Ships of the Desert in the Night

1628, Earth Season


Berra and Varanis have been asked to come to Boldhome over a minor matter. Unknown Session just before Sartar Arc 1.


Berra, now on Followed again, looks like the little half-feral barbarian that some would say she is. She is playing on her buzzflute, reins wrapped around a spur on the saddle. Her hair is spiky. Yet there is always something odd or new or different about her, among the familiar. This time it is that she seems to be wearing floral perfume.

On a way to Boldhome Lenta, Varanis, Maalira and Berra meet Xenofos riding the other way. He greets the lot and has a privatish dscussion with Varanis. That ends with Varanis riding forward and leaving Xenofos between other ladies and Boldhome.

Berra, of course, would not count herself a lady. But she is still where a lady would be, with Xenofos between her and where she is going.

Varanis was glaring at both Xenofos and Lenta before ending the discussion promptly. Xenofos seemed oblivious of this and slightly flummoxxed by the end of the discussion. You heard the end of the discussion “And Look out for the crocodiles!” from Xenofos to back of Varanis.1Special on Insight for Berra.

Lenta was looking a bit startled when Varanis rode on, looking from her discussion with Maalira.

The Humakti gives Lenta a glance. “Ready to get moving?” She does not hurry to do so, however. Maalira gets politely ignored, as being even further away than Lenta, or possibly taken for granted.

Lenta looks at the Humakti, then at Vingan, nods and rides forward. She gives Xenofos a polite nod when passing him. Xenofos returns it, not prodding his bison forward.

Berra tells Lenta, “Don’t crowd Varanis,” and stays back a moment. Maybe asking if she was ready was just an opener. Maybe Berra changed her mind.

Scribe looks at the swordswoman. It seems he forgot the Ernaldan and the Vingan and does not see the White Lady.

Berra regards Xenofos calmly, and gives him a polite, even a courteous, bow. It’s clumsy, from the saddle, but she does have a lot of swords to keep track of – her two, and the practice greatsword.

“Greetings, little cousin.” Scribe says, bowing, with his swordhand on his heart.

“Good day,” Berra says, voice almost light. “What brings you here?”

Scribe tilts his head.

Something about her demeanour says that the warrior is perhaps making small talk – it’s the sort of thing one might ask just to be sure of where someone is going, or if someone did not have a subject they wanted to bring up.

Seemingly effortlessly the scholar makes Curly walk alongside Followed. “This is the road to Prax, one of them. And I told Suuraki I’d help him there if my Khan has no need for me lesewhere” he nods towards Varanis with his head and smiles. “So you all were called into Boldhome for some Earth temple issue…”

It is all the easier because Berra does not get Followed into motion until Curly has turned around. “Yes. Apparently a matter of the house,” Berra says. “So the owners are needed. We should be a day behind you.”

He nods. A couple of times. Twirls his moustache. Looks at her “How are you doing?”

“Well enough,” Berra replies. “I found myself back to good habits around the time that some ducklings tried to ambush me, and I remembered why I decided to be a warrior. After that, it was a matter of remembering from day to day, instead of all at once.”

He looks at her. “Did you get to give them a lesson or did you have to kill them?”

Berra gives Xenofos a cold smile in return. “When you want to ask me again if I kill children, put it more plainly.”

“I am sorry for the unintended offence, Berra” Scribe looks at Humakti straight in the eye “And glad it was not so quick situation where you would have been required to kill before seeing who attacked you.”

“Ducklings are not notably good at ambushes,” Berra points out. “They giggle a lot, and peep. I’d have mentioned if I was killing people. I might even have looked different. The plan is to go down Caravan Alley, I believe. We’ll follow as soon as we can.”

He looks at her and nods. “Right… I can remember pride after stringing up bandits, but cannot imagine the same for killing young idiots. “

“Stringing up bandits is the appropriate thing to do. To attack on the King’s Road is to find justice. It should be announced.” Berra gives Xenofos a smile, and this one is not even cold. Just cool.

He looks at her and nods. “Yes, that was justice and a thing to be proud of. I am happy those ducklings met you under different circumstances. Both for you and them.”

“Well, indeed. They are children. Have you anything else to say, Lord Xenofos?” Berra’s smile is tight and precise.

Xenofos looks at Lenta and Varanis riding ahead. “Yes, yes I do, lady Berra.”

“Please do not call me lady,” she says, with a touch of edge.

He tugs at his beard “Hmm. You have asked that before, I think… Did I promise that and break my promise. Matter at hand is rather formal though…”

“I’m still not a lady, and you do a disjustice to my Sword Lord, and all he has earned.” Berra bows her head slightly.

“And you have demanded obedience … but I think we have had at least part of this discussion earlier without coming to agreement…. Allow me to correct my self. Yes, Berra Humakti, I do.

“Xenofos. Please. Get to the point.”

“It is some words you said. They have been bothering me like a swarm of bees in the background. And I thought I must ask you about them, because like you have said I do not know what you think.”

“I see. Then say them. I may recall – if it was in Tarsh, I may not.” Berra looks unaffected by that, however.

“Some between you and me I wish could be different. But what I am talking of are when you said if you thought Varanis was trying to take Kallyr’s throne you would kill her.” He raises his hand “I thought have to challenge, you ask if you can actually imagine that happening. Maybe you can, how else could you have said it. She is alive today, so you have not thought she is trying that yet.” Scribe shrugs “I could ask if you find it likely in the future, but what is that if not a trap of words. I cannot imagine her trying to rise against Kallyr or her heir, and I trust you to always do what you perceive to be right… ” he looks a bit like he was lost in his own argument.

Berra shrugs. “I’m not likely to change my mind,” she says. “Because Varanis will never be the right person for Sartar. Still, she knows that. I just needed to be sure that she knew.”

“I am not trying to change your mind, Berra.” Scribe looks at the swordswoman “When I started speaking I thought I need to ask a question because – well you said you’d kill her under circumstances. When trying to formulate it I knew I trust her not to seek crown. And you to do what you deem right.”

“So you stopped asking. I see.” Berra nods slightly. “And now are we done?”

“I did not finish my question. I wanted you to know I trust her and you.” He tilts his head. “She asked me to stay safe. Please do the same? No walktapi or crocs if you can avoid them? I don’t trust Prax. If you can protect her please do?”

“You are asking me to be me, Lord Xenofos.” Berra just bows her head once more, and this is a dismissal.

Xenofos nods. “Yes, little cousin.” For some reason it takes a rather long time before Curly leaves Followed.

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    Special on Insight for Berra.