Fragment 8 – The Bandit Attack

Diaries The Saga Of Berra — Fragment 8

1625, Fire Season

As she rode on from the Death-hold to Boldhome
Berra rode swiftly and shared roads with no-one
Staying one night in the high halls of Wilmskirk
From her admirers she had a great feasting1Naturally, yet another attempt to show heroic treatment. At the popular 1625 dating of this fragment, Wilmskirk had two inns, five horses, and a feasting hall that was being rebuilt after the visit of Chrali the Storm Bull in Fire season

Riding to meet with her crew in Deep Boldhome
Berra alone on the road and unfriended
Found that her horse was surrounded by bandits
Rough men who fought her in force and in number

Calling to lay down her sword and surrender
Men of the woodlands were circled round her
Berra with speed from her horse then alighted
Smiling while drawing her sharp bright blade Wind-Tooth

Slew she a dozen or more in the blade-press
Moving among them as air on the water
Moving upon them as when Blue-tree River
Angrily swallows the croplands beneath it

Then when the roar of the war-shouts was silent
Berra stood bleeding among her dead foe-men
Took for their ransom those brave men who stood yet2Records from Boldhome circa 1625 indicate that a ‘HumaktiBerra’ caused two prisoners, one badly maimed, to be held for ransom. This is at odds with the usual habit of the Humakti to show no favour to bandits, lest their poison grow.
Picked all the battlefield over for plunder

Then at the end of her ride Berra feasted
Boasting of deeds with the great Storm-bull Rajar
Drinking deep draughts with the patient Serala
Rider of horses and of horses healer

Armed by the Starbrow and fit for the journey
All in the temples had made sacrifices
Onto the road Berra set her firm footsteps
Making the way to the high walls of Jonstown

On her way to Boldhome, Berra stopped off at Wilmskirk, where for the sake of peace she agreed to have a private room, and the landlord of the Broken Jug agreed to let her have it. On the Boldhome road she encountered four bandits, whom she decided not to allow to further trouble the world. She managed to get three to surrender, although one of those ran away while she was busy, and killed one. She marched two prisoners to Boldhome, with her horse wounded, and there she met Serala, who was less than pleased about the arrow holes in the noble mount, but healed the horse.

Meeting the gate guards, Berra explained she could not allow the bandits to be mistreated or hanged, as she had accepted their ransom offer, lacking time in the battle to kill all of them. She determined to do better next time.

Berra spent the evening getting mildly drunk with Rajar, and meeting Dormal, who brought back strong drink rather than snacks to the camp outside the walls. The next few days were spent preparing to leave, checking the new padding for her armour would fit, and passing time at the temple. She spoke to the Blacksmith there, telling him of the sword she was dreaming of. He gave her the choice of learning to make her own, or persuading him she was good enough for iron, likely by becoming a Sword of Humakt. She used her Truth Rune to see through the darkness, observing the various charms and a couple of unknown hero statues, and then went away to think about choices.

In a brief interlude at the temple of Humakt a couple of days later, Berra asked D’Val’s advice about life choices, and was told the God could not help her for he could see neither the future, nor what was in her mind – this was a decision she would have to make on her own. Berra decided to do what she was good at, and went off to tell the Iron Lord.

The group was ready to set off, near the company of a merchant, once the armour was delivered.

“Is it Sunday yet?” – Berra, all week
“Wait, I have to log on already?” – Berra, Sunday

“They are clearly good songs, says GM of his own poetry.” – Berra
“In character it’s not my own poetry, it’s Qidane’s, so I am allowed to praise it. So there. That tol’t you, Berra.” – GM

“We used to do re-enactment. I’ve strapped and tied Rajar every which way…” – Serala
“…should I rephrase that?” – Serala
“No, we’re good.” – Berra

“You’re both the evil twin.” – Berra

“I’ll do a Berra Dismount.” – Berra

“BERSERK.” – Dormal
“NO.” – Berra
“Oh go on ya no ya want to use the power of STORM BULL.” – Rajar

“Parrying with your face doesn’t count.” – Dormal
“Totally a parry.” – Berra

“The quality of bandits hereabouts…” – Berra

“You might want to try to dodge the Critical.” – GM

“Eighteen damage to head…” – Berra
*thinks of D’Val* – entire party
“You have learned so much.” – GM

“It’s not at the right angle though.” – Berra
“No, not the upward angled slice, but still.” *does sword-acting* – GM
“It’s that wrist movement I asked him to show me.” – Berra makes a callback

“YOU don’t look hurt.” – Serala
“The horse is not a Humakti.” – Berra

“Are you sure you wouldn’t prefer them strung up as bandits?” – Guard
“I did say I would accept their ransom. I’ll do better next time.” – Berra

“I accidentally failed to kill some bandits on the way here. I’m afraid I earned ransom. I’ll do better next time.” – Berra

*<looks a bit surprised> hand over beer* – Rajar
“I accepted ransom to get onto the next fight, and then I was in the middle of some more fighting.” *takes scale tankard of beer* – Berra

“I should get warm clothes…” – Berra
“Armourers never deliver when then say they will. I got you a cloak, a winter one.” – Rajar
“Oh. Oh, thank you. Waterproof skins?” – Berra

“Padding. Wool. Rope. The knowledge we cannot really fly even if the wind spirits tell us we can. What more do we need?” – Berra
“Exactly! So it’ll all be good.” – Rajar

“No undead hordes from the nearby marsh? How was Duckland?” – Rajar
“Oh, no. Lots of ducks. And some terrible moments. I worked out on the way here what Quackie Quackie was.” – Berra
*shudder* – Berra
*<drink>* – Rajar

*chugs back whole cup* – Berra
<there is another way to drink?> – Rajar

*splorts* – Berra
“Oh…. Humakt. I just realised what that duck was offering me, too.” – Berra
*stares into space briefly, horrified* – Berra
*<DRINK>* – Rajar

“And then I told her that D’Val and I were fine alone. But at least there wasn’t any winking. My cup’s empty. I think I need a cup that isn’t.” – Berra

*pulls hair back over bruise* – Berra
“EXCELLENT! High Five!” – Rajar
“Well, Fist-bump, because my hand should always be ready to hold a sword.” – Berra

“This is sociable drinking. Or breakfast, as we like to call it.” – Rajar

“You might want to be careful. They were saying there were lunars in the area.” – Dormal
“Berra sits up, grins broadly, and looks at Rajar.” – Berra
“It’s a fist-bump moment.” – Rajar

*pauses to smell the air by the redsmiths and smile* – Berra

“Berra is looking at the tools with the eye of someone who almost understands them, and can’t quite remember.” – Berra

“Nala brings in a bad sword that has been beaten into a very good ploughshare.” – Nala
*lipwobble* – Berra

“As well as the limited visibility, this place is hot as hell. There’s an old man there, sitting in the lotus position, with his eyes shut. He’s wearing a loincloth and nothing more.” – GM
“I sit down in front of him, also in a meditational position, making enough noise that he can hear me sitting down quietly.” – Berra
“His eyes are closed. On the lids are tattooed Truth, and Death.” – GM
*stares in awe knowing he does not need eyes* – Berra
“After a while his eyes don’t open, but he says, ‘Greetings, Berra Jarang’s Daughter.'” — GM

*pause to think* “Greetings, Iron Lord.” – Berra
“He looks …satisfied.” – GM

“I have been dreaming of a sword.” – Berra
“That is as it should be.” – Iron Lord

“How do I convince you?” – Berra
“Be a master of the sword, be a leader of men, be acceptable to the god.” – Iron Lord

“I can just about bow my head to the ground from this position. I’ll do that.” – Berra
“He reaches out a heavy, gnarled hand as you do, and puts it briefly on the back of your head.” – GM

“Enough magic points to get me over 95% Worship. Humakt can keep the change.” – Berra

“Berra is doing a sword drill in slow motion, as slowly as she can do it, which is entirely unnatural to her.” – Berra

“Yeah, he comes in. There’s some… indignation.” – GM
“From him, or the others?” – Berra
“Yes.” – GM

“This is, after all, Eril’s home temple. But nobody’s giving him active grief. I can’t imagine why…” – GM
“Just passive-aggressive grief.” – Berra

“I’ll go over and sit down next to him. In front of him. Wherever.” – Berra
“You’re dropping your lead elbow. About an inch.” – D’Val
*thinks* “Thank you.” – Berra

“I have some choices to make in my life. They’ve been coming thick and fast lately.” – Berra
“Life *is* choices.” – D’Val

“If you become a Blacksmith, you become a valuedd part of the temple. With all that entdails.” – D’Val
“That’s a long way of saying ‘politics’.” – Berra

“More, you become a valuedd investdment.” – D’Val
“Oh.” – Berra

“The god can’td tell the future. He’s outsidte time. And he can’t ttell your thoughts.” – D’Val
“Well, that’s a relief!” * holds skull briefly* “Go on…” – Berra

“I shall do what I am good at.” – Berra

“And he goes on with eating his apple.” – GM
“I shall look on in wonder and awe for a moment, then go back to the sword drill.” – Berra

( Does that beak have teeth? ) O o . Berra

  • 1
    Naturally, yet another attempt to show heroic treatment. At the popular 1625 dating of this fragment, Wilmskirk had two inns, five horses, and a feasting hall that was being rebuilt after the visit of Chrali the Storm Bull in Fire season
  • 2
    Records from Boldhome circa 1625 indicate that a ‘HumaktiBerra’ caused two prisoners, one badly maimed, to be held for ransom. This is at odds with the usual habit of the Humakti to show no favour to bandits, lest their poison grow.