Feeling Catty?

1628, Earth Season, Movement Week, ____ Day


Maalira has been called away from her friends, despite the odd Heroquest that has just started. Session SA3.09.


The call to the hospital came in the early morning, just as the house was starting to wake up. And… the work is light. Although she is required here, Maalira is absolutely not needed. She is being useful, but she is also being kept here.

Today has her in the Accident and Argument room, often known as the Air Room, for the men who come into it most.

Time is passing; the day is peaceful, and of course she is doing good.

Maalira looks over the hospital room, searching for anything that needs doing, fidgeting when she sees nothing out of place.

There is work to do, some of it make-work. Then in the afternoon, just as the memory of lunch is fading, something of interest does happen. Venlar, of all people, comes into the room. He does not look like he has been fighting, or had any kind of accident. “No, you can’t come in here,” he is telling a cat, which is interesting for two reasons. First, it is a cat apparently following him around. Second, Maalira was stroking that cat only yesterday, when Finarvi was getting attacked by Lunars.1Pass INTx5 to recognise it Just before they saw Berra. “For one, you’ll steal their food.” The young man seems resigned to having the cat ignore him.

Maalira looks at Venlar, her eyebrows raised. “Is there a… purroblem?”

Venlar gives her a long look. “Well, I did think that this was a place of healing.” He gives her a broad smile then. “I understand that you are currently…” He looks around, sees the lack of people, and goes on, “… entangled.”

Maalira snorts. “Depends what you mean by that?”

“Yesterday, my scar started hurting,” he replies. “And mama had dreams that worried her, and now I come here – I flew, just to be sure she would not worry too long – and it seems there is a Heroquest, and I’ve been told to back off.” The big man looks down at the cat, which is doing its level best to trip him even though he is not moving. “As for you, I’ll deal with you later!” It is a loving threat.

“A hurting scar I can deal with, without compromising the Heroquest,” Maalira says with relief. “Come and sit down.”

Venlar says, “I tried to stop off at the Temple of Humakt, and someone got very confused.” He comes to sit down. “I’m not here as a patient. I’m here to find out if you want to get away from all this.” The cat scampers with him, and he steps around it, only a little clumsy.

Maalira’s lips twitch. “I could do with being needed elsewhere, yes. I’m not really needed here.”

“My sister and brother are hurt a couple of days from here?” Venlar suggests. “I’m afraid I cannot manage to take you there myself; I had to beg the spell that would bring me here with the promise that I would keep Yamia from the cook pot for a season, and a few other minor trifles.”

The cat jumps up onto Venlar’s lap, purring as it settles down. He seems to know just how to scratch behind its ears without being told.

“That definitely sounds like something I ought to come and deal with,” Maalira says. “Let me excuse myself and go get my bison.”

“Of course.” Venlar looks down at the cat. “I could not disturb a lady, anyhow, so if you escape how could I try to stop you? But if you have any snacks, this cat likes vegetables.” Because it is just that kind of day.

Maalira rummages around on the shelves and hands Venlar a small pouch. “Cat treats,” she says. “Don’t ask why we have them. Where am I going?”

Venlar opens the pouch, and offers one to the cat, which sniffs and then ignores them. “Blue Tree,” he says. “It seems my family is mostly there right now.”

That is the point that the High Healer, Beneva, comes into the room. “Oh, Maalira dear?”

“Yes?” Maalira might sound guilty, a bit.

“There’s been a lot going on in the city lately,” Beneva says with a soft smile. “And it’s been suggested that you might like to take it easy…”

Venlar fails to keep a straight face.

Maalira looks from one to the other. “Hmm.” she says.

Venlar says, “I’ve been asking her to come and look after my family. It seems we have a common understanding.” Beneva gets the benefit of his wide, amused smile. For a moment she is taken aback, and then she says, “Safely out of the way?” and checks the reaction from both Venlar and Maalira.

“Safely out of the way of what?” Maalira asks, frowning.

“The political problems of the Heroquest,” Venlar says, cutting in neatly in front of Beneva, who was obviously considering what to say more slowly.

“The ramifications of being set in opposition to Lord Tennebris,” she finally says with a sigh. “Are any secrets safe here?” Venlar is gifted an ireful yet resigned look. “I don’t know why you’re even here, walking around looking like your uncle, but the House of Healing should be outside politics.” Maybe her Truth Rune tingled, for she adds, “As much as possible,” as she gives Maalira a look of appeal.

Maalira sighs. “Figures,” she says. “Yes, I’ll go to Blue Tree.”

Venlar says, “I’ll look after her on the road, Lady of Mercy,” and bows to Beneva. “And she’ll be doing good. My sister’s in a lot of pain and trying not to admit it.”

“Stubborn woman,” mutters Maalira.

“She is. I love her very much… oh cat, please get off me… thank you.” Venlar stands up. “My brother is doing well, too.” He offers Maalira his arm. The cat miaows. Beneva sighs, turns, and leaves.

Maalira takes Venlar’s arm and looks down at the cat. “Come on then,” she says.

Venlar walks her out. “I’m terribly sorry about the cat. It belongs to my family, or my family belongs to it, and it disappeared a couple of years ago. There is something distinctly uncanny about it, and moving to the city to better itself is, I suppose, entirely in character.”

The cat trots just behind them, aloof.

“Cats are not to be questioned deeply, I find,” Maalira replies.

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    Pass INTx5 to recognise it