Maalira — Spinning Yarns
1627, Earth Season, Disorder Week
Late Earth Season, on the day Varanis went cliff-climbing [[[s02:session-54|Session 54]]]
Continues in [[[berra:blanket-statement|Blanket Statement]]].
The rain has set in and people are hunching against it and talking about the harvest and the last fields. Anyone who has a reason to be inside has found it, and the chief has made certain that Maalira has a quiet nook in the great house. Into that quiet, Yehna comes; Berra’s little sister, younger but bigger. It would be difficult but possible to be smaller.
Maalira casts Yehna a guilty look, fully expecting that the other woman is going to rip into her about the earlier misstep.
“White Lady?” Yehna smiles shyly, and offers over a cloak. “This is yours.”
Maalira scrambles to her feet to take the cloak. “My thanks!” It’s warm in the house but she still wraps it around her shoulders.
“She needs to be alone for a little while. Sometimes she gets full of emotions. Do you want some company?” Yehna looks like she expects a yes and is prespared for a no.
“I… yes, if it would not be an inconvenience, please.”
Yehna sits down, a spinning stick already in her hand. She is doing that Sartar thing where women make hair into clothes. “It’s not your fault,” she says as she sorts out which way is up.
Maalira twists her lip a little. “White ladies are supposed to know such things, and not forget them in a crisis,” she says.
“It’s hard to know what another cult demands,” Yehna replies, attention on her work. “I didn’t know what a vegetable was either.”
Maalira tilts her head at Yehna. “You are not of the same cult?”
“Not all of her god’s demands fall the same way on different people,” Yehna says, putting it a different way.1Yehna is obviously Ernaldan, but not something that would necessarily be clear to someone from Prax. “I think she talked about another Humakti who could not, but he demands different things of different people.” Yehna sounds dubious, like she is not sure she is remembering right.
“I see,” Maalira says thoughtfully. “So… she is going to be alright?”
“She says she can draw her sword. I think that means the god was not offended.” Yehna gathers up the strand of wool and starts the spindle moving again. “She does not always eat instantly. She likes to hold into the flavours. She thinks she only swallowed a bit, and it was all seeds?” Yehna’s guess sounds more speculative than hopeful. She does not need to hope, because she believes.
“Y-yes,” says Maalira slowly. “It is the oils of the seeds that are best for shock. She was in shock.”
“Then that is why. Fruits and seeds are not vegetables, or else I suppose you could not eat bread either.” Yehna gives Maalira a slightly worried smile. “If using all of it will kill the plant, then it’s a vegetable. There are a few other things as well.”
“That makes sense.” Maalira frowned. “Do they not get ill, without eating green growing things?”
“I guess she has to have a lot of dried fruit in winter. The Malani here don’t have any geas like that, I think. One can’t eat meat on Windsdays, but that’s all.” Yehna sighs. “Onion seeds. I’ve separated out a lot of onion seeds in the past few days.”
“I do not eat meat at all, so that I understand,” Maalira said.
“Oh, yes.” Yehna nods in quick agreement. “The thing is, she is mostly shocked about something you would not know, or she would be here.”
Maalira blinks and frowns. “I don’t quite understand what you mean?”
“The cliffs and the river took both of our parents,” Yehna says. “I think she panicked. She has pride so she needs to take a little time to deal with that.”
“Oh.” Understanding dawns. “You mean, she is more upset about Varanis’ mishap than my accidentally feeding her the wrong thing?”
“Yes. A lot more. She’s… she thinks as swiftly as she acts, sometimes, and her thoughts are all emotion.” Yehna might not mean ‘she shouts a lot’ but that notion hovers there nevertheless.
“Ah. I see.”
Maalira fidgets with the hem of her cloak. “Is there anything I could do to help her? Not a medicine, I mean, anything I can actually do.”
“She just takes time. She’s made of water and she flows around this sort of thing.” Yehna gives a wry smile. “The river floods in two seasons, is calm in two. The last is ice.”
Maalira finds the last a bit cryptic, but understands the sentiment and starts to relax. “What are you making?” she asks finally
Yehna looks a bit confused. “Yarn?” She says. “For weaving?”
Maalira smiles, shaking her head. “No, I meant, what is it for? What will it become?”
“Haran should have newer clothes to grow into,” Yehna replies. “But it’s just yarn right now. Pig wool and sheep wool, for tough clothes that are not too scratchy.” She holds out the bundle of fibres she has, which is a strange mix of textures. “I was doing linen yesterday, but you need water for that, to make it cling.” And today she has been rushing around after people.
Maalira reaches out and touches the yarn carefully, feeling its strong texture under her fingers. “It must last well,” she says.
“It’s normally for work clothes but he throws himself around so much that he’s going through the cloth of everything he wears.” Yehna shakes her head. “I’m grateful for him, but sometimes he’s tiring.”
“So I hear of all children,” Maalira says with a grin.
“I think most people have never met this one. He was born in Disorder Week.” Yehna smiles. “But he is lovely. He just has a lot of energy too, and likes to test things.”
“He sounds like he will have an exciting future.”
“Berra says he will be a warrior. Lord Venlar does as well, but he sees the best in everyone. Would you like a spindle? I have a spare one if your hands are empty.” Yehna gathers the thread again, winding it around the spindle itself.
“Yes please, I would love to learn.”
Yehna’s fingers work for a few moments, starting a thread. “You want to be pinching it like this…”
Yehna starts teaching Maaliria to spin, and explains about Berra’s emotional state