Berra — Fighting Talk
1627, Earth Season, Harmony Week
Earth Season, partway through Harmony Week. Varanis has just told Berra to make sure the Esrolians get back alive. This has worried the Humakti a LOT. [[[s02:session-47|Session 47]]]
Berra scurries to catch up, then steps into the long-swinging march of an infanteer, which is nearly fast enough, and finally scurries again.
“I told you to look after the troops,” Varanis points out.
“Mhm.” Berra stays alongside.
“This isn’t that.”
“What I think you just said was keep them alive. What are you planning?” Berra settles into the slightly jerky marching pattern again, wasting less energy than when her legs move faster, without asking Varanis to slow down.
“I’m going to challenge Venna.”
Varanis notices Berra’s pace and slows just a little.
“That’s a dumb idea, and you shouldn’t do it, and if you do, you should have an honour guard. But I think you shouldn’t.” Berra relaxes her own pace to match, of course.
“She has repeatedly impinged on my honour, Berra. How can I serve Kallyr if I allow myself to be shamed? When the Storm Khan treats me with disrespect, she shows a lack of respect for my King and my people too.” The Vingan’s anger is palpable.
Berra walks quietly. “Y’should take it to Argrath,” she says after working it through. “But repeatedly?”
“She commanded the killing of my prisoner, or at least condoned it. Without talking to me. She threw money at Xenofos like he was a problem she could pay to make go away. She called me a prostitute. And now she refuses to see me.” As Varanis lists her grievances, her fury mounts. “So, yes. Repeatedly.”
Berra stays quiet for longer this time. “You took the money. Or he did. But you should make a complaint to Argrath about the rest. Her words were wrong.”
“He took the money, yes. Gave it to me this morning. I’m going to throw it back at her. Before I punch her.”
“Still not the right way to do things, although I don’t know the precedent about the money. I think you accepted it and it would be a new challenge if you used it as a weapon, but I’m not entirely sure.” Berra seems fine with the plan as a plan, just not in that context.
“I didn’t accept it. Xenofos was going to get himself killed. I sent him away.” In an unusual turn, Varanis is speaking in abrupt sentences, while Berra is the more verbose. “My honour is injured.”
“Yeah. But that’s one for her Lord, as well as her. She – he – could pay recompense.” The Humakti keeps walking with Varanis, though.
“Neither will see me, so a challenge is my only remaining option.”
“Well, people are busy. But if we burst into her tent, are we sure she’ll be there?” Berra rolls out her shoulders, walks like she wants a fight.
“Only one way to find out. I’ve been turned away repeatedly by guards this morning. I foolishly asked politely.”
“Uh uh. We should still go there with enough people to punch through.”
“I told you to make sure the army gets home. How are you going to do that if you’re dead?” Varanis glares at Berra.
“Remember when I said if there were assassins you should run, and then we agreed to go down together?” Berra looks back up at her, expression determined.
That earns the ghost of a smile.
The smile fades as she adds, “You can’t fight this duel for me, you know. My honour won’t be mended by letting someone else fight.”
“Yeah, but I’m probably going to have to punch someone just to get you in there. That’s one of the reasons for a bigger guard.” She says bigger like she means numbers, not that she laments being small.
Then Berra adds, “‘Sides, I got my own beef with one of her people. So I think it’s a stupid idea and we shouldn’t do it, but if we’re going to, I want in.”
Varanis scowls. She fumes. She gives a passing Praxian an impressively murderous glare. “I’m going to need to hit somebody or something. Fuck!” The last word is a roar. She stops walking. “It’s not right! I can’t be expected to take this insult, but I can’t get my people killed over it. I can’t fail Kallyr because of it.” She glares at a different warrior who seems to be staring at her in curiosity. “Go shag a rhino!” she snarls in a fair attempt at Praxian.
Berra looks maybe disappointed, but nod shortly. “Then here I am. Or we could go start punching people nearby. Or take all comers on.” She looks around, at the putative rhino shagger, and the rest.
“How can I serve the King if people believe me to be dishonourable? Venna has undermined me. Insulted me.”
“Who believes her? Not me. Not Xenofos. Not your army. Not Argrath, I bet.” Berra is still looking around at potential targets.
“He was my prisoner! Under my protection!”
“An’ mine, yeah.” Berra seems a little distracted, however. A moment later she makes a rude gesture at someone, and calls out in Praxian, “Come try it!” It is obviously a challenge.
Varanis searches for Berra’s target. If she’s lucky, the guy has friends. Her stance shifts. Angry and eager and searching for someone to take it out on.1POWx5 says she is lucky, and finds an opponent.
The man’s expression is turning from surprise to the look of a man who is going to pound a jumped-up little warrior into the dirt. By him, his two friends – all Wahaites, it seems – are watching with burgeoning joy. They were just passing, and now they have free entertainment.
Varanis glares at them. “You are amused?”
“You think you’re a fighter too?” one asks, and all three step forward. Berra launches herself at her target.2This being down time, the GM decides it is fine to inspire melee rolls with Movement – they are out for the mayhem.
Varanis lets out a whoop and charges at one of the Wahaites.
The man gets down low. He is lightly armoured, probably a scout, probably a zebra rider given his size and markings. Probably not expecting Varanis to come in just like that….
Berra lands a good blow which her opponent half manages to block with his arm, and they both keep swinging at each other.
The dropped stance provides the Vingan with the perfect step. Her right foot connects lightly with his left knee and then she’s launching herself up and around and landing on his shoulders. If Berra were watching, she’d know that Varanis would be bringing her elbow down hard, any second now.
Berra is not watching. She is too busy gut-punching someone from inside his guard. Oof. The Humakti puts in a lot of her frustration, staggering her man backwards. Meanwhile, Varanis has a perfect play at the top of someone’s head, and there is no crack, but there is definitely an inelegant folding-up. The third man calls out to others as he runs at Varanis. Berra lets him do that.31-vs-1
Varanis jumps clear of the falling body and charges the third man, this time going for a low tackle.
He does much the same, although his flailing hands fail to grab her.
Berra turns joyfully to meet the charge of a man who has decided to stop the annoying little punchy bastard before anyone’s ego gets hurt, or else just fancies his chances. There is a flurry of punches as they dance past each other clumsily. Meanwhile, Varanis’ opponent has a hand just in the right place for a wrist-lock…
She makes the lock, grinning madly. Her hand twitches, just so, in a movement designed to force the Praxian to his knees.42-vs-1
There is a high-pitched shriek from the man, and a moment later the sound of him surrendering, which is good, as people are starting to work out there is a fight happening. Berra is locked into what looks like serious boxing, leaving Varanis to keep an eye on the field.
“Sit. Stay.” Varanis snarls at her opponent.
The man does just that, and meanwhile Varanis can see a rather larger man has been attracted by the noise. Berra has broken her opponent, who is holding his wrist gingerly and muttering a healing spell.52-vs-2
Varanis releases her victim and turns to face the new threat. Her expression invites violence.6Varanis fails Scan, not seeing the big man in the crowd getting egged on by his friends.
Berra now has two opponents, young men who look like twins, rushing in at her. They are obviously of the Bison tribe, far bigger than the little Humakti. The big man lumbers to to speed to charge Varanis.7Failed Dodge, but he failed Fist.
The Vingan attempts to dodge out of the way, but her footing is unstable and she doesn’t get far.
This works out in her favour, as the Praxian misses his punch, leaving his own face wide open. She swings for it, hard.
The brothers are obviously used to working together. One takes a punch from Berra while the other uses that opening to try to break her arm. He nearly manages – only the fact the Humakti came out in light armour saves her, and she yelps, but now she only has one opponent, for the moment at least.
The man Varanis hits ran into that fist with a lot of his weight, and his head snaps back and he falls. The last opponent she had wisely decides not to deal with her again, and sits down not far away to watch.83-vs-3
The Esrolian watches Berra and keeps an eye open for more attackers. It’s clear to anyone watching that she’s not going to intervene immediately.
There are a few people not yet intervening either, and then there is Berra, and her opponent, much bigger than her but not as fast. It takes about half a minute during which several blows are landed, before the fight is broken; Berra ducks under a wild swing and comes up in an uppercut right to the chin, not quite lifting her opponent off the ground, but definitely finishing him off. There is a moment of silence. Berra shakes out her hand, wincing.93-vs-4, with a time handicap[[footnote]]
In the space of a couple of minutes, Varanis has seen off three people and Berra four. Two people are unconscious. Berra glares around her as she looks for new challenges, but for the moment nobody wants to be one.
Varanis steps forward, silently challenging the crowd.[[footnote]]Failed Charm -25%. Although the Praxians like a show, Varanis does not have them onside.
The man she wrist-locked is getting up again when the crowd begins to buzz a little – several people want to fight. So, this being a Praxian camp, several people do. Varanis only has one opponent, but three have rushed Berra.
The Vingan arches an eyebrow at her man. “Again? As you wish.”
The man sits down, letting Varanis face only the one who came out of the still-gathering crowd. His smile says he is prepared to wait, but probably wants a rematch.
Varanis’ opponent is a wrestler, and not a bad one. He gets her left leg, she gets his right. Berra is the centre of a crowd of people who cannot quite land a blow on the enraged whirlwind.
The wrestler keeps his grip on Varanis. Varanis keeps her grip on the wrestler. And, finally, Berra’s luck runs out. Hemmed in and unable to use her speed, she cannot manage to dodge out of the way of a couple of blows which bend her left arm outwards and inwards at the same time, against someone’s body. There is the crack of bone breaking, and a snarl from her.
When Varanis hears that, she howls in rage.
Just like that, Varanis switches from wrestling to fist-fighting. She lands a solid punch into her opponent’s gut, aiming for internal organs.
The man’s body folds around the fist, and the breath is knocked out of him, and he falls to his knees. Also down low… Berra. But while she looks in pain, she has taken out someone’s knee and he too is falling. He misses her, just, as he impacts on the ground.104-vs-5-ish
The Vingan, perhaps foolishly, abandons her opponent to attempt to pull one of Berra’s off the little Humakti.
Completely blindsided, the man is grabbed and held, his arm stopped in a way that twists him around half towards Varanis. That leaves Berra free to rise, and she does… punch drunk. She stands, reeling, fails to get anywhere near her last remaining opponent, and gets her left arm – already broken – punished with a punch for her pains. Her scream is rage more than pain, but only just.
Varanis twists the arm in her grip viciously. There is an audible pop as it comes out of the socket.115-vs-5
Berra’s answer to the pain is highly personal, relying on her short stature, and on being so easily able to fall to her knees right now. Below the belt, by about four inches. Now there is shouting instead of silence, some for the crazy women, some for the challengers, some for the idiot that let out these wild wives. Berra looks still angry, but also less able to carry on than most of the people here.125-vs-6. Retired hurt.
Varanis takes a protective stance by Berra. She is no longer attempting to provoke conflict, but she clearly intends to protect her friend.
“You going to need that set before you heal it?”
Berra, for her part, glares at the crowd. At least for the moment, nobody else steps forwards.13Berra fails Intimidate. Varanis passes it.
“Yeaaaah….” Berra replies. “Best. It’s in the joint.” Pause. “I think.”
“Mellia is going to be annoyed.”
“Well, let’s go somewhere else, then?” Berra breathes quickly, shallowlly. Around them are people on the ground, people reconsidering their aggression, and people who are shouting loud enough to be heard a long way away.
Quickly, before leaving, Varanis checks that each of their opponents still breathes and is likely to live. She pauses by the one who’d hoped for a rematch. “Try your luck again later,” she tells him. “I’m busy now.” To the wrestler she dropped with the punch, she states, “You’re good. We should try again later too.”
The man with the deepest, slowest breathing is the one she cracked on the head with an elbow – he could probably do with a little magic.
The man hoping for a rematch stands, and says, “Walk away with me. Some of these people have cousins.”
The gut-punched wrestler pats towards the ground as if surrendering, and then twists his arm into a grip instead of tapping down. Up for a rematch.
Berra, meanwhile, stands where she is, tears streaming down her face. Still, she is upright.
“In a minute,” Varanis tells the one offering escort. She kneels down beside the injured man and lays her hands gently on his head. She murmurs something quietly and his breathing comes a little easier.
That does not ease up the crowd’s baying, although it certainly removes one possible future problem. The escort says, “Quickly, before they make up their minds.”
Varanis nods and takes up position on Berra’s injured side. “Let’s go.” She takes a few steps in the direction where Mellia had said she’d be working, looking to see if the crowd will permit them to pass.
Their escort shouts colourfully, and far more fluently than Varanis could manage. Berra walks, pale and grave and silent now. The crowd lets them through.
Varanis stays close enough to catch Berra if needed. Close enough to protect her from jostling by others. She walks with her head held high, proud and unbeaten.
Half a minute away, when they have lost the crowd, the wrestler tells Varanis, “We are quits. Nothing between us. Ask for no favours again.” His tradetalk is very good. There is a tattoo that might be a Harmony Rune under his chin, half hidden by his beard.
“Does this mean no rematch later? You charged me first, after trying to gang up on my friend here. And you looked like you were thinking about going for me again before that wrestler came at me. I thought you wanted another go?”
He looks. “Only if you were free. I do not mind if you challenge, but this?” He looks back. “They will tell better stories because you vanished.” He shrugs.
“I need to get her help,” she says, indicating Berra. “But later, come by my camp. We’ll drink and tell stories and decide if we want to fight more.” Then she laughs a little. “I’ve been spending too much time with Rajar Chaosbane.”
It seems that this man, while not happy with the outcome, was less happy with the idea that the mob would turn on them. But, at the mention of Rajar, he says, “Oh, famous name indeed. Yes, I will come to see the man-mountain who fights scorpions in pits.”
Varanis laughs again. “He’s not much to talk to, just now. Mind-blasted by a Lunar. But, I was there and will happily tell you the story.”
She pats him on the shoulder. “Bring some friends. We have beer. Or wine, if you prefer.”
There is a nod. “I am Haradeen, known sometimes as Argan Haradeen, the peacemaker. I will come.” Then he turns to walk back to the crowd.
“Can you keep going?” Varanis asks Berra softly.
Berra says, “Yeah. Just overcome for a moment.” She looks pale, but is composed again.
Berr and Varanis start a fight. It’s great!,