Fragment 2.35 – The Guarding in Darkness

Diaries The Saga Of Berra — Fragment 2 35


Ran then to battle to smite foes of stonemake
Wept for her sword when the war-cries were over
Taking to Nala the pieces of Luckpath1Sometimes said to be the name of Lord Eril’s favourite sword, based on the aphorism that one should make one’s own luck, and the best way was by cutting a path to it, through somebody else’s. Amb. 45 has it as Alum, for unknown reasons; the water-touched mineral would make no sense in the contexts used by Lord Eril.,2The Sage Llewun helpfully points out that Alum helps in the dying process, a pun that also works in Heortling.
Berra prayed over the bronze that was shattered

Then with the weight of the Death-oath above her
Berra walked on to in the lowlands and highlands
Seeing the mountain where Rathik was honoured
Seeing the field where men fought with his weapons

Now out in Prax was the metal of Rathik
Hung at the side of a warrior noble
There at the neck of the Storm Bull named Rajar
Bronze hung as axe-heads that once swung as broadswords

Under the boots that the Death-maiden walked in
Bronze left its mark on the roads and the furrows
Under her sandals as miles passed behind her
Berra left prints of the making of Rathik3By now these could not be original castings by her grandfather, but an inherited mix that included bronze known to have been at famous battles was in itself worthy of a line or two in most sagas. Berra’s most famous forebear – mentioned in a single line as one given a ring for his work before a minor battle – was Rathik the Redsmith.

So in a village as nameless as any
Berra stood guard for a creature of darkness
Hearing the folk of the hamlet were fearful
She set herself as the bait for the monster

Hearing the crash of a wall that was sundered
Berra ran swiftly to find what was needed
Seeing a chariot there in the darkness
Red-limned the bones of the skeleton crewing

Thus she gave chase and Suuraki was with her
Partnered in Death with the hunter was Berra
Matched with the cut of the blade of the desert
Still they fell back for the dead flew as horses4Both swift, and as the hippogriff; at a speed or height that ordinary animals could not follow.

They reached a village, Farfield (sp?) which, after a little pressing, turned out to have a monster that killed repeatedly, once a week – at least, for the past three weeks. The next night was due to be the fourth. Berra volunteered to stand out as bait. There was a small alarm when she misunderstood something Xenofos said and thought there was an attack, possibly RIGHT NOW and maybe Chaotic or Lunars. However, when the attack came, it was at night, and not on her.

A thing trampled down an entire hut, and Berra was there in time to see it as it left, a strange chariot not drawn by horses that she could see, and with skeletons in it, apparently held by chains. She tried to give chase, but was falling behind. Even when Suuraki hooked her up onto the High Llama they could not keep up, and she nearly fell off when she tried to shoot it.

She stamped her way back to the broken cottage, where she was able to spot a bit of greenish plant on the body. Nala identified it as pond weed. After that, Berra went back to ask about the village Redsmith and her curved sword, which Xenofos had identified earlier, as there were Lunars about.

The story came out that the redsmith, the ostler, and the innkeeper had all been mistreated by a Rune Lord who had hurt them badly. They had killed him when he got drunk, and chained him and his charioteer into their chariot, and pushed it into a lake nearby. Now, apparently, it was back.

“Berra does some looking around in the hope someone will challenge her.” – Berra

“Berra is doing excited gesticulations about battle.” – Berra

“And then there is a scream.” – GM
“I run that way!” – Berra

“So we need to see about that curved sword… WATCH THAT BIT!” – Berra

“You know what’s holding this together? Magic, and hope.” – Redsmith
“Yeah, I know.” – Berra