VS 119 Stopping in for a Spell

Varanis — 1626 0787 Stopping4spell

????, Earth Season, Death Week


Context

Earth Season, Death Week, Clayday, morning [[[s02:session-6|Session 6]]]
Temple of Humakt, Nochet

Follows immediately after [http:journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/berra:people-are-just-too-much People are Just Too Much]
Followed by [http:
journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/berra:marrows-and-honour Marrows and Honour]

Events

The Temple gets closer, and Berra pauses just before the killing ground, and checks nobody currently fancies killing anyone nearby. As she steps forward she says, “About the dress…”

Varanis raises an eyebrow. “Yes?”

“Please don’t?” Berra gives Varanis a look that is more a suggestion than an order.

“It’s not me. I’m only helping. But, why not?” The look Varanis gives Berra is genuinely confused.

“It’s a thing of the world. It would tie me to the world. What people think of as finer things.” There is a brief pause as Berra looks for a way to put her thinking, and then she suggests, “Imagine thinking about clothing instead of thinking about meditation?”

“Your armour isn’t a thing of this world?” Varanis counters.

“It is, in the same way my body is, but one day I’ll leave both behind,” Berra says cheerfully. “But a dress is just decoration. It’s not protection. And having Karne call it a different sort of armour doesn’t make it so. She said that. She is a lot wrong.”

“I disagree. As someone who has moved within the circles of Nochet’s upper echelons, I can tell you that clothing is definitely a different kind of armour.” Varanis’ tone is cool, distant.

“Mhm. And you’re an Orlanthi. I’m Humakti. Your words are weapons if you want to think of things in that way. A dinner is a battleground. But you were taught presentation and orart… oratory. I learned how to fight. For you, clothes are important. For me they would be a way of tying me to enjoying the world, and I should be apart from it.”

“They also provide you with access to spaces where you may not otherwise have entry. Places where I cannot obviously be seen to have a body guard, but might need one.” Varanis shrugs. “But I am not the gift-giver. Only the facilitator. A fact that the one who wishes to give you this gift made sure to remind me of.”

“Then I’ll go in clothes I buy, or clothes I asked for. I’ve got clothes. I packed them, even. But if you need a bodyguard and … well, I don’t know. Take Yamia or something. She looks amazing in dresses. Or don’t take me there in a dress that costs as much as armour does. If it’s for me to like, then it’s wrong. If it’s for me to use, then it’s fine. But it shouldn’t be anything that isn’t… damnit. Word. Utilitarium?”

“Utilitarian,” Varanis corrects absently. “That’s part of what I discussed with Karne. Ways to make sure that it would be functional for you, instead of constricting.” She shrugs. “But it’s no longer in my hands.”

“No. Look, can you ask whoever was going to give it to me not to? I’ll only sacrifice it, and I wouldn’t want them to be paying for what I put on the altar, when I can.”

“I already told him that. But he has made up his mind.”

Berra shrugs. “Nice of him.” She looks around. “Hrrr…. Second, or Seventh? Are either of those auspicious numbers to you?”

“Two is a good number,” Varanis says without hesitation.

“Left here, then. We’ll have to see who’s about.” Berra indicates a wide doorway with a number over it. ‘2’, in dog-scratchings. “I think that’s the number, but it’s definitely the doorway.”

Varanis follows the directions, her stride full of calm assurance. The sounds of a chant drifts from the building next to where they have entered. There are odd cadences and pauses, and occasionally the sound of stamping feet. The worship of Humakti sounds a lot like battle. And, if she is right, the dancers are advancing.1Varanis passes Listen and INT x 3

She casts a quick glance at Berra, to ensure that there’s no cause for alarm.

Berra is walking through the corridors. “Not that one. They sleep there… Here.” She claps outside the door, grimaces, and knocks. “Enter, Sartarite,” comes a woman’s voice.

Berra rolls her eyes at Varanis. “Can I bring someone who is not a Sartarite?” she asks quietly, then she opens the door.

Varanis waits for confirmation that she is allowed entry. After all, a question has been asked and no reply given.

Berra, inside, says, “I have a person to introduce, Sword of Humakt. May I?” and a moment later says, “Varanis?”

Varanis enters the room at Berra’s call and gives a respectful greeting to the Sword.

The Sword of Humakt is just rising from a meditational pose. She wears a jacket of quilted leather into which her God’s Runes have been stitched in black thread, and the rest of her clothes are black too. “Mm?” she asks.

“This is Varanis of the House of Saiciae,” says Berra, “And a Colymar Thane and Lightbringer. I stand for her honour as for mine.”

The woman looks at Varanis, clearly deciding between being impressed or not.

Varanis attempts to stifle her wince at Berra’s listing of her titles, but someone observant might have picked up on it.2Failed air rune

“And you don’t much like it,” the Sword remarks, in a voice a lot like a bark. “Well, let’s hear you, Vinga.”

“Sword, I would like to learn the Fire Sword spell. This magic is not available in my Temple, but our Knowledge Keeper suggested that I approach Humakt to make the request.” Her tone is polite and confident. Her posture is that of a woman who knows what she is doing. “Is this something I can learn here?” 3Rolled air again, with a penalty, but this time got 10. Whatever made her flinch before has been pushed to one side.

“Rrrm.” The sound is enough to make Berra pay attention, and the Sword gestures her out of the room. With a bow, Berra goes. The woman stares at Varanis as the door closes. “Yes,” she says. “Nice day for it.”

“That was also mentioned by the Knowledge Keeper, Sword.”

“Looked at the weather, did she?” The Sword shrugs, and walks over to Varanis. “So. Orlanth comes to ask a favour from Humakt does he? Wants a sword?”

Varanis breathes deeply and slowly, catching the scent of leather amongst the various smells typical of places such as this. “Yes, Sword.” Calm grey eyes study the other woman’s face. The storm that so often roils within is held in check. She had made her request, but is not a supplicant.

“And are you worthy of it?” There is a scrape as she folds her arms, embroidery scratching on leather. The Sword of Humakt is somewhere around middle height, built broad and square, with dark hair in which there is no wave. Her eyes, like Berra’s sometimes are, are black in pupil and iris.

“I strive to be worthy of my goddess, my people, and my responsibilities. I cannot say that I am always worthy. I am human. But every day I try to be better than the day before.” Truth rings through her words like the clash of iron meeting iron.4Passed roll on Truth

“Well, not how the challenge should go, but it’s better than ‘yes and my carls will prove it on your body’.” The Sword keeps on glaring. “But then, I sent her away. So you’ve come asking politely. Fair enough. Take it and use it.” Then there is an effort at a smile. “It will cost you what it would cost any Initiate. This is a mystery that Humakt gives to Orlanth, after all.”5Passed INT x 5 – In the myth, Orlanth tries to take the sword by violence, and fails, but when he proves he is worthy by offering Humakt respect and honour and a high place in the Storm Tribe, Humakt gives it to him. There’s a lot of killing and arguing and laying to rest of undead before that happens.

Varanis nods. “I am prepared to pay the price. What do you require of me?”

“When are you free for a week?” The woman stands facing Varanis, hardly less challenging even now the moment of testing is over.