Xenofos — Stormy Waters
????, Earth Season, Season/Illusion Week
Earth season/Illusion week/ some time after leaving Nochet – Mild spoilers for Berra, syrupy for all [[[s02:session-18|Session 18]]]
Day Berra was seasick and Varanis spent the day in crows nest Xenofos did not try to approach either. He remained on the foredeck writing. Well, holding a piece of papyrus on flat piece of board. It seems his writing progressed very little.
Varanis came down before she upset the captain too much. Much of the day was spent at the prow of the ship, watching the waves. At one point, Berra came to speak to her and they talked for a time.
Xenofos nodded with only impression containing only the slightest hint of smugness seeing Varanis and Berra apparently having cooled off from their display of mulish temper.
It’s probably best for Xenofos that Varanis failed to observe that.
Following morning, happy that yesterdays little tempest of tempers has blown over Xenofos greets Varanis when seeing her walking to the deck.
“Nice morning, though the sea is still a bit choppy.” His tone is carefree.
Varanis stares at him.
“I hope she is feeling better today though. At least she ate something. Thank you for thinking of that.”1 Xenofos failed insight human…
Varanis gives him a curt nod and walks away.
Xenofos looks after her. Then at the waves and shrugs.
A few minutes later, she finds him again. “What did you mean you don’t know what I’m capable of?!”
“Excuse me, capable of? What do you mean?” Xenofos looks confused.
“Yesterday, when I was getting Berra’s cloak, you implied that you didn’t know what I was capable of when I am angry.” She ‘s scowling at him. “As if I would be spiteful and throw her cloak overboard or something.”
Xenofos looks taken aback “I don’t think I said anything like that?”
“You said: When Air moves you I rarely know where you end up.” She does a vaguely recognizable imitation of him, ruined perhaps by the anger in her voice.
“Yes. I think I said that. And It is true – I rarely do. You do often rush away like a whirlwind to unexpected directions.” He is talking slowly, as if he were gauging veracity of his words sentence by sentence before uttering them.
She glares at him, her expression stormy.
“But I can’t imagine you doing anything petty – like throwing her cloak overboard. Storming away and coming back hours later – very easily.”
“I am not needlessly cruel, Xenofos.” Her scowl intensifies. “Indeed, I don’t think I’m ever cruel. She was cold. She wouldn’t wear my cloak, but she needed to have a cloak. I wouldn’t just leave her there shivering.”
He bows his head. “I am sorry if I hurt you.”
“Do you really think so little of me, cousin?” Now the hurt in her eyes becomes more obvious. “Do you think I’m such a petty creature? If I were, I’d be unworthy of your service.”
“I said I can’t imagine you doing anything petty, cousin. And I don’t think you are cruel.”
“You are contradictory. But I accept your apology and will try to let it go.” She glances away a moment, before returning her steady gaze to his. “You should check on Berra. See if she feels any better today. There were more of the ginger pears in her kit, if they are required.”
“Contradictory?” scribe inquires.
“You say you don’t think I’m petty, but you were willing to believe I’d go sulk and leave her shivering.”
“She had refused your cloak. And with your anger at pirates visible I was willing to believe you run away rather than pour all that over your seasick friend.”
“But I said I would get her cloak. Are you so stricken with love that you are deaf as well as blind?” As soon as the words leave her, she looks anguished. “I’m sorry, Xenofos. That was cruel. Maybe I am no better than this.” She starts to reach for him, but stops herself.
“You had? I guess I was listening more to your anger than to your words… or just being deaf.”
His tone is wondering. ” Blind?”
Varanis shakes her head. “You are staring after her all the time. You think people haven’t noticed?”
“Hmmm. You may be right. ” He nods. ” Not quite sure if I care whether people notice, though”
“It can be used against you. The moment someone knows that you care for another person, they can use that person against you.” she points out.
“Why would anyone bother. I am not important. Just a scholar.”
“Lightbringer.” Vingan says “And besides, somebody in Nochet obviously cares. Look at the trouble you are having in your own temple.”
“That is just petty temple bickering. And I am only Lightbringer because I am your sworn man, mere coincidence.”
“You underestimate yourself, cousin. But I won’t argue further. If you are choosing to be blind, I cannot force you to see.” She shrugs. “Go find her. I know you want to.”
He looks at her “I do, Varanis. But are you saying I am putting her to risk if I pay attention to her?”
“No more so than I put you at risk, by staying with you, I suppose. But yes, I think you put her at risk.”
Xenofos thinks for a while and answers almost inaudibly “I see.”2 Varanis passes insight human and sees the thought hit Xenofos pretty hard
“Would you prefer I lied to you, Xenofos?” she asks quietly.
He shakes his head, looking at the deck.
“I’m sorry. I know it hurts. It’s…” Now she’s the one staring at the deck. She heaves a sigh. “This is how it’s always been for me. I forget that you’ve been sheltered from the need to think this way.”
“She knows very well how to defend herself. If someone wants to get me it is easier to attack me directly.” His voice is quiet and no-one else than Varanis could probably spot the pleading in it.
“Perhaps. But what is more likely to get compliance from you? A threat to yourself or a threat to her?” The Vingan’s tone is gentle, but the words offer no escape.
Xenofos looks at Varanis with anguish, but does not reply.
She relents at last, pulling him into a hug. “I’m sorry.”
Xenofos hugs her tightly without saying a word.