A Healer’s Work

1628, Earth Season, Truth Week, Fireday


Berra is drained from her experiences in the Marsh, when she returns to the Cinder Fox lands. Session SA3.12.


Berra almost exhausted herself getting back to the Cinder Fox clan, probably trying to emulate the terrible state in which a young Lord Eril managed it, but her own weakness would not let her push herself too hard; she kept on having to rest on the way back.

It has been a day, during which she mostly slept, and now in the late afternoon she wakes in the room where she was put, and reaches automatically for a cup, then pauses and frowns on finding there is not even a shelf or a cupboard where the cup should be. The pale, confused look does not particularly suit her.

Maalira is sitting cross-legged on the floor nearby, eyes closed. She stirs when Berra does and looks up.

Berra looks at her, and for a long moment says nothing. She seems to be struggling with some concept or another.

“What do you need?” Maalira prompts softly.

“I’m thinking about how I feel,” Berra says. “And it turns out, I think I need friends more than anything else. I think.” She looks away from Maalira, down at the floor.

Maalira shuffles across the small space and puts a hand out, lightly touching the back of Berra’s hand.

Berra keeps her hand still for a moment. “‘Thanks for being my friend’ can feel terrible, but I am glad you are,” she says.

“I am glad too,” Maalira says. She brushes one thumb very carefully over one of Berra’s knuckles. “Whatever happens.”1Maalira rolls a critical on Insight Human

Berra is a quiet, calm mess of a Humakti. She wants to be holding Maalira’s hand, and wants her hand not to be held. It only shows in the tiny, wry smile, and in how she lets Maalira touch her without resistance, without encouragement. “How long has it been?” she asks, and it is a change of subject.

“Most of a day,” Maalira says. “It’s almost evening.” She doesn’t increase her hand’s presence but doesn’t take it away either.

“I need to… I want to… get to Boldhome before Dark Season,” Berra says. “He’s Dark enough already.”

Maalira nods. “I’m sure we will set out as soon as possible,” she says. “Do you want me to go and get Varanis so you can make a plan with her?”

“If… yeah. I think she counts as Silor, though. Once she finds out I’m awake, I might have to be exiled.” Berra sighs. “You should go. I keep on wanting to tell you how I feel in verse. He didn’t have any other friends except Silor, by now.”

Maalira shakes her head adamantly. “No. If you break out into verse I’ll hum quietly to myself or something, but I’m staying.”

“Alright.” Berra lies back, her hand staying almost in the same place. “I’m worried it’s going to be worse than I think. I just can’t imagine that.”

“It might be better than you think, too,” Maalira says encouragingly.

“If it is, I might fail,” Berra says glumly. “Although if I could think of a way to do the same thing differently to him, I would.”

Maalira nods. “What do you hope for?” she asks.

Berra takes a moment to consider that. “I want to get rid of his weaknesses, or some of them. The ones he doesn’t know he has. And then the Wyter will be the demon that comes from what gets cut out. And I need to bind that.”

“What about for yourself?” Maalira prompts.

Berra looks down again. “I do want to change him. I want to make him into something I can use. He… well, I need to be a Hero. I right now want to get through this and still be standing, and be enough me. But I didn’t think this would be starting and I act best in the moment. Better than I think before.”

Maalira purses her lips. “I’m not sure I understand, but I’m sure it will make sense after. Can you promise that you will keep telling me what you need from me?”

“After Ikadz? No. I don’t know what I will remember. You know I try not to make promises? They make things too easy.” Berra tries to reach for the water again, with her left hand. “I need something to drink, though.”

“Oh! I am stupid, sorry.” Maalira immediately produces a water skin that was lying on the floor behind her.

Berra reaches for it. “Thanks. Um, hold the top for me?” She is still not taking her hand back, still not squeezing the fingers around hers.

Maalira obliges, holding on to the top.

After struggling for a few moments, Berra says, “Alright… Can you open it for me?”

Maalira withdraws her other hand with a very slight downturn of her lips, opens the water skin, and holds it out to Berra.

She does have the strength to hold it, at least. “Today must be Fireday, then,” she says out loud. “If we got back on Waterday. I need to worship tonight.”

Maalira nods. “Are you strong enough to walk?”

“Probably? And I’ve got enough of a pressing problem that I want to find out, anyhow.” Berra drinks a little, but just a little. “You? How’re you doing?”

“Drink more than that,” Maalira says. “I’m fine.”

“I need to get rid of some water first,” Berra says, and with a bit of effort sits up. “Yeah, I think I can walk… Shall we do the Voria thing and go find the latrine together?” Her expression has a smile in it, as well as evidence she is working hard to stay clear-headed.

Maalira grins, stands and holds out her hands to help Berra to rise. “Come on, then.”

It does take a little wobbling, but yes, Berra can walk.

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    Maalira rolls a critical on Insight Human