Grave-digging Part 2

1629, Sea Season, Disorder Week, Godday


In the wilds of Culbrea territory, there was a Telmori den. As Varanis and Berra help to dig the grave, they talk about Telmori. Irillo adds his two clacks to the conversation. Part 2 of 8, following on from Grave-digging Part 1, Session Ill Wind.


“I wish… I wish I’d understood what was at stake,” Varanis says as she watches Berra. She’s sat herself directly on the ground, so she can watch Berra and the worker before it’s her turn again.

“What?  For earth-turning?”  Berra loosens what is in the middle now.  She is probably being more than usually careful not to get in the way of the other worker.

“No…” Varanis sighs. “I argued with the Telmori. Tried to force him to leave the tula instead of helping him get back here quickly. It was probably too late anyway, but… I don’t know. Maybe we could have been faster.” She sighs again. “They were just cubs. Babies.”

Berra looks at the sewn-up bundles, now human-shaped, and nods.  “You got one, right?  A lot of people would have killed a man-wolf.”

“They wanted to in the village. They’re not going to be happy with me when I get back.” Varanis shrugs. “I know Rajar would disagree, but well… I learned a bit more over Sacred Time and… if Grandfather Sartar sees good in them, then I guess I can too.”

Berra makes an unhappy face, but sets herself to clearing what she has loosened.  From a mess that was all over what she was cutting, she gets down to cleanish earth pretty quickly, and starts again at the edge.  She does not seem to agree with the decision, but she is accepting it.

“They were bodyguards to the House of Sartar until recently, Berra. They may be so again, if Kallyr wishes it. They’ve fought the Lunars alongside the rest of us.”

Irillo says, from where he’s watching all this digging, “I think we can smooth that issue, anyway. Your link to the House of Sartar is a known thing.”

Berra gives Irillo a look.  “They don’t just raid cattle.  They kill everything they take, and people too.”

“Yes. I know. But discord in Sartar is a problem,” he says.

Berra twists her face in reply.  “Yeah.  That’s why I’m not saying a lot.”  She looks at what she has done, and does not yet try to hand over.  “I guess my face is singing sagas.”

“A little, yes. But I’m trying to think like a Grandmother. Don’t tell Grandmother. She doesn’t approve of men thinking above their trades.”

“A grandmother would kill -” Berra stops short, and glances around at the people in white.  “Yeah.  Grandmothers are smart.  You’re thinking like someone with mercy.”

“Probably. But I’m only a man.”

Berra gives Irillo a different, more glarish, look.  “Yeah, you’ve said that too often for me to believe you believe in it.”  At that point she has to shift around to keep loosening dirt, however, so she has to let him off the hook, as far as stabbing-by-eyeballs goes.

He gives a chuckle, “Is that side right? There? Looks wonky”

“Come show me how?”  Berra gives him a glance, half smiling, half challenging.1Insight: The challenge, the wish to take someone on, is real.  Right now, it is held in check, the grin used as a hobble for it.

He shakes his head, “No, no. You look like you need to bend Ernalda to your will. Get shovelling, and you’ll feel better. I shall stay here and inspire you both with my beauty.”

Varanis rolls her eyes. “I don’t want to be digging graves for anyone else, please.”  She gets to her feet. “My turn again, Berra.”

Berra hands over the spade, and rolls out her shoulders.  “I really do not need anyone bent to my will,” she says.  “It is a very bad idea, I think.  And… well, it’s getting dark.  Irillo needs to find us a lantern if we want to appreciate him properly.”

As it happens, he has an oil lamp, and carefully lights the reed. “And hopefully to blind the sight of anyone looking towards us.”

Varanis sets to. Her form still isn’t great, but it’s better than it was. What she lacks in skill, she makes up for with renewed energy.

“If they don’t see the White Ladies, then you can try to talk them down.”  Berra is apparently not in a watchful mood.

The surgeon has nearly finished cooking up dinner.  Berra does not inform him that she will not be eating it.

Despite her apparent lack of care, Berra does position herself where she is on watch while resting, as if by habit.  “Mostly, lanterns give people the chance to pick you off from bow-shot,” she says happily.  “I once lobbed an arrow up, and it went just right, thank to Humakt, and came out of the bottom of my target’s skull, from the top.”  She beat-pauses.  “Lunar sorceror.”

“Well, hopefully none of us have annoyed anyone that much,” Irillo opines.

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    Insight: The challenge, the wish to take someone on, is real.  Right now, it is held in check, the grin used as a hobble for it.