Coming Down the Mountain

1628, Earth Season


The group is coming back down the mountain after having met the spirit of Berra Colymar. Session SA3.05.


On the way down the mountain, Berra seems more relaxed, although she is obviously looking forward to where they are going next.

Varanis is thoughtful and somewhat withdrawn.

Finarvi is also subdued, though he seems to be keeping a careful eye on Maalira’s two charges.

The two charges are nervous, but not bolting. They seem to think that going up a mountain, being attacked by ghosts, talking to a long-dead Hero, and coming back while a Humakti sings sagas is a long day.

From Berra’s expression she thinks it was a satisfying day’s work.

As they get closer to the bodies, Berra says, “I think we ain’t got enough food for six pyres.”

“Do death rites stay the same for zombies?” Varanis asks.

“Wasn’t zombies, and yes-mostly,” Berra replies. “Although with something long-dead, the original spirit’s probably gone a while back, so the burning gets a lot more important than the farewell. These were intelligent, though, so they… well, the spirits from the original people might still be hanging around anyhow.”

Varanis stops abruptly. “Not zombies?”

Berra pauses, poised on a rock. “Not zombies. Possessed people. Dunno what happened to the spirits, but probably not nice.”

She is making the Death Rune, if a bit wiggly, in her effort to balance.

“But… I killed the ones who’d stopped fighting…” the Vingan looks ill. “I thought they were zombies who needed to be kept down. I … oh gods. I murdered them.”

“Um… maybe?” Berra seems oddly unaffected. “But the ghosts had already got to them, so it’s hard to tell. We should ask Giland?”

The bald-headed Shaman is currently negotiating with a gnarled tree for the use of some of its leaves for hygiene purposes.

“When I took that one guy’s hand and he didn’t even flinch… and they moved like zombies…” Varanis starts moving again, clearly keen to get back to the corpses.

“They did. They were not used to the bodies they had stolen.” Berra jumps down from the rock with a spin and a kick, rather than just getting down like an ordinary human.

She is only wearing the ‘light’ armour today.

Varanis decides to interrupt Giland. “Knowing One,” she begins, using the Esrolian phrase translated into Tradetalk, “Could those men have been saved? Could their spirits have been returned to them?”

Giland looks at Varanis, blinks a little to focus on her, and then nods. “Yes, if the spirits could have been found,” he tells her. “They are probably not far away.”

Berra tries not to wince, behind Varanis.

The Vingan shudders. “I see.”

“S’done,” Berra says. “We’ll move on.”

“I’ll need to try to find out who they were,” Varanis points out. “I need to make amends to their families.”

“What?” Berra looks surprised. “They could have been anyone – and without us here they were not even getting put to rest.”

“I killed three of them after they’d stopped fighting,” Varanis points out. “Executed unresisting and essentially unarmed warriors.”

“Without spirits in their bodies,” Berra adds. “They’d have died anyhow, or got new ghosts in them.” She glances to Giland. “Right?” For a moment she too looks unsure.

Giland nods. “No time to find the idiots that got thrown out,” he says. “Best to end them.”

“Right.” Berra is more sure now.

“You could have saved them, if I hadn’t taken their heads though, couldn’t you?” Varanis asks the shaman.

Giland shrugs. “If I cared to.” He points up the mountain. “More important.” Then his finger turns to Varanis. “More important.” Then down the slope towards the Grazelands. “More important.”

“Well, we still need to find out who they were,” Varanis says, her chin tilting the way it does when she’s feeling mulish. “And give them a proper burial with the resources we have available to us.”

“I agree with half of that.” Berra hop-skips a couple of steps, after having come off the safest path. “They were here, they were soldiers, now they’re dead. We send them on and that’s that.”

“Easy for you to say when your own honour hasn’t been compromised,” Varanis points out.

Berra starts to say something, and then bows her head. “I don’t think yours is,” she says. “But I’ll shut up.”

Varanis clenches her fists as everything in her seems to go rigid for a moment, then she sighs heavily and relaxes. “I’m sorry, Berra. You should always feel safe to speak freely to me. We won’t always agree, but you don’t need to silence yourself with me.” She thanks Giland for his insight and continues the downhill walk to where they left the bodies.

“Nah. I said the thing.” Berra shrugs. “You’re the one concerned. But we could probably find a judge if you want.”

“I’ll submit myself to temple judgement when I’m in Boldhome next,” Varanis says at last. “That is where I hope to go through my testing and they hold my sword in trust. But can we please see if there’s anything on the bodies that will help us give them names?”

Berra nods. “Regimental marks, for sure. One had Truth on his forehead.” That might have been the one she killed.

Finarvi listens to the conversation with a slight troubled frown. 1Insight: He’s not alarmed at the unintended murder, but seems torn between irritation and worry.

“You mentioned lacking sufficient food for the rituals, Berra,” Varanis says. “What would you normally do?”

“Send a meal off. But I did mean wood.” Berra looks thoughfullly back at the conversation, or at the sky, or something. “But a meal’s part of it. If we can’t burn them then we can tell the spirits which way to go, at least, and tell them they did well.”

“You said food!” Varanis protests. “But right, wood… well, maybe we’ll be lucky and some of them will follow Yelm and we can just leave them for the birds.”

“Yeah, I meant wood. But it doesn’t matter so much as long as we show them honour, I guess?” Berra, initiate of Humakt, may have skipped a few lessons about pyres.

The Vingan nods, but remains silent, staring moodily ahead.

Giland gives Varanis a long look, and then shrugs as he keeps walking.

  • 1
    Insight: He’s not alarmed at the unintended murder, but seems torn between irritation and worry.