Xenofos — More Words In The Empty Yurt
1627, Dark Season
Late Dark Season, Straw weaver camp [[[s02:session-55|Session 55]]]
Over the next few weeks, Xenofos is permitted to spend time with Neela, Elara, and young Orgfal. It is a peaceful time, barring Orgfal’s steady chatter. One of his favourite Tradetalk words is why though he doesn’t generally understand the answer. He also swaps words with the scholar, pointing to things to ask for the Tradetalk word and giving Xenofos the Praxian one in exchange. Xenofos learns that Orgfal’s father’s younger brother has been the one teaching him how to ride. The young man is impatient with the boy and tends to avoid Xenofos altogether. But Orgfal has been learning.
Elara makes the usual newborn noises and burbles. She sleeps, eats, and studies the faces around her with a solemn gaze. When unswaddled, her limbs waves around as she develops strength.
Xenofos tells Orgfal that it is important he learns those things and he should listen to his teacher.1Fathers brother? How queer is that, but since Majafal who should do that is dead…
One afternoon, when the boy is out with his uncle, Xenofos is invited to visit with Neela and her baby. After Saberitha allows him to enter the yurt, she slips through the door and Xenofos finds that he is alone for the first time in weeks with Neela and Elara.
Xenofos looks at the yurt door for a while and then turns to face Neela and the baby.
There is a smile on his face with mixture of happyness, curiosity and slight wistfulness.
Neela approaches him, her dark eyes wide in the darkness. Behind her, little Elara sleeps. Taking his hand, the Eirithan guides him to a place by the hearth, tugging him down to sit beside her.
Xenofos sits by her side placing his other hand on hers.
“What is it, beloved?”
Her look of sadness deepens when he calls her that. “I must stay with my tribe, X’fos. Children need father. I need husband. I will not go with you.”
He nods. “Your kin is here. Your children are Strawweaver clan of Bison tribe, I don’t know if they could grow to be that anywhere but with your tribe.”
His voice is tender. This was not unexpected it seems.
“Garmeed will be my husband. He…” She frowns, trying to find the right words. “Not like you,” she says at last.2 Orgfals paternal uncle
“Lucky do I call the man whose yurt you will grace with your presence, Neela, the fairest of Straw weavers.” Scribe answers. “He can teach Orgfal to be warrior like his father before him.” he adds with a small sigh.
She reaches out to stroke his cheek, but as her fingers touch his skin, Elara begins to whimper.
Xenofos leans over and lifts the small bundle to his lap soothing the baby with slight rocking and stroking its back. “I think what you are doing is wise. There now, let the air out and you feel better…”3 There is a change in his quiet tone suggesting the latter is meant for the squirming Elara.
Dark, dark eyes stare up at him. She’s somehow managed to wriggle an arm free and the little flailing fist reflexively takes hold of his beard. 4 He has Xenofos’ eyes 🙂5 She’s a newborn. Who can tell? They are all usually dark.
She’s not strong enough yet to make it hurt when she pulls. Give her time… oh wait. You’re leaving. Ah well. Shame that other guy hasn’t been able to grow much of a beard yet.
“Tugging at my heart, little One? How can you do that with such tiny fingers?”
The baby just coos.
Xenofos rubs her nose gently with his own.
She has that milk-sweet scent that babies have.6 Probably first baby Xenofos has ever been sniffing so that is unique smell of Elara, not something babies in general have.
“In Esrolia children can have several fathers…” Xenofos says hesitantly. “If their mother says so…”
“Women there have several husbands, yes? Like khans and wives?”
“Husbands – and sometimes lovers” Scholar says. “You said Najeem’s child, his family will help. I don’t know if she can have use of being my child too, but if there is a chance for that I wish she would have it.”
The young woman looks uncertain. “I…. do not know. Will talk to Herd Mother.”
“Thank you, Neela” He strokes the cheek of the baby with a wistful smile “I am selfish, I wish you let me call her my daughter. But not if it will harm her or you.”
“You are strange man, X’fos,” Neela says. “I wish you stay, but…” She shrugs, a sad look in her eyes.. “I am happy you are here now.”
“These have been happy weeks.” He looks at Neela. “Good to hear it does not make you sad.”