won’t try to get rid of me. And Leika’s people are in Clearwine. It’s fine. I’m fine.”

He looks at her and throws glances ahead, but does not confirm or deny what she says.

Satisfied that he won’t argue, the Vingan asks him about the temple they are headed to.

“Last time we were here, I spent couple of nights here.There was this Esrolian initiate who really understood beards, Aranda.”

She gives his beard a critical look. “Let’s hope she’s there today.”

He strokes the less than even braids, oiled haphazardly with bison fat and looks a bit absentminded.

“It’ll be good to have you smelling of something other than Prax,” Varanis teases. “Maybe they’ll have rose oil for you.”

“Quite. It felt quite rank on first application, but I don’t really notice it anymore. Grows on you, somehow…” He shakes his head but does not continue.3Reminded of someone in Prax, but failed truth

They turn the corner and there, up ahead, is the temple. The Esrolian duo climb the few steps, Xenofos following Varanis, still stroking his beard.

“We go in through main doors, even for the baths. Initiates inside will guide us further.”

Over the doors is depicted Uleria in her splendor flanked by runes of Life and Eternity. The doors, of finest Sartarite oak and with silver inlays are half open, inviting.

Varanis looks around, anticipation lighting up her face.

Xenofos is a bit slow entering and his face is masked as he respectfully removes his helmet.

“I bid you welcome to House of Love,” a melodious voice greets them. “I do not think you have been our guest before Varanis Lightbringer… and some time has passed since you were last in here Xenofos.”4 Varanis’ reputation precedes her

Varanis smiles. “Thank you for your welcome, Holy One.”

The lady who greeted you seems to be in her late thirties. She is wearing a green linen dress, simple, almost modest and a silver pendant with Life rune. She looks almost plain in comparison to some beauties, but her voice is enchanting and when she moves it is with grace and voluptuousness.

“My name is Dorasa, you can call me that… Varanis.”5 Varanis passes fertility 26/58 “I thought Kalis wore her out!” ” Maybe she did. But Dorasa seems to make impression on V.”

“Dorasa, then,” Varanis agrees with a warm smile. “I’ve heard rumours that you have a bathhouse and steam room?”

“That is so. So you have come to bathe today? To cleanse your soul and bodies?”

“Yes. Orlanth’s rites loom large and I wish to be ready for them.”

“Yes to bath – and to pray” scribe answers. “Is Aranda here today?”

The priestess looks at the scribe and nods serenely “She is here. Documents to witness again or getting that beard taken care of?”

“The beard. Although that letter might need updating too.”

“Definitely the beard,” Varanis agrees. “And… is there someone who could trim my hair?” She holds a red lock in front of her nose and scowls at it. It definitely looks like she has spent seasons in a harsh climate and hasn’t been taking appropriate care.

She smiles at her, her black curls cascading over her shoulders. “Aranda can take care of you both, I think. She knows her way around both hair and beard.”

Varanis glances at Xenofos. “You don’t mind sharing her?”

“Obviously we must take turns, but you can get started while I visit the Mistress.”

Quiet tinkling of a silver bell summons a servant who leads Varanis up the stairs.
The Vingan follows with a parting wave for her cousin.