Quest Of Eril: Varanis has Questions

Berra — Quest Of Eril 06

1627, Sea Season, Harmony Week


Context

Sea Season, Harmony Week, travelling through the Donalf Flats [[[s02:session-32|Session 32]]]

Spoilery for emotions and decisions

Events

Noon. A time to rest and graze the animals, and stretch, and eat if not actually cook. Listening for trouble becomes more important. The rain is letting up, mere ragged drizzle now, and the lumescence of Yelm breaks through to paint the flats with greens and purples such as only bless Sartar. Berra is on a rock, watching the world, and has pointed to places that need guarding, but not insisted on a regime. By now, people know well enough how to rest.

Varanis drifts Berra’s direction. She’s wearing her cloak over her armour, thrown back over one shoulder to keep her sword arm free. The wool looks heavy and damp.

The Vingan offers up some jerky. “Eat.”

Berra looks at the meat, and then grins. “Thank you. I found out my bit of hard tack was a lump, and I didn’t want to break a tooth. Barrel-bottom stuff. No vegetables on it?” It is a habitual reminder, more than any form of accusation of bad memory.

Varanis shakes her head. “No vegetables. I was careful when I picked up supplies.” She has another piece for herself and chews on it as she stares across the landscape in front of them.

Berra nods, like she knew that already. “I figure it’s best to check – nearly went wrong in the Grape, of all places.” She tears into the meat with teeth and hands to get a couple of long strips, and then pulls out her knife to chip bits off politely. From savage to almost civilised in a moment.

Softly, barely audible, Varanis asks, “Is this mission difficult for you? Knowing what I have to do and who for?”

Berra does not answer for a bit. During that time she stares out at the landscape, and forgets to eat. “I… I have to not think,” she says finally, and with that, her Humakti mask goes on. “But then, Separation is a thing I practice. So not when I’m thinking right. It’s for Sartar. It’s the right thing. So we do it.”

How did you… no. I’m sorry. There’s no place for curiosity here. I didn’t mean to pry.”

“How did I cope?” Berra guesses, and shrugs. “It’s a thing you live with.”

Varanis glances over at Berra. She starts to say something, but then shakes her head. Instead, she says, “I hope we’ve chosen the right direction. It would be unfortunate to catch up, only to find we’ve followed the wrong Grazelanders.”

“We gotta guess.” Berra shrugs. “If we were wrong, we’re still past Alda Chur, and we’ve found some people who are probably going to meet up with her, and if not, will probably be able to tell us where she’s gone.”

Varanis nods. “It’s the waiting that gets to me. The uncertainty. But, you already know that.” She sighs. “Sometimes I think you know me better than I do. I’m not happy about this quest of yours, but… it’s for selfish reasons. I’ve thought about it and of course, you have my support.” She leaps from topic to topic, though the path between is clear.

Berra nods, and follows the jump. She half-smiles. “Thank you. To be honest I’m not happy about what’s going to happen but the result is worth it. It has to be.”

The rain starts again. Berra blinks at it settles on her, more a soft mist than a fall of water. A half-warm wind blows.

“I admit, I’m not excited by the notion of watching someone torture you… who will play Ikkadz?”1Varanis fails Insight (Human). Berra is a blank tablet.

“Lord D’Val, I hope. With Nala being out far-left I didn’t get to talk to her. I’m hoping she’ll start it, and then she’ll probably not be in the acts themselves. If she doesn’t want to, I’ll ask her to be outside the city. But you shouldn’t have to be there for that bit.” Her expression is as calm as always, the reflections of the mist in her eyes making her seem distant.

“I’ll want to be close by, Berra. In case something goes wrong. I need that, at least. Cutting yourself from us changes things for you, but not for those of us you leave behind.” Berra’s calm is met with determination. This is not a request.

Berra thinks. “I’ll have to talk to Lord Silor,” she says, “And to Lord Eril. If you’re there, you might risk things.” It is not a refusal.

“I don’t have to be present. I won’t have you go through all of that only to ruin it. But, I need to be near,” Varanis offers as a compromise.

“That should be workable. It’s likely there’ll be a small area, and after I’ve made my try – or D’Val has – it’ll be over.” Berra manages a wry smile. “Having a Rune Lord or two there is likely to be important, and if it’s one that the High Sword doesn’t like it’s probably better.”

“And of course, all of this assumes we survive this season. Will it be in Boldhome?”

Berra nods. “The parts that were away from the relics, will be in Boldhome. The White Grape is a place that is as close as you can get to home, I think. And it started here… there. And finished there. And there’s some that will happen in the Temple, but that is mysteries, and it’s not for anyone outside to worry about. Get cut away, get hunted, get home, leave home, come back to Boldhome. Those are the stations that I need to do. Nala, then Suuraki, then you and Xenofos, then you and Xenofos and Rajar, then D… Lord D’Val. And maybe the Iron Lord. That’s if everyone agrees, and we start it as I’m thinking. I could be wrong about a lot of stuff.”

“Suuraki will be the Lunars. Rajar? And what of Valseena? I saw you speak to her too.”

“Rajar’s going to be Tamain. The old Chief, who exiles Eril. And Valseena’s… you remember the secret healing Temple?” Berra bounces from answering to asking, in her way.

Varanis flushes. “With the red-robed healer?”

Berra nods. “Yeah. It’s one she can do, and it’s not dangerous for her. I mean, as much as a Heroquest isn’t.”

“Right.” Again, she might say something more, but her breath sighs out of her and she remains silent.

For a moment, it seems like Berra will ask, and then she shrugs. “It’ll be fine. Or close enough. Or if it’s not, it’s better than failing by doing nothing. This meat would be better with chilli on it.”

“You gave all of yours to the troll?” Varanis is willing to follow Berra’s lead, letting the conversation shift to safer ground.

“I gave everything I had on me to the troll. But that was before Dangerford.” Berra smiles and tumbles over to the next emotion. “I’ve got a few sets of dipping spices, instead.” She perks up, and stands. “You stare out at nothing for a bit? I want to go add flavour to food.”

Varanis nods, accepting the responsibility for their safety. “Go. Eat. I’ll be here.”

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Varanis asks Berra for more details on her proposed Heroquest.