Cold Water

Xenofos — Cold Water

????, Storm Season, Season/Illusion Week


Context

Storm Season/Illusion Week/Water Day/At the temple of Humakt before noon [[[s02:session-29|Session 29]]]

Events

Xenofos asks at the gates of House of Death if initiate Berra is around. It is raining lightly

On Waterday, she is. A few minutes later, Xenofos is invited into the courtyard and Berra comes out to see him. Despite the weather she is lightly dressed, although she has put her cloak on. She is only wearing one sword, and it is not Wind Tooth. No armour. No blue scarf.

He may have lost some weight. His expression is formal.
And he is wearing full panoply.

Berra bows. Her expression changes as she gets closer, coming down from pleased to manage formality herself. “Good day, Thane Xenofos,” she says clear. “Welcome to the House of my Lord, as a traveller.” Her bow is precise and correct for a Thane of the Heortlings.

“I thank thee for the wellcome, Berra. Well met” he looks hesitant “Could we speak Esrolian?”

“Sure. Do you want to get out of the rain?” Berra takes a moment to change languages, leaving behind Heortling.

“Yes, lets, please.” He nods.

Berra leads the way into the main building, and along to a wide hall where there are people sparring, and a few stools and benches. D’Val is there and Berra points to Xenofos. The Duck nods and waddles over to watch the warriors at work.

“Here is good,” Berra says. “Nobody pays attention to you if you’re not fighting.”

He takes off his helmet and shakes excess water off. “So, I have not heard any news yet… Varanis?”

“Still at the Temple of Orlanth. She’s spending a week there to be out of the way and to be spending a week there.” Berra begins drifting over to a bench, and stops when a big woman sits down on it to tie up a sandal.

He nods, twirling his moustache. His beard is curled, oiled, braided and tied with pale green ribbons.

“Nothing else is going wrong. That I know of. I’ve mostly been here.”

“Right….” He nods and looks around like he is seeking for words.

“I’m down here,” Berra says after a few moments.

“Quite….You dropped by at house of Life, too. Thank you.” he looks embarrassed.

“Not a problem. I’m not going to ask how you are now, though. Tell me things if you want, or don’t.” Having said that, she looks away.

“Better than Clayday…” He looks at Truth rune over the doorway. “Way better… Whole? Maybe never. But better.”

“You don’t ever get completely better, but you learn which bits don’t matter. I asked. Mostly you need rest but finding ways you can rest in action really helps.”

“Some bits matter quite a lot… But I try to make do with what is left.” he clears his throat “apologies for Clayday, they told me you were there, but I just could not… I was pretty broken that day.”1 Berra Do an Insight Human roll if you feel ICly up to it. X: Do an Insight Human roll if you feel ICly up to it. Berra: Oh do tell me if that is a fumble. X: why I do believe it is Insight: Berra just became annoyed, although there is disdain for weakness in there too, of course.

“The bits that matter…” Berra trails off. “You shouldn’t be apologising.” Obviously she means that he should be better than that. “Because it was pretty much expected. You’ve been trying to live up to what you think is right but that’s not worked for you.” Because he can’t live up to it, obviously. And she’s letting him off rather than expecting him to be able to handle nobility. A warrior’s disdain for the soft.

He shrugs, his shoulders sagging a almost imperceptibly in the process. “I’ll be at the White Grape or Library during most of the days, I think. Need to brush up those Heortling titles before any public mishaps.2 X Week of therapy down the drain in 4-5 sentences. B I told them he would break again.

“Yeaaah.” Berra looks up at him. “You’re still trying. You don’t have to be that hard on the outside. The thing you think you have to be is perfect, but just getting there is a life’s work.”3 You broke him this time. – Did I lie

Another shrug. “Life is whole eternity, yet nothing but vanishing instant. Nothing to do but try… I’ll be seeing you when Varanis and you emerge from your temples.”
He turns to leave.

“I’ll walk you back to the gate,” she says. “I’m going to need the help of someone who understands histories.” Not a warrior, then.

“I hear you, Berra.” he is not looking at her but slows down fo her to catch up.

“Pretty sure I’m not talking to the Xenofos that is hearing, though.” Berra pads alongside him. “Because whatever I just said made you pull your tail in. So something went wrong. But I don’t know how to say it better.”

“I am still quite ashamed of being afraid, Berra. I fear to fail, I fear dishonor and that brings shame that is almost unbearable. I have been trying to pick myself up for a week, but results are still fragile like an eggshell.4 01 on Truth, to follow up…

“Yeah. Normally, warriors get months between battles.” Berra reaches for Xenofos’s forearm, to stop him from walking. “You march to where you’re going. You fight. And some people are different on the march back. But in a regiment you have people around you who understand. Do you remember the Siege?”

“I fought in Broyans troops there. Bad times. But simpler.”

“And for months, there was no time when the Lunars were not outside. But everyone in the city had everyone else there. You’ve been under siege for seasons, with nobody beside you. Just people to live up to, and nobody you see being afraid. You keep seeing battles but without the Regiment to support you. Without anyone you can talk to about it. It’s horrible. People break down in sieges and you have to keep on going, because you said you would, but you feel like a frozen ice bubble, with no water inside. An egg shell without the meat in it. You got thrown in and you don’t know what to do.”

“I did not get thrown in Berra. I chose to give my word.” he looks at down at her “Ride your horse, fulfil your oaths. I know what to do. It is simple… It is hard.” he swallows. “And I may fail. But I can not stop trying.”

“Yeah. That’s pretty much how it works. Climbing Kero Fin is pretty simple. You just keep climbing. Nobody says it’s easy.” Her look up at him is earnest and – of course – unafraid. “But you should tell me if you need time from battle. You don’t have to be in every mess, and I don’t want to push you into it. That’s a thing you have to accept from me. That not every warrior fights all the time.”

“You do not push me into every mess, little cousin, it is between me and my duty.”5 technically True, she is only reason and start to about third of the fights.

“Yeah… no. Because you’re muddling up duty with having to do everything, now. You rest soldiers. The only reason to send the wounded into a fight is because you’re already short. You’re stacking up as wounded for a bit, and that is not a problem.” Though she be but little she looks fierce. Is, too. “But you have to know it’s not. Warriors get taught that. You never have been.”

“I have been brought up a noble warrior. Fear is there, lurking and trying to stop you. Some do not know it, most do. It is a thing to push back. It is not a reason to not fight.”

“I was brought up as a professional warrior. I mean, as far as I was brought up to be anything that wasn’t a farmer.” An excess of Truth there, perhaps. “And I’m telling you that even professional warriors don’t do what you’re trying to do.”

“I don’t think you can convince me little cousin.” he smiles a bit, tiredly. “But week ago I would not have believed I could say these things out loud either. So maybe with time… Now you had a trouble with histories?”

“Sure.” Berra does not push any further, but turns to walk with Xenofos. “Library. I have need of a person to read things for me. Um, actually for money. No giving this one for free. It’s probably quite difficult.”

He shrugs. “I can talk to some other scholar in that case…”

“Fair enough. I’d prefer you to do it, but I get what you mean. Let’s not crash into each other.” Berra pauses to think. “Yeah, I can get other people to.”

“I do not work for coin. Even less so for you.” He shrugs “And unless texts are in Esrolian you are better off with someone who speaks Heortling as native tongue.”

“I don’t know what they’ll be in. There will probably be a lot in Heortling.” They reach the gates, and she walks through, raising a hand in greeting and farewell to the guards. “I need to know about Wyters and spirits. How to find them. How to make them into Wyters.”

“Jalban maybe. Good reader, knows the way around that peculiarly arranged scroll collection. Met him last week.”

“Fine-fine.” Heortling again. “Would it be alright to come by on Godday? Or is sooner better?”

“Gottsday is the service. You can drop by now if you have time?”

“In that case, I should go tell D’Val I’m unholy for the day. I think he guessed, to be honest.” Berra turns back towards the Temple. “I’ll not be too long.”

Scribe looks at her go stepping to the side of the road to wait.