1628, Earth Season, likely Stasis Week
On the way to Jonstown, looking for the armour of Berra, which is of course the armour of Varanis. Spoilery for some: relationship between Berra and Eril, Berra’s future plans. Session SA3.06.
Divination, the evening after getting back into Sartar: I probably helped free all the spirits at Grizzly Peak, brought Death to Six Stones. Orders?
The reply is mostly an instruction. runestone
Berra interprets it as Eril wanting his altar now.
Berra, Varanis, Finarvi, and Lenta encounter Lord Eril a bit south of Jonstown. He was riding along with Kallyr at the head of the army which had made its way back impressively quickly thanks to Sword Egilson, whom everyone agrees really should get out more.
Eril has asked for Kallyr’s kind permission to take a little time in this conversation, and as the whole army was backed up behind them and Heenith Egilson looked like he might get upset if it stopped marching, the rest of the Great and Noble rode on.
Eril rides along stiffly. That is to say his demeanor is stiff. His riding is naturally fluid. Bastard.
Berra paces him, on her horse – not the one worthy of a senior initiate, but one worthy of her style of riding. It’s also shorter than Eril’s. However, time spent on the Grazelands seems to have improved her, and for once she is easy in the saddle, looking like she could, with some effort and a patient teacher, learn how to do this. “So, Lord. First of all, a quick report on what I just did, yeah?” She glances behind to where her friends are. “I guess we’re riding on, then…” She has to look up at him. A long way up. Bastard.
He nods. “Our private business is no excuse to cause a delay to the army. I’m sure you can concentrate on two matters at once.”
“It’s just that you could stop off to the side…” Berra trails off. “No. Right. So, we met Giland, who’s Serala’s Grandfather. He told’er she was pregnant. That got loud for a bit.” Berra says it without any irony whatsoever in her tone. She does not even pause for Eril to get a barb1a further barb in. “An’…” There’s the pause, but she is now thinking ahead, concentrating on the story. “He wanted her to do a vision quest so he could find out the child’s omens. Everyone took part. The herbs that Giland used, I had to breathe in, so that mighta been why things were different for me, but they were different.”
A brow lifts, “Had we any news who the Thane of Apple Lane’s paramour2GM cruelly points out Berra thinks a paramour is when you tie ropes to each corner of a blanket and jump off a cliff. Berra counters that she does know: Nearly a moor, like… not quite the Grazelands. is?”
“Uh… paramours, I think. She mentioned some twins.” Berra shrugs. “Grazelanders, I think. But I was pretty badly hung over at the time. That Fire-water stuff should not come in barrels.” She manages to pull herself up, and stops mid bad-oratory-gesture.
“How very Ernaldan. I shall have to be sure to mention it to the High Priest at Sun County. I’m sure the matter will delight him.”
“‘lright… So Serala went and saw some stuff, but I didn’t really hear that well and I think it’s her private thing anyhow. And Finarvi got thrown out somehow and ended up getting stopped by Grizzly Peak, and maybe that mountain was waking up a bit. Giland was pretty loud as well, once we all woke up. But Varanis ended up there too, and they had the same kinda vision, or they visited it in spirit. I don’t know. They saw a woman in armour.” She waits for him to make – depending on education level – the obvious inference, or the right guess.
“A familiar armour, perhaps?”
“Yep.” Berra might have entirely failed to get the double meaning of familiar. She certainly gives no hint of having worked it out. “So… they woke up a bit later. And the vision that Maalira had was of being in a hospital, and she was in charge, and then she woke up after fighting off a spirit, I think. But people were being a lot too loud, and then things got pretty hectic a bit later, so I never found out the details. And the others had just passed out in their visions, but I was walking towards Harrek.”
“How very interesting.”
“Mhm. So that ain’t finished. I mean, me and him. Probably never will be until one of us is dead.” Berra shrugs. “So we went to Grizzly Peak. There were a lot of spirits there. We talked to Berra Colymar. The one who died there, in the armour. Found out a bit or two, like the name of her backboy, and we even found a bit of the helmet. And probably a bit of her bone.”
“Is she a ghost, or merely in the quest?”
“Was. Was a… not a ghost. A spirit that Giland called up. But all of them were awake. The dead spirits from long ago.”
“An unfinished problem then. Very well.”
“Yeah. So that bit’s about to come. Some of them had taken the bodies of the people that…. of some people that Fazzur had put there, or at least in his armour. And we killed them, but Varanis thought they were zombies. So she made sure of the Deaths even when Giland had driven out the spirits. She didn’t know. And then he sent us on a Heroquest to deal with that.”
“Ah, well. Fazzur’s people are not friends.”
Berra’s wise-nod agrees. “Yeah. But I wannta get through this to get to the interesting bits. This one’s not got many of the secrets of Humakt, although it had some bits later which are interesting. But there we were, and we were being – Varanis was being – accused of murder by a spirit, and it was a quest of Issaries – he could lead us to the Court of Daka Fal, where that could be judged.” Deep breath. “And there were about… probably a Battalion’s worth of dead? So I got Varanis to call them, because she’s a lot louder than I am in the spirit world, and was being Vinga – pretty hard, she tends to do that – and she was gonna be better at persuading people. So we walked into hell with most of those spirits behind us, on a path kept safe by Issaries.”
“She never ceases to surprise me. How can anyone be quite so Orlanthi and yet still be alive. I suppose I should be used to it.” He glances towards the head of the column
“I think that people that represent Death probably can’t ever know that, Lord.” Berra takes a moment to tack back towards the point. “So yeah, not an unfinished problem. I… you … I first saw you in action at Whitewall. That kind’ve number of dead people’s probably how you get vampires. And if not, they’re still a problem and they still needed putting down. But I figured it was my duty, and I did that. We came up at Indrodar’s Necklace.” The great place of the myth that entrapped the initiate Eril. “I should report about the way up, but that’s not so important now. Although I did use Death in a new way, to create a path.” Casual, like.
He nods, “That can be done at the Temple, in the correct fashion.”
“Yeah. So. You want an altar.” Beatpause. “Lord Roneer said I wasn’t ready, but he hasn’t known me lately.”
“It will be necessary. But a Runestone at the Battle site will suffice from passing warriors, I suspect.”
“Thing is, you weren’t ready either. So I think I should do it.” The plan he laid out for a Sword of Humakt, performed by an initiate, had little hope of ultimate success, surely?
He nods, thoughtfully, “I think a Wyter is beyond you.”
“I’m not after a Wyter, though. I’m after a spirit that will become a Wyter. The only one that wants to serve.” Berra lets her horse do its own steering around a tricky bit of low shrub that the King’s people should probably deal with.
He considers this “I think not. Yet. You are close, but it would be a shame for me to have to start forging all over again.”
Berra nods. “Still, I need you to write me that letter to Lord Silor, asking him to talk to me, and give me the assistance I want. I need to know about you.” Her eyes judge him, but thoughtfully – there is absolutely no resentment over the concept of being forged, and no surprise. Maybe something deep inside that is hard to read. Something he cannot have.
Berra nods. “I’m gonna have to be you, and I want that to sink in. Because I work best in action, knowing the…” Berra considers for a bit, hand moving to indicate she has not finished. “Context. And you don’t remember who you were.”
“Ah, I see. Yes, you wish to speak to Silor about me. That is sensible.”
“Yeah. And Thenaya. She’ll need to speak to who’ll play her, if … if probably Silor can persuade her, but I dunno. I’ll ask his advice. And if those two people at the end are gonna get killed, I ain’t doing it. You’ll have to find the Another Way.”
It’s just another item on a list for her.
“There is, of course, always another way. As I am informed.”
Berra nods. “Kay. Most of the other stuff was gonna be arrangements. I’ll try not to do anything that gets me killed meantime.”
“I should appreciate that. I find it most irritating to start a plan anew.”
“Yeaaaaah…. I mean, I know you got a lot of them, but… there’s all this stuff out here and it’s just easier to react…” Berra makes a couple of confused gestures, and then gives a grin that many people would say showed disrespect to a High Sword.
He merely nods. “Of course. It is my sad duty to do so. Now, was there anything else important?”
Berra considers. “We might well find the armour. You know the trouble that’ll cause. One of the people who might know something is on Colymar land. Thane Dangmar buried what he could find of Salinarg.” King Salinarg. As any fool who studies history and important persons would know.
“Yes… at present the King does not feel Thane Varaena a threat, but the Air is strong in them both.”
“Yeah. But we know that. I explained to her… a bit about … well, yes. We know. I think she probably wants a word with you too, but lessee… Harrek, Heroquest, you… Yeah, I can do that. And a Runestone. Oh. One more bit. Two more bits. Do you want that band to worship you as lay membership, and you’re going to have to buy the Truth Stone outside the Library.” Berra stretches grammar to breaking point, presenting the bits to her Lord.
“Very well. I can…. arrange something, I suppose.”
“It’s only got to be there by the time it’s your altar, but it’s the right thing to have.” Berra shrugs. “Buy, negotiate, prove your right to. Whatever.” But it is plain that all of the things she was going to say are being packed away, and she checks things through. “And the lay worship?”
“Yes. Very appropriate.”
Berra nods her head. “Then that’s all, Lord.”
He waves her on, and then waits, watching to see her riding.
Berra’s riding is, oddly enough, pretty competent. The slow, careful, borrowed horse seems to be respecting her, and although she is inexpert, she is no longer inelegant.3Two passes on riding and one fail to get around the scrub, but she’ll never be Cavalry. Riding is no longer at base.
“Is there anything we need to know?” – Varanis
“While the ultimate comprehension of that answer would be yes, specific conditions force my answer to ‘no’.” – Eril
“I like you. Sometimes you’re an absolute arse, but I like you.” Varanis
“I will let you know when your opinion of me matters to me.” Eril
- 1a further barb
- 2GM cruelly points out Berra thinks a paramour is when you tie ropes to each corner of a blanket and jump off a cliff. Berra counters that she does know: Nearly a moor, like… not quite the Grazelands.
- 3Two passes on riding and one fail to get around the scrub, but she’ll never be Cavalry. Riding is no longer at base.