Berra — Water Lilies
1627, Fire Season, Illusion Week
Fire Season, Illusion Week, Water Day, directly after the last scene. [[[s02:session-44|Session 44]]]
There is a short walk towards one of the rivers in Boldhome, west of the Death Temple, where the mountain walls of the city divide. Berra half-undresses as they go, wrapping her tunic up in her cloak, and loosening her swords. “So. Uh, Suuraki, you know how to look after a Humakti’s weapon, if you have to?”
“Protect it from harm, return it to the temple?” he asks.
“Um, not really? I mean I shouldn’t probably swim with them on, which means making sure that someone reliable’s looking after them. Although yeah, if I die, what you said.” Berra seems unconcerned about her own death.
Valseena looks alarmed… then staples on her determined face.
“You can tie the swords to swift-strider’s saddle there. They will be safe,” Suuraki tells the Humakti.
“Good.” Berra takes off the one on her right hip. “This one’s Lord Eril’s. That and my torc go to him, if ever it comes to it. But that’s not my sword.” She keeps Wind Tooth on for the moment, offering up the other blade. Up ahead, there is water visible.
All this talk of dying is unsettling Valseena but she does her best not to show it
Suuraki reaches across and takes the sword, fastening it to the saddle wit a series of cords which seem to be attached there for that purpose.
“There’s a pool just up from the bridge,” Berra says, and indeed the bridge is not far, and there is a pool there. The sun is hot. The water looks restful, and is probably about four feet deep.
Valseena disrobes and wades in.
Suuraki stands by the side of the pool, wrapped dagger axe held ready in one hand.
The water is COLD. This is not nice warm Praxian water that has saluted the Sun. It has not been gentled by its passage down to Nochet and into the Mirrorsea. This is water that wants everyone who touches it to understand Darkness. It is a little above the temperature of melted snow.
Berra, who has not yet found out about the horror, takes off Wind Tooth, and says, “This is my sword. Don’t draw it, but don’t tie it closed. It’s Death you hold.”
Valseena stands there shivering.
(( I think this probably requires CON rolls to get in while being functional. CON x5, Valseena? ))
Suuraki makes the sign of Death, the air growing still around him, and accepts the sword with both hands.
Berra nods her head, slips out of her skirt with a shimmy that also takes off her sandals, because her feet move just right for it – and walks into the pond then says, “Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!” From dignity to horror took half a dozen heartbeats.
Valseena is made of sterner stuff, and walks in. There is a lot of splashing, but no actual drowning.
Suuraki calls out somewhat helpful advice from the shore. While Valseena continues to splash, he closes his eyes, touches a tattoo and chants for a few seconds. When he reaches out and touches Berra on the shoulder, the tattoo glows brightly for a moment.
Berra tries to creep further in, but once she lifts a foot she cannot bear to put it back down, and…. and then she is touched, and she takes a deep breath, and puts the foot down. “Oh Humakt… this is colder than last time and that was sacred!” But she takes another step.
Valseena is still splashing about, failing to actually swim but managing not to sink either
“Oh ugh!” Berra closes her eyes, her body one huge wince, and then lets herself fall forwards. For a moment she is entirely under the surface, then she is struggling to the surface to try clawing her way through the water.1Amazingly, she passed Swim. This may be through sheer murder-hatred of the water.
Suuraki stows Berra’s sword safely through a belt loop, being careful not to make it undrawable, and extends the dagger axe. “Here, take turns holding this. Kick with your legs only.” He really does know how to swim.
Valseena grabs on gamely and attempts to hang on.
Berra is all muscle, fury, and concentration. She splashes to the other side of the pool and then back, having not heard Suuraki. Her head spent a lot of that time under the water, but she is not actually dead.
The kicking that Valseena is doing is too much like a kick, not enough like a swimming stroke, but at least this way it is hard for her to drown. Berra, who is swimming like she is trying to climb a ladder really fast, is getting tired but is fine… then the spell wears off, and she limps back to shore, exhausted.
Valseena keeps trying determinedly. She seems unwilling to admit defeat – even though she’s not really getting the hang of it.
Berra smiles widely on seeing Valseena not stopping, and tries for another width of the pool. This goes less well, and she sinks, and has to stand, ankle-deep in the mud of the bottom, and shoulder deep in the water.
Suuraki keeps drawing the dagger axe through the water.
Valseena inspires herself by looking at creatures swimming in the water… and finally seems to get the hang of it.
From Berra, whimpering, yet growling, comes a short statement. “I hate that duck.” She may even mean it.
“Very good, now let go of the axe. Let your legs do most of the work,” Suuraki tells Valseena.
She does. It seems like she’s getting the hang of it.
Suuraki extends the axe towards Berra.
Berra looks at the axe suspiciously. “I’d have to move,” she says, from her stranded position in the middle of the pool. She is obviously not enjoying it.
“Come closer to the edge. Hold on, I’ll draw you through the water. Let your legs do the work. Smoothly.”
Berra gives Suuraki the suspicious look instead, but wades closer, launches herself to try to grab the axe, fails, and has to splutter back up and then grab on. “I hate this. And I’m going to have WORDS with Lord D’Val…”
Suuraki waits until she has stopped talking and resumes drawing the axe along the pool, walking parallel to the edge.
Valseena comes to a reasonably controlled stop at one edge and wades out to dry off and warm up.
“There should be some kindling tied to the saddle ropes,” Suuraki says. “Start a fire.”
Valseena nods, her teeth chattering a bit. She starts making a fire although her fingers are a bit numb.
Berra gets the hang of the kicking, without much effort. The Water Rune tattooed around her left wrist gives a possible reason why. The look of anger at everything around her gives another.
She considers doing it the old-fashioned way then shakes her head and uses spirit magic instead. The fire springs into life.
“Good, now try releasing the axe. Use your arms to raise your head up when you need to breathe, but let your legs do the work.”
Berra does just about that, and even manages a few good strokes, much less jerky than before, and much faster. However, soon the cold and the effort take their toll and she has to come to the edge. She is shivering far too much, and has even stopped complaining.
“Better stop for now, I think,” Suuraki tells her.
Valseena has a good fire going and is warming herself back up. She’s got dry and put her clothes back on.
Berra looks up at Suuraki, gratefully, too cold to argue. She crawls out towards the fire.
“Come sit by the fire,” Valseena tells her.
The crawl gets faster, but Berra does not sit. Instead she lies down, curled up so that she faces the fire.
Valseena nods sympathetically.2Fumbled First Aid means that Valseena not only fails to recognise hypothermia, but makes it worse. Her hands must still be numb from cold.
Berra is fine, as far as Valseena can tell – she does not need warming up. She could, to be honest, probably do with a drink of water.
Valseena will offer her a drink of water, naturally. She probably spills a little as her hands are still shaking a bit from the cold.
Berra drinks the nice, cooling drink, and yes, soon she stops shivering. She just stares at the fire now.
Valseena pats her arm sympathetically. “Well that was….fun”
Berra does not feel cold to Valseena, of course. “Mm,” she says.
Suuraki fills a cup from his waterskin and offers it to Berra.3Suuraki has also fumbled First Aid.
Berra takes that too, and drinks.
“A good start. Why are you learning to swim?”
“Uhhh…” Apparently she has forgotten.
Valseena snuggles into Suuraki, attempting to leech some of his warmth. She is still cold.
Suuraki frowns and waves a hand in front of Berra. “Are you well?”
Berra nods, dully. “Mhm. Tired, is all.” She curls back up again.
Suuraki forages some more not-completely-wet vegetation and feeds the fire. In Boldhome, in Fire season, this is possible.
Berra has forgotten to get dressed again, although she does not seem to mind, and the day is hot.
Suuraki passes around some pemmican.
Berra drifts off to sleep, while the foraging is going on. She looks peaceful, finally, like the earlier anger at the water has seeped out of her.
After a while, Suuraki frowns again and approaches Berra. He touches her shoulder and swears, then places a hand on her forehead.4Suuraki specials Survival, and realises that Berra is not shivering.
«She is beset by disease spirits. We must take her to the healer temple… Help me get here onto swift-strider.»
Berra is cold, although that is not surprising – she has after all just been swimming.
Berra hardly stirs. Like a child who has been up too long, she is deeply asleep now.
With Valseena’s aid, Berra is loaded onto swift-strider and the group makes its way back the way they came.
Suuraki brings Berra to the gate of the sword temple and lifts her off the Llama. “Your comrade is ill. We were swimming. She does not wake. She did not drown.”
The guard who eyeballed Suuraki earlier asks, “You broke her?” but does not move from his post. He does jerk a thumb back, though, and tells his junior, “Get her Sword. He knows about swimming.” And a few minutes later, there is the duck, who looks at the limp Berra lying on the ground, and sighs. “I ssee. In for long?”
“Perhaps a handspan of Yelm’s path across the sky.”
“And then she forgodt to put warm clothesz on and have warm foodt?” D’Val sits Berra up with a practiced yank, and says, “Roll her forward onto my shoulder?” He is tiny, but it looks like he can carry someone who is merely small.
“We rested by a fire afterwards but she fell into a slumber. She does not shiver.” Suuraki does as instructed.
“She’th tried to warm up a river.” D’Val holds out the hand he has free. “Swordth?”
Berra groans faintly.
Suuraki returns to the llama and fetches the other sword. Laying both swords flat across his outstretched forearms in front of him, serving as a sort of trestle, he waits to follow the Duck in.
“If you’re going to carry them, bring the clothes as well.” The duck turns under his burden, and goes in.
Valseena grabs the remaining items from the Llama and follows. She looks concerned.
Berra is put to bed in the barracks. The Sword Lord says she will be fine in a few days.
Suuraki lays Wind Tooth alongside Berra and offers the other sword to D’val.
Berra goes swimming, and is fine until she gets out