Berra has refused to talk to Varanis about being exiled. It is a little later, and Varanis tries again. Sea Season, Session 6.
The last few miles up to Boldhome beckon. Berra is walking Followed, for Humakt demands one day a week spent as an infanteer. She likes to spend more than one on foot, however, just in case she needs to ride anywhere in a hurry.
Varanis rides up and dismounts to walk beside, keeping herself and Berra between the animals. Manasa is not being given room to bite anyone else.
Berra sighs. “Sorry. Couldn’t talk before. It happens.”
“I am not sorry for what I said to her,” Varanis says. “But I am sorry that you got splattered by the dung.”
“Yeah. She threw it.” Berra aims at a rock to kick. Her foot skids over it. Being her, she lands well. “She’s my Queen, and she shouldn’t have said that. She’s wrong.”
“I’m not sure I should tell Kallyr. I might put the information into Tennebris’ hands and let him decide. You might consider the same if your High Sword asks,” Varanis suggests carefully.
Berra gives Varanis a look, and a tiny, brief laugh. “I’ll be telling him. He needs to know – it’ll be up to him how he deals with it, but he has to know. He’s… smarter than her by a lot. For all that he’s not.”
The Vingan nods. “I think that’s a wise choice.”
After a moment, she adds, “She’ll find out anyway. But, I think it will come best from her closest advisors.”
Berra nods. “Mostly, I figure it’s best to have him be prepared so he can look like he knows everything, so he feels good about himself.” This time she gets a rock properly, hitting it up with her toe to skitter it along the road ahead.
“Do you think Tennebris and Eril like each other?”
“I think they get on. When Kallyr was dead, Eril… Lord Eril, sorry, proved his loyalty. That went a long way. They can trust each other. I don’t think they care or don’t care for keeping cpmpany, and sometimes they’ll disagree. But it used to be a lot harder for Tennebris, I think, and I think Eril was aiming for more for his Temple. That’s settled now.”
Varanis nods. “That’s a good thing.”
“They work together. Maybe even well.” Berra shrugs. “I’m going to have to tell my Lord that I’m putting off what I need to do for him again.” She glances around to be sure they are clear of eavesdroppers. “The Heroquest. I got damaged by that egg.”
“Wait. What? Why didn’t you say so earlier? Can Maalira help? Or we could go to…” Varanis wrinkles her nose, “we could send word to Mellia.”
“Just… time. I didn’t realise what was happening and it took on some of my spirit. I just need to recover a little.”
Varanis looks less alarmed, but still concerned. “If you say so.”
“Yeah. But we’re alive, and while we are, that means we can do things in this world. Like visit the bushes without needing a bodyguard and having a river with me. I never thought that would be on my list of fun things to do.”
Varanis laughs. “There have been times when I have had bodyguards stay that close. Thankfully, none of us had a river in tow at the time.”
“My boots are never going to be the same. I’m… ugh. And my foot-bindings have gone orange-brown.” Berra laughs, looks like for a moment she will mount Followed just for the joy of getting up and balancing, and then steadies herself. “I’ve got a lot of thinking to do, though. Like how do you celebrate a river’s first Sacred Time?”
“You ask at a temple to one of the water deities?” Varanis suggests helpfully. “Hey… do you worship that river now?”
“No… although I feel responsible for it. Like I’m a mentor or something. Poor river. But most of it’s in the Lismelder lands, so I’ll be able to go through and see it.” Berra nods. “An’ yeah, I’ll ask at a river Temple.”
Varanis leans out of the way of Manasa’s head as the horse appears to contemplate a taste. No teeth are shown and they walk in peace for a few steps more, before Varanis says, “I wonder if Leika will say anything to Argrath.”
“I think it’ll turn on Gunda,” Berra says. “Which is another thing I’m gonna be telling Lord Eril. Make sure he knows that.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m thinking that ‘who Orlanth chooses’ is whoever is left standing, or else whoever Leika thinks will win. And she’s talked to the most powerful despoiler we know, or at least his friend. So it depends where Harrek falls.”
“That’s… worrisome.” Varanis chews her lower lip. “It means we really need to solidify the arrangements between Kallyr and Argrath.”
“Mhm.” Berra walks like an infanteer. “Yeah.”
“Fuck,” Varanis mutters under her breath. “I’m more Sartarite than he is and I wouldn’t dream of trying to make myself King. Not while Kallyr is alive. She’s the only one of us who is Sartarite to the core.”
“We knew we were going to have to do the right thing, and work hard. But now we just have to do that, and let others help us – where they send, we go. At least Kallyr hasn’t thrown the Luminous Stallion King out of the place.”
Varanis laughs a little at that. “I hope he’s good in bed to make up for everything else.”
“Lemme know if you find out?”
The Vingan arches a brow. “Definitely won’t be first-hand experience! I think I’m giving up on men.” With perfect timing, baby Berra lets out a loud wail somewhere behind them. Varanis winces.
Berra winces too. “Rivers. Rivers don’t scream.”