VS 203 While Rajar Sleeps I

Varanis — 1626 0935 Rajarsleep1

????, Storm Season, Disorder Week


Context

Storm Season, Disorder Week, Clay Day. In the aftermath of [[[s02:session-24|Session 24]]].

Continues in [http://journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/varanis:1626-0936-rajarsleep2 While Rajar Sleeps II].

Events

Berra caught up with the group long before they reached camp. She commandeered a yurt and has attempted to clear away a space around Rajar for him to wake up in. When Mabana tried to sit down by him, something cold and furious in Berra’s expression settled the matter. Now she sits with Rajar’s head cradled on her lap, and probably with stories running around the camp of how the little Deathchild loves the big warrior after all.1 Failed Tradetalk, passed Intimidate.

Varanis approaches the open door of the yurt, putting herself into Berra’s line of sight well before she enters.2Berra passes scan: She’s walking with a limp. It’s slight, but noticeable. There’s blood on the clothing visible around her right wrist, as well.

Berra nods in greeting. “If he wakes angry, I need to be here. If he wakes sad, he should have a friend. Have you fixed that up? What happened?”

“Hmm? I’m fine. What about him? Have all his wounds been healed? Whether he wakes angry or sad, we don’t want him waking in pain too.” The Vingan looks tired, her forehead furrowed with concern.

“You’re limping. He’s been healed. He’s a camp hero.” Berra looks down at Rajar, peacefully. “I sent his wife away. Someone should let her know why. And I got him beer, but maybe they should start a pyre for Billy. If they haven’t.”

“Someone said something about… eating Billy.” The Vingan frowns. “I wasn’t sure I really understood and I didn’t want to say anything inappropriate. Can I sit near you? Or would that potentially cause problems if he wakes?”

“He’s a hero’s mount. He’ll make people strong.” Berra leans over a bit to pat the ground. “The reason for me to be here is if he wakes angry, I’ve probably got the best chance of living through that. I don’t want his wife to get in the way of it. But you’re good too.”

Wincing slightly as she does so, Varanis takes a seat on the floor next to Berra. “I was hit a few times. I’ve healed some of it, but…” She pulls the crystal out from under her hauberk. “I wasn’t sure if there was enough power left to finish the job and I didn’t want to risk falling over if I guessed wrong.” She stares at it, as if she’s trying to see inside the pendant. “I don’t know. Maybe. I should try, I suppose.”

Berra leans over, and mutters a healing spell, hand on the Vingan’s leg.

“Berra! You didn’t need to do that. I could have attempted it first so you didn’t waste your own power. Who knows what you’ll need when he wakes.” The words are chiding, but some of the tension eases around Varanis’ eyes.

“I recover faster than you do. And there’s a chance I couldn’t cast anyhow. And you’ve got a stronger spirit.” Berra shrugs, and sits upright, elegantly fluid. “I don’t know why he attacked. I got the feeling the short one was demanding something – he looked cocky and he was loud, and prepared for battle.”

Varanis shrugs. “He would have had a good reason. But the price… poor Billy. Rajar is going to be devastated when he wakes.”

“I know. He’s part of the legend. And I believe he did. I just wanted to say, so you’d know what happened. He didn’t sniff the air and charge. He talked then went for it. But I couldn’t follow what they were saying. I heard Rajar say his own name a bit into the conversation.” Berra rubs a bit of encrusted mud off Rajar’s forehead with a thumbnail. “So he hadn’t been given the chance to say it early on.”

“Are you ok? Did you take any injuries?” Varanis studies her companion.

“No. Followed was a bit pocked, but the arrows came out. I patched those up and one’s still a bit scabbed.” Berra gives Varanis a calm look as she is looked at in turn.3Varanis passes Insight: Berra is largely unaffected by the death. She seems irritated and maybe insulted, but not sad. Mostly, the calm is real. Berra gets a special. Insight: Varanis is a bit jittery underneath the apparent calm. Probably battle nerves. Berra knows her well enough to recognise when she’s trying to distract herself.

“What could we have done better?” the Vingan asks. “That went badly, though not as badly as it could have been.”

Berra has a reply to that already. “Nala should have told us what she was doing, but we worked it out anyhow. We could have been closer together when the riders came, but two forward and some back isn’t bad. It went well. We were outnumbered and there was magic there, and everyone but Billy lived. But we got split up – we couldn’t do what we normally do and follow Rajar because they were faster than Rajar. So we’d need to use magic to slow them, and speed ourselves up. Ever since I’ve met Tiwr he’s forgotten to cast mobility magics on me in battle. Every time, I think. But distance weapons, and shields, which was what we had, were the ways. I should have gone further forwards to guard you, but I didn’t know what Nala was doing and wanted flexibility. Really hard to tell. Someone should have shielded Suuraki, or he should have slowed down for us. But really? It went well. Better than I thought when Rajar set off.”

“Suuraki… he was in a bad way, Berra. I thought we might have lost him. And I left that healer alone. Valseena. I abandoned her with someone I thought might be dead so that I could chase after Rajar.” Her blue-grey eyes are troubled. “It seemed like the right decision in the moment, but what if someone had circled back for her? I’m not sure they wouldn’t have fired on her, healer or not.”

“They did. By then there were fewer, but when I realised she was …” Berra thinks about it, “The most vulnerable target… I went back that way. Lucky we had her there, but if you charge unshielded into arrows, that happens. One fell dead, and I think he was a shaman or something, from how he was dressed, but I’m not sure. I think if Nala was fighting someone it was him. From when he fell to when he… from when Suuraki fell to when the Impala did, I was really worried.”

Varanis reaches up to brush her hair out of her face and notices that her hand is trembling. She stares at it for a moment, frowning. She lets the hand fall into her lap. “We survived to lick our wounds. And I have a prisoner. In addition to his ransom, I’m hoping we can learn something about who his leader is.”

“You did well. I mean, better than anyone else, if you’re counting it that way.”

Varanis looks blankly at Berra. “I left a healer to fend for herself while I followed a berserking Stormbull into a trap. I got lucky. That’s all. Lucky they were more cowardly than greedy in the end.”

“You went to help a battle-brother who was badly outnumbered, leaving a healer who should have been sacrosanct, when there was a Humakti to make the decision of who to help. We can’t tell how the other way would have worked out.”

Varanis sighs. “As you say,” she agrees reluctantly and with little conviction. Changing the subject, she asks, “Have you seen Xenofos? We’re going to catch an earful from him and if nothing else, I could try to shield you from that.”

“No, I was about to ask you if he’d heard. But… he won’t give me an earful. If he does I just ignore him anyhow. Mellia tried it once, but I can’t actually remember what she was saying. I just thought about other things.” Berra shrugs. “But if he doesn’t know and he hears without seeing, he might worry.”

“I should find him and tell him.” The Vingan doesn’t look ready to move just yet. “Do you need anything? Want anything?”

“Nah. Although company’s good. This is a bit boring otherwise, and I want to let him rest as long as he can.” Berra runs her forefinger over the cross tattooed on Rajar’s forehead. “Let them get Billy back to camp. Sort through the stuff on the body. That sort of thing. Billy’s packs came back on Followed.”

“I’m glad you were able to arrange that. I confess, having Rajar chase me for as long as he did meant I wasn’t really in a planning sort of mindset. I knew my spell would outlast his. But… It’s not very pleasant being pursued by one of your own intent on tearing you to pieces.”

Berra winces sympathetically. “Yeah… I can imagine. But I’m glad I don’t have to. So if we wanted to make something of this for learning, I’ve been looking for a crystal to store my own magic for a while, but maybe I should be looking for a matrix to make me fast, or my enemies slow. That’s… is that the first time you’ve faced light cavalry?”

“No, but it was the first time I’ve faced them up close and so badly outnumbered.”

“The first time you had to really think about it, maybe?” Berra pops the bung on her water skin and offers it over. “Rajar’s people can’t catch them, unless the ground is right, and Rajar’s often our best tactic. So we need ways to speed ourselves, and to speed him. I might be able to learn that at the Temple, but if you know of anything that would do it, I think it would be worth a high price. My clan owes me my ransom, so I’ll have money – I have things I could sell now, for it.”

“I can speed things up a bit. That’s how Valseena and I reached Suuraki as quickly as we did. But it goes quickly.” Varanis chews a lock of hair thoughtfully. “It’s a short burst of speed.”

“I know the spell. People just forget I have to run in. If… we were too far apart this time, but remember it’s a good option to get me there faster, if we’re together. I saw you jumping and dancing in front of Rajar. That’s another good one.”

“I admit, it was satisfying when that spell worked.”

Berra grins. “It’s good when it happens.” She spends a moment looking happy, and then heaves a sigh. “You should… um, that is, I don’t really need you, but you’re probably not in a state to be talking to Xenofos – can you find someone who can send for him and say where we are? And someone who can explain to Mabana why she’s not here? And other people? She’s probably losing face because of this.”

Varanis looks thoughtful. “I can do that. I’ll find a few people and then come back you.” She rises gracefully, the limp erased by Berra’s healing. She stretches then turns to look at Berra. “That feels better. Thank you. I’ll be back soon.”

Berra settles down to be a dangerous friend to Rajar. She grins. “See you.” She settles the plug back into her water skin, and raises a hand in farewell.