Berra — Feather In The Cap
????, Fire Season, Movement Week
Fire Season, Movement Week, Freezeday or Waterday [[[s01:session-38|Session 38]]]
Berra has been dulled by her experience with the troll, which has worried her mentor, D’Val.
initiate quietly eats, while thinking, and then leaves the Temple
that burning smell turns out to be Berra’s wood-carving pouch, the remains of which are now in the ashes
a couple of the bits she was carving might have been duck-feet as long as her thumb
initiate comes back to the Temple to ask permission of her Sword to go support a heroquest
“Yeth. Of course.” A beat. “Got it out of your thysstem?”
“Being beaten to bits by a troll? Not really, but I’ll survive. I did… That’s the important thing. Also, leg bones shouldn’t be sharp. How about you?” Rather less than her usual respect. Rather more than her usual sharpness. But at least the dead-eyed look is gone.
“Less worried.” A beat. “And remember, you defeated him. And it’s made you stronger.”
Berra gives D’Val a small smile. “With respect Lord, it has made me more determined. It is Humakt and the Temple that make me stronger.” A beat-pause slightly shorter than his. “And the teaching of my Sword, obviously, because that’s mostly how it comes through and I don’t think that I’d be nearly so well fitted to any of the other Rune Masters here, may their names be blessed in Sword Hall.” That last bit is more blurt than she has managed for the past few days.
He considers, and then nods, reaching into his coat to produce a long feather, a duck feather, which he jumps up to tuck into the crest line of her helm. “Good. Keep the determination. The Temper it gave you. But do not lose the flexibility, or you will shatter like an ill served iron blade.”
Berra smiles as she straightens from bowing her head to make that easier. “You’ve been talking to the Iron Lord,” she says, and then she sighs. “When you said practice – that I should be able to wake and rise and kill a troll… I started to think about what I did not need, and what I did. I was empty for a bit. Now I need to know what to fill my thinking with. Some of the things from before, but not all of them.” She strokes the feather very carefully with her left hand, like she does not entirely believe in it.
He nods, “Anything that improves the join between eye and hand is good. Your carving will help. It also aids the stillness of your mind, which you have been missing and always find hard.”
“I can’t hold a knife and a bit of wood right now, Lord. And I was hating it, so I got rid of it.” Berra looks down at her hand, running her fingers over the nibbled scarring. Her expression is mostly distaste, verging on determined anger.
“Another time, then. It’th growing in well. Your White Lady is skilled.”
“I’ve got a lot of the feeling back, and the wrist bends now. A bit.” Berra sighs, thinks. “Food. This is about when I ask you about food and come up with questions.”
He digs out the treat pouch and tosses her a dried peach.
Berra catches it with a grin. “I think you can dedicate a boat to Humakt… But how about an expanse of ice?”
Consideration, and then, “You could ask Him. But perhaps should not. The North Wind brings cold.”
“How about water, then? My Runes are Magastan, and I was wondering at what point a thing stopped being possible as a Temple.” Berra bites into the peach rather than using a knife, of course. Left-handed.
“Of course. Water is a Death Bringer.”
“Right. So just staying there and keeping it would be the problem. Probably less for Durulz than for me. Um, this feather… if I keep it here, it’s going to get broken.”
He waves a hand idly, “I can make more.”
“I can get it tooled in there. It’s not a problem.” Berra looks bouncy suddenly, like she needs to say something or do something or be something or act or just Move.
He stands. and puts his hand on Throat Biter’s hilt. “Watch.” And in very slow motion, he shows the strike from the draw. Initially straight upwards and offline, and then switched into a rising diagonal which cuts across a human height at neck level. “You can slow the cut at any point so their parry goes ahead of it.”
Berra watches, and her feet move, and her shoulders move, and then she changes her stance to do it left-handed. In this, at least, she is a quick study. “You’re using your back hand for pressure, right? Show me that?”
“For thith? No. You could. I use it for balanth. But you could do so.” He draws and starts the cut, then reinforces one small feathery hand with the other. “But you seek to defeat by precision, not by brute force. One blow, where it is right, more than a thouthand where it is wrong.”
“I meant, on the draw, on the scabbard. It’s.. No, I was wrong. Do that again please, Lord. It’s reminding me of a … well, a lot of things.” But then she falls silent, and watches. To most people, her expression would look like cold fury, but it is pure concentration. The dried peach, tucked into her armour, will have to be eaten later.
Again the dance. There is a momentary brushing of left hand against scabbard lip, as it moves backwards to counterbalance the upwards and forward arc of the sword. “Like Thith.” He resheathes, and then does it towards Berra. He is still glacially slow.
Berra’s parry, left-handed, is less than perfect, but she is moving in slow time, pauses, adjusts, and tries again. This time, she gets the form right, moving up to meet Throat Biter with the assurance of a small Lunar force attacking a single soldier or a roadside bandit group waylaying that Duck that looks like an easy target.
And if the sword was glacial before, it is suddenly moving on a tectonic timeframe, while the duck sways his head back slightly so herr parry will pass ahead of both sword, and head.
Berra’s eyes light up, and she continues with the parry to which she is committed, her arm only starting to slow Wind Tooth once she has missed contact. She emulates Valind or young Humakt’s source of cold, slow as creeping ice herself, and her hand rolls at the point it would naturally try to come back. Competent, but outside the deadly iron now.
And the sword stops an inch or so short of her neck. “Thuth. From draw to strike. You need not break your thtep.” And he flicks the sword up, and back down so it’s the other side of her neck, flips it slowly around so it’s resting on his right shoulder, draws it back, as if wiping on his shoulder shirt, and then over to resheath.
Berra’s smile is almost as slow as her sword’s movement. “That was beautiful,” she notes. “Thank you.”
He notes, “But not against a Rune Lord. Do not try it on the Lunar. It’s for speed against the inexperienced.”
“It’s worth knowing. How do you get your sword to the right place? It’s a question I keep finding answers to.” Berra sheathes her own sword with a tiny brush of her right thumb against the bronze, to be certain of sending the blade home correctly.
He nods, “Sometimes reaching up. Sometimes leaning to draw them down. Sometimes jumping.”
“Sometimes by walking a long way first. Sometimes by remembering that the sword is Separation, and asking what is important. Sometimes it’s a thought, more than a piece of metal.”
He nods. “You understand. Now, go and eat, and run, and drink.”
She bows to him, slowly, and takes a step back, but by the time she is heading towards the door, she is picking up the pace, each step a little faster than the one before. She does not quite break into a run in the confines of the holy walls, but there might be a small amount of skipping along.