1627, Sea Season, Fertility Week
At an inn at Duck Point, after Session 2.38 (Seeder Forest). Varanis is slipping out into the night after having been ill for a time. She takes Berra with her. (After Bedside Visit)
Varanis manages to escape her room and Mellia and makes it to the bottom of the inn’s stairs.1V: Berra, you’re asleep in the Common room of whatever inn we are at? Roll listen? Add penalties for drinking or whatever if appropriate. B: I just rolled CON. Sober. Ish. Failed Listen. I suspect asleep down by the bottom of the stairs, ready to go up them. V: Let’s see how I do on move quietly in armour Omg. I passed. B: Heh. Short scene!
Spotting a lump that looks somewhat like Berra, she tiptoes closer. It’s a bit of a gamble in the dark, but she picks the end that she thinks contains the Humakti’s feet and nudges it gently.
Instantly awake, Berra rolls over, showing that she is hugging Wind Tooth as always. Her eyes blink as she takes in the scene, and then she nods and gets up, quietly if not in silence.
“Windsday,” Varanis murmurs, as if that explains why she interrupted the other woman’s sleep. And given it’s not long until Yelmrise and they are in an unfamiliar place, maybe it is enough of an explanation.
“Yeah.” She already knows, and is reaching for her armour. “I’ll walk you there.” The cuir-boilli. Easy and quick to put on. “Do you want to wake someone to close the door?”
“Think it’s needed?”
“Not really, but it’s polite. I guess?” Berra does not look like she really cares.
Varanis shakes her head. “We’ll just close it. I’m sure it’ll be fine. You’ll be back quickly enough.”2Ha! Another impossible pass on move quietly.
Berra shrugs, and as soon as she has her breastplate on, she is moving, the armour for her right arm in her hand as she lets Varanis take the lead. She does pause at the door and says, “I can’t hear any warning. Let me go first.” By now it is a well-practiced phrase, more for habit than for information.
The Vingan stands clear of the door and waits for Berra’s signal.
Berra says, “Clear,” in a quiet voice outside. She has stepped away far enough to look.
Varanis slips out and closes the door firmly behind her. She takes a deep breath, then wrinkles her nose. “It smells strange. Right, which way?”3V: What kind of light sources might there be? Any? B: Stars. Moon. People travelling.
“It smells of duckweed and fish,” Berra says. “Docks.” She points the way. “That’s not me saying we’re going to the docks. That’s the way to the Temple. I think.”4B: Survival rolls for not getting lost? V: Fail survival. B: We’ll bounce off the walls a couple of times, but find the way. Other people are going there.
Varanis shrugs, “Worth a shot. Maybe we can find someone to ask.”5B: And we can call up to the guards.
“Yeah. We’ll hit the walls if we go too far anyhow.” Berra heads in approximately, but not entirely the right direction. She walks with the careful scan of the professional, as always. They walk in silence for a time. It begins to draw out, to the point where Berra notices. Perhaps Varanis is just letting the Humakti do her job, for once. But the Vingan is being unusually quiet.
To someone who knows Berra well, it would seem there is something on her mind, but it does not break the surface. This is common enough, although her wanting to talk and not doing so is often followed by her blurting something out, and this time it does not happen. Instead, she asks, “You alright?” Another common thing from her.
“I’m a bit wrung out. Mellia fed me something awful and for a little while, I wondered if she was trying to kill me. But it helped, I think. Must have.” Varanis does sound tired. “By the way, Mellia’s here. In case you didn’t know.”
“I didn’t. I saw some people from the Cinder Fox clan, but I wasn’t sure what that meant. They’ve got a corner of the common room.” The warrior fits her pace to a tired person.
“She said something about weddings, but I’m afraid I wasn’t paying close attention at the time.” There’s a sigh. “I’m glad she and Venlar have each other.” After a few more steps, Varanis asks, “You ok?”
“I’m a bit pissed off at Xenofos,” Berra admits. “But for two reasons and I’m trying to separate them out. I don’t think either of them are for you to deal with.”
Varanis pushes her helm back on her head before rubbing her eyes. “I think… he may be upset with you too. He came to see me last night and I think he wanted to talk about it, but I wasn’t up for it. I need you two to sort it out. I don’t want to have to deal with it.”
“Yeah. We’re back in Sartar now. He’s being too much in love with me. He’s trying to protect me.” She pauses and then keeps going a moment later. “I think that might be the whole problem in fact. He wouldn’t care if it was Rajar. And he wouldn’t care if it was Rajar.”
The repetition gets a puzzled blink. “Um. I’m not sure I agree. I think his feelings regarding Eril are an equal part of the problem. He really doesn’t like that man.”
“And if it was Rajar doing something, not me? He …” Berra stops. “I can tell you, or I can shut up. We can just walk.”
“As you wish. But deal with it soon. Don’t let it fester or I will step in.” There’s a pause, then, “That reminds me… you were right about the dragonewt. I shouldn’t have told you to walk away when I did. My apologies.” The apology sounds sincere, while also demonstrating the Vingan’s willingness to change subjects.
“It’s probably going to get loud when I deal. When we talk. We’re going to argue.” Berra notes. “But… yeah. It’s hard because you’re trying to order me about but it’s not exactly set, how we should behave to each other. And if it is set I don’t know if I should keep you alive or obey you.”
There’s a chuckle at that. “Maybe we should talk about that at some point. But not just now. We should ask about the temple. I need to get there before Yelmrise, preferably.”
Berra hurries up to a cluster of early-morning ducks, to ask, and gets a reluctant pointing of the finger, and a darkish look. The direction seems to be a good one, for a few short, feathery people with the right runes are heading that way.
Varanis is content to let Berra ask for directions and lead the way. Before they draw too close to anyone else, she says so softly that it could almost be missed, “I didn’t consume anything I shouldn’t have. No dreamroot or hazia or any such thing. You know that, right?”
“Er?” Berra looks surprised. “Yeah. It was the mist. The red place.” She looks genuinely amazed to have been asked. “You got it when we’d just come away from there.”
“Mellia said it looked like hazia. Why only me? I wasn’t the only one in the mist.” There’s a frown, caught between uncertainty and annoyance.
“Because you’d had previous experience?” Berra shrugs. “You and Xenofos both.” She adds, “Your spirit was open to it.”
“He was fine.”
“Mmmm. Maybe? But you’re more Air and Movement. If it was in the air?” She shrugs. “And he’s really stubborn. Changing him is harder.”
Varanis makes a noncommittal sound. “I suppose. Fine. I’ll be at the Temple until Yelm sets. What are your plans for the day?” Another topic shift.
“But yeah, you didn’t take any, and I know you didn’t. I was pretty sure before, but then we worked out what you’d eaten, and you wouldn’t be that stupid on purpose. I’m probably going to head to the Temple, maybe meet a few people. See what the outlook is, how the warriors feel. Listen to gossip. We’ve been away a few weeks.” From not-quite-insult to general plans, in the same breath.
There’s a sharp inhalation when Berra doesn’t quite call her companion stupid. The air is released slowly and no comment is made.
Berra considers. “And probably not on purpose either,” she adds.
The only answer is the continued clinking of bronze armour on the move.
That brings them to the Temple. “Someone at dusk?” Berra suggests.
“Yes, please.” Varanis steps into the Temple precincts without a backward glance.
Berra goes off to do her thing.
- 1V: Berra, you’re asleep in the Common room of whatever inn we are at? Roll listen? Add penalties for drinking or whatever if appropriate. B: I just rolled CON. Sober. Ish. Failed Listen. I suspect asleep down by the bottom of the stairs, ready to go up them. V: Let’s see how I do on move quietly in armour Omg. I passed. B: Heh. Short scene!
- 2Ha! Another impossible pass on move quietly.
- 3V: What kind of light sources might there be? Any? B: Stars. Moon. People travelling.
- 4B: Survival rolls for not getting lost? V: Fail survival. B: We’ll bounce off the walls a couple of times, but find the way. Other people are going there.
- 5B: And we can call up to the guards.