Xenofos — Meet Me At The Pier
????, Earth Season, Illusion Week
Earth Season, Illusion Week, Waterday afternoon Xenofos seeking ship to Corflu. [[[s02:session-17|Session 17]]]
It is a rainy waterday afternoon. Heler is demonstrating his love to the city of Nochet, and to the docks, and to a dozing bison there as well. Under a shield propped up on a stick and the bison’s back, Berra is sitting watching the rain.
Melody of Sweet Saiciae Vareen preceeds Xenofos to the docks. “Wind is still from the east I see”
Berra looks up, and gives a smile. “It’s got rain in it too.” She, and her tiny patch of ground, are dry.
“Have you found a ship bound for Corflu yet?”
“We have one, but it’s not going out until something has passed over. Some sort of cloud, or something. They ask Orlanthi about what the day’s winds will be, I think.” Berra shrugs. She is in her brown armour, compact in her dry space. It has the added advantage that water will mostly run off it.
“Which one is it?” Xenofos is in armour, wrapped in his riding cloak.
Berra leans forward onto hands and feet, and moves easily out of cover. “That one,” she says, standing on tiptoes to point.
Xenofos looks to pointed direction and nods to Berra. ” Thank you.”
Berra looks up at him, curious and silent.
He strides towards the pointed vessel.
Berra sighs, looks to her shield, and then walks after him, and then scurries to catch up. “What is it?”
“Oh, I got assignment from Library to travel to Pavis. But only if Varanis approves that, that is.”
“Oh, right. Gotcha.” Berra scampers along, and then suddenly, smoothly, breaks into a walk instead. It’s an infanteer’s long-stepped stride, and she keeps pace with Xenofos.
“So I check if there is place aboard this one. Late in season unlikely to be too many vessels heading there.”
Berra snakes an arm around his waist in an attempt at a hug. “Good. I mean, I think.”
Xenofos looks down to her. “If Varanis does not need me here. If she does, that ofcourse comes first…”
“Yeah, I know.” Berra is looking ahead, not up at him, as she walks. The brief moment of physical contact is broken as soon as she has made the attempt. “I’ll meet her in Sartar, if not before.”
“Hmmmm… I am not sure what she is upto right now. I need to ask that too.”
“She’s got a few things to do, but nothing that’s going to take her months. That I know of. She might end up in Sartar for Dark Season, which will be sort of hilarious and I wish I could see that. You get serious snow and apparently she’s never seen it. Have you?”
“No. Only on mountaintops.”
“I had at least one winter where it wasn’t just higher than my head. It was higher than my chief’s head. I mean, I live pretty far North but not that high up. When that happens, you can dig tunnels through the snow, or lay boards, in the middle of the village, but you need to keep the pallisade clear so wolves and tusk riders can’t come over.” She sounds serious.
Xenofos nods, thinking of stuff used in sherbets covering a palisade.
“Mostly you use wind magic for that, but sometimes you have to dig, if it melts and freezes. But I was too small when I was in the Blue Tree, so I never had to do that.” Berra looks around as they reach the end of a row of moorings. “This one. With the eyes and the malachite paint on the front.”
“Right. Well soon I’ll hear if they have space aboard.”
“HEY! Sesten! Or someone!” Berra yells out cheerily. One of the men on board, hiding under a sail while he does something unspeakably complicated with a rope, looks up and then gestures them towards the other end, where there is a gangplank in situ.
Xenofos walks to gangplank and boards the ship.
The rope has been put aside and the sailor gets damp as he asks, “Treat’yer, stranger?” His accent is western, an odd mix of clipped and drawling.
“How do you do. Would you have room for a passenger with two mounts to Corflu, good man?”
“Eight Lunars, person or animal,” the man replies.
Over any possible reply, Berra says, “It was five for me,” from where she sits on the gangplank’s end.
Xenofos looks to man and Berra and back with mild amusement.
And raises an eyebrow.
Berra gives the sailor a grin, and he gives her a shrug. “It’s eight now.”
“Only if he says it is. There’s a lot of ships not leaving yet…” Berra looks to Xenofos. “You can probably do better than eight. Five’s good, from what we found out when we were walking, but you gotta wear out hobnails.” She looks down at his feet. “Are you even WEARING hobnails?”
His feet are covered in soft halfboots almost as comfy as slippers. He shakes his head. “They kind of slip on the stirrups.”
“Oh. You don’t march. Yeah. So anyhow, if the weather does take a turn I’m probably going to end up walking to Prax with Nala.” She looks back at the sailor. “Five.”
The sailor looks at Xenofos. “If you’d told me women were doing the bargaining for you…”
Raised eyebrow. “Bargaining?”
“Eight,” he repeats.
Berra sighs. “You don’t have to be noble about paying too much. But you will get better food if you do. But I’ll share if you don’t. And Rajar says he’s bringing wine.” She rolls to her feet to amble over to Xenofos, either supportive or just bored of sitting.
“So eight. Here is one, for keeping the place reserved. I will still need to attend to a few matters ashore.”
The man bows. “Of course, my Lord.” Berra gets a small stare from him, and turns on her heel to look around the ship and the harbour and the everything.
“Can you say when you are leaving?” Xenofos asks.
“Not within today’s light,” he replies. “But tomorrow’s may bring a change of Air, from past noon.”
“Can you send a word to Saiciae palazzo if things change faster? Else I come here tomorrow noon?”
There is a nod. “Come by noon and we’ll let you know otherwise,” the sailor repeats back.
“Thank you, good man. I am Xenofos Saiciae if you need to send the word.”
There is a clumsy bow, from a man more used to negotiating with Magasta than with Lords.
“You are waiting here, Berra?”
“I’m on the dock,” she says. “I couldn’t stand to be on a boat for that long and I don’t think Followed will like it much either. The later I board, the better. I like rafts more. They feel more open.”
He nods. ” I need to talk to Varanis and organize some details at the Library. You do know there would be room for you at the palazzo?”
Berra’s expression, always changeable, goes through a few twists. Self-denial, and then longing, maybe.1 Fumbled insight from Xenofos Maybe a desire to stay away from him or his suggestions – perhaps just a general rebellion. “I’ll probably go back to the inn where I was before, if it gets dark and there hasn’t been a wind-change. I just haven’t seen the need to go there yet. It’ll wait.”
Xenofos sighs, “Well, as long you are not sleeping in this drizzle, not that you could not tough it out.”
“More that they’d move me on. The spearmen who keep this bit have already talked to me twice, but I told them what I was doing and asked if it was a problem and I was really polite.” How that happened may never be clear, but as they approach her bison it is clear there is a man nearby watching over it. Berra gives him a little wave. “Having a warm animal to sleep next to helps, honestly.”
He nods. “See you tomorrow, little cousin.”
Berra bows in motion, and goes to get back under the shield, a far smaller space than she would have on the boat, but at least a dry one. “Have a good evening!”
Xenofos does not look back when taking the road towards the palazzo.