Eril — 0200 Transcript Of Conversation With Scout Berra
When considering far-flung actions it is appropriate to undertake scouting by multiple methods. Jarang’s Daughter attended the Court of the Feathered Horse Queen, and here reports to Lord Eril Sambar Humakti, High Sword of Boldhome. Jarang’s Daughter is an initiate in good standing, who has been a dedicated Scout but is in no way a political native.
Berra goes to the Temple as soon as everything is settled at the inn, riding her bison up there in the late afternoon light. Common sense may say her Lord is at the Palace, but politeness dictates she look for him at his Temple first. Never mind that he is guarding the Temple proactively, through politics – she goes to the Temple.
She does ask at the gates if he is in, however.
Ah yes. Pay attention to this conversation.
He is, as it happens.
That makes things easier. She sends in to have him told she has arrived, finds a groom to take care of Followed, and goes to his rooms. On the way she pauses to go over in her head the things she will need to say, counting them on her fingers to be sure. Then she’s off to go meet the latest bit of her unfolding doom. She stands outside his door, eyes closed, and then claps for admittance, trying to blank out her nerves. They still show.
Slow but still dusty?
Just remember it.
I will remember.
She steps in smartly, helmetless so she can bow properly, forehead almost to the ground. She kneels up to look at him. “Greetings, great Lord.”
“Get up. Stop snivelling and report.”
No understanding of timing or importance.
Reverence due to rank?
Not my importance. My task’s. She does not understand the difference.
He’s at a desk. Looks like he’s been reading. Letters maybe? There’s a map also.
Briefly, amusement and irritation fight on her features. She does, and steps forwards. “Thane Varanis met with the Feathered Horse Queen, who was also hosting Fazzur Wide-read and an Embass….y from King Pharandros. I don’t know how far ahead of us they arrived. After there was a feast, the Thane attended a private meeting with the Feathered Horse Queen, who decided to send the Lumunous Stallion King here. For her approval. Tenta…” Unable to get over the word in one go, Berra takes another try. “Tentative, not a sure thing.”
Her pronunciation hurts.
Among other things.
He nods, briskly, “Yes. You already said.”
“The Queen’s good at not showing what she thinks. She decided to be a lot like Kalis – but more hints and trying to keep the Thane off balance. Varanis told her the next morning about her sister being missing. We had to talk about that one. I think maybe Lord Xenofos met with Fazzur privately, but I don’t know. I didn’t see them talk.” Berra is in command of her emotions by now. Even the mention of Fazzur is just a mention. “That’s the main news from Tarsh.” Then there is a pause and she has an idea and is obviously working through whether to tell him.
If she could speak with her tongue less and her face less…
...you would still have to have this meeting after the day's news.
Yes, thank you for that. I am perfectly well aware of the day’s portents.
“The implications are, I think, obvious.”
Berra takes that time to make a decision over what to say. “We met someone on the way back, Lord. My cousin. As far as I can understand, Lord Fazzur released a lot of prisoners from camps over a season ago. I don’t really know what that means. He’s marked for the Lunars now – they broke him. But then they got let out.” She nearly lets emotion get the better of her, anger crawling into her voice, and then hauls herself back to the facts, and her own puzzlement.
Can you feel the emotion leaking out?
That was not a question that required an answer.
“Interesting. As a fifth column, or as disruption of our morale, or because they can’t feed them anymore?”
“Fifth…?” Berra obviously does not know that battle. “I thought it was about morale, mostly, but food or control, from that end.” There might be grammar in there somewhere. She likely means that a lack of troops to keep camps would also result in a release.
I would have known this, at such an age. Ill educated. Makes no effort to improve this.
He nods, “Very well. Does he need to die in order to secure the country?”
Berra’s first reaction looks like it will be a no, and then she stops to think about it. “I don’t think so. I didn’t use magic to find out. He seemed still broken. He follows one of their gods now. I didn’t ask too hard.” She looks regretful. “He’s probably not far, if you want me to track him down, but there are Malani in the Blue Tree, and one of them will be able to bring out Truth.”
Good. Think about that.
That aquilline nose dips, as he nods thoughtfully, “Very well. If you believe he is Truthful, the matter can be tested. But an apostate from the Orlanthi Way is…. fundamentally untrustworthy.”
Berra’s face clearly says, ‘that is my family you are talking about’. Her voice says, “Lord,” in clipped agreement, and then she changes the subject. “Oh. While I remember about the journey. Lady Yamia is pregnant. Lord Venlar hadn’t noticed and she’s not telling anyone who the father is.”
He sniffs, “She has not yet separated herself from such urges. I shall send congratulations.”
Remind me when I have attended to the day’s correspondence.
I will remember.
“She says it’s political.” Berra counts back on her fingers. “And I have to apologise. I didn’t understand the orders you gave me when I asked about the Luminous Stallion King, so I chose to just come back here with what speed we could.”
He nods slightly, “The Stallion King will… doubtless go down like the Cannon Cult.”
Berra blinks, tries and fails to understand that, and goes on. “But that leads me to a different question. Do you hear me when I pray, or does it have to be Divination if I need to let you know something?”
Can I even put such a thing into words?
“Prayers are…. like a distant humming. I hear them more clearly when I deduce you Divine.”
… She does not comprehend. Of course.
Having presumably worked out from context what ‘deduce’ means, Berra says, “So that’s all that news. I think I know what needs to be done to find and bind the Wyter.”
“Very well. When you are ready.”
“There might be some preparations you need to make, and you’re definitely going to have to do some thinking, and it might need the Temple, and I need to ask you some personal questions.” So nothing trivial then.
“Very well. When you feel you are ready.”
The face is impassive.
And now, no emotion at all on her face. Is thinking too slowly for reaction to show?
Answer not required. Or unexpected. Still… is she ready? Will she step forward or back?
“Is now good for the…” She pulls herself up, and says, “Questions, then. And I need a letter to Lord Silor to ask for him and Thenaya to tell me what I need to know. If you have time now, I should talk to you now. March-time’s tight.”
Not an answer.
Indeed. Without encouragement.
He raises a brow, “You believe you are ready to wrestle a Wyter now?”
“No, but I think I’m ready to call your spirit to duty. That’s one of the big questions. I mean, I’m figuring you need it to be ready for the coming seasons, and my plan puts a Rune Lord in the right place for if I fail. So what would make you – back then – want to be called back to a new Regiment? What did your vows say? Because I don’t think I’ll be ready for another year or two, and I don’t think you’ve got that time.”
“I have that time.” He pauses, “Right now there is nobody else ready or willing to take the role you are. Therefore it will wait until you are.”
Berra thinks about that. Things turn over in her head, and she nods a little. “In that case, next year would be better. But I’ll still need to find things out. Still need the letter. Don’t need to ask the questions yet.”
“Very well. I shall write. When do you require it?”
Humakt keep me from temper. Will she ever present all information at once, as needed?
“I’ll likely be going to the Blu… to the Cinder Fox lands this season. Mellia’s wedding is going to be in two parts – Esrolia and then here. I don’t have to set off for a couple of weeks. I’ll let the others know it’ll be put off. They know to keep it quiet. So then I do have a question. Do you need worshippers, or is it more important to…” She trails off, trying to work out how to say ‘not get killed’.
“Worshippers will, I think, come. In time. Quality over quantity. I anticipate getting a band of high quality.”
Berra nods. “In that case, I think there’s nothing more. We warned the Feathered Horse Queen that Kallyr was likely going to have to come to her own conclusion about marrying the Luminous Stallion King, so she could let him know that. And I don’t think I have anything else to add. Just permission to use the Temple for worship for a week. I need to understand more of the god’s gifts. If there’s a particular way you want me to do that, given you’re the hero I’m going to be contacting, let me know. I was hoping to set up in the cellar.”
Was there anything of note in that last word horde?
Your concentration is slipping.
I find it difficult to listen down to her level.
Either she has not heard of the strange and occasionally terrifying things that happen under the Temple, or she has. Perhaps she just means one of the upper cellars.
He nods, “Very well.” And he waves her free.
Berra bows, and steps backwards, and then turns to go. She is already speeding up as she leaves, happier to be back at the Temple than in her Lord’s presence.
Some things to think about. But not now. Remind me; I must be sure she does not go too far under the Temple. Yet.
I will remember. Is she not going now?
She has… other… loyalties. The duck. As well as her Thane.
Back to the map?