Berra — Letter To Temple
????, Fire Season, Illusion Week
Fire Season, Illusion Week, Fireday. After a strange sparring session with Varanis ([[[varanis:1626-0749-too-soon|Too Soon for the Sword]]]) Berra walks Xenofos to the Library of Lhankor Mhy. [[[s01:session-44|Session 44]]]
As they set out to the Temple, Berra asks, “Have you ever been shown how to fight your way through a city, or look in it for violence?”
“No, that is not really what cavalry does best.”
“Right.” Berra takes a moment. “Ever had to fight in a place that had cliffs?” She glances around even as she speaks.
“Sometimes, but when on horseback you avoid that kind of terrain if at all possible.”
“Yeah. I thought you might. So, all of the roofs and windows are dangerous. We try to compose a route that will lead us through places where people cannot hide, and places where we have the advantage.” Berra gestures towards the middle of the road. “If we walk there it’s hard to creep up on us but easy to surround us. We’re most worried about organised groups so we avoid open spaces.”
“We would not want to look like we are skulking, though. Or with us it does not matter that much. But she has to show she has right to move around and that she is not afraid.”
“That is what we are for. She can be bold yet careful. That’s fine. It’s allowed. So, there’s a way of moving your eyes past a building where you can stop at each window and not so much in between. Same with the roof. Try not to sweep your eyes. Stop and start, or you get lazy.” Berra bounces her hand in the air, indicating a skipping motion along a rooflne.
“Not that different from scouting in the countryside…”
Berra grins. “Not really, no. Just more cliffs. More distraction, but you still need to watch the skies for flying assault, so you’re looking up anyhow. On to alleys. You get exposed every time you go past a street, so you’re going to want a person ahead. They look in, just like it’s a window. Pause a moment, remember who was there, and move on.”
A nod from Xenofos.
Berra walks with an easy pace, not her usual bounce. She is still fast, but seems better balanced. “It takes a long time to get good – you know if you’ve scouted. If you only have one person, they go next to her, on her right for preference. Two, you put one up front. Three, you can have one out at the side to check the back but not be too isolated. It won’t be for too long, so don’t worry about how to maintain it.”
“Easier to protect with shield from the left and she could use weapons to right herself? But if she is carrying shield I can understand the choice.”
“She should be carrying a shield. That is already a block, and she should not be trying to fight if we can get her away. While she is present and alive, we stay in danger. If she CAN get away, she should. It helps us all.”
“At this point sneaking out of town does not sound viable. Would look like fleeing and could be explained as guilt – after all, where is Starbrow now?
“I don’t mean from the city. I mean from ambush. It’s our job to save her, not to kill the enemy or be brave or keep her by us. Just to make sure there is a way she can keep living.” Berra seems unworried by that.
Another nod. “Makes sense, I have no trouble with that. She may have.”
“It’s a good way of keeping us alive. I should probably admit I haven’t yet told her, though. I’ve been looking for a good time.” Berra’s easy, calm walk does not falter, and she keeps on watching as she walks. “Why are you going to the Library?”
“I need to check your customs of inheritance and how one can and should record one’s will so it is binding to those left behind. Maybe brush my memories of the quest. But that cannot be done quite secretly so I don’t know.”
“Oh, right. Yes, that. Do you know how long it will take? It’s most of the way to my Temple. Can you get lots of other information as well, so it’s harder to tell what you are doing?” Despite the relaxed look, her voice spills out of her. There could be any subject changes in the future.
“I have no idea to be honest. But we can meet here right before sunset?”
“Uh, yes.” Berra looks up towards the Temple. “I don’t think I’ll be needed for Wildsday Eve. If I am, I’ll send a note. Probably signed by a Sword, but it might be time to think about signs and counter-signs, for the future.”
“That reminds me. I have a letter to former high sword.”
“Oh… Would you like me to take it?” Berra blinks. Still, she only gives Xenofos her attention for a moment. Then it is back to scanning, in a professional manner.
“Would he be irritated by the messenger? He may not like the contents and I don’t wish you unnecessary trouble.”
“If he is, then nobody else should be put in the way of it. I’m the ranking Initiate at the Temple. The others are all foreign, from Wilmskirk. If you want me to know or not know the contents, I can do that too.” Padding along, casually murderous. Berra is being avoided by everyone on the street. Something about her, despite her apparent relaxation, says that she is willing to kill right now.1Pass on Intimidation. Humakti are scary.
Xenofos and Berra pass a couple of houses in silence. “I think the contents are between me and his excellency.”
Another pause. “Unless he wishes to divulge them. “
“Fair enough. I can’t see that he would, but he’ll not punish the messenger. He’s fair. He might send the messenger out to do something dangerous, but someone has to do that anyhow, after all.” If Berra was angling to be told what was in the letter, she shows no disappointment.
“Should he choose to do so I would appreciate if Varanis were informed only after the quest. .. I did not write that into letter so if you would care to mention that as well as convey my respects?”
Berra growls slightly, deep in her throat, as she considers that. “That sounds a little too much like you are asking me to deceive someone,” she says in a pained voice, after a few moments. “Someone you are sworn to.”2Passes on both Honour and Truth.
“I have written of things and actions that will be needed if this quest goes wrong. Afterwards. I would not have her think of that more than is absolutely necessary.”
“Ah, yes. In that case, I can let him know that.” Berra looks relieved, and then goes back to projecting that look that is stopping anyone from getting in her way.
“I could write instructions for him to only read it after we have gone.”
“I can speak that. You don’t have to write it.” Berra does not bother glaring at someone bigger than her. She is working the Humakti look pretty hard. “That’s cleaner than asking how things can be told.”
“We shall do it that way then.”
Sage and swordswoman reach the Lhankor Mhy temple. Xenofos reaches for a sealed letter. “Tell him I wish him to read this if our quest goes awry. And I mean no disrespect but wish him to be informed.”
Berra nods. “No disrespect in hinting it might, or in the contents?” she asks, and her face says she will bear either message equally.
“I told you he might not like the contents.”
Berra bows. “Just so.” Then she takes it. “Respects, not to be opened unless the journey goes awry, information within and no disrespect meant.”
“Indeed. Thank you.”
Berra tucks away the letter and sets off at the same easy-yet-fast walk, maybe with a little more emphasis on her willingness to do violence. Nobody seems to want to trouble her.
Xenofos shrugs, rolls his shoulders and enters the temple with hand on rapierpommel.