Xenofos — Issaries
????, Fire Season, Illusion Week
Fire Season, Illusion Week, Clayday. An Issarian on a mule. [[[s01:session-43|Session 43]]]
A while after leaving the Tula, Irillo lets his mule amble alongside Xenofos’ horse. “Journeying is sometimes dull, isn’t it?”
“At times…” Xenofos seems to be scanning the surroundings semiautomatically.
“We sometimes tell tales, to pass the miles more quickly”
Sideways glance from the horseman. “Sounds wise for a more leisurely day and peaceful times.”
“you can watch and talk at the same time, I’m sure.” insists the trader.
Xenofos just nods.
There’s an amble, “What have you been up to since we all parted home?”
“After Boldhome and that audience with Kallyr I have mainly been trying to look after Varanis’ back.”
“Oh, that I know! I more meant, after the siege, I rather lost touch.” continues the Issarian.
“Nothing really special. Rode Saiciae horse in Nochet Noble horse in Pennel ford campaign and then again, after my leg healed.”
“Oh, you were injured at the Ford? What happened?”
“Annoyingly accurate arrow and fall from the horse pretty early on, we were scouting…” grin, “not much material for heroic pentameter.”
“Bad luck. But not that traumatic, then?”
“So, how much of that campaign did you miss, then? I imagine the healers would have got you back together pretty quickly.”
“Yeah, I was back in saddle when we rode north…” suspicious look from Xenofos.
(Failed charm from Irillo, failed Int*3)
Xenofos remains suspicious, this being third person within a day to talk of the past he is trying to leave behind.
“I caught a javelin at the Ford. And again at Pavis. And honestly in both places, I was just along to try and make some money!”
“War is no good place for a man. But gentleman must serve when called upon.” answers the scholar in his gleaming bronze panoply.
“Well, it’s what the ladies request of us, so it’s for the best.” There’s a wry smile, “Just promise not to accidentally hit me with a javelin, okay?”
“It will be on purpose, I promise.” Answer is deadpan, but might be sarcastic humour.
It is met with equally deadpan, “Thank you so much.”
After a few hundred yards more, Irillo adds, “So, while I was trying to paint Pavis red, what were you doing?”
“That would be year City of Wonders was sacked and there was much confusion. Lots of marching to and fro.” pause, before Xenofos continues
“We mainly patrolled the borders and hunted those continuing resistance to Samastina.”
“Sounds tiresome. And the Dragonrise, of course. I missed that.”
(Irillo passes Insight Human after buffing it with Harmony.)
He notices Xenofos inhaling sharply and even after the small pause Xenofos voice is not quite even.” You should probably be glad.”
Irillo seems not to notice, or doesn’t react, “Probably, although someone attempting to kebab me didn’t fill me with joy at the time.”
That is met with a nod and silence.
“And after that, just back to Nochet, and the library? Did I tell you how I got caught up with this lot?”
“No, you did not?” Xenofos answers glad of change of topic.
He nods, “Well, I was minding my own business in Boldhome, and they asked to travel with me to Alda-Chur. Cheap…. well, free…. guards. Not to be sniffed at. But they were questing.”
“Trade is not fit occupation for getleman, but they did tell us at some point in the Academy that there are no free lunches.”
Irillo quirks a smile, “You are remembering I am a merchant, aren’t you? Still, Issaries is the great friend of both Orlanth and Lhankor Mhy. We serve, and bring peace as we travel. It’s a good calling.” A beat, “Anyway, you remember cousin Vestra? She was with them, and as we went along the road… they were heading to Kero Finn, she called upon me, as Lhankor Mhy, to call upon Issaries as her brother, to quest. I answered the call.”
“I think I remember, she was really serious on her studies.”
“Very much so. Anyway, so, here I am. A perfectly peaceful and very profitable round of trading disrupted, and me having spent a winter up here, rather than back in Nochet!” He urges the mule forward, as it was being a bit…. well… mulish. “I’m sorry if I have failed Lhankor Mhy, but Issaries always stands ready to help you move on.”
Raised eyebrow. “You speak in riddles. Anyway try to keep your head together, seems to me you are sharing it with quite a character these days.”
(Irillo passes moonrune)
Irillo: keep your head together? That’s… not a thing that you have difficulty with. Compartmentalising is so easy. It follows on from the precepts of meditation.
Also Irillo: That was an intrusive thought, purely personal to Eril, and you’re not even in a part of the Quest right now.
He gives a little shudder, “I was meaning metaphorically. Lhankor Mhy and Issaries were great friends. And I think you have suffered from something.”
Another sideways glance, rather cold. ” Thank you for your concern.” Tone is totally polite.
He nods, “Well, assuming the Eurmali don’t torture me to death in the next few days, anyway. Or the Lunars.”
Irillo: tsk, tsk. Have we not been paying attention? The Eurmali betray. The torture is at the hands of a real expert.
Irillo: A cold voice, that one. But maybe eager.
Another glance from the horseman. This time concerned.
“Oh, I know what Eril did. He arranged to have himself betrayed. By the Eurmali, and given to Idkaz to be tortured, and have his memories cut out, so he could then be betrayed to the Lunars, and tortured to prove he didn’t have the items, and didn’t know where they were.”
Raised eyebrow. ” Why would the Lunars not finish the job. He was no great Sword back in the day, but why would they let the husk of a man go? “
“Because they believed he was innocent, and had committed no crime, of course.”
“Except be a Sartarite rebel of deathloving fanatic cult? Or did he forget that too, and just happen to raise himself again as Humakti? ” Xenofos is weighing arguments as he says them out loud.
“They’d know he was a Humakti. But the Lunars have plenty of those in Lunar Tarsh. But the rebel part? I don’t know. Probably not. “
Irillo: Certainly, hope has no place in a plan. Let it be known there are prisoners so they have to be– and the feeling fades. Alone in his head again, save for the press of the future.
“This sounds implausibly convoluted. But it happened once, so maybe I should not try to look for flaws in logic of this plan. Ernalda knows the parts you have hinted of speak of quite alien mindset anyway.” Xenofos seems reluctant to let go of logic and analysis, but he sees this is not just exercise in rhetorics.
“He takes very calculated risks, but they are risks, still. And he is as careless of his own life as those of others. Which is admirable, I suppose.”
Pause. ” No.”
“Carelessness with others life is not admirable, nor with your own.”
“You’d rather he be careless with others, but careful with his own?”
“Being careless with your own does not make up for risking others’ lives.” Scholar sepaks with conviction.
“I agree.” He sighs, “Look, if something happens, will you make sure Serzeen knows I didn’t suffer, and was heroic. Or something?”
” I know the words. I have written them often enough.”
“Thanks. Make up something good with the others, and make sure you stick to it. I don’t want her deciding revenge is necessary and come chasing up here.”
“Revenge IS her vocation. So I’ll be quite scrupulous not to cook up any story that is not literally true to tell her. Byt I can with good conscience talk of heroics already.”
“Thank you. But I’d rather she didn’t die trying to avenge me.”
“I will not try to raise her righteous anger.” Wry grin. ” But if you want lies beyond how beautiful it is to die for duty, you need another messenger.”
“Well, thanks, anyway.”
Talk rolls into its natural end and Irillo lets his mule to wander towards back of the convoy.