Diaries The Saga Of Berra — Fragment 26
1626, Sea Season
Tall as a priestess at Yelmrise on Fireday
Berra walked into the Palace of Boldhome
Bowed to the Priest who was standing as Orlanth
Tennebris proud of the party of Kallyr
Tennebris spoke of the Quest of the Springtime
Voria’s death and the feeding of Humakt
Berra unordered1Both without being ordered to, and without planning her words. This is an epithet often used of Berra’s speech, and sometimes of her actions. spoke freely before him
I will be Humakt if you should so wish it
Risking her life and the wrath of her Temple
Berra spoke forth with her honour Humakti
Fearing not death from the hero-plane coming
Feared only failure and scorned spirit-blasting
Speaking with Eril and D’Val of the Sword-road2But presumably not together.
Berra stood taller than ever they knew her
Moved even Eril to show his misgivings3This is often understood as another example of her leadership, as difficult as keeping a Storm Bull from charging.
Was she prepared for the price of her service
Water and dust gave her purification
Boldhome’s great blacksmith to wolf-form transformed her
Iron in his fist and his spirit of iron
Leading her down to the form of still Kallyr
Humakt devoured for his wolf-form was on him
Voria sobbed in the stomach that held her
Crying her heard but with no mercy in him
She had been kin but was now mortal morsel
Came the White Healer to find Humakt waiting
He with a growl sent her out from his presence
He was the Death Rune and this was his duty
Chalana Arroy planned deeply to trick him
Into his stomach she leapt with red berries
Hiding an arrow of fire from Yelmalio
Over the heart of the child of Ernalda
Placed she the arrow and lips touched with berries
Humakt saw Voria breathing and living
Saw her red lips and the roses her cheeks grew
Felt too the warmth that her heart had forever
Ever too briefly a fire in his own heart
When she awoke in the Hall of the Death Rune
Berra recited the thoughts of the Sword-God
Speaking the quest that can break the Humakti
Telling the steps with the wisdom of ages
What Really Happened
The heroes returned to find the Hero Quest had not yet taken place. D’Val and Eril had both volunteered to take the role of Humakt, but Tennebris had determined that the reason the Quest had failed was that it had been taken over halfway through. Those who had gone to fetch the Stationary Lightbringers Quest had not performed it. Berra instantly volunteered, followed by Mellia.
After walking Xenofos to his temple, Berra went to hers, where as if by coincidence, D’Val was in the courtyard, sharpening his sword. After giving him his share from the Lunar fight at the North Gate, and the fruit she had bought him in Nochet, Berra asked him his views on duck-human sex. While he was letting her down gently, she told him that she was sure people were talking about them in Duck Point, but she didn’t know if she should be angry, or if it was slander. He said that they did not have to.
After that, she added she had volunteered for the HeroQuest, and took his advice on who could help her. Then she went for the difficult task of telling Eril, which turned out to be surprisingly easy. While still apparently looking down on her, the High Sword admitted that D’Val’s plan for asking the Iron Lord was a good one, and went so far as to check she was ready to play the price of being Humakt in the Quest.
After purification with cold water, dust, and fasting, Berra went to see the Blacksmith, who was working iron. A metal miracle, it was worked hot! He had her wear a cloak, and then with his hammer beat her legs and face into wolf shape, causing no pain, but a full Transformation. Then, with her on an iron chain, he took her to the chamber of Kallyr. She saw the body of Voria as the chain came off her, and devoured it. In the material world, she hopped onto the bed, as a very warm cover.
Chalana Arroy tricked Humakt, who released Voria, briefly warming his own heart. He saw that Voria was living according to his understanding, and admitted she was not dead, releasing her. She and Chalana Arroy awoke in the material world, as Kallyr and Mellia. Berra returned to her body, and the Iron Lord, with the iron chain around his hand, beat her back into shape. There was no bruising, of course.
Berra then went back to the Temple, to reveal the mysteries she had learned doing a Heroquest that Humakti could very seldom perform, and to recover from the horror of having allowed a Resurrection. She did not reveal the price she had paid to anyone.
“Berra Jarang’s Daughter…” – Tennebris
“I volunteer!” – Berra
“D’Val volunteered for the part of Humakt… And then the High Sword volunteered…” – Tennebris
“D’Val opens the money, takes out a chunk, ties up the pouch again, and throws it really hard over his shoulder.” – GM
“You should have seventeen lunars and four clacks, or you need to tithe more.” – Berra
“Am I right in thinking you’d believe sexual relations between ducks and humans inappropriate?” – Berra
*brief stare* – D’Val
“Berra, you know I’ve thought of you as a very promithing Initiate…” -D’Val
“There are people at Duck Point who think that. I mean, about me and you. I don’t even know if it’s slander – It’s so far away from my understanding, I can’t imagine being able to think it. So I… is it a thing I should be angry about? Is it slander?” – Berra
“We know the truth. The god only asks us to speak the truth, not to force it on the world.” – D’Val
“And I’ve volunteered to take the part of Humakt in the heroquest.” – Berra
*pause, expression* – D’Val
“You need to talk to the most experienced Sword in the Temple.” – D’Val
“Would that be Eril?” – Berra
“No.” – D’Val
“… You?” – Berra
“…Also No.” – D’Val
*signs of runes on eyelids* – Berra
“Yes. But first, you should jump in the river, roll in dust, take off all decorations. Purify yourself.” – D’Val
“Ahhh, Dagger of Humakt, was it?” – Eril
“I don’t know. It’s an old-fashioned title, but… I’ll take it?” – Berra
“It is what your… hagiographers are calling you.” – Eril
“Let’s just assume I won’t know the long words. If you want me to understand, avoid them in future.” – Berra
“I am …content to proceed.” – Eril
“Indeed, Lord.” – Berra
“Was that your idea, or the Duck’s?” – Eril
“It was D’Val’s, my lord.” – Berra
“You can almost see the Hate Duck fighting with the Truth Rune on his face.” – GM
“It is a fine idea.” – Eril
“Are you ready for the price? There will be a price.” – Eril, as close to sympathetic as he has ever been
“Yes, Lord.” – Berra
*something faintly positive* – Eril
“And then I’ll go jump in cold water.” – Berra
“Are you going to be squealing like a little girl?” – GM
“Well, if I do, I have to get out and try again, anyhow. So the last time I do it, no.” – Berra
“I have come here looking for wisdom.” – Berra
“I know.” – Iron Lord
( Well, that makes the rest of the conversation easier. I don’t have to have it. ) O o . Berra
“Peg by the door. Grey cloak.” – Iron Lord
“‘Hmm… Hind legs the wrong shape.’ And he hits you in the leg with a hammer.” – GM
“Front paws…” – Iron Lord
“Snout? – Berra
“Oh, I’ve been hit before. Does it hurt?” – Berra
“… No…” – GM
“GM, does this count as Ritual Preparation?” – Berra
“Because I’m going to need that.” – Berra
“Yes… Because you purified yourself by water and dust, and someone cast Transform upon you.” – GM
“I shall now communicate through howling.” – Berra
“Arooooo!” – Berra
“Why am I suddenly more nervous than before we went into the Tower?” – Varanis
“Because now you can fail for other people.” – Berra
“The wolf jumps up on the bed…” – GM
“And lies on Kallyr.” – Berra
*grrrrrrr* – Berra
“Beer and meat. With fingers.” – Berra
“But not eating fingers. Suddenly that’s bad.” – Berra
“If you want to complain about a Humakti in a loincloth I think I made my position clear.” – Berra
Questions to Duck:
Do geases continue after death? Why is Yelm important to ducks? Why do you call me ‘Dagger’? … can… we… start… learning oh Humakt I hate meditation Vigour again now?
1) I don’t know.
2) Becauth he betrayed uth.
3) You’re like a little Sword.
*glows with pride* – Berra
( Waaaaait, did the Duck just call me short? ) O o . Berra
Do you know I hate meditating? Do you know how much I hate meditating? Can I have the sack of rocks instead?
“Did you visit Whitewall before it was destroyed? Can you show me the fourth step of the third sword dance for tomorrow? Should I still be craving raw meat?”
3) No. Have fruit.
“What was Whitewall like? How do your ankles do that? Can I pretend it’s raw meat?”
1) Beautiful. Until the siege.
2) It’th a duck thing
“You were at the Siege?”
1) Latht Duck out. I had a methage.
Eril’s page: [[[eril:0190-transcript-of-examination-of-berra-jarangsdottir|Transcript of Examination of Berra Jarangsdottir]]] – After the heroquest, the questor gives her best understanding of what happened.