Mellia — Away With Venlar Iiii
1627, Sea Season, Harmony Week
Sea Season, Harmony Week, around Fireday. [[[s02:session-32|Session 32]]]
Yamia has had her chariot brought up to Boldhome, saying she should remember exactly how to drive. She has her riding horse and a groom as well, and she is practicing on the roads.
Fera has been farewelled, despite hints that she wanted to come further north. Venlar has only brought four thralls – two bodyguards, his cook and general servant, and a factor from his estate.
Riding towards Dangerford, Yamia runs the chariot off the road and spends about an hour having to calm the horses and get it out of a quagmire. Passing people stop to watch and give helpful advice, and even her Humakti mien cannot stop the crowd’s applause when a horse breaks off and has to be captured by one of Venlar’s cavalry.
Mellia valiantly tries not to laugh at the escaping horse.
Mellia thanks the nice people for all their advice. “This is why I go on foot most of the time.”
Venlar says, “Yamia is going to have to do a lot of what has been done for me by many others. But perhaps we could manage a dedicated charioteer. It depends a little on the land, of course.”
Mellia nods. “They herd horses, but Blue Tree is poor.”
“I know. That’s the smaller chariot.” Venlar seems to think this reasonable. “I want to impress them when I arrive.” His significant height, good clothing, and arrival with the White Lady might help.
“Don’t worry, you will.”
Yamia and her helper get the chariot back on the road just after a swell of people have gone past, and so they make it into Dangerford with nothing going badly wrong. The town is a little more ragged than Mellia remembers, with fewer people in fine clothes. The most notable thing is that there is no smell of street food despite the evening drawing in. The day’s rain was light, and the evening is fine, but it is oddly busy, and yet there is no cooked food on sale.
Mellia quietly says, “The harvest must have been horrible. Usually there’s street food.”
Venlar suggests, “Let us find an inn, and perhaps ask?”
Yami says, “Let us ask, and perhaps we shall find an inn.”
Mellia says, “Let’s ask and be prepared to press on to Blue Tree.”
Venlar looks around. “Inn,” he tells Yamia, who bows slightly and makes a path for them with the chariot. Her driving is less aggressive in town than it was on the road.
A small place has no room in the common room, but two private rooms and a stable, and the innkeeper agrees that a thrall can sleep with the horses. Inside, the smell of food is present, at least.
Mellia mutters, “Thank the gods.” Mellia would stick her head in the common room and see if anyone is sick or injured.
There are a few minor injuries, mostly of the sort that need rest and then… something smells of sickness, yes. A tired mother, asleep next to her three children, has not asked for help. Her pale face speaks of exhaustion, but the sweat on her brow says there is something more at stake.
Mellia examines the mother and her children. Are any of them ill? Mellia suspects the mother is running a fever.
The mother is hot. The children are fine, but in need of a good meal and the use of a strigil or a bath-house. Her? Hot, hardly clammy. A fever of some sort, for sure.
Mellia concentrates on the mother. What illness is that?
Looking her over, it seems that something is wearing her down, gnawing slowly into her spirit. It is not a disease Mellia has seen before, but she knows how to treat such things. Strengthening food, plenty of water with a little salt and honey in it, and a few concoctions of herbs should do. She will need to be able to find the right things, as her kit currently lacks any quicksilver, which is the best way to make a poultice for the forehead and draw out the heat.
Without the poultice, other cold things would work.
Mellia tries to arrange for cold water compresses, honey-salt water and starts making herbal medicine.
When a White Lady asks, such things happen. There is little honey in, but a watered down mead with a pinch of salt works just well enough that it can be used instead, and the herbal packets are easy enough to make. But it is not making a difference. The woman is slowly slipping into a deeper sleep. Her children watch until Felgia, Venlar’s cook and general servant, takes them aside to feed them and as she puts it, ‘give the goddess room to work’.
Mellia looks like she wants to cry. Can she think of anything else to try? Otherwise Mellia will ask how to find the local hospital and get her patient there somehow.
“There’s a shrine to Chalana Arroy at the Blue Tree clan,” someone pipes up. “It’s got a healer who knows about disease. They say.”
“Thanks.” Mellia will go talk to Yamia about transportation. Will the woman survive the trip?
She is not yet so ill that she cannot be moved, although it should happen as soon as dawn breaks. Getting her out of the inn will have the advantage that if she does die, the disease spirit that will arise will not infect people here.
Yamia is meditating in the corner of the room that she is sharing with Venlar and Mellia.
Mellia dislikes disturbing Yamia, but…. “Yamia, can you carry a passenger and get going at dawn? There’s a mother of three that I can’t cure. The nearest help is Blue Tree.”
Yamia blinks open her eyes, and says, “On the chariot? Is the way simple?”
Mellia will answer truthfully.
Yamia nods. “I’ll want someone to help me if it gets stuck. Send one of the guards as well, on horseback. I’ll select a gift for the clan and the shrine, before I go.” Venlar’s luggage has many gifts in, as befits a young lord who is travelling.
Mellia suddenly has an idea: she CAN summon a Healing Spirit… Mellia thanks Yamia and goes to try.
The faint white glow forms, and instantly floats over the brow of the woman who is ill. Something dark around her eyes shimmers, fighting back. It is hard to see details, in particular because she keeps tossing and turning in the fever now, as a thing inside her fights. Then it is over, the healing spirit shredded, although it was not corrupted.
However, the woman is sleeping much easier, her body finally able to deal with the problem itself. Over the next hour the fever breaks and she begins to sleep naturally, recovering.
Mellia thanks Chalana Arroy for Her spirit and Her mercy. Disease spirit, powerful and unknown. Mellia suspects Malia.
Mellia never did find out where all those broos went.
There are a lot of people thanking Mellia, after that. The innkeeper refunds the price of the rooms, and the food.
Mellia thanks the innkeeper and asks if there’s more people with this fever.
“I hadn’t seen it,” he says. “But I could send to the other places to ask?”
Mellia says, “That might be important. I don’t know when I will be back. I have business in Blue Tree; could you send word to the shrine there?”
He nods. “The healer there is good with diseases as well,” he says, having picked that up about an hour before from general chatter.
Mellia thanks the nice man and goes upstairs with the good news.1Note from Mellia: She would also tell Venlar and Yamia about the broo near Green Fish last year.
Yamia is asleep by then, with Venlar fondly resting his hand on her hair. She hardly looks like a Humakti at all, but he looks very much like an Orlanthi. He considers, and then wakes her by poking her under the ear with a finger. “Sister? Mellia is here and has news.”
She listens too, and says, “A year is a long time. These people are exhausted by travel. They are refugees.” Then she yawns, sleepily.
Venlar blinks. “Refugees?”
“Yes. You did the perhaps find an inn. I did the ask. A lot of people have been displaced in the North.”
Mellia frowns. “The refugees will be easy prey for disease. We can set out later than dawn, but I still want my colleagues to look at the woman.”
Mellia hands over the refund to Venlar. “The innkeeper has decided we are staying for free.”
“I can do that,” Yamia says. “But allow me to suggest that we send your colleagues here, if you wish to keep disease at bay. And perhaps tour the places where they will be sleeping.”
“How nice of him,” Venlar says. “Because of you?”
Venlar scoops her up onto his lap. Yamia allows herself to be forgotten, and goes to sit in the corner. “There are raiders, Praxians mostly, to the North. I have not been able to get the full story, but we will have to be careful if we go that way.”
“What are Praxians doing up here? Are they Sable Riders?”
“I have as yet been unable to track any down,” Yamia replies. “But they will be infantry when I am done with them, if so.”
“It’s bedtime, I think.”
“I shall meditate. You will not be disturbed.” She closes her eyes, and begins breathing slowly.
Venlar looks at Mellia sadly. “We might find bad things when we cross the river.”
Mellia curls up with Venlar. “I hope not. I think the wyter would have told me if things were really bad.”
“Maybe. But we’re not crossing the river yet, so we’ll see what our home will be like tomorrow.” He is good at curling up just right around her. “The honoured elders told me a lot about the land, of course, but they seemed lost in Nochet.”
Mellia nods, kisses Venlar and goes to sleep.
- 1Note from Mellia: She would also tell Venlar and Yamia about the broo near Green Fish last year.