Berra — Back To The Maker
????, Dark Season, Disorder Week
Dark Season, Disorder Week, Wildday, right after Berra has talked with Varanis. [[[s02:session-19|Session 19]]]
A little after it can truly be said not to be Night any more, there is the sound of someone outside Xenofos’ room. Someone sobbing. It sounds like Berra.1Xenofos has fumbled a listen check and Berra kindly suggests a thing he has heard.
Sound takes time to enter through the heavy cloud of sleep Xenofos is in. When it does he rolls to his feet still holding the scabbarded rapier he had been cradling in his sleep.
No sound from outside now. Was that imagination? Then a little sniffing sound.
Blinking he walks to the door.
Snf. Snf. Unlike her…
Left thumb loosens the sword, right hand opens the door rapidly.
There is a blur of terror and speed from outside, and the flash of green skin, and a newtling jumps from its position by the door.
Squeak! Big eyes! Horror! Panic sounds in a foreign voice box!2Xenofos rolls Battle to determine the level of danger and how to respond.
This is not an attack. It is a thing that was caught, or surprised, and it is not a threat, at least not right now.
So even though right hand goes for the swordhilt he does not draw the blade.
The thing lands already twisting, dashes to one side, and then a moment later dashes the other way. Berra’s voice can be heard clearly, “What in Humakt’s name?” from the way it tried to go first.
“Yeah?” The little Humakti comes closer, padding into sight. “I think that thing was sniffing my bed-roll…” She looks curiously disturbed. She also looks like she had a long night at the Temple. Xenofos gets a stare from a face that is smeared with blue in whirls and crosses and Y-runes.3Xenofos misses Scan, and does not see the sword she is carrying, or certain other details.
Xenofos looks to the direction the thing vanished with a faint shudder. He returns his gaze to Berra. “I see you made the trip without any bigger mishap?”
“Yeah.” Berra looks down at her rolled sleeping hide. “Weird. Anyhow, yes. But I should talk to you. Got a moment for breakfast? And I need to know what vegetables are.”
“Breakfast sounds good.” He looks at her again ” Vegetables?”
“I’m forbidden from eating them. So I need to know what that means. I mean, I think I know but I want to check.” She looks tired, and awake, and on the edge of emotion.4Xenofos passes Insight (Human).
Insight: One emotion in her is a gnawing worry, maybe even fear. Others are fighting for room, of course. A Berra who is not changing is usually asleep.
“Hmmm. I am not quite sure to be honest. It can mean all plants man can eat. But some sages say fruit or cereals or nuts are not vegetable. So it might be prudent to ask in your temple what it means in lore of Humakt.”
“I’ll do that, then.” Berra looks to his room as she holds up a leather pouch. “I have enough boring food for me until I know more, but I do have things I know Sword D’Val could eat. Some of those aren’t things the sages would agree with, anyhow.”
“Meat, yes. Other that that I honestly do not know.” He shrugs “Is it important?”
“Well, it’s a geas. So yes. Humakt requires it of me. But fruit’s fine, and so are grains. Only… garlic? And hot peppers?” She winces. “But I have a new sense and I’ve taught a new sword and things got a bit complicated.” There, the worry surfaces again in her.
“Taught a sword?”
Berra puts her hand onto the sword at her left him, where Wind Tooth usually hangs. It’s grey, odd, pommelled with a Truth Rune. “He didn’t know what Death was. It’s rare that a sword gets made that can be taught, but nobody else had seen it, except people in a holy state.”
Odd. Not lead. Too dark in the pommel. Too shiny. It’s been hammered.
Memory twitches. He’s seen that metal before. That bastard Lunar had a scimitar like that.
Xenofos looks at the weapon – and then Berra ” Is it made of what I think it is?”
She gives him a worried smile. “Yes?” she suggests. But of course, she does not put words into his mouth.
“Iron?” He smiles at her.
“Yeah. Um, I’m not a Rune Lord yet. But this is the sword that’s going to be mine, and it is mine. Too.” She looks down at it, nestling in a scabbard made of the armour and padding from her left art – the vambraces have been pressed into service. “I think that the scabbard should leave the blade a bit visible, but I’m not sure yet. He’s called Truth, or Torch. That might change when he gets a spirit.”
“Are you allowed to wield it, him or do you need to wait?”
“Nobody’s going to stop me. The Great Sword – the Chief Priest – advised against it, but I can put him down when I get back to Boldhome.” Breakfast is forgotten. Berra rests her hand easily on the straight, short crossguard. “If I had not been given him, I’d have done a different thing at the altar yesterday, but as it is I’ve still got a distant sense of what harm to people… sort of feels like? Like a voice a long away away, that can warn me if I listen right.”
“It is awesome you have that blade. But this is not your temple? Why did they give it to you? I mean that weapon is worthy of king or great lord.”
“They didn’t. The Blacksmith did. In Boldhome. Although he was in Boldhome and I was in the desert.” She shrugs. “It was a few days back. I couldn’t tell you until he knew what Death was, or he might nor have learned right.”
Xenofos blinks. “You speak in riddles. Or maybe mysteries.”
“Yeah. The important bit is that the sword belongs to the Boldhome Temple, if I die. But I was in the desert, trying to answer a question with the Sword-God, and the Iron Lord heard me, and this was my answer. He said when I first met him that I had to wait until he judged me worthy. So things just got harder, but I’m being told I can bear them, so … well. Like that.”
Yes, that’s the fear he spotted earlier.
“You walk the path of Sword… It may be straight but I doubt it is ever easy or safe. Not that any path would be safe.”
“Oh, not for me. I mean, that’s a thing I’ve always known. But I don’t want to let the sword down. It’s going to be part of Eril’s Hero Cult. That was the question I was asking.” Berra drops her pouch, kicking it aside with an ankle to land neatly in her gear. With her now-free hand she reaches for a smaller pouch – one that carries snacks. “I’m … it’s a lot to be responsible for, and I look small and people have often underestimated me, and it only takes one of them to be stronger on one day for me to fail.”
Xenofos is silent for some time.5Berra passes Insight (Human) and gets some hint of motivation.
“Everyone dies, and way you face danger it may very well be you are fated to die in battle. But is it a failure when warrior dies fighting?”
Insight: Xenofos is not looking at Berra when he answers, but somewhere beyond the temple walls.
“It is if my sword is taken.” Her voice is determined. “But you should know also, I’m… you know what, let’s not talk about it. Not yet. There are other things.”
“So if you die that sword should return to Boldhome temple of Humakt.”
“Yes. Please. The Iron Lord, if possible. Thank you. Sorry – I didn’t mean to throw that at you, but I’m a bit confused. Surprised. And still wearing too much holy woad so my skin keeps prickling.” Berra shudders. “But it helps me to get used to hearing the… feeling the warning. It’s strange.”
“It is allright. Should I die my wishes are recorded at Boldhome temple of Uleria. Left them there before our quest,” Xenofos notes. There is a short pause as he thinks that through. “Which might not be very practical now to think of that…”
Berra nods. She offers over what she is holding. “You could write them down and keep them with you? Fruit, and nuts. No vegetables.” That might be the contents of the snack-pouch.
“I maybe should…”
“We’ll be going back that way soon anyhow, but we might not be around. Anyhow. That was my evening. Varanis is going to need our company.” She picks out most of the bits of dried orange-yellow fruit with a soft middle, and eats them in a handful, then holds out the pouch again.
“Berra? One thing came to my mind that I did not write down at the time.”
“Mhm?” Her look is half soft, like she wants to help him if she can.
“If I die, I do not wish to come back.”
Berra nods her head. “I’ll remember that.”
“Thank you.” He smiles wryly. “I’ll try to avoid making you fulfill that promise.”
“It’s good to have you around. Eat. Just start, and then we can have proper food.” Her snacks are still on offer, her hand held out like a little goddess offering happiness, and for once not holding a sword.
He picks up some of the offered tidbits, looking at the short Humakti.