VS 228 No glory in it

Varanis — 1626 0964 Noglory

????, Storm Season, Movement Week


Context

Storm Season, Movement Week, Water Day, Dawn watch. [[[s02:session-28|Session 28]]]

Still in Prax, but heading towards Sartar. The night before, they defeated a [https:www.deviantart.com/scravagghiupilusu959/art/Walktapus-143030344 walktapus].
Takes place after [http:
journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/berra:death-and-air Death and Air].

Events

Throughout the short time that remains before Yelm’s rise, Xenofos catches the muffled sound of coughing. It could be Varanis, but it could just as easily be Berra or even one of the animals.

Just before dawn Berra comes over to wake Vingan up. She does this by tapping her heel against the Vingan’s hand, a quick movement, which lets her keep her toes on the ground and therefore not shift her weight much.

Varanis, who has been sleeping fitfully, snaps awake. She sits up reaching for her sword, but is interrupted by a wracking cough.

“Sloooooow,” Berra says, but then she too pauses to get air, in her case just before the coughing, not after. “‘Lrigh’?”

“Yelmrise?” the other woman wheezes. It takes her a moment to collect herself, but she manages to get to her feet and buckles her sword into places. Each breath is controlled and shallow, in a concentrated effort not to cough again.

“Y’mp,” says Berra, and then repeats, “Yep,” more clearly.

“Go sleep, then. I’ll keep my appointment with Yelm.” A pause, then, “who else is on watch? Just me?”

“Will be Suuraki,” Berra says. “Xenofos can wake him when you have ….” A pause from her, too. “Saluted.”

Varanis nods. “Go sleep if you can.” A breath. “I’ve got this.” Trusting Berra to do as she’s told, Varanis goes looking for Xenofos. Berra raises a hand in the direction of the scribe, as a farewell, and goes over to Followed.

Varanis approaches Xenofos, making just enough noise not to startle him if he’s looking elsewhere, but trying not to wake the others in the process.

The Scholar is scanning the horizon as Vingan comes. He rubs his face and turns towards her in the twilight.1X: insight? V: Fail. Not quite fumble. His face is the controlled face of a courteous nobleman. If anything, he seems a bit tired. “Good morning cousin. Feeling any better?”

Her eyes are bright in the predawn light, but the darkness makes the shadows under them deeper. She shrugs, rather than trusting herself to speak. “I need to greet Yelm,” she whispers at last. Her voice does not like it has improved over the last couple of hours. “Keep watch just a little longer?”

He nods. “I can’t sleep anyway.”

“Thank you.” She slips away, to the edge of the camp, where she can put the dark smear of the walktapus behind her and give Yelm her full attention. The movements of the ritual are stiffer than usual. She pauses once as her torso curls around a fit of coughing, but when it passes she returns to the ritual as if it had never been interrupted. As Yelm at last appears above the horizon and is greeted by her naked blade, she finishes. The sword is sheathed and she stares into the sky a little longer, before returning to Xenofos, out of breath, but breathing nonetheless.

Xenofos nods again. “Not really in fighting condition I see.” His tone is serious.

“I will be. Just a little raw still.”

“In time, maybe. Berra sounded even worse I am afraid.” Scribe notes analytically.

“She took in more of that foul stuff than I did, I think.” She leans her shoulder into his. “Stop worrying. I’m fine.” The effect of her reassurance is diminished as she starts to cough again.

He puts his hand around her shoulder and pulls her closer “I don’t think you are, Ranie. Not you or her.”

When the coughing passes and she’s gasped in enough air to catch her breath, she lets herself lean into him. “We will be, then. Just give us time.” A shudder runs through her. “I know she’s not afraid to die, but… it would have been such a terrible way to die, Xeno. I felt so helpless…”

“Horrible…. And so futile. With no meaning.”

“It was Chaos, so there’s meaning in that,” she argues.

“Just some nameless nightmare that shambled into our camp, like bad roll of dice. Yes, to rid world of its filth was good, but to die there?” He shakes his head. “No glory in that, just agony and loss.”

He feels her shudder beside him. “Let’s not speak of it again. Boldhome, next. And I shall report to Tennebris. Do you think Rurik will put up with us again at his inn? The beds were small, but the rooms were warm and the food plentiful.” Her raspy voice takes on a note of wistfulness as she speaks of the inn and Boldhome.

“It is his trade. I don’t see why not.” Sage has conveniently forgotten times inn was turned into minor fortress, or just does not consider them important.

Varanis doesn’t reply, turning to stare across the slowly brightening landscape instead.