Sharing Burdens

1628, Earth Season, Truth Week, Clayday


On the way back to the Cinder Fox village, Berra is trying her best, but is very tired. Session SA3.12.


As Yelm climbs the sky, Berra is suffering. Even with her armour put onto a horse, she is still carrying a backpack and three swords, and it is obviously too much.

Varanis doesn’t watch for very long before turning up at Berra’s side. “Let me help?” Half command, half request.

Berra takes the chance to stand still. “I’ve been wondering what to hand off to you,” she admits. “I think about two swords and then I have to carry a bunch of rocks. Very sacred rocks.” She rocks slightly on her feet before she loosens her backpack. “Ease that off for me?”

Varanis steps behind her and takes hold of the pack, lifting the weight from Berra’s shoulders and hopefully making it possible for the Humakti to shrug free.

Berra steps forward of the burden. “Those things,” she says. “Wraiths… uck!” No words.

The backpack is the sort of weight that Berra would take on a training run. She should be able to bear it at a walk with no more than a light sweat.

Under the Vingan’s hands it feels strange. Tingly, and like she could pour herself into a void inside and be lost forever.1Varanis passes POWx3

It is about big enough for a change of clothes, some food, and to tie a bedroll to. The statues inside are wrapped and padded with grass. There should be no voids. No yawning abysses at all.

Her eyes widen and there’s a moment where she might be considering opening the bag. But then she set her shoulders with determination and swings the pack around and onto her back. There’s something a bit grim and determined in her expression.

“No, I carry that bit.” Berra is taken by surprise. “You… um, you really shouldn’t. You get my swords.” She currently has three – one on each hip, one strapped to her back where it was getting in the way of the backpack. “Just put it on the ground?” The Humakti might be edging up to nervousness

“But this is the heaviest burden, isn’t it?” Varanis asks. “And you can guard it this way. I can hold it back for a while and will tell you when it’s too much. Just give yourself a small rest and then we can swap.”

“It’s got a banner in there that represents Death in a form that was once pinned to the sky and if you treat it wrong it will kill you.” Berra looks definitely nervous now. “Let me be Humakt. You can borrow my swords. That’ll help.” She does not move to unbuckle any of them, just watches Varanis.

The Vingan sighs. “As you wish.” She shrugs out of the straps, twisting to bring the pack in front of her again and then looks for a good place to set it down.

Berra relaxes a little. “Just on the ground is fine. You can help me with it afterwards. But they’ve been in an active Temple now. What’s in there is awake.” She struggles with the buckles that hold Wind Tooth on.

Silently, Varanis places the bag carefully at her feet, leaning it against her own leg, so it won’t tip over. She watches as Berra fumbles with the buckles, but doesn’t offer to help.

It takes Berra some time to get interlaid straps free of each other. “Those wraiths? They were the people he killed,” she says once Wind Tooth is finally free.

“So they went for you, not just because of where you stood, but who you are?” Varanis asks, nodding as though the pieces fit together now. “Incidentally, I learned that fire seems to work well against them. Or at least, the fire magic I have.” She stares at the runes in the back of her hand, gained from the Humakti temple in Nochet.

“Fire works well on a lot of things.” Berra has an easier time of Eril’s sword, on her right hip. “Yeah. I think so. I really … I told him I wouldn’t do the … wouldn’t do this unless he found another way. But maybe I need to have stronger words than that.” She does not look at all happy.

“Who were they? The men he murdered, that is.”

Berra considers for a moment.2Passes POW to get into the right magical headspace, and INT to remember details as well as just feelings. “The survivors. The ones he’d bought. One came from Wilmskirk, and one from the thrall house at the…” she trails off, clears her head, and says, “At his Tula.”

“He bought, then murdered, slaves.” Varanis’ eyes narrow. “Knowing it is one thing, but coming face to face with the consequences… that’s another. I don’t like it.”

“He had every right. In law. But… well, I am gonna struggle to be polite about this. Or maybe I ain’t.” Berra shrugs. “I’ll try not to get chucked out of the Temple.”

“I don’t suppose I could come with you? I have a few words of my own to add.”

“Depends a bit on what happens when we get there. But me having a stiff wind at him is different from someone outside the Temple doing it. He’s snappy when he thinks he’s being shown up.” Berra rolls out her shoulders, trying to get the iron sword sitting right. “Maybe not in front of me?”

“I’ll do it on my own then, but warn you ahead of time, so that if need be, you can come collect my body.” Varanis might be joking. Sort of.

“It’d be my responsibility to stop people bringing you back,” Berra says. “So make sure you have Rajar there to punch me.”

Varanis laughs darkly. “Yeah. I have work to do still, so I’d appreciate you not interfering if such a thing is needed. Seriously though, if Maalira was trying to bring me back, how would you stop her? And does she know that you’d attempt to do so?”

“When she starts the ritual, I can just take your body away. Peaceful.” Berra shrugs. “Or damage it so you can’t come back to it, I suppose. I’ve never asked what’s ritually appropriate.”

Varanis shudders. “I’ll haunt you,” she promises. “I’ll take up residence in your sword or your helmet or something and make you do all the things I was supposed to do.”

“Haul that back up for me?” Berra asks. “Can you haunt my trousers and learn how to repair them?”

“If I’m in your helmet, I can mutter at you constantly. I’m not sure I want to be in your trousers!”

“Well, I don’t always wear my helmet!” Berra breaks into a grin. “Maybe boots so you can trip me?”

“I know, I’ll haunt your hair! Make it stand on end.” Varanis grins before adding, “But it looks like someone’s already doing that.”

“My hair is fine if I grow it long and pull it back,” Berra says mock-huffily.


“It takes about three years, I guess?” Berra puts her arm out to have the backpack helped back on.

Heaving it back up, Varanis helps Berra with the straps. When she’s finally free of it, there’s a long sigh. “I’ll be honest, I’m glad not to carry it. It feels…” She shudders. “Swords?”

Berra nods to where hers are neatly together on the ground. “You carry those. If I need to draw anything, I can use Torch.” She looks tired as she puts a hand up to the hilt. “Just give me a bit’v warning.” If Silor’s impressively large clan force is not enough. She might still be joking.

Varanis looks at the swords and their straps and then sets to work finding a way to wear them.

“You don’t need to have them all on,” Berra says. “Just treat them with respect. I mean, you got yours already.”

“Wearing them keeps my hands free,” Varanis points out.

Berra nods, and after that concentrates on her own path, her own bag of rocks.

Varanis figures something out involving swords on each hip and her back. This is fine, as she wasn’t carrying her shield anyway. That remains safely out of the way, strapped to a horse. The troops surrounding them will have to be shield enough.

  • 1
    Varanis passes POWx3
  • 2
    Passes POW to get into the right magical headspace, and INT to remember details as well as just feelings.