Hot Wine

Irillo — Hot Wine

????, Earth Season


Context

1627, as Earth Season turns to Dark, in the Blue Tree. [[[s02:session-55|Session 55]]]

Events

The village is a little quieter without Varanis and Berra and particularly Haran, on a day they are away, just before leaving. There is time, and room, for Irillo to open up and show people his wares. A small house is dedicated to this, given the weather, and so he performs his religious necessity of making money. Ifgiy and Mifgiy do not trouble the village again.

Towards the failing of the light, looking exhausted and cold, and hiding it well, Yamia comes into the makeshift shop. She has the little bundle that is their son tied to them.

Irillo stands. “You’ve returned? I hadn’t expected it? Hot wine?”

“I have a chariot. Travel is not a problem for me.” Yamia inclines her head. “Wine, please, if it is good wine.” Her voice holds a challenge, but only a light one.

He rises, and puts a bronze poker in the fire, to heat, and then pours wine. “It’s good, if you like Esrolian.”

“I like good,” she says, and watching him she takes a long breath. “This child is going to be far more trouble than you anticipated. I felt you should be warned, if you did not know, about what the past gave to you.”1For fun, GM gets Irillo to roll Moon. A simple success is not enough to get old flashbacks.

Yamia kneels on the rough floor to unbundle Tamakt, her concentration on the task showing through her studied calm.

He picks up the poker, and plunges it into the wine, and hands it over, “I did not expect him to be anything other than touched. Given how he was concieved.”

“It is more than that,” Yamia says after a moment of distaste that has nothing to do with the wine. When Tamakt is no longer tied to her she rises, smoothly, and accepts the wine with her left hand, nestling the child on her shoulder. “Thank you.”

“It is nothing. You are Humakti. I am most definitely not, but I understand a little of the mindset. I think Tamakt needs two parents, who both have different mindsets. More balanced.”

“No. He is a predicted hero. My uncle Eril will fail. Perhaps this is the reason why, but I am sure of it.” Yamia indicates the baby with a glance.

“He will fail, because he is a fanatic.”

“Because he spent too long kept from his path,” Yamia says, and she turns her head a little so she can rest her cheek against Tamakt’s back. “He spent years making no progress, and was weakened by love.”

There’s a pause, “No. No, I really don’t think so. Having been in his head. Yes, weakened by love, I mean, but I don’t think he DID act on the thoughts. I suppose I tried to make him more human.”

Yamia looks at nothing very much for a few moments, and then replies, “He acted. He stayed to better his clan, to bolster his brother and his friend Thenaya. And yet that is not all the time that was lost to him.” She does not seem to like the associated thoughts.

He pauses, taking a sip of his own wine, and heating it again. “He’s hardly failed as a High Sword. He’s a bastard, but he’s good at it. As a hero? I’m not sure.”

“I am not sure Tamakt could have been born in other circumstances. The same crows came as attended his birth, and this time they were treated as honoured guests.” She nestles against Tamakt and smiles lightly, softly, like a young woman should when holding her child. “That is the reason I am willing to have two parents involved. This time, the mother lived.”

“And so far, so do I. Although that may not be long term.”

“Oh?” Yamia seems politely interested. She attempts to drink wine, finds that Tamakt is in the way, and puts her cup down to offer Irillo the problem instead. The small boy dangles from her hands, confused as very young babies are.

Irillo takes the boy, cuddling him in with the air of an experienced cousin. “My…. well…. I have a lover in Esrolia. She’s Babeester Gor.”

Yamia considers that with her usual attention, and picks up her wine. Tamakt smells of milk and smoke. He nestles his head around like he is hungry. “What claim does she have on you, if any?”

“In Esrolia men are expected to be faithful to their lovers.”

“Ah, tradition. Yes, that could be awkward. Still, you were faithful to love.” Yamia seems to find no problem with that, although it does seem that she searched for it in the cup of wine. “Did my mother send me any messages?”

He reaches into his sleeves and hands over a letter. “To eat well. Stay warm. Look after Venlar and Tamakt.” He twitches, “Oh, and to try not to stab me.”

Yamia flinches. It is a tiny one, but there. “No doubt she meant it as a joke. Filial piety compels me to open this.” She looks at the letter with a mixture of resignation and loathing.

“Do you have your letters? I understood it was unusual up here.”

“I can read. She taught me. She taught us all.” Yamia looks from her letter to the fire and back to the letter, and then takes a sip of wine. “I might as well.” The wine gets put down. She gives Tamakt a bitter look, and then breaks the seal. “Her writing is clear, but not that of a poet. The parchment is good quality and has been stored in sweetening herbs.” She was apparently taught in the same school as Venlar, who also explains the wrapping. Her eyes skim over the contents and then she takes it over to the fire. “Will you object to the smell of burning skin?”

Tamakt gurgles, or at least his stomach does.

“As long as it’s not mine…. or those I love, no.”

Yamia tosses the parchment in to burn, and returns for her wine. “I have plans for how to bring up a young hero,” she says lightly. “I understand you ill-like danger.”

“Needless danger. But the urge to travel fills me.”

“I doubt Tamakt has a spirit worth testing yet,” Yamia continues, “So this Sacred Time I will simply be taking omens. There is a Humakti holy place, Enothea’s Cut, where sacrifices are often made.” It is not an invitation, and yet it seems somehow that in laying out her plans she is making room for him to be in them.

“Where is it? I plan to travel south for the winter, and… well, to see how I’m met.”

“Sartar. You would probably not be able to return in time, but if you can then it is in the Aranwyth.” Yamia is not even pink-cheeked, although her wine is almost gone. Ladylike, she is also able to drain a cup swiftly.

That puts the place East of the Quivin Mountains, probably easier to access from Swenstown than from Boldhome.

He nods. “I’ll come. And if I can then get a river south, that will suit. Otherwise, I’ll go down in springtime.”

“The rivers there die in Prax, but there are the Two Blue Snakes, as always.” The two routes from Whitewall and Duck Point. Yamia considers. “You know little about Humakt, of course. Are you willing to become a member of the laity?”

He pauses, and then laughs, “If Humakt would have me! I’m certainly not about to Initiate!”

“There are very few people who do not carry Death with them. It will be easier if you understand lesser mysteries.” Yamia smiles slightly, making it the first time that her smile has not been directed at her son, perhaps even since Irillo arrived in the Tula. She looks into her cup, and puts it down. “Tamakt does not need anything yet. Would you like to keep him?” Her question is phrased almost like that of a young mother, but underneath it, for a moment, is a terrible vulnerability. Then there’s the smile again, and her poise is back.

“Keep? For how long? I would be delighted to, until he needs his mother again.” He seems easy enough in the movement.

“Until he needs feeding,” she says lightly. “I have a few things to do, and he is bulky in his outer clothes.”

“Of course. He may also lull some of the villagers into thinking I am soft, and generous and will give a weak bargain”

“Remember to give him his due gifts, if he is persuasive in oratory,” she deadpans. It has to be a joke. For one, she gives a fractional smile a moment later, and then bows to cover it, ready to go.

Irillo also drops a slight bow. “Of course. He needs to feel silver in his hand. For luck!”