Guard Shift

1627, Sea Season, Disorder Week


Sea Season, Disorder Week, Clayday, before Yelmrise. TrollLOLOL
Day 2 of the trip to Alda Chur.


The new watches have Berra going up and down the line a lot, checking who is doing what and who is working how, and she is likely to be getting broken sleep in Sartar in payment for knowing everyone by the time they reach Tarsh. It is approaching a watch’s span before dawn when her hand closes on Varena’s shoulder to wake the Vingan.

She snaps awake, hand reaching for hilt. As she realizes who it is, she relaxes. Sitting up, she pushes her hair out of her face to peer at the Humakti. “Morning. Have you slept yet?”

“Yep. Got woken every couple of changes.” Berra nods in the darkness, although her expression is just a smear of armour and wide smile.

Varanis is moving quickly and quietly as she goes about the business of readying herself for her shift. At least up to the point where she needs to put her armour on. There’s only so much you can do to be quiet with that much bronze.

Berra stands by to help with the buckles, and then with a snort of amusement steps away, and lets Varanis do it. “Want to stay still, or walk the lines?” she asks, low, when there is a break in the creaking and muted thumps.

“Walk the lines. I need to loosen up.” When Berra tries to help, Varanis tries to let her. But there’s an awkwardness to it, like the Vingan is unsure of her footing with her companion. This uncertainty has carried over from the day before, though it was less obvious than it is now. Probably because Varanis had steered clear of Berra to some degree.

“Yeah. You should make sure you know people at night as well. We’ll have you still soon, so you can listen to how other people move.” Berra seems relaxed, but then again, she changes so often that she could be angry and chatty.

“Fair enough,” Varanis replies. “Did I see…” She pauses, gathers her thoughts and tries again. “Xenofos is not taking watches?”

“Nah, at least not tonight. We’ve got enough people. I asked him if he wanted to, and he said he’d sleep through. That might change, but I’ll let him know to let me know. We’ll put him back in once he’s had a bit of time.” Berra steps back from her work on buckles, and offers Varanis her helm padding. “Go light tonight. Not so much armour. Let people see that and learn that as well.”

“Good. I wish there’d been more time for him in Boldhome. I think… it seemed to be good for him.” Accepting the helmet padding, Varanis peers at Berra in the darkness, as though she’s seeking something. There’s a soft sound of quiet frustration. “Less armour? Why? What am I missing?”

“Because we should all know what we’re like when we’re drunk or half merry, wandering through encampments. There might be a tent city there, and we know each other, but Irillo’s guards don’t.”

“Ok. That makes sense, I suppose. Which of them are on now?” She looks at the helmet padding in her hands and the heavy helmet next to her bedroll. With a shrug, she drops the padding and grabs her sword instead. “I’ll have better visibility without the helmet. And I don’t tend to wear it when I’m half merry.”

“You can be very merry as well, and it’s handy to puke into. I heard.” Berra gestures towards the sleeping mules. “Salid’s probably awake, but he just got off. It’s Ghenram and Ingri by the animals right now. Me roaming. If you were still you’d be where Salid had been.” Ghenram is a baboon, Ingri a human.

“Do you need me there? I can do what is needed, rather than what I want,” Varanis points out.

“Needed now, or needed later. Best to have a quiet time while we’re by the King’s Roads and… hey, Sartar built. Um. Ahhm. Yeah, you’re fine, or I’d have put you somewhere. Don’t worry about what needed – it’s more what’s good.” Berra hauls herself back on track.

“Fine, let’s move then.”

Berra swings into slow action, threading her way around the campsite with the ease of someone who learned it earlier. “You alright?” She asks after a couple of minutes of peering at suspicious bushes.

“I don’t know, Berra. Are we alright? Lately I seem to have a hard time getting anything right, at least according to you.” Varanis sighs unhappily. “That’s not entirely fair. You’re not the only one finding me wanting. I know I let my temper get the better of me when we were sparring.”

“Yeah, but you’ve done that before, and it’s fine. I mean, I’m fine. I move past things really quickly. I worry about the future and what happens if we mess up, is the problem. But right now? Sure. I’m not angry or anything?” Short words. Heortling.

“It’s not just the sparring though. You questioned my decision to push Xenofos. You… well, you weren’t exactly thrilled about Serala and me either.”

“Yeah? And?” Berra pauses in stepping forward. “You’re not me…?” This eve, she is communicating mostly through the medium of questions.

There’s a sound of muted frustration. “It’s the saga of my life. Failing to live up to expectation. And now, here we go, to seek out the Feathered Horse Queen and try to negotiate one of them most important deals of our time and I’m the one tasked with it? I volunteered for it…”

“Uh, nanananana. The thing with Xenofos isn’t about expectation at all, and the sparring is just you being you and I know to look out for it. I’m not angry you’re not being me… You make your decisions. I tell you what I think. Doesn’t always mean either of us are right. Or wrong. Or whatever. But we just need to talk. Then do things.” The little warrior shrugs like that is obvious to her.

Varanis shakes her head. “You don’t understand and I shouldn’t expect you to. It’s fine. I’ll be fine. Forget I said anything and tell me what you’ve learned about Irillo’s guards.”

“Yeah, no. I mean, you’re worried and you’re not coming up to your expectations, but I think those are ones you’re making up from what you know of people. All we can do is our best, and keep improving. We don’t start perfect.” Berra gets into motion again, though, making her way through grass rather than along the trail she has walked already.

The Vingan follows Berra without reply. Her armour prevents her from being silent about it.

Berra’s movements can be heard clearly enough, as she swishes through the grasses. “Of the people awake, Ghenram’s the baboon who’s least in charge of the other baboons, but I don’t really understand how that works. He’s skinny and they push him around, but not so much as he hates them. He doesn’t have much trade talk, but enough. Ingri’s very Esrolian about calling me by a rank, but I think he’s Heortling. He looks Heortling. I haven’t asked yet. Kit in good order, lay member of some cult in Esrolia that is about guarding, and an Orlanth Thunderous follower.”

Berra walks them over to Ingri and Ghenram, who are sitting in attitudes of professional boredom, and as she gets there, pauses. “Want to ask them anything?”

Varanis nods to Berra, then greets the guards. “Anything unusual tonight?” she asks to start.

“Nothing,” Ghenram says. “Bit of a sound earlier. Something in the bushes,” Ingri notes. “We don’t know what it was.”

“And what are the usual things you observed?” She studies both faces.

The gibbon remains hairy and with inhuman understanding. Ingri looks thoughtful as he thinks. “People walking around,” Ingri says at last. Ghenram says, “I could hear the wind. The people. Some snoring.”

Varanis nods. “I’d like to talk in the morning, but don’t want to take your attention from your task.”

Berra gives them a wave, and they go back to watching over the beasts and the caravan. The Humakti gets back on with doing the rounds.