VS 108 Sword Dancer Falls

Varanis — 1626 0771a Sword Dancer

????, Earth Season, Harmony Week


Context

Earth Season, Harmony Week, Waterday, late at night in Whitewall [[[s02:session-3|Session 3]]]

Follows [http://journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/varanis:1626-0770-sword-dancer Sword Dancer]

Yamia has appeared not far from the Temple of Humakt and seems likely to exhaust herself in an attempt to reach her god. Varanis decides she needs to get Mellia.

Events


It doesn’t take long for Varanis to locate her cousin. She peeks through the door to see that Mellia is sound asleep in Venlar’s arms. With a sigh of regret, she tiptoes in to poke her cousin awake. Mellia is used to waking quickly and quietly when poked, so she’s alert almost immediately.

Whispering quietly, Varanis explains that Yamia has escaped her caregivers and is currently practicing sword drills and trying to commune with Humakt. Varanis doesn’t believe that she will come to harm or hurt anyone else and plans to keep watch. But someone should alert the healers who were supposed to be caring for her before there’s a hue and cry.


Venlar wakes enough that he releases Mellia with an expression of mixed yearning, understanding, and bleary confusion. Venlar gets a kiss and a whispered explanation. Mellia gets dressed quickly and quietly and hurries off to the healers. As soon as things have been explained, Mellia will go looking for Varanis and Yamia, who are near to the Temple of Humakt.

Varanis is standing in the darkness, watching Yamia. The young Humakti is going through sword drills.

“She’s fine, Mellia,” Varanis promises. “At least as much as she can be right now. I promised she wouldn’t be disturbed and she promised to stay here until I say differently or the priests or healers come for her.” The Vingan studies the figure moving with deadly grace in the open space ahead of them. “She’s very, very good at that.”

Yamia is stabbing at the air with the expression of someone who would kill that, if only it would hold still for long enough.

Mellia watches Yamia for a bit. “She is very good. I hope and pray this is a good sign, rather than a sign Humakt has been severed from her.”

As a warrior, anyone who understands swords will know they are looking at someone who KNOWS swords. Yamia is better than most people will ever be, and certainly up there with how good Berra is. Maybe, she is faster and more efficient. Maybe. They have very different ways of doing the same thing.1Varanis passes broadsword, Mellia fails rapier.

To someone who knows how bodies are, and how they should move, Yamia has been practicing for some time now, and is showing no signs of exhaustion or even tiredness. This is… unusual. She looks as if she is angry or distressed under the surface, but that does not stop her precise, efficient movements. She is not breathing harder than she would be five minutes into drills. There is sweat soaking through the dress she is wearing, but she does not look tired. Just… determined.2Mellia passes first aid; Varanis fails it.

Mellia purses her lips and thinks about what could possibly be fueling Yamia at this hour.

Yamia gives no clue. She continues, unheeding of what is around her, with her practice.

“It’s as if Yamia is in a trance,” Mellia muses quietly. “I wish I could exercise like that and not get tired.”

Varanis murmurs, “She says that she can’t feel Humakt anymore. She’s trying to reach him through this.”

Mellia’s eyes go wide with horror. She murmurs back, “That explains things a bit. She may have found Him, but I am not sure.”

Varanis takes in Mellia’s expression and looks back at Yamia. “What’s wrong?” she asks. The Vingan doesn’t appear to see the young woman within the sword dancer right now.

A cut to the head, a momentary pause, and then a new drill begins. Yamia gives herself no time to rest, but she does not seem to be feeling any strain as she continues.

“I was just thinking of how it would feel to not be connected to the White Lady,” Mellia explains. “You were right, Varanis. She needs a priest, badly. Where could we find a temple of Humakt better than the one in Nochet?”

These all seem to be ritualised fights, extemporised on the spot.

“Nochet will be good. But I was hoping we might find her a priest when Yelm rises. If there’s a good one here. Someone to reassure her that Humakt will wait for her or something.” The Vingan watches more.

“We’ll want one new to here, then.” Mellia explains, “There weren’t many Humakti here last year, when Berra and I met Rajar and fought the vampires.”3Mellia passes INT x 4 roll. A memory: The Temple was burned by D’Val, setting a blade to it. All of the Temples here were burned. All have roofs now, indicating an effort at rebuilding. That would not have happened without Initiates or Swords. So there are at least some here.

“Now I remember,” Mellia says. “D’Val burned the Humakti Temple. It had been too defiled to use. So there should be a Sword of Humakt here.”

The roof of the temple is distinctly unburned. No arsonist Duck threatens it. Yamia continues her exercise, oblivious to the passing of time.

Mellia scrutinizes Yamia. Is she in danger of exhaustion yet? Should she rest now? She SHOULD be exhausted. She shows no signs of it. Mellia tells Varanis, “Yamia should probably stop now. I fear this will all catch up to her when she stops.”

Varanis shifts on her feet lightly. It might be a sign of impatience or she might be mentally trying to follow Yamia’s steps. She blinks, almost startled by Mellia’s words. “She looks fine,” she protests softly. “I promised her she could have this time.”

“Yamia should be dead on her feet at this point. She should stop, before whatever is making this possible is used up.”

The Humakti continues to move at the same deadly, brutal, pace. No motion is wasted, but it is still hard exercise. She shows no sign of letting up.

Varanis sighs, but accepts her cousin’s assessment. She waits for the sequence to come to a recognizable end and steps forward before the next one can begin. She calls out Yamia’s name using the same friendly tone she’d used earlier.

And… Yamia steps in for the next drill. Either she has not spotted Varanis, or she is paying no heed on purpose.

Varanis calls to her again, more loudly. “Yamia, you promised me you’d stay safe.”

Slice. Parry. Thrust. Pause. Side-step. Parry-Riposte.

Mellia watches, tense, ready to put Yamia to sleep.

Varanis takes a deep breath and steps a little closer. “You promised you’d stay safe, but your healer is worried about your safety now. By your honour, Humakti, you must listen to me.”

Mellia flexes her fingers and takes a step toward Yamia.

Yamia falters, and her sword comes up to a ready position, and her lips form the name of her God, despairingly.

Varanis keeps herself between Mellia and Yamia, light in her movements and ready to move quickly if she needs to. Her voice is firm, but she maintains outward calm. Her hand is near her hilt, but not on it. “Come Yamia. It’s time to rest a while. We’ll be leaving for Nochet soon and there you can meet with the priests of Humakt.”

Yamia sheathes her sword with a motion that is fluid enough it must count as a reflex, but even as she does so, she is sinking down to the ground, onto her knees. One arm supports her weight for a moment, trembling with the effort.

“I knew it,” mutters Mellia, who hurries to Yamia’s side. “Sleep and bathe, Yamia and we can see about seeing the Sword here if you like.”

Varanis moves more casually to Yamia, as though nothing is wrong. She offers her hand to the young woman exactly as she had earlier in the night. “Don’t fuss, Mellia. She’ll be fine with rest.”

Yamia carefully rolls over onto her right side, left hand keeping her scabbard from scraping the ground.4First Aid roll: She needs water, something to eat, and time. But she also needs to want it, and she shows no sign of interest in the outside world. She needs some internal wound healing, as much as she needs to recover. The Humakti is incapable of speech right now.

Varanis unhooks her water flask and unstoppers it.

Mellia softly says, “Drink, Yamia. Then we’ll carry you to bed.”

Varanis sinks down to the ground beside the dark-haired young woman. She holds the water flask out. “Can you take a sip yourself or do you need help?” The words are gentle and implacable. Water will be consumed.

Yamia gets her elbow under her body, levering herself into a position from which she can use her left hand to drink. It leaves her sword hilt where she could grab it. How she found the energy to do that at all is debatable. Her skin is pale and sweaty, and her pulse is racing, but she reaches out with a hand that hardly shakes at all.

It might well be that she has not noticed her own state, and so cannot be distressed by it. That would mean she does not realise how much she needs to lie down. Or it could be that she is a fit individual and will be fine.

“Yamia, you aren’t ready to walk yet, but you are going to need to move for a bit or your body will begin to hurt very badly. I’m going to help you rise and you can lean on me as much as you need to.” Varanis takes off her helmet, which has been pushed back on her head most of the night and hands it to Mellia. “Do you mind carrying this for me?”

“Not at all,” Mellia replies, “shall I get Venlar to help us?”

Yamia says, “I can walk,” in a voice thick with exhaustion. “Just give me a moment.” She drops the water bottle, although she manages to twist her hand so that it falls onto its base. Of course, it then falls over, which seems to hold her attention.

Varanis shakes her head at Mellia over Yamia. “We can manage.” She picks up the water flask and puts the cork in.

“Right, I will take her head,” Mellia says.

“I’m going to walk,” Yamia breaks in.

After replacing the flask on her hip, Varanis rises smoothly to her feet. “You’ll take my helmet, Mellia. Yamia will be fine. Trust me.” There’s an intensity in the look Varanis levels at Mellia.5Yamia passes insight roll on Varanis, while Mellia fails it. Insight: Varanis thinks she understands some of what Yamia is feeling. She’s determined to give the Humakti only what she needs and not let Mellia coddle her. For Varanis this would be about pride. Varanis offers her hand to Yamia again.

Yamia takes the offered hand, using her left to grasp it. She has to roll to her knees first, because she is making sure her sword will not be grounded. She does not have Berra’s smooth style.

Yamia’s dress is going to need repairing and cleaning, but then again, so is Yamia.

Varanis helps only as much as Yamia needs to rise to her feet. But the Vingan steps close, flashing Mellia a warning look. To Yamia, she asks, “Do you want your arm around me, my arm around you, or both?” There are no other alternatives being offered at this point.

Yamia says, “Neither. None.” Then she collapses forwards towards the Vingan.6Varanis passes a DEX x 5 roll, Mellia is further away and so rolls DEX x 3 and fails. Yamia has fainted.

Varanis mutters something softly and scoops Yamia up into her arms. “Right, where do you want her? Quickly, please.”

“Back in bed at my temple,” answers Mellia. She’ll sprint ahead to get help. If Mellia has her way, Yamia will be in bed, bundled against shock, within five minutes.

“Mellia! Don’t wake people! I can do this.” Varanis carries the unconscious woman without too much difficulty, murmuring softly to herself again after a couple of minutes.

“Someone is going to need to watch over her,” Mellia points out. “I think Venlar needs to take charge of Yamia’s sword for a bit. Yamia seems to have no interest in life, not that I blame her much.”

“She won’t use the sword to hurt herself and taking it from her is risky. Did you see how careful she was with it?” Varanis shakes her head. “Trust me on this Mellia. She’s already missing a piece of herself. Don’t take the sword too. She’s too brittle for that right now.”

“On your head be it,” Mellia says with a sigh, “but she’s going into shock in more ways than one.”

“I’ll guard her, if you want.” She murmurs the words to her spell again. “Point me to a bed for her, please.”

“Please do. I’m sure Venlar will take turns with you.” For a moment, Mellia looks like she wants to cry. Mellia points out the fastest route to Yamia’s bed.

Varanis follows the directions and gently lays the young Humakti on the bed. She removes Yamia’s shoes and hisses as she sees the blisters that have formed. “It might be wise to clean and change her while she’s out,” Varanis suggests, wincing in sympathy.

Mellia shakes her head. “Not just yet. Once her color and pulse are better, we can do that.” Mellia proceeds to bundle Yamia in blankets, dirt or no dirt.

Varanis leaves and returns with a bowl of fresh water and a rag. “Don’t ask how I know how to do this,” she murmurs. Then she settles by Yamia’s head and proceeds to very carefully dribble small amounts of water between the young woman’s lips.

Mellia smiles for a moment, then sinks to her knees in an attitude of prayer.