Berra thinks about Truth

Berra — Berra Truth 02

????, Fire Season, Stasis Week


1626, Fire Season, Stasis Week, Fireday. [[[s01:session-36|Session 36]]]


It’s evening in Wilmskirk. There’s the sound of a slightly clumsy, flat-sounding clap outside Varanis’ room, and an annoyed grunt that could only be Berra. The clap is repeated, but this time it seems to be experimental, rather than for getting attention.

The Vingan opens her door, curious. She’s stripped down to her shift and her hair looks freshly plaited into a single plait.

Berra has lost interest in the door and is trying to work out how to clap with a hand that does not work properly. Fingertips against the base of the palm seems to be the way.

Her expression is one of concentration, as if maybe getting this right will mean other things get better.

Varanis says nothing, merely waiting politely.

Berra stops a few moments later, and looks back to the door. If she is surprised to see Varanis there, she gives no indication of that. She just smiles slightly. “Hello. I’m sorry – were you sleeping?” She is in armour, fully dressed.

“No. I was trying to decide if I should sleep or go down to the common room for a while. But I needed to be clean regardless of which choice I made.” Her cheeks have a freshly scrubbed look. “Would you like to come in?” She steps back from the door as she offers her invitation.

“Please. I wondered if I could use your mirror. I want to consider Truth, and put the Rune on again.” It has been on her for so long that her skin is blue beneath where the paint usually is, but it has no brightness right now.

“Of course! Come in.” The room isn’t especially large. It has a bed and small table. There’s a basin of water and a towel on the table. Varanis’ armour is stacked neatly next to her packs in one corner of the room. There’s surprisingly little mess, maybe because the Vingan has become tidier, but more likely because she hasn’t been in the room long enough yet.

She goes to her packs and roots around for the mirror, coming up with the cloth wrapped object quickly. She hands it to Berra, still wrapped in the protective fabric.

Berra smiles her thanks, and asks, “Um, can you unwrap it?” She is holding it carefully, in her left hand, with the right supporting it.

Varanis looks surprised for a moment, but then takes the mirror back and carefully unwraps the polished metal. “Did you bring your woad?” she asks. “It will probably be easier if I hold the mirror for you too.”

“I did.” Berra pulls her pot out of a pouch on her belt, added to it probably just for this. “I might be a while,” she warns. “I want to meditate on Truth. D’Val won’t mind how long I take.”

Varanis considers. “Do you need the mirror the whole time?”

“Um… Not really. I don’t need it at all. I just need something to look at that reminds me of Truth.”

Berra looks thoughtfully at the mirror, and at the wall. “I think I maybe should not have written Death Runes at the White Grape.”

“You are sleeping in the common room here, aren’t you?”

“I’ll sleep by D’Val’s door tonight. He’s my Rune Lord – I’ll come back from the temple with him.” The Humaki opens her pot one-handed, with a little squeak as the wood releases.

“You’ll meditate here then. Give me a few moments.” Varanis pulls a tunic from her pack and then shifts the pack so it sits centrally in the open space. Using a bit of rope, she secures the mirror to the outside of the bag. It’s set in such a way that Berra can sit on the floor and look at the mirror, but also have a clear view of the door.

The Vingan pulls the tunic on, making herself more presentable to the outside world. “Now, do you want me here or do you want to be alone?”

Berra does just that, sitting down and looking calmly at the mirror. “I don’t mind,” she says, “But I’m going to be staring at this for a while. I need to understand why I’m putting it on me as I do.”

Varanis nods. “I’ll take the opportunity to meditate too. I haven’t done so since…” She shrugs. “It’s been a while.” She looks around a moment before settling herself into a kneeling position on the bed, angled towards the door. Then she glances back at Berra, “do you need anything else?”

Berra takes a deep breath, and looks up at Varanis. “No, thank you,” she says.

Varanis nods, then directs her gaze straight ahead. She takes a long slow breath and begins her own meditation.

Berra’s hand moves over her cheek, forefinger drawing lines, but without woad on it. Then she draws in the air in front of her, as if she is adding to her own reflection. It is not always drawn the same way, although it is the same symbol, and is sometimes etched in the air with two fingers, sometimes with one. Once, with three pinched together and then spread out. Once or twice Berra stops, considers, and makes the same movements again for a few repetitions, until she seems to come to an understanding with herself. After about ten minutes, she dips her finger into the woad pot, and then pauses, staring at herself in the mirror, just like the first time she used it. She looks more questioning this time, less rapt.

Varanis’ breathing slows. Long deep belly breaths, as she pulls the air into herself and then releases it. Her eyes are open and unfocused; she blinks from time to time, but like the breathing, the movement of her eyelids is slow. Otherwise, she remains still and silent.

Berra finally marks her cheek, a single short line, and then a long, bent one, together making a Y. Then she tries to pick up the woad pot with her right hand, and stops herself in time, and grimaces, and sits back down to scowl for a moment.

Varanis keeps breathing.

Berra puts the pot away carefully, left-handed, with her blue fingertip held carefully to stop stains. She wipes it on the inside of the cuff of her padding, over her right ankle, and then pulls the mirror out of its tie to put it carefully on its cloth on the little table, and bows to it, and then she walks carefully while by the bed, rather than risk disturbing Varanis.

The Vingan’s gaze remains unfocused, her breathing slow and regular. The position is much the same as that she used in Boldhome.

Berra lets herself out quietly, and then there is the sound of her walking away outside.