Berra — A Lot Of Bother
1627, Fire Season, Movement Week
Fire Season, Movement Week, Wildday. Berra has many questions for Lord Eril, and he is prepared to answer at least some of them. [[[s02:session-44|Session 44]]]
After the meal, Berra traipses back to the Temple to ask if the High Sword is in, and while waiting on that answer goes to claim a new bed in the barracks, one she has not used before. She gets rid of her armour, thinks a moment, and changes from padding into actual clothes, plain and bearing the marks of repair. Her wolf-tooth pendant goes into a pouch on her belt, and she runs fingers and thumb over her neck, like she is not looking forward to putting on uncomfortable jewellery. Still, what she does put on is worth significantly more than her ransom. She makes sure the gold is not visible, which is easy – the necklace is designed to hang down and half cover the chest, and has a weighted plate at the back to counter the fall of gold at the front.
With her swords buckled on, she sits on her bed for a bit, staring into space and thinking.
. o ( Did I go too far? )
. o ( I think I did. )
. o ( Or else I wouldn’t feel like this now. )
. o ( I went too far. )
. o ( But it’s iron. )
. o ( She should know. )
. o ( Warriors need iron. And she should be generous. )
. o ( She is generous. )
. o ( But… not that time. )
. o ( She should have given out those things. )
. o ( Not even to me. Just given them out. )
. o ( But then she wouldn’t have had them for now. )
. o ( But she didn’t keep them to think ahead. )
Berra puts a hand to her collar, curling her fingers around it to feel the heavy gold under the cloth.
. o ( Neither did I. )
. o ( I was keeping this for me. )
. o ( It can still be for me. )
. o ( Only I didn’t say that. I said Lord Eril would get the credit. )
. o ( And not that I could lend it to her. )
. o ( I’m just annoyed. )
. o ( No, worried. This was going to be for my training. )
. o ( I… can still pay the Temple what I owe them. )
. o ( That’s what matters. And there’ll be more iron in the Temple. )
. o ( And if the staff gets used to pay, then it’ll be not my money anyhow. )
. o ( I have to keep my head clear. That’s what’s going on. )
. o ( Not end up ahead because Varanis ends up behind. )
. o ( Separation. What is important? )
. o ( Sartar. So, how these troops are used. )
. o ( Not how they are fed. They’re green, but they’re troops. )
. o ( So see Lord Eril. Find out what use he has for them, and I’ll know their worth. Then find out how to pay. If I have to. )
. o ( Because the important thing is to get them used, not who gets the credit or the bill. )
Berra gets up to grab her spear shaft and her blanket, and go sleep outside Eril’s room.
Berra has gone to sleep by Eril’s door, probably before he gets back from the Palace, but without expectation of speaking to him before he’s slept. Just letting him know there’s a queue.
His foot prods her before dawn.
That’s a step up from the spear shaft. Maybe.
Berra is, as always, awake easily. As she’s already low to the ground she just rolls over into a respectful bow, her sword in her hand. Today she slept with his one in hand, and Wind Tooth by her head. She stands as she buckles them, instantly up and a warrior.1Critical DEX. Fortunately Xenofos is not there to whimper at how graceful yet violent she looks.
“The corridor appears to have been littered.”
Berra looks down. “My blanket?” She hooks it up with a foot, puts it on the not-a-spear she brought, and props them both against the wall. Then she gives Eril a hopeful look.
“Because if you mean me, I put me here on purpose.” She should probably not have said that, but apparently today is a day for talking when the High Sword makes a comment.
The patrician brow lifts. “Do proceed.”
“I have questions about how to use the Regiment – Varanis’s – properly. It’s going to need to know where to go and what to do.” Thankfully, the spear and blanket do not fall.
Someone who knows Berra will be able to read that she has a lot of things going on in her mind, and is concentrating on this one – the conversation. She is waiting to be told to go on in public, or to be taken somewhere that Eril can sit down to listen. She looks ready to move off in any direction, but she adds, “And a few other things, Great One.” It’s the title she uses to show him maximal respect, addressing the hero as much as the person.
He nods, and goes through to his office, gesturing you impatiently. “What do you want, oh…. what is it… ah yes, Sharp Dagger of Humakt.”
“I need to know who’s paying for the Regiment right now, and how I can best use them. Where are you going to want them?” She blinks then, and although she does not say it out loud, mouths, ‘sharp dagger?'” He gets the look of her confusion as she files that away while also trying to listen.
He ponders, “Near Alda Chur, I think. And so far, themselves. Badly.”
“Right. Is there any chance that they can be embedded in with other troops?” It’s a long shot, but she asks it anyhow.
“To break their drill and discipline? Surely you know better than that?”
“Oh. That good, huh? In that case, they’ll probably need officers and I don’t know how many yet, and they’ll need food. If Thane Varanis can’t get that from elsewhere, can we buy it from the Temple here?” She pays him enough attention that she might be – almost certainly is – trying to read into his answer.
His lips twitch slightly, “The thane is, perhaps, outreaching herself. The temple of Elmal will be supplying some of them, at least…. once I explain the situation to the High Priest. I shall supply the rest. When they are in the right place.”
Berra nods. “She was worried, and then when you said they were feeding themselves, I was worried. She feels responsible for them all, of course. And they’re probably all from influ…” Berra trails off rather than telling her High Sword what he already knows. “I’ll be riding out there today, with some people I’ll want them to respect. It’ll be good to be able to tell them supplies are on the way, and bring that news.”
“Of course. I knew I could… rely upon you. Oh, and the King of Pavis is in the area.”
“Eerrr… Up that way? I was wondering about his supply lines.” That might be an easy jump for Berra to make – it is easy enough to follow, too.
“Foraging from Tarsh, mostly. And a few caravans from here.”
“What do I need to know about him being in the area, for now?” Berra cuts to the kill, because cutting to the chase is for worshippers of Yinkin.
“He’s there to court the Feathered Horse Queen. The Kings of Tarsh are unhappy. The Lunars are marching I presume.”
Berra relaxes. “Oh. That area, not this area. I thought you meant he’d been spotted up by the North Road and I was really confused. Right.” It is obviously taking a moment to get her mind back on trail. “So he’s likely a main rival…” Out-loud musing. Yep, she’s managed to lose the reins of the thought-horse, and it’s taking her away.
“Of course not. I’m sure his Sartarite half is a loyal liegeman of King Kallyr.”
Berra pauses, thinking about that. “I share your certainty, then,” she says, exactly like she believes in him entirely. “Uh… alright, new thing. When it comes to Divination, I have to keep on bothering you. Because if I’m not telling you things I think are important, I need to be finding out enough about you that I can put your cult together, and I can’t always ask.”
“You are wiser to ask. There will be a time. And a place.”
Berra looks unsure. “You’re saying I should wait? Should I still try to tell you stuff?”
“Only the important. I have greater respect for the God, if he has to put up with the incessant chatter.”
“Yeah, well, to him it’s not incessant. When I asked you about how you were, I got an answer from inside Time. When I asked him, I got the Sword-God’s answer.” Berra pauses only briefly in deciding whether to go on, and then does. “That’s the sort of thing I’m trying to work out. If I asked him about his nature, I wouldn’t get the same sort of answer as I get from you. And that’s what I can’t get by asking. I mean, by asking in person. I wouldn’t understand right.”
He looks amused. “Perhaps it is not meant for you to know, little Dagger.”
“Maybe not yet. Lord Roneer said that I wasn’t ready to do this yet. S’why I thought it would be someone else. High Sword, when I asked you to make a request for a reward for Kallyr on my behalf, what did you ask for?”
The amusement stays, perhaps shifts a little in focus. “I withheld asking. The time was not ripe. You may thank me later.”
Berra bows. It’s probably thanks. “The dragonewts have a place where it’s easy to get to the Hero Plane. I have a report to make on that, but it’s got nothing new, and Yanafal Tarnils got away from me. I’m sorry – I tried.”
“That myth is hard to beat. It is a known thing, of this Age.” He strokes his chin, “Such a thing was known to me, but my understanding is it is not always thus. A thing of the Draconic Mysteries, I understand.”
“It didn’t need worshippers or anything as far as I could tell. The person playing Yanafal Tarnils was a guard of Fazzur Wideread.” Berra gives him a questioning look, like she wonders how much he wants her to blurt out now.
“Go on. The account should be complete.”
“Uh, about Fazzur and Mirava, or about the Heroquest?” Berra glances at Eril’s sword, to see if he is wearing a witness to her words, or just the Wyter.
“Of course.” And yes, he is.
“Alright. Then from the very beginning, as I know it. Varanis found out that her sister was either married, or getting married. Kalis, beloved of Ernalda, sent her to Stone Over Souls, as the place concerned with her family. On the way we encountered a Yelmalian Aldryami who accompanied us as there was a woman who might be in trouble, and some Yelmite grazelanders who were passing. Neither seemed like any problem. At the Oslir, Varanis fell in. I think she’s being called to rivers right now. When she does that, tiny crocodiles appear. This time, though, they dissolved into red. Xenofos saw it.” Berra looks to see if Eril is interested in that, or if she should just sow on. Like ploughing on, but for women.
After that, and the effort of recall, Berra stays on her knees, but not in the question-answering attitude she had before. There is the look of someone who is nearly finished now, and a little calculation in her eyes as she tries for the next few sentences without messing anything up. “I haven’t yet collected the torc. I need to talk to Sword Graria about lodging money with the Temple.” That is, she has money problems, and jewellery to sell. “And God Talker Nala asks if you know anything about the Goddess of Teeth and Salt, who’s dead a lot.”
His lips twitch just slightly. A smile? Amusement? Or wind? “Then why does she not ask it herself? She has been here a while.”
The pause goes on for long enough to make it obvious that Berra is struggling with her answer. Finally, it is, “I couldn’t say for sure.”
“I see. Next question?”
“I was wondering if your Sword was going to be one of your worshippers, but I don’t think that’s important any more. And I stood up behind the altar in the sword room in the palace and it didn’t kill me but I think I need to ask my Sword Lord about it, but I guess I should let my High Sword know I did that. And that’s it, except to ask when I can tell the Regiment up by the North Gate that supplies will be arriving. I’ll be able to tell you what people they’re really short of once I’ve visited, but you probably guessed. Everyone competent. So I’d like to know if you intend to dedicate officers to them. So that’s a question too. Supplies, and what I should prepare them for.”
“If they will accept them. Discuss it. Food will occur. But not too much just yet.”
“Yeah. I know I have to persuade them.” Berra stands, and bows. “Thank you for your time, Lord. I’m sorry I… no, I’m not sorry I was bothering you with questions, but I’ll try not to in future.”
“The important ones, of course, you should.”
Berra nods, and now she is just waiting to be dismissed.
He waves Berra off. There is a distinct air of “shoo”.
Berra goes to do just that.
Berra has a lot of questions for her High Sword
- 1Critical DEX. Fortunately Xenofos is not there to whimper at how graceful yet violent she looks.