Gifts and Friendship

1628, Earth Season, Fertility Week, Windsday


After speaking with Lord Eril privately, Maalira goes back out to face Koraki. Session S3SA.02.


As she walks out of the tiny room, doing that, the world re-establishes itself. The colours return brightly, life itself bounds in her with a fresh heartbeat, and there is cheering. Genuine cheering. Dozens of people are facing her and applauding.

Maalira blinks rapidly. “What…?”

Here she is, the heroine of my hour,” Koraki says excitedly, stepping forwards. “Sweet white woman! Brave bison-borne one, smile on us!”

“You are too kind, your majesty.”

“What has she not done for us?” Koraki grins around the room. “I know she won’t mind me offering a small token of appreciation…”

A close observer might see Maalira’s face tighten a little, but she smiles graciously. “I’m sure that’s not necessary…”

“Just a little one, then. Not only for your Temple, but for you.” He gestures with his silver hand, and then notes, “You know, giving a young lady clothes probably also means giving her the peace to try them on, but nevertheless…” And a woman hurries forward, carrying a white dress. It… floats oddly. That’s not wool, or linen.

“Thank you… that looks beautiful. Is it made from… what is it made from?”

“Spiders doing unspeakable things to each other, or else some sort of Kralorelan tree, I think,” Koraki says. He sounds very confident. “Silk grows on mulberry trees in Kralorela.”

There are impressed looks all around, more likely at the gift than at the knowledge.

“This is a magnificent gift,” Maalira says gratefully

“Thank you.” Koraki bows. “For all you did. Now, I’m sure you’ll have to be getting on.”1Maalira fails Scan and does not see the various people jockeying to talk to her.

The room continues to be loud, and busy.

“I thank you again, your majesty.” Maalira drops him a bow. “And yes, I have, uh, somewhere to go.”

He almost manages not to wink. “I’m sure you’ll get along well.” Then he turns his eyes to the room. “I’ve got to organise a harvest now, if you don’t mind. My guards should… oh, there they are. Right, on my own it is.” He steps back towards the table, leaving Maalira alone.

Maalira relaxes slightly, then gathers herself together and heads swiftly for the exit.

Falling into step with her as she goes is the rich Orlanthi once more. “Just keep walking,” he says. “There are a lot of people who-” and then there’s Venna stepping into the way.
“Khan Venna! Are you well?” Maalira gives her a slight bow.

Venna smiles, gives Maalira a deep nod. “Indeed, yes. All the better for having seen you rewarded. Walk with me a moment? These farmers talk of harvests, not of war.”

Maalira glances at the Orlanthi, then falls into step beside Venna. “Of course.”

The Orlanthi is obviously thinking, and falls in a little behind. Venna switches into Praxian, and asks him, “Does this son of a dog and a goat understand me?” and gets a blank look. “Then good. Let’s walk.” She gestures out. Outside the sun still shines.

Maalira looks at her curiously as they walk out into the sunlight.

“The Great Khan himself has noticed you,” Venna says without preamble. “And he knows your friends already.”

“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” Maalira asks with a quirk of her lips.

“He hopes it’s a good thing,” Venna says, “Although the gaze of the powerful is happy indeed – and heavy. I think your friends would not care to seek safety in his tent, nyeh?”

“Perhaps not,” Maalira laughs. “They… have a habit of this.”

“Still, his generosity is famed, and I think the Dagger of Death would be interested in talking about their mutual friend, the White Bear.” Venna steers the way to a rhino, most massive and bad-tempered of Praxian beasts, and begins checking its ears for parasites.

“Uh, yes.” Maalira glances towards the horizon.

“He holds the Pol Joni back from the grasslands,” Venna adds, which is an awkward theological point – the Pol Joni are the riders of ponies. “And out of friendship does not raid the land of the sun.” The land ruled by Yelm, the sun horse. The Grazelands.

… Continued in the main session SA 4.

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    Maalira fails Scan and does not see the various people jockeying to talk to her.