Mellia — A Bright Idea
????, Fire Season, Season/Illusion Week
Fire Season/Illusion Week/Fireday/late morning, at the White Grape Inn. [[[s01:session-44|Session 44]]]
It’s late in the morning when Varanis returns to the White Grape. She’s waves at someone who doesn’t enter with her before stepping into the room and blinking in the comparative darkness.
Mellia is seated at one of the tables in the Common Room. She is eating and still looks a little sleepy. When she sees Varanis, Mellia will wave to her.
Varanis makes her way over to her cousin. “I’ve just come from Irillo,” she says by way of greeting, sliding onto the bench opposite Mellia. “He seems to be on the mend.”
Mellia brightens at the news of Irillo. “I’m very glad to hear that. I’ll still go check on him anyway. How are you doing?”
Varanis shrugs. “You look tired still,” she says.
“I am tired, a little. Maybe I will get a nap in after I see Irillo and Eril. Then again, maybe not. I need someone to write some letters for me.”
“That was part of what I wanted to speak to you about. I’m planning on asking Xenofos to write some letters for me and Irillo has offered to use his contacts to find a safe messenger to Esrolia. So, if there’s anything you want sent there, we can include it in that bundle.”
“Good,” Mellia says. “Thank you. I want to write to Mother about Venlar.”
Varanis smiles at the mention of Venlar.
“I wish he was here,” says Mellia.
“I don’t know if it would help or not, but I could mention Venlar in my letter to Grandmother,” Varanis offers.
“Would you please? Do you think I should write to Grandmother? I was going to leave that to Dormal.”
“I need to ask her help, so that’s why I’m writing. I don’t know what your arrangements with her are like.”
“I barely ever speak to Grandmother,” Mellia admits. “Speaking of Dormal, I woke up with an idea, but it may cause more problems than it solves.”
Varanis adds as afterthought: “And, I don’t think you need to worry about what he will say about you to Grandmother.”
“Yes. If you don’t want the throne, which you don’t, you could take a public oath to defend it. Mind, Dormal may be the least of your problems if you do this.”
“Hmmm…” Varanis considers the suggestion. “What complications do you see?”
“The various claimants might all decide to kill you. You could also wind up regent until Kallyr returns or is known to be dead.”
“Being regent is as bad as being Prince. Still, your idea has merit. I wish we’d discussed this before I went to Irillo. Maybe it’s something I can discuss with him later. I need to think about it for a while first.” She smiles reassuringly at her cousin. “It is a good idea, Mellia. I just need to weigh the implications. Thank you for suggesting it.”
Mellia smiles. “You’d have to make taking the oath as public as possible. The more witnesses, the better.”
“That raises other challenges. I’m not sure the palace wants word of Kallyr’s disappearance made public. And I find myself wondering what Leika is up to. Would she see such an oath as an attack on her? Would she interpret it as me threatening her?” Her long fingers absently trace runes on the table surface as she thinks.
“I think Leika came here to seat herself on the throne,” Mellia says. “Maybe not, though, because she only brought her honor guard, not her army. Whether or not Leika sees you as an obstacle depends on her intentions.”
“I wonder how she is reacting to the news. I don’t understand the political situation here well enough. I think it would be wise to seek advice before I make any public declarations.” She sighs. “I wish Storm Voice Tennebris would speak with me. The last I saw him, he spoke no words to me at all. I might as well have been back in Nochet, rather than a hand span away from him.”
Mellia thinks. “When did you last see the Storm Voice? When I last saw him, he was looking at maps and apparently back to his old self.”
“Oh! Well that’s an improvement. I last saw him across what we both thought was the Prince’s body.”
“He is much improved. I think you should speak with him, or maybe Eril. Eril needs his rest, though.”
“I will send word to the Palace, seeking an audience. Berra has gone to speak with Lord Eril. She was headed that way when I came in. I didn’t ask what she was going to speak with him about. It’s likely best that I avoid becoming an additional disturbance today though.”
She looks at Mellia’s plate. “You haven’t eaten enough.”
Mellia nods. “I need to see both Eril and Irillo, but limiting their visitors may be necessary. I’ll see how they are doing.” Mellia reacts to the prod by eating a few bites and sipping her tea.
Varanis replies soberly, “Don’t keep them bedridden too long, Mellia. We need them both for the quest. Eril has to be well enough to kill me cleanly and Irillo needs to play the role of Issiaries.”
“Kidney wounds are no joke,” Mellia responds. “They don’t so much need bed rest, probably, as they need to slowly stretch the forming scar tissue.”
“I hear what you are saying.” Varanis reassures the Healer. “But, Kallyr’s life and the return of the spark both depend on our success and while this delay is necessary, the longer we wait, the less likely it is that we can recover the Prince.”
Mellia nods. She eats rapidly.
“Slow down and chew your food.” Varanis chides gently. “It’s not going anywhere, and neither are your patients for the moment. Remember, the quest needs Chalana Arroy too. You need your strength.”
“I don’t know how sensible Eril is,” but Mellia slows down. She keeps eating.
This is met with a raised eyebrow. “And if he decides not to be, you think you can control him?”
“Possibly,” Mellia says, “but I’d have to remain with him to do that sort of thing. So he only has to behave for a few days.”
“I’m going to get myself some food and see if Xenofos is in his room. I need to arrange those letters.” She starts to rise, then sinks back down. “Oh… I’ve been meaning to ask. Any sign that he’s been taking poppy or hazia again?”
Mellia shakes her head. “I haven’t been able to monitor him closely, though. Odds are the sooner we can get him out of reach of drug merchants, the better.”
“And how would we do that? Every city has people who sell such things, sometimes openly, sometimes not. Any healer can access poppy.”
“Get out of cities, which we will soon be doing anyway,” Mellia replies. “That will at least slow him down.”
“I’ll check when I meet with Xenofos. He won’t lie to me.” Her tone carries complete confidence. Varanis has faith in her cousin.
“Good. I will try to make time to check on him, after he writes my letters for me.”
Varanis rises from the table again. “I’ll let you know if anything comes up. Thank you, Mellia.”