1629, Sea Season, Probably Stasis Week, Freezeday


Lenta has organised a visit to a woman of the Blue Tree who could do with help in her pregnancy. Session SA4.16.


After tea has been drunk and Meyamna has dozed off in Yehna’s arms, Lenta agrees on a time to set off with the older Ernaldan and prepares to leave with Yehna.

Yehna packs food and has Haran unpack it all to check it is there. A curved basket that fits around the hip and loops under one arm contains enough for a journey and a few small gifts at the other end. Once Haran has unpacked Yehna realises to his glee that the food should be in panniers, shouldn’t it, little one? Rich people ride horses, or take chariots. This is a walking basket!

With Haran in peels of laughter, Yehna asks, “Are you riding or being driven?” and gets the bags that are really needed.

Merenelda mentioned riding, but Yehna was besotted with her daughter at the time.

“I was thinking riding, if I can borrow Varanis horse again.” She smiles at Yehna. “And even if chariot is nice and perhaps more solemn, I do prefer riding.”

“Tchariots are solumm,” Haran tells the floor. Yehna packs things quickly. Lenta will be taking food for everyone, to avoid Merenelda being weighed down. Little Berra is tied to a stool and allowed to crawl around, slowed by the burden even when Haran is not sitting on it. Meyanma is sleeping.

“Will you come along, or are you too busy here?” Lenta asks Yehna. “There is a thing I need to talk about, but that can wait.”

“We can talk on the way,” Yehna says. “As long as I can bring Meyanma. Haran is bad at looking after Berr-“


After outwitting her own child and being argued into letting him stay at home, Yehna does not need much time to add a little food to the panniers. She does not get herself a horse until Merenelda looks severely at her, and when one is brought she is inexpert in riding.

Soon it is the appointed time, and the horses are saddled and bridled and mounted. A foot-guide leads the way, one of the young men who keeps the herds. He walks the path somewhat in front, to avoid overhearing private conversations.

Once they are under way Lenta stays a bit behind to talk with Yehna “I am sorry to remind you of your grief, sister. But I am going to Nochet and will possibly see Berra there. Do you wish me to take her the tidings of your loss?”

Yehna nods immediately. “Yes please. She should know. She… she misses us, for all she stays away so much. It was peaceful. Kymmia just got too old.”

Lenta blinks. “I thought she should.”

She presses Yehna’s hand and then proceeds to close the gap between the two and Merenelda.

Yehna lets them speed up. There is little she could do to slow down the horse she is sitting on. Fortunately it is placid and well behaved.

Merenelda rides rather better, although not like she was born to it.

“Is there something I should know about this lady before we meet her, Lady Merenelda?” Lenta asks, looking ahead on the path.

Merenelda inclines her head. “She may be proud, in which case I will over-rule her. She will certainly seem poor, but we have gifts of value for her. Her name is Adania, she has had a run of bad luck, and she is probably feeling upset about…”

Merenelda trails off. A small Humakti duckling, and a Vingan, her fluffy feathers dyed red, are on the path ahead, guarding it. “Ah, Ifgiy and Mifgiy. We are close to the river still.”

“Is this her first child?” Lenta looks at Merenelda “Or do you think I should I ask these things from her?”

“Third,” Merenelda says. “No, they are all good questions. To be perfectly frank I am not used to a village that is laid out so distantly, even now. I keep thinking everyone will know everyone’s faces, and yet some of our members are quite far afield.”

The two small ducks salute Merenelda and stand aside.

“Hello young ones, look how you have grown.” Lenta greets the ducklings. “Has she had trouble with previous pregnancies? I don’t know if she would tell to someone like me who is pretty much a total stranger.”

“She lost one young, but the pregnancies themselves have been fine. It is just that she has so few men around, and she and her lover could do with a boy, for them now and for her in the future.”

The ducklings squeak excitedly to be remembered. “We have patrolled the lands we helped you bless,” blurts the Vingan. Her Humakti brother looks stoic and noble. And fluffy.

“I see” Lenta nods to Merenelda. “How have the crops been Ifgyi?”

“Taller than I am,” Ifgiy says proudly. “And taller than me if I am standing on my brother!”

The brother nods, sagely, and then adds, “We are better at judging riverweed.”

“It is good to hear you two have been vigilant.” the Ernaldan says seriously.

“No Telmori came back,” he says. “That is the important thing.”

“And the crops. Mama says duck droppings are good for them,” Ifgiy supplies helpfully.

“Your mama is wise. Tell her my regards. I have not forgotten the hospitality of your nest.”

Ducks cannot really blush, but they can puff up their feathers, and Ifgiy does.

As Merenelda moves on they are talking of very important matters.

“Why do you not have your helmet?”

“There are tadpoles in it.”

Yehna keeps a straight face.

Lenta raises an eyebrow at Yehna. Her cheeks almost betray mirth.

It is only after they have gone half a mile that Yehna dares to speak. “Tadpoooooles.” She tries not to laugh out loud.

Lenta smiles. “An important matter…”

The journey takes a few hours, in part because they stop for lunch, and then they have to find the woman in question. She is out in her lower fields, down by the river, dealing with a ewe who is stuck in a ditch.

Lenta watches Merenelda for a cue on how to proceed, but dismounts, gives reins to Yehna and asks the woman in the ditch if she needs a hand.

Merenelda nods in satisfaction.

Yehna is also getting off, shakily.

Adania looks up. “Hitch your dress before you do. Then yes. You get the dry end.”

She is a dark-tanned woman, half naked with her clothes left on a big stone. She has many tattoos, none of which are works of art, all in shades of blue. A native.

Lenta is wearing travelling clothes. Sensible for riding, yes. Not full finery. A bit too much for wrestling with a muddy sheep, though. She sheds her jacket and girdles her loins. “This end?”

“Uhuh. Wissy, don’t be rude, these are friends… Just get her feet onto the ledge… yes, like awgh!” Adania is sprayed with damp sheep-flavoured water, and Lenta is smeared with it as the ewe gets free, wriggles, and is off. The woman looks at the mess all over her, and then up at Lenta. “You’re gonna forgive me for not bobbing a bow, yes?” Her accent is rural even for these parts.

“First things first. We can do the formalities later.” Lenta shakes her head with closed eyes to get rid of water on her face. The jingle of Lenta’s earrings is weirdly out of place.

“Wissy’s fine,” Adania tells her. “What can I do yer for?”

“That, I think, is a longer discussion. My name is Lenta by the way.” younger Ernaldan says.

“Pleased to know you.” She looks around. “I in trouble?”

“Not that I know…” Lenta swallows end of sentence, not saying Adania’s name out loud, looking at Merenelda to make the proper introduction.

“Adania, this is Lenta, who has a HeroQuest boon that she hopes to share.” Merenelda has not dismounted. Yehna is looking Wissy over, and getting side-eye from a sheep. “A bounty of Ernalda, given by Chalana Arroy.”

“Oh?” Adania seems very puzzled indeed.

Lenta looks at the older woman. “The story is a bit long. But to make it short. I got the gift to bless someones pregnancy, like our Allmother does with her pregnancy. And I wish to pass that forward.” Lenta observes Adania closely as she speaks. “And I asked Lady Merenelda’s advice on this matter.”

There is a touch of surprise, and a bit of pride, and then a smile1Lenta passes Insight (Human). “That’s really good of you. And Lady Merenelda.” Adania gives her a brief look. “Do you want me to clean up and such? I’ve got sheep to dose.”

“It will take some time and proper respect should be given to Ernalda. Maybe it is wisest that you finish what you are doing and then we discuss things aunt Adania. Would you find this agreeable?”

“Yes, but aunt? I’m thirty!” She clambers out of the ditch. “I just look old because… well, I look old. Yehna, isn’t it? You know the way to my stead – can you take Lady Merenelda there and we’ll finish up here?”

“Of course,” Yehna says, hardly stunned at all. “I think Wissy is fine.”

“Wissy’s always fine. Her head’s too thick to damage, and her wool’s too thick to let the rocks through.” Adania wipes her hands clean on the grass, and looks at her clothes, and then down at her muddy body. “Ugh.”

“You are a mother, Adania. I am not. That requires respect.” Lenta looks around. “I am not much good with sheep. If you want me to help, you need to explain what needs to be done very simply.”

“Mother will do, then,” Adania says. “But I never got the hang of aunty. We just need to count them and check no more have it in their idiot heads…”

As it turns out, no more do have it in their idiot heads – only Wissy had got into a jam, and the rest of the flock is counted, checked from a distance, and then thoroughly ignored. “I’ll be helling happy when they go up to summer pasture,” Adania says. “Start of Fire Season, we drive them.” She walks Lenta towards her house.

Lenta follows quietly, looking at the surroundings and enjoying the warmth of the day. At some point she has taken off her sandals.

“I’ll give them their louse-feed later,” Adania explains on the way back. “Can’t keep the Chief Priestess waiting.”

The rugged landscape has dark grey granite and red clay, and is a mixture of beautiful and unforgiving. The grass is prickly underfoot, and shortened by sheep.

The stead is a collection of sulky-looking houses skulking atop a hillock. Cob walls on granite foundations surround it, and there is a bramble gate, a hedge that can be hauled into place at night.

The horses have been unsaddled, but there is no stable, so they are free within the courtyard with a rope across the half-open gateway.

“You keep sheep, what else sustains your household mother Adania.”

“We’ve got fields – most of the stead’s out there, at the last of the spring sowing. I’m not needed for that so much. I did the bits where pregnancy’s more important, but I like sheep.” Adania looks the horses over without much understanding, and leads the way into the house. She did not bother putting her clothes back on, but kept them over her arm. “Come in, be seated with my other guests. Have you drunk enough today?”

“Thank you for your hospitality. A drink of water would indeed be good.”

Adania trudges through the room, bowing to the hearth where Merenelda and Yehna are, and gets a wooden cup and a clay jug. Picking up the jug makes her smile, and then give Yehna a sly look. She pours and gives Lenta some water. “Please sit anywhere you like. It’s still a cool day, inside, and the fire is pleasant.

Lenta accepts the cup with a nod and sits close to the fire.

“So, Lady Merenelda tells me you are pregnant? *

Adania nods. She checks that Yehna has everything under control, and that Merenelda is fine with the snacks Yehna is making.

“Getting to know it now.2The people who wrote Bless Pregnancy had no idea at all how pregnancies work, so the GM is assuming that the first trimester’s fine. I’ve been fine, but I know pretty soon I’ll get short of breath. I’ll be up in the sheep-places, though, so I don’t have to do so much, most days.”

Lenta nods. She continues observing the older woman. “That is good to hear. Have you had trouble with earlier pregnancies?”

Her tone is warm and confidence inspiring.3She passes Charm.

“Not as much as some. My joints hurt a little, and my breath comes short, but most people get that.” Adania pours water and looks around in puzzlement, then puts it down by Lenta’s feet. “You clean yourself up, kid. I’m past that stage.”

Merenelda radiates good upbringing.

Lenta nods. “Are there other women on the stead or close by neighbors to help you when the time comes? Oh, thank you. That will make feeling much fresher.”

“I’ve got two cousins, and someone will go for a midwife when I start labouring, if I’m not up on the hills. I should be out at the fields, all things done.”

“The ritual should let you decide when it is the right time.” Lenta looks at the older woman “You have been through that before, so you know better then me how you knew it was time in previous times. You will know this time when you are ready, but you can decide when you go into labor.”

Adania nods to that. “It’s a good idea,” she says. “Field days are inconvienient. Listen, I probably need to take a bath, but can you look after yourselves while I get clean? I wasn’t expecting a ritual today.”

“I am sure we’ll manage.” Lenta says with a smile “So you feel like accepting my offer?”

“Oh, please, yes. It’ll be a relief for everyone that I’m not slowing down.”

“Your body may still tell you to slow down.” Lenta shrugs. “But not with pain. Do you wish to tell Ernalda if you wish for a girl or a boy?”

“I want a boy,” she says with determination. “I love my girls, but we’ll need strong backs for the future.”

Yehna starts turning over flatbread with garlic.

Lenta nods. “If you could give him one special thing, what would it be. Robust health, strong arms, fast feet, strong spirit or perhaps a charming smile? Nothing is certain, but if you could voice a wish, what would it be Adania?”

“I want them strong,” she says. “Healthy I can deal with once he’s born, but strong’s good for the farm.”

“From your lips to Ernalda’s ears, Adania.” Lenta rises up and stretches.

Lenta gives Adania some scented soap she happened to have on her kit. While Adania is cleaning up she asks Yehna and Merenelda what they know about her lover. Is his spirit strong, is he healthy, strong, quick witted?

A younger cousin is asked to bring a wreath of flowers.

Merenelda suggests quietly that with history of a child lost asking Ernalda to bless the childs health could be more beneficial.

Lenta notes the mother did wish for strength, but what we ask for or want is not always what we need. And she herself was tempted to ask Ernalda to grant the child to have a charming nature to lighten up his surroundings.

Older cousin is found to have a drum and is taught the rhythm ritual will require.

Quietly Lenta asks about the clan taboos . As usual Lenta starts to apply green paint on her body. This time she paints her face half red half black with red ochre and charcoal pigments.

After the Yelm has set part of the house is set up as stage for the ritual. Cousin is drumming, Yehna and Merenelda bring Adania in all cleaned up, wreath of chrysanthemums on her hair and apparently someone has managed talk to her to get some kohl on her eyes and green on her face. She looks at the same time bemused and delighted and way younger than before.

The room itself is lit only by very low fire in the Hearth.

Lenta dances like she danced in the cave of moths and in Earth tongue sings a song of Darkness and Beginnings, Waiting and New Life and protection.

With the red ochre she paints on Adania’s belly the stages of the moth, the egg, the larva, the pupa and the adult moth. With black she paints a circle around them, telling it is the Darkness that protects and nurtures.

As a final touch she gives Adania a pouch with a moth pupa in it and tells her to wear it until it is time for the baby to break free. When she is done cock is crowing outside and dawn is approaching.

The magic: Bless pregnancy, one point boost given to con. That is not obvious unless you speak earth tongue, mothers wish of strength is mentioned, special wish for health from singer herself also.

  • 1
    Lenta passes Insight (Human)
  • 2
    The people who wrote Bless Pregnancy had no idea at all how pregnancies work, so the GM is assuming that the first trimester’s fine.
  • 3
    She passes Charm.