Spirited Bargaining

1628, Dark Season, Disorder Week, Fireday


Berra has been at home in the downstairs room for a few days now, showing no signs of initiative. Session SA3.13.


On Fireday, in the early afternoon, Yehna comes to tell Varanis, “Thane?” She is casual about the word. “Berra says Lord Raven would like a word.” While the Ernaldan dislikes being around the Wyter, she is staunchly not leaving her sister.

Varanis rises immediately. “Of course.”

Downstairs, Berra is by the fire, wrapped in warm blankets. By her is the Wyter sword, and just forming out of it is that familiar shape. “Good day, Thane Varaena,” he says with a smoky smile.

“And to you, Lord Raven,” she says with a polite bow. Berra is greeted with “nice to see you out of bed!”

Berra gives Varanis a nod, and a quiet greeting. “Hello, Thane Vareena.” Her accent is definitely not noble, but Lord Raven’s expression contains hardly any wince at all. “I wonder if you would take a walk?” He glances to the front door.

“Of course,” she replies. (Strolling the streets of Boldhome with a death-y Wyter. Totally normal.) She’s dressed in her usual blues. A warm wool tunic over the trews and skirt combination worn by many of Boldhome’s Vingans. It gets harder and harder to see the Esrolian in her, at least when she’s not talking. “Heler looked like he might make a visit, so I’ll get my cloak, just in case.” Within a few moments, she is ready.

The smoky figure follows casually. “I am sure it will not be a long walk,” he says. “But perhaps a cloak is a good idea.” He does not ask to borrow one.

She opens the door, concentrates, then shrugs. “Safe enough, I suppose.”

Outside, the clouds loom, but so far they are hoarding their water.

Outside, Lord Raven says, “I am concerned about this evening’s worship.” Straight to the point.

“I see. Because she lacks the strength or the will?” Varanis asks, gesturing to the street in an invitation to actually walk.

“The healer helped, even if she is still wounded,” Lord Raven says, setting off downhill. “I think she will be able to perform any ceremonies. However, she does not appear to have made any arrangements for worshippers.”1The Humakti Temple paid about one minor fortune to have the Wyter Priest restored somewhat. The GM left that out because of a lack of time.

“Do you have any sense of who she was before the wraiths and Ikadz?” Varanis asks, not yet addressing his concerns. “The kind of person she was.”

Lord Raven sighs. “Only from her stories, and yours. I know she once spoke out to say that the High Sword was wrong, in Kallyr’s court. I know she spat in the face of a Scimitar of Yanafal Tarnils, and it was to annoy him into acting rashly, not personal vengeance. I know that High Sword of Duck Point thinks her arrogant. I do not see any of that in her now.”

“And do we agree that you need a Wyter Priest more like who she was? One who would be actively finding you worshippers? Who might challenge you, but who would also be worthy of you?” the Vingan asks, her expression inscrutable.

Passers-by are, for some reason, avoiding the pair. “I have enough experience in the debating hall not to answer that question until I know why you ask it,” Lord Raven replies. “For this evening, do you think you could find those in the Temple who believe Lord Eril worthy?”

“Probably. Highly likely,” Varanis says with understated confidence. “Although I am only a lay member, I am known and I can be persuasive. But before I commit to doing so, I require an answer from you to the following. Are you aware that it is likely within your power to restore her? That you are using what makes her her?”

Lord Raven gives Varanis a very surprised look. “No… no, I was not. I had some inkling that I was made using her memories, but that part had not been made clear to me.”

Some of the tension drains out of her with his words and she lets out a long, slow breath. “So it’s not deliberate then.”

“Most of what I do is deliberate,” he replies, “Or at least well thought through. I think that was not in her description?” He sounds like he’s checking.

A small boy in his mother’s arms sees the smoky man and bursts into tears.

“She had the capacity to be deliberate, but often worked on impulse. She was quick, highly adaptable, and never still. You need to give her Movement back or she’ll calcify and you’ll both suffocate,” Varanis tells him. “I have said I will try to find you worshippers for today and as you have answered my questions, I will. If you want her to actually be able to lead your worship, you need to find a way to release some of that Movement back into her. And if you want my full, long-term support, we need to restore her back to something more like what she was. Change and growth are fine. I am not demanding a return to exactly who she was before any of this happened. But she needs to be whole again.” Her strides are long, moving her up the street briskly. If Lord Raven’s presence hadn’t already been clearing a path, her fierce determination might have done so.

“I see.” Lord Raven walks fast, matching Varanis’ pace with no evidence of effort, and indeed very little evidence of breathing unless he chooses to. “I was considering whether she was the correct Wyter Priest for me. That might explain why our personalities are so very different.”

“You’re using hers and have left her without one,” Varanis tells him.

Her feet are leading them up. Possibly towards her temple, but perhaps more generally up.

“This is genuinely fascinating, and yet I feel mildly dirtied by it.” Lord Raven did finally let Varanis choose the path, after trying to walk a different way. “I’m thinking with a peasant-warrior’s outlook? I feel educated…”

“What does education have to do with personality? I had highly educated tutors who were incapable of keeping up with me. Clever and quick, certainly, but on limited paths. Berra’s lack of education means she sees the world differently than you or me, but it doesn’t mean she’s slow. I think you are seeing things with your own worldview, but borrowing her… quickness, I suppose?”

“Perhaps. A lack of education holds her back, however. I learned in part by writing to the sages of Wilmskirk and then beyond.” Lord Raven looks down at his hand, now more seethrough than before. “I should not come out again before the ceremonies, but please make sure that she has worshippers ready. We can look at the rest after I have drawn people together.”

“Agreed.” In concession to his fading and to ensure he knows he can trust her, she halts her upward progress and begins to descend. “I’ll collect my armour and return to the Temple of Humakt now.”

He gives her a brief smile, thankful. “I’ll stay out here, and watch the day for a few moments longer.” He looks back over what can be seen of the city from here. “I need to learn this view is not full of Lunar cohorts now.”

“One of these days, you should join me atop the temple. The view is spectacular.”2Varanis invites a spirit of Death to the Air Temple. Somewhere in the city, Tennebris shudders.

“Heights. I broke an ankle and a neck landing on a rounded helmet at one point, but thankfully only the ankle was mine.” Lord Raven makes a shooing gesture, however. “Go. I would like a few moments alone.”

And this time she leaves.3Varanis passes Charm inspired by Truth and manages to get at least some worshippers together.

  • 1
    The Humakti Temple paid about one minor fortune to have the Wyter Priest restored somewhat. The GM left that out because of a lack of time.
  • 2
    Varanis invites a spirit of Death to the Air Temple. Somewhere in the city, Tennebris shudders.
  • 3
    Varanis passes Charm inspired by Truth and manages to get at least some worshippers together.