VS 111 Racing up the Rigging

Varanis — 1626 0773 Rigging Race

????, Earth Season, Harmony Week


Context

Earth Season, Harmony Week, Wildday [[[s02:session-4|Session 4]]]

Events

On board the ship to Nochet, after the fireworks. Varanis sits near the prow of the boat, staring across the water. She has a smile on her face as the sea breeze teases her hair out of the once tidy plait.

Berra drops down beside Varanis. “Wind Lord, or something,” she says. It’s a gloat on behalf of the Vingan.

This earns a grin. “Or something, anyway,” she acknowledges. “I admit, it was rather satisfying.”

“It was amazing. Fantastic!” Berra sits where she too can see over the water. “KERCHRUNCHPOWBANG on fire!” Her hands make excited motions.

Varanis laughs. “I think poor Rajar was disappointed though. He seemed to have been looking forward to having someone to hit.”

“I think so. Although he’ll be able to worship at the Nochet Temple, so at least he’ll likely get a fight or two. I don’t know how they settle points of doctrine down there.” Berra shrugs off the ignorance.

Varanis gives Berra a broad smile. “I wasn’t completely sure I’d be able to do enough damage. Vinga was with me on that one.”

“It was well done, and a wooden boat, and they lost heart because you didn’t hold back.” She sighs. “I know everything is moving here, but I could do with a run.”

The Vingan raises an eyebrow. “Not a lot of room for running here. Though… you could race up and down the mast. Climbing rather than running, but at least it’s some exertion.”

“No. I’ll watch the sea, and meditate. Or try to.” Berra looks fidgety, but seems to be overcoming it.

Varanis looks at the mast in consideration. “I might climb it. I’m bored and it’s hard to settle. You know that feeling when you think you’re going to fight and then you don’t have to? I haven’t really shaken that yet.”

“Ah, yes. I know that one.” Berra looks like she might stand up. “Will climbing it get in the way of the sailors?”

“The wind is light and the sails are doing what they are meant to.” Varanis shrugs. “No one is up there now, so it should be ok. We can always ask.”

Berra shrugs, where she is. “Could do. It’s a bit like a tree, though. A long straight trunk. Once we get up there, what do we do?”

There is a neat tangle of ropes that look awfully complicated up there. Berra looks at them critically.

“We climb, we look around, and we try not to break anything.” Varanis shrugs. “I need a change of view, if nothing else. The coastline all looks the same here.”

“Fair enough.” Berra falls in with that plan, and even unbuckles some of her armour. She does not seem to have understood how badly falling in could go, if she is dressed in metal.

Varanis strips off her armour.

One of the sailors sees them and saunters over. A wiry man with skin baked by long hours on deck under Yelm’s gaze. He gives the women a ready smile. “And what are you two planning?” he asks curiously.

“Planning would be over-describing what we’re about to do,” Berra replies.

“Really now?” he asks.

Varanis pointedly looks up the mast. “We were thinking of seeking out a different view.”

Berra gives a wide, lazy, smile. To anyone who knows her it is a dangerous challenge. “Yep.”

This earns a bark of laughter from him, drawing the attention of some of the other sailors. “They plan to climb the rigging,” he explains to the onlookers with a broad grin. “You ever climbed a mast before?”

Someone in the background mutters just loudly enough to be heard, “She can climb my mast any day!”

Berra casually flicks a crude sign in the direction of the mutter.

This is met with laughter from the growing circle of sailors.

Berra’s reaction is difficult to read. She does turn to look at the sailors, though. 1And passes intimidation. Death stare.

Varanis just laughs. “I can climb anything,” she boasts.2Critical on Air.

The laughter dies under Berra’s glare.

“I’m not going to race you to the top,” Berra says once she has finished playing with her food. “Tall people have an unnatural advantage.”

“I’ll give you a head start,” Varanis offers.

“Fair enough. You start swimming?”

Berra rolls out her shoulders, flexing her hands. She considers the scale armour, and the tilt of the ship, and does not bother taking it off. She just walks up to the mast and tests her grip on it, two-handed, to try to work out if she can shimmy up it.

The sailor interrupts. “If you’re going to climb, just make sure you yell when you fall, so we can get out of the way. Landsmen make an awful mess when they splatter themselves on the deck.”

The grin he directs at Berra shows that he’s teasing.

Mostly.

Berra pauses in what she is doing. “I jumped from the wall of Nochet once. Broke an ankle on landing. Fought an hour later. Your point?” She has not looked around, which may or may not be good for the sailor in question.

He approaches, giving Berra her space, but putting himself on the other side of the mast, so he can see her face. “A mast isn’t the same as a wall. It’s going to be damp from the sea, and the wood gets slick. Use the ropes where you can. They are usually easier to grip. The water is calm enough now that you shouldn’t have too much rocking to deal with.” The smile is still in his eyes, but his instructions are sincere. Then he adds more loudly for the benefit of the onlookers, “And if you fall, aim for the water so we don’t have to scrub you off the decks.” He gives her a wink of encouragement.

Berra steps back from the mast and says to Varanis, “I’m ready. Give me my feet are at your head height?” She is ignoring the friendly sailor, or somehow failed to hear him.

3Vasos passed his own intimidate roll, miraculously, and therefore fails to be intimidated by Berra. A second roll for the rest of the crew using his stats shows that they are all quite nervous about her.

Varanis closes the distance. “Thanks for the tips,” she says. She puts herself between the sailor and the mast and gives Berra a nod. “To the top?”4Berra has some failures on Climb, and then finally a Critical, while Varanis starts off with a Critical.

“Yep.” Berra wraps her hands onto the mast, and finds a few places she can grip, and does not bother with the ropes for the time being.

Varanis grins at Berra, her grey eyes alight with anticipation. In the background, there’s the quiet murmuring of bets being taken.

Berra pauses with her feet about a foot off the ground, and leans over to tell the friendly sailor, “Bet on her, not me.” She then starts creeping up. Of all the stupid things to do, she is using her own brute strength to climb the main mast, ignoring all advice, while in metal armour.

Varanis cockily waits, allowing Berra to reach a point above the Vingan’s head. Then she leaps up to grasp the mast in a place above Berra’s feet. She wraps her hands and legs around the mast. From the sureness of her hold, climbing isn’t going to be an issue. The tricky part will be passing the Humakti without either of them falling.563/64 for jump and 4/73 for climb

Berra keeps going at a slow, sure pace. From time to time a rope on the mast allows her to rest her feet and look up, which is good, as she has managed to start under where a long twisted rope attaches mast to prow, and she will have to duck down and around it.

Varanis scrambles past Berra while they are both low on the mast. From there, she makes her way steadily upwards.

Berra goes at her slow, fumbling pace, but she goes. Her forearm muscles, worthy of sailors, do much of the work. Only someone as strong as she is could pull this off, for she is determinedly doing it her way, and painfully managing it, too. The painted wood of the mast has enough texture that she can hold with her fingertips. “You need a new sandal thong,” she says to Varanis, when the Vingan’s foot is at eye level.

“What?”

From below, the number of sailors watching seems to have increased.

“I said you need a new sandal thong.” Berra peers at it. “It’s fraying.”

Varanis twists, trying to look at her foot, but given how her legs are hooked around the mast, this is difficult.

Berra continues her slow crawl upward, but hooks a finger in under the top of the sandal she can see. “I am so tempted to break that and make you deal with it,” she says. “But that would be wrong. Funny, though.” Yet Varanis stopped, and she did not.

Varanis makes a face. “You wouldn’t be trying to trick me, would you?” She laughs and continues her climb, but the Humakti is much closer. The two women need to make sure they don’t knock each other from the mast at this point.

Below, the sailors are yelling various things at them. Encouragement, suggestions, and so forth. There’s a loud bellow – the captain has come to find out what is distracting his crew and while Varanis and Berra can’t see his expression, his voice doesn’t sound very pleased.

Berra’s plan is simple – grip, move. She keeps her weight outwards, bracing against the mast, giving Varanis plenty of room. “No, it does need replacing. I was just pointing that out at a time I wanted to.” She chuckles, a happy sound. Grip. Move.

The breeze is a little stronger at this height, playing with tendrils of red hair. Varanis shakes her head in an effort to clear the hair from her face and continues her climb. Her laughter rings out as the top of the mast grows closer.

Berra is falling behind, but then there is that tangle of ropes up at the top, and then she rolls her shoulders, with a shrug that takes her out into the air for a moment, letting her reposition her feet, and grab on to the mast, and then, finally, a rope. Braced, elegant, brutally strong for her size, she turns herself in mid air and kicks a foot up and out, toes striking at the top of the mast just as Varanis gets a hand there.

Varanis laughs in delight. The sailors below seem uncertain about this development, both because they aren’t sure who won and because their captain looks decidedly unimpressed with them. By the time Varanis and Berra make their way back to the deck, only the captain is waiting, though the sailor who first approached them isn’t far and gives them both a wink.

“I don’t care if you can blast lightning bolts at pirate ships,” the captain roars at Varanis. “You don’t interrupt my crew at work!”

Berra, having come down in a semi-controlled slide to make an shadowcat’s landing, grins at Varanis. “Want me to take this one?” she asks.

Varanis shakes her head as she lands lightly on the deck.

She turns to the man and gives him her most charming smile. “I apologise for the distraction, Captain. It was thoughtless. Berra and I aren’t used to the inactivity of being passengers. I do hope you’ll forgive us.” Her tone is light, sincere enough in the apology to show she means it, but she isn’t groveling.6A pass of Charm, inspired by Harmony.

He grunts in reply. “See that you don’t do it again.”

Berra says nothing, looking like she wants to say a lot.

Varanis waits until the captain has moved on before she allows herself to laugh openly. “That stunt you pulled at the top was incredible, Berra!”

Berra grins, hugely. “I was trying so hard not to use a rope,” she says. “But then I saw the gap and I just had to.” Merriment dances on her.

With a quick glance in the direction of the captain, the sailor stops nearby. “That was some of the best climbing I’ve ever seen from landsmen,” he says with a broad smile. “I’m Vasos. I’d be happy to buy you both a drink when we get to Nochet.”7Berra passes Insight. Varanis fails. Insight: It’s an offer of a drink. There’s nothing sexual or predatory behind it. He’s just that impressed.

“Berra,” says Berra. “You might have worked that part out.” She gives him a small grin, fast enough that it would be lost if she had not timed it for when he was looking. “You were right about the wood.”

“I’ve been working on this ship since I was a lad,” he tells her. “I know it better than I know the house I was birthed in.” He looks to be about 25 or so. “I have work to do. But remember, in Nochet, find me at Murni’s Rest, by the Harbour Master’s Tower.”

“If I have time.” Berra nods. “You know how it goes.”

Varanis gives him a delighted smile. “We’ll do our best,” she offers.