Intelligence and Counters

1628, Earth Season, Windsday


Berra reports to Lord Eril after the Battle of the Heroes. Session S3SA: 03.


Hail Hero! The initiate Berra begs the honour of private conversation.

So noted. Thank you, Bladesong.

Death is Eternal, the First True Change.

“… Ah, Jarangsdottir. As you have quite finished returning the gifts of the world to the Earth, try reporting.”

“Yes, Lord.”

Initiate is late to report and seems drunk.  Punishment?

She will punish herself sufficiently.

She has seated herself without permission.

For the record she took a low position of the maximum respect possible.  Leave out the retching.

“Report, then.”

“He’s gone to somewhere.  West.  A roost or something?  I din’t really catch it.  I drank the Emperor’s wine.  Was a lot of it.  Tasted weird.  My head hurts and I feel sick.”

“Silence, initiate.  My time is precious and you waste it.”


“Go on, with less attention to yourself.”

“I felt him arriving, Lor’.  Knew where.  Then when he came out I tried to show him the lines then tried to keep …  Uh…  thing.  Hard to think right now.  Sorry.”

Athanu, record for my future recollection that initiate Berra can, under extreme circumstances, be even less than normally comprehensible.

“Control yourself, Initiate.  What if anything do I need to know?”

“He didn’t get summoned by anyone here, Lor’…  mmm’e came hisself.  Dunno how’e knew.”

“Anything else?”

“I wanna be sick.”

“Learn restraint.  Concentrate.”

“What was the question?”

“Do. I. Need. To know anything else?”

“He says you’re cute?”

Athanu, end transcript.


Further questioning of initiate Berra

Wine-poisoning, but sobered up in the past few minutes, presumably by magic.

The magic was on her last time also.

Thank you, Athanu.

“Great one, I apologise for my previous intem…puh…rucy.  I should have found another way with Harrek.”

“Get on with it.  What is there to tell me?”

“Little I remember, but he… had blood on him.  He said her heart didn’t taste as good as he wanted, but he…  Wanted to go… I think… and see Oose Roost.  But he never goes to just look at anything.  He’s meeting or fighting.”

“Did you enquire about his plans?”

“Yeah.  Um, he laughed a lot, and threw summink at me.  Jewelled cup.”

“Anything else of note?”

“He said you were cute.  That was you as a Hero, Lord.  I mean he noticed you.”

“I would hardly think it was my personal charms.”

“Have you got… um… so I told him you were mine, not his.  He kinda respects that.”

Oh, initiate…

“I see.  And what else?”

“He was boasting about his ships.  That ain’t usual.  Normally he boasts about him.  Feel bad again…”

“Go on?”

Mark she paused once more for magic to allow her to continue.

“Uh, I can’t put it more than that.  But he likes to talk about stuff he’s done.  Things he’s fought.  Places he’s turned over.  And right now he’s thinking about armies.”


“Armies.  He… I think he didn’t use the word, Lord.  I was wrong, sorry.  My thinking, not his.  I just… it din’t sound naval.”

“Very well.  Overall, and despite your shambolic behaviour, I am not displeased.  However, it would be inconvenient for you to return to Boldhome at this time.  What service do you have left to the Temple this season?”

“Uh, none, I think, Lord.”

“Then to the Hero.  You will stay out of Boldhome until the weather turns.”

“Uh, you know you can’t order that, right?  I mean, you don’t have your own Temple I go to.”


“Yeah.  Not sayin’ I won’t, but you cannot give that to me as an order.”

Athanu, upon occasion I too am tempted by strong drink.

“Very well.  A… suggestion.  As a Hero to an Initiate.”

“Uh, sure.  Thank you for your suggestion, Lord.  And I really am sorry I was sick.”

“If you cause some fuss, King Koraki will be able to escort you from Alda Chur… You are dismissed.”

“Um.  But while I’m…”  complicated thoughts collide on her face.

“Speak.  Quickly.”

“Would you write a letter for me, Great One?  To the Sc… to Onjur-eel?”

Athanu, are you certain you are remembering all this? I may wish to be reminded.

I have certainty.

“To Lord Onjur?”

“Well, I think it’ll go better to use his name. And to write to the Palace at… Glamour?”

“Ye-es… And the content?”

“Uh… Thank you, Lord Onjur. No, Scimitar then, because he didn’t make me be Yanafil Yarnils. For the opportunity you gave me,… yeah, gave me and my allies… and for the advice upon… no, the advice on what to sacrifice. I hope this more than came up to your expectations, an’… wait, lemme think about that last bit… what to sacrifice. Coz he said that you could sacrifice a square of spears if it got you what you wanted. I wanna grind my foot on that hand as well as make it sound chummy.”

Athanu, make this into a missive…

I shall.

“My time is short, initiate.”

“The advice on what to sacrifice. Putting the spears in the middle… no, in danger, would not have been natural to me. I hope this came up to your expectations of what I would do, and went over them.”

“The previous sentence was better. More than met would be better still.”

“Nah, all my words, but more than came up to. Did the battlefield result fall in with your plan?”

“Is that all?”

“I can’t think of anything else. An’ then my name, and lineage an’ that’s it.” Berra tilts her head to one side. “Berra Jarang’s daughter.”


Thank you, Scimitar Onjur, for the opportunity you gave me and my allies, and for the advice on what to sacrifice. Putting the spears in danger would not have been natural to me. I hope this more than came up to your expectations. Did the battlefield result fall in with your plan?

Bald, but it will suffice.

“Put your mark here, initiate.”