Love Note

Berra — Love Note

1627, Dark Season


Early Dark Season, Boldhome. [[[s02:session-55|Session 55]]]


One day in Dark Season at the White Grape Rondrik looks at Berra with a thoughtful look.

The Humakti is spending only a little time here; her Temple has strictures on her, and while she is encouraged to leave, she is not allowed to wear more than a thin tunic, breeches, and boots. An appeal to D’Val after she was found wearing a helmet was to no avail, and her feather is kept safely away from her, lest she cover her head against the cold.

She is also on a strict diet, and is currently picking at her bread with oil and salt, tearing it into bits. She is, at least, allowed to sit by the fire. She is doing that.

She is, however, alert. She probably sees Rondrik’s look – she just does not seem to care.

“Lady Berra?”

“Not a lady, but yeah?” Berra looks back at him, expression sharp.

“There is a small package for you. I was maybe to give it to you sooner but you have not been here that often. My apologies.”

“Can we go back to the part where you gave me a title that isn’t mine?” Berra stands up wearily. “Because I’m an initiate. And I’m not a Thane either.”

Rondrik gives her an as you wish sort of shrug. “Do you want it?”

“Yes please.” The Humakti traipses over. “Who gave it yer… gave it to you?” She pulls her accent back from Sartarite-gutter Nochet.

“The Esrolian,” is his reply. After a thought, he adds, “The scribe.” He has multiple Esrolians around these days.

Berra does not quite count on her fingers, but does nod a moment after the further explanation. “Right. Yeah. Thanks.” She waits expectantly.

Just as he turns back to the counter to get whatever it is that he has, the main door opens, letting in a blast of cool air.

Berra sighs, braces herself, draws herself up rather than flinching away from it. Her bearing, already that of a warrior, sharpens to readiness.

Naturally, she gives a very brief glance towards the door – nothing more than a threat assessment.

The threat is a red-cheeked Vingan, flushed with cold and bundled in a heavy cloak. Before the women can exchange greetings, Rondrik returns with a cloth-wrapped package and a carefully folded piece of parchment for Berra.

“Eh. Of course he’d leave so I can’t ask him to read it.” Berra takes both, bowing over the letter, rare thing that it is, to say thank you. “I have these things,” she says formally.

Rondrik grunts in reply to her courtesy. “My task is completed,” he says, adding the formal reply, before turning to Varanis. “Thane Vareena. You wish mulled wine?” When she agrees, he bustles off to take care of it.

“Hot water with a bit of salt for me?” Berra calls hopefully, and then goes to put the bundle on the table. “Hey, Varanis.”

“Let’s settle in by the fire,” Varanis suggests, giving the package a look of alynx-like curiosity. “Water and salt?”

Berra sighs. “I have bread, oil, and salt that I can have today. It was nearly hot water with oil shaken up in it, but I like him.” She works the package open, more interested in the contents than in the letter.

Inside the cloth, there are three smaller packages, each wrapped in waxed linen.

“I wonder if he’s got me three gloves,” Berra says, opening the first that comes to hand.

It contains chunks of ginger sticky with honey.

Varanis looks at the package and grins. “It’s a root, right? Does that make it a vegetable?”

Berra smiles too. “If it kills the plant if you take all of it – and some roots. I think it does, but Yehna will love it.” She re-closes that packet carefully, then pauses and opens it to offer it to Varanis. “You want some?”

Her friend happily takes a piece. “This is one of my favourite treats,” she admits.

Berra says, “Leave some for Yehna,” and opens the next packet.

Inside the next is a pile of animal jerky. Beef, perhaps.

The scent of chillies hangs in the air.

Berra inspects it carefully for evidence of vegetables. Suspicious little nose twitches. “That looks alright to me. Maybe he’ll have written what it is. It smells really good.” She might just be being polite, or she might be truly detached from needing food right now – she does not look disappointed to have something she cannot eat.

“I could taste test it for you. I might be able to tell if there are vegetables in it.”

“Nah, I don’t see anything that doesn’t look like a hot pepper, and we’ll read his letter.” Berra opens the next waxed packet first, however.

The third package contains rings of dried apples. Now the smell of cinnamon wars with the chillies.

Berra smiles. “He cares,” she says. “And cinnamon’s a bark. Take that off, and the tree dies. I really should talk to D’Val about this, though – I’m taking what’s probably a very straight route through the definition.” She reaches for the letter. “Can you read this?”

Varanis accepts the letter and unfolds it. She peers at her cousin’s neat writing. Reads. Pauses. Rereads. At one point, her brows shoot up towards her hairline. “Um. Yes?”

She adds, “He doesn’t say anything about the gifts.”

“Whaaaat?” Berra pauses in sniffing the chilli jerky. “Alright. Then let’s hear it.”

Varanis reads quietly, so that her words won’t carry. “Hi, leaving for Prax.” She pauses.

“Well, yeah, I knew that bit.” Berra considers. “Would you prefer not to say it out loud?”

Varanis shakes her head. “No, I’ll read it.” She rushes through the next bit. “Still loving you. Promised Aranda and Varanis to return, don’t know yet when. Xenofos.”

Berra sighs. “Yeah, well. He could have written something useful. I hope he’s well.” There is a smile there. “It’s really sweet of him to leave me all this.”

“He has a lot of love in him,” Varanis replies.

She takes another piece of the ginger and nibbles on it.

“Yehna doesn’t like chilli, but she loves apple,” Berra says. “And so does Haran. I hope everything goes well with him.”

“Me too. I hope he finds the answers he needs. He tried to stay when he found out…” Varanis glances around the room and doesn’t finish the sentence.

Berra nods. “Full of love. Poor guy.”

Berra gets a letter and gifts from Xenofos