Thinking on your toes

1628, Early Fire Season


Context

On the road towards Jonstown, at the beginning of the expedition beyond the Glowline. Session 9 (Going Fourth About Midnight).

Events

Once Boldhome is some way behind them, while Jonstown is still some way ahead, Berra walks her bison next to Varanis, and mounts up to keep pace. Apparently Followed is refusing to steer today. “Hey.” It’s an opening that says she has a thing to say.

“Mmm?” Varanis replies, watching the road ahead.

“You remember that Babeester Gor from last year? Uh, Varaneva?” Berra seems pretty sure of the name, and the ‘Uh’ is a sort of repetition of the question. Peasant.

“Hard to forget that one.”

Berra nod-nods. “She’s due another war-season of service. I told her to go to the Earth Temple at Boldhome. She’ll be there by about now, ready to muster.”

Varanis shrugs. “Ok. I suppose I could check on her, if we make it back.”

Berra’s shrug is an echo of her friend’s. “You don’t have to. It’s sorted anyhow.”

“That’s good… hey… have you ever been asked to meditate on your own toe?” The Vingan shifts, uncomfortable in her borrowed armour.

“Wha?” Berra looks confused. “No. My centre, but never a body part. I think. Why?”

“I’m trying to decide if the Daughter was teasing me when I was at the Temple yesterday. She bade me remove my boot and meditate on my big toe. It was… strange.”

“Wh…. huh, yeah, probably. Or drugged. Or something weird.” Berra shrugs. “Maybe one of those things where you have to think about what it means. Like they say that but they really mean that you’re part of a bigger thing. What had you said just before?”

Varanis considers. “Only that I’d be away for a while again, I think.”

Berra shrugs. “Could be?” she says. “But I reckon she’d been drinking.”

“She was freshly painted in woad too,” Varanis admits. “It was a rather impressive amount.”

“That can be. If it was getting into her head and her heart, she might have been in a holy state.” There’s a rather more complicated shrug, including hand movements.

“I’m not sure I learned anything from my toe, but…” She shrugs and then grumbles as the armour doesn’t quite move right. “I’ve been thinking… I may want to dedicate myself more closely to Vinga if we survive this. I think… maybe soon…” She glances skyward. “First we have to come back. Then I can consider whether or not I am worthy and whether this is the right time.”

“You might want to have a bit less padding on the inside of the shoulders,” Berra suggests. “I know it seems weird, but …. how can you dedicate yourself more?” Her mouth catches up with her ears.

“More time to the temple,” Varanis says. “More tithe too. But mostly more service and deeper learning.”

Berra considers that. “Iron?” she checks.

Varanis laughs softly. “That’s not really for me to decide, is it?” She adds, “But, if the Daughters and High Priestess think I’m worthy, I would really like to quest for a spirit to guide me.”

“Is there anything that your commande… that the cult would say you’re lacking?” Commanders in a cult sense, are Humakti, of course. “I mean, I know you live for Vinga and Honour.”

Varanis considers. “My skills need more polishing – they always will, of course. That’s how skills work. But, I think perhaps I need more work to get to where I need to be. More experience, perhaps. I have amends to make still. I can’t ever forget the Vingans I failed.” She sighs. “I don’t know why I brought this up, except perhaps because I was thinking about my toe and the Daughter. We have to return from this,” she hesitates, before settling on “journey, before I can even consider petitioning the temple.”

“Not what I asked,” Berra says. “Because if it’s not for you to judge, don’t judge you. Ask them… alright, it was what I asked, but you don’t need to make amends before. You need to lead and love and learn, and that’s making amends. By living, and doing it right. That bit wasn’t what I asked. That bit was you saying you couldn’t. Yet.”

“Do you think it’s a thing I could ask the Temple at Boldhome about? I find myself wondering if they’ll think I should return to Nochet. But, while I will always be grateful to them for teaching me, it’s been a long time since I have thought of that temple as home.”

“Um… Varanis. Listen to yourself. NO. Stop doing this!” Berra holds up a lecturing finger, point to the sky and then to Varanis. “Ask them to consider you. They will! You’re part of that Temple now!”1Passed Lecture at Varanis while Yelling.

Varanis laughs again, just as softly as before. “You are a fierce friend, Berra. I am glad you’re on my side.”

Berra glares a moment more, and then looks away. “Yeah. Just so you know.” She shrugs in her new-old armour, a quick movement to get comfortable and change what she is thinking.