Xenofos — She Wore A Blue Ribbon
????, Sea Season, Death Week
Sea Season, Death Week, Wildday, not long after a battle in which two young Humakti ducks were killed [[[s02:session-36|Session 36]]]
Remains of the ducks have been laid on the soggy ground.
Xenofos approaches Berra. “You look pretty awful. Do you have any dry clothes?”
Other ducks have come and gone. Berra has her swords back. There is just about time to get back to Fairfield in the light, if they set off soon. Instead, she is sitting on the edge of the lake, staring out at the dying sun behind a cloak of clouds, with Wind Tooth bare on her lap. She looks up at Xenofos. “Yeah, but I don’t need them yet.”
How can she look cute and wet rat at same time. And what is she thinking. No idea.1 failed insight
He shakes his head. “You are shivering”
Berra’s skin is pinched, her lips pale. “I suppose I am.” That, at least, is enough to get her up. Wind Tooth is sheathed professionally. “I need to dry out my scabbards. The ducks say tiny holes in the leather will help, but then the leather shrinks away from them eventually. I keep tipping water out.”
He nods. “Moldy scabbard is unpleasant. And the verdigris takes ages to get off.”
“Verdiwhat?” Another word she does not know. Ignorant barbarian.
“Those green spots on unused bronze.”
“Oh, them. Bronzegreen. Verdigris.” She tries out the pronunciation. “Did you say something about dry clothes?”
“Yes. You look like a soaked… small animal. And in discomfort.”
“I am soaked and small, but I’m pretty human.” She gives him a look just like a pretty human. “But I could probably do with help with buckles.”
“Sure.” Xenofos looks at the amount of wet bronze and backing material. “Helmet first, but I guess you manage that by yourself?”
Berra does that, and now she is a small soaked animal with terrible hair. It is long enough to flop forwards and short enough that she cannot tie it back. “I want to learn to swim. I’m not making good decisions right now.”
“With this kit swimming is somewhat challenging. Belt off and then bow forward so I can pull the scaleshirt off?”
Berra says, “I can…” And then, “Yeah, sorry. Let me get the bracer on the right first, though.” She does that, letting Xenofos help her out of the layers of metal and linen and leather. Despite the cold, her fingers are strong and deft.
“Drying this will take time.” He notes lifting the soaked padding. “On back of Followed?”
“Yeah. Might as well. I’ve got some clothes I can wear under armour.” Now she looks tiny, unconquerable, proud. Cold. “Hey, last time this happened we were sharing a different dead body.”
“Then you had the sense to take armour off first.” He takes glances quickly at her and continues “That bag over there, just behind the saddle?”
“I had a bit more time.” She holds her head high despite her own evident idiocy. “That’s the one. Small bag inside has some extra spices in. Don’t drop it, and if you do drop it, don’t breathe in.”
Xenofos lifts the bag and hands it over “There you go.”
He turns to secure the cuirass and padding to the labyrinth of straps Berra calls pack saddle.
Berra pulls on a tunic that does not quite have room for her muscles, and scowls. “This fitted me when I left home. I keep thinking it does. I should take it apart.”
“Or buy a new one?” Xenofos comments turning back towards Berra.
“Yehna embroidered it,” she says, fingertips touching an embroidered orange flower more gently than she ever touched anyone. She has kept her wet chest wrap on, although that is probably not going to kill her.
“Well that is different then.” He nods and turns back to securing the armour to the beast.
One thing she has just taken off is the blue scarf he bought her, which is seldom visible when she wears it, but always there to bring comfort. Wet now, and starting to wear through being worn so… she still wears it.
“I think you should wear the leather stuff until the backing is at least a bit drier. It weights a stone and would hamper movement.” His voice is a bit unsteady. Maybe from attempt of making all that strapping co-operate. Good thing Followed is in no hurry anywhere.
Followed continues to stay exactly where she was put.
“Yeah, I’m not going to put that back on, but I don’t want to look bad in front of the ducks here. We just saw two of their people dead.” Mercifully she turns away to consider what else to wear, finally finding her old combination of blue tunic and much-repaired, faded blue trousers. Yehna’s work gets taken off, and put over Followed to make sure it is not put away wet. The sewing she is working on gets considered, but not worn.
“Cloak? ” Xenofos looks towards the duck hamlet. “They looked quite young? “
“Them? Yeah, I think they were. It’s a bit hard to tell, but the skin’s about the same as on a human, and I don’t think they’ve been weathered at yet. Yeah. But I need new foot wrappings first. My shoes are just buckets right now. You did well.” From one subject to another. As always, Berra is perking up when pulled away from strange thoughts. Apart from that one time she ran away, and the several times she has come up swinging, of course.
He shrugs. “I tried my best. I don’t think javelin or spear really hurt it though.”
“It kept it busy. We don’t know what else might have killed it. You find out by doing. I bounced a spear off it pretty early on before Finarvi lent me his sword.” She seems to believe that is what happened.
“More comfortable now?” He chuckles drily “Ready for the next battle?”
Briefly, Berra looks like she wants one, and then some understanding passes by her, and with it sadness. She too suffers sometimes, it seems. “Yeah, if it has to come. I’m ready.” She looks like she would fight, but only out of determination. Her natural punchiness is gone.
He looks a bit regretful “Quite. I’d hope we’ll have some respite before though.”
Berra sighs just a little. “I have some thinking to do,” she says, which might be an admission she should have stayed warm and dry. “And we’ve got a trail to pick up. Thank you for helping me with my armour, Lor… Xenofos.”
“No problem. Glad there was something I to do.” He nods “Thinking can be tiresome. And that is harder to help with.”
“I hate it,” Berra says quietly, but with determination. “I wish I could still just kill things I was told to.”
He shrugs “There is no going back. And no return to ignorance.”
A brief blink, and, “Yeah.” Berra agrees, lightly, but it does not shift her mood. “You should go check on your stuff. Maybe.”
“Two javelins, no chinks on rapier since I did not even draw it…”
“Your horse. I meant. I just couldn’t remember the Heortling word for horse.” Still her, underneath. Or on top.
“Seems to be unharmed. But if you need solitude for thinking?”
“Please. I want to be in a bad mood alone, and I have a duck to talk to.” She looks like she might warm up on her own. Her hair is a mess.
He nods, pats Followed and walks away.
That earns him bison hair on his hand, to match what was already there.
- 1failed insight