Aftermath of the Quest

Berra — Aftermath 01

????, Earth Season, Disorder Week


Context

Earth Season, Disorder Week, Freezeday evening. Before dusk. [[[s01:session-46|Session 46]]]

Events

Varanis makes her way to the gates of the Temple of Humakt.

The gates are open, and there is an initiate overseeing a lay member on guard. The initiate is tall, red-headed, and one of those who accompanied the cross from Wilmskirk. He nods to Varanis.

She smiles a greeting at the tall Humakti before turning to the person handling the gate. “I’d like to see Initiate Berra, if she is available,” she says courteously to the lay member.

The Initiate makes the decision, and sends his subordinate in, and a few minutes later, Varanis is invited into the courtyard. The lay member – lanky, acne-pocked, and swarthy of skin – asks her to follow him, and leads the way across the training expanse. He does not go to the main doors, but an archway to the right of them that leads to what looks like a meditation space. Truth and Death Runes are all over the walls, clustered so an observer could look at one or the other, or both. The floor is gravelled, swept flat without pretence at patterning.

At the far end, in an attitude of meditation interrupted, is Berra.1Varanis passes Insight: Human.

Insight: Berra’s body language is exhausted. She is fighting against something, but it is impossible to tell what. Maybe she is even winning. The last time she looked this way, she was asking Varanis to remind her why to eat.

Looking the little Humakti up and down, the Vingan asks “When did you last eat? Have you had water recently?”

Berra looks up at Varanis. “Hello,” she says, and brightens up a little. “I am just clearing my head.”2Varanis fails First Aid and can pick up no clues from how Berra is looking physically.

Berra is in her leather armour, lightweight compared to the bronze.

Varanis raises an eyebrow, then unhooks her water flask from her waist and offers it to Berra.

Berra takes it, and she smiles slightly, or at least smirks wryly as she uncorks the bottle and drinks. She slugs down enough to count as a drink, but not fast. She does not seem thirsty.

Varanis reaches for the flask, taking a swig of water herself before recorking it and replacing it on her hip.

Berra watches and waits, a slight questioning look to her features.

“I came to see if you wanted to run… but, you…” Varanis studies the other woman, before continuing, “I’m not sure if you are… available for that right now.” It’s probably not the word she was originally going to choose.

“I’m not really, no,” Berra agrees. “I will probably be about another day.” There is no fear when she says it, but she is not happy underneath.

Finally, Varanis just comes out and asks, “What’s wrong? Are you hurt?”

For a moment, Berra nearly crumbles, as the shock of being asked lets something hit her, and then she calls on whatever peace it is that sustains her, and while she does not seem happier, she is not in danger of collapse. She thinks about the answer for a while, looking at the footprints on the gravel floor, and finally says, “It was a hard Heroquest for me.”

Something flickers across the Vingan’s face at that. “How can I help, Berra?” she asks.

“By leaving me alone until I’m better. A day. It’s how I am. I need time to flow past this.” Berra reaches out her hand for the water bottle again, although she has her own.

Varanis hands over the water without answering. She looks thoughtful.

Berra takes some, and flicks the bottle with her finger for a bit to make a hollow sound. “I didn’t have enough understanding,” she says. “But it’s not a problem to deal with now. How is…” She looks down. “How are you?” Her voice is suddenly small, but she is trying.

Varanis shakes her head. “No. You need this time to take care of you. This isn’t about me right now.” Without warning, she hugs Berra, murmuring into her hair. “I’ll come visit later, or you can find me at the Grape. I’m fine. Take care of you.” Just as suddenly, she releases the smaller woman and turns to walk away.

Berra accepts the hug, without giving it back, but she does say, “Your water bottle,” as Varanis turns. She offers a smile that has a promise of a future that is not spent in a sky-roofed room with no plants.

Varanis smiles back, accepting the water flask, and then strides away. She’s moving briskly, like she’s going to break into a run at any moment.3Berra fails Insight: Human to work out what is beyond the smile, but is probably incapable of caring anyhow. At least she did not fumble.

Berra does keep a brighter expression as Varanis goes, although it is such a ghost of a smile that it is likely a blasphemy before Humakt.

Outside there is that skinny acned warrior to escort Varanis out.

Varanis accepts the escort to the gate. Gives him a polite nod again, and is off at a run the moment she is on the other side. If asked, he would be able to say that she headed south east.