1627, Earth Season, late Harmony Week
After travelling to Iron Spike to negotiate with King Stark on Argrath’s behalf, Varanis finds she’s eaten too much of the feast. Berra has plenty of advice for her. Session 2.48: Scribal Error.
Berra was a small, serious bodyguard when she delivered Varanis to her meal, there for honour and show and glory, not for any particular distrust. She waited outside for the course of the meal, even eating there to tell from the evidence – shiny lips and a dot of grease on her armour. Later she will find her sleeve has some sort of sauce on it, and curse. She falls in with Varanis afterwards, quiet and calm and dulled down somewhat. Something is eating at her.
Varanis waits until they get to her room before speaking. Once there, she immediately loosens the ties of her skirt and bodice and groans quietly. “They kept putting more food in front of me. It was more in one sitting than I’ve had in weeks. I feel ill.” She drops gracelessly onto a stool to start stripping off jewellery. “What’s bothering you?” She slips the question in.
Berra sighs. “Couple things. That High Sword scares me, because I don’t know why he makes me nervous.” She hastens to add, “Not fear-scared. Just… dunno what he is. Nervous.”
“Yeah-no. They’re dressed about the same, which means a thing, but I don’t know exactly what it means. His name’s Yarantor. Just Yarantor. They don’t call him Lord. But they didn’t really like me asking questions about him.” She shrugs that off, and unplugs her water bottle, swirling it and splashing water over her hand, and scowling.1V: Can I work out if she’s talking about someone here or in Argrath’s camp? B: The man who said that Rajar was telling the truth was a man in a black robe, apparently a Humakti. Eril wears it better.
“Hmmm. Why were you asking questions?”
“Because I was interested? But they didn’t even tell me about his deeds. Like… that’s not a normal man, there. And they… well, it might have been me.” She shrugs. “I could see that. I was getting into a lot of places.”
Varanis smiles wryly. “You have a knack for that.” She puts her hands on her belly. “Gah. I don’t feel good. It was like they were showing off with so much rich food.”2Dice roll for the record: Fumbled Con * 5 – after deciding she’d eaten too much, I decided to roll to see if it was bad for her given recent eating habits.
Berra pauses a moment. “Why would they do that?” She has missed the obvious.
“Politics, Berra. Making sure I go back to Argrath believing them to be very comfortable where they are. Gives the sense that they don’t need him, but he needs them.” The Vingan looks vaguely green.
“Oh, yeah. You probably wanna move a bit if you’re feeling sick. But slowly. Stretch out and burp. Carefully. And tiny sips of water.” Berra’s advice is, probably, helpful.3B: Passed First Aid. Presumably Berra has known a lot of people without good self control. V: Makes sense – you passed First Aid. If you fumbled, you might have thought she was poisoned or something. B: Pregnant. Obvs. V: Gah! Why would you suggest such a horror? B: Because I enjoy your pain. Narrator: Little did they know that the Sacred Time rolls later would prove that B was correct.
“Distract me. Tell me more about this Sword or about other things you saw today?”
“Oh, um, sure. There’s a snakeskin pegged up in the stable block, in a square. They used little bronze pegs. It’s up where you can’t see it.” She explains that after a pause. “I was in the rafters.”
A brow shoots up. “Were you seen?”
“Errrh? Maybe? I talked to a few people. But I think the only person who saw me being up there was Xenofos. I was looking to see if I could see a place where Rajar was.” Her face falls, and she looks down. That is another thing that is bothering her.
Berra keeps looking at the floor for a moment, considering. “He’s under too much weight again.”
“Rajar?” Varanis hiccoughs and mutters something unkind about the cook.
“No. Xenofos. Like with the dragon thing. He’s… he needs rest. Probably. I dunno. But I don’t know what to do.”
“I’ve been wondering. I can’t send him away.” Although she doesn’t say it aloud, Varanis’ expression is plain. Look what happened this time!
“We can put someone else in command of the cavalry, and if we do that, we need to decide who as soon as possible. But we could just try keeping him behind as a cav commander, and … nah, that’s a shit idea. It needs a single voice. Barnporos is fine, but I… I was wondering about Rajar. I don’t think they’d like that, though. And he’s best in the front line.” Berra grimaces, hating it all.
“Rajar needs to be free to Rajar. He can teach, but I’m not sure he’d lead effectively. Can you imagine if his holy rage came over him and the cavalry all just followed?”
“Yeah. He’s the edge of a sword. Axe. Spearpoint. So really, we need to work out what in hell the cavalry’ll be doing, because if we’re embedded with a Praxian army, that’s bad as far as command goes. And going into a city’s infantry work.” Berra scowls. “But assuming the worst, Barnporos can’t be much worse than Xenofos. But the reason I put Xenofos there was for two things. He’s one of your people, and he’s not one of their people. Although he’s a Green, so we could say it’s time for a Racer…”
“That would be a graceful way to do it. Will he feel punished, I wonder?”
“A bit, but he’ll feel relieved as well. I asked him. He wants to support you. But it might be too much for him, even if he can do it. So work out with him who should be in charge, and make that happen.” The last sounds like a suggestion from Berra. It is certainly not an order or a demand.
Varanis nods, hiccoughs again, then sighs. “It’s a good idea. I’ll talk to him before we reconnect with the army.”
“Tiiiiiny sips of water. I’ve got a bottle that isn’t a skin, again, if you want it.” Berra offers it over. “Just wet your lips.”
“I’d rather glass. Skin gets musty.” Clearly, she wasn’t listening closely.
“It’s got wax inside,” Berra explains. She does not add, ‘like your ears’. She probably does not even think it. She looks concerned about Varanis now, already gone on from one problem to the next.
“A few sips. Then I think I’ll just lie down. Unless there’s anything else you think I should know?” Varanis definitely looks green now and one of her arms is wrapped around her middle.
“Tiny sips.” Berra looks at Varanis, offering over the water that is already open, but with her free hand she forms a sign for the direction of magic, and she murmurs a few words as she reaches out for her friend’s shoulder.4 Casting Vigour, so hopefully you’ll at least have the energy to get undressed properly. Assuming you let me, of course.
Varanis doesn’t resist either the water or the magic. She takes a few sips then gives Berra a funny look.
“Do what you need to do to get ready for bed,” Berra says. “That should help you feel better.”
“Why is it always water?” Varanis passes the container back and finishes unlacing her garments. She just drops them to the floor when she stands up, then heads directly for her sleeping blankets.
“Because it’s the element that gave birth to what gave birth to us all,” Berra replies. She looks at the clothes on the floor, but only while Varanis’ back is turned, and she considers but does not pick them up. “Breathe slow, and don’t lie so you’re all crunched up. Wake me if you gotta leave.” It would be hard not to wake her. She is spreading her own blanket by the door, as she said she would.
There’s a muttered reply that is probably assent.
Berra spends some time in meditation, before she settles to sleep.
- 1V: Can I work out if she’s talking about someone here or in Argrath’s camp? B: The man who said that Rajar was telling the truth was a man in a black robe, apparently a Humakti. Eril wears it better.
- 2Dice roll for the record: Fumbled Con * 5 – after deciding she’d eaten too much, I decided to roll to see if it was bad for her given recent eating habits.
- 3B: Passed First Aid. Presumably Berra has known a lot of people without good self control. V: Makes sense – you passed First Aid. If you fumbled, you might have thought she was poisoned or something. B: Pregnant. Obvs. V: Gah! Why would you suggest such a horror? B: Because I enjoy your pain. Narrator: Little did they know that the Sacred Time rolls later would prove that B was correct.
- 4Casting Vigour, so hopefully you’ll at least have the energy to get undressed properly. Assuming you let me, of course.