In Boldhome, before leaving for the Lunar Empire. Session 9: Going Fourth About Midnight
The party is making preparations to leave for Lunar territory. Varanis has written letters again, which she passes into Marta’s keeping in the evening. Berra is near enough to see and hear, as Varanis tells the servant, “These are for if we don’t return.” The older Esrolian looks dismayed, but accepts them and heads up the stairs to the room she now shares with Varanis. Noticing the Humakti, Varanis says, “Do you want to leave a letter for Yehna?”
Berra thinks about it, and then nods. “Yeah. We should make ready, just in case.” She does not seem either worried or confident – just casual.
Varanis waves her over to the table. “I can probably write it for you. Not as well as Xenofos, mind you. Given it may be.. well, maybe you should get him to write it.” The Vingan is agitated. She can’t seem to stop moving.
Berra asks, “Are you itchy, or need to get moving?” like she is curious and can’t decide.
“I just… It’s not that I’m afraid to die, Berra. But… the Bat…” Her voice drops to a near whisper as she mentions the monster. “Our spirits… we will be destroyed utterly.”
Berra blinks. “Uh… if we go near it, sure.”
“You aren’t worried?”
“I’m worried we’ll fail. I mean, of course I am. But if we get that close to the Bat, something’s gone really wrong.” That at least, is confidence. She might not know what is ahead, but she guesses at what is not.
“If they catch us, they’ll feed us to it. You know they will.” Varanis attempts to run a hand through her hair, but Marta has managed to bind it firmly into place. This only seems to add to her frustration.
“Really? You?” Berra’s expression is disbelieving. “If they catch us looking at it, or for it, they’ll still probably want us alive, if they know who we are. And if they don’t catch us looking at it, or – I really hope here – for it from a big distance – then they just found some people who might be important.”
“What do you mean me? Am I not allowed to be afraid of that thing? It is of the worst kind of Chaos.” Her posture instantly becomes defensive.
“No, I mean, they won’t want to feed you to it. It’s a … alright, I don’t get afraid much, so I don’t really know how to, but it’s a terrible thing. I don’t think it’s the big danger, though. It’s the danger we avoid, not the one that we’ll have to talk to.” Berra waves her hands a bit, trying to get her point over.
Giving up on her hair, Varanis shifts her hand to her cheek, where the Air Rune stands out so boldly. “Orlanth’s worship is prohibited there. We’ll all stand out in some way, but an Esrolian merchant with diverse guards will probably be mostly acceptable. But I’m Orlanthi. And Rajar… could be be any more obviously a Storm Bull? How did this seem like a thing we could manage?”
“Lord Eril thinks we can. To be honest, that helped me, knowing that. But we’ll have to put ourselves together really quickly. We also need to decide on a few things like who sends messages back, if we have to, and who stays and fights. Irillo is probably one of the best to send away, and Maalira.”
Varanis tries to look reassured, but fails miserably. “We’ll just have to hope the gods are with us,” she says at last.
“Yes. But the thing that you’re fearing most isn’t a thing, I promise you. It’s something that we can do, that we can win at. We find what we can and we use what we find.” Maybe from someone else the words would be inspiring. From Berra, they are just words – she believes it, and does not have the imagination to fear yet.
“Promise me one thing?”
Berra raises her brows, listens.
“If you’re wrong… kill me before they feed me to it?” Varanis appears to be absolutely serious.
Berra nods, just as serious. “If I’m the one closest, yes.” She looks down for a moment, then frowns slightly, in thought, like she is working out how.
Varanis laughs, though it isn’t a happy sound. “I was going to say that if you don’t, I’d haunt you. But that’s the thing… there won’t be anything of us left.” She shakes her head. “I’m going to go to the temple for a time. I’ll see you later.”
Berra nods, gives Varanis a brief attempt at a smile, and goes to get on with whatever she was doing; possibly napping.