Pride and Prejudithe

Berra — Pride 01

????, Storm Season


Continuation from the last scene. [[[s01:session-26|Session 26]]]


Grinning mischievously, Varanis tries to swipe the apple from Berra’s hands.

Berra is surprised, but lets it happen. She gives Varanis a very confused look.

The apple looks …. applish. Not just applish, but also it smells delicious, like other dried fruit. This one has been prepared with spices that don’t count as vegetables, and Varanis saw Berra buying them, negotiating like only she could, by just telling the stallholder not to waste her time, she was happy to pay that, only she wanted to move on. This is definitely Nochet-flavoured.

Varanis’ grin fades a little. “You really didn’t play much, did you?” She tosses it back with a sad smile.

It’s been cored, and salted and honeyed on the inside, and then sliced but not all the way through to the core so that it can dry in spices and crystalised honey and the juice of other fruit – this apple cost a couple of clacks. Berra catches it neatly. “I’d have given it to you,” says she. “But… six people in a house, you learn not to snatch, or someone’s going to sit on you. Possibly me. Also, if you want to do that run with rocks any time, I’ll probably be doing it most days in Storm Season.”

“I wasn’t… nevermind,” she sighs. “I’d be happy to run with you… and rocks.” There’s a slight hesitation at that last part.

“No,” says Berra quietly. “I didn’t play much. I practiced, and people laughed at me, and then they stopped laughing, and then they started watching.”

Wheels seem to be turning, suddenly. “Wait…. Berra…. was that… D’Val?” She sounds suddenly flabbergasted.

Berra suddenly looks proud. “Amazing, isn’t he?”

“Um…..” Varanis stares down the ramp, trying to see if she can catch a glimpse of the diminutive duck. “He’s not as tall as I was expecting,” she states at last.

Right down at the bottom of the ramp, there is a little waddling figure. He’s tiny compared to the crowd down there, but nevertheless he has no problem making a way through it. Possibly he fits in the gaps, but he swiftly becomes hard to spot.

“Same here. By about three cubits.” Which would make him aproximately eight feet tall. “Although I did give credit for local exaggeration. I thought he’d be about six feet. And then he walked into the inn and he was a Duck.” Berra looks down, rueful. She might actually be blushing, but it’s hard to tell why the colour is back in her cheeks.

“D’Val, the 8’ Humakti Sword with blazing eyes, who can decapitate horses in a single blow, is a 4’ tall, one-eyed duck?” There is considerable incredulity in that question.

“I believe he’d point out he’s over four feet tall,” Berra says carefully. “Big, for a Duck. And yes, he can decapitate a horse with a single blow.”

“Not multiple horses, if you’ve heard that. Just one at a time,” she then adds. And, ever in pursuit of truth, “… That I’ve seen.”

“Huh,” Varanis sounds amazed. “The gods are truly mysterious.”

(“It’th not thtrength. It’th in the writht.”)

Berra gives Varanis a happy look. “It’s not strength. It’s in the wrist. Although he’s got good fingers too.” Presumably that means something to a Humakti.

Varanis’ face suddenly goes through a series of rapid expressions, including (among others) dismay, trepidation, and something that might be described as wickedness. “I just remembered… there are no bath houses.” Her cheeks are slightly flushed and her eyes look bright.

“Well, there are mountain streams and dust, I can promise you that.” Berra twists the apple in half and offers a chunk to Varanis. There’s already a bit gone, which happened on the run. “Doesn’t the palace have a bath house? I would have thought it would.” She starts on the long walk downward, choosing the slab-built storm drain and leaving the steps to Varanis.

“I was told that there are no baths in all of Boldhome,” she says after swallowing a bite of apple. She matches Berra’s pace, but via the stairs, feet moving rapidly and lightly.

Berra pauses halfway down for water. “Mm. Well, cloth-bath it is, then. Not even in the Ernalda…. don’t check the temple of Uleria. But the Ernaldan temple? I’m surprised. Possibly in Duck Pond, but they wouldn’t heat the water anyhow.”

“Nala said that’s why she took me to see Kalis…” The corners of Varanis’ lips turn up as she lingers on the name.

“Mm. Wait, Kalis? You like her?”

Varanis hums an affirmation. “She was very generous.”

“She is. A very giving lady. Very earthy.” Berra seems to mean that in all its manifestiations, without a snigger. It might be a seal of approval.

“Maybe a swim in a stream would be good for me.” The Vingan is grinning as she keeps pace on the stairs.

“If you don’t want a tub heated, I’m sure it would. Bloody cold, though.”

“A tub? How… practical.” Practical might not have been the first word she thought of. “A tub will be fine. Certainly more restful than a swim in the stream or a return visit to the Earth Temple.”

“Call for one. I need to get back to the temple, or we could stop on the way, but I should go thank D’Val for the apple, and try to get out of him if he knew I’d be up that way. Which he would tell me if I asked, but that’s not the point.”

“Is it en route to the palace?”

“The Temple? Mostly. But I can’t really afford to stop on the way. I owe him a week of meditation. If I’m lucky it won’t take me much more than a week.” Berra seems genuinely disgusted by the notion.

“Point me in the right direction then. I want to clean myself up and track down my cousins.” She looks truly disheveled. Whoever put her hair up clearly hadn’t planned for that level of physical activity. “And Berra….” she looks very serious as she speaks, “maybe don’t tell Dormal or Xenofos what we discussed earlier? I’m not asking you to lie,” she says quickly. “Just don’t offer him information he doesn’t need to have?”

Berra considers Varanis’ words carefully, and rubs the Truth Rune on her cheek with her thumb. Then she gives a wide grin and a wink. “I might be asked directly, but it’s not like I like talking to Dormal anyway. I don’t think he thinks of me as a source of information. Now, if we jog for a bit, I can ask if the Colymar Manor will get you a tub, but … or you could stop at an inn and pay for one. Those are the options. But I should not get to the temple slower than a walk, and I don’t know if an Initiate would be well greeted at the Manor, to drop off a guest to bathe. If you want to go un-noticed, find a decent inn.”

Berra has finished her water, and refilled it from the stream, and finished it again, by the time they are in easy sight of the first big buildings.

Varanis nods. “I don’t really want to bathe and put these back on again,” she says indicating her sweaty clothes. “I’ll head back to the palace.”