Berra — Cottage 02
????, Sea Season
Sea Season 1626. [[[s01:session-29|Session 29]]]
Berra gives Varanis the bed, which has a new palliasse, with enough borrowed blankets over it to keep the fresh straw from pricking. There is a cot made from sticks and a stretched skin for the little Humakti, but she ignores it for a while, as she sits in a meditational position, her face clearing ever so slowly.
Varanis digs a beautiful carved bone comb out of her pack and begins the process of undoing her braids. She moves as quietly as she can, careful not to disturb Berra.
Berra twitches every now and then, like the act of staying this still for this long is a great effort to her. After a while she says, “I had a thought. About Humakt and Orlanth.” Her shoulders relax a little and she stops trying to fight with her own wish to move.
“Hmmmm?” Varanis replies as her fingers manage to twist her hair into a single plait for sleeping, which she ties off with a small strip of leather. She slides her bracelets and arm ring off, placing them on the table. Earrings are also removed. She has a carved wooden box into which she carefully places most of the jewellery, but the arm ring from Kallyr is too big. This is wrapped in a small square of linen instead.
Berra stays in her calm position for a moment, but she would have to turn her head to talk, so she kneels, rotates, sits again. It is a beautiful movement, probably much practiced and leaves her in a cross-legged position that lets her talk easily. “You can be Orlanth at any time in his life – Vinga at any time in hers. But Humakt is always the Death God. I don’t get to be the Air God of his youth. I never really thought about that before. I mean, I knew it, but I never thought about thinking about it.”
Varanis nods thoughtfully, fingers playing with a corner of the linen wrapped around her arm ring. “Sometimes it’s hard to remember that Humakt even had a youth,” she murmurs in agreement. “But….” she sighs. “Why would he demand that you live such a cold and joyless life? Such a lonely life?”
“Who else will? He does this himself. He asks nothing of his warriors that he does not ask of himself. Nobody has to do this. I chose it, like I chose Boldhome, instead of a Temple where… a different Temple.”
“Do you ever….” Varanis stops herself. “The question is unworthy. Never mind.” She thinks for a moment, still fidgeting with the scrap of linen. “I know that there are limits on what you can be for family or friends. What can I be for you? How can I help you so that your service to Humakt is made a little easier?” she says at last.
“Right now? Stop worrying. It’s not joyless. I am very good at what I do and to fight is a pleasure. The altar might not take anything from me and if it does, that is a problem for later, not now. I was mostly thinking about the fact Humakt has a Separation and Orlanth has to learn this. Prepare to have a Champion and advisor, in the future, and not a cousin. For now, Clan.”
Varanis nods abruptly, her mood shifting swiftly, as it so often does. “So be it,” she replies, rising. She shucks her tunic, but instead of dropping it on the floor as she used to do in Nochet, she carefully folds it. “I haven’t spoken to my cottars yet,” she says into the growing silence. “I need to reassure them that they can stay as they are and find out if they need any supplies.”
“I don’t have any yet. I have this place, and Yehna has where we used to live. I grew up in that house, where Haran is.” She tries to settle back into a straight-spined position, and apparently fails. She’s fidgety.
Varanis laughs suddenly. “You do not look ready to sleep, Berra.” If Berra wasn’t already used to it, the rapid changes in the Vingan’s mood might be confusing, but this is just Varanis.
“I am not. D’Val reminded me before I left to keep meditating. I hate meditating.” Berra, also changeable, probably sees nothing strange in shifting from one mood to another so fast.
“That looks just like meditating, only different,” Varanis comments drily.
“I… well, this is how I am when I am calm.” Berra thinks a moment and then stands to pull off her armour padding. “Maybe I am too warm.” Centre of her chest, high on her sternum, a Movement Rune is tattooed. It occupies an area usually reserved for important or beloved things. Right on the heart-bone, Movement, Freedom, Rebellion. Orlanth’s personality is written on her.
Having stripped down to her shift, Varanis gracefully folds herself into a kneeling position near to the fire. Rather than bowing her head, she raises it, turning her face to the sky (or the ceiling). The woad runes the priest painted on her stand out starkly in the firelight. Her palms rest on her knees, turning her forearms downward and thus hiding the Movement and Water runes centre-most in those tattoos. Where Berra wears the Movement rune, Varanis wears Air. Next to it, is the brightly coloured Saiciae tattoo and the juxtaposition of these two would have served to emphasize her difference to her Clan.
“Maybe if we both meditate, it will be easier,” she says, closing her eyes and drawing air deeply into her belly.
Berra makes a tiny noise. “I hate it when he is patient about it, too,” she says without rancour. “Just… understanding.”
Eventually, Berra settles down to meditate. Eventually, some time after that, she settles down to sleep.
After Varanis crawls into bed, she spends a long time looking at the ceiling before falling asleep.