Begging the Question

1629, Sea Season, Stasis Week, Fireday


Berra is in Nochet, organising seeing Lord Kesten. Session SA4.16.


There has been a little back and forth, and some inventive insults from Lord Raven when neither Berra nor Nayale could read the first reply to her letter. There had to be some negotiation, because Berra would not be turned away again, and cannot bring herself to peace-bind her sword. However, the late afternoon of Fireday finds her at the House of Hulta, with a hired courier to hold the parcel she has for Serenelda, and an air of patience and calm. She is lightly dressed, so that her forearm is bare where it rests against the iron sword on her right hip.

Getting to where she is going takes a polite escort, and she is shown into a room with snacks and drinks and two people. Serenelda has either a bodyguard or another husband present. The big, hulking, handsome man is pretending to ignore them.

Berra bows in the doorway. “Lady Serenelda.” She gets the pronunciation right this time.

That noble lady rises, and dips a faint curtsy. It is probably exquisitely judged. “Lady Berra. My congratulations are in order.”

Berra takes a deep breath. “It’s been a busy year,” she admits. Now that she is within the house she is carrying the gift, a wooden box with a removable lid. “An’ thank you.” She glances down at what she is holding and gets back on script. “I hope you can accept this.”

She gestures to a seat opposite her, “Please, where are my manners? Be seated. Yes, both a Wyter Priesthood, and the eligibility for the Ernaldan priesthood, when you can satisfy the other criteria.” She picks up a jug which is seated on the table, “Wine…. or shall I have iced water fetched for you?”

Berra thinks, then laughs. “I din’t give birth,” she says. “I’m just the protector. Iced water would be perfeck. How’s things here with you?” Thus, she reveals a lack of information, and thus she admits knowing little – two different things.

A slight dip of the head, and the hulking brute is sent to fetch and carry, “Things have been almost placid, I thank you.” And a glance, “A gift, you say?”

When she sits, Berra manages to make it look hardly like she is ready for action at all. “Most people don’t know how to drink Clearwine,” she says. “And I figured if you knew… I mean, I’ve got some good stuff, but also I can tell you how to hold a Clearwine drinking party. Like they do up there. It’s currently on ice, and that’s part of it – the glasses are too.”

“Oh, yes. Yes, I think it would be delightful, if we held a ladies party, and you could be our guide to something exotic and different!” There is a faint pressing of hands together.

The noble lady has clearly decided to take you under her wing for a kindly entry into matronly Nochet society.1Berra fumbles Insight. GM: MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA

Berra looks obviously surprised. “Uh, I was thinking you’d like to be the expert, but if you want – and if I’m in Nochet still – then yeah, I could do that.”

“Oh, but it is clearly from your culture, and I think your explanations would be very insightful…. Say you simply must!”

“If I can – Fire Season’s going to be pretty hot in Sartar.” Berra bows over the gift. “If we’re not going to talk about wine, then this should go into an ice house, though.” It is softly shedding water onto the table, and the barbarian thinks that the ice is kept in a separate building, but still, it’s Clearwine, and she is trying.

The large hunk returns with a jug of iced water, and a fine glass, which he fills and hands to you, and is then dispatched with the gift. “Naturally,” your host observes, “I do not think, whilst delightful, you came all this way merely to talk about wine.”

Berra says, “Thanks,” to the hulking brute, despite it being Serenelda who ordered the drink. He leaves politely. “Nah. I’ve got an offer to make to your husband.” The door gets a quick glance as it closes. “He’s an interesting man.”

A brow is lightly raised, “I find him so. I trust this is not something which will insult his honour again? I do not feel inclined to lose such a husband.”

“I hope not.” Berra takes a sip of water, ignoring the expensive taste of lemons without making it look like she is. “A living Hero needs a band of worshippers. I’d like him to be the first.”

“And might one enquire the Hero in question? Whilst I had heard of your exploits, I do not think it would be you. And yet…. yes, I hear tell of some ascetic man of the sword, in the distant north.”

“Lord Eril is a great man,” Berra says politely. “He has an expectation that his band will be few in number and high in quality. He’s worth following, but for Kesten the duties would be light.” There is hardly a pause before she amends, “Lord Kesten. Sorry.”

She raises a hand to wave off the slip. “I see. Well, a matter of religion is no impact to me, or my House, however, I have heard tell your Lord Eril is…. ascetic in his tastes, and you must understand that dear Kesten has duties to attend to which…. might not match that ideal.”

“Yeah. In this case, it’s not going to matter. Lord Eril will take my advice in this.” It sounds too flat to be a boast. It’s just a fact.

A microscopic nod of the head, “Well, very well. The things you discuss with my husband…. I assume just the one husband… are not of an impact on me, then. Provided naturally they do not drag this House into things which it should not be dragged into. You will forgive me, but you Sartarites can be so….” She waves a hand, seeking a word, “Passionate… sometimes.”

Berra considers, and then says, “I ain’t gotta forgive you for the truth. He’ll be up to saying no if he has to, anyhow. And yeah, just him.” Her arm rests against her sword, but that is natural – it has all the way through the conversation. Her other arm is on her other sword anyhow. She is overdressed for this form of party.

She considers this, and nods, “Then you have my permission to discuss this with him, and I have no objections if he wishes to follow this Hero. Now, what of the North?”

Berra thinks. “Alright. There’s gonna be a hell of a war.” She pauses. “I dunno how much I should tell you about what I’m guessing – probably just about nothing – but there’s a lot that’s obvious up there. You know there’s currently two … people trying to be Emperor? One that was, and one that is? Everyone’s trying to take advantage of that. Everyone and his aunt.”

“How simply complex!” There’s a bat of the eyelashes, “Do go on?”

Berra takes a deep breath, and starts. She manages to give at least a decent overview of the political situation around Lunar Tarsh, and accidentally presents rather more than she means to about the military readiness of Sartar. It is obviously from what she is saying that the Lunars are going to be suffering, and that Lord Eril and Lord Tennebris will be helping to make that happen.

Some people would question just how she knows the numbers and styles of regiments within the Lunar Empire. Others would bat their kohled lashes and pretend they do not know this means that Sartar is ready to take on at least some of that power, and therefore will empty itself for Fire Season. Of course, this is not a secret… but it is certainly an interesting thing to infer.

The Sartarite is obviously not hostile, in what she says, but she does occasionally give an impression that she wants to be at that fight, and thinks there will be one.

And indeed the Kohled lashes do bat, and she tops up both glasses, “I’m afraid I leave this sort of thing to the ladies with the talent for it, and of course, some of the really gifted men.”

Berra accepts more iced water. “Sure. But while you’re leaving that to people, you … you probably know Lady Mirava’s pregnant, right?”

There is the slightest inhiss. “Yes, naturally. One is so delighted that someone’s fertility is blessed so late.”

“Well, yeah. Ernalda’s power is mighty.” Berra does not mention the magic that was probably involved. “She’s got him… thoughtful about power, I think. Because the first time we saw them, he rose to greet us, and she put him out of the room. So whatever you’re making of that, I’m thinking… she’s able to offer him enough to shut him up.” Berra shrugs. “S’all I’ve got for you there. Sorry.”

There is another nod, more thoughtful, “I suspect she is a woman one could do business with, and if he has the good sense to be guided by her, there may be much to gain.”

Berra sighs. “I gotta fight him, so her, but you don’t gotta. An’ yeah – she’s not thinking small.”

“Well, naturally, dahling. She is a Saciae. You had not noticed they are all a little…. megalomaniacial?”

Berra takes a deep breath. If in that time she asks the spirit in her sword what that long word means, who could blame her? “I don’t much like that house,” is what she says. (edited)

Another little nod, “Of course not. ” And she leans forward to pat your hand. “far too political.”

“Swords are political, ma’am,” Berra says. “It’s just which way they’re facing.”

“Are they not all two edged?”

“That don’t mean much – it’s where the handle is that matters. But I asked my Sword Lord this once – he said all parts of the sword are dangerous. That is not a secret, and I am permitted to reveal it. But yeah, you carry a sword, you know what it means.”

Berra keeps the conversation up for a while, before managing to take her leave politely. Serenelda probably got more than Berra wanted to give her, and less than the Ernaldan wanted to hear.

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