Leaving the Empire

1628, Fire Season, Stasis Week


The group, minus Varanis, is heading away from the Lunar Empire. Session 3.15.


Berra has been quiet since they met the Grazelanders, and polite to them, and definitely in need of keeping busy, but now she is keeping watch in the early evening, a tiny figure curled up on herself halfway up an interestingly-shaped rock. She has given everyone a light guard schedule – only one of them on, and trusting to the horse-riders.

Maalira wanders out of the encampment, blinking in the fading light, and sees Berra on the rock. She wanders over, stifling a yawn, and climbs up next to her.

Berra looks pale, and nervous. And, as Maalira approaches, she jumps. The scout, caught by surprise. She was looking out too hard. The direction of stare was somewhere between Alda Chur and Boldhome.1Maalira passes Insight (Human)

Maalira recoils slightly in response to Berra’s jump, her eyes going wide. “What’s the matter?”

Berra takes a moment to recover, and then looks away, back to where she was apparently looking before. “I’m worried about Varanis,” she admits. “Really worried.”

Maalira nods, settling back into her spot on the rock. “Where do you think she is now?”

Berra winces. “Could be anywhere, including captured. But probably a bit ahead of us, in Alda Chur or on the way there. We’ve got allies in Glasswall, so even if she uses the road she’ll probably be fine from there. Probably.”

“Do you wish you had gone with her?”

Berra says, “Yeah, but that wasn’t the best way of doing things. I mean, I chose. I had to guess. Now I’m worried I guessed wrong. You make the best decisions you can with what you know, but it’s bad to not know she’s safe. I wish I could be with her without having gone with her. Because she needed to be alone.”

Then, being Berra, the Humakti adds, “Well, with as small a group as possible.”

“Well, she may well be alone by now given how murderously she was looking at Xenofos…” Maalira says, then in a rush “WHICH IS A JOKE.”

Berra looks at Maalira, confused. “The murde… oh right yes. No, she wouldn’t do that. I know she wouldn’t.” The Humakti’s stubby little fingers curl up over the base of her neck, forefinger hooking onto the leather thong she wears.

“No, of course she wouldn’t.” Maalira’s face is a mixture of amusement and concern. “What’s that around your neck?”

“Wolftooth.” Berra pulls out the leather, and with it comes a bit of onyx or obsidian, a shining black stone with tiny Runes on it, engraved small. “She made it for me.” There’s a tiny smile, and Berra remembers to cast her glance around the area again, in case anyone has managed to sneak into view.

Maalira smiles brightly. “It’s exquisite. Is it onyx? Obsidian?”

“It’s a thing called jet,” Berra says. “I think it’s fire-bone, but that already got burned, so a sort of fire-charcoal. It always feels a tiny bit warm, and it burns if you use it like coal.” She leans over to show Maalira her jugular vein and the little necklace, with its Death and Truth Runes, but she does not take it off. “I think it was the black thing she decided would go best, but I never asked her why.”

Maalira leans in to look, carefully keeping her hands from actually touching Berra or the ‘jet’. “It doesn’t look like something that could possibly burn. I’ve never heard of such a thing. How wonderful.”

The carving is rough, in a smoothed-off surface, adding contrast to the blackness. “I suppose that there was a gods’ battlefield, or a fire spirit died and got mined,” she says. “Like the Air Gods’ bones give us bronze.”

Maalira fidgets with a bracelet at her wrist. It has little brown stone beads strung on it. “These are stones from Prax, but they’re not anything special, apart from being from Prax, of course.”

“They are special to you,” Berra says gamely. She might be trying to change the subject, as the necklace gets tucked away and her features get more composed. “Maybe you can tell me about them on the ride tomorrow? And about where you … about Prax and stuff?” At least she got to the end of the sentence. She might want to be alone now, or she might need a hug. It is hard to tell.

Maalira raises an eyebrow. “I’d love to tell you about Prax, tomorrow. Do you want to be alone tonight, or can I hang out here with you for a while?”

“I….” Berra sighs. “Best to leave. I should watch. Get some sleep.” Thanks, she doesn’t say.

Maalira nods, smiling a half-smile, and pats Berra lightly on the shoulder as she uncurls her legs. “Don’t spend the whole watch fretting, if you can help it.”

Berra manages a smile. “We’ll get to Alda Chur tomorrow.” And she goes back to her fretting-watching double work.

Perhaps predictably, Berra does not seem to sleep much that night. She covers most of the watches by default.

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    Maalira passes Insight (Human)