Berra — Oathbound
1628, Sea Season, Death Week
Sea Season, Death Week, Wildday. Outside Clearwine. [[[s03:session-4|Session 4]]]
When she has as much privacy as possible, and has asked the drakes to flock off and told the guard where to go, with politeness made manifest by great effort, Berra looks up at the sky for a moment.
Varanis waits patiently.
“In the Palace. You said I was oath-bound.”
There’s a pause, then Varanis shrugs. “I lied. I needed you with me and I needed an excuse Nameless wouldn’t argue with. It was politically expedient at the time, allowing everyone to save face.” There’s a slight flush. “I admit, I didn’t think it through and it was far too like Grandmother than I care to admit.”
“I… I kept silent. But please don’t do it again. I’d argue staying there, but that felt wrong.” Berra keeps her expression calm and distant.
“I am sorry,” her friend replies. “I knew it almost as soon as I said it, but there was no way back.”
Berra quirks something like a smile. “Alright. But …yeah. I need to talk to the Ducks about where we’ll sleep, and I should give Xenofos back his cloak.” She does not move to do that.
“I won’t lie to keep you by my side again. But…” Varanis pauses, chewing her lower lip. “I know you’re here as my friend, but don’t you think it would be easier to have you here as my Humakt too? At least when we are dealing with people like Leika?”
Berra thinks then. “It’s pretty close, but I decided about that a long time ago, to be honest. That you’d need a friend you knew was by you as well as me being able to walk. I mean, it’s… You could hire me?”
Varanis considers. “I think you have the right of it… I need to know that you are here because of what we are to each other and not because of money.” She runs a hand through her hair, ending up with a lock of it between her teeth. After a moment more, she adds, “It’s important to me that you can walk away if I ever really fuck up.”
“No, I think I’ll probably shout a lot instead,” Berra says. “But if you ever want me to stand behind you, then I’m Humakt. You can say that truthfully. And we’re each other’s friends. So there isn’t another one of me associated with you. It’s just that I don’t make any vows about it. Each day we get up and keep doing it.”
Varanis lets the lock fall from her fingers and it looks like she is about to wrap Berra in a hug. But then she stops herself and steps back a half step. “I like having a friend like you. It’s good for me. I hope I am as good a friend to you.”
“Um, this got a bit awkward.” Berra mostly looks confused. “I mean, I like you and stuff, but I’m not sure what we’re talking about now.” She may have picked up the wrong idea somehow – maybe she thinks she needs to make some kind of judgement or snap decision.
The Vingan just laughs and changes the subject. “Do you want me to return my cousin’s cloak or can you do it without removing his head? I need him alive.”
“Oh, I can do it. And I’m not going to put the egg at risk.” She gives Varanis an amused look when she says that, in a dark, trollish way. She might be answering something else.
“Alright. I need to go talk with the Durulz anyway. I can ask about sleeping arrangements while I’m at it.” Varanis makes a little shooing motion at Berra.
“Quackford. We’ll probably sleep at Quackford.” Berra goes back towards the group, downhill in her own little river.
Berra asks Varanis not to lie about being oathbound…