1626, Fire Season, Stasis Week
In Greyrock Fall, After Session 1.36: Cave Crocodillem
On the way back from the cave to the village, Berra hung around D’Val, and seemed cheery enough, her eyes scanning the hillside and her insistence on being infantry making her seem a lot more like her. She kept to the left of anyone she was near, because her sword hand was not working, but she was definitely not mentioning it, or looking at the mess that had been made there. She put her kit on a pack mule, and walked light and free. When she got to the village, she asked for a little of Chief Carasai’s time, and then a conversation with Harvan the war chief. Now she is standing in a patch of sunlight, looking at the waterfall above the pallisade. The tired look is back on her.
It’s a quiet spot behind one of the larger houses, being avoided by most people because of the heat of the sun. In deference to her usual habits her back is to a wall, but she is not really paying attention to the people there.
Varanis approaches, from the right. Her greeting to her kinswoman is subdued and offered early enough so as to avoid startling the other woman.
Berra draws her attention away from the falls, and bows in greeting. “Varanis,” she says. “I… have bad news.”
Varanis looks confused. “What kind of news?” she asks cautiously.
“I don’t think D’Val can be your Humakt. I need to check at Wilmskirk because there are no Humakti here, but in setting off to find you, I…” She takes a deep breath to go on, but it takes her a moment.
“What do you mean? You’re my Humakt.”
“I was defeated by my enemy, after the Quest had started. I can’t be, until I’ve atoned for that. He was Zorak Zoran, and I couldn’t triumph in the Great Darkness. I failed and you’re all tied to me.” Berra manages to say it calmly, but there is obviously a great deal of emotion within her. She lifts her head and squares her stance, and does not look afraid, but her voice is full of sorrow.
“So how do we help you, cousin?” Varanis is matter of fact as she receives this news. It doesn’t seem like she is surprised.
Berra sighs. “I should probably go back to Boldhome, where at least Xenofos may be able to find out how to clean the failure off me, even if the Regiment isn’t there. And then we start again, but without the part I failed at, because I can’t meet you by surprise any more. It would have helped, but I don’t think it’s vital.”
Varanis nods. “If that is what is needed, then that is what we will do. We will make you whole again, and we will reset our path.” Her words are decisive.
Berra manages a brief, one-sided smile. “It bloody hurt. And I’m sorry.” She fumbles for her water bottle, remembers not to grab, and undoes it carefully, left-handed. Her right hand is enough of a mess that she has lost the tattoo on the back of it, and the bone beneath the scarring looks twisted.
“You have nothing to apologize for,” the Vingan replies. Her expression changes suddenly. “When I saw him holding you…. I…” A deep shudder runs through her.
“I was full of rage. I’d have run through anything to kill him. I suppose that’s what I tried to do. I’m sorry we lost him. I wanted to lay his head at your feet, Berra.”
Berra closes her eyes. “Ugh. Yes. Can we change the subject? I’d prefer not to think about that place – I was there too long. I still need to report to D’Val, and that will be enough.”
Varanis nods reluctantly. From the bag she carries, she produces her pot of Blue Tree woad and her mirror. “Do you want to touch up your runes?”
“Not just now, thank you. I’ll spend a bit more time in sunlight, looking at water. It helps.” Berra shudders slightly, as a memory catches her, or a chill runs through her, or some other such reason. “I’ll be fine.”
The Vingan puts the woad away. Quietly, she asks, “Do you want me to leave you?”
“I’d prefer to be alone for a bit.” That’s probably a yes.
Varanis sighs1… and passes Insight: Human.
It looks, to someone who knows her well, like Berra is currently trying not to cry. She’s succeeding, but she’s not happy under the calm.
“Alright.” Varanis raises her hand as though she’s going to reach for the small Humakti, but then lets it fall back to her side. “I’m here if you need me.”
Berra nods, a quick movement that says she knows, and leaves her the option of not talking. She takes that option, a slight smile plastered on, and then a moment later she stares back at the waterfall.
Varanis searches Berra’s face, sighs again, and turns away.
- 1… and passes Insight: Human