1628, Sacred Time, Fate Week, Fireday.
Mellia was married 3 days before the end of Sacred Time, and Berra was really twitchy and quiet. She did not turn up for a party the next day, and Serala has decided she will talk to Lord Raven. Session SA3.13.
It is Fireday of Fate Week. Yesterday Berra was at a wedding, obviously happy to be there – some of the time. Some of the time she just seemed absent.
Today at the Temple of Humakt, Death Kills Fire. A golden-armoured man is waiting in the Temple Courtyard, silent. Around him, in a ring, are eight others.
Serala can have access to the Temple, as a lay member, but she should probably not aid Yelm in this. Grim warriors wait nearby, and at least some of them are there just for this sort of admin and minor messages.
Golden armour. Serala manages to avoid peering to see if there is also a ritual pole inserted anywhere. She’s going to see her friend.1friends? Does Lord Raven count? and she doesn’t particularly want to draw attention to herself here. It is Eril’s world after all, and she is likely to stay in a bad mood with him for some significant time. And knows she’s also best keeping that fact to herself when in HumaktLand.
She meanders, all inconspicious-like, in the direction of the admin-types. Although she does have half an eye on the nice chap in the middle, openly wondering what’s going on. She’s actually not all that inconspicious, with the casual look amongst all these oh-so-grim dealthy types, but she’s trying, at least.
Not just a stick, but an entire throne. That man is on fire. Or at least, his armour flickers with flame from time to time. That would be Yelm, or some representation of the fire.
If everyone is lucky, someone has put the Luminous Stallion King in there, and there will be an unfortunate accident.
The grim administrators of Humakt perk up a little as Serala gets close, exactly like they are pretending not to be bored, and she is interesting. Exactly like that.[/footnote]
The planets are moving, probably dancing… and one of Serala’s co-worshippers comes to bow to her. His name is… Uh…..2Serala passes INTx5. Darl Fumbles his.
Darl. This is one of the first worshippers that Eril and the Wyter had, although not the one who is most important within the tiny cult.
“Lady Grandiraa,” he says. “Welcome.”
Serala blinks. Now she’s in a quandry. Is it better to correct him now and risk embarrassing him in front of his Templemates, or just go with it and hope that no-one gets more embarrassed. More to the point, who is Lady Grandiraa, and if she goes along with it is she going to find herself out of her depth. Ah, Elmal take it. “Darl” she agrees cheerfully. “Yes, lovely to see you, if you could just take me along to Berra that would be lovely…”
Darl repeats the bow, and steps into the Temple. “Lord Raven has asked that she be left in peace, and if he can meet you in her stead. He is on the altar, she in her room.”
Serala narrows her eyes at that. It’s Berra she came to see. “Hmm.” A sound that Serala is good at making, a non-committal grunt that clearly signals displeasure with the situation. Caring for other’s embarrassment be damned, “And they know it is Thane Serala of Apple Lane, daughter of Gillae of the White Hazel, that wishes to visit her companion in arms?” she asks clearly.
Darl looks at her, and for a moment he goldfishes. “Uh… sorry.” He gestures down the right passage from the lay members’ hall that they are crossing. Up towards Berra’s room.
The whole place is lit up, for Fireday.
“Of course, if Lord Raven would like to pop by, it’s always delightful to see him.” Serala has completely given up on pretending to be the village idiot now, it would seem – she has a short attention span today, it would appear. “You’re a good man, Darl. Just work on that attention to detail a little..”
“It’s been a long Sacred Time,” he says. “What did I call you?”
“Who is Lady Grandiraa?” Serala wonders, before she continues down the corridor. She either knows the way or is doing an impressive job of faking it. “And how are matters here? Are the numbers of Lord Raven’s followers increasing?”
“A visiting dignitary,” Darl says. “From Swenstown, out towards Prax. Here for some other reason than Lady Berra. We are a small cult, but increasing, all the faster now that our Lady is recovered.”3Serala goes Pffft to Insight rolls, having failed one.
Serala inclines her head, clearly not quite so convinced of Berra’s recovery, but heads on anyhow. Reaching the door of the room, she taps on it lightly. If there is an answer, she will open it and go in. If there is not, she will open it anyhow, but just peek inside, not wanting to wake the Humakti if she is sleeping.
As they get there, all the lights go out in the Temple at once. Such timing!
“Yelm is dead,” Berra’s voice calls. “Uh…. Come in?”
“Yelm is dead,” Darl murmurs.
Yelm is, presumably, meant to be dead, being as people were clearly prancing around in the throes of rituals.. Serala’s hand twitches, as though she is going to start conjuring up some light, but she manages to control herself. Although only just. The Yelmalian is well used to the darkness of the plains, but the darkness of a building interior is, to her, frankly creepy. She comes in swiftly, and ‘casually’ leans against a wall, glad to keep something at her back. “Just me.” She speaks in a voice that is impressively free from wobble. “You vanished on us. And I dislike it when you do that.”
“Come in,” Berra repeats. Darl moves aside the heavy hide that acts as a door – Sartarites who are either traditional or ascetic do that.
There is some light in the room, enough to see that Berra is sitting as if meditating, by her bed. She has two armour stands, and two sword stands, and a bed, in a room large enough to set up a tent and stable two horses.
The muted light from outside filters under another hanging hide from the next room – this one has no windows.
In the dimness Berra looks like a pale ghost.
“So. Party. Beer. Friends. All that good stuff.” Serala lifts her eyebrows quizzically, if you could but see it in the darkness. “And yet you’re here, skulking. Yes, skulking is exactly the word.” She peels herself away from the wall and goes to plonk herself down opposite Berra, studying her thoughtfully. “Is Raven running you ragged? If so, I’ll have words with him. He doesn’t scare me.” Possibly only because he hasn’t tried to scare anyone yet, but we’ll move swiftly past that point.
Serala’s voice grows a little more gentle, “You’re missed, you know. We worry for you. And apparently with reason.”
Berra is sometimes a dam that burst and floods words out, sometimes a frozen river. Today, sluggish and quiet. “Hello,” she says with a tired smile. “I was going to take Lord Raven, but he said I needed rest. I probably do.” Honesty catches up with her.
Serala can’t really argue with that, looking at her friend. “If he didn’t tire you out, you’d have enough energy to let your friends look after you once in a while.” she points out, entirely reasonably4in her view. “”You don’t exactly look like you’re resting. You look like you’re..” she already used skulking. “…sitting in the dark, all alone.” She’s clearly not impressed with her own turn of phrase, but it’s the best she can do right now.
“If I leave you alone, will you actually rest?” she wonders. “What has got you so tired anyhow? Is it him? Or is there something else?”
“It’s restful here,” Berra says. “And the lights are going to be alive again soon.” She untangles herself to stand. As well as small and muscular, she is impressively flexible, so the full lotus position is an easy habit for her. “I’m not sure I can talk about things, but… well, it’s Sacred Time…” she waves her hands like she thinks that means something. Maybe it does; the time is notorious for requiring power and control.
“I can make light for you.” Serala points out. “I thought it might be discourteous though.” She stays put, watching Berra as she moves, “Finarvi and I will be travelling again soon. We have work to do. Roads to walk. I didn’t want to just leave; who knows when we will meet again.”
“Light is fine. It’s not fire.” Berra stands on tiptoe to stretch into the position of Truth for a moment. “Yeah. Thank you for coming. How’s the tiny one?” Just for a moment she is a soppy aunt, glancing at Serala’s belly.
Serala relaxes as she closes her eyes for a moment, and then light blooms into the room, centered on the Yelmalian. No fire here, just cold light, and the slight tension visibly drains from her with it. “He, or she, seems perfectly content and secure. They will be well travelled even before they see this world for the first time. I choose to see that as a positive thing.” Her hand rests briefly on her stomach. “I will be back well before then, I hope. Varanis would probably be irritated if I was away so long that she didn’t at least get to say hello before I send them to the Grazelands. Maybe this one will be the Shaman heir that Grandfather wants so badly. Time will tell, I suppose.”
It would of course be cruel to point out Berra’s height in answer.
- 1friends? Does Lord Raven count?
- 2Serala passes INTx5. Darl Fumbles his.
- 3Serala goes Pffft to Insight rolls, having failed one.
- 4in her view