No Fears

1629, Sea Season, Fertility Week, Godday


Berra loses the not-twins by giving them work to do. Session SA4.15.


Before Yelmrise, while the young Humakti are silently arguing over whether it is time to clap outside Berra’s door, she ghosts around the corner, walking in near silence.

“I’m not in there,” she says. “But good morning.” Either might pick up that she seems drained, and is perky about it.

They jump, but manage to stifle any squeaks. “Good morning,” Nayale says, regaining her composure first. “We wanted to see if you were hungry?”

Harmakt adds, “Or feel like trainin’ before travellin’ on.”

“We’ve got things to do today. Harmakt, I’m going to want you to go to Clearwine. Message to take. Nayale, you get-ta start riding out towards Duck Point. I wanna boat to take us three, plus two animals, plus baggage, down to Nochet.” Berra gestures with her hand down towards the hall where breakfast might be happening soon.

“Clearwine? But Nayale’s…” Harmakt stops as his sister talks over him.

“Duck Point?” The young Humakti’s eyes widen. “Right. A boat… do ducks make boats big enough for a bison? Dumb question. They must, or you wouldn’t have told me to get one.”

By the time she’s done talking, Harmakt has revised his original statement. “We go where th’ Wyter priest says, sister-mine. An’ I’m goin’ to Clearwine.”

“Yeah. Duck Point’s the hard one, but you get to do things in cities, Harmakt. Ain’t no problem having experts do their thing, but you gotta get good enough at all this.” Berra clatters down the stairs, her silent walking done for now, as the house begins to wake. “Clearwine, you’re talking to a woman called Oranina. She lives about halfway up the city, and last I knew she’us in a tower there, by Sartar’s tree. Ask for that, and then look for the tower and ask for her. She knows I’m coming, but tell her to expect me today. Then get outta town, and come back this way to meet me. You get to take the horse. Nayale, you get the bison, and yeah, we’ll probably be on a big reed raft, or a timber-ship. Those are built to just float down. They’ll charge us extra for the animals because it’s animals and that means mooring up and feeding and stuff. Buy feed, but we still need to get ’em on and off to exercise. Mention my name and it’ll probably help. Probably.”

Harmakt’s grin could not get any bigger. A Narri lad has just been handed the reins of a Golden Eye. Despite his eagerness to collect the horse and get moving, he manages to keep himself steady. “Oranina, Sartar’s tree, tower,” he says. “Tell ‘er yer comin’ an’ then meet you on th’ road.”

Berra nods, and glances to Nayale.

By contrast, Nayale chews her lip. “I’m riding Followed to Duck Point. Um. Does he act like a horse?”

“Not really. You’ll find you have to push him, but the big thing about a bison is they don’t really slow down. I can’t afford a horse for you, and he’ll still be faster than going on foot.” She glances around the hall for danger as if by habit, and then scowls. “Damnit. I got rank now.” Silor’s table gets a glance, and then she shrugs, and stays where she is. Someone else will get to direct her, and for now she has information for Nayale.

Nayale nods uncertainly, but then repeats the rest of the instructions, almost verbatim. She will be good at giving reports.

Meanwhile, a thrall approaches Berra. “Wyter priest. The Chief has given instructions that you have a place at the head table. Unless you’d prefer to eat elsewhere?”1Pass Insight: The thrall believes you’ll sit at head table. Anything else would be rude.–Yay, that was my answer anyhow!

Berra considers a bit. “Pack these two something to travel with,” she says. “I’m staying a bit, but they’ll be off as soon as they can. Nayale, you’re gonna be asked to pay money down.” The diminutive Priest digs into her clothes, pulls out a pouch, and prods around in it. “I’ll not insult my host by refusing him.”

“We can come by the kitchen to collect food after we’ve picked up our packs,” Nayale says to the thrall. “If that’s acceptable?” She seems a bit uncomfortable with that and returns her gaze to Berra. “Are there any special signals you use with Followed? And will Lord Silor’s groom be able to show me how to harness and unharness him?”

“No sticks or goads, plenty of urging with the foot, and if you find out more than that you know more than me. Someone here will be able to harness a bison but if you can’t find anyone then grab me after breakfast. Harmakt’s the one who needs to find someone and check they can talk to me – time ain’t your enemy as much.”

Nayale nods and waits for the money. Harmakt is already dashing off.

Nayale gets five Lunars. “If they ask more than that for holding you’re getting overcharged.” Berra turns to the high table without a farewell.

The young woman closes her fist around the coins and follows her brother, quick but not in the same tearing hurry he was in.

Berra puts on her polite face, adjusts the iron sword at her side, and leaves her right hand casually touching it as she goes to sit down.


Berra walks to Clearwine later on that day, after some business in town. Despite sending a warning she still has to wait a few hours for Oranina, who cannot leave a ritual matter at the vineyard.

When she does leave, just after hornblast, the gates are just closing. She gets out with the crowd, with Harmakt looking after her horse.

Sleep that night is out by the road, and the next day she introduces him to her river, and tells it that she hopes it had a good year.

The water burbles and babbles. Harmakt looks suitably impressed and as if he’s saving this story to tell his sister. Whether he’ll gloat or not, remains to be seen.

Berra whispers a few things to her river-child, and tells it to keep doing its duty, and then faces the greatest trial of the journey – the children of Quackford. That takes a couple of hours, and the ducklings insist on telling Harmakt all of the stories, and on him also telling all of the stories, and if he has sweets that would be very Humakti please thank you.

He looks at Berra, bewildered, but then shrugs. While he doesn’t have any sweets, he has some silly tricks that have successfully amused his own younger siblings in the past. He decides to give them a go in an effort to earn some laughter from the ducklings.

The ducklings are impressed, and Berra moves on, refusing to give any of them rides. As they draw close to Duck Point the evening is coming in, and she pushes the pace a little. Harmakt will be able to tell she is not a judge of what a horse can do, of course.

The day is just long enough that they can reach Duck Point. “Your sister’s gonna be there, right?”

He looks offended on Nayale’s part. “Of course, Lady Berra. She knows what she’s doin’.”

“Yeahyeahyeah. Just wondering – she’ll wait at the gate?” Berra looks towards the city as they approach.

“Unless you told her ta, I think she’ll be at th’ dock or th’ temple,” he replies.

“Right. Find her, and find where we’re staying. Meet me at the gate about an hour after we get in. I got business here. You’ll be looking after the animals for a bit, you and her.”

He nods his agreement and tries not to stare as they draw closer to Duck Point.

Berra dismounts by the gate, and walks off without a word. “If I’m late, wait for me.” It is hard for her to vanish into the crowd, but she does not stick out as much as others might.

He salutes as she goes and leads the horse into the city to search for the Humakti temple.

Berra leaves for her own business. It takes rather over an hour.

Berra sleeps at the Temple that night, in a room worthy of a Lord, but without much fuss. Morning sees them down by the docks, and afternoon sees them on the water. It is a big wooden raft, indeed, taking advantage of the high waters of Sea Season. High resin woods for fire that needs bright light are stacked up high and tied well, and a platform of roughly-hewn boards is on them. A small cabin shelters the animals. It was obviously added after construction, but is sturdy.

Berra spends a lot of the afternoon practicing her syllabalry, writing in charcoal on a piece of skin, and then going over it in chalk.

  • 1
    Pass Insight: The thrall believes you’ll sit at head table. Anything else would be rude.–Yay, that was my answer anyhow!