The Problem with Berra

1628, Dark Season, Disorder Week, Clayday


Ore the cook and her husband Heleris the groom recently quit. Yehna is present and likes cooking. Session SA3.13.


Around noon on Clayday, Yehna sends Haran out with her husband and cousin, and goes into the kitchen to cook, asking Varanis, “Can you show me around in here?” She knows the kitchen well enough. This is not just about what is where.

Varanis shrugs and follows the Ernaldan to the kitchen. “Reasonably, I suppose. Ore changed a lot of things to her liking, so I sometimes have to hunt around a bit.”

Yehna spends a little time making a fire, and then ignites it with a word. She goes to the other side of the kitchen then, and says quietly, “Berra needs a Healer, and she is not asking for one.”

Varanis growls softly. “Stubborn little Humakti. I will find Maalira.” She looks ready to go searching right now.

“It’s not that.” Yehna looks more worried, not less. “I don’t think she realises she can.”

“What do you mean?” The look Varanis turns on Yehna is genuinely perplexed. “She knows she only has to ask and Maalira will be there for her. Or has she forgotten Maalira too?”

“I think she has forgotten how to want things,” Yehna says weakly. “Or how to ask. At the Temple, she could have been summoning servants and just … lay there. And now, she should … she could be asking for a Healer and that’s the sort of thing that the Temple should be sending her, and I think she either forgets to, or just does not think of it.” The young woman rushes on. “And you know how she always talks, when she starts getting an idea and it is not clear yet and she talks until it is all in her mind and can escape through her mouth? She’s not getting ideas. She’s not blabbering like she should.”

Varanis’ eyes grow increasingly troubled. “This is wrong. When I learn who…” She cuts herself off. “Alright, just how bad is she? Is she capable of walking and going outside and just disinterested? Or is she still too wounded for that?”

Yehna dashes away a tear and turns to get on with her work, which in this case is cutting up some fresh beef into little cubes, and putting them into a pot of flour. “I think she could walk, if she had to, but she does not want to. There were things in the swamp, she said? That weakened her?”

“Wraiths,” Varanis says with a shudder. “They were… monstrous.”

Yehna glances over her shoulder, pausing the knife. “I think that is part of the problem. She’s fighting that and a wound.” The Ernaldan gets back to her work, bronze snick-snacking on the work board.

“Why haven’t the healers healed her wound at least?”

“There was magic involved,” Yehna tells the chopping board, her voice under control. “And then she says she had to call on Humakt – or her Lord. Something like that. I’m not sure she understands. I wonder. Perhaps it was because she did that?”

“I am going to talk to Eril,” Varanis replies, determination and frustrated anger obvious in the way she enunciates each word. Clipped and precise.

Yehna takes a deep breath. “It might be a Runic im…balance?” She sniffs, and puts the knife down as her shoulders start shaking.

Catching a glimpse of Yehna’s face just as she turned to leave, Varanis stops. She looks again, then she opens her arms in silent invitation.

Yehna hurries into the hug. “I’m sorry. I should be more sensible than this…”

Varanis wraps her arms tightly around Berra’s little sister. “You don’t have to be sensible with me,” she murmurs. “I’m rarely sensible, so I never judge my loved ones about it. You are allowed to feel all the things you are feeling and you don’t have to be strong on your own.”

Yehna cries for a minute or two, and then lets out all her air and breathes in slowly. “I was going to make a stew for the evening,” she says. “Berra does not eat eggs or birds any more, as well as vegetables.”

“And with Ore leaving so abruptly, you’ll need to do it on your own. I’m sorry. I can try to find someone…” Varanis, who has never made a stew in her life, seems to think it’s a difficult endeavour.

“I don’t mind cooking – I need to find time to shop, though. You go, if you want? I … but if it needs money, I can pay for anything Berra needs.” Yehna turns to Varanis in appeal.

“I… if that’s what you wish,” Varanis says. “But, I need to go yell at Eril for a bit first.”

Yehna looks alarmed. “Please don’t! He’s a High Sword!”

“And a Hero too,” Varanis agrees. “Doesn’t mean I can’t yell at him when he deserves it.” She’s got the angry glitter and mulish expression familiar to those who know her well.

Yehna pales rather. “Don’t die,” she says, and turns back to the table to get on with dinner.