1627, Sea Season
After Rajar announces his attention to stay to guard the cave, Varanis takes him aside. “I’m loathe to leave you, but I respect your need to stay. Are you well enough? Fully healed?”
“By the power of earth and storm I am fit again. Stormbull did not call me as he did my brother.”
Varanis nods. “I was thinking… I could go back up with you and set up a warding for you and Valseena. Just an extra layer of protection.”
The big man thinks for a little. “When is your holy day? I do not want you sacrificing your magic for the coming season…but if it is close then it would be welcome. Valseena is a great healer but no warrior. And Broulf fights with Stormbull now, although I’m sure he will scare off the unwary here as well.” Rajar nods in the general direction of the mountain cave, where the headless corpse waits.
“My holy day isn’t for a few weeks yet, but I would see you safe. It will drain me somewhat. I’d have to keep it small, but if I do, I’ll still be able to seek some aid from Vinga if needed later.” Varanis looks up the mountain and back to Rajar. “I don’t trust him not to come back and you should have warning.”
“Oh yes. If not him then others. This place will draw the weak and stupid who desire power and evil.”
“I wanted to ask you something else…” Grey-blue eyes look troubled. “When you went down… I wanted to follow your attacker. Suuraki stopped me. I don’t fully understand… Where did that portal lead to? What would have happened if I followed?”
Rajar is troubled “I don’t know. I guess it was a portal to the chaos realm outside of time. An old Storm Khan told me that priests of chaos use them to sacrifice beings to their foul gods. And that chaos monsters can emerge. I do not recall him telling of anyone entering one by choice. And yet the cultist did. I will be honest I was not listening too well to his story and was waiting for the tales of battle and glory.” He shakes his head sadly. “I should have listened and studied better. I have regretted not being a better student before now. A warrior should know the ways of his foe”
“So, I may owe my life to Suuraki.” Varanis glances in the direction of the High Llama rider. “More than once now, actually. How do I repay this debt to a Praxian? Is there a right way to do it, in Prax?”
“Sing songs to his glory. Make gifts to him and his people. Help him steal many cows.” The big warrior waves as though his axe is in hand. Varanis resists the urge to dodge. “Ride at his side and crush his enemies.”
“Thank you. I will think on this. One last thing?”
Rajar smiles and nods….
“Is there anything you think we could have done better? We lost a good warrior. We nearly lost you. Did we make mistakes?” Varanis gives him a worried look.
“I should have used Orlanth’s shield. I was saving power for when we faced the major foe, and I knew there would be one. I think perhaps we fight too much as many people and not as one being with many limbs” Rajar reflects and looks skyward. “DragonSnails always come as a surprise however, at least the two I have now fought did. This ones armour was harder than the last”
“I wonder how we can learn to fight as one. We get in each other’s way a lot, you’re right. I’ll bring it up with Berra, as I think she’s the one most experienced with fighting units.” Varanis takes hold of the big man’s arm and gives it a squeeze. Reaching for his shoulder would have been a stretch. “For what it’s worth, I’m very glad you are still with us. I’d have mourned your loss.”
“Well, There are worse ways to die than fighting Chaos. I would have been at Stormbulls side, as Broulf is now. He comes for each and every one of us that does fighting Chaos, so our souls cannot be lost or consumed. It is a fate that will come to me in time. But later with more of my peoples foes dead around me I hope.” Rajar laughs “ALE! before you go!”
“I’ll drink a cup with you. But, I need to keep a clear head for the warding, so no more than that. We’ll hike back up the mountain after Nala has her answer. This way, you will know what it is too.” She gives him a smile and goes to fetch her cup.