Berra — Sending A Letter
????, Sea Season
Towards the end of Sea Season, in Boldhome… [[[s01:session-32|Session 32]]]
Berra has been staying in the White Grape along with everyone else, her backpack stored carefully under a Death Rune charcoal-scrawled onto the wall of the common room where she sleeps. Today she has been absent and she comes back looking, to be honest, slightly drunk. She asks at the bar if she can have something to eat, and something for Xenofos if he is around, she’d like to talk to him please, and maybe some water too…
“Sure.” Xenofos mixes his usual watered wine and follows Berra to a table.
Berra takes some water and a moment to compose herself, and then says, “I visited the Storm Bull Temple today. I talked to Harmast about the Temple, and the Priest.” More water. She is obviously regretting the excesses of the past few hours.
“Rough around the edges these Bulls but with knowledge of Chaos not to despise.” Xenofos is smiling as he speaks.
“That is… a polite way of putting it,” Berra says, politely. “The Khan said he thought the vessel the Priest tried to kill himself into might be a way of sending a message to the Mother Cult.”
“I suppose that could very well be so. Did he have a guess if the message might have been sent?”
Berra shakes her head, slowly, and then rolls out her shoulders with a wince. “No, but I was thinking we should warn the Clans anyhow. They should be aware of spies, as well as Broo. They will probably be patrolling the area closely but… I would not want to think that they would guard against the wrong thing. What comes will come seeking to hide a long time.”
“Ledger was in new pelorian… So seeker would be somewahat civilized. Not that the priest was too charming in appearance or manners. And he or she could have some nasty backup.”
It might be unwise, and it’s certainly a horrific barbarian way to drink it, but Berra pours some wine into her water mug, and starts making inroads on it. “What’s a ledger?”
“The books Irillo found on the farm. Trading notes.”
“Oh, right. Yes. So there were Lunar Trading Partners? Did the Green Trees decide to set a trap for them? I confess by that point I was probably off trying to ride a patrol.”
Berra pauses. “Or a hired Lunar who did the writing.”
“Could be, but sounds overly complex. And there was lot of brave shouting from the Green Fish but their final plan did elude me.”
“But you would write in your native language, wouldn’t you? So… is that right? I don’t know how this works.” More wine, more water. Berra is on her way to tipsy.
“Well yes and no. Quite often people write different things in different languages. Or may learn languages like tradetalk just to get by.”
Berra looks confused, but nods. “Anyhow. I came by to ask if you would… well, yes, suggest is one word but really to ask if you would write to the Clan Chief of the Green Fish and let him know what Harmast said, so he knows what form of danger he may wish to plan against.” Leaning on the table with one elbow, drink in her hand, she looks somehow more dangerous – sharper – than when she is entirely sober, standing guard. Something about her suggests she could fly off in any direction, for any reason, and rather wants to.
“You think there would be someone in the village who can read?”
“If there isn’t in that stead, there will be in one of them. Most villages have access to someone who can, even if they don’t live there. In the worst case…. hmmm. Maybe we should arrange to make sure the village does have people who can read. Is it something you have to be young to start learning?” There she goes, off on a different path.
“And someone must take the tablet, no, scroll to the village?”, Xenofos suggests.
“We can hire a herald for that, or send it with a merchant. That’s easy enough. Find someone going the right way. I don’t know how we pay them, but someone will. An Issarian would be ideal.”
“Well I can scribble a note – To Saronil and Farist From Berra daughter of Jarang greetings. Now what exactly do you want tell them?”
“Oh, you can put my name in even if I don’t write it. I hadn’t realised that. Even though I saw you do it for Varanis. Uh…” She looks bleary for a moment and then sits up and recites, “As reported, in the Temple the Priest let his life blood slip into a vessel which I broke. I do not believe he had completed the ritual. I do not know what the ritual was. High Storm Khan Harmast believes it may have been an attempt….” She closes her eyes. “He was quite drunk. I brought him some perry. He said, ‘perhaps communication with the mother cult’. Those were his only words on the subject.”
The text gets somewhat shortened and stylized when writing. Xenofos has heard rambling lecturers before.
Berra goes back to repeat, “High Storm Khan Harmast believes it was perhaps communication with the Mother Cult. This if successful would mean they knew their Temple had fallen. From the lengths of tunnels I believe it was only recently re-found. That is my report.”
“Beware of attempts to regain the temple by possible Chaos agents, maybe lunars.?”
Berra grimaces. “I don’t like to put advice into a battle report,” she says. “If they don’t know from what I said, I didn’t say it clearly enough. Did anyone tell them there was New Pelorian writing?”
“Raw data is nothing without evaluation. But it is good to keep the two separate.”
“I think I know what those words mean, from how you use them. If you want to make sure they are warned about Lunars, add, ‘Lord Xenofos of Saiciae says trading notes were in New Pelorian.’ That will put the thought into their minds.” Berra stares into her wine-water mix, but does not drink any more for the moment.
The quill finishes the note. The scribe looks expectant whether there is more.
Berra asks, “Anything else?” It seems she has nothing more to add.
“Do you have a sign you use?”, asks Xenofos after reading the content.
“Yes. A Death Rune with the Truth Rune as its handle. I should paint that on my new shield.” Berra picks up her drink, but still does not sip. “Should I make the mark? I’ve only ever done it in chalk and charcoal, not that black water.”
“Well don’t push too hard and with the quill you only pull towards yourself. Light touch. Try first with that scrap.” He pushes over a small bit of parchment for trying.
Berra does as instructed, and once she gets the hang of not blobbing ink, she can make a clear mark. She smiles over it, drawing several next to each other for her own pleasure before she says, “Where on the big one?”
“Usually here , at the bottom.”
Berra does that, slightly askew. Presumably things like line angle have never occurred to her, so the Death Rune points more to a corner than the bottom. Nevertheless it is legible and no ink blobbed. Berra looks at the quill and asks, “What do I do with this now?”
“I let it dry a bit, seal it and write that it needs to go Green Fish Tula to Saronil or Farist. You find someone to carry it. Issaries priests would be a good guess unless by chance someone from Green Fish is around.”
“I’ll see if they are. The Green Fish or the Blue Tree. I might get the chance if I end up ordered to Dangerford.” Berra offers the quill over. “Are we done? Can I drink now?”
“If you are thirsty, and feel it is a good idea why not.”
“Well, until now I was reporting.” Berra slugs back most of the wine in her mug. “I learned a lot of new battle shouts up with the Storm Bulls and I want to forget them before I ever ever ever use them.”
Xenofos finishes the letter with the address and a small bit of wax.
Berra watches, and drinks, and says, “Do I put the sign into the wax as well?” She seems to be filling in on her forgetting plan pretty well.
“You could, I wear a small token around my neck for that. But it is not necessary.”
Berra nods. “In that case, thank you. I’ll find someone to take the letter.”