Varanis — 1626 0923a Mendingwounds
????, Dark Season, Death Week
Early Dark Season to Dark Season, Death Week, Wildday Eve. [[[s02:session-21|Session 21]]]
Berra gets her bison alongside the riding zebra – eventually. By running in the snow for a bit and then climbing on when Followed has started to walk in the right path. “Hello!”
She’s short. She pulls herself up to the top of the bison in stages, so at first it is just her upper body.
Varanis glances up at Berra and gives her a nod of acknowledgement.
“Thank you. And sorry. I didn’t really realise that was going to happen.” Berra leans over, gets mostly onto her saddle, and manages to straighten up.
Wrapped in her cloak, the Vingan looks miserable. There’s snow settling on her hair and on the wool she’s pulled as tightly around her as can.
“I… it took me by surprise.” Berra reaches forward, to pull her waterskin from a little compartment under the saddle, where it is kept warmer than freezing by the bison’s warmth. She offers it over before she drinks herself.
For a moment, it looks like Varanis will refuse the water, then she reaches up with reddened fingers to accept it and takes a small drink before she hands it back.
“You need some mitts to go around your hands,” Berra says. “This could well get colder.” She takes a bigger drink herself, and then closes the skin very carefully before she puts it back into place. There is a small flap of hide in the front of the saddle to make the compartment accessable. “And something like this might happen again, although I … I think we’ve done all the things that are important, but the sword doesn’t know that, and didn’t do all of them.”1Berra passes Insight (Human). Varanis fails hers.
Varanis looks up at Berra silently for a moment. In that moment, the hurt and fear of the last couple of days becomes obvious. And then it’s like a curtain falls and the Vingan’s expression goes neutral. “We had lessons to learn,” she says at last with a shrug of her shoulders beneath the cloak.2Varanis does this to herself: ‘Also…. I was just thinking…. I hadn’t actually gotten around to healing my own wounds. And so I thought, let’s try an INT*5 to see when she took care of that. And I rolled a 99. Stupid Vingan is likely still bleeding.’
“I know. I… I think it’s been taught now. I hope. It’s ready to be a sword. But it’s still much more like the true Death than any other I’ve ever held, even now. It might keep pulling. I don’t … I know this might sound strange but I don’t know it was you who made the decision, even on your holy day. I think it was made for you.” Berra looks wide-eyed.
Varanis listens to Berra and then nods. “I went to pray to Vinga. I didn’t even have a chance to ask her my questions. I was swept into things so quickly and I lost who I was until nearly dawn.”
Something in her has eased a little. Her shoulders relax and some of the tension seems to melt away.
“I felt it. The betrayal – I knew it wasn’t a thing you would do. But it wasn’t really me feeling it. And then I had to live with it. To get it back. But I did get to wrestle someone twice my size which was actually sort of fun. Took a while, though.” Berra half-laughs, although the sound is holding back a lot of emotions.
“I tried to talk to the shaman. I was kicked, pissed on, had chewed up herbs dumped in my hair, cooked, and doused in water, before being dragged naked into the snow.” Varanis sounds like she’s torn between laughter and outrage, but mostly she just sounds tired.
“Wow. I… didn’t get that. I mean, I didn’t talk to him. But I maybe shouldn’t. That makes me want to punch him a bit.” Berra sounds tired too, but like she wants to get angry only everything is far away.
“Don’t punch him. He… helped… in his way.”
Berra shrugs in her hide cloak. “It would not be hospitable,” she says. “So I won’t. But I can want to.” She fails to steer her bison closer to the zebra. “Followed knows which way we’re going. Back to sleep. It’ll be good to do that with other people.”
“Sleep,” Varanis agrees, yawning. “I’m very tired.” She looks more pale than usual, with dark circles under her eyes. She’s shivering slightly.
“Yeah…” Berra looks Varanis over carefully. “You’re cold. Do you need help?” She even hops off her bison to get a bit closer. Followed walks on as if the lack of weight means nothing. “Because you were Orlanth, maybe, and now you’re not?”3Berra failed on First Aid, but passed the Loyalty (Clan) that makes her do stupid things. And she wants to be nice to Varanis. She’s short. The snow is knee height. She seems fine with that.
“I’m fine.” Varanis doesn’t meet Berra’s eyes. “Just tired. I’m not used to the cold.”
Berra’s eyes narrow. “You say that a lot. Usually when you don’t want to bother people.”
Varanis shrugs and then winces. “I was too busy with other things. I forgot to deal with my injuries. And now I’m cold and can’t seem to concentrate enough for it.” This time she’s honest.
Berra sighs, and looks Varanis over more closely. “Need help?” she asks. “Which is worst?”
Varanis looks like she might argue, but the will seems to drain from her suddenly. “My arm,” she admits softly.
Varanis’ general state: Damp clothing under metal armour, bleeding from multiple wounds, two nights without sleep and visions instead…
Berra runs ahead through the snow for far enough to get in front of the zebra. Her short legs have to lift high, but she wastes little energy. Then she lets the mount catch up, and walks on the other side for a moment, hand up as she concentrates. “I can’t do much,” she says, “But enough to get you started.” She stumbles over the first attempt, but at the second the ache recedes a little. However, that means she had to touch Varanis. “You’re damned cold. I learned this on Kero Fin. You’ve sweated into those clothes, and got snow on them. Now it’s killing you. Armour off. Then into my hide and I’ll use another.”4In what may be a first, Berra passes Survival.
Varanis slides off the zebra, her knees almost buckling when feet hit the ground. She uses the mount to hold herself up and the animal cooperates. Perhaps it’s relieved to have the shivering pile of armour off its back.
Berra says, “Better idea. Your crystal. I can use it.” She puts her hand up to pause it by Varanis’ throat, not reaching over the distance before she gets permission.
Varanis fumbles for the chain at her neck with her left hand. The right arm is pulled tightly against her chest, vambrace against cuirass.
Berra helps with the chain, one hand already out of its mitten, and the other staying warm. Then she concentrates, and takes the magic into herself, and murmurs. The spell surges warmth and life into Varanis now, and Berra repeats it on her leg, taking it carefully and slowly when her spirit fails at first. The second time around, it gets better.
Varanis still shivers in the cold, but the pain vanishes from her eyes immediately. “Oh. I hadn’t realized how much it was hurting. Thank you.”
“Mhm. Now, armour off.” Berra checks the rest of the cavalcade, and signals a brief halt. “I don’t know why, but maybe because it’s an Air metal, it fights with the Darkness and makes you cold. Then a warm hide, and you should be fine. We’ll get you in a fur in the tents.”
Once the pain has eased, Varanis attempts to unbuckle the straps of her armour. Her fingers look uncooperative, but her expression is stubborn.5Fails at DEXx4 – her fingers are numb.
Berra does not bother with politeness. She just grabs and yanks. Quick. Strong. Not taking no for an answer because she does not ask the question.
Varanis growls at Berra. It’s a low, frustrated sound. But then she surrenders and allows the Humakti to work. When the armour is off, it becomes obvious that all of her clothing is wet. The combination of sweat, the dowsing she had earlier, and the snow has led to her being soaked through. Exposed to Valind’s mercies, she starts to shiver violently. “I don’t th-th-think this was a g-g-good idea.”
“No, really not. That off too.” Berra is pulling her own armour off now. “You’re getting into my padding. It’s warm. And then I’ll dress.” She takes off her body padding, under her hide. It includes a very warm fur left sleeve.
“W-w-what will y-y-ou w-w-wear?”
“I’ve got my bison. Everything’s on it. You’re already cold. We don’t want to stop to make a fire, so we keep you warm in dry clothes.” Berra explains it loudly, clearly, and as if the result is a foregone conclusion and she just needs to enlighten Varanis about why.
Varanis strips off the wet layers of wool and linen with shaking hands. She had put her armour on so quickly that she hadn’t bothered to change into her padding. It’s a fine, darkly dyed tunic, trimmed with strips of spider silk, covered in embroidered runes and a certain amount of blood that she drops into the snow. Given the tunic has to come up over her head, she doesn’t even bother with trying to shuck it under her cloak.
Berra hands over the padding – good quality linen, quilted together – and then the hide cloak. That leaves her in a warm under jacket that the snow starts to settle on instantly. “How wet are you below the waist?” she asks.
“Wet,” Varanis admits. “I had to crawl in the snow while still dressed. Then had to get dressed again while still wet from being dowsed.” She’d probably flush with embarrassment if she were less cold.
- 1Berra passes Insight (Human). Varanis fails hers.
- 2Varanis does this to herself: ‘Also…. I was just thinking…. I hadn’t actually gotten around to healing my own wounds. And so I thought, let’s try an INT*5 to see when she took care of that. And I rolled a 99. Stupid Vingan is likely still bleeding.’
- 3Berra failed on First Aid, but passed the Loyalty (Clan) that makes her do stupid things. And she wants to be nice to Varanis.
- 4In what may be a first, Berra passes Survival.
- 5Fails at DEXx4 – her fingers are numb.