Berra — Getting Sweaty
????, Dark Season, Truth Week
Dark Season, Truth Week Wildday. [[[s02:session-21|Session 21]]]
Berra has meditated and prayed all night, as she does, and did not come to spar, but now she goes through the paces and steps and movements of what she knows of a greatsword drill. Slow, careful, entirely unlike her fluid, fast-moving style.
Varanis and Xenofos have already worked through their morning drills and the scholar has drifted away to do scholarly things. Varanis stands, watching Berra work through her own drills, a thoughtful frown on the Vingan’s face.
After working slowly for a while, Berra steps into fast-paced movements. The results are not impressive – she mostly manages to remember to keep the sword where it should be, if she abandons either footwork, or balance. Nothing is obviously wrong but she is just not Berra, without the broadsword.
Varanis is careful not to interrupt.
A flurry of snow makes Berra pause, and then she bows to the big sword and goes to put it down. Then Varanis gets a smile. “Morning.”
Berra looks Wildday tired, bright eyed and too alert.
“Good morning.” The reply is slightly delayed, as if the greeting was not immediately registered. Varanis blinks, then repeats herself, “Good morning, Berra. The drills are looking better. More sure.”
Berra smiles, proud. “It’s starting to feel better. I know what the mistakes are, so I can think about them when I’m not doing it. Practice. How are you?” She moves smoothly into polite concern.
A shrug of the shoulders beneath the leather cuirass. “Frustrated with the weather. Ready to move on. Impatient.” Her eyes narrow thoughtfully. “There’s something more, but I can’t put my finger on it.” She brushes a loose strand of hair from her face. It’s been more than a season since she sacrificed her hair to Humakt and it has grown long enough to be bound back again, but just barely. It has a tendency to try to escape, as unwilling to be trapped as she is.
“Yeah. I know what you mean. Want to touch swords and see how we go, or shall I work up a sweat?”
Berra then beat-pauses. “Uh, did that sound bad?”
Varanis arches an eyebrow. “Well, it didn’t sound good, my friend,” she drawls. “Why don’t we spar and I’ll see if I can make you eat those words?”
“Hahahehehehahahaha. Yes.” Berra looks to the wasters. “If you want, I can use the big one? But I probably shouldn’t.”
“Use the broadsword one. I’ll use the one more like a rapier. We can change it up later.”1Inspiring herself with Air, Varanis gets two specials and a pass for how the general play goes. Berra gets a special and two passes.
Berra grabs both, checks both, hands one over, takes up a position of defence for a brief moment, waiting for a movement from her opponent.
Varanis settles only briefly into her ready stance, and then lightning fast, she darts in. It looks as though she’s going for an over hand strike, but as she closes with Berra, the point drops low and is extended for a thrust to the belly, just below the edge of the cuirass.
Berra moves into action – sideways. She is not where the blow falls, having stepped left and back, then coming straight in for a strike to the shoulder, momentarily exposed. She might have been expecting that, although she cannot take full advantage of the moment.
Twisting to the side to evade the attack, Varanis grins. Instead of closing the space immediately, she waits, watching Berra. She is perhaps a pace beyond what the Humakti can reach, though her own sword could touch Berra if it broke through the shorter woman’s guard.2Varanis passes Air, as an Orlanthi, and the change of wind as they move towards Storm season carries her onward.
A half dozen passes later, nothing has been settled. Berra buzzes about, never quite in reach, and then between one step and another, the wind changes. The Humakti has not realised, but suddenly the air smells of the heat of Storm Bullt’s rage, and directness, and the pride of the great Storm Tribe. Berra… does not change what she is doing.
Varanis’ grin grows broader; it’s Berra’s only warning. Then the Vingan dances in, her blade riding Berra’s, redirecting it, rather than fighting it. It’s a move that carries the possibility of disarming her opponent, whilst also bringing her sword into place for a thrust to the face.
In that moment, when Air changes and Movement does not, Berra is beaten. Her choice is to grip hard and disengage, making movement back, but it is ungainly and not as fast as Varanis is on the attack. The change can carry the Vingan in as far as she wants.
The wooden rapier tip stops a hair’s breadth from the tip of Berra’s nose. Behind the blade, grey-blue eyes glint gleefully. “Considering sweating yet?”
For just a moment, the calm mask ruptures. Pride and anger3Air and Darkness, but a moment later Berra gets control back. flash over Berra’s features, and then she relaxes into a smile. “Could,” she admits. “Keep going?” Her expression turns to concentration, thoughtful and alert.
Varanis steps back to give the Humakti breathing room. Her quick nod and the way she falls into her ready stance signal her agreement.
Berra salutes to indicate readiness once more, and steps into danger readily, but this time she comes in attacking, a clatter of wood and rattan announcing she intends to take the initiative.
Varanis readily blocks the attacks, dancing to one side to avoid the onslaught, but not able to disengage from it or find an opening for her own sword.
The onslaught eventually grinds down, but then Berra takes a rest by putting up her own solid defence, until a chance movement from her backs her up against a yurt’s rope, and she holds up a hand. “The day’s to you,” she says, and seems to mean it without rancour. It’s matter of fact, and maybe even a salute.
“This time,” Varanis agrees as she steps back. Her cheeks are flushed and her smile is huge. “But, it’s only because I’ve been able to practice so much with you,”she adds graciously. “That was good. It felt good.”
“It was… It was a good moment.” Berra smiles. “I think I can understand it – but it wasn’t… it didn’t feel ordinary. It was good.” She sounds unsure, but in a wondering way, as if she is trying to come to terms with meeting a new thing, not with being beaten. “Have you eaten?”
“No. I never eat before I face Yelm – Arianatha frowned on it when she set me back on this path. Mind you, she also frowned on me tying my hair back.” Varanis’ hair has come completely loose from its earlier binding and she pushes it back behind her ear. “I’m starving,” she admits.
“And me. And the fire’s all the way over there. Somewhere.” Berra waves towards where they sleep. “We could take the wasters to be tidy, and go look for spare food someone doesn’t need?” It’s a bison phrase, which seems to be very contextual, but is always an invitation to take a little more. People have been trying to help both of them gain weight.
Before Berra finishes speaking, Varanis is already collecting the wasters.
- 1Inspiring herself with Air, Varanis gets two specials and a pass for how the general play goes. Berra gets a special and two passes.
- 2Varanis passes Air, as an Orlanthi, and the change of wind as they move towards Storm season carries her onward.
- 3Air and Darkness, but a moment later Berra gets control back.