Staying Down

Berra — Staying Down

1627, Earth Season


Context

Late in Earth Season 1627. [[[s02:session-54|Session 54]]]

Events

As Yehna is talking to her friends the short Esrolian approaches her coming foretold by the faint tingling of her earrings.

Yehna is just stepping away, but turns and gives Lenta a smile, and waits to see if she is addressed.

Lenta nods to her with her hand showing the sign of harmony. “Yehna?”

“Lady Lanta.” Her accent is very North Sartar. She probably got the name right and send it strangely.

“Is she hurt?” Lenta asks in Esrolian “if you can tell me.”

Yehna switches to Esrolian effortlessly, and now she sounds exactly like an Esrolian farmer’s wife. “Nobody was hurt,” she says. “A bit of blood on Varanis. Will you walk with me?” Esrolian is similar enough to Heortling that anyone with good ears might overhear things of import.

“She looked hurt.” Lenta turns to follow Yehna. “I am glad I was wrong, green one. Thank you.”

Yehna offers a cloak to Lenta as they get to the side door. It was hanging up, and is a little damp. “It’s raining. Have you met our river?” Unlike Berra’s habits of speech, it seems that Yehna knows she is changing the subject.

Lenta shakes her head. As she weighs the cloak in her hands she looks at Yehna “But what about you? Heler will try to kiss you too.”

“I haven’t been worried about the weather in a while, and it’s a short walk,” Yehna says. “You’re a guest here. Come, put it on.”

“If you insist.” Lenta wraps herself into the cloak. Her makeup and hairdo bear evidence of having been outside earlier.

“Janeth Minar is a killer,” Yehna says. “He loves the tree, but can’t bear that the tree loves others too. He throws himself around in his bed, which is why we have the fertile valley lands, but why we have to be careful of him and show respect and caution.”

The rain outside is cold and insistent for attention, but here and there the sun peeks through.

Lenta shrugs. “Water brings life, but also kills. It is so with the Sea, it is so with Lyksos.”

“It killed our father,” Yehna says, with the matter-of-factness that comes from having lived a whole life since then. “Berra was older than I was.”

Esrolian nods. “I am sorry to hear that, Yehna. So that is more personal to you two.”

“Yes – and the cliffs, as well.” Yehna lowers her head against a scud of rain. “So Berra heard that Vareena was on the cliffside and I know she must have thought she was fine in her mind, but sometimes it is not sensible thoughts that guide us.”

Lenta nods again. Maybe it is the rain that makes he blink. “That is indeed so…”

“Almost here. This used to be our house in the village when my grandfather was a redsmith.” Yehna pats a slightly sagging building on the walls. “I’ve moved in with others to help with Haran, though.”

Lenta looks at the small house but does not comment.

A larger building with a big door is the final destination. “We don’t have cows here, so we can’t byre them for warmth,” Yehna says as she pushes the door open. “So we often move in with each other.”

Indoors the place is plain but well kept, and the smell of a meat stew rises up from a crock by the fire, uncovered because it is ready.

“I thought we were going to the river?” Lenta says remaining outside the door.

“Oh. If you want to meet him, we can.” Yehna smiles. “Sorry, I was coming back here. If you haven’t met him, then you should bring an offering. It’s a bit of a walk, but I’ll happily take it with you.”

“It is not that… I just misunderstood you.” She looks confused, but remains outside.

“Come in, if you want to,” Yehna says. “There’s room and it’s warm.”

Hesitantly Lenta steps in “Thank you for your hospitality.”

“Welcome to our home.” There are half a dozen women here, two men, and a non-descript bundle of clothes and blankets with a sulky expression and a Truth Rune on her cheek. Berra has been put a short distance from the fire: maybe she needs to cook slowly.

Lenta stops as sees Berra. She nods to all present. There is slight tingling from her earrings.

A few people nod, a few bow, a few call out greetings, and one stands up and lets the blankets drop. “Lenta. Hello.” Berra still looks pale, but now she is pink-cheeked too.

“Berra.” The small Esrolian is smiling. The more observant might see some uncertainty in her expression.

“Heya.” Berra gives a smile too. “What’s going on?” It sounds like a specific question, not the sort asked by a confused warrior.

“Yehna said you are not hurt” It is an answer. It might explain something or not.

“Yeah, I just had a shock.” Berra tries to hold herself upright, catches her sister’s eye, and sits down again.

Lenta nods “Yehna told me of Janeth Minar.”

“He’s… I had greeted him but I don’t know if Varanis did.” Berra shrugs. “She was probably going to be fine…”

“She walked away… ” Lenta says “but you did not, could not know that before she did.”

“Walked away? Climbed away, really.” Berra shrugs. “Oh, you mean from the cliff. Yeah.” That seems to cheer her up for a moment.

Lenta nods, gathers her hems and squats by the fire.

Berra watches for a moment, and with a smile accepts the blanket her sister wraps around her. It looks like a cloak with the pins taken out, only it is huge.

The little Esrolian looks a bit out of place in her wide skirts and kohl lined eyes, warming her fingers.

Yehna brings over a couple of stools, plain-seated and with engraved legs, and asks, “Will you eat?” as she puts one down by Lenta. “Not you, sister. I know you will.”

Lenta rises up when Yehna beings the stools and glances at the door. Then she thanks her and sits down with grace. “Yes please, Green one.”

“If you want to see how anyone else is, let us make it a small meal.” Yehna has bread and a board and a ladle and bowls almost as if by magic. In fact, they were by where she put her stool. “Berra gets a small meal too.”

Berra grins a bit, amused. “You’re allowed to ask her for more,” she tells Lenta.

Lenta nods to Berra briefly and answers to Yehna “Thank you for sharing the gifts of Ernalda.”

Yehna makes delicious stew. She has even put in pre-fried dumplings to soak up some of the sauce, and yet despite the very Sartarite style, there is an Esrolian spice blend under it all, speaking of someone who learned to cook far away. She waits for both to be eating before she begins, nodding to Berra, who hesitates.
Lenta eats neatly, compliments Yehna on her exquisite cuisine and smiles warmly. A really observant person might note some uncertainty in her smile and behaviour like she is trying too much.1Managed to augment with Harmony but even then failed Charm.

Yehna in turn is polite but perhaps a bit too generous, trying too hard in turn. Berra rises to the occasion to listen to both and ask all the right questions, at home in the area. As Lenta finishes she asks, “Do you want to borrow my cloak for the way back? I’m not using it and Yehna might want hers.”2Yehna fails Charm, Berra passes it.

“That is considerate from you, Berra. Thank you.” Lenta rises up. “That was lovely Yehna. Reminded me of home.”

Yehna stands to bow, and Berra goes to get her cloak, although the look she gives to the outside says she does not want to go there yet.

Lenta bows back to Yehna. She then walks to the door and Berra and peers outside.

Outside, the rain is slanted and cold and heavy. The weather has turned, and winter will win soon. The cinder paths are a blur of muddy water up to ankle height. “Wow,” Berra says. “You can stay here longer if you like? Or run. But you’ve got to cross the way.” The big area in the middle, which is a little lower than the rest.

Lenta takes the cloak and sweeps it over her shoulders. “I will go. Thanks for loan of the cloak Berra.” There is a moment of hesitation and she offers her hands to the shorter woman.

Berra takes the hands, and after a moment half-offers an arm for a hug. She’s at the right height for it.

Lenta maintains some distance patting the offered arm so her refusal to hug is not obvious. “It is good you were not hurt.”

“Thanks.” Berra grins, pats the hand that holds hers, and bows to back off. “Stay dry.”

Lenta shrugs delicately. “I was not made of honey you know. Thank you for the meal Yehna! It was delicious.”

Yehna waves from the hearth, but does not call. She is already busy with the next task, which seems to be sorting out the tangled mess that Berra has made of blankets, cloaks, and clothes.

Lenta turns away and walks through the rain in a slow determined pace.

====
Berra stays still on the orders of her healer. Lenta comes to check up.