Fragment 17 – The Failed Heroquest

Diaries The Saga Of Berra — Fragment 17

1625


All they had slain lay in ruin before them
Berra the victory had with her blood-friends
Three of the ten on swift horses escaped them
Cursed by the victors and harried by arrows

Then the accounting of living and death-claimed
Rajar lay shattered and bleeding his life out
Saved by the hand of the loveliest healer
Mellia brave to the battle had followed

Wilhiem stout lay behind his great master
Pierced by a lance but his bulk saved berserker1The sudden alliteration here indicates a patching of an earlier, half-lost verse
Blood was on Tiwr from his horn to his fetlocks
Blood on the swords of D’Val and hot Berra2Lit: battle-lustful

Arrows in number were lodged in the corpses
Marking the deaths of the riders and horses
Screams of the wounded were silenced by Humakt
Horses were healed but for Lunars no mercy

Ordering rest Berra stood by the slaughter
Gazing with smiles on the field of the battle
Showing how any should treat with the lunars
Death to them all and be happy to kill them

As the dawn pinked3The colour before rose. Rajar stirred from his slumber
Swift was the Child of the Sword to go to him4Much is made of the capitalisation of this sentence; in the opinion of this writer, it merely refers to Berra as a servant of Humakt. No inference should be drawn about the word ‘Sword’ save to note previous capitalisations pointing to attempts to promote Berra before her time.,5Garin disagrees, citing the numerous references to Berra as D’Val’s Dagger. While there is of course no suggestion of a blood relationship, Garin (Altn 17.98) takes this phrase as evidence of D’Val’s influence on Berra.,6The sage Llewun has it in _Origins and Specious_ that D’Val being a true scion of Death, he would have had no children, but the fierce paternal instinct of the mallard would be subsumed into unhealthy fixations.,7For completeness we mention the Chester Marginalia, which here contain drawings of one large and one smaller sword, with the smaller drawn in black ink, and the larger in red.
Speaking the words8“You live, warrior. Well done. Drink.” to a Storm Bull survivor
Berra drank beer as they welcomed the morning9‘Welcomed the mourning’ was an equivalent phrase of the time, referring to Storm Bulls’ cries of joy in survival and equal joy in the glorious deaths of their comrades. Here, the spelling is clear.

Hard by the homestead they found Lunar murder
Sartarite carls who were killed for their shelter
Sent on the souls that were haunting the homestead
Took as their watchplace the roof of the building

Berra’s strong hand brought D’Val to her roof-nest10Naturally, the sage Llewun makes much of the word ‘thatch’.
Waiting for orders or scouts for the mountain
Rajar’s great back was a step for descending
Humble to serve the great Sword of the Duck-folk

Back to the city they marched in good order
Finding the High Sword of Humakt was waiting
Rajar was called to the test of the Truth-Sword
Berra arrested her friend for her Temple

Answering Eril with boldness and truth-shots11A popular engraving on slingshot pieces at the time was the pair of Humakti runes.
Rajar commanded respect from the watchers
Berra stood silent with eyes watching closely
Keeping her hand by her sword for swift action12As the junior Humakti in the area, Berra’s actions would probably have been moot, but it would have been possible she would be ordered to execute her friend. This indicates a wide, deep willingness to follow orders for the High Sword, Eril.

Healing her friend as they walked from the truth-Sword
Berra was struck by the silence of Boldhome
Found from Koraki the truth of the Questing
Found that the Starbrow had not rose from sleeping

Berra and her little unit checked out the homestead and found the murdered family there, putting them to rest. She sent back Serala as a galloper, and was sent a Fyrdman in return. After a couple of days they were relieved, and sent back to Boldhome. There, Rajar was arrested, so Berra and D’Val escorted him to be questioned by Eril and Tennebris. Rajar pointed out, truthfully, that Eril had distracted himself, and was punished with a disruption spell – however, he managed to keep himself from saying anything life-limiting, and it was deemed he was innocent of helping the Lunars. They then found out that an assassin had killed Flesh Man, collapsing the Hero Quest. Dormal mentioned that one of the people involved had been the man with Moon, Truth and Death runes on him.

“Do you know what the omen was, that had us sent here?” – Berra
“No.” – D’Val
“Hm! … Nala meditated, by the Sacred Place, and she saw a red moon to the North, and one to the South. The earth dried and cracked, and red rain came down. Ask her if you need more details.” Berra pauses a moment, and then goes on, slightly more confidently. “She went to tell Kalis. Rajar saw her leave and told me, and we followed. We saw her coming back in a hurry, shouting for Eril. I told him he was needed, which is why I was standing by him when he heard. He told me to take people I trusted and scout out of the North Fort. He didn’t do it in his nice voice. Then he called Egilson to walk with him, and I stopped concentrating on what he was saying. I don’t recall hearing who was dealing with the South, but apparently you saw that. Do you need the details of how we left? You have the report from after we did.” – Berra
“I’m not a mystic. But that tsounds badt.” – D’Val

“Funddamentally Boldhome is not takeable this way. He coveredt a remotse posibility with someone he didn’dt wantd getting glory.” – D’Val

“The Great Lunar Sstrateegiess work behind feintd after feintd. Whitch was thiss? I don’t know. It’s tso obviously imposssible that they may have dtried it justd in case.” – D’Val

“Hey Nala, good news! I thought you were someone else again.” – Berra

“Dormal gets to be the one who disobeys Eril!” – Berra
“Not sure which side to support here.” – Berra

“I’m mutd.” – Dormal
” e” – Dormal
“mutde?” – Berra
“I’me?” – Berra
“Yes, mutde.” – Dormal
“Good, because I was puzzled.” – Berra

“Rajar. Is that currently Chaotic?” – Berra

“The soldiers burst in. And you know – I thought they’d got me.” – Ghost

“Rajar –” – Berra in a conversation that was not hers.

“Put Serala outside to be on guard.” – Berra
“Engarde!” – Serala
*gets broadsword out* – Serala

“He takes out a quill…” – GM
“Is it green?” – Berra
“…. Yes… it is.” – GM

“Met force of ten lunars, including one captain, three archers got away. May be one shaman missing. Probably dead. Holding position at first homestead. Request force of ten more people, fast horses, food.” – Berra

“Hmm. D’Val can’t get up onto the roof.” – Berra
“Do you want a hand up for your watch, or do you want to do it down here?” – Berra
“Hand up.” – D’Val

“The Lunars knew where the Lunars were – but they know what we did by now.” – Berra

“I wish Eril and Tenebris would just elope.” – Nala
“Nah. GM and Koraki will be eloping.” – Berra

“The duck not getting onto the roof is not a euphemism for Ernalda’s bounty” – Nala
“Pulling the duck up, however, is a euphemism for not being shared with.” – Berra

“Why don’t you get your eye healed?” – Berra
“Been Buthy. Sometime.” – D’Val

“I’ll find a ladder or something D’Val can get down with, before I turn in for a nap.” – Berra
“I’m relieving him. He can climb down me.” – Rajar the Sizeable

“Much to my chagrin, the Northern Patrol is OK…” – Dormal
“Such a charmer, isn’t he?” – Serala
“I have nothing against most of you.” – Dormal

“Who writes with a webbed foot as a seal?” – Laknhor Mhy Priestess
“Much as I hate to admit it, one of the best warriors I know.” – Serala
“His handwriting is *atrocious*.” – Priestess
“If you are going to tell him that, I’d like to pay for a ringside seat!” – Serala

“He wore the runes of Moon, Truth, and Death.” – Assassin under Truth Spell
“Damnit, I knew Rajar should have killed him.” – Rajar

“How could we tell? Well, we could ask the GM.” – Berra

“Not to put too fine a point on it, who’s [Eril] going to listen TO?” – Dormal
“Everyone looks at Tennebris.” – Berra

“Find your friend.” – GM
“For a given value of friend.” – Serala

“I’d have just thrown a javelin at him.” – Initiate
“It’s called diplomacy. We all need to practice, and Dormal is a good subject to practice on.” – Serala

“Rajar, if D’Val needs to get down we don’t want him to be undignified. We should get a ladder. I mean, he would jump off the roof, but it’s good to be able to get down quietly.” – Berra
( Do not ask him if that tree there is Chaotic. ) O o . – Berra

“I typed that because Berra won’t have had a clue who said what in that interchange.” – Nala

“So, I’ve been nominated to be polite to the Humakti, have I?” – Dormal

“Mmmm. Watching Dormal trying to be polite.” – Berra

“Why does the duck think he can write?” – Eril
“Because nobody has the guts to tell him he can’t.” – Serala

“Eril: really competent at failing.” – Berra

“Which guy?” – GM
“The one that Berra had the standing-up falling-down fight with.” – Dormal

“I was planning on going with my…. no, she can’t say friend. Acquaintance here.” – Serala

“Are you going to stay and be a rider for me?” -Eril
“No, because you are an ARSE – Serala’s inner voice.” – Nala

“Do try not to be killed.” – Eril
“He cares about you!” – Berra

“But then again, they are talking about my High Priest.” – Berra

“She’s said to be one of the greatest warriors Glorantha has produced.” – D’Val
“Ah, that is why he is bitter.” – Nala

“Oh, Eril….” – Berra
*sigh* – Berra

“Oh, by now we will have searched all the bodies, stripped them for valuables, and so on.” – Berra
“LOOT THE BODIES FOR TREASURE.” – Nala
“Exactly.” – Berra
“I should probably send them on to damnation.” – Nala
“They go runny and ruin the treasure if you don’t get them out in time.” – Berra

“Well, if he went out that way, he’s Eril’s problem.” – Dormal

“People only wear iron so they can say they are attractive.” – Nala

“I shall walk in on him without knocking. Win.” – Serala
“Double win, as Dormal has all his clothes on.” – Berra

“She comes very highly recommended by Dormal.” – Berra
“God help us.” – Serala

“She’s saidt to be the incarnation of their false Goddess. She’s certdainly renowned as one of the best warriors Glorantha has producetd.” – D’Val
*cleans fingernails with dagger* – D’Val

“Boys! Girls! D’Val!” – Berra
“Racism!” – Tiwr

“We can offer D’Val the chance to ride on Billy’s back.” – Berra

“When I was in Whitewall, the Humakti hero who was going to be sent to deal with the problem was – according to town rumour – eight feet tall with eyes of fire.” – Berra
“D’Val falls about quacking in laughter.” – GM

“Why Rajar?” – Berra who definitely did not co-plot things

“We can escort him down.” – Berra
“He looks at the two Humakti. ‘On your honour, then.'” – GM
“Of course! Uh, I can’t speak for D’Val, of course. My apologies, Sword Lord.” – Berra

“And on the way down, ‘Well, this is pants.'” – Berra

“And I’m pretty sure that D’Val will survive us finding out.” – Berra

“Are you now or have you ever been…” – Berra channels Eril McCarthy

“Rajar of the Bison Tribe.” – Eril
“Yes.” – Rajar
“You were involved in distracting me from my duties.” – Eril
“No, you did that yourself.” – Rajar
*disruption* – GM

“Just… answer.” – Berra
“I did answer. It’s not my fault if he doesn’t like the truth.” – Rajar
*straight face* – Berra

“Rajar. Remember when we talked about politeness? Now is one of those times.” – Berra

“Now, I’m going to ask some extremely polite questions.” – Eril
“And I will answer with the truth.” – Rajar
“Good.” – Eril

“You were involved in an incident.” – Eril
“Which one?” – Rajar

“Oh, Eril. Just take the f#ckin’ blame.” – Nala

“That’s a very long sentence. I kill Lunars. I don’t work for them.” – Rajar

“…Damn.” – Berra
“…As you say, ‘damn’.” – Koraki

“BEER.” – Berra
“And then the temple.” – Berra

“I had a great set of rolls, and then realised I had not put in my modifiers, so the GM kindly got me to do them all again. Curse him.” – Berra