Dawn at Six

1628, Earth Season, Probably Week 5, Probably Freezeday


The adventurers have come out of the earth in the Six Stones Temple, and talk a bit about what happened, why some of them dislike Heroquests, and what Giland might have done. Session SA3.06.


Maalira looks around, frowning. “How…?”

“This is where Humakt came out of the underworld with Death,” Berra says. “That’s why… I felt like I knew things even though I didn’t know them.”

Maalira nods. “How far are we from where we should be?”

“Eh… this is where we’ll probably find information?” Berra gives the others a glance, and sees they are seeing to each other. “So we’re a long way from where we were. A week’s travel, with animals.”

“We don’t have animals,” Maalira points out.

“We don’t have most of our stuff,” Berra says happily. “We’re here and we’re alive.” From her, Maalira gets no hug, but the Humakti does give her a smile. “We’re all here.”

Maalira smiles back. “That’s true.”

“Manasa!” Varanis calls out, looking frantically for her horse.

Berra perks. “Oh, well. Bright side to everything!”

“Berra!” Maalira gives her a slap on the arm for emphasis.

“She’s a demon, but she’s my $&&$& demon,” Varanis protests.

Berra hardly looks subdued. “The animals will probably be safe with Giland, and…. shit, did we really give him six thousand dead people to judge?”

“Oh is THAT what was going on?” Maalira blurts out. “I nearly got judged with them.”

“Did we? I… umm…. It’s fuzzy in my head.” Varanis looks chagrined. “I got judged…”

“I didn’t. But Varanis did. And I was Humakt. So I asked her – Vinga – to persuade them to follow. Leaving them there would have been really bad. That’s a way you get vampires.”

Varanis almost goggles over that. “I did?”

“You were pretty impressive. The Humakti formed up under me and you kept the rest of them from remembering they were Lunars and Tarshites. Then … what happened to you, Maalira, that you wondered?”

“I was waiting outside the tent like Giland said, but then there were so many spirits, and one of them said I should go with them… and then I realised I had better not go too far so someone who was me and not me pointed to the door, and that’s when I heard you.” It’s not Maalira’s most coherent explanation ever.

Berra considers. “Alright. We went down into the Court of Silence and Daka Fal judged the recently dead, and then he… sort of threw us out, I guess, into a tunnel. And I knew I had to climb, so I did. I couldn’t tell how I knew, but I guess I was still Humakt enough.” Berra glances to Varanis. “So yeah, the answer to your question was yes, I was him, but I didn’t like how you said it and I tried to get out from under that.”

Varanis shrugs. “Sorry.”

“S’fine. I should think about why, but I don’t really mind.” Berra narrows her eyes and looks around as Yelm rises. “So, I think we need to stay here rather than leave, at least until the Swords get here.”

“Fine by me.” Maalira sits down abruptly.

“It’s Yelmrise!” Varanis draws her sword.

Berra puts out a hand. “Not today. Not when I’ve just come out with Death,” she says.

Briefly, the Humakti glances down at her sword, and then her other sword, and then she looks puzzled. “Uh, damnit. More to think about.” She sits down next to Maalira. “We’ll have to decide if we go… it’s too dangerous to go back to the Grazelands right now, I think. Without horses, we’ll … yeah, counting bisons and horses for this, without horses we’ll look like deserters.”

“Bison do not count as horses,” Maalira says mock-indignantly.

“Moo-horses.” Berra says. “Except when you are riding them.”

Maalira snorts with laughter and shoves Berra’s shoulder. “They are not.”

Berra stays where shoved. “Maybe horses are actually cows. I need to tell my Lord that Grizzly Peak is … probably clear of ghosts and spirits. He might still be out there.”

Maalira nods. “How are you going to do that?”

“He’s a Hero. He’s finally revealed it. I can ask him a question, like you ask any god. Divination.” Berra straightens up again. “Although the news won’t have travelled here yet, probably. Depends on how long travelling took us.”

Maalira sighs and rubs her temples.

“It felt like it didn’t take long. I was me a lot of the time. But once we’ve talk to the Swords here, I’ll ask for permission to use the Temple for prayer. If he’s still in Tarsh, I should let him know this. Varanis did it – Vinga – but it felt Humakti.” Berra gently leans into Maalira, shoving without pushing hard. There is little to no risk of hurting the White Lady, but there is definite nudging.

Maalira leans into the nudge, tilting her head curiously at Berra.

“I am pushing you back, but I’m not allowed to push you hard so I’m pushing you long,” explains the pale little warrior.

Maalira starts to giggle uncontrollably, and leans her head onto Berra’s shoulder.

“I started relaxing again,” Berra says. “I couldn’t do that while we were marching to battle. It took a while.”

“I approve,” Maalira hiccups.

“You should drink some water. You’re… are you still coughing from before? Are you alright?”

This gets an extra wave of giggles. “I’m laughing, because you’re ridiculous in the best way,” she manages to say.

“Um, alright… a lot of people don’t.” Berra considers. “I… … I just… bleah. Let’s wait for people to arrive. If nobody does we’ll have to go look for them.”

Maalira manages to get her giggles under control. “People don’t appreciate you, then,” she murmurs.

“My High Sword is the one I was mostly thinking of to be honest, and I don’t know that he’s ever giggled. I made D’Val fall over laughing once, but he was already sitting down, and it was just me telling him something funny.”

Maalira grins at Berra. “Perhaps it’s just me, then,” she says. “Does anyone have any water?”

Finarvi hands her a water flask, then goes back to silently staring at the lightening sky.

Berra glances at Finarvi. “You’re being left alone?” she checks.

He manages what is clearly supposed to be a reassuring smile and shakes his head a little. Serala is pretending not to notice his lapse.

Maalira has a drink then hands the flask back. “Thank you.”

“We’re out. The sky’s big. You did it.” Berra gives him a brief smile that is a little worried, but has pride in it too.

He gives her a sickly grin. “No dragons.”

“No dragons. And things got put where they have to be. Irillo hates it too, you know?” Maybe Berra’s guessing at what is wrong.

“There were dragons?” Maalira asks in confusion.

He shakes his head. “No. Not in there.” He gestures at the sky. “Got to make sure.” He looks puzzled. “What does Irillo hate? Heroquesting?”

Berra nods. “Yeah. Having to stand up and be the Hero. He does it because it’s right, but it costs him. He won’t turn down a call by a Lightbringer, but he’s really even-tempered except when he has to be Issaries.”

Finarvi looks interested. It’s possible the distraction is helping.

“I don’t like heroquesting either,” Maalira says. “I mean, small ones aren’t so bad, but the big ones are bad news.” She brushes her fingers self-consciously over the mark left by the big quest.

“Giland knows not to give me prior warning, but to tip me into them head first,” Fin offers.

“Uhuh.” Berra nods. “It’s just… things, though. We live in this world. And that’s part of it.” She is trying to explain herself, rather than being confused.

He shrugs one shoulder. “I would rather do things I am good at.”

Berra manages to not blurt anything out, although it seems to take a little effort. 1((Awww, so disappointing! Blurt, Berra, blurt! – F. Did not special Truth. NOPE. -B.))

Finarvi casts a concerned look towards Serala, and muses, “Giland will know where we ended up, won’t he? He has our horses.”

“I think he sent us. He looked pretty… well, he sounded like he was in charge of what was going on. And we’re somewhere controlled, at least. And he knows where you live.”

“He pointed me at the door which led me to the rest of you, I think,” Maalira says.

“So… either this was a safe place to leave by, or he knows? I mean, both is pretty likely, but he might just have aimed for safe.” Berra shrugs, like her beautiful golden-sheened horse is not worrying her.

Berra slowly stops leaning on Maalira.

Maalira stops leaning back towards Berra just in time to stop herself from falling over.

Berra manages to look very very innocent. “Anyhow. Lismelder lands are by Duck Lands. We came somewhere close to here when we were looking after the baby river.” Her baby river. Which was following her. Wetly.

A slightly glazed look comes over Finarvi’s eyes. He shakes himself. “So we are close to where you wanted us to go?”

“I don’t know. I thought we were going to find the sagas in the Grazelands first – I didn’t mean to steal you?” Berra has a good line in wince-face.

“Well, that’s no longer going to happen.” He gazes off in the direction of the Grazelands, frowning slightly.

“Sometimes I think the world chooses for us. But I guess there wasn’t a way that Giland knew that Issaries got out of the Underworld. It’s pretty tough to put…” Berra pauses. “To put people on a new path. But anything I know of that I probably shouldn’t tell you.”

“You led us out after the halls of judgment,” he points out. It might be an accusation, though it sounds like a statement.

Berra nods. “I knew…. things about what not to do. I knew not to go back. And of course, that’s because I was cut off from my past. And I knew I had to do it alone – I didn’t realise I was bearing Death out, but in some ways I’m always bearing Death.”

“So what next? Lay low with the ducks, or try to get back to tracing this lost armour of Varanis’ ancestor?”

“I want to visit my river. But I wouldn’t fancy trying to stop Varanis, and anyhow, it’s… interesting. I mean, don’t you want to find out about it?” Berra grins.

“Of course! More than visiting a river, if I had to choose. I have ulterior motives in wanting Varanis to be happy.” Finarvi is staunchly Serala’s cousin.

Berra works that one out on her fingers and nods. “Yeah, I think we should. But other people should have their say, and that’s probably going to include a lot of the Lismelder Swords.”

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    ((Awww, so disappointing! Blurt, Berra, blurt! – F. Did not special Truth. NOPE. -B.))