Teeth And Death

1626, Storm Season, Harmony Week


On the way to the Paps, Berra and Varanis discuss their dreams. After Rune Messiah (Session 2.26).


Dawn comes damply, and Berra is up to greet it, looking deadly and intent, just as she always does. Her stocky silhouette is solid in the early light and the bronze of Wind Tooth glitters its threat. Today she is killing the air in a different way to normal; short and brutal and sudden and highly efficient. Pauses and sudden launches are today’s order, and grace is an afterthought. It still looks beautiful, but in a way that makes the most of her strength. And, undoubtedly, she is strong. Muscles seem to have solidified in her overnight.

By contrast, Varanis’ greeting to Yelm is lethargic. She goes through the motions, but she moves slowly and without grace. When she comes to the end of the pattern, she doesn’t start another one, nor does she watch Berra. Instead, she stares off into the distance, her gaze unfocused.

Berra draws herself in finally with a snakelike, slow twist to a relaxed position with her sword held in her right hand and resting on her left. For a moment as she closes her eyes she seems to be basking in the sunlight – of which there is very little. Then she wipes down Wind Tooth and sheathes her.

Berra’s movement catches the Vingan’s attention finally. Belatedly, she wipes down her own blade and sheathes it.

Berra asks, straight out, “Did she speak to you last night?”

“Who?” Varanis blinks, focuses, then considers. “You dreamt of her too? No. She didn’t speak to me.”

“Yeah. She’s grateful. I heard her voice. She is returned.” Berra’s choice of grammar leaves it open as to whether that is ‘returned by us’ or ‘has returned’.

“I remember feeling warm. For the first time in months, I was warm the whole way through.”

“Heh.” Berra nods. “It was a warm place, I think. But it was also not a time-place much. I could feel a pulse, and it was slow. Under my feet.”

“I wanted to stay in the warmth. It was hard to wake up to this…” The vague gesture might be indicating the steady drizzle, or it might encompass all of Prax. “There was something easy about it. But…” Air huffs out of her in a rush, then she draws the damp Air in slowly. “This will sounds strange, but I felt like I could have chosen to stay there. Turn aside from all this and just not do it anymore. But I also knew it was the wrong choice.”

She shakes her head, as if to clear it. “You seem… different, somehow.” She studies the Humakti’s face. “More solid.”

“Um, yeah. She showed me how to be strong. To use it in these short bursts. But I’m a bit worried it’s too Beasty for me.” Berra shrugs. “Waiting, then acting. She’s really patient. And hungry. But not cruel. She just eats. She doesn’t play.”

“Is Humakt likely to be jealous?”

Berra shakes her head. “He doesn’t do that. Although he might warn me. And the cult might be annoyed. I should probably dedicate that tooth to them, but I don’t know I want to. Taking it back to show in Boldhome’s calling to me, but that might be pride in the wrong thing.” She grins. “Still, it got done.”

“I have more. Of the teeth, I mean. It is a thing to be known. Take one for the Tourney Altar, one for Boldhome, and one for you, in case you find yourself called to present it elsewhere.”

“Oh, right. Yes. That’s a good idea. Teeth and claws. Or something.” Berra has cheered up about it. “A thing to be known. That’s a good way of saying it.”

Insight: Varanis is definitely not fully present. It’s possible it started days ago, but overnight it’s become really obvious. She says the right things and does the right things, but she’s not quite herself.))

Berra gives Varanis a curious look, and manages for a moment to bite her tongue.1And passes, but does not Special, both Truth and Movement. No blurting.

For several heartbeats, Varanis says nothing, staring vaguely over Berra’s head. She breathes, refocuses, then asks, “Do you want me to prepare something you can use as offerings? I can do so before we part ways at the Paps.”

Berra nods. “Yeah. It feels weird to me to be doing it – I didn’t help in the cave. You helped me. And then here, Storm Bull killed the Crocodile. I think maybe Humakt shouldn’t have. So I can lend out Death but I shouldn’t use it. Offerings prepared by you would be right.”

Varanis nods. “As you will.”

“Are you… alright?” Berra finally gets the question out.

“Mmmm?” There’s another nod. “I’m fine. I just…” She trails off, breathes slowly. “My dreams are full lately. Mostly of Orlanth, Vinga. Grandfather Sartar too. But always full. I need to go home and yet I know I need to go to the Paps first.”

“Ah, yeah, right.” Berra accepts that. “I guess that means that you brought back something. That Thane Vareena did. I mean.”

“Hmmm?” This gets a curious glance.

“The descendent of Sartar’s just done a major magical working.” Berra looks unsure. “Maybe? I think so.”

“I’m not sure. But what I am sure about is that Orlanth calls me and it’s time I answered.”

Berra nods, eyes wide. “I should go get breakfast,” she says. “Important not to forget to eat.”

This gets an absent nod. As Berra heads towards breakfast, Varanis drifts towards the tent.

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    And passes, but does not Special, both Truth and Movement. No blurting.