1628, Earth Season, Fertility Week, Windday
Near Aldu-Chur, in the Healers’ Camp after the battle. Berra is still drunk. Maalira needs a place to stash Tamakt and Varanis makes a convenient, if reluctant, guard. Follows after Still Sozzled and continues in Wet Rag.
Post Epic battles lead to epic hangovers (Session Sartar Arc 2).
Maalira once again levers her way through the tent flap, this time because she is carrying a drowsy child.
Inside the tent, parts of the earth have been churned into mud. Varanis is pacing. Again. She stops and stares at Maalira. “What is that?”
The small child gives Varanis a tired look and a yawn. He has Maalira’s hair, almost.
Varanis moves to step between Maalira and Berra. “Who? Wait… do I know this child?”
The little mite buries his face in Maalira’s shoulder. His little scrap of blanket gets hugged.
The Vingan shakes her head irritable. “I don’t know any children in Tarsh and this is not the place for a baby. Take it away, Maalira. Berra needs to sleep.”
“Varanis, it’s Tamakt. Yamia’s son. He has been in the battle today.” Tamakt continues to nestle away.
“He what now?????”
“MmmmmMmMMM…” Tamakt clings to Maalira all the harder.
“Not alone – with Yamia,” Maalira attempts to clarify, while rocking from side to side soothingly.
“Gnh,gnh…” He seems to like the rocking.
“That’s very… Yamia. Wait, if he’s here and she’s not…. she’s not…. dead? She’s exceedingly hard to kill. Surely she’s not?” The Vingan is babbling a little, struggling to make sense of things.
“No, no, she is alive, but her foot and ankle are injured and the healers haven’t been able to get near them. I think she will let me examine her if Tamakt is sleeping safely.”
“So why have you brought him here?”
Berra sleeps on.
“Because it’s the safest place in this encampment,” Maalira says firmly. “Varanis, when did you last sleep?”
“I slept last night, but… to be honest, not a lot,” she admits.1Stupid Truth Rune “And it’s not safe here. People may come for Berra – they all want to control her. And if someone tries to take her before she’s fully herself, I will stop them.”
“You’re not the only one with a sword,” Maalira says gently. “If I can get Finarvi back in here to guard, will you rest? Tamakt knows you, he could nap with you while I see to Yamia.”
There’s a soft growl of resistance from Varanis. “Finarvi is competent, but he’s not Berra or Rajar. Berra can’t fend for herself right now and Rajar left us. I have to do this. Who else could we trust?” The last is added as if the answer is obvious. No one.
“Mnmm,” Tamakt says sleepily. He slips an arm around Maalira’s neck to hold on better.
Maalira shifts her weight to ensure Tamakt is resting on her hip. “There’s guards outside as well,” she points out reasonably. “And you will be no use to Berra if you pass out as soon as she wakes up.”
“I’m fine…” Varanis starts to say, then sags a little. “Well, I’m tired. I know I am. It’s just… she will be ok, right? How many guards are outside? Can you stay a little?”
Tamakt starts to fold over Maalira’s arm.
“I’ll stay a little while. There’s two guards outside, plus all of the White Ladies know to keep an eye on this tent. Berra will be safe.”
“If you have to go deal with Yamia, maybe you could get me some lumiviiva or something like it? Then I’ll be fine.” Varanis seems to be searching for a compromise.
The small boy keeps hold of his scrap of blanket, even as he goes limp and is just asleep.
Varanis stares the throws her hands up in surrender. “Fine. Just put him there and I’ll guard them both.”
Maalira tucks her head in close to Tamakt’s ear and whispers ever so softly in it. “Tamakt, you are going to have a nap with Varanis. She’s like family and she is strong and brave. She will look after you.” Tamakt makes no reply. There is just the rise and fall of a tiny chest, the blowing of a tiny bubble. “He’s properly asleep,” Maalira says. “He’ll be no trouble.”
Varanis tries to makes a nest in the sleeping hides below Berra’s feet. “She only uses the top bit anyway.”
Maalira gently eases the sleeping child onto the hides, letting go in tiny increments so that he doesn’t notice. Berra would not use the whole bed even if she stretched out.
Tamakt yawns and crawl-wriggles a little further up to use Berra’s foot as a pillow. Without apparently waking up, Berra moves her hide so it is over him. “Gnkm?” he says sleepily. She says nothing.
“That’s a good little one,” Maalira murmurs. It is not wholly clear which one she is speaking to.2Tamakt is hidden and safe now.
“Go deal with the mother,” Varanis orders. “I’ll keep them both safe.”
Berra looks out blearily. “Haran?” Something about the small child has woken her up. She looks pretty grim.
“It’s Tamakt,” Maalira says softly to Berra. “Go back to sleep.”
Berra nods, accepts it, and pulls the hide back into place. “‘Lo Tamak’,” she says indistinctly.
“Go. Look after Yamia. Tell the Humakti I’ll protect her son until she can come claim him. He’s kin and he’s with Berra.”
“Thank you.” Maalira reaches out and squeezes Varanis’ shoulder. “When Finarvi comes back, at least sit down for a little while?”
“I’ll think about it,” Varanis says. It’s as much of a promise as she’ll offer.
Maalira nods wearily and heads back out to see Yamia.
The Vingan continues to pace and to help keep herself awake and functional, she sings softly. Tamakt and Berra are a silent, unappreciative audience.
For those outside the tent, what starts as songs to Vinga turns into songs about Berra.
- 1Stupid Truth Rune
- 2Tamakt is hidden and safe now.