Public — Trek To The Camp
????, Fire Season, Season/Movement Week
Fire Season/Movement Week/Wild Day/ [[[s02:session-44|Session 44]]]
Dawn breaks the next day… The guards at the Humakti Temple open the gates, and one yawns a little as he takes up his post. Berra, with a couple of bisons already saddled up, looks out to see who is there.
Xenofos is there on horseback, leading his new mount as a spare.
“Heya.” Berra leans out of the gate to wave. “Can you take my bisons up for a bit? You can’t lose the road but I need to run into the city. I won’t be long.” She is wearing her actual clothes, not even padding, and she looks particularly tiny.
Rajar is there with Calamity and Vengeance. He’s looking quite happy to be out on the road again and non the worse for large amounts of food and drink while in town.
Berra brings the bison out, and they do not particularly misbehave. “Hey, Rajar. The Feathered Death named his bison. It’s called Bithon.”
Rajar repeats the name to himself a few times as though imprinting it in his memory. He smiles. “It is good that he has a proper mount”
“Yeah. Although I think he has to stand on a box to saddle up.” Bithon is in a harness, but without the duck saddle attached. He looms over the other bison easily, waiting with patience for the next thing to happen.
“perhaps a little leather ladder hanging off the saddle” muses Rajar
“It’s getting the saddle over that’s got to be a problem.” Berra looks up at Bithon’s back. The beast is taller at the shoulder than she is to the top of her head. “He just takes it slowly, I think. Mounting’s less of a problem. Bisons are easy to climb.”
“Right. Road northwards and you’ll catch us on the way, little cousin?” Scholar asks looking at the street meandering around the palace hill.
Berra points up towards the north gate. “There’s only one road. It bends a bit West then keeps going. Just follow it. Rajar knows the way, anyhow. But really, you can’t get lost unless you climb the mountains and if you do, that went wrong.” Berra switches her attention from the scribe to the Storm Bull, handing over the lead to Followed. Bithon is already attached to Followed’s harness.
Xenofos looks up towards the royal palace, turns his horse and starts riding towards the northern gate at the end of the narrow valley.
Berra sets off at a run into the city. At that pace, she will catch up soon. Indeed, anyone looking back from the top of the ramp that leads to the gate will be able to see a tiny figure, in motion, passing by those who are walking up the road in the early light. Her armour is already loaded onto Followed, with the bronze helmet placed so that the feather will not be crushed. She could be a child, but for the baldric and sword.
She stops briefly for an argument with a group of people heading into town from the mansions along the road, or perhaps the gate itself, and then the cavalcade gets to go through the gate, and she is lost. At least she was moving again by that point.
When Berra catches up, and has caught her breath, she talks to Xenofos for a while, and makes sure to ride with everyone in turn. Over the course of the day she gradually changes out her morning’s clothes for padding, adds greaves, and finally gets into her full armour, riding light during the heat of the day.
Bithon behaves himself, but his presence does seem to have made Followed skittish, so Berra does a lot of walking until they get to know each other better.
Rajar wears full armour all day. He does stop quite often to splash cold water over himself and let the Bison drink a little. He seems to regard all the flowing streams of Sartar as a source of great amusement. He even drinks some. Mostly however he seems intent on finishing the kumis and cows blood mixture he bought in the city.
Berra has water, and regards the streams with ire, after dipping her hand into one to test the temperature. She just refills her water-skin and does not splash herself. She does, however, mutter something about ducks having feathers to deal with this.
Yelm travels slowly over the travellers and is setting behind the mountain range they have passed as the ground starts to open up. A faint smell of smoke can be felt in the evening breeze.
Berra, by now in full armour, grunts to Rajar, and stretches on Followed, making sure that her swords are looking good, and loose in their scabbards. “Women to the front,” she says; the number of women and the small size of the group do not seem to have occurred to her.
Xenofos looks at Berra “We are approaching the site you mentioned?”
“Yeah, this is the place.” Berra jerks her thumb over her shoulder. “Nala holed up back there, and we’re about to hit where we were in the road, trying to stay to block it, and Rajar got shot. And then we’ll pass where Billy got shot. There was a lot of shooting.” She looks ahead to where the mountains fall away, and tries – and fails – to get Followed to speed up.
Berra nods to the high ground, on the left, lifting a hand in greeting.
The ground is opening up. On the left the ground is broken,with large boulders scattered around and in the front the opens up to a wide clearing.
The clearing – a meadow – goes on for some time. 1 Young and impressionable women totally unsuited for a life in a nunnery might well spin happily here, to the sound of music.
Now you can see that further on the meadow there is a large group of people scattered around. Of immediate concern might be a group of maybe dozen riders apporaching you on the road.
Berra rides forward, lifting a hand. “Hail, Esrolians,” she says in Esrolian.
“Greetings, Praxian.” Answers a redheaded woman with a boartooth helmet. “Who are you?”
“Berra, Jarang’s Daughter. Colymar Tribe.” She smiles widely. “But I see how you might have got there.”
Group of riders consists of four readheaded women and eight men. All mounted, carrying shields and javelins and relatively light armour. Array of feathers, crests and gleaming bronze is impressive. Some of the equipment and details of horsetack may be gilded.
“Aranda, of House Norinel.” the woman answers looking at the rest of the group questioningly.
“Lord Xenofos has a message from Lady Varanis,” Berra says, gesturing with the same hand – the left – that she used for her greeting, to indicate the Lord.
Rajar smiles reassuringly and keeps everyone in line of sight
Xenofos nods, looking at the troop.
There is some audible stir from the troop now. Words Lhankor Mhy and Lightbringer can be heard.2 dice told Berra was not recognized, but Xenofos was whichis absurd, but a bit amusing
Berra grins, slightly more compressed this time, but still with an air of general amusement. “Wanna ride in and warn the regiment, or shall we all go in together?”
“You can come with us to the camp.” Aranda answers with a polite smile. She whips her horse to an abrupt turn and rides downhill. Rest of the troop follow suit. There are nods and smiles as greetings. For those who make as their insight That woman is annoyed about something. For those passing their ride wow, she almost fell and made the horse fall when she made the horse turn so fast…. 3 Traditional Vingan/Varanian horsewomanship in action .
Berra gives smiles and nods in return, and lets Followed plod on. She tries to stand on her saddle while in motion, gets to the point where she has to commit to it, and looks down at Followed and back at Bithon, and decides no. Scouting and looking will have to happen later.
Xenofos gives the riders, especially the men, appraising look as they pass.
After a while he gives his mount a bit spurring and rides alongside Berra, overtaking her by a length of a horsehead.
“Er?” Berra looks at him. “Yeah?”
He looks at her and nods. “Orders…”
“Gotcha.” Berra moves Followed smoothly out of the way, checks where Rajar is, and slots in on the other side, a minor, tiny menace.
As the meadow opens up before the group they can see a large group of people gathered in there, mainly just lounging around fires. On the right side of the road there is an old stead, well known to Berra, Rajar and Nala. Close to that there is a small herd of horses and couple of cows. On other side of road there is a single tent and several campfires. In the front of the tent has been erected a pole from which flies a huge green banner with Vinga in her radiant splendor.
Less people then there are in the Straw weaver clan. No yurts or other tents, bar that one.
And the herd is not very big.
Berra looks around, and is obviously working on judging the campsite, the fires, the soldiers. Her judgement is hard to make out on her face – whether she is impressed or not, she stays neutral rather than showing anything.
Rajar has a far off look in his eyes. You can almost hear the sound of the bison charge overrunning the camp. Almost.
For professional opinion they had pickets and you were met by a patrol. Likely other guards at the stead. No close perimeter like a fence. They could rely on the structures of the stead. No real order on how fires are spread.
Berra slows Followed down a bit, and then gives the compact and bijou bison free rein again.
A small distance from the stead someone is holding a cow still, while another man hits it in the head with a maul. Third one gives it a quick poke with a knife and it is hoisted up from its hindlegs to a rickety affair. A line of men rush to the site to get something.
Rajar observes their dress and clothing.
Listen with some skills in Esrolian will yield the following shouted by the butcher an partly carried by the breeze. “Come get the blood before it all flows to ground, no pudding without a vat or cauldrons!!”
Some of the men in line have tunics and light armour. Some are dressed in just Esrolian kilts.
They are scooping blood to small bowls, mugs or just their hands. And drinking it which leaves some faces a bit tarnished.
Berra hisses. <<They… not hu… waha have,>> she tells Rajar, her Praxian in error as far as word order goes.
Rajar looks a little puzzled and there’s a hint of a frown.
<< Blood, no… kumis?… no. Um.>> The ‘um’ is very definitely Sartarite, or else she just called him something exceedingly rude but technically impossible.
More Esrolian as you approach, from the man opening the animal and cutting it into chunks. “Come on now, it will go to waste if you don’t get it now. Now bloody cauldrons, no bloody salt so it will need to be grilled right now and if anything is left smoked right now.”
Berra wets her finger in her mouth and holds it up to the wind, squinting at the smoke from the fires, and then looking back at the animals who are being subjected to the sight of slaughter.
“These are blue tree herd, no?” asks Rajar of Berra
Smoke is coming towards you, but away from the small herd by the stead.(muokattu)
“The people?” Berra looks at them. “Or the cows? We don’t keep cows – too big. We keep horses. They’re tougher.”
It is pretty clear Berra does not get the context behind the question.
Rajar looks relieved. “that’s good”
Xenofos looks quizzically at Berra “What would he need a cauldron for, when butchering an animal?”
“Two things,” Berra replies, in Heortling. “Blood – you can see they’re drinking it, so they…” She looks to their escorts, and goes on. “They’re good at the bits they know about, but they don’t have a logistics line. Yet.”
Xenofos looks at Berra with a look of one who is straining to understand.
“Hungry,” Berra half-whispers to him. “And no servants.”
“blood is tasty. I was more concerned they were slaughtering the blue tree heard without permission. Which would have been a mistake”
“Blue Tree’s over a few more mountains.” Berra waves her hand in the correct direction, give or take a few hours of walking.
“As long as they aren’t raiding the Princes allies”
“Lord Eril says they are feeding themselves,” Berra says out loud. And to Rajar – and therefore anyone else who is looking directly at her, she mouths, ‘badly’.
One of the redheaded women gives Berra a sharp look, but does not comment.
It does not take escorts or the heroes very long to come close to the stead. Escorts dismount here and suggest you do the same.
Rajar swings off Vengeance and pulls his best axe off Vengeance.
They lead you toward a cluster of people around one of the fires, not engaged in cooking small bits of flesh on makeshift spits.
Berra walks as directed, stretching as she looks about her.
Sounds of Esrolian chatter surround you. Young men are trying to cook strips and chunks of bloody meat in various ways. About half look like boys of the city militias, other half in their kilts more like rural folk. In the cluster you are approaching men are better dressed, amount of plumes higher and there are some women in the mix. Some redheaded like your escorts, some carrying axes.
Way is made for you and Aranda announces your arrival. “Words from Varanis at last! Carried by this man! Xenofos.”
A woman not much taller then Berra, not in armour greets you. “Welcome. We have expected to hear from her.” Those who met her way back will recognize Lenta Hulta.
“welcome to you, expendible troops in a foreign land” Rajar bellows.
Berra grins. Everyone looking is probably going to be able to tell that this is genuine. Lenta gets a pleased look, and a tiny bow of greeting.
Lenta tilts her head a bit at Rajar and nods to Berra.
Several of the ladies around the fire seem to carry runes of Earth, Death and variety of axes. One flanking Lenta has adorned herself with three cut off hands, one of which seems to be quite fresh.4 Berra pass I R BERRA, Rajar
Xenofos nods to Lenta. “Greetings Lenta Hulta. I do bring words from Varanis. To the whole of this outfit .”
“all of us expendables” clarifies Rajar
“All of us?” Lenta asks.
“Spit it out man” Aranda barks.
“Varanis’ words were for all of you” Xenofos answers to Lenta.5 Insight human or intrigue will tell stuff about people around the fire Aranda was furious. Lenta was looking around the fire to see opinion of several people. Axewomen were slightly amused. well clad men seem intrigued, and perhaps a bit amused,
After a while a young man with ridiculous thin moustache and a light mace in his hand steps forward. “If it is for all, we should call everyone around so they can hear, should we not? ” He is looking at Lenta for confirmation, armed women are smirking. So are some of the men.
Berra says, “Let the leadership know first,” to him. “Then they can let the troops know the news according to their wish, and so can we.”
“Yes, just because you carry that mace today don’t try to tell us what to do or not Irillo!” barks the axe lady close to Lenta making the man flinch.
Axe ladies look pleased. Redheads less so.
Xenofos shakes his head. “You can tell them if you think that is proper, Berra. But Varanis’ words should be heard by all. I think that is what she wanted.”
Berra shrugs, like she is fine with being over-ruled.
“Shut up when the women are talking.” Aranda orders.
Berra relaxes, looks up to a spot someone slightly above Lenta’s head, and says, “He’s speaking for Varanis,” in a peaceful tone.
Aranda gives Berra a venomous look.
The man with the mace clears his throat and shows the mace. “We did agree that command alternates and it is my day today, starting from Yelmset… If her words are for all everyone should hear them.” He looks at Lenta and Berra in turn.
Berra gives Lenta a broad smile, like she finds that entirely reasonable.
There is some nodding and murmurs of agreement from around the fire. 6 Axeladies are not quite as amused now. Aranda continues to be angry. Nodding and agreements come from the men around the fire. And an almost inperceptible from Lenta
“It is getting dark” another man notes “and people are preparing food. It might be better to gather everyone up in the morning?”
“Now, if you weren’t part of the decision making process, you don’t get to suggest.” Berra gives him a polite, but mirthless, smile. Certainly it’s a move of the lips. “You can leave people by the fires, or you can tell them to pause. This is more important.” She does not sound angry, but more like she is explaining a fact to someone simple.
Rajar laughs loudly and smashes in the top of a small keg of beer.
“Yes, Kesten shut up when women are talking.” shouts one of the axe-maidens “You men are getting uppity.”
Now, Berra stays politely, mildly silent. Her only read is that she looks back over Lenta’s head again.
“You should not try to shout him down Oralartha.” Lenta says gently and turns towards the little Humakti “Thing is, Berra, he is one of the people making decisions here even if he does not carry the baton today.”
“Yeah. But not today.” She turns to look at Kesten, and the man with the mace. To Kesten she says, “That sort of suggestion belongs before or after this discussion, but not in it. It’s a good point, but not for now, because someone in charge gets to be in charge.” Her voice is a little gentler now, less for a simple person and more trying to put a point across in a discussion.
“It would probably take a while to get them gathered up?” man with the baton says. “And they would be quite irritated if we don’t let them eat?”
“Well, looks like we need signalling equipment, then. But while they’re eating, the word goes round, and we work you – you work out – which fires we’re gathering round. That works, does all you want, and gets the word out fast.” Berra stays good-natured, at least outwardly.
“It will be harder for the envoy to make his speech in the dark. Even if he himself is lit by a bonfire.”Notes a third man. “No offence, just observation.”
There is a small nod from Lenta.
Xenofos is stroking his beard thoughtfully.
“Yeah, but we’re going to want to be working tonight, and that’s better if everyone’s heard – or knows the content of it. We can repeat it tomorrow, if anyone feels they missed out.” Berra lets a challenging note creep in only at the end.
Xenofos taps Berra on the arm and says quietly “The man does have a point Berra. I would rather see people I am talking to properly? “
Berra looks up at Xenofos. “Sure. I’ll explain later.” And so she backs down.
Irillo, the man with the baton looks relieved. “We’ll gather… gather. Before the banner right after Yelmrise? … And spread the word now so everyone will know where they need to be? And that Varanis has sent word.” He looks for Berra after giving out his instructions.7 Insight,scan or intrigue he was kind of lost and looking for directions and got them from Lenta who looked at gathering point.
Berra bows to him. “And with your permission, I’m going to walk the camp tonight, see how it is.”
Irillo returns a salute with his baton. “Naturally you have permission.”
Rajar fill a very large drinking mug from the barrel, gestures to the fire to help themselves and then stands up and hefts his axe over one shoulder
Berra settles back with a big grin, and then looks to the others. “Want to go walk?” she asks.
“Yes. I have never seen a camp of the southerners on the march. It will be interesting and a tale to tell my people. In detail”
“Good. I’m sure you’ll have a lot of questions. I do.” Berra glances at Xenofos as well.
Lenta looks over the fire and asks with a smile “Once you have made your walk,may I offer my hospitality?”
Berra looks to Xenofos. “I’m going to be moving about late, mid, and early, but hospitality’s good. How do I put that in Esrolian?”
We accept your hospitality?” He answers. He looks a tad green in the torchlight.
“We accept your hospitality,” Berra says, not quite beaming.
She tilts her head towards the tent. “You’ll find me in the tent. Have you eaten?”
“Not this evening, but if I’m not about, Rajar can eat mine.” Berra answers.
Berra, Xenofos and Rajar make the trek to the Esrolian camp.