1626, Storm Season, Movement Week, Clayday
En route to the Temple of Orlanth in Boldhome. Sometime after Session 2.29: Back and There Again.
Follows a short time after Varanis, Where are your clothes?
Varanis and Berra set out from the White Grape, both fully armoured. Rajar follows the pair at a polite distance.
Berra starts off highly aggressive, but once they are out of sight of the White Grape she relaxes into an easy walk. It is the easy walk of a Humakti, but nevertheless, it makes it clear that her eager look is for show, if not an act.
The Vingan looks pensive and doesn’t say much for the first few minutes of their walk. At last, Varanis breaks her silence. “I… I might have pushed too hard.”
“Yeahuh?” Berra looks confused. “Bout what?” Her attention falls on Varanis, although her eyes still take in the city.
“His fears. Nightmares. I laid his wounds bare and then handed him into the keeping of the Ulerians.” Glassy-eyed, the Vingan beseeches her friend for understanding. “It was festering and they can help him. They said they would.”
Berra stares for a moment. “Um.” Her eyes blink closed, then open, like shutters in a house.
“I want him to stay there for a couple of weeks. If nothing else, they can provide him with sleep that isn’t haunted by nightmares. But, I don’t know if he will.” Her shoulders sag. “He looked… shattered. Like the only thing holding him together was the priestess.”
“Tell me?” Berra says quietly. “What happened? Exactly?”
Varanis takes a steadying breath. “We were in the baths at the Temple. He wanted to know what I was thinking and well… the priestess was plaiting his beard so he had no avenue of escape. And she kept him from interrupting me, ensuring that he listened.”
Berra says, “Mhm,” non-committally.
Varanis looks around, as though she’s scanning the landscape, but it looks more like reflex. Her gaze lacks focus. “I asked him… no, I told him that I wanted him to spend some time in the temple. That I wanted him with me for as long as he’d stay, but that I needed him to heal. I told him his wounds weren’t shameful and that I thought he was courageous for fighting his fears for so long. He… tried to argue, but she wouldn’t let him.” Her breath hitches. “She kept whispering to him.”
“Oh…. god.” Berra does not specify which one. “He… well, they… they’re good at that. But I think you mucked up.” Like ‘mucked’. But not.
Varanis flinches. “I told him that he is courageous and strong,” she protests weakly. “That I believe in him and love him. How is that wrong?”
“It’s not wrong. But I think you mis-timed it. That sort of thing, if it’s too far below the surface? You’re not helping it out, then. I think…” She sighs, and looks up the way they are walking. “Like if you’ve got ice and you crack it to get the water, but there’s no water underneath, because it hasn’t come back yet. But I could be wrong. I don’t know.”
“One of the priestesses told me after that she thought it was the right thing… but, Berra…. I’m afraid. He was…” Her battle against the tears fails and desperately she brushes them away.
A woman wearing the runes and axes of a Babeester Gor gives her a strange look as she passes the pair.
Berra reaches up a hand to rest it on the Vingan’s arm. “We gotta wait now. See what they can do.”
Helpless, Varanis nods. “Shit. I can’t go to the Temple like this.”
“Yeah.” Berra looks at Varanis. “You Vingan lot. Always ashamed to wear your emotions, huh?”
“I’m meeting Tennebris. Would you want to appear in front of Eril with tears on your face?” She brushes the tears away again, but the redness in her eyes isn’t erased as easily.
“Uhhhh… it’s really not an option sometimes. That wasn’t the right question for me. But if you want to stop crying, do something you need to concentrate on.” Berra looks around, thoughtfully. “Concentrate really hard.” She might be looking for a wall to climb along, or a Storm Bull to annoy.
“A fountain? I can’t remember if I’ve seen public fountains in the city….” In Nochet, there are fountains everywhere, in every palazzo and most city squares.
“River,” Berra says. “Or there’s a pool we can go past on the way, once we cross it, but we need to cross it anyhow.”
“River is fine.” She scans their route, this time paying more attention. A scribe nearly careens into the pair of them, arms full of parcels, head down, and ploughing straight ahead. Varanis steps to the side to make way and the startled scribe glances up at her. She tries to smile, but it comes out as a pained scowl.
Berra points the way. “Cut down here,” she says. “Me first.” She briefly listens out as if for a divine warning, but she seems unworried.