Public — Danaril 1
1627, Sea Season
On the road from haunted mansion to Boldhome, Late Sea Season [[[s02 :session-39|Session 39]]]
On the road to Boldhome, Berra offers Danaril her bison, and puts Varanis at the front of the caravanacade.
She is oddly quiet, even her body language subdued.
If Varanis is surprised to be riding point again, she doesn’t show it.
Irillo cheerfully rides in the middle surrounded by free ablative meatshields. Or relatives and friends as others call them.
Xenofos looks at Berra and Danaril and accompanies Varanis at the front.
Rajar lets Vengance amble along at the rear. He seems happy with his own company. Occasionally you can hear him singing. Badly.
Those behind her will see that Berra keeps looking up to almost say something to Danaril, then not.
They are well away from the fox’s house when Berra finally says, “Yehna’s son is Haran. He’s had two Sacred Times so far.”
Danaril looks far to the distance. “So she… so you returned to Blue Tree…”
“It took a while. A few of us have come back.” She puts a hand on Followed’s neck, digging into the fur to scratch at the animal.
There is a long silence, before quiet question “Ami and Dannerb?”
“Living last I saw them. I’ve been busy. I went back a year ago. They were fine then, but I don’t always get news.”
He nods silently.
Berra pads along for a bit.
He looks at the head of his mount. “Did you… did you say Doa is alive?”
“If she’s the one I’m thinking of, she was last I knew. I met a friend who had been there a couple of weeks ago and she didn’t say anything. And Irillo might know – he was up close, at least.” Berra wrestles lovingly with one of Followed’s horns to get her to move away from the mule train she is edging towards.
The penitent looks forward. The scar over his right eye, countless wrinkles cut by expression of pain and hair shorn short make him look different from the dashing young warrior Berra once knew. But something familiar and recognizable remains.
“So…” she changes the subject, rather more awkwardly than she does around other people. “How clearly are you seeing me?”
After a pause he turns towards her. His left eye measures her “I see you have grown, Berra.”
“I got better with a sword than with a spear.” Berra looks up, walking backwards with confidence. “A lot’s happened. The Storm Bull behind you joined the clan. So did Thane Varanis, up front.”
If Berra is going over things that were already said last night, she does not seem to care. Apparently they are worth saying now.
Danaril nods and falls silent again. Left hand, with its three painfully crooked fingers brushes away errand raindrops from his face.
Berra checks to see if the bison skin coat Varanis lent him has a hood, walking alongside for a moment. “I have a lot to do in Boldhome. I probably won’t be able to come to the clan until the end of Fire Season. Probably.”
Danaril shrugs. “I don’t know if I can ever really return. But I want to see the tula again.”
“The horses are still about the same. A bit shorter now, from my point of view.” Berra walks on, infantry to the core.
“Tula may be the same…” comes a quiet reply.
“The river runs onward.” Maybe Berra is secretly a philosopher.
“The water never comes back…” Danaril comments “People are not the same…”
“Well, yeah. I got a water tattoo round my wrist, though. Janeth Minar’s always cold, no matter if he’s flooding. Some things change, some things move.” Berra takes that in stride.
“Cold…” he says quietly “I know cold…”
“Yeah. You probably met it. Warmer here. Getting towards Fire Season.” Berra’s habit of saying things as they occur to her seems suddenly like a strength.
The coat does have a hood. Berra stares at it for a while, like she is wondering if she should point it out.
“You know that you are still alive if you feel it… or the scalding gaze of Yelm.” Again looking at distance he continues. “Even if you curse it you just go on, one step at the time, one breath of air at the time.”
“Yeah?” Berra sounds as much interested as sympathetic – a little of both.
“Yeah…” He sounds and looks resigned.
Berra finally breaks. “You can pull your hood up, you know? On the coat.”
He nods slightly, but makes no effect to adjust his clothing.
Berra leaves that, and walks on. After a while, as is her habit, she breaks out the snack food. “You want a smoked apricot?”
“or beer” shouts Rajar from the rear
“Yeah. Rajar likes sharing beer.” Berra perks up.
He twitches when he sees food and his hand jerks as if to grab them, but he stops the movement.
Berra looks irritated, but hands over a couple of apricots. “Eat ’em for the flavour,” she says. “I’ll go grab you some beer.”
“Thank you. But I am not thirsty.”
“you do not drink beer for thirst” is bellowed from the rear guard
“He wants to look after you,” Berra says. “I’ve found it best to go along with that sort of thing. I can share with you. If you haven’t had beer for a while.” She looks torn between hopeful and desparate.
“A while… Years. I don’t know if I can handle it now.” he says quietly.
“I’ll get some for myself. You can have a bit.” Berra pulls her cup out of one of her bags and goes to get a fill-up.
It’s a light hoppy beer with a tang of apples.
“No vegetables, right?” Berra checks, as she takes her mini-sized cup.
“no. No vegetables. The beetroot beer Hengest tried to sell me was vile”
Berra chuckles, and walks back up the line, carrying her drink without spilling a drop, by adding a sway to her hips that might cause Xenofos to swallow his beard if he were not already in front of her, on watch.
Xenofos seems to be talking quietly with Varanis about something.
Berra catches up again, sips at her drink, and offers it up. “Just remember the taste. If you fall off the bison, we can pick you up again.”
He wets his lips and returns the cup.
Berra finishes most of the beer, maybe even all of it, handing it back up from time to time.
Berra can’t really tell if Danaril really drunk anything. But he stops the bison, slides down and is violently sick on the roadside.
Berra says, “Right,” to that. “You probably want to practice a bit more before someone hands you perry.” She is looking the other way, her expression wry.
He nods, looking pale and sweaty.
Berra pours out water from her skin, and gives him that when he is upright again.
He rinses his mouth and looks at Followed. “I can walk…”
“It’s the mules you gotta keep up with, not me. Easier.” Berra keeps herself on the left of Followed, so she can look out that way.
He looks resigned, nods and mounts up. Young Danaril would have jumped there with one hand on saddle. Today he struggles with both hands to get up.
Berra, who also jumps up with one hand on the saddle, does not offer to help.
After a bit longer, Berra digs in her saddle bags and hands him a couple of pouches. “That one’s apple, and that one’s jerky. Eat them both really slowly.”
He takes the pouches slowly and nods for a silent thanks. After that he holds them really tightly like he was afraid Berra was going to take them away.
Rajar watches this closely.
After a while he pulls Charity closer and rifles through his baggage.
Then he rides forward.
“You can loop them onto your belt,” Berra tells Danaril.
“I am also Blue Tree. Among other things. I would not have a fellow clansman be a liability on the trail. Here is an old fire maker, knife, bison skin robe and blanket. I have no need of them and you are of my adopted people.”
Danaril looks at Berra and Rajar opening up his panicky grip on the food. “Despicable… But memory of hunger lingers… Thank you, Storm Bull. I don’t know if I am alive to the clan anymore.”
Rajar shrugs ‘I may have adopted them but their soft green land ways still surprise me. You are alive. This is victory. I don’t care if you are dead to them. You live.’
He drinks and let’s vengeance slow to take the rear guard again
“You’re my family,” Berra says. “And you lived. He drinks each time he wakes after battle, to celebrate that. Take what’s given. We won’t take it from you.”
“I was your cousin, Berra. I was Blue Tree once. I don’t know if I am either of those things anymore…”
“they let me in” bellows a voice of the Storm Bull
He sags a bit on his mount. “Tree took me in once… But I gave up the Tree to live… Begged for it.”
“Cousin,” Berra says.
“Danaril of Blue Tree was your cousin…” he replies.
“I ain’t gonna argue with you,” Berra tells him. “Because you don’t argue with family. But if you want to, you should know I’ve got a habit of running my mouth off, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a toddler or the High Sword of Boldhome. S’gonna happen if you keep arguing.”
He shrugs. ” You mean well…”
“If you married out, you’d still be my family. That’s how clans work. Do I have to threaten you with more beer?” Berra grins up at Danaril, although she has to step away from the bison to do it.
He shakes his head. “I don’t think you understand, Berra. But how could you?”
“I don’t much care what you think you did. You’re my cousin.” She taps him lightly on the knee with her fist. “Keep trying to eat. You need it. And the water.”
“Your sympathy or kindness or opinion does not really change it Berra.” He shrugs. “Have you ever heard a Humakti explain separation?”
“When I asked you about my eyesight I was wondering if you’d seen my Runes,” Berra says happily. “Interesting thing about being a Humakti – sometimes people think I’m too small to fight, or that I’ll back down.”
“You should know then, that there are… that you can be torn apart even from your clan… I live, but my soul belongs to Redeemer now.” Danaril says, looking at the track.
“Yehuh.” Berra does not argue, which lasts for all of a dozen heartbeats. “Not saying you’re wrong. Saying Sartar’s stronger than that.”
He shakes his head, but does not answer in words.
Berra talks with his cousin who was released from Lunar penitentiary.