VS 198 Talk of Tattoos and Politics

Varanis — 1626 0926 Talktattoos

????, Dark Season


Mid Dark Season. [[[s02:session-21|Session 21]]]


Having eventually extricated herself from her enamoured part-time bedmate, Varanis makes her way back to the yurt. Yelm hasn’t set yet.

Berra is curled up in a little ball next to the cold fire. The room itself is warm, the hide walls lined with felt, and the teeny, tiny Humakti looks comfortable as she cuddles her swords, head pillowed on a pannier. She has moved sleeping position again.

The Vinga tries to be as quiet as she can, so she doesn’t disturb Berra. She is gathering a few warm items.

Berra wakes without alarm, and looks at Varanis, and asks, “Still Clayday?” in a voice clear of tiredness.


“Damn.” Berra shrugs, though, and sits up. “And I didn’t sleep for a week?” She is wearing a shirt that Varanis has never seen on her before, pale linen with orange movement runes on the cuffs of the short sleeves, and a knotted ball to close it at the neck. She rubs with her fingertips where it has reddened her skin.

“Sadly, not. We’re also still welcome amongst the bison clan, so I haven’t gotten us kicked out yet.”

“Neither have I, to be fair.” Berra kneels, buckling on her swords. “Do you think I should get a Hell tattoo?”

The Vingan’s hand goes unconsciously to her throat. “Maybe? It’s up to you.”

“I don’t know if I should mark it.” Berra shrugs off that problem. “Do we go to Sartar after we go back to Pavis, do you think?”

“I intend to. I’m done with waiting out Leika’s anger. There’s work to do.” Varanis pulls up the sleeve to expose the almost always covered Lightbringer tattoo. “I dreamt it, so I had it done in Nochet.” The blue lines of the rune show on the inside of her wrist.

Berra nods. “I didn’t dream mine. A difference, maybe. But I want to mark what I did.” She scoots closer to examine the tattoo. “I’ve seen this, but never close.”

Varanis exposes the other wrist, to show the Sartar tattoo inked there. “I keep them covered. They are for me, reminding me of my obligations. They aren’t there for anyone else.”

Berra nods. After a moment politeness catches up, and she says, “Thank you for showing them to me, then. I’m grateful for it.” She runs a thumb along her own wrist.

“There’s probably a good tattooist here,” Varanis suggests. “The runes I’ve seen people wearing are meticulously done.”

Berra sighs. “I’m… it would be for me, but I don’t know if I’d want it where I can see it. Is that strange?”

Varanis shrugs. “Runes are such intimate things. I would never judge anyone’s choices about them.”

Berra nods. “I’ve been missing Sartar, which can mean I’m missing moving and seeing things, but I want to go back too. I don’t reckon I’ll get there for Death week, but by Sacred Time, I want to. I’d like to.”

“Where to? Blue Tree or Boldhome?”

“Boldhome. I want to get the sword back there. I’m…” Berra looks wryly down at it. “I’ve never been nervous of a sword before. Blue Tree is a nice place to think of as home, though.”

Varanis nods. “I’d like to go with you, if I may. It’s time to see Kallyr again and…. I want to visit the Temple of Orlanth in Boldhome.” 1 (( Insight (Human) please? ))
Insight: Berra is surprised to have been asked, as if her commander had said, ‘please’ or she had assumed Varanis would make that decision. She becomes maybe a bit confused.

“Um, I guess so? Can I stop an Orlanthi from doing anything?” It looks like the conversation took a strange turn and Berra cannot quite keep up.

“I’m not your Orlanth, Berra. You’ve said so yourself. And we need to tread carefully with this sword of yours. I’ll not make asssumptions where you and it are concerned.” Grey eyes study Berra’s face in the low light of the yurt. 2 ((Your turn for insight?))
(( Fumble. Yaay. ))
(( Berra THOUGHT she could read you… ))
((Varanis has this terrible tendency towards false modesty. That’s obviously what’s going on here.))

“It’s good to have it in a group, I think,” Berra says carefully. “But that does mean going with you to Pavis – and I don’t have a problem with going to Pavis, anyhow.”

“We do need to try to see Argrath and bring word of Sartar’s fight to him. Ensure he knows the flame is lit. Maybe see if he’ll bring forces to help drive out the Lunars.”

Berra nods. “I know. I mean, he knows, but we should make sure he knows. He was close to Sartar last year, so I’m pretty sure he wants to. He couldn’t make a full invasion, though.”

“He doesn’t need to invade Sartar. We have our Prince back. But, a few extra swords and axes to drive out the Lunar invaders would be helpful, I’m sure.”

Berra shrugs. “It’s different with a Prince,” she agrees. “But he was coming to try to… let me think about the timing.” She holds up a hand in a gesture for a moment of time.

It takes Berra a little time to think, and then she says, “He was looking to invade before the Dragon rose, to push back the Lunars. He failed in that, but consolidated in Prax, and then I departed his army, a little after I met Mellia. That was after Dragonrise.”

A shadow crosses Varanis’ face at the mention of Dragonrise, but it passes quickly. “Kallyr will consolidate her rule of Sartar, now that the flame is lit. His support would be helpful, but I’m certain she can manage without him if he chooses not to. Though I don’t see why he wouldn’t help. A strong Sartar means a solid buffer against the Lunars, after all.”

Berra nods. “He was looking to go into Tarsh, and that’s different too.” She adjusts the lie of her tunic on her shoulders. “I’ve put on muscle since she made this. An alliance is the ideal, I guess. He’ll have plenty of emissaries he can send, but you can offer that. Not with the content, I guess.” She shrugs. “Still Clayday?”

“All day,” Varanis replies.

“Right.” Berra drums her fingers. “I’ll come with you to Pavis but if there’s a chance of getting back to Sartar before Windsday of Death Week, I want to try. But not if it means leaving you – don’t send me away.”

“If we can make it there in time, we will. I want to be there well in advance of Movement Week, so that suits me.”

She looks thoughtful. “How long do you think it will take us?”

“A week back to Pavis, because there will be more rivers in the way. A few days there. Two or three weeks back, maybe? Finding water and forage will be easier, but there will be mud and floods.”

“Berra… it will be very tight, even if the gods show mercy and don’t throw things in our way…”

“For Movement Week? Yeah. We can’t stay too long.” Berra shrugs off the other way of interpreting things, and looks out at the door. “I mean, in Pavis.”

“For Death Week. We’d need to leave for Pavis now if we’re going to be in Boldhome for Death Week.”

“We can’t leave for Pavis now, so unless something changes, I get back for Sacred Time. But if it does, maybe. I’ve counted up the days. And you can’t travel in this sort of weather. You die in it, alone.” Berra sounds mostly resigned to the situation, only a little wistful.

“I’m sorry, Berra. If I could, I’d get you there faster.”

“S’fine. We weren’t to know. It’s been an interesting time lately. And it’s giving me time to work out how to use it. Which also passes the time, handily.” Berra grins at that. “Back to Pavis. FInd out what the hell’s going on. Be Honour and Vinga. See what your High Strategy makes of the position. What’s right to do? Then away, probably.”

“Do you think she’ll welcome me back?” Now it’s Varanis’ turn to look wistful. “I admit, I’m worried my presence will cause her problems.” She spits out a curse in Pure Horsetongue. “I hate politics. I’m no good at it, despite everything Grandmother tried to drill into me.”

“Kallyr? Yes. She’s honest. But if you do cause her problems, that just means you have to work to be better than those. Make being there better than not being there. Work on being useful.” Berra slithers over to her kit, not bothering to stand up to walk the short distance, but making sure she does not drag the hilt of either of her swords on the floor. It needs a lot of strength, which she has. Once over there, she props herself up on her pannier pillow. “One day I’m going to be a Rune Lord, if I live. And you’ll be a Wind Lord. A Daughter of Vinga. If you can’t live up to starting to be that, you just need a faster start.”

Varanis snorts. “You don’t pull your punches, do you? Well, if I’m to be a Daughter of Vinga, I need to improve my swordwork.” She looks to where her rapier has sat, mostly unused as she focuses on broadsword drills. “I think there’s time for some drills before Yelm sleeps.”

Berra gets up. “I’ve only punched you about once,” she says. “And I missed. And you got to rub me in the mud.” She pauses in pulling her padding on, takes off the decorated undershirt, and gets on with getting dressed in armour. As always, the kit she is not using gets folded neatly and put away. It’s a pretty tunic, but she is too big in the shoulders to wear it.

The Vingan opts for her hide armour, something she’s done ever since the day they fought the ogres. The bronze, lovingly polished, sits in a neat stack with the rest of her belongings.

  • 1
    (( Insight (Human) please? ))
    Insight: Berra is surprised to have been asked, as if her commander had said, ‘please’ or she had assumed Varanis would make that decision. She becomes maybe a bit confused.
  • 2
    ((Your turn for insight?))
    (( Fumble. Yaay. ))
    (( Berra THOUGHT she could read you… ))
    ((Varanis has this terrible tendency towards false modesty. That’s obviously what’s going on here.))