1628, Earth Season, Fertility Week
On the Grazelands, travelling towards Grizzly Peak. Session 3SA.04.
A little while later, Finarvi nudges his horse over to fall in with Berra’s. “Do I get the feeling you have some idea what we’re going to be dealing with?” he asks her.
Berra looks at him. “Um, not really? But I know – Varanis and I know – a song about it.”
He perks up. “A song? Or a story?” The invitiation is plain.
“Um, alright. But I am not really feeling up to singing or storytelling, so it may not be good. I’ll do my best,” Berra offers. “And I’m not a bard but if I was a bard you should give me water or wine now. Water.”
“Definitely water!” Maalira may not have heard anything else that was said, but that she did hear.
He grins and hands over a water skin. “Sounds like a good trade to me!”
Berra drinks, and considers for a while, and finally begins. “First of all, to any shades of bards nearby, I apologise. I tell a bad song on purpose. I do it for a reason. It’s two stories and I have not the tongue to separate them.” Then she begins to half speak, half sing, a story. The tale is of a sister of a King, Tarkalor, who prepares for battle and fights. In the middle of the song is a pause in which the giving of armour is described, and how Berra of Colymar put it on and wore it. Finally, bravely, she dies beside her brother the King, in a raven-glutted vale. Her body is desecrated, so that only her right hand, and her brother’s heart, can be taken for burial. Berra needs a lot of breaks, some for water and some to get around a muzzy head, or explain the next bit in Tradetalk. It is a very Heortling sort of saga, with a change in style partway through.
The GM calls for Sing rolls.
Special or better on Sing: That is definitely two different songs, joined at the middle by the description of the armour, and featuring the death of Berra of Colymar twice. It’s dramatic, but also oddly fussy, and there are big enough differences that the two songs were probably written far apart in time or geography.
Critical: The details are two different. This has to be about different people, pushed together to make one song. One death is at Grizzly Peak and the other elsewhere, a brave home for birds.1Maalira fails: Berra is looking happier and her nose scrunches when she concentrates. Varanis also fails.
Maalira is far too entranced by Berra’s cute nose to follow her words.
Varanis drops back to join them after Berra finishes. “So… out of curiosity, is this you apologizing for trying to get into Maalira’s robes or continuing your efforts?” She gives the Humakti a mischievous grin.
Berra looks confused, giving Varanis a stare, and then Maalira a look that is considering. Then she tilts her head to one side, thoughtfully. “Um, neither, but I was trying to remember a saga?” The little Humakti is clearly flailing.
“Probably for the best,” Varanis says. “The song didn’t seem particularly seductive. Which saga?”
Berra gives Maalira another glance, but it is not a second glance. Just another one. Then Varanis gets her attention again. “The one about your armour. About Berra of Colymar, or the two Berra’s of Colymars… Coly…mar.”
“The one Torograi sang for us?”
“Yeah, and me, back on the rocks that one time.” Which could be any time. “Finarvi, the armour might not be there, but can you have ghost armour? The saga, according to the bard of Queen Leika, is about two people, and the cuirass was apparently cut apart at Boldhome. That’s a generation later.”
Finarvi cocks his head and regards Varanis. “I’ve not heard of such a thing, but it wouldn’t surprise me, if it was important enough.” He scratches his head. “So, Varanis, your armour is from a famous ancestor, but only parts of it? Which parts?”
“The greaves and vambraces,” she replies. “Grandmother had cuirass and helmet,” she winces a little at that, “made for me after Pennel Ford and gave me the set.”
Varanis’ armour: Greaves and vambraces and at least a couple generations old. Maybe older. Well-maintained and beautifully worked, but simpler than the cuirass. More Heortling too. The cuirass is recent and clearly Esrolian work though with elements that connect it to the older pieces. The runes on the cuirass are traced in silver and there are inset stones like garnets and something blue. The armour has taken a beating in recent years and probably shows some sign of repair. Her helmet is not the fancy one that matches anymore. She lost that. The current one one is out of Kallyr’s armouries and is nice, but clearly of more recent Sartarite make.
He looks thoughtful. “Something drew us to Grizzly Peak. Serala and I both have grandparents who died there. But Giland’s root didn’t draw her there.”
“A generation died there,” Varanis points out solemnly, “or a significant part of one.”
“So why us? Why now?” His gaze returns to Berra, who is looking as though her stomach is having second thoughts about the water she’s swallowed.
“I don’t know.” The Vingan shrugs. “I’ve wanted to come here since I first heard stories of Berra Colymar at my grandfather’s knee. They were stories told between us, because grandmother Mirava, and presumably Grandmother, didn’t approve.” The subtle emphasis on the second grandmother implies that she’s referring to the Saiciae matriarch. “When I learned more in Boldhome, I began to dream of going to Grizzly Peak. I’ve felt drawn to the place, but the time has never been right. Maybe Grandfather Giland facilitated the connection? Maybe it’s just the proximity? I don’t know.”
Berra, pale, manages to keep looking like she is in control of her problem. She does not answer.
“Lozenges, Berra,” Maalira calls.
Berra gives a wave of thanks and loads another couple of the sweet things into her cheeks. Concentrating on them seems to help.
Finarvi huffs a breath, something between a laugh and a sigh. “Why do I get the feeling we’re going to stir up a whole nest of trouble on the path to finding out?”
“I think I said that bit,” Berra replies in puzzlement. “Oh, but before you got here. It’s because there’s going to be politics. The armour belonged to someone famous.”
“Why would that cause trouble? Do other people want it?” Finarvi asks innocently.
Maalira snorts, eyeing Finarvi sceptically.
“Trouble?” Varanis asks. “What sort? Also, I am pretty sure the cuirass was destroyed and that the greaves and vambraces were all that could be recovered. I doubt we’re going to find any of my ancestor’s armour. But maybe I can talk to her spirit. I’d like that.”
Maalira murmurs something that sounds rather like “What could possibly go wrong?”
- 1Maalira fails: Berra is looking happier and her nose scrunches when she concentrates. Varanis also fails.