Berra — On The Road 03
????, Fire Season, Movement Week
Fire Season, Movement Week, Clayday [[[s01:session-40|Session 40]]]
Rastip Stormborn has attacked the group, trying to kill Irillo. He and his bandits have been defeated, mostly killed.
After the fighting, Varanis comes over to offer Berra and Rajar assistance with the distasteful task of stringing up bodies. With the last body hanging from a tree, Varanis finally says, “You fought incredibly well, Berra.”
Berra looks at the blood and the shadows on the road. “I have never felt like that before,” she says. “It was all so clear.”
“I knew I should be worried about you faced with so many, but then I saw you and knew that there was no reason to fear. You were death.” It’s perhaps not quite awe in her voice, but…
“Always step in, but don’t worry. Worry is pointless.” Berra takes a slow, deep breath. “It was the crystal. It made such a difference.”
Varanis smiles. “I should learn to be draw on the spirit more,” she says thoughtfully. “I have a tendency to leap first and think late sometimes.” Like this is news to anyone.
“The order is important. I always try for the shield first,” Berra replies, earnestly, “And then I don’t always have time for all of the magic I want. Making my blade flame would be important sometimes, but it is harder to do that in battle. But thank you. It really helped.”
“I’m glad,” Varanis replies. She wrinkles her nose at the scent of smoke in the air. “I meant to hit the man, not the tree,” she murmurs after a moment. “I suppose it had the same effect.”
“Maybe Orlanth protected him,” Berra suggested. “Some of them had a shimmer around them. I think they threw everything they had into this. Into killing Eril… Irillo.”
“Was this part of the quest?” Varanis asks. “From what I gather, their leader was known to you already.”
Berra shrugs. “I don’t know,” she admits. “But when people are known to each other, they get drawn together into Heroquests. Fortunately there isn’t an easy place for that troll to be around.” She shudders, but her face takes on hatred more than fear, the dark look of an angry Humakti. “He should not be a problem.”
“If he is, we will kill him this time,” Varanis says fiercely.
“We can hope. His god may take him away again – but we have each other, and he has only himself and his foul creations.”
“We didn’t have time to plan, only to respond. With the attack coming from the side, it took longer to reach Irillo than I would have liked.” The Vingan looks thoughtful again. “Should we reduce the distance between us? Or is there a better way to proceed?”
“No. We had reduced it to what we thought was right, and he got away safely, and it all worked. We go on as we were, unless Irillo decides to change it, based on anything he thinks. But he has to be alone. Not conversation distance.” Berra looks over to the mules. “Harmony. And not talking. Damn.”
Varanis nods. “He’s having a difficult time of it, but he’s strong. When we can, we should ask if he felt like this was connected to his quest.”
“Harmony. I can do my bit. Peace. Calm. Not going to the Broken Jug in Wilmskirk.” Berra grins suddenly, brightly. “And yes, ask him.”
“The Broken Jug?” Varanis asks with a raised eyebrow.
“I had to buy off a bar fight I nearly started there. Someone couldn’t work out that I wanted to be left alone, so I threw my beer on him, and then I regretted it later, but I still have a reputation there. They give me the private room, so nobody has to meet me.” Berra looks more proud than embarrassed.
Varanis laughs out loud. “Oh tell me there’s a song about that one!”
Berra’s happy reply is, “Well, as the place thinks I’m sleeping with D’Val, I might have to hit someone if I heard it.” And she adds, “Which would start a bar fight,” a momentary pause later.
If Varanis had already taken a sip from the flask she was in the process of raising to her lips, she’d have spluttered water everywhere. Fortunately, she wasn’t quite there yet. She lowers the flask and looks at the Humakti cautiously. “Um…. Berra… you should maybe know there’s a rumour to that effect in Nochet too.”
Berra blinks. “What, that far already?” She seems more perplexed than angry. “People talk, huh?”
“Well, you are rather well known and probably frankly terrifying for some. The story probably helps shield them from fear and their own sense of inadequacy,” Varanis says with a shrug.
“Mostly, that’s D’Val, I think. It probably started in Duck Point – they… well, he’s famous there. And anywhere that the Durulz are.” She gives a quick look around the area before reaching for her own water bottle, matter-of-factly.
Varanis takes a sip from her own bottle and stares straight ahead for a moment. Then she gives a little shake of her head. “What can we expect in Wilmskirk? I’ve not been there on Market day. I’m not overly happy about witnessing the sale of people, but they do that there, don’t they?”
“They do. It’s a Sambari thing mostly. They hold thralls who are not just unransomed.” Berra shrugs. “I suppose it’s big. A weekly market has advantages over a daily one. But really it’s just going to be big and noisy and you’ve been there almost as much as I have. It’ll be full on the day, and there might be Praxians about, and traders from other places, and … y’know. Market. And maybe Irillo having another vision.”
“What else can you tell me about the Sambari? Do they support the Prince?” Varanis asks.
Berra thinks and then nods. “They did pretty well, I think. Under the Lunars, nobody did well, but recently? And the…. um, I think the ruler of Wilmskirk – it’s a confederacy town – is an advisor to Kally. He’s called Greyskin something. I think he’s a Sambari. I think. Well, a Sambar. Can speak for the Tribe.”
Looking around, Varanis observes, “People are starting to look like they might be ready to ride soon. Are we going to use the same formation?”
“Yes. And I think I may have just killed someone by denying them air, and I should think about that.” Berra looks down again at the shadow of a body she is standing in. “Should have done better.”
Varanis looks away. “I… have things to think about too. I was willing to…” She shakes her head. “It doesn’t matter. Or rather it does, but it is mine to deal with, I think.”
“Mhm.” Berra sort-of smiles, but there is no humour in it, and it is just the twitch of a lip. “Temple. Thinking.” She shrugs, and steps out of the shadow she was in, although she seems to take the heavy mood with her.
Varanis turns to locate Manasa, checking on the horse’s load before eventually mounting Doqeia.