Xenofos — Obstinate
1628, Sea Season, Death Week
Sea Season Death Week Wildday Eve. After the court of Leika the Queen of Colymar [[[s03:session-4|Session 4]]]
A tad spoilery for Berra.
Xenofos fiddles with the armring Leika gave him. He glances towards Berra but does not approach her instead moving a little away from the throng of people.
Varanis thanks the official she was talking to, then makes her way over to her cousin. “We need to talk,” she says without preamble.
“Sure” Scribe wanders a bit further and slumps to the ground leaning against a large stone.
She follows and stands over him. “You disobeyed me.”
“Yes. I did” Scribe closes his eyes.
After a while he sighs and looks at Varanis.
“In front of Leika’s people,” she says when he looks at her. Her expression gives nothing away.
“It was imperative to protect that egg.” Scribe says flatly. “Berra had been unconscious, acted weirdly as one possessed and tried to use force. I could not take the risk of giving it to her then.”
“So instead, you provoked her into a fight?”
Varanis crosses her arms across her chest.
“No. She chose to try take with force what I refused to give by false accusations.” Scholar looks at Varanis “I asked Lhankor Mhy the tale of that egg while Berra was unconscious. I knew it had never been hers before I examined it. And she claimed I took it from her.”
“She certainly believed it did. Nevertheless, I assessed the situation and gave a direct order, which you then chose to disobey. And now Nameless will have reported back to Leika that I have no control over my own people.” She’s returned to longer words, which might mean some of the anger is easing. But her scowl is clear to any who might be observing.
“I promised you my sword and my council, not blind obedience. Your assessment was wrong.” Scholar rises tiredly “If that egg had broken you, little Berra, bigger Berra and probably most of the residents of Clearwine would have been in risk of dying quite fast. Humoring a hysterical woman speaking irrationally and adding to risk of the egg breaking was not a choice I could take.”
“I was wrong??!! Two of my own people squabbling like children in the street. Both of them acting irrationally. You were insistent and scared and sweating like a baker in a bath-house. You wouldn’t even listen to Berra.” The Vingan’s hands now rest on her hips. The words are low, so they can’t be overheard, but her anger may be growing again.
” Yes, I was scared to the bone. I hope you will never have to test your courage by carrying something that becomes a dragon if it breaks.” Xenofos is getting a bit pale. “But I did listen to what she said and observe what she did. Despite what she yelled egg was safer in my hands.”
“You didn’t mention a dragon,” Varanis growls. “All I saw was water. And while a river running down Clearwine’s streets might have been inconvenient, it wasn’t a dragon.”
“I told you it must get out of the town immediately. We were surrounded by guards. I could not mention it there.” Scholar looks over to where Berra and egg are.
“And I was trying to get it out of the city with as little disturbance as possible. Instead, you argued, Berra howled, the two of you started brawling in the streets. Every window and door had eyes last night.”
“Berra had fallen unconscious in presence of that egg and rose up howling. Both her body and spirit were suspect. With the stakes I could not trust her and I knew her evaluation of her safety as custodian was flawed ” Scribe looks at Varanis sadly. “She was not safe. Maybe I could have been more eloquent but that would hardly have made any difference to her and carrying that thing did distract me quite a lot.”
The Air rushes out of Varanis in a sigh. She runs her hand through her hair, dishevelling the plaits she’d attempted in advance of Leika’s court. “Fine. The damage to my reputation is done, but I doubt I had much of a good reputation in the queen’s eyes anyway. I can accept that you acted as you thought best in the moment.”
“I am sorry about that. But with those stakes… I must thank Maalira at some point.” Scribe changes the subject abruptly and looks over the field.
“Berra will likely be harder to persuade. She is very angry just now.” Varanis says that as if she hadn’t been furious only moments before.
“I will try to forgive her, although apology is probably unlikely.” Xenofos says.
“But I will wait until that river is safely out there before talking seriously with her.”
“From you or from her?” Varanis says with regards to the apology.
“I did not accuse her of thievery, Varanis.”
His cousin runs her hand through her hair again. Marta would be distraught. She mutters some choice words under her breath. “Do you wish me to take up your concerns with her? Once the egg is safely dealt with? I could challenge her for false accusations against you. Though remember, she believes them to be true, enough that she asked for the Queen’s justice. It might take magic to sort this out and the sad irony of it is that both of my Truth speakers claim different truths.”
“She was touched by that egg somehow. The water started following her after she fell unconscious.” he shrugs “And I did give her the egg after she seemed sane again and I could see her walking on her own feet out of the city gates so it could be argued I conceded her claim to ownership. But thank you for the offer. I was kind of sad from thinking you accept her accusation just because it is loud.”
Varanis winces. “I didn’t accept her accusation because it was loud. She can’t lie. That’s how I know that she believes what she claimed. I also know that you believed her to be wrong, because you don’t lie either. I was trying to calm things to the point that we could get that blasted egg out of the city.”
Xenofos leans his forehead against Varanis’ head. “Sorry. I was unjust. I am so damn tired right now.”
She doesn’t pull away. “We all need sleep.” In the night, Berra stood watch over the egg, while Varanis stood watch over Berra. Xenofos watched over everything and nothing, shivering in the cold.