Berra — Berra Report 01
After going away and thinking through what she did and how, Berra reports to D’Val, maybe over the course of some time, because she’s loath to speak when others will overhear. She’s still thinking of the mission as secret.
“We went North around the marsh. People wanted a road that was easy for horses. Up past Alda Chur. My… my homelands have been given away by the Lunars. I don’t know what my clan status is. I need to ask. There was little action along the way. I hung a votive offering in the temple at Alda Chur. The Priest there had heard of me. I think someone is spreading songs about me, or us. When we met scorpion folk, Rajar went into a holy rage. I… I was not prepared to kill him to save the others. I probably should have been. I have a few other ideas, though. We were in the company of a merchant, who had as guards two Orlanthi, three baboons, a Trollkin and a … well, I much prefer the mules to the other guard he had. We did not visit Dwarf Mine, although we discussed it. We cut through Lunar territory.
“We met Serala’s clansmen in the Grazelands, and they escorted us. The Merchant is good at soothing people. We went by the Shaker Temple, where Grandfather Life stopped and Grandfather Mortal began, and there Vestra and Nala found out more. I prayed there, mostly for the strength to keep in company of Dormal. I really do not like him, but Serala is a good shield against him. We went up, and up, and up – I saw a vision that was good for me to see, and Serala shot Koraki. Do you know who sent him, if anyone? The WIndlord?
“In the cave of the birth, we met Ermal, in the form of Serala, and he gave us three parchments. One was the Quest we sought. We sacrificed a mule, and feasted, then went down. It was cold. I have to say, I’ve never been so cold, even when I was in a heap of people, but we got a fire for the last night, and went back down. Dormal was still whining. Rajar was still in an excellent humour. Nala was… well, you use the word ‘strange’ a lot. Like that. Exactly like that.”
There is a pained, thoughtful pause and Berra stares into the distance as she calls up the last week, seeking for accuracy.
“We started back through the Grazelands, and there was a fire there. It looked – it was – too big for a campfire. It was a burning encampment. The Lunars had tried to make it look like another tribe did it. Most of us gave chase – the Merchant’s people did not follow, nor Irillo. They stayed to guard him. We did. It was full moon. We tried to kill the sentries, but one cried out, so we attacked – a red thing sent Serala and her horse mad, and they fled, but we killed them all. Koraki killed that one. We laid them out and I sent the spirits away. Then in the morning, the nearby tribe found us. it was Serala’s and we explained what had happened. I’m welcome in that tribe for the next year. They said the arrows the Lunars used were Blacktail … clan or tribe. I don’t think the word got used.
“And Serala called me her war leader, but Tiwr – the unicorn – stepped forward too. I talked about the ambush and said I had found a Lunar javelin. There were no Lunar arrows in their camp, so we asked that word be spread of what they were doing. Then, with the spoils we headed for Bagnot, and then Alda Chur. There, we met the man with the Moon rune. I lost my temper.”
Berra takes deep breath before she can even start thinking.
She gives a scowl, there is some kicking at the ground and thinking happens.
“I was guarding the merchant as he sold horses. The man called him a … I think damned thief, or damned liar? I stopped listening because I stood up to defend him. He was a Rune Master, but I thought if he had truth on him he would listen.”
Berra has obvious rage building, then looks into the distance, gives a soft smile, and lets herself relax a little.
. o O ( If he can be calm, I can be calm. )
“He spat in my face, and I drew on him. In the market – this was not as successful as my reflexes told me it would be. Fortunately, I survived, and I think it was just as fortunate it kept me out of the fight. But still, I should not have done that. I should have defended Irillo and let him defend himself. Dormal talked him down – but I still don’t like him. Serala made certain I was not dying, and Tiwr healed me, I think. I was somewhat… I was too angry to notice that, but I was also trying to keep calm.
“Afterwards, he paid people to burn down the inn we were at and stay outside with clubs, but Dormal warned Irillo, and we stayed at the Temple of Issaries. So I did not get to thank Gallem HumaktiSword in person. Then we did go to Dwarf Mine on the way back. I said I did not want to, but my friends did, so I went with them.”
A pause, while Berra considers her words.
“Serala and Rajar are my friends. They work well with me, and think the same things important as I do. Mellia is more than a friend – I would step in front of that man, and a hundred more like him, if it saved her. She’s brave. But the Dwarf was interesting – just one of him, but I think his status changed depending on where he was. There were statues of what might have been more of him, or people like him, around his hall. The hall had pictures of what was happening outside, true to the season and, I think, the weather and sun and stars. And moon. I kept quiet for a while, and the Dwarf identified the magical things we had taken from the Lunars, but he was not interested in buying them. He didn’t ask about iron, and I didn’t mention mine.
“When we ate, it was in a hall with simple food, and pictures of the Cannon Cult. When we left along his gully, there was a window in the stone behind us. Don’t ever attack down that gully. Then we turned East. The only other thing of interest, I think, was the Scribe that caught up with Vestra. That’s why I needed a letter re-writing. And then I got here, and I reported – I could say that Vestra had written everything down, but I know that the Prince would have talked to her, and after that, I came to the Temple to ask about Whitewall, and about here, and then to join here. I missed out a few things, like a Lunar patrol on our way back, but nothing important. There were only five Scorpion Men, if you hear that one. Gallem asked. Any questions, si… Sword Lord?”