1628, Dark Season, Disorder Week, Freezeday
The group is returning from the Heroquest of Eril, to face the last part. Session SA3.12.
The final day’s travel up to Boldhome brings tree-rattling winds in the morning and then cool rain at noon. The sun is back by the time they start the final climb towards the city gates, but the harbingers of winter have come.
Berra climbs uncomplainingly, on foot.
Serala is not on foot. Being on foot would be a strange thing for a Grazelander to do. Indeed, she seems to be riding more than usual, if such a thing is even possible, rebonding with Pag.
Berra has been around the group, checking in on people, and now she lets Pag catch up and looks Serala in the eye. “Nearly there,” she says. “You’ve done well. Not just against the vampire.”
Serala shakes her head a little, “Could’ve done better.” she rejects. “A lot better. Getting a Lunar hitchhiker for weeks on end is not a memory I will be savouring. It leaves… a bad taste.” She studies Berra for a moment, thoughts hidden behind hooded grey eyes. “Still, as long as Eril is a Hero, that’s all that matters, right?”
It takes the Humakti a few moments to work out what to say.1Insight: Berra, affected by Eril, or just suspicious, thinks this is a test. Then she overcomes that, because these are her friends. “No. We need to make sure this goes right. That he’s the right kind of Hero. And we should not be broken by it. It’s… that would be a bad… precedent, I guess.”
There is a gentle snort from Serala. “You know how much I admired that man.” Half question, half statement. “But this reminds me… trust your family, they are the only people who can, and will, truly give a turd. Admittedly, mostly boot-turds, but that’s another matter. And you have the worst to come, don’t think I have forgotten that. This is about you, and Eril. Not poor Sanra.” Did Serala just show some sympathy for her Lunar ‘companion’? Times have really changed.
“Yeah. None of us really asked for this. But I know. The only good bit is once it starts it doesn’t matter if I want to stop. I just have to get there.” She glares at the sky for a moment. “Damned Devolin.”
“Hah. Are you sure I can’t stomp his annoying face in?” Now that is very Serala, she will apparently never forgive the duck for their first meeting, for all that she seems to have mellowed towards ducks in general of late. “Please tell me we don’t still need him? Please tell me he’s vanished into the sunset for now at least…?”
“He’s going to be the Eurmali. Eurmal betrays Humakt to Ikadz. And then the Eurmali wanted Eril’s treasure, but he’d arranged for the Lunars to arrest him. We need him one more time. Maybe two, but…” Then she trails off, and stares at Serala, thoughtfully.
The raven haired rider takes a breath. “Joy. Note to self… don’t stomp Devolin.” Her fingers tighten on the reins for a moment, then suggests, “Maybe I should be away for this. She is weakening but.. But. But I think we all know that there’s no certainty over how I may behave. And if Devolin needs to be gone for your quest to fail then Sanra and I are liable to be in accord. That.. may not end well.”
“No. I think that we might … I think we should do it. Right to the end. Last time it stopped just before, but his whole deed? It included the Lunars. And then you’ll… you’ll have got to the end? And I think it might help. Because this hasn’t been done before, except one time, and I hope it never has to be again. But if you go be a Lunar, you’ll find out I have no secrets – you don’t kill me in the end. But then Sanra gets to know she’s done.”
Serala considers this before nodding slowly. “She wants to be free.” comes the soft acknowledgement. “She is tired of spinning around and around in the same place. Death, death, death, fight, death, arrest, death, death…. fail. It would drive anyone to self destruction in the end. Just…” She purses her lips and then meetings Berra’s gaze steadily, if the Humakti doesn’t look away. “If I lose myself to her… End me. That’s all I need to know. I would rather die at the hands of Humakt than live… sullied. I am at your side to the end, but what form that end may be…” A slow shrug. Quiet, calm, almost passive. She has clearly been thinking through all the possible outcomes.
Berra’s jaw tightens, but she does not argue. She just nods. “Death should be clean. And if I’m to sway what my Lord is, I should look after others, even that last bit.” She gives Serala a smile. “Death is not to be feared, only a stop on the long journey.”
An answering nod from Serala. She has made the request, that is enough. “So.” she says softly. “What comes next? What do you need from us all?”
“You go to somewhere in the city that Varanis can find you. Outside the Air Temple, maybe, or your own. Wait to find out where I will be. He only trusted his brother to do that. Varanis comes and tells you that, and her part is done. I think nobody’s going to keep her away, though. Maalira I’ll ask to go get an extra White Lady just in case. That’ll at least give her something to do. Finarvi, I want to go up to the Death Temple. He can get the blacksmith for me.” She drops her voice a little. “Plus I’m going to give him my stuff – things for you all in case I die, things for my sister. Issaries is a psychopomp, right?” Her expression is wry. She is seeing irony.
“Finarvi is many things. I sometimes think not even I know the extent of what he can be, when he chooses. But yes, I have heard that is a particular talent of his God.” Serala quirks a smile, “I will be at the Yelmalian Temple, giving Pag a good rubdown and some extra oats. He deserves some love and care.”
“That’s perfect. This hill is a lot steeper than I want.” Berra looks up towards the distant gates. “I know I’ve said it, but I’ll say it again. You’re a good friend, and it’s good to have found you, no matter what happens. Because we’ll face it, and step forwards.”
If Berra doesn’t duck, she will find her hair ruffled by a half-smiling Serala. “You too, Clansmate.”
Berra does not duck. Her hair comes pre-ruffled, and therefore ends up at the magnificent spiky mess stage. “I’m gonna save my breath for walking,” she says, who would normally be skipping ahead in full armour, or practicing how far she can hop. “And at the next stop, I’ll make sure everyone knows what’s going on.”
- 1Insight: Berra, affected by Eril, or just suspicious, thinks this is a test. Then she overcomes that, because these are her friends.