1628, Earth Season, Movement Week, Probably Clayday to Windsday
Having successfully avoided trouble, Maalira has a nice meal and a decent sleep. Session SA3.09.
The journey to the Blue Tree Tula takes most of the rest of the and the next day. Venlar is saddened to find out that his wife has been called away, but his brother and sister are there.
There too, after the reunions, is an introduction. “My mother, Thenaya. Mama, this is Maalira, friend to Varanis and Berra.”
Thenaya looks exactly like Yamia would in a green dress and a smile. “Welcome,” she says. “I’ve just made some travel tea.”
“Thank you,” Maalira returns the smile. “Tea would be most welcome.”
Thenaya is a short, busy, comforting person. She makes sure of Maalira’s comfort while also fending off Venlar’s attempts to help. The travel tea is a mild restorative that comes with a bowl of steamed vegetables with garlic and nuts, to see her over until the food is done.
Hengrast and Yamia wait patiently while their mother looks after Maalira, and get given tea and snacks as well. Venlar gets given snacks, tea, and more snacks.
“That was delicious,” Maalira says, finishing off the last scraps of the vegetables. “I am so grateful.”
“Nothing to be grateful for,” Thenaya says. “I like feeding people.”
“This is good because we like being fed,” Hengrast says.
“I like tea,” Yamia says with all the social perfection of an Ulerian at a festival of bodily denial.
Maalira glances at Yamia, grinning. “How have you been, Yamia?”
“Adequate, thank you. I have made arrangements for my own healing.” Yamia seems content.
“She’s sponsoring Sosa from this shrine to go learn the spell,” Hengrast says proudly.
“That is a fine arrangement,” Maalira says approvingly.
“Maalira’s got a bit of explanation about your dreams, mama,” Venlar tells Thenaya.
Maalira glances at Venlar. “Perhaps you would like to tell me about them yourself, to ensure I have the right understanding?” she says to Thenaya.
“I’m only a little worried,” she says, unsurely. “But for Venlar.”
Venlar gives her a look as severe as a gentle person can give to his mother. Yamia narrows her eyes a little. (Hengrast looks oblivious.)
“Well, alright. You should know that usually I dream about where I am, and things I have been doing lately, or hope to do. But I dreamed I was back home, and young.” Thenaya busies herself with a knife and some mushrooms to say, “I dreamed my lord Eril was hurt again.”
“Ah, yes. I believe that the same Heroquest in which Lord Eril was hurt is being… re-enacted? Re-traced? Something like that. So perhaps that is why?”
“Last time this happened we all got healed!” Hengrast sounds genuinely excited. “We started getting better and Yamia had Tamakt!”
“There is a way to go before that,” Yamia tells him calmly. “Have some more tea.”
Thenaya waits for her children to be done before she nods. “I thought it might be something like that, when Venlar said his eye hurt. What is… how is it happening?”
“Berra,” Maalira says simply.
Hengrast chuckles into his tea, before he has even had any.
“I got to the Temple of War and people thought I was her, playing him. It was a rather awkward moment.” Venlar tries to sneak a few more bits of fried sausage and gets a shake of the head from Thenaya which is enough to stop him.
“How is he?” Thenaya sounds worried, and Venlar leaves that to Maalira to answer.
“He is as usual,” Maalira suggests. “Tired, over-committed, annoyed with Berra.”
“In good health then.” From anyone else it might be a joke. Yamia seems to mean it.
“I don’t usually worry about him, or even think about him so much any more,” Thenaya says into the silence as others try to work out if Yamia has a sense of humour. “So it must be some magic that makes it so.” She leaves a lot of things unsaid.
“There is much magic in play,” Maalira agrees.
“You should rest,” says Thenaya. “And see how my two children are doing.”1Pass Insight (Human)
Thenaya is trying not to push, and probably happier to be silent than to make Maalira uncomfortable. Venlar obviously has more to say but is being polite.
Maalira looks at their faces. “What is it that you want to say?” she probes.
Venlar says, “I believe you are already entangled in this Heroquest.” He says it like she might not have worked it out.
Whatever Thenaya was going to say gets lost in her surprise.
Hengrast, perhaps predictably, is amazed. Yamia, rather more predictably, is not.
“Yes, in a way, I guess,” Maalira says. “Berra asked me to be there for her after, but is that after the Heroquest or just after a certain part of it? No doubt I will be pulled in somewhere.”
“It really depends which part,” Venlar says. “But being entangled is different from agreeing. That is how you get-“
“Probably not time for a lesson, brother.” Yamia gives him a brief, charming smile. “Maalira is fumbling her way towards saying things that make her nervous. Give her room, or your help.”
Thenaya considers for a moment and then puts aside what she is cutting to pour more tea. It has ginger in it. Her children are rich, even if she is not, so she can afford the best.
“I did agree,” Maalira says to Venlar with a smile. “Berra was very clear on what she would need me to do, and what might happen as a result. And I agreed, because she asked.” Maalira shrugs. “When it comes to Berra and Varanis, I am entangled anyway, but I did agree to this.”
Venlar subsides a bit, apparently unsure. “What is it you are going to do?” Hengrast asks.
“Care for Berra, help her recover once she has done what needs to be done,” Maalira says.
Yamia looks like something far away has caught her attention, and is making her smile slightly.
“Alright. You’ll do well at that.” Hengrast looks pleased.
Thenaya hands over tea. “We should let Maalira rest,” she points out. “And eat. I can feed you all, even Venlar, in about half an hour.”
Maalira smiles. “Thank you. The more I rest and restore myself now, the more I can help Berra later.”
Thenaya does, of course, go to help check Maalira has everything. It seems to be second nature to her.
They are all in Venlar’s house, which is stone-foundationed, with walls much like the rest of the village, of wood and mud. The structural wood makes Harmony and Fertility Runes. The village has changed a little; it has a new well being dug, and Yehna has a house made entirely of stone, which everyone is very proud of. Earth works have been extended around the whole village.
“It’s a comfortable bed but of course if you want to sleep with a group there is the great house or you could be in with me,” Thenaya tells her.
“You are too kind,” Maalira says. “I am sure I will be comfortable enough here – sometimes a little time without others around is good for me.” She laughs a little at herself. “I should meditate, really.”
“Whatever you like, dear. If you want me to bring your food in, I can. Just let me know.”
The room is bigger than some of the tents Maalira has stayed in, although having a solid bed and the furniture that settled people seem to need takes up much of the space. It has a window which is currently open, but has slots to put in boards so that it can be cosy in winter. The shutters open wide to give a good view of the enlarged Shrine of Chalana Arroy, and the practice ground of the incongruous warriors who guard it, and then the rock that leads up to the cliff where people are still getting their water, until the well is finished.
Maalira leans at the window for several long minutes, drinking in the sight of the shrine and breathing the fresh air. Then she notices that her legs are trembling a little with fatigue. She undoes her sandals, finds a scrap of cloth in her scrip to wipe the worst of the dust off with, and squirms her way into the bed.
It has been a long day of travel after half a day. They did not use the usual roads, but paths through a tribe called the Culbrea. At one point they were definitely being scoped out by bandits, but Venlar was cheerful to them, and Maalira’s protection as a White Lady was over them both.
Sleep would be good. Food can wait, right?
Maalira’s hunger was blunted by the vegetables and nuts, and she is comfortable enough that she drops off to sleep with very little further thought.
Of course, dreams happen. Of course they do.2Fail POWx3 to remember them properly.
The images she has are only fragments, when she wakes, mostly contextless. Silor, telling her a secret, his strength no comfort for once. Waiting in a sparsely decorated room, for its owner, who might never return. The shock of hearing he is exiled. Again waiting. It always comes back to the room, and the long drag of time passing. Every other moment, past or future, is secondary to that long ordeal of not knowing.
- 1Pass Insight (Human)
- 2Fail POWx3 to remember them properly.