1628, Earth Season, Fertility Week
The group is sill riding towards Grizzly Peak Session SA3.04.
Berra gives Finarvi a wry smile. “Yeah. Lunars kill descendants of Sartar.”
Varanis arches a brow at that. “And? Grandfather Sartar and Prince Kallyr have already acknowledged me. You think the Lunars haven’t heard that yet? Or perhaps they don’t believe it?” Then she frowns. “Or is it that … no. Never-mind. That was an unworthy thought and it doesn’t need to be given Air.”
“You’ve done more now,” Berra replies. “You’re going to be noticed. But they’re in disarray. Now’s the time to grow as fast as you can.”
“I’m doing my best, Berra.”
Berra pauses, and her look is odd. “We don’t have to do it like people think we should,” she says quietly. “Just because there are rules on how to, doesn’t mean that’s the only way.’ 1Insight for anyone who passed: In saying that, Berra was speaking to herself as well. She is struggling with an internal conflict.2Special for Varanis: Berra started off talking to Varanis, but now she’s nervous and out over thin ice and still moving forward.3Maalira failed: That little tiny smile that Berra has sometimes? She’s doing it.
Finarvi smiles at Berra’s words. “Defying expectations? I like that.” He eyes Varanis speculatively, then reflexively glances Serala’s way.
Berra nods to Finarvi, and looks distantly more determined.
Maalira looks between them all. “If everything goes perfectly to plan, what will we have achieved?” she asks.
Berra gives Maalira a look that starts excitedly argumentative, but calms down before she talks. “What are the things we want to achieve?” she asks. “It’s a good question.”
Breaking off her study of the Humakti, Varanis says, “That’s probably pretty important to clarify.”4Not all PCs are present, so Varanis notes we should change the subject as this verges on Plot.
“For me, I think I need to make Lord Eril into the Hero he should be. I think I need to decide that my advice – good advice – to go slowly, wasn’t good enough. I need to get him what he’s missing.”
“And you think that can be accomplished here?” Varanis asks.
Berra shakes her head. “I think what’s ahead is something we can’t see, but we should think about how to shake it out. Maybe not even talk, just… think what we’re after.”
“I want to think about it. Clarify my own thoughts, before I share them.” Varanis stares ahead where the other Grazelander is riding with her Grandfather. “I rather think Serala will have ideas of her own. I’m not sure I want to share it all with the rest of your people though, Finarvi.” She gives him an apologetic smile.
The Grazelander gives a sympathetic wince. “Grandfather Giland is like a burr. He won’t be brushed off. Serala might be able to sway him, if anyone can. Possibly with help from Greatest Grandfather.”
“And he’s the person for spirits here,” Berra adds. “So he’ll probably be pretty close if there are spirits involved, but he might be very busy. If there are spirits involved.”
Varanis sighs, watching Serala and Pag ahead of them. “I don’t think he approves of me much.”
Finarvi raises his eyebrows. “He acknowledged your existence and gave what was for him as good as a compliment. I haven’t seen him in such a good mood since…” he frowns. “Since he got rid of me by sending me after Serala, in fact.”
Berra swallows. “I have a bit of lozenge stuck between my teeth,” she grumbles to the air. Not part of the conversation.
“I have some picks for splinters that would probably work for getting that out,” Maalira says. “Or you can just wait for it to wash away. Possibly sticking anything into your mouth right now wouldn’t be a good idea.”
“I know how to make a toothpick,” Berra says. “S’fine. You don’t have to solve everything for me.”
Maalira blinks. “Sorry,” she says quietly.
That gets a friendly shrug. Berra does not much care. “Anyhow, this kind of thing usually comes out before I get really annoyed and get the wood-knife out. It’s just a bit of seed case, I think.”
Finarvi shakes his head in bemusement, and mutters something under his breath that sounds like “Humakti.”
Maalira snorts and grins at Finarvi.
He grins back and gives a slight ‘what can you do’ shrug.
Insight for those who pass: Maalira is very shy of Finarvi and is tentatively trying to make friends. Finarvi was a bit reserved when meeting Maalira for the first time, but now he seems more relaxed and friendly. Even if his horse is rolling its eyes at her bison if it gets too close.
Berra says, “Did you two get to know each other properly on the way up here? I know it was pretty busy.” She looks from Maalira to Finarvi, and for the first time in over a day does not seem to be regretting the swift movement.
“Most of the journey was a blur, honestly,” Finarvi shrugs apologetically. “We were trying to keep up with Serala and Varanis.”
“I was focusing on trying to make sure you didn’t take your own head off out of spite,” Maalira says to Berra, with a grin.
“Well, right. Um, did I look like I was going to do that? You mean the hangover? I was meaning before.” A blink-pause happens. “I’m still not feeling great to be honest.”
“Before the battle I think I was a bit too wrapped up in worrying about, well, the battle.” Maalira looks down shyly and skritches her bison.
“Alright. So Finarvi, Maalira is from the Straw Weaver clan in Prax. Rajar’s people. Maalira, Finarvi makes beautiful things in metal.”
“And he’s Serala’s cousin and probably dearest friend,” Varanis adds. “He has great stories to tell and teaches useful swear words in Pure Horse Tongue.” She looks at Maalira with curiosity. “Are Praxians even allowed to learn the Grazelander language?”
Maalira shrugs. “My Goddess leads me to do what is needful to heal others… including swearing in Pure Horse Tongue.”
“I’ll do my best to teach you the most effective profanities,” Finarvi says solemnly, and then barks out a stream of Grazelander cusswords so unexpectedly that his horse flattens its ears and sidles back three steps, coincidentally away from Maalira’s bison. Finarvi is temporarily occupied with convincing his horse they’re not about to fight the big fuzzy thing.
“I dunno what he said,” Berra tells Maalira wisely.
“The horse does, though.” Maalira giggles.
Varanis laughs. “I think I need you to teach me more. I’ve been wearing out the first dozen or so words you’ve taught me.”
“The other words are much fouler. Not appropriate for fine-bred noblewomen. But they should scare off malignant spirits.”
“Finarvi!” The Vingan looks insulted. “Fine-bred noblewoman? I’m wounded!”
Finarvi looks hurt. “Varanis, Xenofos was in earshot! Think of your poor cousin’s ears.”
Varanis snorts, then begins to laugh. Manasa shifts irritably, which causes her rider to laugh harder for some reason.
“Besides, Serala would never forgive me if you learned better swears than she knows.”
“Sounds like they both need lessons. They could practise together.” This comment from Maalira might be completely innocent.
“Um, are you making… never mind. Anyhow, Finarvi can do… damnit! I don’t have it here. Finarvi, did you ever see the… the um… I made Rajar an axe blade. A tiny one, from bronze. It took me ages, but it was pretty. But he’s not here. But anyhow, Finarvi makes good bronze work.” Berra repeatedly falls off whatever point she was trying to tame.
Finarvi, still chuckling, says “Stop trying to change the subject, Berra.” He grins wickedly at Maalira. “So you noticed Serala tends to fall back on the same few words too?” To Varanis, making an effort to sound serious: “Maalira makes a good suggestion. I will teach you new words, and you must… encourage… Serala to widen her vocabulary.”
Varanis flashes a grin at Finarvi.
- 1Insight for anyone who passed: In saying that, Berra was speaking to herself as well. She is struggling with an internal conflict.
- 2Special for Varanis: Berra started off talking to Varanis, but now she’s nervous and out over thin ice and still moving forward.
- 3Maalira failed: That little tiny smile that Berra has sometimes? She’s doing it.
- 4Not all PCs are present, so Varanis notes we should change the subject as this verges on Plot.