1627, Sea Season, Harmony Week
On the road heading towards Alda Chur. After Session 2.32 (Swim Roles).
The group has just turned to the North, to Alda Chur. There is a river they are following. The path is easy now, and Berra is out on the right flank, up front, and has asked for Varanis to ride with her.
The Vingan doesn’t argue. She’s been uncharacteristically quiet since her fall in the river. She returned Rajar’s bison hide some time ago, but is still wearing the rhino armour, rather than her bronze.
Berra seems happy to be on watch, as she often is. It seems that to her, this is just a ride. Scouting. What she does.
After riding in silence for a time, Varanis asks Berra whether or not she remembers the vision the Vingan had told her about. The one where she drowns.
Berra thinks for a little, and then nods. “Yeaah.” She makes her slow sound of agreement.
“I think I need to get better at swimming. I won’t be able to repeat what I did back there. And… I have a disturbing habit of ending up in the water.”
Berra nods, but there seems to be something on her mind, and it surfaces. “When you dream of that, do you see age spots?”
“Age spots?” Varanis sounds confused.
“If you’re destined to drown, it might now be now. And it could be about being thrown about by events. But if it’s a real vision of a thing that will happen to your body, I was wondering if you could see the future.”
Grey-blue eyes narrow as she considers the question. “Noooo,” she says at last. “I don’t think there were age spots.”
“Then that might be about the things that are plaguing you now. Following you now, I mean. So it’s not just swimming, but also about the water – changes – throwing you about.” Berra seems confident about that.
The Vingan scowls, not seeming to hear Berra. “I… I don’t want to go that way. Drowning is so… pointless.”
“Yeah. But water doesn’t care. Water changes without worrying. So I think you’re dreaming about being carried away by events. Sound familiar?” Maybe Berra heard Varanis.
“Perhaps,” Varanis agrees reluctantly.
“Feels terrible. You’re out of control. But that’s… that’s not the lesson. The lesson’s to be the water.” The Humakti says it in an offhanded way, like it is obvious to her.
“What do you mean?”
Berra answers, “In the fight between you and the river, the river will win. So don’t fight. Stay out of it, or swim, or be the river. You can be the events, but it’s hard. But if you can’t be out of it, better to be the river than to be the one swimming in it.”
She gets a dubious look. “Be the river? How can I be the river, Berra? I swear, sometimes you are as confusing as Nala.”
“Push. Be the one to change. Be the one to confuse people. A river’s water, and it changes or freezes. If you want that power, you’re the one who carries people away.”
Varanis frowns. “Be the one to change… I have been changing. I’m definitely not the woman I was a year ago. Is it not enough?”
“I think it is, but I don’t know because I can’t be you. I mean, maybe it’s about you being worried about that change? I don’t dream much, but I usually dream about the things that are happening to me.”
“I haven’t said as much, but… that’s a dream I can’t shake. It’s followed me since Wilmskirk.”
Berra takes a bit of time to look over the wild, before she asks, “Have you had the same worries since Wilmskirk?”
Varanis considers the question. “No? Yes? Maybe.” She sighs. “Figuring out who I am and what that means. What I should be doing. That hasn’t changed.”
“Yeah. Water’s about change. Not because you want to, but because the outside puts you there. Storms decide where to go. Water flows around and changes with the seasons. But it’s deadly a lot faster. You have to react to Water. You can think a bit about Air.” Berra gives Varanis a thoughtful look. “Is it fast-moving, or slow, as you go down?”
“It is as though everything has slowed down,” Varanis replies with a shudder. “The water could be fast, but in the dream, I and everything around me moves painfully slowly. It feels inexorable.”
Berra nods, just as slowly. “Then that’s the holding power of water. So learning to swim can be you learning about how to move in rivers, or you learning how to move in the world, and political stuff.” Stuff. Others would have put it better.
Varanis frowns. “What makes you so certain it’s not a premonition?”
“Those are really rare. It’s more… well, it’s likely to be things that are important to you. Things you are linked with. So a permonition…” Berra pauses, aware she might have said it wrong. “Those are usually about things that are likely, because of who you are.”
“Well, I hope that you are right. This is something I would dearly love to be wrong about.” Changing the subject abruptly, she asks “Did you see the… babies….” She looks uncomfortable with the word. “The ones that Suuraki saw.”
“Babies?” Berra looks confused. “Uh?”
“When I used the spell from the Goddess of Teeth and Salt. Suuraki said he saw baby crocodiles swimming away from me. I’ll take your confusion as a no.”
“I… didn’t see that bit. I was looking at some brownish bits off in the distance. So babies. Well. Alright.” Berra goes from explaining to confused.
“The ones in Esrolia… they don’t like the cold. It slows them down. It may be that the babies can’t survive here anyway. But… if they do…”
Berra thinks about that. “Well, it’s done, I guess?” She shrugs. “I’ll let people know, who should know, but it’s not a problem for now?”
“No. I suppose not.” Varanis shrugs. “But if they do survive…. they are rather sharp.” She fingers the crocodile teeth she wears thoughtfully.
“That’s why we tell people. But now, we focus. Separation. Pause. Think.” The little Humaki looks serious suddenly. “What’s important?”
“Winning the Feathered Horse Queen’s hand for Kallyr. So she can unite Dragon Pass and drive out the Lunars.” Varanis fails to pause and instead just blurts the thing that has been occupying her thoughts most of the time since speaking to the Prince.
Berra agrees, “Yes. Yes it is.” She goes on, “Everything else, we don’t worry about. We put it into a pot called worry-later.”
Insight: Berra’s ‘everything else’ contains things that she too wants to think about. The advice is for her, as well as Varanis.
She gets a sigh in response. “I’ll do my best,” Varanis says after a moment.
“Yeah. It’s hard. And you’re connected to the world. But if you think about other things, then the important thing should be the thing you think about most.” Berra gives Varanis a look that says she too is trying.
“As you say,” Varanis acknowledges. She lets the conversation drop.
Berra knows how to take that particular hint, and goes back to searching the landscape.
Varanis talks of her worries. Berra talks about the Water Rune and not worrying about dreams.