1627, Sea Season, Harmony Week
A day or so after Varanis took her unexpected swim, she comes to speak to Rajar. “Rajar? I was wondering if I could ask you something about Eril?” She’s chosen to speak to him a bit away from the others.
Rajar looks up at the sky and thinks for a little. “You may. But I may not be able to answer. If I can I will.”
“Nala… she seems to hate him. She says it’s his fault Kallyr’s quest failed and that he blamed you and her, because you were foreigners. Is this true?” Varanis looks worried.
“He asked me if I had ruined the quest on purpose and accused me of many things…while using the Truth Rune magic. I took great pleasure in pointing out that I had not done these things and they were all his failings not mine.” The Storm Bull says, “I do not hate him. I think he is a great warrior but hard to like. I do not have to like him. He does not have to like me. We both kill Lunars.”
The Vingan considers his reply. “Do you think Nala is justified in her hatred of him? She thinks he is… well, Tiwr used the word evil.” There’s a noise of frustration. “I’m trying to understand Nala. She says she’s supposed to guide me. But, I’m confused. How could Eril be both the hero Berra believes him to be and the evil Nala sees?”
Rajar considers his answer carefully. This takes a while and a few mouthfuls of beer. Absently he gestures to the smallish container open nearby “He is not I think evil. Anymore than any great warrior and death bringer is.” The big man rubs the Death rune carved into his forehead. “He is prideful, and quick to dismiss others and thinks he is the cleverest general in the room at all times.”
Varanis eyes the open container and glances back at Rajar. He hands over a small mug. Varanis accepts and fills it from the container of beer. She takes an experimental sip and wrinkles her nose slightly. Then she shrugs and takes another sip. “She says he released a demon into Boldhome. And that’s tied to the quest Berra wants to do. Demons are evil.”
“That may be so. I doubt he did it on purpose. I must admit I’m a little vague about what happened there. I was in a rage or drunk for most of it as I recall. And the Hero-Time is always…slippery.” The big Praxian adds, “He is not evil I think. He is just very unpleasant to know.”
Absently, she touches the Death rune on her throat. “I’ve actually found him to be helpful. Almost kind at times. In spite of his offer to kill me. He really was trying to help then and honestly, when it came to it, he was right to do it. His killing me was exactly what was needed to get us started on the quest.”
“He is a sharp sword and not a feather bed.”
“So… um… what do you think of Nala? Is she biased where Eril is concerned? Can I trust her other advice?” She admits, “I know little of Praxian shamans.”
“Ah. Shaman. They are all mad. And petty. And full of strange grudges and odd practices and frankly they are only in passing touch with reality. Nala becoming one makes perfect sense.” Rajar smiles. “And you should listen to every word they say as it is probably true, But you must then weight your actions in the knowledge they may be the only person telling you the truth or that they just decided it would be funny.”
Varanis looks at him, obviously confused. She takes a deep drink of the beer. “You know that doesn’t make a lot of sense, right?” she says at last.
“EXACTLY!” bellows Rajar. “Now you’re getting the idea.”
Varanis laughs ruefully, before raising her cup to him in a toast.
Rajar raises his own cup and drinks deep.
“Thanks, I think.” The warm smile she gives him makes up for her lack of graciousness. “Maybe it will help when I have had a chance to think about it.” She rises to leave, then pauses. “Have you agreed to help Berra with her quest? You believe it’s the right thing to do?”
Rajar smiles and says, “This is a thing I said I would not speak of.”
Varanis looks puzzled. “We can’t speak of it to others, but surely we should talk about it with the people who will be part of it. Does that mean you won’t be doing it?”
Rajar shakes his head. “I don’t know who knows what or who is taking part in or not or what. I said I would not speak of this thing.”
She sighs but accepts his answer. “I’ll talk to Berra, then. Thank you.”
Rajar nods and goes back to his drinking