Berra — Sartarite Strolling
????, Dark Season
Dark Season, eve of the first Wildsday. Follows on directly from Esrolian Exercise. [[[s02:session-19|Session 19]]]
As soon as Suuraki has his dagger-axe ready to go, Berra is heading for the doors. “Suuraki in front, me back left, Xenofos back right,” she says. “Pause as we get ready to leave and let me check for enemies. All understood?” Her trade-talk words are simple.
Suuraki eyes the foreigner with something that might be amusement but takes up his position without saying anything.
“So you know, this is not the first time someone has tried to kill Varanis. Or us, but her more. Can you tell me what assets and goods…. um, things you can do, to help? I’m Humakti. I fight well, command troops sometimes.”
“This is Prax. Someone is usually trying to kill someone. And I am a hunter, not a warrior, but I know how to swing my axe. If the assassins come we will kill them, if Waha wills it.” Suuraki gestures with his axe. “They will start by hurling their magic at you, if they come. Be prepared to shield yourself.”
“I’m going to try to have Humakt helping as well. Unfair otherwise.” Berra then looks to the approaching doors, and mutters, “Right. Magic. One pause.” She then speaks a short prayer and says, “I don’t sense anything out there.” Xenofos, unarmoured, gets a glance. Maybe it is an invitation to speak.
“Let’s go then. Lead the way Suuraki,” he says.
Suuraki strides out of the door and turns towards the temple square.
Xenofos loosens rapier in its sheath with his left thumb and follows.
Berra walks with the swift movements of a very short infanteer. After a minute or two she asks, “Suuraki, will you be safe if you leave us? Safer? Do you mind?”
“A high llama rider fears nothing on the plains of Prax.”
“Good. We could do with a guide and we might have to leave this city.” She is scanning the city with a professional look.
“First we should see if the <Great Shaman> wishes to send your companion on a vision quest. If he senses a fate upon her it would be unthinkable to refuse.” Suuraki uses a Praxian word for what he cannot say in Trade Talk.
“I don’t know that word. <<Gape Shaman>>?” Berra’s confusion is in her voice only. Her eyes keep moving.
“Interesting adobe-architecture…” Xenofos is looking around him.
“High Priest Shaman,” Berra tries out. “Tomorrow. Yes. I hope to be back a little after dawn.”
“You said you needed to leave. Your quest is not concluded with the return of the old priest to the Zola Fel temple?”
Berra takes a moment to work out an answer. “It is finished. But to get away from the money-hire killers we might have to go find tasks somewhere else.”
“If they have been paid you will not escape them by staying in Prax. They will seek you out. And if they are coming for you because their god sends them, you will not escape them by going anywhere.”
“Good to know. But making it harder means we can kill more.” Berra seems unworried by the notion of being a target forever.
“If you seek to kill more, bait a trap for them here.”
“I seek to keep Varanis alive. Longer, healthy. Kill more is… ugh. Side. Thing. Can’t find the right word.” She gives both men a look of appeal, although it is a brief one, and likely to be wasted unless they are looking her way.
« the beast that flees threat all too often finds itself in a snare » Suuraki says.
“You were speaking in Praxian there. I didn’t understand.” Berra comes right out and admits it.
“Just an old saying one my uncles had. How should I translate…”
“Without worrying about me getting angry.” Berra grins. “Yes-ly if it’s helpful.”
“If you flee what you think is the «obvious» threat you may be fleeing into a trap.”
“Yes,” Berra replies after a little thought. “Moving the right way is important. To places … but yesterday she would be dead if they had won. So anything now is… <<strength in depth>> uhhh. The layers of things the money-killers do. My Temple may know more.”
“But she is not dead, and they are, today, fewer.”
“Cheap easy people. Please do not take insult. But I would use them to drive, as you say. The next will be harder. Do the Black Fang family kill Lightbringers?” Berra looks suddenly at Xenofos.
“They kill anyone,” Suuraki replies. “I do not know their goals. They were employed by the moon tribe when they were here, but they also fought the moon tribe.”
“Oh, I remember that statue plinth! It’s been without-goods… empty for years. How long will the Shaman-Priest take? Should I go there, or the River Temple tomorrow?”
Suuraki shrugs. “I do not even know if he will see us. The temple is close to yours. Wait for us there.”
Berra says flatly, “No. I’m a warrior. I don’t wait. I should escort her.”
“Then you must find us at the river temple, I suppose.”
“If I don’t come, do not make your Priest wait. The Bison rider is a great warrior and the Unicorn – the hooved one not the woman is too. She is a young shaman and… difficult to say.”
“Very well.” 1Fumble on insight human makes Suuraki’s player laugh. ‘well the truth is there is 0% chance he was going to make the great shaman wait for anything so I guess you now believe the opposite of that’.
Xenofos seems thoughtful.2make mental note to self assassin cult working for both for and against Empire, hearsay, informant Suuraki, Highllama rider, in Pavis date today.
Berra falls silent, after that.
“You expect to finish your business at temple by dawn Berra?” Xenofos asks, once the silence has stretched a little.
“I think so. But I need to worship anyhow, even if they won’t let me use the altar. Don’t come and get me – I’ll be fine.” She gives Xenofos a direct look.
He replies, “You are competent, but still, should you wander these streets alone?”
“Yes. Because you’re going to be walking Varanis around in them.” Berra is now looking over the streets again, including glances behind.
“If they plan to strike down a Humakti within shouting distance of the sword temple then war is already here,” Suuraki observes.
“Has war not been on these plains since time immemorial?’ counters the Scribe.
“Petty fights and skirmishes. Vigorous debate between the tribes.” This might be a phrase that Suuraki has already practiced.
“Edge war, not middle war,” Berra puts in.
“Horsepeople, trolls, Pavis, Lunars…” Xenofos might have a long list.
“If you hear someone say ﾃきtoday is a good day for you to dieﾃそ then draw your weapon and charge.”
“I didn’t understand that. How bad is it to charge before they say that? Would it be rude?” Berra is smiling, the action dimpling her cheeks.
“It is never wrong to attack one’s enemies. Foolish, perhaps, but never wrong. Once the fight is started, however, it will not stop.” Suuraki is either resigned to this, or never thinks anything of it anyway.
“Incidentally, what does it mean?” Asks the scribe.
Suuraki thinks about translation.
“And if I attack we know who the enemies are. But understood. I could make feuds here easily.” Berra is happy enough with that.
“This day it is proper and fitting that you should die,” is how Suuraki finally translates his phrase.
“On all days,” Berra murmurs.
Raised eyebrow. “One day that is True.” The Scribe might be replying to Berra, more likely to Suuraki.
Berra sighs. “No, I get the emotion-thinking, but all days are fitting for dying on. But I think the important part is the ‘you’ bit.”
“Indeed.” Suuraki nods tersely. “The sayer has said their interpretation of Waha’s law, and now we must debate it.”
Berra chuckles warmly.
“Let it not be said that follower of Lhankor Mhy avoids frisky debate,” Xenofos notes. Or perhaps footnotes. Or margin-notes. Or appendixes.
“Oh Humakt… Cut me off from my tribe now, but only if you take my ears,” Berra appeals half under her breath.
“Was that dry Praxian humour, or should one expect such formal challenge from the peoples of Waha?” If Xenofos truly meant ‘dry’ he might have used a variety of words.
“Normally a shout and a swing of the axe is enough. But if you hear that then someone really means it.”
Xenofos nods. “So no excess formality required. And the Black Teeth would omit even that I guess?”
Suuraki points out, “They tried to ambush us.”
“Tactically sound, but not very honorable.”
“They don’t know Honour. They will use poison, attack the innocent, pretend peace. One of the stories of them I am permitted to speak of is of a bandit in the Rig Rubble who was so feared that now he is worshipped, and his blood became poison.” Berra shrugs it off. “The stories are incomplete.”
Xenofos wrinkles his nose with disdain on mention of poison.3Mental addition to information given by Suuraki, still hearsay, but Humakti tradition. Informant Berra Jarangsdaughter, Blue Tree clan.
“Sword hall… So you’ll join us in the morning, Berra?” Xenofos makes sure.
“I should. If it’s going to take much longer than that, I’ll come back instead. If it’s going to take a bit longer, I’ll send a messenger. But if it takes a bit longer, then when I come back I’ll be changed a bit. So I should be safe, but I might be cut off more.”
Raised eyebrow. “Good night. Walk safely.”
Berra grins, and approaches the gates. Alone.