Fragment 9 – The Scorpion Folk (Disputed Fragment)

Diaries The Saga Of Berra — Fragment 9

1625


1While Fragment 9 is a poor fit for poetic style and vocabulary, it is an appropriate bridging story. It is not generally relied on by serious scholars of the era, and furthermore the dating is unclear. Fragment 9 is discussed by Wiermonken.Taking the call of the troops of the Merchant2This is, from the wording, not just any Merchant, but some Mercantile-Guard test or physical representation of Issaries. As this fragment exists only within one folio of the sage Llewun, it is disputes whether this Merchant is ever identified, or indeed if this is a later association of a heroic guard journey with Berra’s Saga. The identifying of her employer as nothing but ‘Merchant’ indicates a holy stricture or formalised Champion structure, and it is notable that this is the stage in which Berra is first indicated to have a single master, and to head the hearthmen (or travelling equivalent).
Berra commanded their awe in short order
Offering choice of the Storm-Bull or Humakt
Setting the warriors under her party

All chose Humakti and heads bowed to Berra
Troll-kin3The unlikelihood of this group is interesting, but the more intelligent Trollkin were known to attempt human action. and Human with Baboon spear-owning
Berra warned Merchant of Salid the Troll-Kin
Finding that Merchant knew of him already

Proud Lord of Silver with Goldentongue smiling
Announced that his words had been sharp with dark Salid
Salid was no more a slave than Orlanthi
Berra heard this from her Wheel-Lord the Merchant

Walking the Road at the pace of the mule-train
Berra swung step as she had out to Pavis
Infantry walking with scouts sent before her
Fierce in their wish to see danger before them

As she had walked on the road from her Tula
Berra walked back with the slow pace of sandals
Booted and belted and hung with her weapons
No more the child who had walked to the South-lands

Passing the Dangerford rope-sling with Mulepack
Berra looked East at the way to her Tula
Saw the road markings with Malani rune-work
Stared at betrayal of tribe and of Sartar

Saw how the Lunars had handed her tribe-land
To others in Sartar to sow red dissension
Hate in her heart against Lunars was whitened
Still she stepped onward and guarded fat Merchant

Anger within her and calm in her features
Berra spoke coldly of what her land had been
Asked by the Storm-Bull if fighting would happen
Berra her head shook and spoke of her elders

If her tribe called she would rise in her anger
If the Black Spear was ahead she would follow
Yet in her vows there was never outlawry
Never she raided without tribe permission

Late on the road in the midnight of watching
Berra sat cold in the dark of the Earth-Night
Trusting companions lay sleeping around her
Then the round snout of Salid4The use of Salid as the only other name-bearing mortal in this fragment is striking, and almost unique. was beside her

Whispering into the darkness by Berra
Salid in undertongue spoke of an ambush
Berra heard clearly and sent him to camp-wake
Called on her magic to find where her foes were

Deep within camp woke the troll-kin his allies
As Berra shouted alarm to the heavens
Storm-Bull was sleeping and dreaming of battle
Clove off the leg of Salid with an axe-blow

Scorpion-men in their hordes poured about then
Merchant lay wards and the Orlanthi rallied
Round to the cry of the Humakti Berra
Man and Baboon to the war-cry were mustered

Berra knew well of the frenzy of Urox
Laid all her plans to take careful advantage
Followed the trail of the foam of his nostrils
Planted herself in the path of the Sting-folk

Calling upon the great Rune of her birth-place5This mention of Water and Birthplace gives a reason for the existence of this fragment when taken in conjunction with mention of the Malani predations; it underscores both the honour of Berra in doing her duty despite hearing the news of the Lunar predations, and the importance of clan-lands to the Colymar.
Berra began the swift dance of death-dealing
Moving her blade with the speed of her fury
Faster than pincers or sting-tail or forelegs

When in a moment the dead lay before them
Storm-Bull charged back at the standing Humakti
Berra stood ready to guard her sword-fellows
Knowing her skill was the shield of her comrades

Called for the Healer of Chalana Arroy
Called the White Lady to soothe the wild Storm-Bull
Healer smiled kindly and sweetly on Urox
Led him to sleep in the pastures of dreaming

Berra sent out for the camp of the Sting-folk
Had the Grey Sage take the writings of Lunars
Ordered it burned to save Chaos from spreading
Saw that the healing of Salid had happened

When in the Morning the Storm-Bull was woken
Berra presented the beer-cup of greeting
Warriors lived and as living were greeted
Dreams were explained and the troll-kin was toasted

Leaving the pyres with their cores of red silver
Merchant passed on with his life and his living
Alda-Chur beckoned and Berra walked onward
Leading all safely the stone walls to rest in

There was a discussion in an inn over the fact that Serala and Berra knew very little of what was planned. Rajar recited what he knew, but they decided that it was best just to guard the others. Berra took charge of the merchant’s bodyguard troop, mentioning to Irillo that she had seen the troll-kin before, and the circumstance; he said that he had spoken to the Troll-kin about this, and Salid had said he was no longer a slave. Taking this as an explanation, Berra planned out the watches and scouting for the trip, and the company set off.

A couple of days later, they encountered another green glowing trail, which was the first Berra had seen. Serala threw a rock through it – there was a thud, and a dragonewt appeared, looking annoyed. It spoke, and Vestra was able to translate, and wrote a reply in the dust. Mollified by her apology it went away from the road a little, found a rock it stood on with both feet, and disappeared. The green trail started again from that point and was soon out of sight.

After some dull travel, they reached lands that should to Berra’s mind have been Colymar, but that showed Malani runes on road-stones. This was the first that Berra had heard of the Lunars giving away Colymar lands, and it took her a while to get over it. However, there was nothing to be done, so she simply filed away the grudge.

On the road West, they camped overnight. Berra had put herself on watch with the troll-kin, as she did not trust him, but she also wanted to use his night senses – in the event, he spotted things creeping up before she did, and told her. She sent him to wake the camp while she cast Find Enemies – five, all in one direction. Salid successfully woke Serala, but when he got to Rajar, found there was a problem; Rajar woke with the belief there was a Great Troll standing over him, and got up axe-first, cutting off Salid’s leg. To everyone’s great surprise, Salid survived. Berra yelled the rally, and called for Salid’s healing, which Tiwr was able to do.

Rajar flew into a highly magical berserk rage, and Irillo cast a warding around the camp, while Dormal left sideways to flank the enemy. Serala killed one scorpion and injured another badly, and Rajar finished off two. Berra accounted for one after it had been wounded by the warding, and with Dormal, Serala and Berra the other died quickly too. That left a berserk Storm Bull with living targets, so he charged Berra. Fortunately, Mellia was able to calm him, and he fell asleep instantly.

In the morning, they went on for Alda Chur, which they reached safely.

[[[berra:berra-water-01|Meditations upon Water]]]


“The earlier call was a brief bit of duck-shouting. Like duck whispering but less Robert Redford and more getting apple juice sprayed on me.” – Berra

“I should also point out that means the unicorn folk should be killing and eating unicorns.” – Rajar
“Try me, fatty.” – Tiwr, per Berra
“I mean they’re self healing, how do you know they don’t?” – Dormal

“Regrow Flank Steak (1 point, Beast, Healing, Fertility)” – Berra
“Don’t use rune magic for that. Use Spirit magic.” – GM

“Is it 8pm yet?” – Berra
“19:35” – Timestamp

“No, you don’t get reputation for the heroquest, because you broke it.” – GM
“Reputation doesn’t have to be good! I’d get reputation as a kinslayer.” – Berra
“Yes, but that implies you are good at kinslaying.” – GM

“STORM BULL HAS NO NEED OF GRAMMER RULES” – Rajar

<<Berra sighs. “I… have no idea what we are doing, to tell the truth.”
Serala lifts her eyebrows, then looks almost relieved. “True? I thought it was only me.”>>

“Ere, you can’t leave that lyin’ there.” – GM
*GM’s line goes sadly unanswered*
“I can’t believe nobody took my straight line.” – GM
“I’m not a lion, I’m a unicorn.” – Tiwr per Dormal
*sigh* Just for you. “Or Unicornin’.” – Berra

“You got about a 10% bonus as finders fee, Dormal. And he’s going to provide food.” – GM
“Even for Rajar?” – Berra
*rubs hands. And belly* – Rajar

“I’ve decided that my path lies deeper in the temple. It will take time, but that’s what I am after. So one day, I may be banned from beer.” – Berra
“Well, one day we will all be dead, one day the sky may fall in, one day is tomorrow not today.” – Rajar
“Yes, exactly. And I have a cup and we have a jug.” – Berra
“Excellent. And if it happens then you can watch me drink.” – Rajar

“And you thought /my/ heroquests were a shambles.” – GM
“That’s because they were.” – Berra, GM’s GM in other game

“Three baboons…” – GM
“Well, I learned my lesson underestimating ducks, but still.” – Berra

“Is the Trollkin Salid?” – ???
“No…. you know, in fact…” – GM
*shoulders lance with Trollkin head attached to it* – Rajar

“They seem to have chosen between the Humakti and the Storm Bull, the Humakti’s plan is less likely to comprise entirely of running at the enemy shouting, ‘chaaaaarge’.” – GM
“It’s a time honoured tactic of my people.” – Rajar
“It’s the only tactic of my people to be fair…” – Rajar

“By a curious coincidence, he is also looking down your six foot tall body.” – GM
“Well, I’m mounted.” – Nala
“That’s what he’s imagining.” – Berra

“Does Storm Bull have a stud fee? Asking for a friend…” – Berra

“I do ‘ride that bison’ a lot.” – Berra
*breaks slightly* – GM

*give Serala a look, and then glance at the horse and the water* – Berra
*grin…* – Serala

“Are we now crossing the creek?” – Berra
“Ooh, Berra’s trying to get us back on track.” – Serala

“It’s not hostile tribal territory.” – Berra
“It’s just been given away.” – Berra