1629, Sea Season, Disorder Week, Clayday morning
In Culbrea territory, whilst sharing a meal with some bandits, Varanis has been quietly seething in Berra’s general direction. Get thee to a Nunnery (Session S4.02)
It’s sometime after Berra made her comment about Esrolians being soft, that it becomes apparent that Varanis is feeling grouchy still. Every now and then, she glares in the Humakti’s general direction.
Berra is keeping watch while others eat, as professional as ever, or maybe more so. Her expression is closed down, with the look of the Humakti ready for action.
Varanis finally makes her way over to where Berra stands. “Soft?” The single word is laden with indignation.
Berra looks up at Varanis. “Yeah,” she says quietly, looking out over the woodland and hillside. “They don’t know how to be warriors, and they’re used to winters that won’t kill you.”
Now Varanis blinks and her frown becomes less grouchy and more confused. “They? Not me? Or am I included in your dismissal of Esrolians?”
“Depends. I mean, Orlanthi generally ain’t as soft, but even the Humakti down there are pissing me off right now.” Berra shrugs. “When you don’t have reasons to fight, you don’t practice as much.”
“I see,” Varanis says, her voice like Valind’s breath. “And it was important to inform an unknown Wind Lord of your assessment of me and my kin? And in doing so, remind her that I am not Sartarite enough, not even to my friends?”
Berra gives Varanis a tired look. “No. She already knows.” It seems today she is keeping warm by setting light to bridges.1B: Rolls special on Insight: the anger stems from wounded pride, but underlying it there’s the old insecurity about not being good enough. V: I tried rolling insight for V, but apparently she’s too indignant to be insightful just now.
Varanis stiffens. “I see. So that makes speaking the insult aloud acceptable?”
“You know I open my mouth a lot sometimes,” Berra says. “And today you were in the way.” There is another shrug. “I think I even said that’s what I was doing.”
Varanis exhales slowly, emptying her lungs, before drawing in a deep breath of the cold, damp air. This she lets out on a sigh, her shoulders easing, her fists relaxing. “It’s just… when you say things like that, you’re saying what you really think. And, I’ll be honest, Berra, knowing you think I’m weak despite everything we’ve been through together is not a pleasant feeling. And having you tell that to a stranger? Even less pleasant.”
It takes a moment for Berra to look up after that. “Sorry,” she says finally. “I… sorry.”
“Yeah, I know,” Varanis says, sighing again. “And I’m sorry I got angry without talking to you. I know you weren’t trying to shame me. I need to find a way to catch myself before the storm brews and I end up doing things that are difficult to undo. In a way, it was useful today. It gave me somewhere else to direct my anger, instead of at Ivarnessa for having our mounts. Bought me time to hear her out.”
Berra sighs. “Gimme a sec to think,” she asks. “Something you said sounded wrong…” She tilts her head, doing the thinking.
The Vingan waits, staring into the forest.
“Yeah, alright. I was worried you were grateful at me for saying that but you weren’t. Sorry, needed to check it in my head. I’ve not been good at keeping stuff in lately, Varanis. Even if I only think it for a moment it can come out and I knew I’d done it but I couldn’t find a way to not have done it.” She could do with breathing in.
The Humakti pauses, considers, and manages to do as she is told. “I’ve not really been right in myself since Tarsh,” she admits. “There’s still a lot that’s close to rage in me, and lots I can’t think or do. And someone extra to look after, too.” For once, Lord Raven seems an afterthought.
“So, it’s not him, but Harrek that has left you so unbalanced? I wasn’t sure. To be honest, I’ve been blaming the Wyter. And Ik… the demon.”
“When we’re not around other people,” Berra says. “No. You should know. Harrek’s not what made me angry. It was before that.” She does not name anyone, or even indicate a season.
Varanis frowns, thinking hard. “Before… in Tarsh.” She swears.2Passed an INT roll and has made assumptions that may or may not be right. 1. It has to do with Jar-eel, but V only suspects it’s from the quest. 2. Berra never told V details about it. In fact, they’ve mostly avoided talking about the quest. “You know, you never did tell me much about what happened to you after you walked away in that cave. Something bad. Something…” She stares at Berra hard, searching. “Something life-altering.” She swears again. “I’m sorry.”
“I couldn’t say a lot. I had an idea Harrek might… be something that the High Sword was thinking about. I didn’t think it would happen like that, like it did. But you know how I can turn into a wolf? That’s because I fought her so hard. And I think the changes you can’t see are just as big.” Berra reaches a hand for Varanis’ shoulder, without looking away from her task of searching the landscape. And looking away from the camp.
“I had to lose a lot of myself just to do what I needed to. I’m not sure what came back. I… I’m angry deep down like I don’t know I’ve ever been. I want to snap at everything. Then I feel fine again and I have … I have a lot I need to think about.”
Varanis allows the shoulder grip, briefly placing her own hand on top of Berra’s. A quick acknowledgement of the contact. “This is not the place to pry for answers,” she murmurs. “But, when it’s safe, can we talk? Really talk? Will you trust me?”
“Yeah. Maybe on the way to Nochet if you want to come. Or after we get this done, anyhow. You go eat more. I’m not hungry.” Varanis gets a reassuring smile.
Varanis nods and turns back to the others. “Ok. But take care of yourself, please.”
Berra nods a little bit, and gets back to looking. Her gaze does take in the camp from time to time. Her expression gives nothing away. Her usually-loud-as-a-saga expression.
Varanis, sitting with the others, masks her worries and has gone back to being the bold and brassy Wind Lord, though she eats little and periodically glances Berra’s direction.
- 1B: Rolls special on Insight: the anger stems from wounded pride, but underlying it there’s the old insecurity about not being good enough. V: I tried rolling insight for V, but apparently she’s too indignant to be insightful just now.
- 2Passed an INT roll and has made assumptions that may or may not be right. 1. It has to do with Jar-eel, but V only suspects it’s from the quest. 2. Berra never told V details about it. In fact, they’ve mostly avoided talking about the quest.