Berra — Facing The Darkness
????, Earth Season, Disorder Week
Earth Season, Disorder Week, Fireday. [[[s02:session-1|Session 1]]]
This log is edited to avoid spoilers, but nothing that has been left in has been changed.
A runner is sent, and a message is returned, and after about an hour, Berra is meditating outside the small temple. She is either entirely in luck or entirely out of it, because the person who is available is not D’Val, but Eril. Berra looks peaceful, but is alert enough to stand, and bow, and her unnatural calm comes over her, as she takes one long, deep breath. “Good evening, Sword,” she says. “I have a message, and there is something I should tell you, and something I must tell you. That one has to happen on holy ground, I think.”
Eril gestures her forward, into the chapel, “Of course. As you wish.”
Inside, Berra takes a moment to nod to the sword – the iron one, and not the flesh and blood version – and says, “I think I let you down twice, earlier. One of them’s the thing I should say, though. About Varanis.”
“Do go on.”
“I’m assuming that anything you ask or asked of the Prince will do good for the Temple, but please let me know what it was. But related to that, Thegn Varanis says she is open to your advice in this matter.” Berra’s voice takes on the echo of a recital of words. “If you have any suggestions on what she ought to do over the coming seasons, beyond her immediate excursions, she’d be very interested to hear them.” And having presented the victim, she adds, “I mentioned you’d push her pretty hard. It’ll go best if you have specific suggestions she can feel good about doing, that also stretch her.”
“Oh, I can think of a few. The first is to ensure the Feathered Horse Queen is wooed and wedded in short order.”
“That’s general, Lord. As she would see it. She wants to be a better person, and I think that’s what she needs, too. Big tasks… well, she needs ways of practicing.”
“I understand. Perhaps to guard an ambassador, rather than be it.”
“That’s the level, yes. And she does want to rise to the challenges, but… she needs steps. She can’t fly yet.” Berra pauses to think only briefly. “We’re leaving tomorrow. Going via Wilmskirk to visit her family and probably escort Lord Venlar to see the family he might be marrying into. Or marrying Mellia out of. If you’ve got any current information on the situation there and who we’re likely to meet – other than a big army going home – then letting her know would be good, so she can look after her band.” There is a hesitation on the last word, like Berra does not want to be part of it. “I know it’s late already.” But she shrugs. She ran up to the Palace and may well have to wait on any message; asking a Humakti to work late is hardly a problem to her, politeness aside.
“I comprehend. You understand, however, that I have been a touch inconvenienced of late to be watching Esrolia.”
Berra briefly stares at him. “I did mean Wilmskirk,” she says. “We’re probably most likely to meet people from the Colymar there.” She says the name of her own Tribe without hesitation. Right now, pretty obviously, they are just a set of people with embedded potential threat.
“I do not anticipate organised problems. Hotheads are unpredictable, of course.”
“If you could be the one to write her that, it would mean a lot more than me telling her that you’d said it. She’s going to need good advice in the future. She should get used to you giving it to her now.” Berra watches Eril steadily, her calm look floating over something that is about as far from hope as emotion can get.
“Not on paper, Berra. Perhaps invite her up. I have fine wines of Esrolia.”
“Tonight, Lord, or tomorrow?” Berra looks happy to run down, eager to serve, but the odd calmness stays.
“Within the next two hours, or tomorrow.”
Berra nods, deep. “And then there’s the last thing. There are some small bits too, but…” She takes a deep breath, and then considers. “I think I made a new step on the Hero Path. I was lost and had to find a way and I don’t think anyone’s ever done it like that before.”
There is a slight raise of an eyebrow. “The action is the thing, not the motivation. Although it does raise an interesting question.”
“Mm?” Berra grabs at that, rather than speaking on.
“Does it matter WHY the Gods act as they do?”
“I don’t think that’s a valid question. The gods define themselves and are defined by their acts. If it’s honourable, Humakt will do it. And if Humakt does it, it’s honourable. But that’s not the thing I had to say. I may have messed up very badly, because I acted as well as believing. As well as thinking. I don’t think anyone else would have noticed. I told her, ‘You are a distraction in my halls. With you here I cannot think, and I cannot be fair. So, you must go. But I will be there for you at the end of Spring. Death is a patient bridegroom.’ And that meant something at the time. I think… I think Spring was an allotted time. That bit might be her problem.”
He considers a bit. “Possibly. Although the God spends more time in Hell during the winter.”
“Well, anyway. You know now, so if I don’t come back alive, I’ve told you. I… had the idea I was setting her natural limit on her. That when she died she wouldn’t come back again, maybe? Or that whatever the quivilent… eq…uiva…lent… of the end of spring is for her, that’s what she’s got left. But I don’t know, and I don’t have time to ask the God and find out, before I leave.”
“We will all find out. I think the cycle of the seasons is proof against your adjustments.”
Berra bows, and takes a deep breath. “And I’d like to apologise to the Wyter too. I wasn’t prepared.” Her eyes go back to him, and whatever she was thinking changes to grudging awe.
Because he bound that. He doesn’t just live with it.
He gives a slight nod, and extends the sword hilt.
That seems unexpected, and Berra takes a moment, and then puts her hand out, kneeling as she does. She may not have realised this was coming. This time, she does not pass out, although she pales a little. If she were to vocalise what she is saying, or if she could hear that she is in fact speaking out loud, it would be, “I’m sorry, I wasn’t prepared and I didn’t show you enough respect. I’m not ready to know you better, but I hope to be. You’re beautiful and terrifying. I’ll get better.”
Eril appears to approve. The sensation is less intense, this time.
Berra stands after a moment, and blinks as if to clear her head. Eril gets a bow. “And finally, permission to…” Then she stops herself, as if working out who he isn’t. “Sorry. Not you. Will you be in the palace for the next two hours, Lord?” Awe, fear, and respect are written plainly on her, and somewhere in there is puzzlement too.
“Yes, of course.”
“I’ll see if Varanis wishes to visit this evening.” Berra gives an infanteer’s field farewell, about as quick as one can get while still showing respect, and then gives her final nod to the room itself.
On her way out, she starts to remind herself, out loud, “Do not run down the stairs in the dark…. Do not run down…” And off, faded away.