Varanis — 1626 0816 Wallowing
????, Earth Season, Fertility Week
Earth Season, Fertility Week, Wildday, late afternoon/Godday, night [[[s02:session-9|Session 9]]]
Berra wants to make sure that Varanis understands how badly she messed up when she [http://journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/varanis:1626-0812-crossing attacked Xenofos].
After Varanis bathed, in her room, Berra was asleep by the bed, where she would not get in the way. However, as the Vingan prepared to go out to the latest function, the Humakti woke with a grunt of puzzlement, and then a faint groan of memory returning.1Passed Listen, so woke up.
Varanis is seated on a stool near to her table. Marta, standing behind her, is rather vigorously working a comb through a tangled mass of wet hair. The servant has a fierce scowl and though she’s not obviously trying to cause pain, she doesn’t appear to be particularly gentle either. She’s murmuring something quietly at the expressionless Vingan.
Berra makes a bit of a sound rolling over, and gives Varanis a half-vocalised sound of greeting. She seems tired, holding onto Wind Tooth by habit rather than choice.
Varanis acknowledges Berra quietly, but doesn’t move as Marta works her way through a particularly nasty knot. The servant falls silent.
Berra waits for a bit, watching Marta, and then comes to some sort of internal decision, and burrows back down under her sleeping hide.
When Marta has finally finished with her hair, Varanis tosses back a cup of the special tea that has now become part of her daily routines. It’s become tepid and the expression on her face suggests that it isn’t pleasant, but she does it anyway. The Vingan goes through her preparations without any discussion, allowing Marta to make all the decisions. By the time she’s ready to go, she’s had three cups of tea. She stops close to where Berra lies and says quietly, “I hope to be back around midnight or so. Sleep well.” The words are pitched such that if Berra is asleep, she won’t be woken.
There is a small growl from under the deerhide. It sounds like agreement, rather than threat. A shifting under there indicates she is settling down once more.
Varanis leaves without looking back.
It’s well after midnight when she returns. She tries to come in quietly. Marta isn’t there to greet her, but a small oil lamp has been left burning on the table. The Vingan makes her way to the table where a basin of lukewarm water and a soft cloth await. She seats herself and begins to scrub at her face.
Berra is sitting up and meditating, her swords crossed over her lap. At first, Varanis gets no attention, but around the time her face is clean, the Humakti says, “Oh, hello.” Her voice is a little resigned.
Varanis begins to remove her jewellery, slowly and methodically. In a quiet voice she says, “How do you want to do this? Shall we just skip to the part where you tell me I’m an idiot and I agree? I don’t think I have it in me to fight with you, but I’ll try if that’s what you want.”
“No, I want you to behave better.” Berra stretches. “I was going to try for ‘that behaviour was bad’ and not you being an idiot. But you can call yourself one if it makes it easier on you.”
Varanis flinches but doesn’t argue. Instead she rises, strips off her gown and drapes it over the chair. Wordlessly, she puts out the lamp and drops herself onto her bed.
“The question is… well, you know already what you did. Tell me.” No. Mercy.2Berra fails insight. Go figure.
“Why? We both know it.” The exhaustion is obvious, even to the most unobservant of listeners.
“Because you messed up twice, and I don’t know if you know that part. So I want to know you’re thinking about it.” Berra goes to sit on her mattress, not yet getting under her cover.
Varanis sits up in her bed. When she speaks, the exhaustion has been replaced by something that borders on fury. “Do you want me to lay my errors bare for you to poke and prod, Humakti? You wield Truth in the same way you wield Wind Tooth. Relentlessly unfeeling. Does it give you satisfaction to see me humiliate myself? Or are you going to take the role of my grandmothers and tell me that I disappoint you?”
“I try not to have feeling,” Berra says. “It’s hard. I have to remember … yes. I want you to lay your errors bare. Not for me, but for you. Then they’ll be out and you can fight them cleanly, because you’ll know what they… well, what I think they are.”
“Fine. And after you’ll let me sleep?”3 I tried a roll on insight, but failed. V is once again too caught up in herself to read anyone else. She doesn’t give Berra a chance to answer the question, but instead launches into a litany of what she sees as her wrongs. There are more things than Berra was likely aware of. “I read his private writings without permission because curiosity got the better of me. I let his words stew in my head until I reacted emotionally rather than rationally. I took my anger and confusion out on him violently and in the guise of play. I attacked him without warning with a naked blade and while he held the same. I didn’t stop when it was clear that he was upset with me and did not want to fight. I made excuses when the fight was over. Have I missed anything?” By the time she reaches the end, the fury has already faded and she just sounds exhausted again. There is a hint of tears in her voice, but she’s holding them back for the moment.
“Well, that was more than I expected,” Berra says after a few long moments. “But yes, you got the ones I was worried about. Especially the last. I don’t think you’ve missed anything. Maybe being out in the open air on your own. But now you have to work out how to be better, next time.” She lies down, half falling, half letting herself balance by extending a leg as a counter-balance. It is a typical motion from her, relying on strength and flexibility. “And you need to sleep, and maybe cry a bit.”
“What do you mean, being in the open air on my own? When did I do that?”
“You haven’t. You went straight from learning to doing a thing. So I know a reason why you’re hurting. But you shouldn’t have acted like that… only I only get to tell you that about things I saw. I can’t punish you or make you feel better about the rest.” Berra punches her feet up into the air, in turn.
“If you are done reminding me that I’m unworthy, I’d like to sleep now.” The words are thick with unshed tears.
“Goodnight.” Berra is smiling slightly as she pulls her hide over her. “Sleep well.”
Varanis lies down, with her back to Berra. Her tears fall silently and it’s a long time before she falls asleep.
In the morning, Berra is gone. Her bed is neatly pulled out to air it, and her weapons and armour are not there. She tends to spar that early.
Varanis considers her armour for a long time, as she works her way through two cups of the apothecary‘s brew.. It’s there, on its stand, the dust and grime of the previous day meticulously cleaned away by one of the servants.
The armour stays there. Unmoving. Not speaking. A weight on the world.
She takes a deep breath and then begins to don her armour, beginning with her arming tunic. As each piece is buckled into place, she becomes more and more resolute. By the time she is done, she is wearing bronze to protect her body and a polite smile to protect her emotions. She heads to the courtyard to practice.
- 1Passed Listen, so woke up.
- 2Berra fails insight. Go figure.
- 3I tried a roll on insight, but failed. V is once again too caught up in herself to read anyone else.