Fragment 22 – The Speech with the Queen

Diaries The Saga Of Berra — Fragment 22

1626, Sea Season


Deep in the Palace of Women1Any Clan House in Nochet. was Berra
Pacing the floors as her sword clashed her vambrace
Binding her fingers in fists so her palms bled
Seeking in bloodstains for hints of the future

Servant to Vinga2Varanis. in concert she followed
Speaking with Grandmother deep in the snake-den
Touching the tongue of the truth-snake that watched her
Speaking the Truth to the power of Nochet

Varanis spoke with the Air of the Vingan3Air, and ‘air’ and breath.
Speaking of Onjur the cunning war-leader
Asked Berra forward to speak of the wicked
Then her true voice spoke of Lunars and Red-Earth

Hearing the words of the Lunar Assassin
Cleansed by the tongue of the Humakti maiden
Washed in the Truth and with Death separated
Lies set aside and the shape shown before her

Onjur had found his assassin too willing
Seeking within the old clan-names of Nochet
Finding one there who would die for the Red-earth
Berra could say that his tribe was Jar-Eel’s

Each of his soldiers were sent in the storm-time
Each of them sent before ever Irillo
Setting his mules to the grasp of the water
Floated down creek-stream for Grandmother’s greeting

Onjur was ready to act without pausing
Save that the heroes came into the city
Seizing the chance to destroy them in Nochet
Striking at Kallyr in safety of distance

Taking the weapons prepared for the women
Clan-killers all who rebellion made ready
Onjur took aim at the heroes of Boldhome
Unknowing then that the first would be captured

Grandmother’s ears heard the thoughts of brave Berra
Writing her name4From the construction, Grandmother’s name. on a tablet of fire-clay
This she gave over to Varanis’ keeping
Asking Serala and Berra keep duty

Walking the road to the Palace as Humakt5Champion and Bodyguard.
Berra passed into the temple of Orlanth
Bringing her ward to the worship of Vinga
Then she was struck by temptation from duty

Red-head Lanasha had loved Berra wholly
Taking the heart of the hero of Humakt
All she desired was in anger before her
All she had left for the Altar of Humakt

Berra was struck by the beauty that called her
Moved by the love that had grown in-between them
Taking a kiss she was melted a moment
Planted her feet in the ground of Ernalda

Duty recalled the young Dagger of Humakt6Opinion, naturally, is divided on why Berra should be the Dagger of Humakt at this exact point. Dagger indicates she is not a Sword, even in flattery. As well, it is the companionship label of D’Val the Sword. Alleyn considers this is a crucial point of decision for Berra based on this.
Duty untangled her arms from Lanasha
Love from her heart she brushed like dust of travel
Bade pure7Fiery, although not necessarily of the Sky Rune. Lanasha forget she was living8A true Humakti response, and correct, if a little later than could be asked.

On to the Palace she marched with Varanis9What may be the baked letter has survived in the Royal Collection, where the remains of gold plating can be seen. It describes a Vingan, a Grazelander, a Humakti marked on the right shoulder, and a mountain. If this is the correct letter, we can infer Rajar’s presence.
Silent she stood save to volunteer whispers10Indicating the Royal Presence, and communication via Varanis.
Onjur was named as a Lord of the Eel-clan
Queen Samastrina was incensed by fury

Naming the place they should seek for the Moon-Lord
Sending her General out with Varanis
Queen Samastrina gave help that was needed
Aid in return for the warning they gave her

Berra, Serala and Varanis went to see Grandmother, and Varanis gave a quick overview briefing, while Berra filled in on things she knew about Onjur, including mentioning the Red Earth Esrolians, and how Onjur was fully capable of planning the deaths of just the right people to destabilise the Clans. She gave the example of the clans of the Grazelands. After Grandmother had given a letter of introduction to the palace to Varanis, Berra asked for a little political understanding, and talked more freely about what she thought Onjur was doing, including that he had been responsible, or partly responsible, for the ‘bad omen’ in Boldhome. She rather hoped that Onjur had bigger plans than wiping out her group, but also rather hoped that he did not.

While Berra, Rajar and Serala were escorting Varanis to the temple of Orlanth, Berra’s Find Enemies spell went off – there was a single person there meaning her harm. It was her old girlfriend Lanasha, still not over her. Berra weakened enough to allow Lanasha to kiss her, and kiss back – but then pulled away with some effort and re-iterated her devotion to Humakt over human ties. Lanasha might or might not have been convinced by this. When they left, she was only setting off the Find Enemies feeling half of the time.

Queen Samastrina listened to Varanis presenting the evidence about Onjur, and decided that while she was in no personal danger, Nochet could be destabilised and this would need to be dealt with. She performed a divination based on knowing his name, and where a black stone cast on her map turned to white, said the heroes should seek their foe there. Before Berra could panic over knowing where the Iron Lord was and having to deal with him, the command team of general and bodyguards in the room stepped up, and it was agreed by them they would take the Inn, with Varanis invited to bring along a war party. Berra attempted to volunteer but was not invited to speak, and they all left politely.

The group settled down to plan. Dormal revealed that the ‘inn’ they thought they would be attacking was in fact a Palazzo that had used to belong to the Red Earth royal clan. They made better plans, based on that.

“Waiting for Varanis to speak.” – Berra
“Irillo is dead.” – Varanis
*twitch* – Berra

“Berra looks like she would be saying this differently.” – Berra
“…Berra, who knows more details.” – Varanis
“By your leave, madam.” – Berra

“And it’s like a sign! The snake flicks out its tongue, shaped like a truth Rune, towards you.” – GM
“I’ll point to the Truth Rune on my cheek.” – Berra

“I do not doubt your word, Humakti. You may simply be WRONG.” – Grandmother
“I’m standing very still right now.” – Varanis
“I understand. I may be deceived, also. But the stories fit right.” – Berra

“Do you, great warrior of whom sagas are told…?” – Grandmother
*flat stare, crossed arms* – Berra

“She beckons to one of her handmaidens. He comes forward.” – GM
“No, that was a ‘she’.” – GM
“I heard he. I write the quotes up.” – Berra

“How do you think it can be done… without significant bloodshed?” – Grandmother
*thoughtful pause* – Berra
“There are three things here, interlinked. We need to know which is the most important one…” – Berra, summing up the plot IC
“But I’m mostly ignorant, and you know more, and you have wisdom.” – Berra

*speaks only truth to Grandmother* – Berra

“Without bloodshed? They’ve got to Berra. ….” – Rajar

“She takes out a wheel between finger and thumb, looks to *Serala*…” – GM
*body language* – Serala
*cheers Serala on* – Berra

“Berra will pick up the wheel and offer it to Varanis.” – Berra

“Tablet of Introduction.” – Berra

“Should I read this, Grandmother?” – Varanis
*visible wince* – Berra
“It is your letter of introduction to the Queen, dear.” – Grandmother

“Leave, politely.” – Varanis
“I have a few questions, madam, if I may impose on your time.” – Berra

“It is unfashionable to be of the Red Earth.” – Grandmother Saiciae

“If he chases, then that’s good, but I don’t think he will. I hope I’m wrong. Well, for your house, I hope I’m wrong. For my task, I hope I’m right.” – Berra

“I take your point. And wish I did not.” – Grandmother
“But not in the way people usually take Berra’s point.” – Nala

“If she happened to die in battle, would her armour need a new owner? Asking for a friend.” – Berra

“Hmmm, go to the palace in a dress, or in armour?” – Varanis
“Go in armour. Get changed there.” – Berra

“If you see any of those people, I’ll suggest you keep clear.” – Dormal
“That, from an odd point of view, could be loyalty.” – Berra

“Used Horse Buying roll from GM.” – Berra
“Four free horseshoes as SOON as they are invented.” – Berra

“This is Eurmal Lightbringer.” – GM
“Total dick?” – Berra

“One of the trollkin has Death, Disorder, and Darkness runes.” – GM
*cricks fingers* – Berra

“There’s a troll ten feet tall, with a Great Sword, walking along.” – GM
“What a fantastic troll. Great, even!” – Berra

“You get back safe. Unperforated. Unstabbed.” – GM
“Unfollowed…” – Berra

“Shiny armour. Don’t want to break it.” – Berra

“Ping ping ping ping ping… Berra. You get to the Temple of Orlanth, and your Detect Enemies is going off. One person, just behind the wall.” – GM
“Assassin. In there. Only one… there is a chance this is Lanasha and she’s only after me.” – Berra

“The question is whether I should come, because it might cause trouble…” – Berra

“Varanis. From behind you, you hear a roar of, ‘BERRA JARANG’S DAUGHTER, YOU ABSOLUTE BITCH!'” – GM
“Ah, THAT Lanasha!” – Varanis

“She’s in her training gear. So that’s sword, sandals, and shift.” – GM
“Berra is carefully looking at only her face.” – Berra

“I’m going to hit her back.” – Berra
“Fist is…. a) 60 and b) A very bad word.” – Berra

“Miss her. With my fist.” – Berra

“Is there a water fountain nearby, because when women are fighting that’s the law.” – Serala
“Or a mud puddle?” – Varanis
>
“She’s trying to grapple.” – GM
“Caaaaan I fail on purpose?” – Berra

“Failed dodge on the grapple – obviously torn about fighting!” – Berra

“Then she kisses you.” – GM
*rolls* … “A brief moment of kissing back, and then not.” – Berra

“Try to raise an eyebrow. Which given I have a huge monobrow isn’t going to be successful.” – Rajar

“Amazing rack.” – Berra, out loud

“Which of them is your latest bit?” – Lanasha
“Neither of them. I don’t have any.” – Berra
“Good thing D’Val isn’t here. Dead giveaway.” – Nala

“I’m going to go back…” – Rajar
“This isn’t my latest bit either.” – Berra
“Well, obviously.” – Lanasha

“I’m in the Temple and going to the chapel(?) to Vinga to pray and make a sacrifice/donation.” – Varanis
“Because you are sensible.” – Berra

“They are both irritable. Made for each other.” – Nala

“Berra’s obviously torn about hurting Lanasha, but after a moment of weakness there’s no more kissing.” – Berra

“You were great. And… the god is a calling.” – Berra

“What is the risk of the fire spreading?” – Varanis
“About 100% if the GM gets going.” – Berra

“Detect Enemies on the way out.” – Berra
“Nothing, except the on-off Lanasha from the Temple. On, off. On, off.” – GM

“Berra moves like an infanteer. Obviously doesn’t want to walk. It’s just marginally better than riding.” – Berra

“I have a mental image of Varanis and Serala sitting on chairs, and Berra sitting on one and her feet not hitting the floor.” – Nala
“She’s bigger than D’Val. That’s very important to her.” – Berra
“ZINAT is bigger than D’Val.” – Nala

“Perfect child comes to offer me tea!” – Parent
“Whose child was it?” – Nala
“One I stole.” – Parent
“From the waters and the wild?” – Nala
“Someone’s cradle.” – Berra
“Some other bastard had been there first. I got a fairy.” – Berra

“She gives a clap and just about everyone turns instantly and walks out.” – GM
“Berra was just glaring at the attendants when that happens.” – Berra

“Left are: older woman with general air of grandmother, and half a dozen various grandmothers.” – Berra
“Half a dozen various guards” – GM
“Whatevs.” – Berra
“Don’t be agist.” – Berra

“I will take steps.” – Queen Samastrina
“Berra grins widely at ‘steps’.” – Berra

“Where is the perfect child making ME tea?” – GM
“She says, send your mug and she’ll fill it and send it back.” – Parent

“Seek your foe here.” – Samastrina
“low whistle” – Berra
( Fuuuuuuck. ) O o . – Berra
“One of the stones has turned white.” – GM

“Leave with all due courtesies and respect. Back to temple to change into armour. Then back to update Grandmother.” – Varanis
“Lots of magic, and awkwardly avoiding conversation with Lanasha.” – Berra
“And awkwardly conversing with Lanasha.” – Berra

*comes back to Dormal weaselling* – Berra

“The General is going to drop into the Clan House to talk about Onjur.” – Berra

“We need to fill Grandmother in, so she’s ready for the guests.” – Varanis
“‘fill in’ is bad.” – Berra

“I’m thinking I should call it early…” – GM
“You’ll be awake anyhow right? So I can type at you!” – Berra

“If you are anti-social at any time, type at me.” – Berra

“Berra’s pacing up and down,, checking her sword, checking her armour, checking all of her muscles, repainting her woad Truth sign…” – Berra
“And making sure Rajar’s axes all look good.” – Berra

“Polish Fred on the lance, and tell him he’s a great head on a spike but this isn’t the time.” – Berra

“Dormal. Prime Weasel.” – Berra

“It would be a *shame* if he died.” – Grandmother
“I am ashamed to admit I might not cry a lot.” – Mellia
“Just exhaust your rune points BEFORE you get the chance to heal him, huh?” – Berra

“Berra is hurrying along in the corridors just after them.” – Berra
“And they are getting away all the time.” – Berra, SIZ 11

“Seven Seas of Nochet? Esrolian Rhapsody? Bat Fottomed Girls?” – GM
*looks at Lanasha, looks at D’Val* “Bisexual Races.” – Berra