VS 179 At the Docks

Varanis — 1626 0898 Docks

????, Earth Season


Context

End of Earth Season, as Nala, Berra, and Xenofos prepare to leave for Prax. [[[s02:session-18|Session 18]]]


Events

In spite of the rain, the docks are busy as ships prepare to sail. Varanis appears with a couple of Saiciae guards in tow. One of them carries her saddle bags, though there is no sign of either of her horses. The Vingan is wearing her armour, helmet pushed back on her head, revealing a broad smile and flushed cheeks. “Berra!”

There she is, not actually being rained on. Her bronze armour is away and she is in the old, familiar brown. Her shield is propped up on the bison and on a stick that has been pushed into one of the strap buckles, and in this tiny dry patch, Berra is sharpening her sword. She looks up, and grins, but her hands are full. “Varanis!”

Varanis stops and has a word with the guards. There’s a nod, and then they leave, taking her belongings with them. They don’t go far, taking up positions at the end of the dock, and looking stoic.

“I’m coming with you, as is Rajar. At least part of the way. I finally have a plan, but it does mean that I am not going to be able to continue the hunt for the missing slave. I’m sorry. I’ve [http://journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/varanis:1628-0896-favour asked someone to follow up on it for me], but I don’t know what he’ll find.”

Berra emerges into the rain as the guards are sent to a distance. Smiling widely at first, she loses the smile at the mention of the slave, and instead gives a tight nod. “Thank you. It’s good of you.” Her expression is pained for a moment, and while she hides it, it does not leave her.

Varanis flushes. “I’m sorry,” she says. “I know I said I would search.”1Failed insight.

“I’m leaving too,” Berra says. “So I can’t ask…” she trails off and shrugs. “Thank you for setting someone onto it. Is it someone who’ll cause trouble for the Hulta if they find him?”

Varanis considers. “Potentially,” she says at last. “If he thinks he will gain from it.”

Berra thinks about that. “You didn’t just describe Dormal, did you?”

Varanis nods.

“Uhuh.” It takes Berra a moment of frowning concentration to come up with her next words. “I don’t know how I feel about that. I mean, for me. I know it would be wrong to stop him just because of how he might do what I want, but I’m glad I didn’t ask him.” She looks down at her little shelter. “Do you want to sit and watch the rain?”

Varanis looks at the shelter dubiously. “Will it cover both of us?”

“Probably not?” Berra guesses. “But we never know until we try. Not going on your knee, though.”

The Vingan snorts. “I suppose it’s no less dignified that standing here getting wet. Fine.” She shifts her shield off her back and looks at it, then at the bison. “We could always try adding a second shield?”

“I was going to suggest that but then I wondered if it was undignified. We’re not leaving until tomorrow, I think. At least tomorrow.” Berra leans sideways to peer up at the bison hump. “You could maybe add a higher one. Shield ziggurat.”

“If we aren’t leaving until tomorrow, why are we sitting in the rain?”

“Because I was enjoying watching it. I’m sleeping in the inn anyhow, but you don’t have to get wet. There will be plenty of time.” Berra’s look is peaceful.

Varanis considers her options, then sets to rigging up a shelter with the shield. Before she settles under it, she signals one of the guards to approach and rattles off a set of instructions for him. Moments later, he leaves, taking her belongings with him, while the second man remains firmly planted. She shrugs and attempts to get comfortable.

Berra sighs, and leans back on the bison. “It’s great to have an animal between me and the wind. Not like join-the-cavalry great, but I like it. Followed is good.”

Varanis wrinkles her nose. “She smells. But, she’s warm anyway.”

“She does a bit. And you got a wet part. Here…” She grabs for her leather raincloak, fat-rubbed to keep out the rain she is avoiding. “Put that between you and her. She won’t mind.” And then she sighs, and it is a sound of, mostly, contentment.

“I spoke to Rajar and he’s coming too. Did I tell you that?” Varanis asks, as she twists about trying to fix the cloak into place.

“That was the first thing you said.” Berra gives Varanis a fond smile, either out of happiness or amusement at how the cloak is moving. “Wear the cloak?” she suggests after a moment. “Which I guess I could have said.”

Varanis laughs and settles the cloak over her shoulders. She tries to lean back against the bison, then sits back up again. It’s hard to lounge in a cuirass. “Where are you and Nala headed?”

“Prax. Then Pavis. That is, she needs to talk to the Zola Fel or the Priests of the river, and we don’t have any other plans except that. So get to Prax, go to Pavis, see what happens. We might get kept there by the weather, or we might get to go back to Sartar. I don’t know. What’s bringing you?”

“Argrath. Since Kallyr has no need of me, I thought I’d see if the White Bull did. I am tired of waiting for a chance to do something about the Lunars. I need to take action.”

“Aaah. Yes. I’ll … I could think about that. I want to go back to Kallyr of course. And Sartar. But he’s a smart King. I was into Pavis on the second day, although I didn’t see much action.”

“I’d go back to Kallyr if she’d have me, but I had the feeling I was inconvenient for her.” Varanis shrugs.

“That doesn’t mean she wouldn’t have you. What she wants and what she gets are different.” Berra stares out into the evening. “Nice sunset.” It is, for the record, still raining. The pink-grey slant of Yelm in the distance is literally washed out.

Varanis snorts. “I was sent away. I don’t know… I’d like to go back to Sartar. But…” She sighs. “Yes. Nice sunset.”

“We were advised to go away. That’s still different, no matter what.” Berra flops onto her side, getting rained on. “I wonder how the feather will do with this weather.” There it is, neatly sewn into her leather helmet.

“It’s a duck feather. I doubt water will be an issue for it.”

“Yes, but it’s not been attached to the Duck for a while. And it doesn’t seem to burn either, but I think I shouldn’t try on purpose.” She hauls herself back into a seated position. “Will Argrath remember you?”

“I doubt it. He has no reason to. He might remember Rajar though.

“Rajar’s big. Easily remembered. I never met Argrath but I was in the crowd that saw him be King. And I know Venna, his … Quartermaster and bad-tempered person who got me to do jobs for her and who does to much. But she might be dead. She’s a rhino berserker.” Berra shrugs to that. “But she knew the name of the man who gave me my sword.”

“I’m fairly certain I saw the rhino berserker when I was there, but I had no call to interact with her. She seemed to have solid control of things.” There’s respect in the Vingan’s voice.

“She’s how I met Mellia, although she didn’t mean to. She sent me to where I met her.” Berra takes off her helmet to smooth the feather. “Yeah. It’s weirdly dry.”

“Sheds the water?”

“Maybe? But you know how feathers get after a while…” Berra looks unsure. “I should ask. I know why it went black, but I don’t know why it doesn’t want to… oh, maybe it doesn’t want to change because it’s part of the god, and he’s eternal. That would make sense.”

“Why did it go black?”

“It’s Humakt’s hair. Do you know the story of how his hair turned black?”

Varanis thinks. “I’m sure my tutors told me once. But, I don’t remember.”

“I can tell you if you like,” Berra offers. “But once it’s dark, I should go.”

“Tell me when we are on the ship. We’ll have a lot of time to pass then. For now, I have some things I should take care of.” The Vingan clambers to her feet, shrugging off the cloak and folding it for Berra.

Berra grins. “Thanks.” she says of the cloak. “Have a good evening.” Under the surface, she seems to be in a good mood, and the smile is wide enough to make dimples appear.