Berra — Snow Fight
????, Dark Season, Death Week
Dark Season, Death Week, Windsday just after dawn. Varanis had a vision in which she, Orlanth, came by Humakt’s gift of Death, as was right and proper. [[[s02:session-20|Session 20]]]
As Varanis gets back to camp, the snow begins to fall. Nobody seems worried.
Of course not. There was no reason to worry. She told Berra where she was going and she’s capable of looking after herself. Maybe people are finally understanding that.
Berra. Of course. Apposite really that the little figure should be there, waiting in the first snowfall. Not quite the smallest person in the camp, but nearly, she is easy to recognise once she is picked out.1Varanis fails at Insight (Human).
Varanis knows her. She has a very recognizable stance. Like, at any moment, she might kill someone. Not out of anger, but necessity.
A squall of cold wind from the north brings a flurry of snow. Berra waits in it, uncloaked. She is not wearing her helmet, and for a moment the padding she has looks like white hair.
Varanis pulls her own helmet off as she strides towards Berra. “Good morning, cousin,” she says by way of greeting.2Berra also fails Insight (Human).
“That was mine,” Berra says. “Not yours to take.” She looks furious.
Varanis looks taken aback, but also slightly … guilty. “What do you mean?” she demands defensively.
“Mine!” Humakt comes in swinging. A fist, not a sword, but he is coming in hard.3Berra has passed Devotion (Humakt) as an inspiration, but not her Fist attack. Varanis fails to dodge, but is not hit.
“Berra!” Varanis roars angrily. “How dare you?” Keeping her sword sheathed, she tackles the Humakti. The night spent in the cold has not slowed her down once she recovers from the initial shock of the attack.4Varanis gets a critical grapple, which the GM decides gives her an advantage in the Resistance roll to keep Berra down. Berra fails grapple. Varanis passed the Pin roll.
She is, at least, honourable. There is a moment where she could go for a knife, and she does not, and a moment later Berra is pinned and struggling. She cannot move, though.
“Stop it. Berra, stop. What are you doing?” Varanis is breathing hard as she works to hold the writhing Humakti. “Enough!” she snaps at last, anger taking over. The word is a barked command, chieftain to warrior.
“You can’t take it,” Berra cries out, “It needs to be kept safe! It’s too young!”
Despite the hold on her, Berra is still trying to get away. Impossibly lithe, and as strong as Varanis, she is tough to hold.
“I haven’t taken anything,” the Vingan growls. There’s a tiny note of uncertainty. “It was a dream.” She says it to Berra, though it may be that she is reassuring herself at the same time.
“YOU STOLE IT!” People are looking in now. There is no intervention yet, but they are being watched. “My Death!”
The Vingan leans more weight into Berra, struggling to maintain her grip. “It was a dream,” she repeats.
“It’s not ready – it’ll hurt the world. It doesn’t know how not to….” Berra tries again to throw Varanis off, fails only because she is too short to get the leverage required.5Berra is pinned successfully by the earlier roll, but dramatics require struggling.
“Do. Not. Make. Me….” Varanis twists to maintain her grip, “hurt you. Berra, snap out of it.”
“GIVE me BACK….” Berra winces, flexes against the hands that hold her and the weight that Varanis is using. “… my SWORD! You don’t know how to stop it!”
Varanis tries to check Berra’s sheaths. Surely both her swords are on her person, just like they always are.
Wind Tooth is there, on her left hip. Just the one.
“Stop. Give me a moment. I’ll let you up if you promise not to attack me.” Now the Vingan sounds confused. “Berra, please. Something is wrong and I need my friend back to…” She winces as an elbow strikes her chin. “… ow! Stop! I need your help to fix this!”
Berra’s whole body is tensed with the effort of getting away. “You could have killed everyone here,” she hisses. “You could have made every weapon and every tool and every hoof into Death. So yes, you had better fix this.” Then she sags onto the ground, as the fight in her seeps away.
Varanis tentatively lets go, pushing herself off the smaller woman to lie on her back, staring up at the falling snow. Her breaths come in short puffs of steam in the cold air. “Are you done attacking and ready to explain now?” she asks finally.
Berra rolls away a half turn, and raises herself on an elbow. “It wasn’t just a dream. It was a dream with my sword in. Dormal came. Eurmal. He took it.” She breathes in ragged gasps. “And now it’s snowing and we can’t see Yelm. And… the power’s gone from my sword. It’s just a sword right now. A thing shaped like it should be. Not what it should be.”6Berra passes conflicting loyalties including to her Clan and therefore Varanis, and it hurts.
Varanis blinks up at the snow listening carefully. “My dream stole the power from your sword?” she asks finally. She doesn’t sound disbelieving, rather she is confused.
With effort, she rolls herself into a seated position, armour creaking as she does so. Her movements are stiff. “What do I need to do? Do you know?”
“No. Orlanth ordered Eurmal to steal Death.” Berra looks at Varanis. “I don’t know if I even want to talk to you right now.” Her voice is flat and dull and tired.
“The myth is what it is, Berra.” Varanis also sounds tired. “What if you take it back? There’s a version of the myth where Humakt reclaims Death from Orlanth in a fight. Fight me and take it back? If I die, I’d rather die on your sword than to an assassin’s blade anyway.” Her expression is completely serious.
Berra sighs, and looks at Varanis with a thoughtful look. “That could work,” she says. “But I think I have to wait until Wildday for that.” Two days, one night. Berra looks down. “I know it’s… it’s you, as well as Orlanth. But…” She shrugs. “I should probably be alone in the snow. I haven’t met any other Humakti here, but I’ll go look. But… if we’re the only ones that could be good or bad.” Her eyes are red, but there are no tears.
“If there needs to be a fight, then that’s what we’ll do. And in the meantime, I keep my sword sheathed and my temper under control.” Varanis looks determined.
Berra sighs, and rocks back to give herself the impetus to roll to her feet. “I need to go look for Death,” she says in determination.
“You’re going alone.” It’s not quite a question.
Berra turns to look at Varanis. “It’s my responsibility.”
“I see. And the harm I caused isn’t mine?” Even as she asks the question, she sounds resigned. She already knows that Berra wants nothing to do with her right now.
“It is, but not alongside me.” Berra has no trace of pity in her voice, only the cold of the glacier.7Berra passes Darkness. Cold. Patient. Cruel.
“I see. Before you go…”
Berra freezes. Icy.
Uncertainty settles briefly on her features, only to be shoved aside by determination. “No. Never mind. I will play Orlanth and be ready for your challenge. Wildday.”
“When it comes.” Berra turns and walks away.