Favourite Things

1628, Earth Season, Fertility Week


Berra found out she was a flirty drunk, and comes to apologise. Session SA3.04.


It has been a couple of hours since Berra had her Little Moment, and since then she has managed to keep down a small meal, and had a lot of water, and licked her skin to taste the salt, and chewed on some of the dried food she has, without eating it. She is starting to perk up.

She has talked to others, and now she is obviously wondering how to approach Maalira.1Maalira passed Insight Human

Maalira catches her eye and gives her a smile and a little wave.

Berra returns the smile, and then slips off her horse, and wanders over. Nearly time to stop for food anyhow, but she is committed now.

Maalira slows Lofty to a bare amble, plenty slow enough for Berra to match the bison’s pace.

Berra looks up. “I had forgotten I would be this short. One moment.” She looks very serious when she goes to get her horse, returning to explain, “Rajar has more room on his,” and to mount up.

“You could have just asked me to get down and walk,” Maalira points out, a laugh in her voice.

“Uh, I suppose so? But you’re a rider.” Berra patently is not. “Apparently I make an over-friendly drunk. I’m sorry about that.”

Maalira shakes her head, smiling. “It wasn’t anything too… much. Just some silliness.”

“Alright. Thank you. Anyhow, I have been thinking more about guides, up ahead.” The Humakti looks to the peak, visible now, Her ears are pink, but that is the extent of her embarrassment.

“Mmm-hmm?” Maalira sounds amused.

“We should have as few people messed up in anything that happens as we can.” Berra is definite about that.

“I agree, though it isn’t my call,” Maalira says.

“It’s mine as much as I’m the one responsible for keeping people alive,” Berra tells her. “Us, and other people.”

“We would absolutely be placing any guides at risk,” Maalira says thoughtfully.

Humakti nodding. “Yeah. We shouldn’t do that and anyhow, there’s a war on up ahead.”

“So what do we do? Talk it through.”

“Well, Giland is a shaman. I think he was saying something to the air about it, so I guess he was talking to spirits. We go, and he does whatever he has in mind, and we trust him to get it right. But until we see it, I don’t think he wants to make any commitment. It might be it’s dangerous for him.”

Maalira mutters something under her breath which might have sounded like “bloody shamans”

Berra sighs slowly, thoughtfully. She has been doing that a lot more of late. “After this, what are you going to do?”

“There’s an ‘after’ to all this?” Maalira asks with a lopsided grin.

That stumps Berra for a moment. “There better be,” she finally says.

“I mean, we tend to just stroll into the next adventure,” Maalira explains. “I don’t really have a plan other than strolling along with all of you and seeing what happens. If we decide to stop…” Maalira trails off. “I don’t know.”

“I meant, after this next thing, where next. Not how to stop.” Berra smiles a bit. “I have a place around here I want to visit.”

“Oh? Where’s that?” Maalira looks keenly interested.

Berra waves off to the right. “Somewhere up there, there’s a little duck who doesn’t have many friends – a Humakti. Last time we were there, her brothers were killed, while they were defending her village. With her. I want to see how she’s getting on.”

“That’s… a lovely mission. I’d be delighted to come with you, if you’ll have me?”

“Well, I hope so – I mean, we’re together. We’re a group.” Berra looks over the others, and that seems to spoil her mood a little, but only a little. “I… we’re stronger together. We should keep that.”

“Yes, of course.” Maalira gives a wry laugh. “I wouldn’t survive long out here on my own.”

Berra looks Maalira up and down. “Walk into anywhere, and you’ll be fine. Most places don’t kill you in a day like Prax does. White Lady, huh?”

“I’m not sure that some of the people we have encountered would hesitate to harm a White Lady if there were no witnesses,” Maalira says grimly.

Berra considers. “Even Onjur only hinted at it,” she says. “And the others I can think of just look like people, and one just died.”

“Died is putting it mildly, from what I heard.”

“She got torn in half, and I think Harrek ate a chunk of her heart.” Berra sort of laughs, lips tight. “Second time I saw him do that.”

“The second time…?” Maalira has gone sort of grey.

“I met him at Pennel Ford. Went to the City of Wonders with him. Well, with his pirates, but because he shouted I should, and I heard him. And then I was sitting drinking quietly and he got really pissed off with someone. Blood goes weirdly in white wine. So anyhow, yeah. And then he gave me the plunder of a building because it looked like it had Truth on it, and I ended up with iron, and because I amused him, I didn’t get picked on by his people. Because he knows I’m not afraid of him.”

“Blood… in… white… wine…?” Maalira appears hung up on that detail.

“Yeah. S’why I still don’t like it right now. I mean, red’s better. And me a Colymar.” Berra beat-pauses. “We’re famous for a kind of pale ice-wine.”

“I see.” Maalira pauses. “Ice-wine?”

“Kaaaaay.” Berra pauses to think for a moment, before explaining. “Wine is made from a fruit called grapes. Little tiny things with a lot of wet in. If you pick them when they are icy, the wine comes out strong and sweet. Ice-wine.”

“That sounds refreshing. Praxian fruits do not have a lot of wet in.”

“It is. Um, the time we went to Clearwine you might have had it. The Queen served it at the feast, where we got asked to see about the house that had my river in it.”

“Yes, I think I remember.”

“It’d have been sweet but got you drunk pretty quickly if you have a cup. Inora is powerful.” Berra makes a casual sign against the anger of the winter goddess named out of her season, or else just felt like making a luck-sign.

“I don’t think I drank very much,” Maalira muses.

“It was a pretty busy time. The woman whose house it was owns a vineyard.” Berra picks something from her horse’s mane. “You could ask her to let you try some.”

“I will, next time we’re there.” Maalira smiles wistfully. “Or anywhere else that has it.”

“You can go back there, even if I can’t, and I’m pretty sure we can’t go back through Tarsh, so we’ll have to take the road past it. And my river’s there. I can visit it.”

Maalira frowns at this. “I think I am no longer welcome in all the same places as you and Varanis,” she points out.

“No, you’re a White Lady!” Berra grins. “She wouldn’t exile one of you. Not unless you yourself did something odd.”

Maalira snorts. “Odder than all the things we normally do?”

“Well, odd for a White Lady. Because even if you argue, you’ll heal. But if Varanis argues, or I do, someone might end up dead instead of better.”

“You make a fair point. I suppose I could just be as weird as possible and find out how far people will put up with a White Lady being peculiar before they break.” She giggles. “It works for shamans, after all.”

“Riding a bison in the Grazelands hasn’t caused any trouble,” Berra says. “Although last time we did this we didn’t have as many horses. It was nearly very bad.”

Maalira scritches at Lofty’s neck affectionately. “I’m sure they would like bisons if they just got to know them.”

Berra smiles fondly at Lofty. “We looked a lot like a raiding party, that one time. But I think horses here are a sign of who you are? There are some people on the farms as well, but they don’t ride.”

“Weird idea,” Maalira grins at Berra.

“They have their place. And my sister’s very good at cooking.” Berra is relaxing into the conversation.

“That she is. I… I really liked Blue Tree, you know.”

Berra nods. “Yeah. I miss it when I’m away. Even when I’m there, it feels like home.”

“It’s good to have somewhere to go back to. And people waiting there.” Maalira looks wistful.

“You’ve got your clan,” Berra says. “They love you! And if you go there, we’ll wait for you to come back. Both ways, see?”

Maalira quirks her lips. “I’m sure they do, but… after I lost my parents it wasn’t the same, and then I became a White Lady and they stopped seeing me as anything but. They stopped seeing Maalira.”

Berra thinks about that for a while, and then says quietly, “Oh. Yeah.” She gets it.

“You get it,” Maalira says. “People don’t mean to but they tidy us away into little boxes in their minds.”

“That’s a good way of putting it. I think I get now why you talked, on the roof, about not wearing the white robe.” Berra glances over at Maalira, checking out the clothes.

“I’m a bit more content with it than I was then,” Maalira says with a smile, then follows Berra’s gaze to the supposed-to-be-white fabric. “Oh for the love of…”

“You know, it’s hard not to get saddle polish on things?” Berra does not mention the other stains.

Maalira does. “If it were just saddle polish, that would be a relief,” Maalira says vexedly. “I don’t even know what half of that IS.”

“It’s, um… did Lofty rub against you? That looks like grass with spit in it. That bit.”

Maalira laughs helplessly. “That’s probably part of it.” She closes her eyes briefly, murmurs a lot, and the stains go away.

Berra watches the process, as the spell-casting goes on and the stains fade and vanish. Finally she says, “Wow. That’s really impressive.”

“I’m not very good at it yet… it takes a few goes still each time. You’d think with all the practise I get I would be better at it.” She rolls her eyes.

“I think practice is good. I need to do it for a lot of things, but I get better at them.” Berra gives one of her trademark big sighs. “I should meditate tonight.”

“Ahh, your favourite thing.”

Berra looks like she is going to reply, and then she asks, “Alright, what’s your favourite thing? I think right now, mine’s onion seed bread, but it might be my horse.”

“Lofty, of course. Or maybe honey cakes.”

  • 1
    Maalira passed Insight Human