1627, Earth Season
The group is visiting their lands in the Blue Tree clan, and seeing Venlar and Mellia, as well as Yamia and her child. Around Session 2.55.
Morning came. Berra was gone. Yehna, who had got up early to light a fire to make her pancakes, simply sighed at the cloak that was now carefully folded under and over a sleeping Haran.
Now light is creeping in, and Yamia is up and checking her weapons, stopping every now and then to look at a still-tiny child tied to her, asleep in its sling. Weapon-thanes are getting ready for practice, women are getting ready to cook, children are getting ready to get in the way of both.
Varanis steps through the door of the hall and pauses to allow her eyes to adjust. She is armoured already, her sword at her hip. She has, presumably, finished the morning rites with old Arianatha.
Yamia is instantly alert, and then relaxed, the sudden movement as her attention goes to the door showing as a pale face within the darkness. She comes towards the door with the others, and a big Malani asks Varanis, “Coming out to show us what you’ve got?”
Varanis arches a brow at him.
“Out at practice. We’re taking an hour before breakfast.” He gives her a nod as he passes on his way.
Yamia, yes, still has the child tied to her as she walks out.
The Vingan bristles at something in the other’s words, then turns on her heel to follow.
She catches up with the Malani without making it look like she rushed to do so. “Perhaps I am keen to see what you’ve got,” she suggests when she comes alongside him.
The warrior nods. “Of course.” Hurrying after them comes a woman, the same one who was looking after little Tamakt for some of the night before, to try to take the boy from Yamia.
The Malani walks ahead of the quiet fuss. “I don’t know why she is so eager to have that child in battle, but one day she’ll dodge her minders.”
Varanis glances back then shrugs. “I’ve not known her long, but she seems to have a very particular connection with Humakt.”
The little area where the warriors used to practice is bigger now. It is between buildings, although the word ‘courtyard’ would be too much for this expanse of rocky packed earth. There is a little discussion about what people want to do, but most pair off, begin warming up, or just grab practice weapons – mostly swords, some spears – and set to.
Varanis looks between Yamia and the Malani. She settles on the Malani first. “I’m Vareena, as you likely know. May I have your name and perhaps your first fights of the day?”
“I’m Sigrash,” he replies. It is not a Heortling name, although he has the green fish style of clothes. “I was planning on challenging Yamia, who needs knocking down a bit, and then doing spear forms until breakfast. After that, a rest then some cross-fighting. I’m from the Alynxfish, if you didn’t know.”
Yamia, without her child, is a slim figure without armour on.
“I guessed you might be from that clan. But, by all means, have a go at Yamia. I shall enjoy watching that.” There’s something in the way she says that… but the smile she gives him is sweet.
Sigrash bows. “Of course.” He whistles for Yamia’s attention, and points to the field. Yamia bows slightly and picks up a pair of wasters, passing one to Sigrash with the caution due to someone passing a real sword.
Varanis positions herself where she can watch both warriors carefully. She looks set to study their movements.
The bout starts quickly – there is no messing about. Sigrash is good, and for a moment it seems that Yamia is outmatched – he is taller, stronger, and apparently faster. Then he fails to capitalise on an opening she leaves, and she smiles slightly, speeds up, and becomes the brutal, efficient warrior that Varanis has seen in practice before. Within two minutes of starting, he is bloodied and coughing, nose broken, and she is waiting for him to continue. Yamia. Again.
Varanis drifts over. “Shall I get one of the healers to realign your nose?” The words are polite with no hint of mockery. Her eyes sparkle.
“Nah, I go’ this…” He puts his hand to his face, and splutters a few words, and then stands upright to bow to Yamia. “I’m beaten.” And, with a bit of an effort, “Thank you.”
Yamia bows in return. “My pleasure.” It sounds like it absolutely was. She then turns smoothly to look for new opponents.
The edge of the practice field has grown a Berra in the last few moments. She is not standing out, just watching.
Varanis waves at her, then calls Yamia’s name softly.
Yamia turns to look at Varanis, and gives her a pleasant smile, and then a sharp look of question – is this a match?
Berra steps forward a little, in Varanis’ peripheral vision.
“I am not your equal, warrior. But I was hoping to test my blade against yours and perhaps learn something in the process,” Varanis says with respect. “Mind you, I think that Berra is also hoping to cross swords with you and I know that she will give you a better fight.”
Berra says, “Um, yeah, but I need a word with you as well, Varanis.” She shrugs, facing Yamia. Swordless as yet.
“Is it urgent?”
“Nah. Well. A bit.” Berra looks around for a waster, catches the one thrown by Sigrash. “I just upset Lenta, and I don’t want to do that, so I thought I’d best talk I dunno.” Then she is stepping forward to take on the other warrior her size – or a little taller.
This is over far faster – Berra meets Yamia for only a moment, and the Blue Tree warrior is already in midair, committed entirely to a strike. Yamia’s parry comes on time, but she still fails to get her face out of the way, and a moment later is on the ground, looking upwards. Berra bows to her, and trots back to Varanis, looking proud. “So, anyhow. I think I might have pissed her off a lot.”
Varanis arches a brow. It’s a habit of hers. “Manners, Berra,” she chides. “Surely you and Yamia haven’t finished. How is that practice?”
“Uh…” Berra turns around, and waits for Yamia to get up. “Yeah, sorry. Mind on a few things.” She gets back to it, letting Yamia finish her own healing spell, and then fighting at least a little more conventionally. They are both very good, and a few of the warriors who were not yet really going at it stop to look.
Sigrash is watching Berra with particular interest, like he has decided something about her.1(( Varanis passes Insight (Human).
The back and forth is interesting, in that there is no back and forth here. There is Yamia stolid and careful and hard to shift, powerful when she strikes and careful on the defense, and then there is Berra, all movement and sideways dodging and looping parries and feints. It goes on for under a minute, even so, because neither of them cares to retreat. Berra extends as only she can, leaning outside Yamia’s arm and stabbing to the underside on the right, then spinning around in a valiant attempt to get her own balance. The attempt fails, but Yamia has already stopped, and is considering what just happened. Berra sits on the ground for a moment, and then closes her hand once more around her sword – she saved her knuckles by opening her fingers at the last moment.
By now, a few people are watching with impressed looks, and a few more with thoughtful expressions.
Varanis is smiling to herself and studying the two warriors. She’s on the balls of her feet. When the fight shifts, she shifts with it.
Berra rolls to her feet, and at Yamia’s request demonstrates what she did, adding, “I could probably do it in armour, but maybe not plate. Anyhow. Uh, you alright?”
“Yes. Thank you.” Yamia bows slightly, and looks around as if she did not just get beaten twice, but as if she is after a new victim. Berra saunters over to Varanis, looking cocky as well as proud now.
With a wistful glance at the warriors, Varanis asks, “Do I need to deal with Lenta? I’d really rather train.” Then she sighs. “Duty first. You’d best tell me what happened.”
“I took her out to show her a few things, and then I was talking about my sister looking after the hides and I said I guessed she must have a lot – and that was probably not the right thing to have said. I was just… I was trying to say the sort of thing that’s friendly, but I just … I don’t know. I don’t know enough about her situation to know if she’s still got any or if it’s safe for her to go back home.”
“I see. That is worrying. I suppose I will need to speak with her then.”
“Yeah. And then I tried to ask, and that was probably a lot worse. I dunno – I mean, I want to look after her but it seems like she doesn’t want to be looked after. I’m sorry.” Berra shrugs, uncomfortable with the whole situation. To someone who can read her, it is obvious she is sorry she has made Varanis’ life harder, among other things.
“It’s fine. I’ll look in on her. Go get some more fighting in – it’ll be good for them.” Varanis waves vaguely in the direction of the other warriors. There are a few who look as though they are hoping to try their swords against one or the other of them.
“Sure.” Berra nods, hauls herself to her full height, and asks, “Right. Who thinks I should put armour on?”
Yamia is the only person who does not seem to take that as a challenge; she considers the question as if it is not loaded at all.
With one last look, Varanis turns to follow the path of duty instead of pleasure.
- 1(( Varanis passes Insight (Human).