Taking Responsibility

1629, Sea Season, Death Week, Waterday


Berra is in the Temple of Humakt for Death of Water day, where she has been testing two young Humakti who want to join her. Session SA4.08.


“Hey, Lorr Raven.”

Is pronouncing my name correctly too much for you?

“Sorry. I ran here. Those warriors I said I was taking for a walk?”


“They’re really really new. Humakt called them. But they’re eighteen and I think they’ve only seen one fight.”

A disadvantage perhaps, but what is it to do with me?

“I don’t know what to do about them.”

Ah, yes. It is to do with you, and you need guidance.


“Yeah. By the time I was their age I think I’d already been at Pennel Ford.”

So you have told me. At length.

“Well, it was a long day.”

You came here for my help, Priest.

“Yeah, but I could ask a lot of people for help, so you get to be actually helpful.”

Are you aware that swords are difficult to wound?

“Right. So, I need to toughen them up. Without breaking them. I’ve invited them to Nochet with us.”

Indeed? For why?

“Well, I din’t realise they were as young as they were when they came, and then I’d said it. But it’ll be a few weeks, they’ll get to see a big city, and I’ve let the Temple know I’m taking them. We won’t let them talk to Lord Kesten until he’s made a decision.”

You are once more racing to catch up with your words, Priest…

“Yeah, I know. Anyhow, I’m gonna put them under obs and let people know what they are. If nothing else, the Temple’ll be just a few weeks late in letting ’em know where they should be.”

After they have experienced Nochet.

“Yeah. But they’ll come back. They think a lot of me, Lord Raven. Really a lot. I can’t hear you working out how not to comment but I’m pretty sure you are.”

“It’s the sort of kid-emotion that gets you killed. They don’t know what Death is. Not properly. That’s what worries me. And they’ve not yet been tested at all. And they’re eighteen!”

This happens to many who come to a Temple. I am unusual, and as I understand it, you were sent away from home early.

“Yeah. But they’re kids!”

No longer.

“… Yeah. Time to treat them like adults.”

“Lord Raven. Please let the Wyter know that I would like to talk with Lady Graria. I know her time’s valuable, but I have to head out around dawn.”

It is done.

Berra waits.

There’s a clap outside the door.

“C’min,” Berra calls. She stands from where she was kneeling to meditate.

The door opens to reveal a hesitant youngster, around the same age as the two Narri Berra has been dealing with.

“Lady Berra? The Sword, I mean, Sword Graria, sends word. You are welcome to visit her office after dinner.”

He swallows nervously, clearly trying not to stare around the room. He has the look of someone raised in a small rural village who is still overwhelmed by everything new.

Berra nods her head. “Thank you. No need to let her know – I will.” And then the rest of the afternoon passes, and then she claps outside Graria’s door, loudly Sartarite.

“Be welcome,” Berra hears from the other side.

Berra opens the door. “Sword,” she says with a bow of the head. It is the deference due to rank. At her right hip, the Wyter Sword hangs. That is the reminder of who Berra is.

The room is sparsely furnished. A large desk is the most prominent feature, piled high with scrolls and tablets and a plate of food pushed to one side. There’s a jug of something steaming over a small brazier.

Sitting at the desk is a lean woman with brown hair cropped short and flecked with white.

She sets aside a wax tablet and stylus and rises to greet Berra.

“Berra. Welcome. How may I be of service to the High Sword’s Wyter Priest?”

“Thank you for seeing me. I’ve come about Harmakt and… I didn’t quite catch her name. Navale? Nayal?” Berra nearly has it right.

The other woman frowns thoughtfully. “Do you mean that pair from the Narri clan? Harmakt and Nayale?”

Berra nods. “Yes. I’ve invited them to Nochet with me. I’ve got Wyter business.” She lets it hang there.

This gets her a raised brow. “You want to take a pair of raw recruits to Nochet? Why?”

“I didn’t realise how young they were when I met them. And now I’ve said I will, so I should stand by that if the Temple will release them.”

Berra may have forgotten just how little time the Temple can call on for laity.

Graria considers, stares at her desk, then shifts a pile, looking for something. She comes up with another wax tablet, which she scans quickly.

“Hmmm. They came without sponsorship or resources. Competent enough with weapons. The sister is semi-literate. Her brother can hunt if needed. Their knowledge of the god is… well… mostly from Orlanth’s perspective. They’ve had some training that way, but not enough. They’re both terrible at meditation…” The Sword glances at Berra as she mentions meditation.

“I’ve been trying to decide how best to place them, to be honest. They are ahead in some things and too far behind in others.”

“They need to understand Death, but they will,” Berra tells her. “They’re good together, decent apart. Too eager – they need to spend time bored. I can let you know how they go when I get back, if you like?”
She does not blush when meditation is mentioned.

“Training youngsters is good for Initiates and Swords both,” Graria says after a moment. “Take them. Decide how you want to test them. Get them both back here alive and report on what you learn. It can be a test for the three of you.”

She picks up her stylus and adds some notes to the tablet.

“When do you expect to return and do they require any supplies for the journey?” (edited)

“I’ll be at least three weeks away, and I can’t set off until the middle of Fertility Week. I’ll be leaving from Clearwine then if the Rune of Fate doesn’t drop its lintel on me. Probably back at the end of Sea Season. If I’m on Temple Business then the money to feed them’s appropriate. Either they’ll stay at Ba… the Battalion, or with my kin.” No mention of where she will be staying; that is her problem. “Uh… that’s probably about ten Lunars including travel. I’ll probably teach them how to make earplugs.”


“They talk. Worse, they imagine.” Berra gives Graria a wince.

The Sword snorts. “Three talkers. Should be amusing from a distance.” She opens a coffer sitting on the corner of her desk and counts out coins. “Give this to them or handle it for them if you prefer. Nayale says she has her numbers. Mother was a crafter of some sort. She should be able to manage money.”

Berra comes over to collect it. “I’ll have Harmakt handle his,” she says. “You’re going to find they’re… well, I’ll report later. Thank you, Sword Graria.”

“Of course. Now, if there’s nothing else, Wyter Priest, I should get back to all this,” she waves at the piles on the desk. “So many new faces in the Regiment. Maybe when you’re done with these two, I can give you some more?”

“If time allows,” Berra says. “I spend a lot of time out but I’m good at training scouts.” She is bowing as she prepares to retreat.

“Scouts… hmmm. Yes, there’s that one from Swenstown…” She glances back down at her tablets, then remembers herself. “Harmakt will have some of what you need that way. Nayale… she might. I haven’t been able to fully assess where one stops and the next begins. Let me know if they are good scout material. Now away, before I do assign you others.”

Rather than turning back to her work, the other woman rises and walks Berra to the door. “Travel safely, Berra Jarang’s daughter. May Humakt guide your blade.”

Berra retreats in good order, as a skirmisher should.

“Well, Lord Raven. We’re getting company on the way.”

You are.