Grave-digging Part 8

1629, Sea Season, Disorder Week, Godday


In the wilds of Culbrea territory, there was a Telmori den. The dead have been buried and Irillo, Varanis, and Berra are returning to Beasts Gather. The merchant dozes, while the other two talk of death and horses. Part 8 of 8, following on from Grave-digging Part 7, Session Ill Wind.


Later, with the dead buried and the healers heading back to the Nunnery, Berra, Irillo, and Varanis collect themselves to return to Beasts Gather. The healers have promised to bring word to Mellia, so that she knows where to find everyone when she is ready to travel again.

Exhausted after the night’s efforts, Varanis tells her companions, “Just so you know, neither of you are allowed to die before me. I don’t want to deal with your funerals.”

The Humakti kept aside from the grave, as the rituals happened, guarding the area.  Now she walks tiredly beside the others, showing that the exercise she just took was unaccustomed.  “Um, you know that when Humakt calls I go to serve him, right?”  Maybe she did not get the idea.

“He’s not allowed to call you any time soon,” Varanis replies with that mulish tone she gets sometimes.

Berra pats Varanis almost clumsily on the shoulder.  She refused any healing for the blisters that formed.  “Be glad if the gods want us,” she says.  “We will do good in any world where we are given orders.”

“I…” Her response is cut off by a huge yawn that causes her jaw to make an uncomfortable cracking sound. “…ouch. I don’t care. You’re still not allowed. He’s not either.”

Berra sighs.  “Varanis.  You’re asking us to deal with yours…”  Her voice is quiet.  “I don’ wanna guard you.”

Varanis sighs. “I’m sorry. I’m being selfish. I’m just tired and childish right now. I’ve lost so many… but so have you.” Now it’s her turn to reach out awkwardly, her palms equally blistered by the night’s work. “Forgive me?”

Berra awkwardly wraps an arm around Varanis for a few steps.  “It’ll be better once the sun rises.  It gotta be.”

“Yeah.” There’s a glance in Irillo’s direction. “I think he’s asleep. Mules must be better for that than horses…”

“We should stayed back…”  Berra trails off.  She sensibly shut up rather than insisting on spending the night a long distance from Beasts Gather.  “S’clear up ahead, anyhow.  An’ I … I still ain’t named my horse.”

“Road the second?”

“Oh! Ride?”

“Does a horse really need a name?  I mean, who made the rule that says she has to?”  Berra makes a complicated gesture.

“Well… Serala can make them come to her when she uses their names. Mind you, she can do it with those whistling sounds she makes too.” Varanis peers into the fading darkness. “That way? Also, I’ll need to stop to salute Yelm in a while.”

“Yeah, that way the the best path leads around and then down.  Going straight is rocky.”  Berra looks at the mules and the sleepy merchant.  “Upta you.  But yeah.  A normal kinda ordinary horse would be Ride, but I don’t think I’m naming this one.  I like her too much.”

Varanis falls silent, navigating the paths. Finally, she says, very softly, “Ever? Or just when I’m being a maudlin idiot?”

Berra considers.  “Is this still about the names?”

“You don’t want to guard me anymore. Is it because I was being an idiot, or because it’s not worthy of you as the wyter priest, or…” Varanis trails off. “It probably is beneath you these days, you know,” she admits before Berra can reply. “I am distracting you from Humakt, Eril, and Lord Raven.”

“Your funeral.  I don’t want to guard your funeral.”  Berra gives Varanis a look in the dark.  “Um, you thought I meant now?”

Varanis shrugs, a little sheepishly. “I’m tired,” she says by way of explanation. “Too literal, maybe.” She considers, then adds, “I wonder if I should hire a guard… with you busy at the temple more… but… I’m a Wind Lord. I’m fine.” Decision made, she peers again at the path ahead. “That spot is just a bit too dark.” She points to a rocky overhang with what might be brush at its base. Peering ahead again, she says, “No. I think it’s just the shadows.”

“We can go around it anyhow.”  Berra seems… proud?  Unconcerned about the danger, certainly.

“Should we wake Irillo?”

“Nah.  We’ll just go around.  He looks happy up there.”  Berra grins.