1628, Dark Season, Disorder Week, Clayday
By the time Varanis reaches the gates of Humakt’s Temple again, Yelm is starting to fall. She has jogged most of the way, so she is warm despite the chill in the air.
“I wish to speak to the Iron Lord,” she tells the initiate at the gate.
She is well enough known that she is let in, and told not to go into the main building without an initiate. The Temple seems pretty quiet, and the courtyard only has a few die-hards in it.
She makes directly for the Bothy.
There is smoke drifting out from the top. The hides are all down, though, with no obvious chinks.
Varanis stares at it, obviously knowing better than to just walk in, but at a loss for how else to access it. Finally, she tries a Berra method and claps loudly outside the hide she’s used to enter in the past.
Enough time passes for someone to react, and then the blacksmith’s voice says, “Come within.”
Varanis raises the hide and ducks in, stopping inside the entrance to allow her eyes time as the hide drops closed again behind her. She waits.
The darkness is hot and smells of oil and burning sea-coal. In the brief moment of daylight it looked like there were moving snakes within the smoke.
“Mng,” the blacksmith says in greeting.
“Holy One,” Varanis replies with significantly more respect than she ever seems to show Eril. “I need help fixing her. She’s become like a rock on a farmer’s field. Immovable unless someone else pushes her and then she only rolls once before becoming stuck again.”
“Ehhh. She has no Movement,” he agrees. His voice is a rasp in the darkness.
“How do we restore that to her, Iron Lord? It’s impossible that she should stay as she is. She might as well be dead!” Varanis echoes the same sentiments she expressed earlier in the day to Lord Raven. Even the undead are more animated than Berra is.
He sighs. “Bargain for it with the spirit, or give a sacrifice that releases it.” That seems to him to be entirely a normal thing to know.
“Releases the spirit or just her Movement?” Varanis checks, trying to make sure she understands.
“The part that it holds, that you want. It can be commanded, also.” The Iron Lord’s voice is growing fainter, and there are chirping cricket sounds in Varanis’ ears.
Varanis shakes her head, trying to clear it of whatever encroaches. “Please… don’t do what the White Ladies did and put me to sleep or something. I need to do something, Anything. I can’t … If you’re sending me somewhere to do what is needed, then I will do it…” She’s flailing about with words, trying to resist whatever is happening until she gets some clarity.
“Go outside, take Air. Come back.” The man falls silent.
The chirping in her ears clears then1001 on a CONx5, and suddenly she can see. Dozens of shapes writhe in front of her, and the blacksmith is there, tattooless, but covered in tiny spirits that sit over him like armour. His eyes are open, and glowing brightly. He speaks, and his voice is far away. “There. You have come back.”
She nods, eyes wide as she takes in this new vision of him. “Yes. Pardon me for my lapse, Most Holy,” she says when she finds her voice again, falling back on the safety of courtesy.
“Eh.” Even in this view of him, he has a certain way of talking. “The spirit is young and made of Darkness and Fire. It seeks power and has aspiration. It wants worshippers.”
“So, more worshippers might make it happy and it might be persuaded to give Berra back her Movement? She won’t be able to win him worshippers if she is catatonic. Perhaps I can help him see that.”
“If he has the knowledge. Do not give him anything for nothing.” The blacksmith’s hand moves, tracing an arc of light, to take up a blurred, glowing position on which Varanis cannot even focus. His expression stays calm and distant.
“As always, I will do my best,” Varanis promises. “It is all I have to offer.”
He nods, and sparks fly in his hair. “Bargain well,” he advises.
“Because I’m so good at that,” Varanis murmurs, but then shakes her head again, this time attempting to shake off her own dark thoughts. “I have to be, so I will be. No other choice. Thank you for your time, Holy One.”
His farewell is a breathy sound.
She bows low and then escapes into the Air.
Outside, for a moment there is nothingness. Then the world snaps back.
There’s much to think on, but before she can do that, she has to burn off some of the emotions and energy that have been threatening to overwhelm. She goes looking for some training and perhaps some vigourous sparring.
(First round. She fails, he passes. To be expected. She’s fine with it. But, she throws herself into the next one harder. Inspired by all the Movement that’s been driving her mad with frustration. Third and final pass. Right to the guts, and a really spectacular bruise, but nothing that actually needs attention.
So, she gets what she wanted from her visit. Some helpful information and a chance to work off some of her frustration. As she picks herself up off the ground, she offers the warrior her first real smile of the day. “Thank you for the sparring. It was exactly what I needed.” And she makes a donation to the temple for her training and heads back to the house.)
- 1001 on a CONx5