Finding Hope

1628, Dark Season, Harmony Week, Freezeday


Mellia continues to try to work out what is affecting Berra. Session SA3.13.


Yehna, her husband Mehrim, her cousin Rebalanta, her son Haran, and Berra are currently sleeping in Berra’s room. Baby Berra is up at the palace. Lenta is in the guest room. Mellia and Venlar are likely still in the small room downstairs. Varanis has her room.

A couple of days later Baby Berra also comes to stay. She is pretty loud, and is in the room that is full of Sartarites, along with her wetnurse. Marta also returns.

Mehrim gets some wood before the weather gets really bad, and spends evenings carving and preparing beams, and within a couple of weeks has made a second platform in Berra’s room, which is on two levels, and means that there is actually some floor space. It can also be dismantled. He’s very proud of it, and gets Venlar to write a description of how it was made. Mehrim sends that to his mother, Merenalda, once the snow has stopped.

Lenta spends quite a lot of time at Earth temple. Most of the mornings she is up first and makes sure the fires are burning before she leaves.

This leaves Yehna with a little time for a lie-in, and she takes to putting breakfast together the night before, usually porridge that cooks slowly overnight and gets warmed for eating in the morning.

The larger – far larger – of the Ernaldans is running a good household, and keeping her temper as well.

Varanis is in the main room of the Praxian house, sitting by the hearth.

Mellia quietly enters the room and sits by the hearth, still in her white robe.

Varanis glances up, having been staring at the fire. “Hullo, Mellia,” she says in Heortling, sounding a little like Berra.

(( Note: Scary-Wyter Day was the day after Mellia arrived, so by then it was evening – Godday Eve. This might then be Freezeday or Waterday of Harmony Week. ))

“Hello, Varanis. I couldn’t sleep. I have a stupid question for you,” says Mellia.

“I’m listening,” the Vingan says.

“Was the weapon used to stab Berra’s kidney used anywhere else on her?”

“I… don’t know. Maybe?” Varanis frowns. “There were a lot of different knives covered in blood.” She chews her lower lip thoughtfully, before adding, “Besides, Serala was dead and I was a little emotional at the time. Maalira treated her first, so she might know.”

Mellia says,” I’ll ask Maalira. I keep searching for hope, but I think the only thing that will heal Berra is time. Maybe I should consult the temple of Uleria. They’ve done wonders for Xenofos.”

“The Humakti don’t seem too worried,” Varanis says. “I don’t know if that reassures me.”

“I think we can take that as reassurance,” Mellia tells Varanis, “because in her current state she can’t do most of her duties.”

“I don’t like it. I’m not convinced Eril wants her back the way she was. Maybe he wants to remake her into something else. Right now, she seems like a lump of clay, waiting to be shaped.”

“I don’t like it, but I am running out of ideas. I don’t think a Healing Trance will help and it would risk my baby. We could ask Chalana Arroy Herself if there’s a cure other than time.”

“Or, I suppose we can wait and see.”

Mellia stares into the fire. “If this happens to everyone who binds a Wyter, I will never do that.”

“I don’t think this is usual,” Varanis says. “Eril talked about needing to make it anew.”

“Eril told me to ask you what happened and to use my ears.”

Varanis: “How very… Eril,” Varanis says, wrinkling her nose. “Well, here’s what I know. Berra went to Ikadz and was tortured. Ikadz, foul creature that he is, cut away elements of her, not just memories like we thought, but seemingly some of her very essence. When Eril faced the demon years ago, it was his memories only, I think. And later, when Irillo was Eril, Berra slew the spirit that came of Eril’s own encounter.” She’s speaking in rapid Esrolian, possibly mixing up some details here and there as she tries to explain it all. “Because Berra had killed it, there was no spirit to bind, so a new one had to be made and to make it, Ikadz used a lot of Berra, leaving her like… well, like a lump of clay. One who doesn’t remember the people who love her.” She shakes her head and corrects herself. “That’s not entirely true. I think she knew Yehna right away, so maybe it was mostly her most recent memories… though I think she also knew Maalira. Oh, I don’t know. Maybe she was able to hold onto the people who meant the most to her.” Without giving Mellia any chance to interject, the Vingan barrels on. “After the worship ceremony on Wildday, she seemed to remember more. That may be because more time has passed, but it also may be because Lord Raven was strengthened through worship. He is made of Berra and the old spirit combined and I think, if I understand correctly, he needs what he has from her until it can be replaced by sufficient worshippers? But,” and she frowns again, “the Iron Lord also seemed to say that I could negotiate with him. Lord Raven, that is. And I tried, but I don’t think he helped her, even though I think he wants her to be better. And…” She stutters to a halt, drawing a deep breath. “Um. Maybe that’s everything I know.”

Mellia patiently waited until the end before saying anything. “Well, that explains a lot. We can hope that Berra will recover in time. I’m not sure what else to do, other than ask the gods to give Berra a new spirit. If we did, she’d be mostly someone else.”
Mellia begins to cry.

Varanis rises and goes to her cousin, pleading with her not to cry.

Mellia stops crying, but says, “You had such faith in me and I have failed.”

“Dear one, I’m sorry I put that on you. It wasn’t fair and I should have known better. It’s just…” Mellia can feel Varanis sigh. “You know me. I wanted her fixed now. I’m scared. I want her to go back to being herself and I don’t know if she ever will and the waiting is killing me.”

Mellia nods. “I want Berra back. I miss her. The only way this would be worse is if she was dead. All we can do now is pray and wait.”

Maalira wanders in, looking drawn and extremely weary.

“Maalira!” Varanis is standing in front of the hearth, her arms wrapped tightly around the smaller frame of another White Lady. She steps back, releasing Mellia. “Mellia, Maalira has come home. You can ask her about those wounds!”

If possible, Maalira looks tireder, and she shakes her head. “Hello, Varanis. Hello, Mellia. I don’t know how much help I can be. It’s all a bit of a blur.” She shudders.

“Come, sit by the hearth,” Varanis urges, offering her seat and blanket. “I’ll go raid the kitchen and make something hot for you to drink.” Past experience from both healers suggests that Varanis won’t burn the place down and she can tell the difference between meat and vegetables in the kitchen. It’ll probably be fine.

“Good evening, Maalira,” says Mellia. “I wanted to ask you about Berra’s wounds. From what Varanis just told me, it may not matter.” Mellia isn’t exhausted, but she is depressed.

Maalira sinks into Varanis’ seat without protest. “I remember blood,” she says. “I couldn’t tell you much else.”

“Ask her about the blades that caused the wounds,” Varanis suggests, before vanishing in the direction of the kitchen.

Berra walks down the stairs at that point, looking faintly puzzled. She is muttering to the air.1Listen: “…to her… I’m not sure that would reflect well on… the Temple.” On seeing people there, she bows her head, slowly and formally – and carefully. She is still wounded.

There’s a clatter and clang from the kitchen. “It’s fine,” Varanis calls out.

Berra looks towards the clatter only when Varanis calls out.

“Hello, Berra,” a tear-stained Mellia says. “I hate to ask you this, but do you remember what weapon gave you which wounds?”

Berra looks at Mellia, and nods, then pauses. “Mostly, yes,” she says. “Sometimes no.”

“It’s fine. Did the weapon that gave you that stab wound near your kidney give you any other injuries?”

Berra shakes her head. “No. It would not have been appropriate.” Then she frowns, and sighs. “Lord Raven, please be quiet.”

Mellia gets up. “Thank you, Berra. You have given me a little more hope.” Mellia wanders off to bed.

Berra smiles, shakily.

A few minutes later Varanis comes in with a tray, three cups, and a covered jug. She stops abruptly. “Berra? Where’s Mellia? Has Maalira fallen asleep? But… I made tea!”

Berra frowns in thought and then asks, “Does it have vegetables?” with the air of someone delivering a message.

“It’s mint,” Varanis says frowning. “Is that a vegetable? I wasn’t expecting you. I made it for the White Ladies. I can make you something different….”

At which serious moment there is a rapping at the door.

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    Listen: “…to her… I’m not sure that would reflect well on…