Xenofos — Words In The Saddle
On the road to Glasswall [[[s02:session-49|Session 49]]]
En route to Glasswell, Lenta seeks out Xenofos. She’s riding a bay mare and it’s obvious she’s comfortable on horseback.
“Mylady” Xenofos greets her when she approaches.
“My lord, Xenofos. You are well?” She is polite, friendly even.
“Thank you for asking, lady.” scholar answers politely. “Better then before Ironspike.”
“I should return the letters to you,” she says by way of reply. There’s something in her expression to suggest that this isn’t really what she came over to discuss.
“Thank you for keeping them. I am glad you did not need to deliver them.” Scribe answers with a warm smile.
“I’ll return them to you when we stop for the night.” She stares at her horse’s ears.
“There is no hurry, Lenta.” he says glancing at her Babeester Gori cousin riding behind them at polite distance.
“She’s not eating enough,” the Ernaldan blurts suddenly.
“Varanis?” he looks ahead to where she is riding.
Lenta nods. “She eats maybe once a day, if Berra sits with her to eat. She wasn’t taking food, so I started delivering it to her. But, I’ve seen her giving the meals away to the troops. Her straps are loose on her armour. She won’t speak with me about it.”
Xenofos looks at his cousins back. “Are you telling me she is eating less then the troops?”
Lenta nods miserably.
Xenofos rides in silence for a while.
“You could tell her she is failing at her duty if she eats so little she fails to stay fit?” Xenofos says and looks at the young Ernaldan. “Should Ernalda not give that advise to Orlanth, nay to anyone?”
“She won’t listen to me. When I try to talk about it, she just walks away.”
Lenta peers up at him hopefully. “I thought maybe you and Berra… she listens to you.”
“Thank you for telling this to me, Lenta. She should listen to you on this. But I do know she can be quite stubborn.” Scholar looks forward. “Maybe you should tell this to Mellia, too. She can sometimes make Varanis see reason.”
Lenta shakes her head. “You can talk to Mellia if you think that’s better. But I’d rather not. I’ll only do so if you and Berra refuse.”
He looks at her and tilts his head. “Oh?”
“Just… say you’ll talk to her?”
“I will, little Ernalda.” Xenofos says and nods to the young woman.
Lenta gives him a relieved smile. “Thank you.”
He looks at her with observing eye. “Do you eat enough yourself?”
“I eat regularly,” she replies. “Enough, given our current supplies.”
He nods. “May it be so. The troops would be quite disheartened if anything happened to ‘their little Ernalda’. Like Varanis, you also must keep yourself fit.”
She nods. “I am taking care.”
“Thank you.” scholar says with a bow.
After riding in silence for a while he turns to look at her “You seem quite composed. Smiling. Encouraging. How do you feel?”
“Tired. Worried.” She shrugs. “About what I expected, I suppose.”
He looks at her and shakes his head with a sad little smile. “I did not really expect that when I rode out to war first time. And I’d wager a guess, not many of the lads riding or marching under the Vinga banner did either.”
“They were expecting glory, not marching and hunger,” she agrees.
He nods in affirmation.
After another bit of silent riding Xenofos looks at her again. ” You are quite brave undertaking this trip unshielded by those illusions.”.
“I came because she called.”
He nods as if that explanation was enough. After another quiet moment he adds “A good thing you did. You have done well, if I may say so.”
Her cheeks turn pink, but she replies with a dignified “thank you.”
He twirls his mustache thoughtfully as the ride in silence.
When reaching Glasswall Xenofos nods to Lenta and thanks her for the company and her tidings.