Water Sign

Berra — Water Sign 01

????, Fire Season, Movement Week


Fire Season, Movement Week, Godsday. [[[s01:session-41|Session 41]]]


Berra has beer, but has scooted over to find a place where Rajar is not, and settled onto a stool there.
Varanis sits down across the table from her. “You left me in Wilmskirk,” she says, the statement plain and emotionless.

Berra grins. “Yeup. Welcome to the Cinder Foxes. Tomorrow, somewhere else.” She reaches for the beer amphora and another cup. “Beer or water?”

The Vingan shakes her head. “Neither, thank you.” After a moment, she says quietly, “The Chief is Eril’s brother. I met him on the road.” It seems like she has dropped the matter of being left behind as abruptly as she raised it. Maybe she even has.

Berra tops up her own beer, although there is only half a cup gone. “Was Eril’s brother. The High Sword is cut off from his Clan, so it’s like Eril’s dead here. I don’t know how they feel about him, though. I haven’t wanted to ask – Irillo didn’t mention him.” Berra looks like she pulled another all-night session of worship, and she fights a yawn.

“Do we know why he is cut off?” Varanis asks.

“Humakti gea… well, until now I assumed Humakt had cut him off, but I don’t know that’s the case. It’s probable, though.” Berra considers her beer thoughtfully.

“Do we know where tomorrow will take us?” The Vingan may be asking Berra, or it may be a question thrown out to the gods.

Berra nods, tense. “Yes.” The beer gets put down. “Indrodar’s Mistake.”

Varanis raises an eyebrow at that.

“There’s a Clan nearby who were performing an Indrodar Heroquest – but from the other side – when the High Sword was young. Lord Eril lead a raid straight into it, and got defeated, but there’s still a bit of Marsh where it happened, even though it’s the wrong way. We’ll… we might be facing that. I don’t think they realise just how dangerous it’s going to be.” Berra grimaces a little.

“Marsh?” There’s an edge to the word. “We’re going to the Marsh tomorrow?”

“Probably, yes. Unless we take a day to decide how to do it, or Irillo makes a different decision. It’s not the Necklace Marsh, though – it shouldn’t get in the way of the Quest. I think.” – Berra still looks palely sober.

Varanis has lost all colour. She doesn’t say anything.

Berra puts out her hand for the Vingan’s arm. “What?”

Varanis doesn’t quite flinch. “It’s nothing,” she says, not meeting Berra’s gaze. “Which clan is it we’ll be facing?”

“Crap,” Berra mutters, an oath and not a challenge. “I didn’t ask how you were. I thought… the White Ladies said if you slept and woke that the time itself might have cured you. Are you alright?”

“I’m fine. There’s nothing wrong with me,” Varanis says defensively.

“Then talk to me. What am I missing? What does a battle captain need to know?” Berra sits back and picks up her beer, sipping it as she waits.

There’s a lot of staring at the table. A long silence.

Only Berra could hold that pose, on a backless stool, for that long. Her foot is hooked around a table leg, and she looks comfortable.

Finally, Varanis meets her gaze. She looks haunted. “I’m going to die in the Marsh,” she says, her voice hollow. “And if I’m going to die there, it should be at the right time and the right place, so that I can at least try to save Sartar.”

“You’re not going to die in the Marsh unless something goes wrong,” Berra says in surprise. “We’re trying to avoid the Marsh, Lismelder Tribe allowing. We go down instead of North. Or you do.”

“I saw it in my visions, Berra. Magasta will pull me into the Underworld.”

“Visions?” Berra looks faintly confused.

Varanis nods soberly. “I had visions. At the Earth Temple, and before too, I think. It’s a little hazy.” She rubs her temples.

“Oh, yes. Xenofos had been taking Dreamroot. You probably are not going to meet Magasta. Fears and terror happen. False dream.” Elegantly curled, balancing easily.

“How do you know the visions were false? They feel very real to me.” Again, there is a note of defensiveness. Very quietly, she adds, “I want to be brave and face my fate with open arms. Why am I feeling afraid?”

“Because Death is a big step, and because you fear failure. But yes, they would seem real, but it’s not like the Sartar vision – it was brought on by a magical root, not by piety. Still, if it IS real then you don’t have to dodge it now – it will catch you later. Although we’re not facing Magasta here. This isn’t a place of movement. It’s a place that stays the same. It’s…” She shudders. “The Necromancer’s Marsh. He made it this way to keep himself from passing through Death.”

Varanis looks unconvinced, but says nothing more.

“When it’s salt water, we can worry.” Berra sits up properly. “I don’t know the name of the Clan, or if we’ll be raiding. I assume not raiding, because we’re setting off from here, and they would be neighbours.” She gets up to beckon Irillo over.

Varanis takes a slow, deep breath. The strain on her face eases and she lets her hands drop from her temples. “It’s fine,” she murmurs to herself. “I’m fine.”

Berra, pausing to consider something, does not seem to hear that.