1628, Dark Season, Disorder Week, Clayday
Berra looks like she should be meditating, but really is just leaning back against the wall, eyes closed. She opens them to say, “Welcome, Thane Vareena,” politely.
Varanis looks at her then plops down on a bench. “Drink some water,” she demands.
Berra looks around, and then carefully inches over towards where a jug of water and a half-full beaker are. “How can I help you?” She is moving painfully slowly.
“You’re going to reach out to the Great Wyter and ask it where Lord D’Val is,” the Vingan says. “And ask it to tell him you need him.”
Berra considers that. “Am I?” She thinks further, like that is puzzling her, as she picks up the cup.
“Yes. Now, please.”
Berra looks into the air, and closes her eyes to concentrate. Her lips move a little.
Varanis waits. Her stern expression is at odds with the mess she’s made of her hair. If she does end up going out to find Eril, she really ought to do something about that first.
Berra hums something almost recogniseable as she waits, head tilting like she is trying to hear the tune properly. It takes her a few minutes to draw her attention out of the music. “He is two days of march away, on a mission for the Temple,” Berra replies. “And I do not know if the message will be sent. The Great Wyter cannot do that, I think. It might have been confused by the request, or it might send an initiate.”
“Give me a direction and I’ll go fetch him back,” Varanis says impatiently.
“Along the road to Dangerford,” Berra says. “He’s on a mission, though. He’s already going as fast as he can, because of that, I’m sure.” She explains patiently, although she seems proud of her duck. There is still memory there, at least.
“Well, we have a few options, as I see it. I can go fetch D’Val myself, I can yell at Eril, or you can get off your ass and do something of your own initiative. Take a slow walk, go sit in the garden, climb to the rooftop and yodel for your bison, I don’t care! Just do something!” Although the speech becomes increasingly impassioned and desperate, Varanis does not return to yelling. Yet.
“You shouldn’t yell at Eril,” Berra replies. “Please do not do that.” Even her speech is wrong. She is talking like a peasant on her best behaviour, in court.
“Why not?” Varanis paces. She waves violently in the general direction of the Humakti Temple. “I’m angry with him! Why shouldn’t I yell at him?”
Berra looks rather worse than when she came to Boldhome. Not only is she not recovered from the wraiths, but she lost a lot of blood and is not recovered from that. The wound inflicted by Ikadz left a trail of blood downstairs and in the street.1Varanis passes First Aid. She is just about fit to get to the latrine without help, and could probably manage the stairs if she rested several times. She would need a palanquin for any long journey.
“Because he’s a Hero.” Berra looks worried now, as if that is a Bad Thing To Do.
“So fucking what?!” The Vingan’s voice starts to rise, but she forces herself to breathe. “Why haven’t you summoned a healer? You’re scaring your sister and if you don’t get better, you’ll let both Raven and Eril down. You need to do something, Berra. Enough of this listless lying around.”
“I hadn’t thought of summoning a healer,” Berra says. “I could do that now, I suppose.”
“You hadn’t thought of it? I brought it up before going for my chat with Lord Raven. Don’t suppose, do. Right now. Then drink more water.” Varanis glowers before stomping over to refill the cup Berra had set down.
Berra closes her eyes, this time only for a moment, and says, “Alright. I have done that.”
Her water is still half full.
“Right. So, what will you choose to do next?”
Berra looks at Varanis in confusion. “I don’t think I’ll choose anything. I need to go to the Temple for Wildday Eve.”
“Alright,” Varanis says, digging into the pouch on her belt. “I’ll flip a coin to see which of your Swords I’m going to drag back here then.”
Berra just watches, confused.
“You’re meant to tell me you will start making choices on your own and don’t need a Sword to come shake some sense into you,” Varanis says as she plucks out a coin.
“I don’t know what choices you want me to make,” Berra replies.
“Anything that involves some kind of action and comes from inside you,” Varanis says, hesitating. “Choose to summon a healer without being told. Choose to drink water. Choose to wriggle your toes! Anything but lying there like a lump waiting for orders!”
“I’ve got orders,” she replies, and looks down. “I need to help Lord Raven becomes a better Wyter.”
“And what actions are you taking towards that goal?”
“I’ve been talking to him, explaining the situation, keeping him from being angry. He’s scared, and he does not like it, but he knows what he has to do. I’m trying to make him want to do it.” Berra looks up hopefully, as if she wants to please Varanis with the answer.
“My Berra would have… it doesn’t matter. You are my Berra, just trapped under whatever is that has broken you and I’m going to figure it out and make you whole again,” Varanis says, fidgeting with the coin. “When will the healer get here?”
“I only just asked the Wyter to send an initiate,” Berra replies. “So maybe half an hour.” It is a guess, but she seems to be happier knowing what is likely than implying she is unsure.
“Right. Well, you have Yehna here to make sure you don’t forget to breathe or something. So, I’ll guess we see where the fates will take me.” She looks at the Lunar she’s pulled out. “Let’s see… if I get the Emperor, I’ll go look for D’Val and if it’s the Goddess, I’ll visit your High Sword in his lair. Sound good?” Without waiting for a reply, she flips the coin high into the air.
Berra does not answer. Maybe she does not know how to judge.
The coin falls, flipping end over end until Varanis catches it and slaps in onto the back of her sword hand. Then she looks. “Right, Eril. Well, that means I don’t need to pack, but I should go straighten up a bit.” She sighs, then rolls her shoulders as if beginning to warm up for a fight. “You, eat what food your sister puts in front in front of you. Tell the healer the details of your injuries and current weakness. No hiding stuff so as not to bother them. And if I die at Eril’s hands again, don’t you dare interfere with me coming back. Someone needs to be here to try to shake some sense into you and it might as well be me, even if I have to escape hell again to do it.”
Berra says quietly, “I wouldn’t lie…”
“No, but you might just not say anything at all. Don’t you see? That’s the problem right now. You don’t move, you don’t talk, you don’t even seem to think until someone demands it of you!” When Varanis attempts to run her fingers through her hair in frustration yet again, they hit a snarl and she just clenches her fist around it. “I should just cut this all off,” she growls.
“Oh.” Berra nods. “Right. I’ll try to tell them everything.” And she falls silent.
Varanis yanks her hand from her hair and with a heavy sigh, lets it fall. “I’m not really angry at you,” she tells the little Humakti. “You are my friend and I love you. I’m angry at what has happened to you. And I’m afraid that I won’t be able to fix you. When fear and anger mix in me, they tend to come out as rage. It’s sometime reckless, but if there’s no way to let it out, I’ll go mad and do something epically stupid. I’ll try not to anger your High Sword to the point where he decides to stab me and be done with it.”
“Be polite,” the Humakti responds.
There’s a little snort as Varanis turns to the door. By way of goodbye, she says, “My manners are impeccable.”
Of course, there is no answer.
- 1Varanis passes First Aid.