In the Bag

Mellia — In Bag



Season/Week/Day/Time and Notable Context. [[[s01:session-30|Session 30]]]


There’s a familiar clap outside Mellia’s door. It’s not so much the clap as the accompanying foot-shift noises as Berra pauses and tries to put on the patience to be outside someone’s room and unmoving that give her away. The shuffle-dance of a bouncy Humakti is very particular.

Mellia answers the door. Her white robe is spotless, but her hair looks a little damp. “Hello, Berra. Want to come in, go down to dinner, hustle me off to a patient?”

Berra smiles. “In, please. I’m probably going to go run for a bit later. I had a honey cake and it was horribly sweet. I don’t want to eat for a while.” She has a bulging backpack over her shoulder.

Mellia opens the door wide enough for Berra to enter the room. There are two chairs, a table and a bed. “I’ll have to try the honey cakes later.”

Berra walks in and flops into a chair. “How can I stop someone from … wait, that wasn’t the question. Although I suppose it’s on my mind. Is there a way to stop someone from talking to me if I have to be polite to them and can’t say go away?”

Mellia closes the door and frowns in thought. “Did you try pleading an appointment – no, that’s a lie and won’t work for you.”

Berra sighs. “I did say I needed to go home and organise private things – so now I’m here organising private things. Although if there is a way to stop people from loving people, that’s probably not a thing you’d know, so I won’t ask.”

Mellia sits down, still looking thoughtful. “That question might be better answered by a priestess of Uleria.”

“That is a good point. I could ask, although we’re getting away from things I could do and into things I want to know. You’re… going to the Blue Tree Clan, right? Are you staying in Boldhome for a while?”

“Yes, I am. I need to learn things before I take responsibility for a temple.”

Berra looks faintly hopeful. “I wanted to send some things home. How long are you planning…. No, better. What are your plans for the season?”

Mellia replies, “I’m planning to learn, then go to Blue Tree and get the temple started. I’d like the temple built by Dark Season.”

Berra nods. “Can I send some things to Yehna and Haran? I got him a tooth ring.” Some months too early. “And a thing that rattles when you shake it.”

Mellia smiles. “Of course! I’ll be glad to bring some things to Yehna and Haran.”

Berra picks up the backpack. “If you’re stopping at Boldhome, I’ll take care of things until then. I got a knife for Dostiarag as well, because I’ve seen his and it’s… it’s a farmer’s thing. He doesn’t really understand bronze edges, or he can’t afford good bronze. Yehna’s getting spices and good wool. I won’t subject you to it all.”

Mellia’s smile grows brighter. “That’s wonderful of you, Berra!”

Berra leans on the table, casually draping herself over an elbow. “They are my family. And I had a dream about protecting the Temple, but I forgot it. I think it was something about Dangerford, which is only a day away.”

Mellia’s smile fades a bit. “If you remember the dream at all, it is probably important. What is Dangerford like?”

“It’s the city with the rope ford outside it,” she says. “And the ferry.” It’s definitely a Heortling definition of city, not a Nochet one. “But letting the rulers know what you are going to do and inviting them to help defend it would be a good idea, I think. Maybe that was it? I think I dreamed there was trouble because you did not ask first, but perhaps that was my spirit trying to warn me to remember.”

“I shall certainly go speak to the rulers of Dangerford,” Mellia says. “Will you go with me to do that?”

Berra considers. “I need to give Fire Season to the Temple,” she says. “Maybe after there’s been a decisive battle, but even then, keeping the edges of a war clean is hard. There will be deserters and bandits.” She looks like she wants to, but is torn by being unable to.

“Then I’ll ask Irillo. He may be planning to go to Dangerford anyway. I imagine Fire Season is when he does most of his traveling.”

“He was making noises about going South, I think. I wouldn’t ask a… are you planning to walk into a war zone in Fire Season, Mellia?” Berra suddenly blinks.

“I was hoping to avoid that, but if anyone will be safe, I will be. It’s that or go to Dangerford right now. I think it would be best to ask before construction starts.” Mellia’s faith in her goddess can be frightening at times.

Berra’s faith in Mellia’s goddess is equally so. “There could be accidents,” she points out. “But if you go now, you can get up to Dangerford, get back down to Boldhome – and not have consulted with your temple at all. So later. And maybe march behind the army so you don’t go into a Lunar area by accident.”

Mellia says, “That sounds like an excellent plan. I will do that. I’d been talking to the shrine in Clearwine about the temple, of course, but I need to sit down with Beneva while here in Boldhome.”

“It’s going to be a good thing. The village needs peace, and a Temple like that, even in troubled times, will be what it requires.”

“I hope so,” Mellia says. “I hope the folk from Green Fish can make it all the way to the temple. Surely peaceful visits from them will foster peace between the clans.”

“They will come. That path will widen, and maybe Sartar’s ties will strengthen with it.” Berra unflops herself from the table, all grace as she does.

“I hope so, I really do. About when should I leave for Dangerford?”

Berra considers. “Are you going with Varanis? I don’t want to leave her without escort on the road, from now on. She’s of the Blood of Sartar, and there is not much of that left any more. We have one more thing to try here, I think. Did she tell you about talking to Torograi Bird-Charmer? The bard?”

“No, she didn’t. “

“Ask her about that, then. Not that I don’t want to tell you myself, but unless she tells me that her secrets are all yours, my tongue should be in the prison of my teeth.”

“Of course, of course. That reminds me. If all of you are going to go berserk at practice, I should be there. Accidents are too likely to happen if Rajar summons his holy rage again.”

“He wouldn’t… oh, that wasn’t the Storm Bull’s Breath! That was just Rajar. But you’re right, we shouldn’t spar with him when he fights. We’re thinking about different things. We were thinking about getting better and he was thinking about winning. I mean, we were trying to win as well, but not like that.”

Mellia nods. “And if you fear for the Royal Blood of Sartar, Varanis had better be escorted around here. She was almost too tired to move after practice today.”

Berra sighs. “I was… I was thinking it should be too soon to get an attack together on her, but if there was an attack ready to go, it could be moved here, maybe. And people know about her now.”

“They do indeed. I suppose it all depends on who is willing to spend what on assassins.”

Berra repeats the sigh, deeper and larger. “We know what Onjur was willing to spend… do you know why your family kept Irillo dead? Why did they have the funeral?”

“To keep him and that assassin safe, so we could rescue the assassin’s family, I thought. The longer Irillo is believed to be dead, the safer he will be. We can’t do that with Varanis.”

“But he can’t live. We chased Onjur away. And it’s a lie.” Berra Humakti has a very deep sullen look and deploys most of its depth now.

Mellia sighs. “Assassination is a nasty business. I don’t know whether you should talk to Irillo about this or talk to Grandmother Saiciae.”

“I guess they must have talked already. And if he goes back home, he’ll get… you could go back that way. And go to the Temple in Nochet.” She pronounces it the Heortling way. “But you’d have to have someone else start the building.”

“I don’t know who to delegate the building to,” Mellia points out. “And the new temple will not be in Esrolia. No, I need to see the rulers of Dangerford and Beneva.”

“Yes. I think you’re right. And maybe we should ask Varanis about… about being escorted. But the thing is, it’s really hard to live with other people all the time. She needs freedom too.”

“She does, but she also needs to stay alive. We should talk to her about that, though.”

“About options, and when she is likely to be in danger, and Humakti bodyguards.” Berra looks a little tired by that notion, or maybe like something is distracting her.

“Humakti are going to be expensive,” Mellia says, “they aren’t all you. You would know better than I, probably, when Varanis would be in the most danger. You look tired, Berra. Have you been taking time for yourself?”

“Yes, but not for the past couple of days, and I ran into that person I could not politely shake off, and I just started thinking about who to talk to in the Temple of Humakt. I got to ‘try Tennebris instead’.”

“We should leave here soon, then. You do need to rest, Berra.”

Berra nods, as she stands up. “A quick run. Down the hill and up a few times, before I sleep. You could talk to Varanis about Torograi. Ask her to unbind my tongue.”

“I will do that. Take care, Berra.” Mellia gets to her feet.

Berra gives Mellia a deep, genuine smile, her mood switching instantly to happiness. “Thank you.” She scoops up her backpack and gets away.