Visiting Time

1628, Dark Season, Disorder Week, Waterday


People come to see Berra in the Temple as she lies wounded on the first morning after the Wyter was bound. Session SA3.13.


There are some impressively uncomfortable benches at the Temple of Humakt. In deference to the rank of some of those waiting, and their friendship with the Wyter Priest, the group gets given snacks and the chance to ask a serious-looking lay member of the Temple questions.

Serala doesn’t eat the snacks. Who knows, if you eat the food in the Temple of Death, you may have to stay there forever. Some things just aren’t worth risking. She doesn’t sit, either, for no reason other than standing seems more comfortable. The first question though, is quick from her… “So… What will Berra be doing now? Can we steal her and take her with us still?” Not that anyone is planning on staking claims early or anything…

There is an awkward moment, and then the lay-person answers. Their face softens only a little as they explain. “The Priest has several duties, and also… an injury that prevents her travelling. The Arroin healer was very particular on that point.”1Insight: There was a brief internal fight over what to say. The Truth won out.

Varanis politely nibbles a snack, but forgets about it the moment they are told that Berra is still injured.

“What kind of injury? Is she alright? When can we see her?” Finarvi is hovering.

“Please,” Maalira appends

“What injury?” Serala is predictably blunt. “When can we see her? It’s not like we’re going to kidnap her.” Her expression hardens a little, “Eril owes us a visit, after all we’ve all been through.” She’s not trying to be unpleasant but it has been a rough few weeks. “Why are we cooling our heels out here?”

“She wakes regularly,” the man… woman… physical helering… says. “As soon as she is awake, you will be informed.”

They glance at Maalira, as if she holds some secret.

“She really doesn’t need to be awake for her friends to sit by her.” counters Serala.

Finarvi looks to Maalira too, hoping for some insight.

“She was stabbed.” Maalira looks a little sick.

“This matters to us,” Varanis points out. “In case you hadn’t noticed.”

The helering bows to Serala, and says, “Understood. Let me go check.” Apparently reasonable people can be reasonable.

They disappear off out, and after about five great heartbeats of Yelm – only a small part of an hour – they are back. “The Wyter Priest has woken, and can be visited,” they say. “For completion, you would have been allowed within her room with someone vouching for you, and a healer or a Truth-Templar would count.” He glances at Maalira and Serala. “Please follow me. Thank Varanis, there is a minor issue over which the Blacksmith wishes to see you.”

Varanis’ eyes widen, for a moment she looks like she might turn mulish, but then makes a decision. “I’ll see what it’s about, try to get some answers, and then catch up with you,” she promises the others.

The helering leads the group down a long corridor, almost the full length of the ‘blade’ of the sword temple. They turn right, and then clap at a door, and open it.

Within is a big, bare, dark room. It has some daylight through a door to the right which must lead to a place with a window, and it has a single lamp, and a brazier which gives off more warmth than light, and very little of either. Under a blanket on a bed pulled out from the wall is a tiny figure, lying still. Berra’s right hand is wrapped around the hilt of an iron sword, its enchanted gleam faint but visible in the dim room. She looks at the door as it opens.

Serala looks torn for a moment, not really wanting to give up any time with Varanis, but she did come here with a mission. Even though it clearly makes her twitch every time Berra is referred to as the ‘Wyter Priest’ rather than by her given name. It clearly grates, even if Serala herself isn’t entirely sure why. “Hey.” is all she offers as she steps into the room. “Berra. Having a nice nap?”

FInarvi slips in behind his cousin, saying nothing, but studying Berra intently.

Berra gives Maalira a wide smile, although she is not up to sitting up. Serala gets a look, short and puzzled.2 Insight: Berra is sure she recognises some of these people, just needs a moment, it will come to her… Maalira, she is clear on. Serala is causing her to try very hard to remember.

Finarvi touches Serala’s arm as if to rein her in.

Puzzled meets puzzled. Or possibly even hurt. Serala nods slowly, turning to try and force a smile in Finarvi’s direction. She takes the hint and steps over to the door, looking out as though to see through the window, letting someone else take the lead.

The door has a section of wall beyond, and a staircase to a mezzanine with a shooting platform. There are no windows at floor level, but there is evident someone was here recently. A half-eaten bowl of cheese curds with nuts is on the stairway, not far up.

Finarvi returns his attention to Berra. “How are you feeling?”

Berra carefully transfers her sword to her left hand, to hold out her right for Maalira. “I do know you,” she says to Serala. “Sorry. I need a moment.” Finarvi gets another puzzled look. “Like I got stabbed in the kidney?” She suggests. “You’re… Venarfi… no. Tip of my tongue. Hello and welcome. Be at peace.”3First Aid: Blood loss, dehydration. The usual after a serious wound. If infection does not carry her away, she will live.

At that last, Finarvi suddenly finds the floor very fascinating.

“I’m sure Maalira can fix a quick stabbing.” Serala the door-loiterer points out, looking thoughtfully at the snacks, pondering who would be watching the invalid without really watching. “Also, where’s the real Berra? Be at peace?” She turns back, no angry, very little of any emotion showing in fact, as she regards the figure in the bed. “I knew you’d change, but I’m really hoping you’re in there somewhere…”

Insight: Berra is very broken. She is not wriggly. She sleeps curled up on her side in the field, alert and almost motionless. At home she can go to sleep with her feet on the bed and her head under it. Neither of those is this situation. Worse, she is being patient, and polite. She has not yet blurted out anything or run on any sentences and she should be saying things by now.

“You’re my guests here,” Berra says with a slight smile. “Oh, I do know you. The Lance. You’re Thane of Apple Lane!” There is little sign of real recognition, but that might at least be a start.

Berra’s thumb strokes the pommel of her sword. It is split so that the Truth Rune is mounted on Death, the same as the sigil she used to have on her shield.

“No.” Serala is quiet, thoughtful. “I’m your friend. None of the rest of it matters. And no matter how things go from here, I will remain your friend.” She looks to Finarvi, then Maalira, a little helpless, as she tries to figure out what to do with herself. It might’ve been easier if Berra had been sleeping, come to think on it.

Finarvi goes to her and puts an arm around her in a half-embrace.

Berra looks like she is trying to remember. “My clan,” she says quietly. “You joined my clan. It’s all distant. Far away.”

“Do you remember your home?” Finarvi tries, quietly.

“I lived in a redsmith’s hut. And you’re a redsmith. I knew that smell was familiar. It gets into the hair. The clothes.” Berra smiles. “Yes, I remember them.”

There is genuine fondness there, at least.

Serala takes a deep breath, before walking over and sitting on whatever piece of furniture is most convenient to the bed. “Would you like a drink?” She looks around, a little helplessly, hoping to spot a water jug and some appropriate container. Pouring water on Berra would be the Wrong Thing to do right now. “I’m Serala. Not the Lance, not the Thane, just Serala. We travelled together. You taught me to survive a big city. And yes, I am a member of your Clan. And right now, horribly worried about you, but probably about to put my foot in it because I’m bad with words.”

There is a pitcher of water, and a cup, on the table beside Berra’s bed. The cup is mostly empty, the pitcher mostly full. “Yes please. It’s a bother to send for someone – or wake someone – every time. Maybe I can sit up a bit if you help me.” Berra’s pillow is a folded blanket. Humakti aftercare is terrible.

FInarvi steps forward to help Berra sit up while Serala sorts out a cup of water.

Up close Berra smells of blood and sweat and pain. She experiments with sitting up, rather than committing to it, but manages to get more propped up on the blanket. The whole effort is hampered by her not letting go of the sword.

No-one has made any effort to separate her from the sword. This is presumably a good thing, and one pursuant to an extended life. Serala pouts the water and brings it across, “I take it you’re not going to set aside the hunk of iron for even a few moments?” she does enquire. “It’s the one that the Wyter lives in, I take it? Maybe it could at least be placed better… alongside your leg, if you don’t want to let it go…?”

“He doesn’t like to feel alone,” Berra replies. “Or for other people to touch him. He’s still getting used to it.”

She takes the water with a sudden, generous smile, just like the old Berra. “Thanks. It’s good of you.” Too formal, but with a flash of her proper personality.

Finarvi turns away to stir up the brazier in an effort to get more warmth and light.

There is a small stockpile of coal next to it. Not charcoal, but sea-coal, a delicate fortune in imported heat.

“He?” Serala is assuming the Wyter, but that flash of Berra encourages her to ask questions. “He’s.. okay.. in there? Being in a sword, I mean?” Setting the jug aside, she helps Berra lean gently forward so she can refold the blanket. It may end up looking a little like a horse pad, but at least it’s neat. Horses, she can look after. Berra’s lucky her hair isn’t being plaited yet, all things considered. Or her feet oiled. “And.. are you okay? You’re not, well, you. I know you’ve been through a lot but.. I was.. hoping…”

Insight: Berra’s left hand probably does not have the strength to lift the sword away. The wound is on that side. It might be a reason why it is so inconvenient.

Finarvi looks at the coal, glances at the thin blanket on Berra’s bed, then adds a double handful of the precious stuff to the brazier.

Berra looks down at the sword, and for a moment struggles to answer, and then takes a deep breath. As she exhales, the sword seems to smoke and a figure twists up and forms and steps off the bed before becoming too solid. Tall, slim, elegant, it closely resembles Venlar, son or Silor, or a young Eril. A gold scar is over his right eye. “To be honest I resent the whole situation,” he tells Serala.

Finarvi steps back. The brazier is between him and the wyter.

Serala’s eyes open wide as she looks up at the figure. Tall and slim and not dissimilar to the shape of the figure that killed her. There is a long moment while she pauses, letting the sudden rushing of her heart slow, before she comes to her feet and inclines her head to the figure. “For that, I am sorry.” she responds. “Is there..” She glances sidewards to Berra, watching for any sign of warning, even as she speaks. “Is there anything we can do to help?”

The dark figure takes a deep breath that, arguably, he does not need. “A private word, perhaps?” He glances down at Berra, who is looking at him in trusting puzzlement. “I am afraid time is short.”

The Grazelander looks to her cousin, then to Berra, then back to Maalira, then finally to the ProtoWyter once more. “Of course.” she says. No hint of trepidation at all, no. Of course not. She does hang out with her relatives these days, so perhaps isn’t quite as clueless as she once was.

The man of smoke gestures towards the light. “If you would?” His voice is measured, deep and even, but his gesture is quick.

Serala steps towards the door, leaving the others to look after Berra for a while, although from her expression, if anyone wanted to join her, they would be absolutely more than welcome. “Do you bite?” she asks as she steps through in the direction of that forgotten bowl of food, which is looking all the more tempting. Nerves make some people hungry… “I hope not. I think everyone is bitten enough by this point. Including you, perhaps.” Ah, nervous babble as well.

“Only by invitation,” he says, “And for food that requires it.” His voice drops a little, perhaps audible to eavesdroppers, but not to Berra, over in the bed. “I am sorry that Ikadz killed you. And that your friend’s memories have been so… translated? Displaced? They are not lost.” He might be waiting for Serala to know complicated Heortling words, or he might not want to say a thing.

Serala goes to perch on the stairs, taking the place of the departed watcher from earlier. But does not steal the food. That would be wrong. Talking of her sojourn in death, she can’t help a shiver for a moment. “I’m not good with details. I saw Berra being hurt, and I wanted to stop it. The Lunar saw someone disobeying orders, and wanted to stop it. The two together…” Her nose wrinkles in an expression that Finarvi would doubtless tease her about. “Done is done. But Berra…?” Her grey gaze comes to rest on the spirit, studying it more closely. Trying to appreciate the differences between the Eril she knows, the similarities to Silor, and anything that makes Raven unique. “I didn’t expect to lose her so completely.” she admits. “That is an.. unpleasant shock. And to find you don’t wish to be here, and what you are, either…? It feels like a lot of loss for one man’s gain.” She pauses to take a breath, pondering the final comments about Berra’s memories for a few moments. It seems that some thought is required.

“I know it is more than just one man, and I still resent it greatly,” comes the reply. “But I spent an hour hating her for doing it, and it was an hour wasted.” He angles himself so he can see out of an arrow slit above without the daylight falling on him. He is looking at the sky. “It would be a betrayal of the Temple to tell you how I know, of course…” He trails that. The scar over his eye, which Eril lacks, crackles with gold and red.

Serala frowns slightly, glancing to the Sky for a moment herself, before she looks back. “I would not have you betray the Temple.” she notes, trying to pick her words carefully through a mire that just opened up in front of her. “But I would… do anything.. to help my friend. And, by extension, you. You matter to her. She went through horrors to meet you.” Her teeth worry at her lower lip, “When you say… displaced? It’s an interesting term. There aren’t all that many places they could be displaced to, it would seem to me..”

“Oh, have I been indiscreet? That would be awfully awkward.” Those who know Venlar will know he speaks like this; a little like Silor but more like himself.

Serala waves a hand, dismissing, “Oh, I don’t think so.” she replies, “It’s probably my imperfect understanding of your words that leads to confusion…?” Skirting around the edge herself, trying to balance on a rope across a chasm. Galloping at the head of a charge towards an enemy for the sake of a friend… easy. Trying to pick the right words to talk with a spirit while remaining truthful.. not so much. “Would you say you know Berra well…? You’ve only just met, after all…”

“I hear everything she thinks.” The figure shakes his head. “I should stay silent on that. But of course, I know much of her.” He looks down from gazing at the window to fix Serala with a direct look.

“I’ve heard what she says, what she thinks is definitely not anything I’d want to know.” Nerves, once more, fluttering through in offhand comments, while she lets the words sink in. “Will she… can she.. ever be herself again?”

The figure thinks about it, and then says, “At the risk of correction to your question, I think I could ask another; can magic change people?”

Serala nods, but slowly, as though she thinks she’s maybe giving the wrong answer. “Healing can restore limbs, bring people back from death. Magic can give strength, or bring the sun. It can kill. But… whether it can completely change a person’s being, their very spirit… I don’t know. I think that sounds more like a question for a shaman than a horse warrior.”

“Philosophy is also found in libraries,” the figure of smoke notes. He is, of course, related to someone highly educated. He might be a little more seethrough now. The glow is fading over his right eye.

“Where’s Xenefos when you need him.” mutters Serala, “What’s that glow?” she can’t help asking, the direct question bursting from her almost unthinking.

“Glow?” The question catches him by surprise. “What glow?” His surprised head-tilt is oddly familiar.
Serala touches her forehead in the same area as the scar, before reaching out to indicate the same spot on the Wyter, ready to pause if he moves away from the touch. “A mark… here. It glows. It…” She mirrors the head tilt, her brow creasing in confusion and half recognition. “B…” She starts to form a name, but breaks off short.

“Ah, I was wounded,” he says simply. “Your friend. Keep her from the Temple for a few days if you can?” He seems amused by that. “She has even less sense of self preservation than I thought she would.”

Serala nods, “I will let the rest know. We can keep her here.” She half smiles, “Right now, even a child could sit on her to keep her in place.”

“She should not talk to Eril until I have talked sense into her. Peasants do not mix with politics…” He is definitely fading now. “Perhaps a fuss in the city so that it is appropriate to show her alive, at her house?” His voice is hollow, distant.

“Thank you.” Serala speaks to the fading Wyter. “I will do my utmost. For her and for you.”

“Wildday…” he whispers, and then even the flame is gone.

In the other room, Berra mutters something about a blanket.

Serala hurries back through to keep the promised Close Eye on Berra, and to fill in the others on everything that was just said. She doesn’t sit on Berra though, it doesn’t seem necessary at this time.

  • 1
    Insight: There was a brief internal fight over what to say. The Truth won out.
  • 2
    Insight: Berra is sure she recognises some of these people, just needs a moment, it will come to her… Maalira, she is clear on. Serala is causing her to try very hard to remember.
  • 3
    First Aid: Blood loss, dehydration. The usual after a serious wound. If infection does not carry her away, she will live.