Visitor from Blue Tree

1628, Early Fire Season


At the house in Boldhome, still waiting for Irillo’s arrival. Session 9 (Going Fourth About Midnight).


It’s another warm day, although the clouds and the feeling of heavy pressure promise a thunderstorm soon. Varanis’ sense for such things tell her that it is not due yet, just getting ready. Irillo is due soon, maybe today, and Berra put on good clothes, took a single sword with her, and went out unarmoured. In the early afternoon there is a knock at the door. The door keeper reports to Varanis, “The Humakti’s brother is here.”

Varanis looks perplexed. “Brother? Uh…” She glances about, but the room is devoid of any others. “Fine. Let me welcome him then.”

It is Mehrim, looking slightly nervous. “Thane,” he says with a bow. “I am here to speak with my intended-sister.”1Varanis was briefly worried about a threat, but has relaxed on seeing who it is.

The Vingan’s polite expression turns to one of warm welcome. “Of course. She’s out at the moment, but has been returning to the house regularly. Would you care for a meal? Something to drink?” She welcomes him as kin, as if the marriage has already be performed.2A dice roll, for the hell of it: Customs – failed. She might not fully understand the nuances about kinship and welcome in this particular case.

“I would be honoured and delighted,” he says, and produces a small bundle that was held in a hand. “A small gift for your kitchen.” By the size and weight of it, it must be spices.

Varanis smiles and guides him in. “Table at the floor,” she offers, “or a bench by the fire?”

“A fire would be too much for me after the fire outside,” he says. “Yelm has been too kind.”3GM asks for Varanis’ Insight Human score and then makes lalalala noices. Now Varanis’ player is dead curious about what went on there.

She points him in the direction of the table and vanishes into the kitchen briefly. When she returns she says, “There will be food and drink soon. May I ask what brings you here? Is Yehna well? The children?”

“Yehna is very well,” he says, and bursts out with it. “I’m going to be a father!”

Varanis blinks. “Congratulations!” she exclaims. A servant appears with a jug of beer and platter of food. Varanis accepts the food but waves the beer away, saying “Wine, please. Our cousin’s news requires wine instead. Clearwine, I think, from the cold room.”

Mehrim looks pleased. “Yehna wants her sister to know,” he says. “I … I suppose the exile is going to be a sore point with her?”

The Vingan winces. “It already is. I don’t suppose you want to move here for a while, when Yehna’s time comes closer? To be honest, we have to be on the road in the coming season or two. I’m not sure how long we’ll be. But when we return, I know Berra will want to see her sister.”

Mehrim considers it. “That might be a good solution. We’re wanting to get married, and that would be in the Blue Tree, but perhaps Yehna would come here for the winter again.”

Varanis begins to swear in several languages. “Maybe Leika will let her attend her sister’s wedding. An exception for this one thing.”4Varanis subsequently wrote Leika to ask about it.

The Clearwine arrives. Mehrim asks, “Could I have some water as well?” of the servant. He has not touched the food yet.

Water is delivered in a clay jug, similar in form to that which held the beer.

Mehrim takes a long drink of that, and relaxes a little. “If Yehna was here in the winter, maybe -” There is a sound as the door opens. “Berra would mind less?” And Berra’s voice calls, “HEYAAAaaaa…” because she is home and everyone has to know.

“Berra! Look who is here? Come, join us for food and wine and Mehrim can tell you his news.”

Berra does what Mehrim did, looking for the water first, and ignoring the good wine. Mehrim rolls up a bit of flat bread. “Your sister’s carrying my child,” he says. Berra just about manages to keep from spilling the water she is pouring.

“Congratulations, Berra! You’ll be an aunt again!” Varanis beams, but her smile covers worry and sadness.5Dice roll: Rolled insight for Berra about Varanis and got a 3. Hiding nothing here.

Berra looks happy and ignorant of subtext. “That is wonderful,” she tells Mehrim. “Do you know if you’ll have a boy or a girl? Is Yehna eating Air foods or Earth foods? Last time she says she craved fish and had to drink sheep milk. She thought she might end up with a Voriof.”

“Wait… is that why everyone was paying such close attention to what I ate once the news was out?” Varanis rolls her eyes. “Why didn’t anyone say anything?”

Berra blinks. “What?” She looks confused now.

“Probably to be sure you were eating enough,” Mehrim replies.

Varanis says to Berra, “To work out if I was producing an Earth child or an Air child.”

“Oh, partly, yes, but there are other ways,” Berra says. “Mostly the midwives will use magic, I think. Ernalda’s likely to know.”

Mehrim looks less convinced.

“Well no one told me,” the Vingan grumbles. “Anyway, I was just asking Mehrim if he and Yehna would like to spend the colder seasons with us in Boldhome again. Obviously, it will depend on what she wants. But I’m hopeful he can persuade her.” The Esrolian takes it for granted that the decision is Yehna’s to make.

“I like spending time here in winter anyway,” Mehrim says, “And I think she was happy last year.” “My room’s big enough,” Berra says, “And I can sleep at the temple if an extra baby and an extra Berra and an extra wetnurse is too much. It was cosy last time, but that was with our cousin. Yehna might need – might want help.”

“Or you could sleep in my room and give your family yours,” Varanis offers, volunteering to sacrifice her treasured privacy yet again.

“Could also work,” Berra says with a nod. “Or down here.” Still, she gives Varanis a wide smile, one that says she is grateful. Then to Mehrim she says, “You’re going to marry her, right?” Her body language has a little wince in it.

“He said so,” Varanis points out, then remembers, “um… before you arrived. But, also, before they left for Blue Tree.”

Berra nods. “It’s just that I won’t be able to make it,” she tells Varanis. To Mehrim she says, “I don’t want you to be offended. I’ll send gifts.”

Varanis winces too. “I’m sorry,” she says. “I’ll send gifts too. Please know that we aren’t missing it by choice.”

Mehrim says, “Oh, of course. Shall we drink the wine instead? That was the main news I had.”

Varanis pours generous cups of wine for everyone. “To Yehna,” she says, raising her cup.

Mehrim and Berra share a cup, Sartar-style. Berra gestures for him to drink first. “May she be fertile,” the Humakti says. After drinking, Mehrim hands over the cup. “May she be blessed with a happy hearth.” It’s a little cheeky, given he hopes to be part of it, but then again very Orlanthi to assume he’ll make her happy.

“May our children provide her just enough challenge to keep her entertained and not so much that she regrets knowing us,” Varanis adds.

Mehrim smiles. “May her cooking improve yearly, and she always have the food she needs for it.”

Berra subsides, letting the Orlanthi do the part with word-boasting.

Varanis matches Mehrim, toast for toast, enjoying the friendly rivalry. When at last she declares it done, she rises to her feet with a slight wobble. Apparently, the toasting was the easy part, but the drinking less so. “I’m going to have a little lie down, I think.” She heads for the kitchen, leaving Mehrim and Berra on their own.

Berra asks, “You have everything you need?” as Varanis leaves. Mehrim does not take offence.