1627, Earth Season, Stasis Week, Clayday
Looting is still taking place in the town. Banner of Harvar flies defiantly over the battlements of Princes’ fort looking at Vinga in Splendor high on the roof of gate tower.
Berra has taken some of the troops into the town, yet some remain both in the gate tower and at the gate.
Varanis finally comes down from the wall, trailed by a pair of grim-looking Babeester Gori. She appears whole, though there is much blood on her. She looks around, as if she’s trying to count heads, but it’s a futile effort as many of the warriors are elsewhere in Alda Chur already.
There is wailing of the wounded who have mainly been dragged to relative safety on other side of the tower. Varanis is inexorably drawn towards them.
The eyes light. There is a crying out of Varanis and Kallyr’s names, cut short by coughing. And there in the line lies Sorala, her head resting in lap of a comrade who brushes her red hair.
Varanis goes to them, not quite pushing someone out of her way in the process. She drops to her knees beside the pair. “Sorala!”
“She was there when those riders came. She saw there was a gap in our shieldwall when Rajar and Nala had ridden in and stepped in…” From under too big helm Lenta’s eyes are not clearly visible but her tears flow freely.
Varanis darts a glance at Lenta, shocked recognition, but whatever she might say in response to the Ernaldan’s presence is quelled in favour of a quiet question. “Have the healers seen her?”
“They said there was nothing they could do anymore. That shard of lance stuck in her chest and she was left under a dead horse for too long…”
Varanis nods, then turns her entire attention on Sorala. “Brave one,” she says, taking the other woman’s hand in her own. “You have served me so well. I am proud to call you my friend and companion. I promise that your name shall be sung in such ringing tones that you will hear it in Vinga’s hall.”
Lenta sobs quietly. Those of nearby wounded who can rattle their weapons to their shields to carry Varanis’ words further.
Varanis gently places the dead woman’s hand on her belly, below the wound. “We’ll see to her funeral tonight, Lenta. And you? Are you uninjured?” There is a wealth of emotion just under the surface.
“I was way in the back. Never even in range of anyone’s spear.” She shakes her head and swallows. “I am quite unhurt.”
There’s a nod, then Varanis leans in to place a kiss on her cheek, before rising noisily, armour creaking and clanking. “I am glad of it.” She turns away without giving Lenta time to respond and begins to check on the other injured warriors near her.
Lenta touches her cheek but does not say anything.
Varanis speaks with several of the wounded warriors, praising their bravery and offering words of encouragement. But when she comes across the corpse of one of the Esrolian infantry, one wounded beyond recognition, she chokes. She turns to the Babeester Gori with her. “I need… a walk. I’ll come back, but I need a few minutes.” They don’t say anything, simply falling into step behind her.
The names of the fallen from the Esrolian Free Company are recorded for posterity: Esrolian Free Company