Berra — Murder

????, Fire Season, Illusion Week


Fire Season, Illusion Week, Clayday morning. [[[s01:session-42|Session 42]]]

Contains spoilers for Eril’s behaviour


In the early morning, before breakfast, Berra sends a message to ask if Irillo will join her out by the bothy.

This is a little odd, because it should be Tamain sending Silor to get his second-favourite child, Eril. But that does not happen.

He goes

Berra is looking like she managed to get at least some sleep, her expression tired but no longer exhausted. Being an infanteer she is standing, eating, while people wake. Everyone gives her a wide berth.

For a few moments she looks at Irillo, then she sighs. “I need to know if my High Sword committed murder,” she says bluntly. Once your feet are in eater-sand, her expression indicates, you might as well get it over with.

He ponders, “Legally, no. A man may dispose of his thralls. Morally? Yes. I would say so. If it’s any consolation he understood that.”

“It sort of does. I really don’t want to have to bring a charge against him. It would be pretty horrible. I suppose that lets me off that particular claw, then.” She looks less happy, if possible.

Once again, there is that distant sense that something SHOULD be happening, but is not.

He pauses and says, “I feel I should be breaking with his family… his clan. His father most of all. But it’s not happening.”

“Huh. Do you need someone to play the other parts? Or has something gone wrong?” Berra sounds like she thinks Irillo will know, rather than giving options.

He takes a breath. “I’m not sure. Maybe Yamia. But… I wish Eril was here.”

“I know what you mean. He’d know. But maybe Silor does? Or the other elders here? Was it done loudly?” Berra holds up her right hand in her left, and examines it, clumsily picking her fingernails clean. “Have you thought it might damage your relationship with your own Clan? If you’re afraid, would it hold you back? Or do you need to…” She trails off before saying something that might be painful. For once she chooses not to blurt out what she is thinking.

“I am terrified it might.”

Berra says, “If it helps, the Blue Tree is there,” in a small voice. “But maybe you don’t need to have it happen.” Her face often shows her emotions plainly. Anguish, for him. “I’m sorry.”

He sighs, nods. “Maybe when I tell them I’m leaving.”

“If it doesn’t force itself on you, then maybe it’s not needed,” she replies, not prepared to lie, but definitely prepared to hope. The ground takes up her attention after that. “Why Yamia?” She looks back to him. “What’s the situation? Can I help?” The change that went over her was from despondent to determined, instantly.

“She’s a Humakta still living with her family.”

“She is her brother’s bodyguard. She really resents not being able to get out into the world, I think, but she loves her brother more. We … I can’t say we talked on the way here. More that she said things and sometimes they were related to other things, but usually they were about how to end the things I was talking about. But when she speaks about her family she sounds… more normal. Less like a … um, that might be a Humakti secret. But less like an executioner and more like a warrior.”

“It could be related to the cross and the banner”

“If they are here, they have not been taken to the Marsh yet?” Berra looks over at the bothy. “Do you want to try to find out?”


“We could take them out, and you could follow, and see if you can make it happen. Don’t worry, none of my suggestion here has you touching it. Not if you want to live and stay sane. It’s… about as high a mystery as can be, I think. Too much for me really. Unless you wanted me to check they were still there. If you meant that, say.”

“Honestly I just don’t know.” A beat, “I had a peaceful and predictable life until you lot rode into it!”

“I had a warrior’s predictable life.” She gives him a grin. “We walked. We were on foot, when we met you. And we met your Trollkin first.”

Irillo replies automatically, “He’s not mine. He’s his.”

Berra’s grin falters briefly, and then widens. “Fair enough. But I can get the cross taken out now, if you like? Or we could keep it here and I’ll guard it. Maybe that will… no, that’s odd. It should NOT stop you from separating. It’s Death. It can’t do that. Of all the things it can do, that’s not it. It should make it easier to be cut off, to have this here. I dreamed of that all last night.”

“Eril arranged to have some memories stolen. Perhaps that’s still what’s missing.”

“It’s calling to something. Maybe something that’s missing. How on Ernalda’s bosom can you steal memories? Do … did he ask a Eurmalite?”

Berra, confused, might be asking only slightly connected questions again. “Maybe it’s the Regiment,” she says sadly. “If it’s waiting for them, it might wait forever.”



“Well, it makes sense, if he thought he might be mentally examined by the Lunars.”

“That… does make sense.” Berra sighs. “I didn’t think I could respect him more, or like him less. Twice wrong.”

“He is hard, but more so on himself than anyone else, I think. He has not been an easy headmate.”

“So if you can get memories stolen, will it all be over?” Berra gives Irillo a glum look, with a little hope still in it.

“Maybe.” He shrugs, “I don’t know.”

“Can’t remember, huh? Wind’s up. We’re looking at a storm today, I think. But probably not enough to stop us travelling. We’ll just get wet.”