Xenofos — Words At The Palace
Before the talks at White Grape inn [[[s02:session-44|Session 44]]]
After Berra leaves, Varanis invites Xenofos to join her in the small antechamber of the room she’s been assigned. There are wall hangings, a window looking out over the stairs, a small table with a pitcher of water and a small amphora, and a couple of stools. The platter of food on the table looks well picked over.
There are crumbs on the table and even a few on the floor. Someone was eating bread and moving about the place.1Xenofos passes scan.
“So what are you planning to do today Varanis?” Xenofos asks while looking at the surroundings. (Cozy, for a barbarian dwelling.)
“I want to make arrangements for everyone to gather at Rondrik’s this evening. I need to know who is staying where in the city. Will you be sleeping at the Temple of Uleria again?” She gestures at the wine, inviting him to serve himself if he wishes. Her own cup was mostly full when he came in and she hasn’t done more than take a small sip.
“I… don’t know.” He looks at the door.
“You would be able to continue your training,” she points out.
“You could also stay here, but it’s small and people will think you’re my servant.” She frowns. “I would get angry if someone tried to treat you as a servant.”
“Berra is not staying with you?” he asks.
Varanis shakes her head. “Temple of Humakt. She’s not a servant either.”
“Figures… No, not a servant, but bodyguard when fancy strikes her.” scholar answers. “I think it is better if someone sleeps in the anteroom.”
Varanis’ eyes widen. “Xenofos?! When fancy strikes her?”
“She shares nature with Water. One day she is bodyguard. Another day she may be caravanguard, third she might be just an initiate of her temple.”
“When she commits to something, you know she can be relied on. But she’s my friend, not my bodyguard. She helps to keep me safe, yes, but she has other responsibilities.” Varanis glares at him. “And what if I don’t want to be guarded right now? I’m in the palace. There are plenty of guards around. I’ll have to check with the others, but I suspect that keeping a guard in my rooms sends the message that I don’t trust the Prince.”
“Quite. You are in the palace.” He nods. “Full with Kallyr’s guards. Probably nothing can get to you without her will. I would still feel better if someone slept between you and that door. Even if it risk me being taken for a servant.”
“I’m safe here, cousin,” she reassures him. “If she wanted me dead, she’d have done so on the steps.”
“I think I would sleep better here than worrying about you below the hill.” he confesses.
There’s a heavy sigh and then she says, “Let’s ask the others. I have to be careful not to insult the prince.”
“I am not suggesting you insult her. But it seems to me she is the one whose behaviour is less than polite here.” he says ” But I am not entirely unbiased.”
“Xeno, she’s a prince in uncertain times. I’m a foreigner who some might see as having a claim on her throne. My sister married her enemy and an army of foreigners turned up at the palace claiming to be my army. Would you truly expect her to be happy to see me?”
“A troop your words have raised to serve in her lands and for her cause. Yes. Even thankful.” He says.
“Cousin, sometimes you are such a man. No head for politics.”
“Sestar taught me honesty and loyalty. Not politics.”
She flinches at her father’s name and a flush creeps into her cheeks. “I…” A sip of wine to buy herself time to think. “If Berra and Venlar say it won’t insult be an insult to my host, then yes, you can stay here.” It’s a compromise of sorts.
Xenofos nods , but does not commit into not staying in palace. There is something resembling Varanis’ mulish face in him at the moment. 2 V- Aw. I bet he does mulish even better than V. Doesn’t he have higher stasis than movement? X – yes
“Help me finish this platter?” Varanis asks, changing the subject abruptly.
Xenofos nibbles on the food and drinks some water.
Varanis takes a slice of dried pear for herself. “I need to go out to see those troops soon. Berra says it’s about a day out.”
He nods “I’ll ride out with you.”
She grins at him. “I expected you to. I’m going to need your eyes on those cavalry.”
“I can look at them, sure.” he accepts.
“I’ve been meaning to ask… how much was that night in the Temple back in Nochet?” she asks, changing subjects yet again. It’s as though she’s been around Berra too much, though truthfully, she’s always been a bit like this.
He looks at her a bit startled “What?”
“You paid before I could.”
“I did was not sure if you had coin. And since you told them to call you Vareena I thought you would not like them to bring the bill to the palazzo.”
“I appreciate your thoughtfulness, Xenofos.” She smiles at him. “I have to work out how much money I have to support this regiment, which means that I need to clear my debts.”
“You can consider that as a gift, Vareena.” he says.
She arches an eyebrow at this. “I should argue, but… thank you, Xenofos. I needed that night and your gift is most generous.”3 Varanis- You called her Vareena!