Falling Off Buildings (More than Once)

Berra — Falling Off Buildings 01

1626, Sea Season, Fertility Week


After shopping, Berra does not want to return to the Clan Saiciae Palazzo, so they drop back in and Varanis gets changed before they go on a rooftop adventure. Session 24 (North, Miss Tesmacher. North!)


Berra knows all sorts of rooftop routes, most of which are pretty easy, but some are horrid hard. There are chalk marks up there she seems to understand, and she puts a charcoal one down – a little combo of truth and death runes, and a couple of slashes. It turns out there’s a secret climbing society that marks up routes. Berra still knows a couple of the chalk marks by name.

And then she says, “Oh, the way across there…” And then there’s the disaster. Or at least, the horrible crunch and the swearing. Berra falls twenty feet from a small building, which is lucky, because it means she did not have to fall from the big one she was jumping to. There is a sprained ankle, and a lot of cursing. Climbing in armour and sword is harder than climbing in light training gear, she explains gravely.

Varanis jumps quickly and lightly to the ground next to the Humakti.

“Berra, do you need any healing?” she asks politely, not making a big deal about it.

Berra considers it for a bit, and says, “I was going to ….” She pauses to try not to laugh. “Ow. Yes, I’d prefer it if you did it to me doing it. Humakti healing is pretty brutal. I mean, the best way to do it is to choose between the pain and the damage.”

Varanis gently places a hand on the offending ankle and concentrates momentarily.

Berra tests the ankle, and limps a bit still, but thanks Varanis. “Much better.” The sprain has gone down a lot, but she is still limping. The crowd that has gathered to watch a Humakti who has fallen over begins to drift away.

“Are we heading back up?” Varanis nods in the general direction of the rooftops. “We aren’t far and can just as easily walk from here. It might cause less consternation if I enter the Storm Temple through the gates instead of over them.” There’s something in her grin that suggestions she has practical experience with this.

“Mm. Well.” Berra looks up at temple. “Do I look like I’m making good decisions to you right now?” She shrugs out her shoulders, and grinds the palms of her hands together.

Varanis laughs. She leaps halfway up the side of the building, grabbing onto a ledge, nearly slips, but catches herself and pulls herself the rest of the way up. She looks back towards Berra…

And… Berra fails. Repeatedly. But she doesn’t stop trying, until several painful minutes later, when she hauls herself up to the roof, armour scratched down the front. She has torn a nail and looks like she is in a killing mood, but as she stands straight she shrugs that off, and just looks calm. “I should probably go think about my actions,” she admits.

Varanis is smiling out across the rooftops. “I love it up here. We did a lot of training on the roofs of Nochet when I joined the Temple. It was one of the few places where I could be almost alone.”

“This is how I met Lanasha.” Berra steps away from the edge. “The Humakti plan battles along here. Island games. But mostly theoretical.” She stands on tiptoes to look towards her own temple. She’s short, and the effort is not worth the increase in height. “It’s timeless up here. I can’t see the damage so much. The repairs, I guess…”

“You and Lanasha… that does seem challenging.”

“Well, I thought she was a burglar. I climbed a roof to challenge her. She wasn’t. She owned the apartment she was climbing on top of. But I think she likes angry, confused people.”

“I don’t know her as well as I should. She wasn’t at the Temple when I first joined. I actually lived at the Temple for a while, you know, and there were a couple of years when I wasn’t allowed across the Stormwall.” She looks thoughtful and perhaps a bit conflicted again. “I think Lanasha became more of a regular feature here in the years since the siege and I admit, I’ve not been to the Temple as much since I came back to Nochet.”

Berra thinks a bit. “She was here before the siege, but I don’t think she was really serious about it at first. She was a Lay Member when I first knew her. An initiate a little after that. And then there was the navy, and there was the army, and there was the Temple of Humakt, and it was over.” Berra does not seem bothered by it being over. “I guess she spent a lot more time with me than at the temple, when she didn’t have to be.”

“She has a hard time keeping her eyes off you, Berra. And I have noticed that her regard is returned, to some degree anyway.” Varanis gives her a teasing wink.

Berra winces. It takes her long enough to get out a water skin and drink that she can manage a reply. “My body wants hers. My spirit wants Humakt. Is that enough for you?” No wonder she fell, carrying water as well as armour and weapons.

Varanis looks at the small Humakti warrior sympathetically. “I shouldn’t have teased you about her. I’m sorry.” She pauses for a moment. “I guess I’m feeling a bit raw and exposed right now and am trying to deflect. Maybe it’s time I head to the Temple.”

After a moment Berra says, “Thank you.” She offers over the waterskin, but the moment of being together on the roof might have passed.

Of course, Berra still has to get down.

Varanis accepts the water skin and takes a slug. She hands it back and there’s a hint of regret in her expression. “Let’s do this again sometime, but maybe with less sensitive subjects and more rooftop jumping.” She waves a little and then lithely climbs down the side of the building. She waits for Berra to make it down safely, standing at a discrete distance and trying not to look too obvious about it.

It’s not a graceful landing. Berra makes it a few feet down, and has to twist and jump as she cannot reach the next safe foothold. She’s too short.

The jump starts well…

From the ground, Berra signals she is not dead, she just does not want to get up yet. Most of the air got knocked out of her.

“Do you need a hand, healing or otherwise?” Varanis’ voice is carefully casual.

Berra looks up, smirking. “Had worse,” she says. “But I could do with help to get up. The armour took the worst of it.”

The armour took the worst of it, but her sword’s scabbard is unscratched. Lucky, that.

Varanis offers a hand to pull Berra to her feet. For all her fancy jewellery and coiled braids, the hand bears the callouses of years of sword use.

“Right. Well, at least I still have my dignity.” Flippancy gives Berra a moment to dust herself off. “And I should go to my temple, too. Or at least, go for a run.”