Xenofos — Meeting With The Straw Weavers
In the camp of Argrath after meeting the king of Pavis, but before setting on a diplomatic mission [[[s02:session-46|Session 46]]]
In Argrath’s camp, Varanis follows Rajar to the White Bulls’ yurt. She makes an offering of wine, because unlike Rajar, she doesn’t pick up barrels of beer here and there.
Berra, after visiting the Humakti yurt, disappears to go let people know where they are camping, not to sell anything to anyone next to them, and how not to be stabbed by Praxians.
When they finish, Varanis mentions that she’d like to go with Rajar and Valseena to visit with the Straw Weavers.
The Straw Weavers are over by the heavy cavalry, carefully not next to the Flower Bisons.
After seeing Berra is not duelling today Xenofos takes a tour around the yurt encampment as an objective historian should. Greeting people in his rudimentary Praxian he manages to avoid any major confrontations. For some reason he is drawn to a place where there is a herd of bisons and their riders.
There are a number of Bison Tribe folks lurking in their camps. Some are sharpening weapons, others working at cook fires, most with drinks close to hand. They seem to have clustered into clan groups, though there is some mixing between the clans.
Xenofos looks at the yurts with curious expression. His nose is wrinkled from the acrid smoke of not quite dried bison fuel but he is smiling quietly.
He wanders slowly through the camp looking for familiar faces.
As the Esrolian drifts, some of the warriors glance his way, though there isn’t much interest.
A few of the women glance his way too; even less interest.
Xenofos stops for a while to scan the herd.
“Silkbeard!” The call is loud, the voice rich.1 fail herd. Bisons, they all look the same pass int*5
He has heard that voice before, and seen that man. It is Roneer. He has a rich tent, and his wife has many bison.
“Greetings, Roneer!” scribe responds with a nod.
“A fine day to meet. A dying sun and a moon we have come to fight. Have you come with Red Wind?” Roneer smiles widely.
“Red Wind, Death Child… Rajar- and ten score young warriors who follow the banner of Red Wind.”
There’s a laugh, and then he claps Xenofos on the shoulder heartily. “The reason the Rhino Khan is drinking early. I heard about their arrival. Your arrival. Where are Rajar and Valseena then? They need to visit their clan.”
“I don’t know Roneer, but I think they are still talking with Eiritha and the Bull,” Scholar answers.
“Come. Sit by my fire again. I want to hear your stories.”
Xenofos looks towards the Esrolian camp but nods then “It would be rude to refuse hospitality of a generous heart. Thank you, Roneer.”
The Praxian gestures him towards a low-burning fire, around which a half-dozen warriors sit. Their hands are busy with small tasks, fixing a strap, mending a seam, stirring a pot. They look at Roneer and his guest with curiosity. None of them are familiar to Xenofos.
Xenofos nods and takes off his helmet before sitting by the fire.
Self-consciously he strokes his beard.
Roneer hands over a cup of kumiss and takes one for himself. “So. What has happened to you and my kinsman and the rest of Redwind’s people since you left us? Tell me the stories.”
“It would take a long time indeed to recount everything, Roneer” scribe looks at the fire “Red Wind and Death Child ride the Wind and dance on the edge of the Sword. But where should I begin. The coldblooded beasts of the water, of Salt and Teeth? The nameless horrors that wander on Praxian flatlands whose very breath is poison. The murdered Lunar who would not rest? The mountain that danced at it’s pain, tortured by presence of Chaos” 2 Fumbled oratory, he strayed into speaking in Esrolian…
Roneer looks at him blankly. “Xefos. Speak a civilised tongue.”
Scribe tears his eyes from the low dancing flames. “Huh?”
“Speak Praxian. Or the words of traders. I need stories, not gibberish.”
“You hear new god in Prax? You hear Salt and Teeth?” flustered scribe asks.
“There are stories, but only fools and newtlings believe them. Still, they are good stories to excite the children.” The other Praxians nod as Roneer shares this wisdom. They, too, have heard the stories.
“I don’t know what you hear. But Paps believe what it heard. Suuraki on a sacred quest. And children of Salt and Teeth in new waters. I see.” Xenofos pokes at the fire “May be a fool. But I never lie.”
Roneer looks thoughtful. “Good hunting?”
Xenofos smiles crookedly. “I let Rajar be judge of that, he kill the first one. Tough critters, though, live in water. No easy hunting.”
He looks at fire again. “Many stories, may be too many. Or need a proper singer. Horror walks night, with a breath of Death, Red Wind and Death Child fight and fall, but Rajar kills the thing that will not die to a sword.” He shudders a bit.
Now Roneer looks rapt. He leans forward slightly as he listens, as if trying to catch the words just a little sooner.
“And even then we see from spirit of Waha it not dead by Death. Axe of the Bull not enough. It take the Death rune itself in sword to finally vanish.”
Xenofos looks at the flames. “Without Rajar the thing will not go down… Without Valseena Death Child not stand up afterwards, I think. I don’t know.”
Roneer may be composing poetry in his head. Even the other warriors have begun to pay attention.
Xenofos sips at his kumiss.
“How are your herds? How are the people you left behind?”
“Many calves have been born this year. The herds have done well. Every one of Lalira’s females carried young to term.” Roneer puffs up with pride. Some might suggest that he looked as though he was the proud father, but any who consider saying so aloud might want to note the well-worn armour and the sword hilt at his side first.
“It is good to hear you have been blessed by Eiritha, may that be so in future too and grazing plentiful. Hunger will stay far from your yurts, That is good.” Xenofos nods.
Roneer is pleased. Xenofos said the right thing, it seems. “The clan is blessed. It is good that our herds grow, as our women do too. So many women growing fat with child when I left. Even my Lalira! If I don’t return, perhaps there will be a son to step into my place one day.”
Instinctively Xenofos makes the sign of Earth to ward off evil words. “May you return safely to your yurt, to sing your songs to nephews and their kids. Like Majaro.”
“Old Majaro has travelled to the Hunting Grounds. He will feast there with his family until the end of time. It is a good thing.”
Xenofos bows his head. “He had seen many winters… ” He is silent for a while. “How fares his niece Neela?”
Roneer nods in reply to Xenofos’ comment and drinks silently until the question about Neela. “She grieves the old man’s death. It’s what women do. But, her husband visited her and now she too grows fat with child.”
“Blessing of Eiritha…” Xenofos looks at fire ” That is good, life goes on.”
“It will be hard for her, but the clan will help. Children born of spirits can sometimes be strange.”
After a while Xenofos asks quietly “She name husband’s spirit as father? Or this just warrior speak at fires?”
Roneer simply says, “It is the way.”
Xenofos takes a while to ponder this, “she… they are of Straw weaver clan. Way of Eiritha and Waha is the path that is to be followed, but…” He stands up.
The Praxians watch him from their seated position. Some of Roneer’s companions have a speculative look in their eyes.
“Thank you for your hospitality, Roneer.” Scribe says “I am glad to hear of the blessings Eiritha has bestowed on the Straw weavers. Tell… I need to think.”
He is waved off with an invitation to return to tell more stories.
After his meeting with Roneer and the others Xenofos runs into Varanis and has a discussion with her.
Berra takes a nap in the shade of her bison, and waits for the next crisis with a little smile.
When Varanis and her cousin are done talking, she leaves him to his thoughts and walks alone through the Praxian camp.
Little Berra is dozing in the shade of her animal, although she opens an eye from time to time to see if there is anything to deal with or shout at.
Continues in [[[xenofos:in-argraths-camp-1]]]
- 1fail herd. Bisons, they all look the same pass int*5
- 2Fumbled oratory, he strayed into speaking in Esrolian…