Grave-digging Part 5

1629, Sea Season, Disorder Week, Godday


In the wilds of Culbrea territory, there was a Telmori den. Berra asks Varanis to sing, but caught up in grief, the Vingan’s songs are are sorrowful. Part 5 of 8, following on from Grave-digging Part 4, Session Ill Wind.


Varanis stands up and drifts over to the edge of the growing grave pit. “My turn?”

Berra looks up.  “It’s best you rest your muscles,” she says.  “Maybe sing for us?”

“Sing?” Varanis considers after looking at Irillo and then back at Berra.

Berra looks a bit worried, but that’s all.  She’s holding the spade.

Irillo nods. “Yes. You have a great voice. And you have a lot of air in you at the moment.”

This gets her cousin another look, but obediently she begins to sing. It’s a Vingan lament for the fallen, composed so long ago that its origin is no longer known. She manages it well enough, though her voice cracks here and there with the emotions that try to choke her.

Berra waits for a bit, and then keeps on digging.

When the one song is done, Varanis moves onto another, now taking up one of Ty Kora Tek’s dirges. It’s familiar to anyone who grew up in Esrolia, as it is sung for every death.

Berra cuts a cross into the ground, two quick slashes of the spade, and then keeps moving on, leaving the mark behind her.

Irillo awkwardly takes up the baritone part.  It’s clear why he gets paid by talking, not singing

Berra takes on the task of working quietly while other people are doing the singing.  It’s a peasant thing.

When the song is done, Varanis moves into another. Just like the digging earlier, she is committing to her task, heedless of the cost to herself. By the time she is on her fifth song, she is flagging and yet it is possibly the most poignant of them all. It’s an Ernaldan lament for a child’s death. She is openly weeping again.103 on the sing roll.

Berra is, maybe predictably, unaffected by Death.  She does straighten up when Varanis finishes, though, and says, “And for those people here who are not Humakti, which is most of us, can you sing something else?”

Varanis looks at Berra for a long moment. There’s a flash of defiance in her expression. Then she begins to sing children’s songs of the sort used to teach Esrolian children about the seasons and the gods and other lessons.

After a couple of those, Berra says, “We keep going for that, so other people can have it.  Right?”  She still looks a little puzzled, and maybe is asking for reassurance.  It does not seem like she is trying to cajole Varanis along a path.

“Yeah,” Varanis replies. “For others. Your sister and nephews. My daughter. They get to have it. We make sure of it.”

Berra nods.  “Sing something with hope in.”  She sounds determined.2Insight: Berra is disturbed as well as confused.  Something got to her, hard.

The Vingan thinks. Finally, she’s sings another child’s song, but this one is about Voria and the coming of life after the darkness.

Berra pauses to listen.  Like all good gravediggers, she leans on her spade while resting, and then she nods at the end of the song, like that all makes sense.

  • 1
    03 on the sing roll.
  • 2
    Insight: Berra is disturbed as well as confused.  Something got to her, hard.