Fragment 23 – the Routing of Onjar

Diaries The Saga Of Berra — Fragment 23

1626, Sea Season

Greeting the General after Varanis
Berra gave up her own beer-cup to Rajar
Putting aside the temptations of living
Stepping inside the cold realm of the Sword-Lord

Soon all her rede was exhausted by talking
Xenofos listening in to her thinking1Given the Lhankor Mhy abilities, this could be either her thinking out loud, or him literally taking a silent briefing from her mind for a full understanding
Onjur the terrible foes she had warned him
Berra spoke up to give Varanis target2A bold claim for an Initiate to speak in front of so many nobles, iron-wearers, and high-ranking Esrolians. This is in character with Berra’s rushing out of truth.

Settling down for the ritual of eating
Bonding her regiment ripe for the battle
Berra felt Humakt his face turn upon her3The rarity of a comment that a ritual has failed within such a poem as this indicates a special religious significance attached to it. See later stanzas.
Turning her offer to settle within her

Thus at the tower strong Berra stood shielded
Taking the gift of the Truth-Sword’s protection
Slicing the air in the Death-Cross of Humakt4True Sword or Sword Trance would both have been available to Berra.
Perfectly balanced for killing of Lunars

Taking command of the lower-ground party
Berra found Xenofos willing and able
Casting on her the great work of unhiding
Laying out enemies clear for the slaughter

Loud was the signal as Maran Gor made it
Berra commanded the axe-work of Rajar
Shoving it out of the way for Babeester5If this seems brutal it must be remembered that Berra was giving orders to a Storm Bull, a difficult undertaking at any time.
Letting the stone-work be shattered by power

Into the tower she charged with the vanguard
Slaying with Serzeen a Lunar in armour
Seeking the stairs for the soldiers above her
Catching Xenofos by diving beneath him

Upward flew Berra to seek for Varanis
Down below Onjur came out through a passage
Wounding the Weasel6Presumably an honorific title of Dormal and downing Serala
Sounded Serala alarm at the entrance

Berra turned down from Lanasha above her
Leaving Varanis to find lower duty7This could either be Berra’s own suddenly pressing duty, of her leaving Varanis to find it herself. Either is a pun on Higher Duty, and in Berra’s case would also indicate Humakt’s below-earth Sword Hall.
Reaching the hall before Serzeen could step there
Berra encountered two Onjurs before her

Twined by the magic of his Lunar Goddess
Onjur stepped out towards Berra and Serzeen
Crying no war-cry but only instructions
Berra ran in to do battle with Iron

Onjur stepped forward with smile-tainted features
Found himself fighting the Dagger of Humakt
Swift was hot Berra her sword flashing fire8Probably not, on balance, the Fireblade. Berra of this era was known to rely heavily on speed.
Flitting about the great Iron-heavy Onjur

Smiles turned to curses as Onjur reacted
Slow to stop Berra but power in his sword-arm
Bleeding from wounds she inflicted with prowess
Vengence for pain she had taken in Earth-time

From his loud lips came a cry to his Moon-god
Calling the pain of the Lunars within her
Humakt smiled up from his throne in the Sword-Hall
Berra thanked Truth that her shield stood between them9This direct understanding of why her earlier ritual failed is of course a teleological construction. Nevertheless its use to show Berra’s absolute faith in her religion should not be overlooked.,10Niyall has it that this is the great point of the Saga of Berra, a call to believe and behave as a Humakti should.

Hatred bloomed then on the face of the Rune Lord
Seeing his magic was lost to his clutches
Seeing the joy in the bright eyes of Berra
Hearing the feet that approached him in number

Calling the Rage-shout of Urox about him
Rajar burst in to the battle in fury
Striking with axe at each image before him
Taking the blood of each onto his axe-blade

Onjur fled then with the wile of his goddess
Vanishing redly from half of the battle
Leaving Serzeen with the empty air fighting
Leaving behind him his blasphemous image

Knowing that Rajar was deep in the storm-rage
Berra fought on to be sure all had safety
Finishing Onjur with Rajar for war-mate
Pulling back only to save slim Xenofos

Into the whirlwind of axe against axe-haft
Berra danced back to the fury of Storm-Bull
Crying for Mellia of the White Ladies
Seeing Serzeen was encumbered by wounding

Watching the Gor-child bound off Rajar mighty
Berra stepped up to do battle with Bison
Slicing with skill all the tendons in reaching
All up his arm to the crook of his shoulder

Saying no prayer and pausing no moment
Berra slipped out of the path of the axe-head
Keeping the eyes of the Urox fixed on her
Giving the Lady of Healing her safety

Shortly after they were joined by one of Varanis’ cousins, the general arrived for a briefing. The group (Varanis) was invited to choose an outlying tower which might contain a rat run, and take that over. Berra piped up to help, and Varanis (not necessarily needing it) chose a tower that could lead to the harbour. Berra offered to attempt the Morale ritual, but even with boosting help from Nala’s dancing, could not call down the blessings of Humakt. Lanasha and Koraki arrived from the Temple of Orlanth.

Varanis went up to the top of the tower with the Vingan and the Wind Lord, and Berra took charge of at least some of the people below. Xenofos cast Find Enemies on her, and she sent Rajar to have a go at the door, then hammered on his shoulder to get his attention and let Serzeen have a turn instead.

Her failure in the ritual meant that Berra had 2 points to put into Shield, which she did along with Sword Trance, before going into the tower. She and Serzeen easily dispatched one Lunar, and then split up as Berra went for the stairs and Serzeen looked for others. Xenofos and Rajar had run into a pair of Lunars with spears holding the stairs – Rajar had been a bit stabbed, and Xenofos got knocked back onto Berra, who sustained no damage thanks to her Shield. Rajar dealt with the last of the stair Lunars, who unfairly survived thanks to a Divine Rescue, and they started up the stairs. Then Berra and Xenofos felt a new presence wishing them harm, and both shouted the alert. They ran that way – Xenofos hobbled – and saw Onjur walk out of the room, next to Onjur. Moon Magic had doubled him. Berra took the one on the right, as Serzeen was already on her left.

Berra was able to stop Onjur from being able to attack Xenofos at all, and was much more skillful, wounding him before Rajar bounded in to help. At about that point the original – fighting Serzeen – disappeared as he fled to the Red Goddess. His copy survived a little longer, and then Berra hustled Xenofos back before turning to deal with the berserk Rajar. Serzeen had been wounded by Onjur, so she was fighting one-handed. She tried to knock Rajar back, to no avail. Berra dived in with a critical hit to his left arm, which amazingly the Storm Bull was able to keep. However, it was now useless for fighting. At that point, Mellia arrived and put Rajar to sleep, and the battle was over bar the healing.

*Middle finger* – GM, 30 seconds after game start
“Yaaay, I win!” – Berra

“Horn comes off. Other horn underneath.” – Berra
*wincing laugh* – GM

“Thingummy from Withnail and I. … Richard E Grant.” – GM
“Withnail, in fact.” – Berra

“Objection! GM asking the ‘how bad could it be’ question.” – Berra

“I pulled up the random name generator for the next time someone is so crass as to ask the GM for preparation.” – Berra

“She’s not so much sharpening her sword, which is very sharp already, as cuddling the edge with a sharpening stone.” – Berra

“The Humakti is grinning a lot.” – Berra
“Like a shark” – Nala

*mimes killing people* – Berra
“What are you *doing*?” – Varanis
“Miming killing people.” – Berra

“Rajar has a pint. Berra has a half pint.” – Berra
“She still has more in ratio.” – Berra

“We’ll be tooled up and we’ll wait until summoned.” – Berra

“Axe juggling time!!! Sid?” – Rajar
“No. No axe juggling. And no juggling Sid either.” – Berra

“Berra’s got a spear and a compound bow ready to strap onto her back.” – Berra

“Oh, Berra WILL mention that the General is going to be arriving, and the briefing can happen then. Now breathe in, this bit has to tighten.” – Berra

“Varanis, Rajar might be a dashing felllow but he is a foreigner, and then again I don’t need too much info – pointy end toward enemy.” – Xenofos
“Berra winces at Xenofos. ‘No. You’re going to need to listen. This is bad.'” – Berra

“He is pre-planned and hard as nails.”- Berra

“It’s her plan; we mustn’t mess with it.” – Berra, according to Nala unaware of irony

“With a clash of arms and boots, the General marches in.” – GM
“Berra stands up slightly straighter.” – Berra

“What’s the General’s name?” – Berra
“Why must you ask such awkward questions?” – GM

*bows deeply, showing great respect in introduction* – Varanis
“Stop groveling, Saiciae. Straighten up.” – General
*blort of laughter* – Berra

“Main doors on Harbour Street. Secondary door on Dormal Street. It says it’s an inn. The Queen’s Watchers say they’ve never seen anyone renting it.” – General

“There’s also a description of Onjur – iron breastplate and sword. Moon, Truth, and Death runes. That last bit seems to piss Berra off a lot.” – Berra

*wrangle over taking Mellia to the tower* – Berra and Dormal
“Not that I doubt your judgement Berra but he is that low. He’s not a warrior he’s…a….Politician.” – Rajar

“Berra seems to be treating Xenofos as a … Human.” – Berra

“Berra is attempting the straight face again.” – Berra
*kick Berra on the ankle if required* – Serala

“Berra is loud. She’d take a glance as permission to talk.” – Berra

“When should we be ready to go?” – Varanis
“Aren’t you ready?” – General
“The question is whether we have time to undertake the Morale ritual.” – Berra

“Do it, Humakt.” – General
“It’ll take an hour and a half…” – Berra
“You have an hour.” – General
“… I’ll want Nala to dance for me.” – Berra

“I’ve failed at the ritual, though. Damnit.” – Berra
“But not a fumble.” – Berra

“During the ritual you get to tell people about yourself, what you’re good at…” – Berra
“DRINKING AND HITTING PEOPLE WITH THIS AXE. And this one. And this one” – Rajar

*persuades Varanis to go with Lanasha and Koraki* – Berra
“Berra is match-making.” – Varanis

“Shield (2 points), 04. Sword Trance with 9 points of magic backing it. 22.” – Berra
“There had better be some action here now.” – Berra

“Find enemy – with truth?” – Xenofos
“Biiiiig thumbs up to Xenofos.” – Berra

“I am become Death, Destroyer of Men.” – Berra

“Well we have a commander.” – Xenofos
“Berra.” – Berra
“There’s Serzeen too.” – Varanis

“Cast it on me. I’ll make the calls if I have to.” – Berra

“Go, Rajar.” – Berra
“Oooh.” – Berra
“Are there people behind the door yet?” – Berra

“Waiting first round to see Berra and Rajar go in – follow in next wave.” – Xenofos
“I’m offering to let Serzeen go first, but she’ll have to be quick.” – Berra

“I’ve given target info to people. You know approximately where the PEOPLE are, but not the ways there.” – Berra
“And Xenofos can do the same.” – Berra

“Makes sense to be 100% sure each floor is clear though.” – Serala
“We never like people coming from behind… :wink:” – Serala
“That’s what the magic on us is for.” – Berra
“Magic, pfft. :smile:” – Serala
“I missed the smut in a somment from Serala yesterday, and replied straight, and now I am covered in shame.” – Berra

“HEROIC!” – Berra

“My sword skill is 185%. Not sure it’s enough.” – Berra

“How did it get that high?!” – Varanis
*pats Death rune* – Berra

“Humakt is the god of Death, and that’s a rune shaped like a sword.” – Berra

“1 1 1 1. 4. Unless I have more.” – Berra

“If I have to, I’ll get to the sound rather than the sense of where the enemies are. “WHERE ARE THE BASTARDS?”” – Berra

“If it works!” – Berra

“And the sword gets stuck in him a LOT.” – Berra

“Point Serzeen in the right direction, listen for the loudness.” – Berra

“MAKE A WAY!” – Berra
*keeps fighting* – Xenofos

“Do I get to dodge the falling guy?” – Berra

“War face!” – Berra

“Dormal? Show your knees.” – Berra
“But I’d have to take my jeans off.” – Dormal
“GM insists. It’s the rules.” – Berra
“Well. OK THEN!” – Dormal

“Xenofos failed, I believe.” – Berra
“Knocked back down the stairs. Ouch.” – Varanis
“Oh, I didn’t expect the stairs to be so soft.” – Xenofos, falling down the stairs into Berra
“Dormal, downstairs, feels an unexpected glow of warmth.” – Dormal
“Mellia, you hear the Clown March played inside the building.” – Berra

“LEAP OVER HIM.” – Berra
“Ceiling: I have other ideas.” – Berra

“Koraki: Waves down at his fans, lets the wind ruffle his cloak.” – Berra

“What is Koraki doing anyway? Leaving me and Lanasha to fight these two Lunars alone?” – Varanis
“Well, you’re grown-ups, Varanis.” – Berra
“If he stepped in that would be an insult.” – Berra

*megaphone hands* – Berra

“Which side are you on, Dormal?” – Serala???
“Obviously the side of order and rules.” – Berra

“Gosh, Dormal, aren’t you glad Mellia came to the house like you suggested, and didn’t go to the funeral!” – Berra

“Bugger.” – Rajar
“It’s wrong for the wife to smirk at this point, isn’t it?” – Serala
“Yes. She should be laughing out loud.” – Berra

“As you connect, he disappears, in a red nimbus.” – GM
“Divine Intervention!” – Berra
“I thought read nimbus was just way of saying red spray everywhere” – Xenofos
“No, he got carried away.” – Berra

*fails to remove head with called shot* – Varanis
“She is not D’Val.” – Berra

“If that’s someone who wishes harm, two people now know.” – Berra
“…and shout really loud…” – Xenofos

“WE KNOW!” – Berra
“Then I’ll yell, “BACK DOWN,” behind me, so Rajar can hear.” – Berra
“New enemies – downstairs!!!!” – Xenofos

“Shit.” – Serala meets Onjur

“OW.” – Berra
“I am glad I am not in the front rank.” – Xenofos
“Front rank is PAINFUL right now.” – Berra

“SO STORM BULL!” – Berra
“So sensible.” – Berra

“Should I do the thing?” – Rajar
“NO!” – Berra
“Speaking as someone who will be mistaken for a corpse, go for it.” – Dormal

“I think there should be a Detect Patient spell.” – Mellia

“I don’t know how to look that up.” – Berra

“Yep. Berserk.” – Rajar

“How long does it take me to get down the stairs? Still leaping!” – Varanis
“I think Serzeen is the one on the right.” – Berra
“Suddenly, I’m glad I’ve not made it into the room yet.” – Varanis

“MELLIA!” – Berra

“Xenofos is getting hustled away and then I’m heading back towards Rajar.” – Berra

“Serzeen is going for a knockback…” – GM
“I’m going to try to disarm him. Called shot, left arm.” – Berra

“This gets the job done, right?” – Berra
“Now I just have to survive the next round.” – Berra

“Am I downstairs yet?” – Varanis
“Probably, Varanis.” – Berra
“I suspect I’m standing in the doorway staring in horror.” – Varanis

“STORM BULL!” – Berra

“2 points of heal!” – Berra
“Staunched the wound on the left arm!” – Berra
“Hurrah! Humakti heal-scarring!” – Rajar

“The Storm Bulls have a ritual for when he comes round. I will need beer.” – Berra

“And I’ll check on Serzeen, and slowly wind down from being ready to kill Rajar to save people.” – Berra

“Berra’s still vibrating with her sword perfectly still.” – Berra

“And then she moves in closer to Varanis and makes sure there will be no more attacks.” – Berra
“Because she needs to do something.” – Berra

“Also, why do I miss all the sessions with combat?!” – Nala
“Good sense.” – Berra

“Rajar’s sheet is all on paper, which is not my normal drift at all. I do seem to be going very old school for RQG for no apparant reason.” – Rajar
“It’s bronze age. I demand you use papyrus.” – Berra
“Well Rajar can’t read. I should really memorise it all in verse.” – Rajar