Hot Topic

Berra — Hot Topic

1627, Fire Season


Context

Fire Season, just after the trial of Varaneva. Session 45: The Name of the Father

Events

During the feast, Varanis takes advantage of a lull between courses to slip away from the table and escape outside. She pauses by Xenofos to let him know that she’ll only be a few minutes.

Berra takes the chance to slip out as well, like she is bodyguarding Varanis, or else like she just wants some air and is taking advantage of the chance to be outside.

Varanis gives her a welcoming smile. As the Humakti likely noticed earlier, her friend is covered in woad runes executed with varying degrees of skill.

“You’re blue,” Berra says with a smile. She looks a little blank; bright eyed, with colour high in her cheeks. She might well just be blushing to meet Varanis after a stretch in the heat of the feast.

“And you’re ill,” the Vingan replies. “What’s wrong?”1Passed a First Aid roll.

“I got feverish swimming,” Berra replies. “I’m getting better. I’m just a bit… you know when you keep feeling a bit dizzy? That.” She shrugs.

“You look flushed.” As she speaks, Varanis starts to reach for Berra’s forehead, but stops herself before she touches the other woman. “Sorry. Have you seen Mellia?”

“I am a bit, yes. Uh… I think I saw Mellia? It wasn’t all that clear. I got cold and I was so cold I felt comfortable so I didn’t get dressed.” Another shrug. “Lord D’Val sent me to the hospital, I think?” Berra sounds just a little bit confused, and a lot like she thinks it does not matter.

Varanis scowls. “Berra! You have to take better care of yourself,” says the woman who needs to be reminded to eat. The hypocrisy is lost on her.

“I’m fine – really. I just forgot.” Berra, walking case of hypothermia recovery, seems to think that is true. “Anyhow. I was called to speak the Truth.” That is the first sentence that has her proper sharpness in.

“Mhmmm. Are you fit to travel tomorrow, or should we pick you up on our way back through the city?”

Berra’s reply includes another shrug. “I’ve fought when I was worse off than this. As long as I get some sleep tonight, I’ll be fine tomorrow. And I… I think I need to see them as much as I can. How’s it looking out there?”

“Better than when I arrived, but only marginally. I had them break into smaller units to practice working together and had the command team sort themselves into direct responsibility for the units.” She frowns again, shaking her head. “They had to be told to pick seconds.”

Berra nods. “Uh… pick seconds?” Maybe not entirely with it. Or mostly with it.

“A second in command. Leaders die and warriors need to know who to look to next. A responsible leader makes sure that’s sorted.”

“Oh, oh yeah, right. Sorry, for a moment I thought you were talking about duels. Maybe not now, but can you go over who is doing what and how many of who we have in the units?” She considers. “I should talk with Varaneva. But not now.”

“You can ask me or Xenofos when you are ready for that information. And yes, I need to talk to Varaneva too. She’s a prickly sort. Why do you suppose Kallyr was absent from the proceedings?” The change of subject is sudden, but characteristic of both women.

“Because … uh… I had this a moment ago. Oh, because then nobody says anything that she had to hear. Also, she was one of the litiga… litigents. So she can’t rule in it, but she can’t sit in the audience either. She was part of the case. And having her there might have made Varaneva angry, or made her resent a thing loudly.”

“Oh. Right. That makes sense. And what do you make of the Stallion king? Is that working, or is she going to accidentally feed him to the trolls?”

“I … wasn’t really looking,” Berra admits. She looks over the edge of their balcony, towards the glow of the great flame, and then down. “I… think maybe…” The Humakti trails off. “Sorry. I was more looking at my Lord.”

Varanis winces. “Sorry. I didn’t think.” She twists a ring on her finger, then stares at her hands. “I didn’t really understand his message,” she confesses quietly. “I should have understood it.”

“His message? My lord’s?” Berra wipes her hand over hot cheeks, struggling to catch up.

“Did he have a message for me too? I didn’t get one… I don’t think. No. Orlanth. Vinga.” She waves a blue hand. “I tried to ask them about something, but I didn’t understand. Maybe I should ask Tennebris.”

“No, I was a bit confused. He’ll let me know if he has one, but he hasn’t yet.” Berra looks at the waving hand, and smiles. “Blue suits you. Like a Wind Lord.”

“I do like blue, but I’m so far from becoming a Daughter of Vinga that I wonder if I’ll live long enough to get there.” There’s a wry laugh. “Didn’t we have a similar conversation once about you and Humakt?”

Berra snorts laughter, wryly. “We have other things to do first, yes. Um. Army. Do you know if I’ll be able to help take charge? I need to think about that. Can I command?”

“I’d like you to,” Varanis says. “But you should check with your High Sword and Sword, I imagine.”

“The answer to that will be that I should do what I think best, or something like. I think. But I’m going to take a bit of time to drop by the shrine here, and see if I’m given any orders.” Berra blinks, slowly. “He’ll leave the feast as soon as he can, unless there’s politics happening, and I don’t think there is. Not more than is outside.”

Varanis nods. “I’d like to leave early in the morning, if possible. Xenofos will likely want to sleep in the antechamber of my room, but there’s space should you wish to join him there. I should probably return to the feast before he worries or someone else takes note of my absence and reads something into it.”

“I’ll do that. I’m… yeah. I don’t want to do the steps in the dark right now.” Berra gives a bright smile. “Back to the cheese!”

Varanis laughs and waves Berra in ahead of her.

The Humakti goes forth to raid dairy produce.

Before the Vingan follows, she stops to look up into the dark sky. Whatever she’s thinking in that moment, it’s between her and her gods. With a sigh, she puts a smile on her face and steps back into the confines of the palace.