Private Tales Fireworks and a White Rabbit

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Jonathan Burr

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It wasn’t a joke. It made sense. Hob had been clinging close to the boy for several days now, and they’d been sleeping together. Hob’s trick with the water bowl that morning meant that the pooka was happy. He’d even said it himself. It had felt romantic. He’d felt the feelings of it even through Hob’s magic. He frowned, and looked at Hob. “Why didn’t you tell me..? If you were a girl? You’ve been changing into yourself at night this entire time?” Jon sounded a little stunned.

I didn’t know how to tell you. It’s my part of the bargain. I share your magic, feed off of it, and in return you just...sort of shift what I am into what you think I should be. Hob said. It’s not your fault. I don’t think you’re doing this consciously.

Jon stared. The implications were upsetting. “You’re a man because I thought what I summoned was male?” He asked in a small voice. Hob nodded.

It was during summoning. You sent your desire for a pooka, a conduit, into the world and I responded. You had a thought of what we might look like from books and things, and...it happened from there.

Jon rubbed his hands over his face. “Can...I see what you look like normally?” He asked. Hob shook his head. “Because I’m awake, and exerting influence over you, you can’t.” Jon realized. He looked at Varys. He really couldn’t get the idea of Varys...something clicked.

Is that why I keep having sex dreams about you?!”

Hob winced. Most likely.

Varys
 

Varys

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Varys saw that click, and saw that Jon had come to the same conclusion that Varys had before. He clears his throat awkwardly, and pushes the lockbox forward. "So... uh... how about all this gold we made? Should keep us on the up and up for a while?"

It was a pitiable attempt to change the subject, and it's chances of success were dismal. Even Varys' ears seemed to droop a bit under the tangible pressure in the air. He clicked open the box to show off the sizable amount left after Hob's preliminary shopping spree.

"I mean... you were going to find out sooner or later anyways. Apparently the bond has been dropping hints on you this whole time. Does this really change anything that much?"

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

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Jonathan ran his fingers through his hair. It wasn’t just a problem in that he didn’t particularly want to dream that way any more...this could be dangerous for Varys. When he had summoned Hob it was more of a business transaction that had grown into a friendship. “I’m not angry at you Varys...or you, Hob.” He said carefully. “But this could be dangerous for all three of us. The bond is reaching out toward Varys now, as well as me. If I feel what Hob feels now...think of how dangerous a triad would be. We have to step carefully.”

Im not going to stop screwing him. Hob said defensively.

“I didn’t ask you to. I asked you to be careful. If it goes too far I trust both of you to end it, alright? And...Hob for the love of the gods, see if you can stop from bleeding that into my dreams.” Jon muttered, and patted the wagon next to him. “Come on Varys, we need to talk.”

Hob leaned over and kissed Varys’ cheek, then headed for the front of the wagon. Jon waited until Varys got settled. “You love Hob? You’re sure?” He asked quietly. “I don’t want to see him...her...hurt.”

Varys
 

Varys

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The Elf understood why Jonathan would like the dream aspect of things to stop. Varys certainly wouldn't want dreams like that. Even so, the fact that his relationship with the pooka had developed differently, and more rapidly than Jon's couldn't be helped. He hadn't known about the bond reaching out to him, and that revelation caused him to look towards Hob for a moment.

"Ahem... Can we not show a bit of class in this discussion, Hob?" He wasn't really bothered by it, but it probably wasn't the most polite way to address things with their friend standing here. He smiles at him, nonetheless.

He offers a nod to Jon, and reaches out to pat the Pooka's head before leaning back, crossing his legs and listening to Jon. "I understand your concern. Like I said, it was... spur of the moment. She helped through a lot these last few days though, especially confronting my Father's legacy. It's through no fault of your own, Jon, but she really hasn't had anybody who saw her for what she is, and not what she becomes during the day."

It was a frustrating situation. "Both of us felt alienated in a way, I suppose. We bonded over it." Something did come to his mind though... "You did see her, once. I don't know if you can remember it, because you were struggling pretty badly but... Do you remember the rabbit like creature I was carrying when I met you at Volta's gates? The one you covered up with your jacket? At that point, the bond was probably still too broken up by all the salt in the air for her to change back."

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

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Hob raised an eyebrow. Whatever you say, Master. He said flippantly on his way back to the front of the wagon. Jon made a face; that was most likely a sex thing, wasn’t it? He cleared his throat; no matter the discussion the probability of Hob being classy wasn’t realistic. He looked at Varys as they started to move. “It’s just...it bothers me that when I summoned him-her....whatever... that I forced Hob into someone he isn’t, against his will. If he’s been upset by it this entire time, all he had to do was speak to me about it.” Jon muttered. “I don’t want to make anyone into someone they’re not. That’s why I left Volta. I didn’t want to be my mother’s perfect son groomed to take over the city.”

He struggled to remember what had happened on their way out of Volta. He shook his head. “Barely. When I keep trying to grab the thought, it keeps slipping away.” He muttered. “Just be careful with Hob, and try not to get too distracted when I sleep. You two have been fucking like rabbits...not to put too fine a point on it.”

Jon smirked and picked up one of the jars, filled with blackened rocks. He reached inside, picking up one of the crumbling stones, and showed it to Varys. “Right. Let’s work on Transmutation. I think you’ve been distracted enough. Hold it in your hands, and either it will speak and tell you what it is, or you’ll feel what it is. That should give me an idea of where your skills are going; Changer or Speaker.” He explained. “If it speaks to you, introduce yourself. Being a Soeaker involves eh...quite a bit of charm.”

Varys
 

Varys

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A bright shade of red rested on the elf's cheeks. He knew it was too much to expect Hob to be subtle, but he really didn't appreciate airing their business like that. Even if Hob had taken any real offense to his request for decorum, he doubted it would be something he couldn't address with her later. Shaking his head and watching Hob leave, he turns back to Jon, sliding his hair from his face and offering a small smile of comfort. "I wouldn't blame yourself. Really, any ill will Hob might have towards his current form is more than likely my own fault. She didn't seem to have any qualms about it until she developed feelings for me."

He hated that he was right back to blaming himself, but what other option did he have? It wasn't possible to place blame on Jon; He had no way of knowing such details when he summoned the Pooka. He offers a sigh, and leans back. "Well, my boss decided he wanted to sleep for three or four days straight. I needed something to do, you know..."

He smirks and nods, reaching out and taking the rock in his hand. Closing his hands around it snugly, he attempts to bring his thoughts together and focus on it. Despite his best efforts, he couldn't feel much of anything. Exasperatedly, he looks at Jon. "I must be doing something wrong..."

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

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Jon chuckled. “It’s alright. It would have happened sooner or later. If not you, someone else. Hob’s more human than pooka now; he used to refuse to look or talk to anyone else when I was younger.” He comforted Varys a bit, and nodded to the stone. “Relax. Don’t just feel with your fingers. Extend yourself into the stone. Close your eyes, and send yourself between your hands. If you’re a Speaker, you should hear it. If you’re a Changer, like me, you should feel this infinite world between your fingers...the tiny fibers that make up whatever it is you’re holding.”

Jon smiled at him. “Relax, don’t think about me, or Hob, or anything else. Just send yourself right here.” He patted the rock.

Varys
 

Varys

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"Phbt, Not think about a couple of colorful characters like you two? Easier said than done." He chirps with a grin. Closing his eyes again, he brings his head in close, as though he were attempting to hear the stone. No matter how hard he tried to push all other thoughts out of his mind, he saw and heard nothing but darkness. Minutes passed, and Varys did not make a single movement. The expression on his face shifted from peaceful, to frustrated, and back to one of serenity.

He heard a whisper at the back of his head at last, so small and minute that his fingers tightened around the stone with the focus it took to wrap his mind around it, like one would the tail of a fleeing animal. He pulled it closer to him, trying to make out what it said, piecing it's words together like a puzzle.

It all came together so suddenly, and he opened his eyes and exhaled a breath he hadn't realized had been resting in his lungs. He'd been focusing for so long that it took his eyes a moment to adjust to the sunlight again. Looking over at Jon, he held out the stone.

"Cobalt Oxide. Is that right? I think I heard it."

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

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Jonathan waited, patiently, as they bounced along in the cart. It was a nice morning, they weren’t being followed as far as Jonathan could see, and the sun was shining. Hob was moving at a decent pace, and he was feeling vigorous and strong. He was very happy, and he whooped loudly when Varys told him. “A Speaker!” He laughed and clapped Varys on the back. “A small voice but it will get louder. You’ll have conversations with mountains, the earth. Men can talk to the oceans, and the wind!”

The Transmuter laughed. “Good! Good! Try again. This time, reach toward that voice and speak back. Tell it hello. You’ll have to speak loudly, and you’ll be speaking out loud, but let’s try it. Come on now, rocks are patient but not that patient.” Jonathan said eagerly, patting the cobalt.

Varys
 

Varys

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Varys looked around... He hadn't even noticed that they'd started on their way until now. He wipes his brow with a bit of a confused expression pulling at his eyebrows. "How long was I doing that? Felt almost like I was asleep..." A speaker? So he wasn't the same as his father in that regard? He didn't know why, but he felt exquisitely relived at that revelation. Anything that didn't make him feel like a glorified clone. It made him want to puke.

"So... you want me to sit here and talk to a rock?" He raised an eyebrow and tilted his head. He didn't know much about magic, but it seemed a bit silly to consider. "I know I'm not the greatest conversationalist, but I feel like having me talk to stones is a bit of an insult..."

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

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Jonathan chuckled. “Hour or so.” He said. He was so...proud. His apprentice, awakening the path inside of him that would decide his entire life, and he was a Speaker. Jonathan had always wanted to be one. To speak to Arethil itself. There would be no more secrets. Walls would tell him their story, iron swords tales of battle. Vaults would open with but a few words. Whole seas and oceans could be his allies. What was Changing compared to that?

He did frown when Varys belittled the rock. “Hey. Rocks have ears now, boy.” He said sharply. “First thing out of your mouth is an apology. Stones make up your very living, boy. Try not to insult them. I could have had you talk to the nails in the wagon.”

Jon had to hope he didn’t insult the cobalt too much. “Here now try again, and this time....a little tact?” He urged.

Varys
 

Varys

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The elf tried his best not to look at his master as though he were crazy. Rocks having ears? The idea they could take offense to anything he said? It was... pretty nonsensical, to be frank. Despite his best efforts, he couldn't help looking woefully unimpressed with Jonathan's scolding. If being a 'speaker' meant he had to talk to inanimate objects like a loon, maybe he'd have been better off following his father's path.

Whatever, maybe he was being too jaded. He shrugs and closes his eyes again, waiting for the voice to return to him, still as miniscule and whisper-quiet as before. He grabs onto it again, tightening his focus on that thin channel through which he could hear the words clearly.

Raising an eyebrow, he calls out rather unconvincingly.

"Uh, Hey there. How's the family?"

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

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Jon gave him a look. Varys wouldn’t be the first Speaker to trivialize the powers, and he wouldn’t be the last. He’d taught a few students like Varys before, disappointed they weren’t turning rocks into gold nuggets and instead speaking to the rocks. Yet, when armies didn’t want to deal with stone walls, they didn’t call a Changer. They called a Speaker.

Family? The cheek! Am I sure I want to speak to a loon? The voice came through, tiny, quiet, and offended. It would waver and the volume would shift with Varys’ concentration, and he had to be very quiet to hear it over the cart. All my life I’ve never been so roughly handled! Picked out of my home, ground up, shattered and stuffed in a jar.

Jon waited, patiently. He couldn’t hear the stone, no matter what it said. “Just keep the conversation going.” Jon said softly, trying not to break Varys’ concentration.

Varys
 

Varys

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"Hey, I didn't even say the loon part out loud. Easy to call somebody cheeky when you're reading thoughts!" Varys chided. "I was content to let you sleep, but Mr. Cheer over here simply insisted I bother you, can you believe that?" He leans back, relaxing his focus a bit. It was no longer as difficult to zero in on the voice as it initially had been, likely because he'd grown a bit more accustomed to it. It still wasn't something he felt exactly exuberant about doing in front of others, but if it would appease Jon, he supposed this couldn't hurt.

"At least you have company in there. A lot of people would kill for some companionship these days." He smirked, crossing a leg over the other. -Or summon some from another dimension- He thought as he heard Jonathan encouraging him.

He raises a hand, waving Jon's worry away. He felt well enough to assure him he had the general idea of things down. It took some effort, but he was able to drown out the sound of the wagon slowly but surely, and focus on his rather impromptu conversation.

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

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Well. We are rather social spirits, rocks. But we don’t like being uprooted. You’re a young man, and you’ve already found companionship. The wagons been complaining about what you get up to at night. The cobalt huffed. At least I had some dignity at the University. People just waiting to talk and hear my words of wisdom. I was an ancient progenitor of the world, now I’m called a rock by some upstart speaker. I certainly hope you’re more polite to the next mineral you come across. Mineral. A much more elegant name than rock.

Jonathan smiled and settled back to watch Varys speak to the stone. He was so proud of him. He didn’t want to disturb him, however. He carefully crawled up front with Hob, settling on the bench. “Hey. The kid’s a Speaker. Picked it up right fast too.” He said cheerfully.

I hope he doesn’t anger the fire flowers. Hob grumbled. I can’t believe you reacted that way. Is it so awful to think someone would sleep with me?

“You know I didn’t mean it like that. But...isn’t it cradle robbing a bit?” Jon asked.

He enjoys it, I enjoy it, I don’t see any cradles. Hob sniffed.

“The bond’s reaching out to him too now. He might be able to use you soon.” Jon said quietly.

Is that it? You’re upset over the fact I’m in love with him? Jonathan...I love him as a lover. I love you as a brother. It’s not as though I’m just going to leave you and run off with him. Hob said, a little more gently.

“Thanks...that...actually does settle my stomach a bit.” Jon said with a small smile. “Any way we can stop making me dream about Varys calling me a little bunny? It’s definitely weird.”

Not a chance. Hob snickered.

Varys
 

Varys

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He rolled his eyes upon being lectured on his lack of 'dignity'. He certainly didn't need to be told how to behave by a chunk of cobalt. "Does your own dignity hold up if what they do with your wisdom is undignified? Do rocks... Ahem... Minerals not feel guilt by proxy?"

It might have sounded sarcastic, but he was actually legitimately curious about it's thoughts on such a thing. Perhaps he wondered if maybe he was held somewhat accountable for the sins of his father, although that was rather a stretch.

"It's no secret that people use knowledge for bad things. I'm living proof of that. The University is far from innocent in such manners themselves, as squeaky clean as they like to portray themselves to be. As for the Wagon, I wasn't really the instigator in those instances..." Part of him was a bit unnerved by the idea of inanimate objects watching him with Hob, but he supposed he could work past it.

Diverting his attention for a moment as Jon leaves his side to talk to Hob, raising an eyebrow as he turns back to the cobalt with a sigh. He was glad this was working, but he was failing to see the advantages of it.

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

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Please, boy. I have no control over what happens after I impart my knowledge. I am a part of Arethil, as old as it is, and I shan’t feel guilty because of some human values concerning morality. I believe my kind shed that about the time you were coming out of the trees to gibber and smash each other’s heads open with us. The cobalt told him. I have talked to a dozen speakers just like you, boy, who thought this talent was useless. Until they could speak with the very mountains. No cell can hold you. No sword will touch you. When you get good even arrowheads will question their allegiance. Professor Valthian was a grand Speaker, boy. When a ship went down in Volta, all he had do was stand on the beach and ask the seas to return the men unharmed. You can do great things, child. Or you can use it to get into trouble opening vault doors or asking books to divulge what naughty secrets they’ve seen. Your choice.

The rock didn’t think much of the second option, to be honest. I will say you’re talented. You’re able to hold a conversation on your first try. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll be another Valthian, where the stones of Arethil know your name.

Jonathan glanced over his shoulder. “I might pull him out of it soon, he’s been muttering to that rock for a good hour now.” He said quietly. “You can go in too deep, you know. One of the Professors at the college went mad talking to a blizzard. Wiped out three villages in the spine before they killed him with bone arrows...”

Varys isn’t going to go too deep. Hob reassured him. He’s just interested. Remember the first time you pulled a Crystal up from the earth just by calling it? Give him time, he could be great.

“Or he could go nuts having conversations with the ocean, or sex with the rain.”

...That happens?

“Speakers tend to be a weird bunch. I knew a woman who got married to a very convincingly shaped quartz.” Jon muttered, and cleared his throat. “Varys? Put the rock back, you need to eat something.”

Varys
 

Varys

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Varys clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth, the words offered to him were ones that would tempt many; some would froth at the mouth to learn they had such potential. He wasn't sure what being a 'great' speaker entailed, but... "There you go again, with that mind reading business. I didn't think for a second that such a power was totally without use. Even so... The kind of power you speak of is almost godlike in nature. The power to bend anything to my will as I see fit... It doesn't appeal to me in the slightest really. I don't want the world to remember me as some great and powerful mage."

His father had tried to bend life to his whim. He'd very nearly succeeded too. Such ambitions held costly prices though, and Varys wasn't about to make the same mistakes as the elf who came before him. All that Varys had ever wanted was to be accepted, not revered. He nods to the stone and sets it down at just about the same time he hears Jonathan's call.

He turns and climbs towards the front to join his companions. "Are we nearly out of the city yet? I get more and more nervous the longer we stick around. The longer we take, the more likely we get into more trouble." He slides his jacket off, the heat soaking into the black material was making him sweat a bit too much, and he offered a silent swear as he realized he was still bare chested underneath, as he'd used his shirt to clean Hob's wounds after the fight with the Abbey's aberrations.

"I'll need new clothes wherever we stop next. I was so busy yesterday I completely forgot."

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

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Jonathan smirked. “We’re nearly at the gates, stop being so nervous or you’ll have the guards on us.” He said affectionately, reaching over to ruffle Varys’ hair. “Have a good conversation? I hope you put that back in a jar so it doesn’t keep oxidizing. Much harder to reverse that sort of thing than you think. I also wanted to eh...speak a word of warning about your newly discovered powers. You can go in too deep, kid. You’re going to start hearing snatches of conversations man was never meant to hear, and you can waste a lifetime with those. Get some selective hearing.” He patted the elf, and helped him toss his jacket into the back of the wagon.

You can keep the shirt off. Hob said, looking back at Varys. He grinned.

“Dig around in my pack, should be a shirt that’ll fit you. Quit flirting, Hob. Eyes ahead, I don’t want to go crashing into a gate because you’re drooling after Varys.”

Hob rolled his eyes and turned his head front. They stopped briefly at the gates, Hob staying stock still as they were inspected. Thankfully, a brightly colored wagon carrying uninteresting rocks was the least of anyone’s concern. Hob passed through unmolested, and kicked up the pace. He wanted to be far away from here.

Varys
 

Varys

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Brushes Jon's hand from his hair with a smirk and a roll of his eyes. It had taken him an hour of focusing to pull one conversation off, so he hoped that he'd be able to go a little while longer before he started unintentionally eavesdropping. Still, Jon's choice of words drew a chuckle. "We've been on the road together for how long now? You should know I already have chronic selective hearing."

He smiled down at Hob, but reached out to pat Jon's shoulder. "Easy now, don't want to make the man jealous." He joked, before sliding into the back again. He gently placed the Cobalt back into it's jar and secured the lid, then dug a white shirt out of Jon's bag, pulling it over his head. It was a wee big, but it would suffice in keeping their Pooka focused.

The guard inspection went off well enough, and soon they were pulling out of Oban and the Kingdom of Dalriada. Humming underneath his breath, Varys thought over their location. He didn't know where exactly they were, but certainly his father did. He again found himself wondering just how well he could tap into those memories.... Gah, if only he had a map.

Climbing back to the front in his new clothes, he inquired as much. "We want to put as much distance between us and Volta as possible right?" He furrowed his brow in thought. "Do you have an idea of where to head next? If not, I have one option. I think... there's one of those stones not too far from here. The ones my father used to study. They move people from place to place."

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

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Jonathan laughed, and ruffled Varys’ hair. He was developing a soft spot for the kid. He was a gifted mage, or would be, and Hob loved him. Things would be alright, even without the Bram estate money. As long as he had these two at his side. He smiled at Hob as they made their way through the gates. He was feeling better, and more optimistic.

“I wanted to head either southwest into the sands to trade with the Abtati and Pedeo, or we could head toward Fal’Addas and see the elves. Either way, a portal stone could save us some time and supplies.” Jon agreed. “Where would this stone of yours take us? We could even go south toward the Cortosian coast, and see if we can’t get the trolls to pay for a show.”

Pedeo, you’re just trying to get us into trouble. Hob grumbled. And Marahute threatened to geld you if you went back to his territory in the Cortosi swamps, remember?

“Oh come on. Pedeo has as good a library as Volta, and I’d have a space to teach the kid. Fal’Addas is friendly; they love us there.” Jon said playfully. “Varys? Thoughts?”

Varys
 

Varys

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A good deal of relief swept through Varys' body as they passed through the gates, once again on free road. Sure, it didn't necessarily mean they were any safer, but at least they were on the move, steadily making headway away from any potential pursuit. He hated to be paranoid, but after the week they'd had, he considered it justified.

"Honestly... I'm not sure about exactly how portal stones work. I just vaguely remember there being one less than a whole day's travel from here. I just thought I would mention it as an option. Although..." He hadn't considered going back home... "No. I can't go home until I finish what I left to do in the first place. Even so, I don't like the idea of going somewhere where you have a negative reputation."

He takes a glance at the Volta jars.

"We saw where that got us last time we tried it."

Clicking his tongue against the roof of his mouth, he slid to lay down in the back of the wagon and think. No matter how hard he tried to shake it, his paranoia wouldn't leave him. "Wherever we aren't likely to be followed is good. From what I've been told of Bram, she doesn't accept a loss easily. It might seem silly, but it's making me uneasy as all hells that she hasn't given us trouble again yet."

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

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Jon raised an eyebrow. “You need to find that Prism. There’s nothing left for you back there, Varys...home is with me and Hob now. Or at least I hope you see it that way. You’re my apprentice, Varys. You’re basically family at this point.” He smiled back at the elf as he laid back in the wagon. “Alright, we won’t go anywhere I’m disliked.”

That’s a short list. Hob chuckled.

Jon shook his head. “Good gods the both of you teaming up...” he smirked. “Bram will follow us. But she’s not going to Pedeo. She wouldn’t be caught dead there. It’s in the sands, not deep enough to cause us trouble but deep enough to give her a headache.”

Varys
 

Varys

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Varys nodded. He couldn't disagree with Jon's words, but at the same time there was a small part of him that liked the idea of one day returning to Fal'Addas as somebody it's upper echelon could no longer look down upon. He wasn't sure where that small bit of vanity came from, but he put it aside for the time being.

"Pedeo? I've never heard of such a place. Usually that means trouble." He teased. Honestly, somewhere with a good deal of sand wasn't a bad idea. It would impede any pursuit, and they could test the waters on how they might do when it came to The Sand Sea.

"Hob and I have found we're actually quite a dynamic duo. You should have seen the two of us in action last night. It was quite the act."

He paused a moment.

"The... the show, I mean."

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

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Jon elbowed him. “You’ll either love it or despise it.” He told Varys. “It’s one of those places that gives you its own opinion, but you’ll have plenty to talk about. Pedeo is a city encased in iron. They started a war with the fae a long time ago, and its only just now starting to cool. Magic and iron together.”

The mage stared at Varys for a moment, and burst out laughing. “Oh the show.” He gasped, pushing at Varys playfully. “No, I’m proud of you, Varys. Even with Hob helping you, you did well. Even being a Speaker.”

Hob steered them southwest. They would avoid the worst of the steppes, but get close to Vel Anir. The travel was relaxing, and Jonathan dozed lazily for a little bit. Eventually, Hob pulled them off the road and flopped into the grass. Jon yawned and stretched, reaching back to poke Varys.

“Get us a fire started?” He asked.

Varys