1628, Earth Season, Fertility Week, Windsday
Looking for her friends, Maalira has been sent by King Koraki himself to look after a patient. Session S3SA.02.
There, dealing with what seems to be a small pile of parchment that has wronged him personally, is Lord Eril. He is reading something with an expression of annoyance that puts Venna’s not only in the shade, but likely in the underworld, just prior to the entry of Yelm to that famed place of darkness. He gives Maalira a borderline-hostile stare. “Why do New Paviens think they understand poetry?”
There is a small desk there, tilted for writing, as well as the one that holds what is presumably work. That and a tall stool are the only furniture – this room is not even large enough to pace around in, should one be Varanis.
Maalira opens her mouth then closes it again.
“Lord Eril, was there a patient for me?” she says awkwardly after a moment.
“Ah, yes. Do you have any objections to performing your works in a Humakti Temple?” He glances down at the parchment, puts it onto the taller pile of two, and gives it a look that borders on vindictive before he manages a brief smile in Maalira’s direction.
“No, none.”1Maalira fails Scan, and does not notice how Eril is working around being wounded.
He does not even gesture, but suddenly the room is cooler, the colours subdued, and the sounds of life outside faded. He stands without apparent effort, but his weight is on his right leg. “I am the patient. Shortly before…” Then he gestures aside the notion of talking. He does not look badly injured.
“What happened? How are you hurt?” Maalira takes a step towards him.
“A curved blade,” he says, hitching the robe up over his left thigh – it falls naturally so that he can walk and fight in it, meaning there is plenty of spare material.
His thigh is bandaged, tightly, over a thin dressing that is failing to keep blood at bay entirely. “It is not infected, but it would not be best for me to deal with it myself.” Of course, it’s on the front.
“Of course. May I?” Maalira goes closer and gestures at the bandages.
“Please.” She gets a brief, desiccated smile. Then he adds casually, “You may be interested to know that this morning, the initiate Berra was exiled by King Koraki.” He pauses longer than is friendly, as if deciding whether to go on while leaving her wriggling on that hook.
Maalira’s head snaps up. “What? Why?”2Maalira rolls a critical Insight Human, and gets inside the Eril mask for a moment.
He looks at her just like he is surprised by her reaction – just like that. So exactly like that it’s obviously a fake, and obviously anyone would know it was – but beneath the surface, things are moving. He was using the surprise to cover… surprise. And pain. Up close he is ignoring the fact he has lost a lot of blood and is still wounded. But he is also reading her in return, and this is a man who complains about poetry in dispatches; he knows that his words hit home, and he neatly puts that away where it goes, and gives her a tiny smile like he is… surprised by her reaction. Just like that. “An act of violence against his person.” And now he’s watching her react.
Maalira closes her eyes for a moment. “Oh, Berra,” she says.
Even closed eyes are no relief. “She has been escorted – or more accurately is being escorted – away from his lands. You will wish to travel West.”
“Thank you, Lord Eril. Once I have set your leg right I will go after her.”
“I believe the King will want to talk with you, if he has not already. He might not, however, relish being reminded of the morning’s events.” Even in tradetalk his voice is aristocratic, noble, haughty.
“Thank you. I will be sure to, uh, avoid mentioning that.” Maalira unwinds the bandages and examines the wound.
It is a long, straight slash from the knee up and out towards the left hand. Magic has already healed it partially, leaving a scar that will probably be painful, and probably already is, but it could do with more. It likely went down to the bone at one point, and that would have made walking impossible. Bruising inside the skin indicates its age – it was inflicted yesterday. “I would be grateful for the use of magic in this case,” Eril says quietly. “The exigencies of command are what they are.”
“Yes, naturally.”3GM note: It’s 3HP, after the healing. There will be a scar there unless you want to send him to surgery. First Aid has happened, though – it kept him on his feet, effectively, by healing him a bit – the bandages and dressing were the right thing to keep everything closed and compressed until you got there.
“Perhaps I should also note certain inaccuracies in the tale Koraki has composed, of a White Lady who saves a dying Humakti in the Red Emperor’s clutches,” Eril says. Perhaps.
“I see,” Maalira says somewhat absently, as she is casting.
“He sings of your ability to stop poison within the blood.” Casual-sharp, like a scalpel held between fingertips.
“I have done that,” Maalira says with a small smile. “It is a matter of the right medicine.”
“Antidotes, and not the blessings of your Goddess?” comes the answer. It’s an answer, despite being put like a question. He’s unimpressed.
“Without my Goddess, there would be no medicine for me to use.” Maalira is genuinely smiling now.
“Without the quick thinking of Thane Vareena, your friend might have died.” No smile. No judgement in his eyes, but what might be a challenge there.
“We all do what we can, in the moment when we are asked to do it,” Maalira says.
It seems like she has disappointed him, although he nods as if to say he is beaten. “From here, of course, anyone advised not to come back through Alda Chur, and wishing to avoid doing what they are well known to be doing, could only go into Lunar Tarsh, or the Grazelands. Take care on the trail.” It seems to be a dismissal.
Maalira gives him a bow. “I hope your leg does not trouble you too much more.”
“Thank you for your kindness.” She gets a polite nod of the head in return.
Lord Eril adjusts the lie of his robe slightly, and looks back to the pile of parchment, and then instead of taking the top one, moves the pile slightly to pick up one from under a folded bit of black cloth. Maalira gets completely ignored.
Maalira squints at him slightly, then turns to go, keeping half an eye on him just in case he calls her back.
He does seem to be concentrating entirely on the next thing – the conversation over, the wound dealt with, he just… got on with the next thing that needed to be done. By the look on his face, he has no complaints about the writer of this letter, but it is definitely a matter that has his attention.
Maalira realises that she is still holding the bandages and dressings, and rolls them up into a tight ball before wrapping them in a waxed cloth and stuffing them back into her scrip.
- 1Maalira fails Scan, and does not notice how Eril is working around being wounded.
- 2Maalira rolls a critical Insight Human, and gets inside the Eril mask for a moment.
- 3GM note: It’s 3HP, after the healing. There will be a scar there unless you want to send him to surgery. First Aid has happened, though – it kept him on his feet, effectively, by healing him a bit – the bandages and dressing were the right thing to keep everything closed and compressed until you got there.