Xenofos — We Are Sailing
????, Earth Season, Season/Illusion Week
Earth Season/Illusion week/Couple of days after leaving Nochet, when the ship reached Sea of storms. [[[s02:session-18|Session 18]]]
The transition from the calmer waters of the Mirrorsea Bay to the big, choppy waves of the Sea of Storms took Berra by surprise. A couple of hours after they rounded the headland she is sitting at the back of the ship, a miserable lump of brown leather and pale blue padding and wind-pinked skin over a soft greyish cast.
Xenofos seems unaffected. He has found a spot where he is not on the way of the mariners, he thinks, shielded from the wind and tries to get the melody of Lament of Dormal’s wife out of his cithara. He is quite oblivious to disapproving looks of the sailors as he goes the first bars over and over again. Cithara seems to be out of tune despite his best efforts to tighten the strings.
Varanis drifts over. “Xenofos. You are woefully out of tune.” The wind keeps blowing her hair into her face and she runs an impatient hand through it.
He looks up. “I know, that is why I try to fix the thing.”
In a sudden lull, Berra burps dangerously. She winces, and lets her head fall gently back against the wood she leans on. Her helmet thuds softly against it.
Xenofos looks over the aft deck towards Berra, pausing his musical efforts.
Pained, eyes closed, Berra takes a deep breath.
Varanis casts a sympathetic glance in Berra’s direction too. “That bad, is it?” she asks softly.
No answer. Berra might not have realised whether she was being addressed, or even looked at.
Xenofos looks a bit confused at Varanis’ question. “Eh?”1 missed insight human, Berra is probably just a bit tired.
Then, finally, Berra draws peace down into herself, like she has taken inspiration from whatever it is that keeps her calm.2 The profile of her serene features against the wood behind her is … absolutely not a thing to be stared at except that hypothetically it may resemble certain architectural features and this is of course why it is so hauntingly familiar
“Oh, what did you ask Varanis, I am afraid I failed to pay full attention?” scholar asks. 3 Arches, think arches.
“Berra. You’re seasick, aren’t you?”
Berra’s gentle sway to the rhythm of the ship jolts at her name, and she blinks her eyes open. “Yes,” she says, and smiles slightly. It is the smile of someone who was successfully putting it behind them, but is still peaceful.4 Such a smile is seen on statues blessing those they look on. Was it the Temple on Great Street?
“Sorry. Would you prefer to be left alone?” Varanis asks.
Xenofos looks up from his instrument again, surprised and slightly worried.
Berra shrugs, and then looks at her shoulders, and then gives Varanis a surprised glance. “I’m back in the shell again,” she says. “I… think I need to get used to feeling this way. I’ve never been at Magasta’s whim like this.” Her blink is too precise, obviously an attempt to get a muscle twitch under control.5 Special on Not Being Sick Right Now followed by Varanis being helpful. Hehehehe
“Sometimes the sailors’ tack can help. The dry bread seems to settle the stomach.” Sometimes, it seems like food is the only thing the Vingan thinks about.
“Though I met a sailor once who swore dried fish was the best remedy.”
Xenofos raises an eyebrow, following the rhythm of the squall without noticing his doing it.
There is a small wince from Berra. “Can you please not talk about things I could be eating. I’m not feeling too good,” she says, and her words are very careful. She has slipped from Esrolian styling of speech to Heortling, however.
“Sorry. I was trying to help.” Varanis falls silent, moving to stand a short distance away from the Humakti, where she can lean against the side of the ship to watch the water.
“I know.” Berra looks back down, and takes a deep breath, then licks her lips, which are dry.6 Maybe it’s the armour. The shoulders look like support beams on … some familiar eaves. Somewhere. Was it the library?
“Some wine to settle the stomach perhaps?” asks the scribe.7 that line works identically to supporting elements on Lunar gateway.
Varanis wrinkles her nose. “Not wine. It’s too bad I don’t have any lumiviiva. That would do the trick.”8 Not physically ofcourse but the line is there.
“I feel a bit cold and sweaty. A warm cloak and not doing anything sounds good to me.” Berra stretches her hands on her knees, fingers curling around the edge of her vambraces.
Varanis looks at Xenofos, over Berra’s head.9 Or one of those grand statues of meditation, found on the Way of Stone Thinkers.
Xenofos looks for a servant. There are plenty of sailors.
“Where is your cloak, Berra?” he asks.
Berra takes a moment to answer, which might be caused by an internal fight, or might be caused by her not hearing properly. “In my kit,” she says. “Rolled in the left pannier. But I’m fine now. I was just cold for a moment.”
“By Followed?”10 The leather helmet with its single feather is more like a battle standard than anything architectural. Gilding it to make it a Sun Dome would be taking things too far. Gilding would not do at all. Rather a black lacquer.
“No, where I’m sleeping. Up towards the front. I don’t even know the Heortling word. Under the wooden step bit there.”
Varanis steps closer and offers Berra her water flask. “Try a little sip,” she coaxes. “Your lips look like you’ve spent weeks in the desert already.”
Xenofos scans the deck for cabin boy or steward type servant.11 Basic sailor is like guard or agricultural laborer. It just wont do to send them after something.
“They still cover my teeth, so I’m probably not that long dead,” Berra replies, and looks at the flask with the expression of someone who knows what they have to do. But her jaw locks and she closes her eyes and shakes her head. “Not just yet.”
There are a few children on the ship, or at least young boys climbing like Grandfather Baboon all over the rigging and mast when required.12 Have they been serving food or doing other personal service type things for people in posh cabin(s) X
Posh cabins? :eyes: V
I paid more than our sartarite cousin. X
And you didn’t offer to share it with her? She doesn’t take up much space. V
Posh on bronzeage vessel might mean under the deck and with somekind of own bed, X
I think it means having better food and they don’t kick you up to help haul on ropes. B
Berra paid more, but only because she has an animal. Soon she’ll be out of money and maybe she’ll need help. B
Varanis looks over at her cousin and rolls her eyes. “They are busy. Catch.” She tosses her flask in his general direction and heads to the front of the ship, feet steady and confident on the slippery deck.13 I love my dice today. Special on dex.
Xenofos catches the flask without rising from seated position.14 special on dex
Berra watches the flight and the clunk and the landing, and leans back against the planks behind her once more.15 The arch of her throat is structured exactly like the remains of the monument on Pilgrimside of the Ezel Way. That is, the drawings of it.
Xenofos looks at her, concerned. Looks like he is about to say something, but decides agaist it.16 Weird how that errant lock is so out of rhythm with the pitch of the vessel.
“I’ll live.” Berra is upbeat about it.
It’s not long before Varanis returns. She doesn’t have Berra’s cloak, but rather her own. The thick blue wool is covered in rich embroidery. “I couldn’t find yours. But this will keep you warm,” she offers.
Berra raises a brow, puzzled. “I think you probably searched too low,” she says. “But thank you. I’ll take it.” She rolls to her feet with her usual grace, at least, standing without the need to grab anything. “I will be very careful with it.”
Varanis shrugs. “It’s just a cloak. I do like it though. This particular blue is one of my favourite colours.” It’s a deep, dark colour, like the sky that is just kissed by Elmal’s light.17 seems to suit her complexion too
“I mean, it would be bad if I was sick on it. Not really likely, though.” Berra wraps herself in the warm blue, and at least with her armour on she is bulky enough to fill it out. She looks down at herself to check the length, and whether she can still see her feet.
The blue suits her complexion.
“Xenofos, what was that you were attempting to play earlier?” Vingan asks.
Berra is slave enough to things of this world to snuggle into the cloak with a broad smile.
The wool is heavy, but the texture is smooth. The quality of it is typical of Karne, in that the materials must always be worthy of the effort she puts into the garments she produces.
A bucking of the deck fails to throw Berra off her feet. She simply moves in the pattern of a warrior to get her feet under her.
“Lament of Dormal’s wife – I have always liked the tune but it seems to elude me. And now I seem to even fail to tune my cithara.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it,” says Berra and gives Xenofos a smile that is probably an attempt at social politeness.
“It’s probably the damp,” Varanis suggests mildly.
“Probably not as popular in Sartar. Dormal opened the seas after the Ban. But when he sailed away he left behind a wife. Song is of her longing and sorrow when he is away, asking the seagulls and the Sea to look for him and remind him of home.” explains the scholar.
“I think probably that’s why I haven’t heard of it,” Berra says with a nod. “S’abit weird my Runes are so Magastan, to be honest. Could you maybe sing it later?”
Passing sailor looks at the group with inscrutable look.18 You don’t sing that song when out of sight of land, and only a fool would sing it at sea anyway
Berra is entirely unaware of undercurrents.
“Much as I do not wish to do you a discourtesy, cousin, Berra is right. It’s probably best to save that song for now. Perhaps when we’re ashore, your instrument will be easier to tune.”19 VAranis passes insight to see the sailors heroic effort to not hit a paying, noble passenger and remembers the tradition of not singing it while at sea
“That might be wiser. You are probably right and the damp is the culprit. Besides, it is woman’s song so I could not sing it right.”
“Oh yeah. Sorry.” Berra looks abashed for a brief moment before she looks solid-jawed and grey again.20 That frown could be the displeasure on the Irillo of The North when he looks on his foe. She just needs a hundred enemies and a triangular temple pediment to live in.
He looks at Berra briefly before wrapping the stringed instrument to a piece of cloth.21 Hmm, a pedestal. No, it would be empty in a whirl
“I might even be able to remember the words, given some time and prompting,” Varanis muses.
Berra sighs, and looks to the horizon.22 A cubic pedestal. Without her. Where do all these weird thoughts come from anyway?
“I think every sailor here knows them by heart. It is sung in every tavern on the quayside.”23 Or in that one posh quayside tavern X visited during his studytime when slumming. But even in actual mariners places it is sung
“It’s too late to decide to walk, isn’t it?” Berra gives them both a glum look.
Varanis returns the look with a wry smile. “Sorry, Berra. It’s too late.”
“I thought so. I feel a bit…” there is a pause, and a moment in which the Humakti thinks about something, and then “… sick and bored. And there’s probably a week to go.”
“About that time I guess. But hopefully you get used to the pitching, swaying and rolling after some time.” Xenofos ponders.
“I love the feel of the wind, though I wish Orlanth would stop tying my hair in knots. Maybe I should shave it…” Vingan comments.
Xenofos winces a bit.
“It’s about to get cold,” Berra says. “I decided to keep mine.” 24 Her helmet is not quite keeping that lock in front of her ear in place. Which goddess would be shown so? Or is it a god’s war style?
“I don’t know if this is precise the right or worst time to go to Prax” Xenofos notes lightly.
“It’s better than the hot times,” Berra says certainly. “I marched in those and they were horrible.”25 She looks warm tucked in like that. And so small…
Varanis shrugs. “Does it matter? We’re going. And it was definitely the right time for me to leave Nochet.” This last is said with a slightly guilty glance at Berra.
“I might have caused more trouble if I’d stayed,” her friend admits freely. “But that sort of happens anyhow.”
“I am glad you came” Xenofos notes warmly to Varanis.
He misses Varanis glance, looking at Berra and turning towards his cousin when talking to her.
Varanis looks at him and shakes her head. “I couldn’t let you go alone. Though, our paths may yet part. Rajar and I seek Argrath.”
“Oh. Hmmm with you as Kallyr’s vassal that may be interesting. You may have need of my service here.”
“Yuhuh?” Berra asks with sudden interest.
“Why?” Varanis looks at her cousin in curiosity.
“Ofcourse one may have several loyalties. We all have I guess. But if the interests of those to whom we give loyalty collide that may force decisions.”
“That, um, doesn’t explain what you said before,” Berra pipes up.
“The goal is to drive the Lunars home for good,” she says. “How can that possibly lead to divided loyalties? We all seek the same result.”26 failed intrigue by Varanis
Far in the distance, Dormal shudders without knowing why.
Xenofos shrugs. “I hope you are right. I am too poor in weighing interests to give my word to more than one person.”
“If Argrath decides to do that by invading Sartar, it could be tricky,” Berra says offhandedly. “But why would that need you, Xenofos.” She talks despite the fact he is talking, but she is not trying to talk over him, just to say things that spill out of her.
“I have given my word to Kallyr. I don’t offer it now to Argrath. But if I can help him while waiting for my Prince to call me home, so be it.” She shrugs carelessly. “I just couldn’t do nothing any longer.”
“I promised her my sword, Berra. So if she needs it I should be present. ” He turns to Varanis ” When we heard Kallyr was dead there was talk you had sworn loyalty to the White Bull. Did I misunderstand?”
“Oh right. I thought you meant something else. My mistake.” Berra goes to lean on the wide of the boat, away from the others for a moment, and take long, deep breaths.
“No, not really. But it’s complicated. I never had the opportunity to swear to him directly. But I witnessed him summon Jaldon Goldentooth in 24 – he is the White Bull.” She considers her next words.
“If he called on me to swear to him, I… I’m not entirely sure what I would do. It would be enough for me to just fight under his command. Kallyr is not just my Prince, she’s my kinswoman. I didn’t know that when last I followed Argrath.”
Berra rolls her shoulders out and stares at the horizon and rolls her shoulders out again. Normally it’s only one movement to prepare her for action. Now, she is failing to prepare. Perhaps, who knows, she is listening.
Xenofos just listens. One could guess he is making a mental note of this, to later add into his journal. But right now he remains silent.
The gravity of the moment is slightly dented by Berra burping again, and taking a deep breath and hunching her shoulders in effort of control.
Xenofos looks from her cousin to the struggling Humakti.
Struggling, and winning. Berra stands back, putting her hands on the side-rail, and staring off to where the shore looms dimly.
“I suppose it’s something I should consider telling him,” Varanis muses. “My kinship to Kallyr, that is. I don’t know what that might mean to him, though.”
Raised eyebrow from Xenofos “If he has someone like Tennebris he probably knows already.”
“If he has bards or people bring him letters, he’ll know already,” Berra says, and then shuts up abruptly to keep staring.
“Mm.” Berra makes a faint noise that is probably agreement.
“I would never advise lying. But it is not always necessary to say everything out loud.” scholar points out.
“And yet we acknowledge that he may already know. Not being completely open about it almost caused me problems with Silor.”
“Oh. I did not know?” He says curious.
“You had troubles of your own, at the time,” Varanis points out.
“Somehow, he knew, or at least suspected. And he was unhappy with me for not being honest with him.”
“You are your own woman and do as your honor tells you. I would not bring it up but be frank and truthful if asked. But that is just my council, decision, as always, is yours.”
Berra steps away from the side. “I think, if you don’t say, he’ll know you want to be quiet about it, but that gives someone powerful a thing that he knows you want. If you do say, he’ll know you’re proud about it, and he’ll have to rise to it but it makes the days more dangerous. I’d say it.” She is sweating now, inside the warm blue cloak.
“He probably knows anyway, if there is danger, it is there in any case.” Xenofos looks concerned.
“There has always been danger. I don’t have to tell everyone, but I would rather he find out on my terms.” She looks thoughtful. “For instance, what is to stop our Storm Bull friend from saying it?”
Xenofos nods. “Nothing. And if he says it you can confirm it is so.”
He strokes his beard “I fear I may have advised you poorly when I asked you to come to Prax. Not thinking through, just wanting to have your company…”
“You could ask him if he’d like you to say it,” Berra says, and then she closes her eyes. “It’s unf… annoying. I’m hot now. And I’m not even feverish!”
“Ask him if he’d like me to say it?” Varanis repeats with a frown. “What does his preference have to do with the truth we’d both already know?”
“Because… if… if you reveal it in court you are making him a choice there,” Berra replies in a fast but even tone.
“I wasn’t going to tell him in court!” Vingan bristles
“Unless he w…” The Humakti sighs. “I feel shit. Sorry. Can’t explain well. Giving him control of information timing. Good gift if done right.”
“He knows and you know. Who else needs to know? You both know the other one knows.” scribe explains.
“Well, we don’t know if he knows yet,” Varanis corrects. “But I don’t want him to find out and think I was hiding it from him.”
“Private audience than – for such things, if following Berra’s advice. And fully public statement if you want to state it like a challenge.”
Berra stays quiet, looking down as if thinking that through.
“I don’t want to issue any challenges, Xenofos. We’ve already established that I have no wish to rule.” Varanis repeats the old argument with a touch of frustration.27 There is a broken column that looks a bit like that, in colour, which marks where the Building Wall came through the Colonnade of Three Rows.
“We all know what we know,” Berra says. “And Varanis is going to be her.” The words are short, with some effort taken to speak them.28 Such devotion to truth, no extra flourishes on her speech, just the matter, plainly, as it is.
Varanis looks at Berra steadily, then walks over to Xenofos to retrieve her water flask. “Try a little sip?” she suggests, offering it to Berra.
It takes some effort, but Berra manages to take the flask and drink from it. She takes a deep, determined breath afterwards that would probably be even deeper if she were not wearing her leather cuirass.
“Do you really need the armour right now? You might be more comfortable without, just for a little while.” Varanis asks.
“I’m not in the… oh, this? Keeping the wind off me. And I feel better armoured. I’d hate to have something…” There is a momentary pause. Berra considers her options and then goes on. “Something put off from shore and not be prepared.”
“The cloak would keep you warm enough,” Varanis points out. “But if you need the armour to feel safe, then so be it.”
“How long would it take for you to put that cuirass on though. It would take quite some time for anyone to row here from the shore.” he points out.
“Wind magic,” Berra replies. “I was thinking about it on the beach. Dock. Back there. But then I thought about who might be out here.”
Varanis scowls. “Harrek.” The name is spoken like a curse.
Xenofos waves over the horizon. “Still. Empty see now, how long for you to put the cuirass on?”
“I want to be recognisable if anyone is looking by magic,” replies the Humakti, stubbornly.
“Leave off, cousin. She’ll do as she chooses.” Varanis pushes herself away from the edge of the ship and stalks off towards the prow.
“How could anyone not recognise her? But you are right, if she wants to wallow in misery and the uncomfort of armour and be less prepared when the time comes it is hard to turn her head.” Xenofos words may or may not have reached the ears of the Vingan, talking to her back as he is.29 Xenofos remembers his aunt was killed by Harrek’s wolf pirates and we recently learned that Berra has fought alongside them and Harrek likes her. THough this did not come as news to the scholar. (passed int*5)
Berra looks after her, wincing, and mutters something that is almost certainly swearing.
Berra puts a hand up to Xenofos, and shakes her head. “No,” she says, quietly but urgently.
Xenofos turns to look at the grey faced Humakti.
“She doesn’t want to hear things right. Now. But knowing that me looking like this is… is me trying to keep pirates away is bad. For her.” There is a little twist of the lips as she says that, and Berra is sweating slightly.
Xenofos shakes his head. “Wrapped in the cloak leathers make no difference, magic or no magic. They will know your spirit or helmet or your face or even your sword.” He takes a closer look,” but you look feverish?”
“I feel a bit like I’m going to be sick. But you’re right.” She carefully peels off the cloak, and folds it over her arm. “The helmet, definitely. But I’ll wear something under the padding if I start getting cold.”
“That is not what I meant Berra. And makes little sense.” He seeks her hand and checks her fingers to feel if she is cold.30 Nope no Chalana Arroy to test body temp from hands, but quite proper
“Sometimes magic just sees the outside.” Berra’s hands are very cold, and she does not stop him from checking, but instead holds up the hand with a resigned look.
It is at that point, that Varanis returns. “I’m…” She stops, taking in the scene before her.
“You are cold… Please take the cloak. Helmet is enough.” Scholar pleads softly.
“I’ll get my cloak. I’m fine.” Berra has not taken the hand back yet. It would be a sweet tableau but for the speech.
Xenofos is quietly warming her hand between his own.
Varanis utters a Grazelander curse that would make Finarvi proud. “You prideful little idiot. Put the cloak back on. Or if you really can’t bear to wear mine, say so and I’ll look again for yours.” She isn’t shouting, but something tells you both that she could be.
Berra looks, and blinks. “It’s not that I don’t want to,” she says. “But… uh…”
Xenofos reacts to Varanis’ angry voice with a sideway glance but keeps the hands he was warming.31 Both Berra and Xenofos fail insight rolls
“But?” Grey eyes glare balefully at the Humakti.
Berra takes a deep breath. “But I should look as dangerous as possible to anyone who recognises me,” she says. “I mean. Small chance… Xenofos please can I have my hand back?”
“So shivering and looking miserable is the same as looking dangerous?” comes the derisive reply.
“Oh, ofcourse, sorry” his beard and olive complexion hide most of the blushing.
“Looking like someone they remember is,” Berra replies. “This armour really does stick out.” Berra flexes her hands like she is glad to be able to move again, or else like she is getting ready for a fight.
Varanis rolls her eyes.
“Would they look at it like a warning – or kind of inviting challenge? Harrek’s greetings sounded a bit like a challenge.” ponders the scholar.
Berra looks at Xenofos. “If he wanted me dead… look, I’m making the best guess I can, alright? If they were going to take a challenge they’d be coming down on the ship in force instead.”
“Harrek,” again the name is a curse as she says it, “will do whatever he chooses, regardless of whether or not you are armoured.”
“It’s not him I’m worried about.” Berra looks back boldly. Some might call it impudent. “It’s his fleet. Bits of it. They act independently.”
“Tell me, do you want us to save your body for burial on dry land, or can we just throw you overboard for the fish?” Vingan spits a question.
“Are you saying you’re going to try? Because… look. Best not. It’s complicated to talk about.” Berra offers a smile as a bridge.
“No, of course not. But if you sit in a miserable, shivering huddle in the stern of the boat, trying not to puke, you aren’t going to impress anyone. And denying yourself comforts offered by people who care about you only serves to alienate them further. So, if what you want to do is sit here alone and shiver until Humakt takes you, just say so.” It’s possible Varanis recognizes that she’s being unreasonable, but the bright spots of anger in her cheeks suggest that she isn’t ready to back down yet.
“No, it’s not what I want to do,” Berra says softly. “And thank you for the water.”
Xenofos shifts to Berra’s side but does not say anything while watching Varanis with a worried look.32 and he even passed loyalty Varanis…
“Then put the damned cloak on.” Varanis barks.
Berra considers that. Then, calmly, she says, “No. It’s good of you, but no. Thank you.”
Xenofos looks quite unhappily at Varanis.
Varanis takes the cloak from Berra, turns on her heel and walks away.
Berra turns to Xenofos with a pleading look, and gestures him after Varanis.
“You were quite unreasonable there Berra.” He says with sad look before he goes after Varanis.
When he catches up to her, Varanis is rummaging through Berra’s pack, looking for something. She’s got Berra’s cloak out, but is digging deeper into the pack. A look of triumph crosses her face as she pulls out a wrapped package.
“What are you doing Varanis?” he asks.
“The pear and ginger, she likes that one,” she murmurs to herself. Her single-minded focus means that she fails to notice Xenofos until he speaks.
He picks up the cloak, unrolls it and folds it neatly onto his arm.
“Ginger. Marta uses to give it to me if my stomach needed settling. Berra likes the fruit that bites, so I figured she’d have packed some. Maybe she’ll eat a little and it will help her.”33 Crit. Insight. Xenofos is quite relieved. And holding Berra’s cloak pretty tight
Berra goes to lean over the edge of the ship, and take the chance to lose a little weight. But then she does drink more water, and bites at her knuckle to help concentrate on keeping it down.
Pleased with her discovery, Varanis carefully re-wraps the rest, keeping only a very tiny piece of the pear and ginger fruit bar. This she wraps in a small sheet of waxed linen. Then she systematically re-packs Berra’s belongings.
She rises, looking for Berra’s cloak and spots it on Xenofos’ arm. She arches an eyebrow at him, shakes her head, and says nothing.
The space under deck is pretty badly lit but Varanis can see Xenofos smiling quite sheepishly.
“She’ll be cold. Maybe I should take this to her.”
“That was why I came for it,” Varanis points out.
“You left in such way I had no idea if you were aiming to return.”
“I’m not cruel, Xenofos. I can be angry and I can think she’s being a fool, without being spiteful.”
Shrug. “When Air moves you I rarely know where you end up.” He looks like he is about to say something more, looks at the cloak, decides against it turns and returns to the deck.34 That is not a good architectural style. The arch of her back is all wrong over the rail. But no need for chalana arroy to tell she is not feeling to brisk at the moment
Varanis looks wounded by Xenofos’ words, but he seems oblivious as he leaves her to return his attention to Berra. She follows him, just a few paces behind.
Xenofos walks the length of the deck to where she is hanging on the railing.
Berra straightens, and gives Xenofos a slight smile, wry at best, wrung out at worst. “Mm?”
“She was going for your cloak.” He holds the garment for her to wrap into. ” And thought ginger might help.”
Varanis ignores them both, setting about her self-appointed task. She has a small armful of stuff, including an old wool blanket that she places folded, near to where Berra had been sitting. Beside this, she sets a couple of water flasks and the wrapped fruit. She steps back to look at her work thoughtfully, then walks away saying nothing to the others.
Berra watches Varanis, and then looks away, back to the horizon, saying nothing. When the Vingan is gone, though, she says, “It’s like having my sister about…”
“She does care of you, little cousin, even when annoyed. Or maybe annoyed because she does care.”
“I know. But I was trying not to say why, and then she asked. We talked about Harrek earlier, you see?” Berra’s colour is better now.
“Yes?” Scholar is not making the obvious connection.
“And she knows that I am… was, one of his people. Sort of. And that he likes me. It’s hard for her. And then I am here, using as much of what about I know about him as I can. And it’s hard not to be in awe of him but he’s also terrible.”
“Quite.” The short answer does affirm at least part of her verdict.
Berra shrugs, and sits down. “But she’s right about not being cold and miserable.”
She puts her hand up for the cloak, taking it from him. “Thanks. But it’ll probably be easier for her if you’re not sitting with me for a bit.”
He seems a bit slow to let go of the cloak, making sure it falls nicely but does not linger too long on the task.
“Oh… You might be right there. I need to look at my writings a bit anyhow. Hope you will feel better soon.”
The Vingan reappears silently, adding a couple more wrapped packages to the stash she has built. She doesn’t even look at the two of them. When she leaves this time, she makes for the mast and has clambered up before any of the sailors have the opportunity to intervene.35Special on climb. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: If in doubt, get as high as you can. World looks better from above.
Xenofos stares at the mast from the deck. Shaking his head a bit.
“Thanks. I understand this happens a lot.” Berra shrugs, and gets on with watching the part of the world she can see.36 If Berra ever gets around to unwrapping the packets, there’s dried pears with ginger in one, some very bland cheese in another, and some dried bread in the third. They are wrapped and set out of the way, but there if needed. And if they are still there when Berra decides to leave her position in the stern, Varanis will appear to tidy everything away until the next morning when it will all be waiting for Berra again. I’d have to roll to see how long she refuses to speak to either of them, but I’ll do that later. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: – V
Berra will of course tidy things up if she leaves. Helpful! – B
The scholar passes the deck, his gaze scans the horizon, but seems to linger on the mast and aft deck perhaps a bit more. From the crows nest Varanis watches when she thinks others are not looking.
Berra has a bit of the gingered pears, and some water, and after a while a bit of cheese…
He emerges from the cabin quite soon, with a small piece of board and roll of papyrus.
The Humakti is entirely unselfconscious, absorbed in watching the world.
He sets himself by the railing in the fore but it is clear to Varanis he does not get more than two or three words written.