Safety Talk

1628, Earth Season, Fertility Week, Windsday


Irillo has just talked to Koraki, who has led him to the big hospital tent where Yamia is. Session S3SA.03.


From here, Irillo can see a place that is mostly peaceful. Tired-looking healers are sitting talking to their patients, rather than hurrying around. It takes a few moments to spot Yamia, a problem made easier by her standing up from a seat at the other end of the room, nodding to Irillo, and sitting back down.1Scan: She was not holding her weight equally – she is wounded in some way.

A brow lifts, questioningly.

Sitting by her is most of a young man who looks a lot like Silor. Hengrast, his right leg missing just below the knee. On the man’s lap is a small, dark-haired child who is playing with a polishing cloth. He has tallow and dye on his face. Yamia does not beckon Irillo over, but Hengrast does, with a smile and a big gesture, once he sees who is there.

Tamakt sucks thoughtfully on the polishing cloth.2Special on Insight.

Yamia, it seems, is braced in expectation of a difficult conversation. It is there in her poise, like a kingfisher waiting on prey, or a hunting-cat sitting very still on a gatepost. It’s there in her smile to Tamakt, as she tries to ignore the man approaching, and in the pause of her hand as she reaches out to the child.

Hengrast just looks happy to see someone he knows. Tamakt looks like he likes the taste of tallow polish.

“Greetings. I am surprised to see you here.”

Yamia looks up, and her face instantly breaks into a polite smile. “Indeed. I should have been among the tents, uninjured.”

Hengrast grins, not getting the tension. “Irillo! Good to see you again. Do you know what my crazy sister did?”

“No…. no, I’m quite positive I do not.” His tone is as honeyed as ever. The voice of someone who is about to give someone the very best deal of their life.

“She took her son to battle!” Hengrast looks amazed. Yamia looks like she expected this mild social indelicacy from him.

“Did she now. And was that a good idea?”

“Well, I think it was splendid!” Hengrast looks enchanted by the idea.

“He needs the experience,” Yamia says. “But he did well.”

“He is a baby. War is no place for him yet.”

“He is a child sent by Humakt,” Yamia corrects him, gently. “War is his entirety.”

“He likes blowing bubbles?” Hengrast suggests gamely. Yamia ignores him.

Tamakt makes a little ‘brrrr’ blowing noise, like bubbles getting blown, without the spit.

“War is an adult’s occupation, not a child’s. Unless you can show me proof this is a demigod, then he has no place in battle until he is grown!”

“I have no need of proof,” Yamia says, still calmly. “He was attended by ravens at his birth. His omens are war, battle, honour.” She looks determined, in a big-eyed, caring-about-Irillo way.

“And how do you know the omens mean NOW and not in twenty years? You’d really piss off Humakt if you send his ordained one to him too soon because you were impatient!”

“I consider it would be worse to have him unprepared,” Yamia replies, like that is just obvious, dear, and do you really have to make her say it? But she reaches out a hand to squeeze Tamakt’s knee, and when she looks at her son the mask is…still a mask, but different. She worries, but she covers it.

“Yes. Preparation for war is important. I agree.”

Yamia puts her hands out for Tamakt, who flings himself casually off his uncle’s lap, and into her arms. Hengrast does not look like that hurt, meaning that he must have been magically healed. “I think I hear subtext,” Yamia tells Irillo.

“Yes. I think…. I think it unwise to expose him to battle when he can’t wield his own sword.”

“Your understanding is heard,” she tells him generously. “I shall be teaching him that part as soon as I can, naturally.” She gives her son – their son – a delighted smile, and rubs noses with him.

“No more battles for him until he is safe to use one?” He too approaches the child.

“It is never safe to use one,” Yamia says. “Tamakt, go with your father if you like… no, he is good. Trust him.”

Tamakt looks up, giving Irillo a surprisingly direct stare, with some of the confusion that comes with a toddler working out if this part of the world will feed it or cuddle it.

Irillo stoops, opening his arms out, “Its alright!”

Tamakt stands up, and jumps for the embrace. Yamia suppresses a wince very well – whatever ails her, magical healing has not dealt with it.

A slight brow lift, but no comment. The child is hugged.

Tamakt grips hard, making little ‘mmmmrrrr’ noises, like someone who has been playing with too many alynxes.

“He could do with a walk,” says Yamia, “And some plain food.”

“I can certainly attend to that.”

“Bring him back when he needs a nap, or if you need to put him down. I will be here until noon.” Yamia’s smile is blazingly brilliant, and switches on and off, and she almost certainly meant to do that.

“Is there something up, Yamia?” Hengrast asks quietly. His sister makes a ‘wait’ motion, but gives him a look that says she is listening, just distracted.

He nods, and steps out, pausing to tighten his sandal straps just outside the tent, near to where Yamia was.

Tamakt goes with him, still small enough to offer his hand to walk with. He has huge eyes, and takes in the world with apparent patience, or else he just does not understand anything and is therefore unable to respond to it.

Outside, Koraki and Gallem are a little way down the slope, apparently having a polite talk. The battlefield is still a mess of bodies, and the pyres are sending up smoke. Only the Humakti burn their dead right on the battlefield, but there are other rites, and bodies are being brought away from the field. Those who are still camped nearby are idling, their cooking fires almost smokeless. It’s quiet and calm.

Could it be our merchant is eavesdropping? No, because tents don’t have eaves.3Pass Listen and POW to get something worth listening to.

Bits of conversation drift through. “-it hurt?”

“Of course, brother dear. But it will pass.”

“You could get it…”

“…other healers. We’ll see to you first.” Yamia is looking after her brother.

He changes the subject. “What’s with you and Irillo?”

A pause. Tamakt tugs Irillo’s hand for attention.

“He does not understand how a Hero is made, and what it costs. It is not a problem for you, my dear.”

And with that, Irillo walks the child away.

  • 1
    Scan: She was not holding her weight equally – she is wounded in some way.
  • 2
    Special on Insight.
  • 3
    Pass Listen and POW to get something worth listening to.