Duck Cavalry

Berra — Duck Cavalry 01

????, Fire Season


Fire Season, Prax. It’s hot. [[[s01:session-34|Session 34]]]

Out in Prax, Berra gives D’Val the nice spot by Billy when they rest, sleeping further away from the shade of the bison, or the overnight warmth. Rajar thinks this is sweet, but on the way back, points out D’Val can ride his own bison. That is, Calamity, on a lead rein.

At a later point, Berra is sitting on Billy’s back, and finally blurts out, “Do you think D’Val could learn to ride a Bison?” It’s probably too quiet to be heard over by Calamity.

“I could teach him,” Rajar replies. “Of course Calamity isn’t war trained”

“Well, just getting him into battle is important, and then he doesn’t have to be the Duck riding a horse. Road isn’t war trained either. We’re both natural infantry.”

“I could just nail him to the saddle?”

“… Leaving that aside. If we got a saddle that was a bit narrower than normal, it would make it hard for you to ride, but we could hang equipment on it anyhow…”

“To be honest I just got her a pack harness. So I planned to strap him on. A few quick release knots and he can fly free. Er jump off.”

Berra shakes her head, hopping off to walk alongside Rajar, on the side away from Calamity. “He needs to have dignity. Otherwise he’ll refuse to ride. It’s about how he’ll be seen.”

“He can balance on her hump. He’s got good balance!”

“Dignity, again. He’s got to be able to sit down, even if it’s on a little seat on the hump. That would go on the pack harness, right?”

“We can have it comfy for him,” Rajar agrees.

Berra looks up hopefully. “There are goads you use for rhinos. If we had one of those – if Calamity had one of those – then he wouldn’t need long legs.”

“We don’t use goads on Bison. But she’ll go where she is told.”

“It wouldn’t be a goad, goad. Just a stick so he didn’t have to use his feet. I mean, I guess you use feet on Bison. But something that could hang there and look natural. Maybe just a…. stick.”

“No.” It is a flat refusal from Rajar. “Besides he needs his…hands…for sword.”

“Sorry. Didn’t understand what you meant by ‘don’t’. But anyhow, I think it’s probably important we make it comfortable, and make it so he thinks nobody will think he looks… well, he’s got to prove himself more than we do, is what I mean.”

Rajar says in a wise tone, “I mean it’s like riding on top of a wagon. On a horse he would look silly. On a bison…well.”

“Yes. It’s different enough that he won’t. And if people think he does, it won’t be so many people. Bisons are big and different. I mean, to horses.” Then Berra tries not to laugh, and just about manages, although she does mutter, “Lance,” a few moments later.

“Lances are fun. If Billy manages to get all his feet off the ground as the point hits…” Rajar frowns a little. “He doesn’t always get that bit, but when he does…not many things can take that sort of hit.”

Berra stays straight faced. “Anyhow. We have until we’ve walked home for you to make him into someone who can control a Bison, without offending his pride. If he gets upset at that, tell him it was my idea, but try not to let him know what you’re doing. Pride, you see.”

“Indeed. it is common with my people. I have surrendered pride. There is only rage.”

Berra blinks in surprise. After a short pause she says, “Huh. That’s pretty impressive.”

“Pride is a weakness that stops the holy rage. Honor, Pride, Love, these are things that can make a warrior pause and think of their life and loved ones. There is no thinking. And beer.”

Berra takes the hint and pours from the amphora hanging on Billy’s side, handing the cup up. “Honour dictates that I use Death correctly. Love might make me use it for the wrong reasons. So I do love, but I have to be careful, and it’s part of me I want to fade away. Only then there’s Haran. And people that I want to protect as a warrior, not a Humakti. One day, I’ll be just one of those.”

“Yes. I must shield the people from chaos. All people. Loving any one is dangerous.”

“Mhm. I think I get that. You’re better at it than I am. So now you’re one of the people I have to learn from too.” Berra speaks slowly, thoughtfully.

“Hmmmm. Don’t tell your master. He’ll assume you’ve cracked.”

“No. He’ll understand. I’d tell him why, as well. And he knows more than I do, anyhow. But there’s no need to bother him with it unless I have to. It’s good to work things out myself.” She grins. “I have a game with myself, where I try to guess his answer before I ask a question, which means trying to get the question to the point where the answer will be really simple. It often means I don’t have to bother answering the question.”

“With Stormbull there is no answer. Because that means you were wasting time when you could have been killing. Or drinking. Talking is normally a mistake when it’s important.”

“Oh, yes. But Temple time doesn’t have as much beer in, for Humakti. More of other things, less of the brawls that spill out into the city and get remembered in song.” Berra gets back up onto Billy’s back, and settles down to watch where they have been, and the new bison behind them.