Finarvi — Make Do With One
????, Sea Season
Early Sea Season, following on from the last. [[[s02:session-32|Session 32]]]
There’s a knock on the door, or the wall next to it.
“Esrolian,” Yehna says. “Come in, Mellia!”
Mellia comes in. “Hello, Finarvi! How are you doing?”
Haran, sitting on the floor, chooses between eating and running for the open door. Food wins out.
“Mellia!” Finarvi scrambles to his feet, beaming in delight, offering the White Lady an expansive hug.
Mellia hugs Finarvi. “I am glad to see you. You’re invited to the weddings, of course.”
Finarvi’s eyes widen in surprise. “Weddings? You’re having more than one?”
Mellia explains, “Yes, one in Nochet and one in Boldhome. That’s what got negotiated.”
“That sounds very grand. I’ve never been to an Esrolian wedding. Nor a Sartarite one, come to think of it. Will there be days of festivities and men with poles to fish guests out of fountains?”
“Some people make do with one,” Yehna tells Haran.1Mellia fails Insight(Human)
“There probably will be in Nochet. I expect the one in Boldhome to be quieter.” Mellia smiles.
“I will do my very best to attend. And Serala too – she is Thane of Apple Lane now, which means she will have to wear the fine outfits for once.”
He collects himself and gestures Mellia to the table. “But please, have a seat. Have you eaten? Yehna cooks the best food this side of the mountains. There’s plenty left.”
Yehna says, “Please do,” and sets out a plate of bread crusts, a shallow bowl beside it for the soup. “I used some Esrolian spices. Berra sent them to me.”
Mellia thanks Yehna and sits down. “So that’s who Varanis wants to marry! Is Apple Lane in Sartar?”
Yehna says, “Let the crusts soak for a bit. It’s what Haran likes most right now, so I let them go dry for him or he just shreds them. Apple Lane is in the Colymar Tribe, up north. Not as far as we are, of course, but just west of Jonstown. North for most of the Colymar.”
Mellia looks thoughtful. “The news from the north isn’t good. It doesn’t change the advice I will give Varanis, if I see her. They are invited too.”
Yehna serves a helping of vegetable gruel with an Esrolian flavour to it, and warms a bit of butter to melt on top, as the large dish is cooling a little. Haran crawls to Finarvi and squeals joyfully and messily at knee height.
Finarvi takes the hint and scoops Haran up so he can participate.
Mellia smiles at Haran. She tries the gruel. It’s good. Yehna really understands Esrolian flavours, even if the texture is very Sartarite.
Finarvi lets Haran play with the worn bolg tied around his right wrist. Haran bites it, of course. The bolg, not the wrist. Finarvi has the tolerant air of someone accustomed to slobber.
Mellia tells Yehna, “This really reminds me of Esrolia. You are a good cook, Yehna.”
Yehna blushes. “I do enjoy making things taste right,” she says. “I used to cook for a house, when I was fifteen.”
Mellia says, “They must have been sorry to see you go.”
“They were good to us both. Our father had half-family there, and that’s who we stayed with in Esrolia. Berra joined the Hundred there, and I looked after a lot of the house.” Yehna looks to Finarvi to explain, “The Hundred is the militia.”
He nods to show understanding. His hands and most of his attention are occupied with keeping Haran from slipping onto the floor or swallowing the bolg. The plaited leather thong around his wrist is dark with baby-spit.
Haran is doing his best to chew the thong into bits, although his tiny teeth are not yet up to the task. If merely trying could do it, however, it would have happened within moments.
“I thought she was in the brigade. It’s not important.”
“I hope Berra and Varanis and the others are able to attend the wedding,” Finarvi says. “Have the dates been decided yet, Mellia?”
“I am thinking early Fire Season for Nochet and early Earth Season for Boldhome. After all the trouble we got into, we thought we had better be nice to Grandmother.”
“The Battalion, but that was later,” Yehna says. “She started off as a spearwoman and a scout.” The Sartarite has picked up her drop spindle, always keeping her hands busy. She falls silent to listen to others plan, however.
“Tell me about Venlar,” Finarvi offers. There’s a slight hesitation over the unfamiliar name. “How did you both meet?”
“I forget- no, we were looking for the Humakti relics. We stopped for the night at his father’s hold. The rest is history.”
“That must have been not long after Serala and I parted ways with you all,” Finarvi said. “Are they Colymar? What clan is he?”
“They are not Colymar. They’re Cinder Fox Sambari. And it was shortly after we left here.”
From Finarvi’s politely blank expression it’s obvious the name means nothing to him. The tribal politics of Sartar is not a subject he knows much about. “Well, I think you’re both very wise not wait too long for marriage. Life can be unpredictable. I wish you both all the happiness you can bear, and many fruitful years together.”
“Thank you! I am sorry the negotiations took so long.”
“Early Fire season and Earth season are good times to marry,” Finarvi tells her. “And it would not do to anger Grandmother. Besides,” he adds with a crafty smile, “no-one has told me what happened to make her upset.”
He doesn’t expect Mellia to gossip, but that doesn’t stop him trying.
“A number of things upset Grandmother. I thought for a while that Venlar crashing a party while hero questing and carrying me off would be the worst.”
Finarvi chuckles softly at that, delighted at the image. “Tell me more.”
“Well, Venlar and Rajar were at temple that evening when Venlar began questing and felt incomplete. So he went looking for me, seeing me as Ernalda. I am glad no one got hurt.”
“I wish I could have seen that,” Finarvi says wistfully. “Orlanth crashing in to carry away Ernalda.” There’s a hint of mischief in his eyes as he says it.
“It was a sight to see,” Mellia says with a smile. “Xenofos tried to stop Venlar, but Venlar got loose and made me fly out of there.”
Finarvi is building a mental picture of Venlar as a big, towering Orlanthi, obviously devastatingly handsome to have swept the White Lady off her feet so completely. “He must be very strong, your young lord.”
“He is stronger than he looks. He is also a skilled poet and politician with a good singing voice.”
“A poet who can sing?” Finarvi looks impressed. “Should he ever come to Apple Lane, I must introduce him to our scribe, Jorrim. He has composed some very scathing songs during our travels, and loves words very much. Sometimes too much. More than we barbarians can appreciate, anyway.”
Haran has become a drowsy deadweight in his lap. Finarvi looks at Yehna for direction.
Yehna says, “He will wake up and run around and scream soon. He likes to nap after food, but he has a tiny belly, so he eats and then sleeps a little.” She comes over to pick up the child. “You could go introduce Finarvi to Lord Venlar,” she adds to Mellia.
Finarvi takes the hint and stands up.
Mellia rises. “Thanks, Yehna. We’ll get out of your hair now.”
- 1Mellia fails Insight(Human)