Farewell To Arms

Finarvi — Farewell To Arms

????, Fire Season, Movement Week


Fire Season, Movement Week, Clayday [[[s01:session-40|Session 40]]]


Finarvi returns to the stables of the White Grape inn an hour or so after dawn. He walks his roan mare into courtyard. Berra is at her sword practice, so he waits, watching as though he could engrave her movements into his memory.

Berra, just finishing what looks like a solid sword set, is getting to grips with using Wind Tooth left-handed. The show ends after a few moments, at an apparently natural ending. Berra brings her feet together from the disembowelling blow, relaxing into standing upright. She gives Finarvi a nod, obviously aware he was there.

Finarvi returns the nod, makes it a bow. “I am sorry, my teacher. I missed this morning’s practice. Serala and I are being called away. Duty recalls us to our homeland.”

Berra bows. “This happens.” She considers, her right hand resting clumsily on the hilt of her sword. “Try to find someone who will not shout at you, if you want to improve. You need to take responsibility for yourself. Will the Blue Tree Clan see you soon, do you think?” She saunters closer, all grace despite her stocky form.

“I hope so, but we don’t know where our duties will take us yet.” He looks deeply unhappy. He takes a deep breath. “I will ask Serala to take up my training. She may tease me, but she seldom shouts.”

“What’s the matter? You look like this is bad. Duty is good.” Berra pauses, a polite distance away. The morning light glints off a long white feather sewn somewhat clumsily into her helm, over her left temple. It is tilted so the armour will protect it, rather than standing up.

“Duty pulls me in different directions,” he admits. “I vowed to help Varanis, I swore loyalty to the Feathered Horse Queen, and I have the duty towards my family. It seems those horses may no longer be running down the same path.”

“Oh, yes. Well, that often happens. It’s a good lesson in keeping your mouth shut.” Berra sounds cheerful. “Go with the first thing you swore. That’s the decision you made. And stop moping about it, and don’t let your tongue make promises your body can’t keep, in the future. But vows that you make can’t break other vows, unless you make them falsely. How could they?”

“True,” he doesn’t quite smile, but he looks less dejected. “It’s my heart that’s pulling in different directions, and it will do that whether I keep silence or not. I want to do so many things. I fear so many things. And I name duty like it’s the problem, not the answer.” He bows, more deeply this time. “Thank you, Berra, for all you’ve taught me.”

“Mhm. Yes.” Berra does not bow, but instead reaches out her left hand for his shoulder. “Duty to your Kingdom, duty to your clan – love to your friends. Pain at leaving, and at having to break a promise. But those are all separate things. One more lesson, and it is a word, and a question.”

Finarvi straightens a little, attentive.

Berra draws her sword. “Death is a separation of spirit from body,” she says, and holds up the sword between them. “Whenever you face a feeling that seems like you can’t face it, remember separation happens in life too, and you can do it to yourself, just like you just did.” Wind Tooth rotates smoothly in her hand, from face on, the painted Truth Rune visible on the blade, to edge-on, a glint of Yelm on bronze held steady in the hand of a killer.

Finarvi looks at Wind Tooth, and the line of tension between his brows disappears. He relaxes, and the smile he gives Berra has no joy in it, but there’s something like peace there. “Separation,” he muses, and thinks of Eril, and D’val’s seemingly unshakable calm. Inwardly, he takes a step away from the marks the recent Heroquesting have left on his thoughts, and the ghost of a doomed Sartarite redsmith.

“Separation,” says Berra, and there is peace there too. “And then you can ask what is important. Step aside from the questions that are wrong, and ask the one that is always right. If there is no answer, then you’re thinking too many things are important.” The calm she has shares something with D’Val’s look, perhaps.

The sword in her hand is still steady, still deadly, still being used only to keep a separation between them.

“I will remember,” he tells her.

“Good. That’s as important as any drill.” Wind Tooth makes a circle between them, coming up with the blade flat to him again, and this time it is moved in a semi-formal salute. “Your teacher releases you, then, I suppose.” And she grins, and has to look at her scabbard to sheathe her sword, because her right hand cannot help. “If you don’t get back to the Clan, send word of how you’re doing.” She offers her arm to clasp.

He clasps her arm. “I will. My father is Benetin Salt-Bringer, a trader. He may bring word if I cannot. Will you tell Irillo, if I don’t see him before we have to leave? I would like to see trade between White Hazel and Blue Tree, and Greyrock Fall too. We have an eager market for their salt.”

Berra nods. “Of course.” Her grip is that of a warrior, but her hand is hardly calloused. “He will like the idea of that, I think.”

As Finarvi walks away he sees Berra drop into what seems to be deep, but calm, thinking. Maybe she too is working out what’s important. It doesn’t take long, and then she goes into the inn, looking determined.