Varanis — 1626 0741 Facing Humakt
????, Fire Season, Season/Illusion Week
Fire Season/Illusion Week/Fire Day/Still in the morning. [[[s01:session-44|Session 44]]]
A while after Varanis and Berra have returned to the White Grape and have learned that Kallyr’s body was an illusion.
Continues in [http://journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/varanis:1626-0743-grapes Peel me a grape].
At the inn, Varanis wants a private conversation with Berra. The Vingan looks thoughtful. “Berra?”
Berra, who is checking her kit in the nearly empty common room – just Rondrik – says, “Mm?” Wind Tooth is already polished and sharpened, but all of her leather harness and her buckle stitching are getting examined.
Varanis slides into a seat. “Lord Eril isn’t well. If he can’t…” She inhales deeply, seeming to search for the right words, but finally blurts out, “if he can’t start the quest, will you?”
Berra looks surprised, and then after a few moments says, “Yes… but D’Val or the Iron Lord would do it better. They understand more.”
Rondrik has slipped away to count amphorae, which he is doing in a mumble designed to keep him deaf.
“Yes, but you’re my Humakt. You understand me more, and I trust you.” She tries to look unconcerned as she adds, “I don’t know them. And it is a rather intimate thing we are talking about and something I’ve spent most of my life trying to avoid.”
“Yes, but…” Berra sighs. “Humakt won’t be related to Orlanth at that point. And I don’t know that I know enough. I could ask for instruction, but there are deeper mysteries. If I do it, I have to start you on the journey. I can send you to Death easily, but I don’t know how to get you straight there. I’m not a Rune Lord.” She looks very sorry about that.
Varanis sighs. “Then, if it is permitted, will you at least be there? I can do this thing, and I will do it.” The words take on a note of commitment. She has made up her mind and isn’t wavering on that. “But I am also afraid. If you can be there, then it may be easier to put aside the cowardice. And… I don’t think this is a quest I should start in fear. It may ruin everything.”
“If you are afraid and do it, that is not cowardice. You learn that early enough on battlefields. If it’s permitted, I’ll be there. Worshippers will likely be needed anyhow, as well as those who already know the story. I think you should have Lord Eril, though. He would not have said it unless he meant it.”
The Vingan nods her acceptance. “My goddess will guide me.” She looks at the little Humakti. “The harvest should be coming in, in a few weeks. I don’t know if we will make it back to the Tula in time. I was thinking of sending a message to my tenants. Do want to add a message for your sister?” The change in subject is sudden, but Berra is used to it, given that she switches topics even more quickly than Varanis. Varanis usually makes it to the end of the sentence first.
“She is managing my lands for me,” says Berra in answer, and then adds, “But I should send a message. I’ll likely stay in Boldhome. The Temple here will need me.” So, a yes.
“Will there be someone in the Tula who can read it?”
“In the Tula, yes. Chief Dogva, probably. Someone in his family will be able to anyhow. Or they can send to Dangerford or the Malani. Saronil of the Green Fish almost certainly can, and a letter is an important thing, so they could meet and have a meal about it.” Berra looks down at the strap she was checking, and starts running her thumb along one side, checking nothing will come free of the stitching that attaches it to her belt.
“I’ll be asking Xenofos to write my letters for me. It takes me too long to do what it effortless for him. I’ll let him know that you have words of your own to send too.” Varanis is absently drawing spirals on the surface of the wooden table. “How well are you? If you get pulled into the quest, are you sound?”
Berra makes some face or another. “My hand? Not really, but after Godsday that will matter less, as I’ll have more of Humakt to fall back on. My mind? Not so bad. I’m sort of used to things happening fast. Change does not frighten me, and I think best in action.”
“Can the healers do anything more to help the hand?”
There’s a slow sigh. “I could get my entire body healed. That just forces it to be better. I don’t know what the situation is with an injury like this in a Quest. And I don’t know who I’d be playing. Ginna Jar, maybe? I don’t think she fights much. And if I’m Humakt in there, at the end, then broken is better. I can ask, though.” Berra shrugs. “If you meet Lord Eril down there, and he’s really sarcastic, try not to say hello from me.”
Varanis laughs. “He’s an interesting man. Terrifying, but admirable too.”
“In the Marsh,” Berra adds, “I used my left hand. I’m sure I remember having a shield sometimes, but I think that was only as a Questor and I can’t remember using it.” She takes a moment to think about Eril. “He’s a great man. I still don’t like him. I mean, really don’t. But there’s no denying he’s great, and he’s made the Temple so as well. It’s strange to see him…” She trails off.
“Do you need anything from me? I should talk to Xenofos today too. And Irillo – I should check in on him. I need air and activity. Does sword training count as rest, if it helps my mind? Because I could really do with some training time. I feel restless.” Her fingers are still tracing the spirals.
“It does count as rest, and we should do it. Although Lord Eril did not say to rest. He said pray to our gods, recover our strength, and follow the lead. It counts for that too.” She looks towards the door. “Sending someone to Lord Irillo is sensible. We should go see him.”
“Yes.” Varanis rises, determined to set out immediately. “We should leave word with Rondrik.”
“I have not finished checking my armour,” Berra says. “Do a sword drill first, in your mind. Get every limb and finger right.”
Varanis looks like she is about to argue, but stops herself. She sinks back onto the bench. With a few deep breaths, her eyes unfocus and she looks lost in her own head.
Berra checks her kit with the efficiency of a trained warrior with something to prove, and after a while says, “There is very little danger, but we should not act as if there is none. More, in fact, than there was a few hours ago. We know that the Lunars planned this. They may have plans for you also.”
Varanis turns her grey-blue eyes on Berra. “I can’t help but feel like we worry too much, but then the assassins that dogged my steps in my earlier years have been strangely absent since I came to Sartar. I’m not sure what to make of it.”
“Maybe they have been strangely absent for some time even before that – but they know you now. Politically, someone was trying to kill you. They fell from power. Now a lot of people get that chance.” Berra shrugs. “A few days of care are worthwhile.”
The Vingan just shrugs and goes back to running through sword drills in her head until Berra is willing to leave or speaks up again. And then she interrupts her own thoughts to say, “It was nice not to think about them for a while. To feel free, for just a bit.”
Berra gives a grin, and a tiny snort of amusement. “Good. Irillo first, then Lord Eril, for me?”
Rising, Varanis makes a noise of agreement.