Mellia — Away With Venlar Ii
1627, Sea Season, Harmony Week
Sea Season, Harmony Week, Waterday to Clayday Eve. [[[s02:session-32|Session 32]]]
After visiting the Temple of Air late in the afternoon of their arrival, to talk to Tennebris, Mellia and Venlar have gone to the market. Venlar gave his people half a day off.
The market is much as Mellia remembers it, though there’s a subdued air to the place. Things have been hard in Sartar for a while now, and that can be felt here too.
There are a number of stalls, featuring varied wares. There’s a section with foods here. Over that way, Mellia can see some of the textile merchants and tailors. Between them, there are a couple of potters with their wares.
Mellia asks Venlar if he’s hungry when she sees the food stalls.
“I am,” he admits. “Talking to Chief Priests is hungry work.”
Mellia will lead the way to the food, then.
Venlar has a pouch for small coins, which he hands over to Mellia so that the woman of the arrangement can do the paying.
Mellia thanks Venlar and pays for the food. She would have something she could eat when walking.
There’s a booth that sells stuffed breads. The bread is wrapped around a filling of vegetables. The merchant assures her that this one has no meat, though if the Orlanthi wishes one with pork or beef, he has those too.
Mellia thanks the merchant. Stuffed bread it is!
Mellia looks for her favorite clothing merchant as she eats, hoping she hasn’t closed for dinner.
The bread isn’t warm anymore, but it tastes fresh. The vegetables are flavourful and well seasoned.
There are a few textile merchants and tailors still open, though the first one Mellia nears is packing up slowly. He pauses in his efforts to send an inviting smile the healer’s direction.
Mellia smiles back. “Worthy merchant, have you much competition?”
He looks briefly confused by the question, glancing towards his neighbour, who also sells cloth. “My wares are better than hers, if that’s what you mean,” he boasts.
Mellia chuckles. “Are they better than those of…..” and Mellia describes her favorite merchant.
He sighs. “You must mean Entale Fineweave. Her stall is a little further down. If you hurry, you’ll catch her. She starts to pack up about the same time I do these days.”
Mellia thanks the nice man, even giving him some money. Then she would go see Entale.
He waves away the money, looking disgruntled.
Mellia calls over her shoulder, “If she is gone I will be back.”
It doesn’t take Mellia long to spot the tailor’s stall. The fine fabrics are stacked neatly. Silk scarves flutter in the mild breeze. And there she is, hair wrapped around her head like a crown, and a warm smile of welcome. “White Lady! How wonderful to see you.” She finishes her meticulous packing of silk trims before coming round the table to take Mellia’s hands in her own. Her hands are warm and softer than you might expect from a woman who works for a living.
Mellia beams back. “Entale, good news! The wedding negotiations are finally finished!”
“Oh, how wonderful! But… it has been a very long time, hasn’t it?”
“It has, but the wedding is going to happen. I am thinking that the wedding in Sartar may be in the start of Earth Season.”
Brown eyes twinkle. “Wedding in Sartar? This sounds like there may be more than one?”
“There will be a ceremony in Nochet as well. Probably early Fire Season.”
“Ah. They are to have you first. I can imagine this pleases your mother and family matriarch,” she acknowledges. “So how may I be of assistance? Did you get your robe? I sent it on to Nochet last Fire Season.”
Mellia says, “I did get the robe. My mother will probably take over the wedding in Nochet, but that leaves the one here and I need a dress for it.”
“Hmmm…. And your young man is Orlanthi, I see.” She nods at Venlar, who is lurking a short distance away.
“Yes. Sometime I should tell you about him on quest… anyway, I don’t even know what color to wear.”
“Oh, well that’s an easy answer, dear. You’ll need green. But perhaps… an under gown of white, with a green over gown. And we will put white Harmony and Life runes all over it.” Entale beams.
Mellia is enchanted by the idea and says so. “Do you have the fabric in stock? I don’t think the prince is paying for it, but I will send as many of the guests to you as I can.”
The tailor moves purposefully to her table, where the fabrics are piled. She moves with the confidence of a woman who knows her stock and knows exactly what she’s looking for. She extracts a bolt of lush green wool. “This will look lovely on you.”
Mellia inspects the wool and is inclined to agree. “Sweetheart, do you have a favorite tailor, or should we look at fabric for you?”
It’s the same shade as the rich ferns of the forest that Mellia wandered through when seeking Ernalda’s aid in her prayers.
Venlar replies, “Mama has always seen to it. There’s a thrall with a knack for making what I need.” He flushes a little. “I don’t want to take anything away from Mama’s plans. Let’s just leave it to her.”
“I don’t want to offend Mama,” Mellia says. “Let’s just look at fabric for you. Also, do you think Yamia would want to wear black?”
“Probably. She doesn’t tend to wear anything else,” he points out.
“White Lady, let’s focus for a moment, shall we? One garment at a time.” The tailor smiles patiently as she calls Mellia’s attention back to herself.
Mellia says, “Quite right. I love the wool. What do you have for the underdress?”
“It will be warm in Earth Season, so I think it should be linen next to your skin. The fabric will breathe well and keep you fresh throughout the day. I don’t have any of my linen here, but I have plenty at my home. I shall find you something light and airy.” She ponders a moment. “Do you wish sleeves? Or shall we bare your arms, the better to show off your beautiful skin and runes and fine jewellery?”
Mellia thinks. “It’s warm here in Earth Season. We’d better leave the sleeves off, or perhaps make them detachable.”
“No sleeves then. But a fine white shawl in case of unseasonable breezes.” She nods thoughtfully. “Yes, I have just the thing. So, linen first, long and sleeveless. I’ll shape it something like the sheaths the women of Esrolia favour, perhaps. But, then a Sartarite gown of green.” As she speaks, she unrolls a length of the wool, holding it up for Mellia to examine. The wool is so fine that even the winter’s sun can be seen through it.
“The runes should be embroidered in silk, so that they don’t add weight to the fabric.”
Mellia says, “It’s beautiful. I will take it. I hope you can get silk thread. I have been using mine to close wounds.”
“I have what I need. Are your measurements the same? Nothing that might make fitting things different in a season or two?” That very intimate question is asked with no sign of embarrassment.
Mellia says, “You might want to measure me to be sure, but I don’t think I will need frequent fittings.”
From a small box on her table, Entale withdraws a handful of knotted strings. She picks through them to find the one she wants. “This was from last Fire Season. Let’s see if anything has changed then. Arms up.”
Mellia cooperates and gets measured.
Entale is brisk and the task is finished quickly. “Do you have time to leave this with me for a day or two? I will design something for you and then once you decide you like it, I can set to work. You’ll need to tell me if you will pick it up from me, or if I will need to have it delivered somewhere. It will take me a few weeks, at least.”
Mellia nods. “I will be here for a little while. I don’t know if you will need to deliver the dress. I think the wedding will be in Cinder Fox Tula, so it would be a short trip.”
The tailor nods. “Come see me in a couple of days then. We will talk more.”
“I will. Thank you for your help.”
Mellia collects Venlar from wherever he’s hiding and goes to the White Grape.