Old Wounds

1628, Dark Season, late in Disorder Week


Mellia finally catches up with Berra, her new patient. Session SA3.13.


It is morning of Wildday. Venlar is enjoying being rich enough not to have a habit of rising early, but the rest of the house seems to be up. Haran, in the kitchen, is finally settling down over breakfast, and Berra and Varanis are by the fire in the Praxian room, the big common room.

Mellia, still looking a little sleepy, emerges from the room she and Venlar borrowed. She is wearing her usual white robe. When she sees Berra and Varanis, she hurries over and tries to hug both of them.

“Berra! Did you get my letter? You fink, you didn’t tell me you made priestess!” Mellia is clearly happy to see both of them.

“Yes,” Berra says. “I got a letter. I can’t read, though.” There is obvious tiredness in her face.

Varanis shakes herself awake. Despite her best intentions, she’d drifted off. “Mellia! I’m glad to see you.” She leaps up to intercept, claiming the first hug for herself. In Mellia’s ear she whispers, “” “Slowly. She might not remember you well.” “”

Berra should not be hugged: there is an unhealed wound there. Worse, though, there is something else wrong. She barely seems to be responding to enthusiasm. She seems more confused than anything else.1Mellia passes First Aid and Insight (Human).

Mellia nods as Varanis whispers in her ear. Berra doesn’t get hugged after all . “Berra, I’d like to look at your wounds. That one on your ribs worries me.”

Berra looks blank for a moment, and then starts to wriggle out of her tunic. There are a couple of new scars on her, and a bandage wound tightly around her waist. About the height of her elbow, towards the back on her left, there is a folded dressing, which the bandage holds in place. It is less easy to examine than might be hoped, as Berra has not taken off her sword belt. Wind Tooth is strapped on, albeit loosely.

“I can guard Wind Tooth for you, Berra,” Varanis offers. “It will make it easier to Mellia to take care of you.”

Mellia gets her satchel and comes back. She examines the new scars first before looking at the waist wound.

A new scar on Berra’s chest is in the shape of the Death Rune, cutting through the Movement Rune tattooed there. It likes like neat work, done on purpose. “An initiate should always have their sword,” Berra says, in a slightly worried tone. “I’m getting better.” On her arms and her face there are new scars. The painted Truth Rune on her cheek is now scarred in, matched with a neat, precise Death Rune on the other side. Each forearm has a Death Rune, and the top of the biceps has Death. All look like they have been healed by a Humakti. The shimmery blue artwork on the back of her left hand is a mess, and there is no longer a tattoo on her right hand at all. The rest are as they were, although of course some are crossed, perhaps deliberately, by Humakt’s Runes.

“It’ll be right here, within reach of your hands. Just out of Mellia’s way,” Varanis promises.

The Vingan shudders when she takes in the full extent of the new scars and her eyes light with unspoken emotion, but her words remain calm.2Insight: She’s horrified and enraged and smothering it for Berra’s sake.

The Humakti makes no move to hand over her sword.

Mellia comments, “The rune scars are healing nicely. I am going to look at the wound on your waist now, Berra. Let me know if you need a Comfort Song.”

Berra says nothing, but lifts her hands to let Mellia unwind the bandage. Her face stays placid.

Mellia gets to work, checking for infection as well as other things.

Varanis watches, silently looming.

Up close, Berra smells of fresh sweat and effort, a night spent in worship. The wound is well cared for, though, with an antiseptic oil on the bottom layer of the dressing, and charms against disease held on by the top layer. It just needs replacing, as these things do.

The wound itself is a jagged stab to the kidney, scabbed over but still in need of protection. It is not yet closing, but is about as warm as it should be – no hotter, thank the lady of mercy, and no colder. Under the skin, healing must have begun.

From the kitchen comes the sound of Yehna negotiating with Haran. She is very good at distracting him.

Mellia casts Heal 2 on the wound to get it to close and…

As Mellia starts to cast a spell Berra says, “It will not heal by magic.”3Varanis, oO° “is she better yet? No? How about now? Did Mellia do it? Is she better?”

Mellia frowns, but saves her magic. She begins to wrap it up with fresh dressings, after doing any needed sutures, cleaning and other work. “Berra, do you remember what the weapon looked like?”

Varanis: “But… but wait. Just like that?” Varanis stammers. You don’t even try just because she says so?”

Berra nods dumbly in answer, but even as Mellia speaks, a memory drifts up in her mind.4Passes INTx5 She has seen such a wound before, almost exactly. When she tended to Lord Eril, after Irillo had been Heroquesting as the Humakti and they went into the swamp, that was exactly how it looked. On Irillo there was a little less muscle, but he too had just such a stab wound.

There are no sutures needed – that has all been done, and by a master.

Mellia sucks in her breath. “Varanis, she’s right. I saw a wound like this once before. It wouldn’t heal. Actually, this explains a lot.”

“No. I won’t accept that. She has to get better. She can’t stay like this forever!” Varanis bursts out, emotions slipping the stranglehold she’s had on them at last. “You have to fix her!”

Berra looks at Varanis in perplexity, but no alarm. The outburst does not seem to worry her.

Mellia has tears in her eyes. “Varanis, do you remember the Lightbringer quest?”

The Vingan snorts. “As if I could forget.”

“Chalana Arroy has to find a wound that She can’t heal. When we went on that Eril quest, Irillo got cut up with a piece of the original wound. I couldn’t heal him either. I had to take him to the hospital.”

That seems to mean nothing to Berra. She stays quiet.

“But you’re stronger now,” Varanis argues. “You have your own shrine and everything. And well…” She sags. “I had hoped. Can you do anything about her memory or her weird…. Stillness? It’s uncanny the way she just sits there all the time, like she’s waiting for nothing in particular and doesn’t care.” She’s talking almost as if Berra isn’t in the room to listen to it. Or that it doesn’t matter that she is.

Mehrim, Yehna’s husband, comes down the stairs yawning. On seeing the group by the hearth he gives a friendly nod and detours to go out via the front door.

“I want to see that wound on your back, Berra. It wouldn’t surprise me if you had a bit of your mind or heart cut out with a piece of the original Wound.” Mellia is fighting to stay calm.

Berra does not sigh, or object. She just looks at Mellia and waits.

“Could it be the Death rune that has cut through her Movement?” Varanis asks. “I hadn’t seen that before. And if I understand correctly, it’s that aspect of her that has made Lord Raven possible. He’s taken it.”

Either that is not news to Berra or she does not care.

“That’s a scary thought,” Mellia replies as she finishes with the kidney wound and starts working on the other wound. “I will consult with the hospital here and ask Lord Eril a question or two.”

“Eril’s the one who told me it was Lord Raven’s creation that made her like this.”

There is nothing to deal with as far as the wound on Berra’s chest goes. It is mostly scarred over, slightly puckered by whatever magic was used. It just needs to be kept dry and clean, and other than having gone to worship, Berra does not seem to have strained it too much.

“Joy. Did he say if it wears off?”

Mellia stares at the chest wound, trying to work out if Berra’s heart might have been damaged.

The cross runs directly over the Movement Rune, and is long enough to touch the Clan tattoo around Berra’s navel. It looks like it was shallow and did not get through the ribs. Physically, other than the unhealing one, Berra is fine.

“He didn’t know. I got the impression that we need to do something, but I didn’t feel like he knew exactly what it was. Just that he wanted me to feel like he did,” Varanis grumbles.

Mehrim comes in through the kitchen door, and Haran shouts, “Dada!” He is so pleased he shouts it several times, until he is picked up.

“Eril is always such a delight,” Mellia grumbles. “Go ahead and get dressed, Berra. Thank you for your patience. I’m going to go to the hospital right now unless there’s ice on the streets.”

Berra picks up her tunic and starts getting it back over her head. While she moves with care she does not seem to be in great pain. Just pain. Not too much of it.

“But… augh! Why doesn’t anyone seem to understand that she’s broken? You know, I probably could have taken Wind Tooth and she might have said no again, but I don’t think she’d have even tried to stop me!” Varanis throws her hands up then turns and stomps over to one of the narrow windows. She takes several shuddering breaths.

Outside, Yelm is covered by cloud. It is raining gently, and the day is cold.

“Varanis, I understand that something is horribly wrong. I am going to see if anyone knows of a cure, including the Goddess Herself. I’m not giving up this easily,” says Mellia.

Mellia goes to fetch her cloak and gloves. She returns quickly.

“I’m sorry,” Varanis replies when Mellia returns. “I’m just really frustrated. I’ll escort you and then maybe go visit Grandfather Sartar.”

Berra gets her tunic in and stands to go upstairs. “Thank you, White Lady,” she says to Mellia. Nothing more. She heads for the stairs.

“It’s okay, ” Mellia reassured Varanis.

Varanis nods, then collects her cloak and lets Yehna know that Berra has gone to bed and Varanis and Mellia are stepping out.

The outer door opens and closes, bringing in a hint of cold mountain air.

“Brr, ” says Mellia.

Berra climbs the stairs with the slowness of someone who is wounded and the surety of one who knows they will get there in the end.

“It is quite fresh morning out there, Lady Mellia.” Lenta comments. Her cheeks look ruddy and she is carrying two baskets. “I think I did get everything Yehna needs, though. Oh good morning again Varanis.”

Yehna is just forming a loaf to bake, and gives Varanis a smile. “Enjoy your walk.”

Varanis thanks them both and politely waits for Mellia to be ready.

“Good morning, Lady Lenta. I am going to consult the experts.” Mellia gets ready fast.

Lenta nods. “I trust you can bring her succour, Lady Mellia.”5Insight: She sounds earnest. And at the same time worried and reassuring

“I am going to try my best,” Mellia replies.

Mellia smiles at Lenta.

Varanis seems impatient to be off, and she opens the door again. The wind whips through the room, carrying a broad hint to Mellia.

“Ernalda be with you both.” Lenta greets as farewell.

Mellia goes out the door before the house freezes. “May the White Lady smile on you.”

Outside, as they trudge through the cold, Varanis says, “Did you know that Lenta is nervous around you?”

“No, but I remember her as a total fluff head. She has improved.”

“Hey now! She’s grown a lot over the last year,” Varanis protests. “Anyway, try not to scare her too much.”

“I won’t. What is this I hear about a quest going wrong and wraith attacks?”

“It’s a complicated story, and perhaps not one for the streets of Boldhome,” Varanis comments, hunching her shoulders a little as she walks. She has to shorten her stride to match Mellia’s or the healer would be forced to jog to keep up. “The short version is that Berra was trying to get a Wyter for her High Sword. That involved returning to the quest you once lived through. This time, in the Marsh, we encountered a pair of wraiths…” The Vingan shivers and glances around. “They both attacked Berra and… it was bad, Mellia. But, the quest didn’t go wrong. In the end it was successful. It’s just, I’m not sure any of us were prepared for the price Berra would have to pay.”

“You couldn’t be prepared for that, ” answers Mellia. “I wonder what the wraiths could have done to Berra. I’m not familiar with wraiths. Another thing to ask about.”

Varanis just shrugs.

The rest of the trek to the hospital is quiet. The cousins are both tired, Mellia from her journey and Varanis from a night of worship. As they near the hospital, Varanis reminds Mellia to get an escort home so she doesn’t get lost. And to be mindful of the slippery patches. Pregnancy can interfere with balance, after all.

Varanis tells Mellia that she’s going up to the Flame, not wanting to disappear without warning. And she might go to the palace after to visit for a while.

It’s probably just an odd turn of phrase when she says she’s going to the palace after, as she’ll have to pass through the palace to get to the Flame. Unless she takes the stairs that cut into the rock so steeply that in some places a person really needs to climb more than step. But no one would be flighty enough to take that route in unpredictable weather like this. Right?6Varanis has once again failed an INT*5, and passed Movement. But she also passed Climb, so other than being cold and miserable, she’s probably just fine and she can thaw out at the palace later.

  • 1
    Mellia passes First Aid and Insight (Human).
  • 2
    Insight: She’s horrified and enraged and smothering it for Berra’s sake.
  • 3
    Varanis, oO° “is she better yet? No? How about now? Did Mellia do it? Is she better?”
  • 4
    Passes INTx5
  • 5
    Insight: She sounds earnest. And at the same time worried and reassuring
  • 6
    Varanis has once again failed an INT*5, and passed Movement. But she also passed Climb, so other than being cold and miserable, she’s probably just fine and she can thaw out at the palace later.