Fragment 2.10 – The Servant of Truth

Diaries The Saga Of Berra — Fragment 2 10

1626


Following Truth as the Trumpet of Humakt
Berra advanced through the slums of the city
Knowing her path was to root out Illusion
Proudly she stood by Lord Kesten of Hulta

Hunted the foe of the house of his master
Found that his Lord had been erring as husband
Sympathy then she could give for his duty
Pride in his act as he opened the Truth-gate

A Servant of the Sword was she, Humakti Berra cold1Associated with the Berra Cycle, but not of it, we find this curious piece, lexicon-dated some hundreds of years post-Nochet.
Who caught the eye and then the heart of Kesten young and bold
A Lord within the Hulta House who followed Truth and War
Whose duty was in honour and whose honour was in law
When Berra served the Saiciae as oathbound as was he
Of Humakt @@ [missing part] @@ chanced to see

She followed in hi[s]@@ [missing part] @@trail
Together seeking Truth in blood where lesser swords might fail
When finding that his master Rill2An unusual compression of Irillo, suggesting something lesser or missing had fallen on his sword
And given up all honour Kesten still stood by his Lord
So moving Berra to his cause that she would stand by him
And offer him her blade to keep his life from parting grim

Two hours they spent in argument for Kesten’s honour’s sake
He would not let her stand with him or Hulta’s anger take
So she bowed her head silently and bade him have his will
And with a sudden flush [missing part, sharp-edged cut]3Garin Amb. 20-9b has, quite without justification, ‘he begged instead’ to have his fill
She stared aghast then held him fast and gave him but a kiss
And for an hour4Garin Amb. 20-9c has ‘a moment’, a significant difference. in his arms she tasted living bliss

As Yelmic rays he warmed her heart and from the Storm made Sea5Both a natural seasonal turning, and a highly suggestive movement through a sacred state, to a state of fertility.
And so his fires were turned to Earth and triumphed happily
@@ @@[missing part]@@ @@to taste the sweetness of his breath6Indicating a matriarchal or feminised ideal of Kesten and an Esrolian origin to these verses.
Then7Of double enough meaning to be either a stop or a continuation, shedding no light on the moment/hour conundrum. of a sudden came on her a stillness as of Death8Capitalised in all known versions, and thus only a
lesser pun.
His skill with sword and words of truth were gifts of Humakt’s might
@@ @@[missing part]@@ @@delight

From her she thrust all love and lust with words of sorrow born
For she was oathed to Humakt and to chastity was sworn
Despair he cried from in his breast as Berra turned aside
But never asked her to return or by him to abide
Still by his sword he swore to her that ne’er would meet his eyes
Another in the place of her9Could be ‘bound-wife’ or ‘feminine-place’. with penetrating guise

Berra, Xenofos and Varanis heard from irillo that rumour placed Lord Rillo Hulta in the Blackwine District at least once a week for the past two seasons. They picked up Rajar, Rajar’s axes, and Kesten Hulta, and went to investigate, starting at the low bars where guards might drink. Rajar’s talent in finding such joints led them to a slum bar, where Berra sat down at the table of someone eyeing them for potential violent takeover, and offered them peaceful money for information. The guards had indeed drunk there for the past couple of seasons, and Berra asked who had followed them, paying the man to take him to the ‘Blade’, the member of the street gang, who had done so.

The man took them to a grave at a Temple of Daka Fal, but fortunately the Ancestor-worthy Priest remembered where he had been found, and they were able to extrapolate from Kesten’s understanding the guards would be efficient but not subtle, giving them an area to search in.

Berra accidentally asked at the house they wanted, warning the inhabitant.10Fumbled Intrigue. A little later they called on the house as a group, for Varanis had tracked down someone who knew he went there. The house-slave was politely obstructive at first, but when Xenofos mentioned the torture of slaves to extract information, he crumbled, and told them his mistress had just left, going for a sudden ride. Rajar was sent to take the slave safely to House Hulta, which he did without accepting any bribes, to the man’s chagrin. The others set off, Varanis and Berra on foot to Filial Gate and Kesten and Xenofos on horses from the woman’s house, to Harmony Gate. Although they all gave chase for some time, Kesten and Xenofos were no great riders, and it was only when they later got back and asked that they found the woman had left through Harmony Gate.

On searching her house, they found an Ulerian shrine, a book of illustrated pornography, and love poetry in Rillo’s handwriting to the woman who had freed him to be himself, and made him whole. Berra, who had found the hidden shrine, pointed it out to Kesten, who was barely able to defend his Lord, but said there was still a little doubt in his mind. However, he recognised Rillo’s handwriting on the sample of poetry Xenofos showed him, and admitted defeat. His Lord had been having an affair. This was particularly bad as he was a First Husband and therefore in straying he eas declaring his wife was not a full representation of Ernalda, and could not meet his needs. Kesten left for the hospital with the poetry.

Shortly after that, Varanis noted that a matron might kill such a person, and Berra went to ask Kesten if he was likely to be under threat. He thought not, but he thanked her, and warned her about her recent questioning of the orthodox. She misunderstood, thinking he was talking about her conversation with Ty Kora Tek, but when they met up a few days later he noted he meant the HeroQuest in which she claimed that Humakt felt fear. Although she was grateful for his concern, she said she could not bring herself to be silent if questioned, and asked him not to get into trouble defending her. He wrote her letter to the High Sword of Boldhome about Ty Kora Tek.

“Some of us have to earn a living to please our gods.” – Irillo
“I’m working too. Those parties are not fun.” – Varanis
“Can I mention at this point how very good I am at killing people?” – Berra

“Customs Esrolia, or Bargain” – GM
“Failed!” – Berra
“Berra does not bargain.” – Berra
“She demands.” – Berra

“I wonder where they drink.” – Berra

“I’m thinking we should ask Rajar to find the cheapest bars in the area.” – Berra

“So, maybe this was not one of my better ideas.” – Berra
“And I feel I should take responsibility.” – Berra

“By the standards of a Storm Bull, I was the model of decorum.” – Rajar
“The girl is not on fire.” – Berra

“I’m going to find someone who’s watching us, and go sit down by them.” – Berra
“I’m prepared to bring a lot more violence than you want, for the cash you’d get, but I’m also prepared to offer cash for information.” – Berra

“You take us to the best places.” – Berra

“I AM trouble…” – Berra

“Nobody’s dead.” – Berra
“She is getting more civilized by the day…” – Xenofos

“Back doors? What?” – Xenofos, panicked
“It’s where poor people go, Xenofos.” – Berra
“And your point?” – Xenofos

“I think this is probably intrigue.” – GM
“That’s because you’re good at it… and I’ve fumbled!” – Berra

“I might have messed up and warned her.” – Berra

“So…. how do we know Lord Hulta won’t have the slave killed to silence him? Was it wise to send him to Hulta?” – Varanis
“Lord Hulta is still in hospital.” – Berra
“Grandmother wants the truth.” – Berra

“I don’t mind going hungry.” – Berra

“Aw, that’s so sad. He came here for cuddles.” – Berra finds the Ulerian Shrine

“There’s nothing in the dunghill.” – Berra
“You can’t be too careful.” – Kesten
“Yeah… Come inside and we can argue more about whether we tell you this thing.” – Berra

“I am unsure of what he was doing here.” – Kesten
“Yeaah… have you ever been in a brothel, mate?” – Berra
“Yes.” – Kesten, after a brief pause
“How unsure are you?” – Berra
“Not very.” – Kesten

“Would you recognise his handwriting?” – Xenofos
“Yes.” – Kesten
“You may wish to have this drink first.” – Berra

“I’m sorry to have to do this to him, so I’ll let Xenofos do it.” – Berra
“Why thank you.” – Xenofos

“I show him a couple of lines. Is this his handwriting?” – Xenofos
“Yes.” – Kesten
“Oh bugger.” – Xenofos
“It was only romantic drivel anyhow.” – Varanis
“No, some of it was frankly pornographic.” – Berra

“He’s smart. He’ll work that out.” – Berra
“Are you talking about Kesten, or Rillo?” -Xenofos
“Kesten. I don’t give a f*ck about Rillo.” – Berra
“Good.” – Xenofos

“If you need my help with a matter of othodoxy, I am there for you.” – Kesten
“Oh yes, I do! Are you literate?” – Berra
“Yes.” – Kesten
“I need a message sent to Boldhome. I need to tell them what Ty Kora Tek said to Humakt.” – Berra gets entirely the wrong end of the stick.

“Wait, what SORT of unothodox beliefs?” – Berra
“… That the god showed fear.” – Kesten
“Well, he FELT fear. I mean, if you’re talking about the HeroQuest. I was his fear.” – Berra
“You see.” – Kesten
“Yeah… no.” – Berra

“Some feel that the god never felt fear.” – Kesten
“Well, they are entitled to their opinion and they know where I’m staying.” – Berra
“That is not always how matters of doctrine are decided.” – Kesten, carefully