Mellia — Away With Venlar V
1627, Sea Season, Harmony Week
Sea Season, Harmony Week, around Wildday. [[[s02:session-32|Session 32]]]
There are a few other cases of fever in town, but none that get worse despite treatment. It is certainly safe to leave.
Yamia drives her chariot for a couple of hours, but as the land rises and the path becomes rockier, she is suffering from the effort, and finally hands over to one of Venlar’s bodyguards.
When they get to the edge of the Blue Tree lands, they are challenged by a couple of lookouts, who send a runner in to tell the chief and everybody else that Mellia is here. Venlar’s name gets added to the message a moment later.
Mellia thanks the lookouts and takes a good look at Yamia. Has Yamia been getting too much exercise?
Mellia intends to introduce her company and slip off to see her fellow healers as soon as possible.
Yamia looks like she has been standing up for too long as does not want to show pain. She has not over-worked herself, but her joints must be aching.
Mellia decides to coax everyone into sitting down as soon as possible.
There is a crowd to meet them at the gates to the village, dressed hurriedly in their best clothes. The effect on Venlar is to cloak him in happiness, and while he lets Mellia do the introductions, he is all smiles and hand-clasping, although he is definitely showing off his riches as he does; respect, from the son of a chief to a chief.
Mellia thanks the people for their warm welcome, does the introductions and suggests that they go inside and sit.
Mellia hugs lots of people, but looks around for the healers.
Venlar entirely misses the hint. “But I’d like to see where the temple is being expanded,” he says.
Yehna, Berra’s sister, gives Mellia one of the hugs. She has little Haran on her hip, and the make-up of a woman in mourning on her cheeks.
Tathia, the recent arrival, is out at a far-flung farm with a birth. Sosa, the young initiate, looks splendidly pleased to see Mellia, and is as charmed as everyone else by Venlar.
Even Yamia, after having taken a few moments to get off her horse, fails to scowl much at people.
Mellia would show everyone the new temple and speculate on how much can be done with the money she raised.
The Temple is no no longer a woven, lightweight hut. It is a two room foundation, with a temporary cover already completed for the altar area. Venlar declares it marvellous, and kisses Mellia.
Mellia thanks Venlar and kisses him.
After a few minutes, Chief Dogva invites everyone inside, and that makes it official that they are guests. Yamia gets into a staring match with the old Vingan here – the Vingan wins!
Mellia thanks the Chief. Mellia also winks at the old Vingan. Since the disease expert is out, there is time for wedding business.
Doa, the Priestess of the Earth here, asks Mellia, “How formal is this visit? Do we need to order a feast?”1Mellia fails to notice the worry that Doa has in her voice, about food.
Mellia replies, “I don’t want to put you to the trouble of a feast. My beloved is here to settle things under the contract. I bear ill tidings from Dangerford which I want to talk about later.”
Doa sighs a little at that, but hurries off to go make sure at least an ordinary meal is prepared.
Dogva and Venlar start trading genealogies and lineages, and boasting about their families. There are cheers for both of them.
Dry cloaks are brought for everyone who was travelling, although some look distinctly like they came off a farmer not half an hour before.
Mellia is thankful for the dry clothing anyway. She would make certain Yamia gets dry clothing and a place to sit.
Yamia is given a place of honour as Venlar’s sister and bodyguard, and she puts her cloak on over her armour, and gives Mellia a little smile as if to say she is absolutely fine.
Mellia will believe that when she sees it.
There is no feast, but there is a meal, and then they are invited to stay and be under the roof of the chief, and to meet the river in the morning.
Mellia thanks the Chief and accepts his offer.
Venlar sings his thanks, silencing the room for a while, as he lists Dogva’s great ancestors and praises his stewardship of the land. Dogva manages to reply in song, but it is clear that Venlar’s voice was by far the more beautiful, and the chief looks proud of the words sung about him.
The evening passes with Venlar explaining that he does not play the harp but would quite like to, politely turning down an offer from Doa that he could visit her in the Earth Temple, and finally realising that there is only one private room and the chief sleeps in it, and managing to get his thralls to hang up cloaks for something like privacy.
Yamia spends a lot of time being talked to by the local warriors, and answering them in ways that seem to be confusing them.
Yehna asks for news of Berra.
Mellia tells Yehna what she can about Berra, but really hasn’t seen Berra since Nochet.
The young woman listens anyway, to the stories from Nochet and the scraps of information from Prax. She feeds Haran while she listens. The boy has Berra’s hair, and his father’s eyes. Yehna’s mourning crosses are fading, indicating that she has been widowed for a season or more. They would be fresh if Dostiarag had died since Storm Season.
Mellia asks for news of the village in return and offers sympathy for Yehna’s loss.
Yehna talks of a poor harvest, and sickness that struck on the border in Earth Season; Stone Bowl close to the Green Fish lands was visited by Mallia, and it was Tathia’s first introduction to the Tula. The sickness took her husband, who had visited for a feast.
She passes on from that quickly. Dogva has done well to make the most of the food they have, and made good decisions, so that the river was appeased and gave up fish, and he made sure to buy salt before the prices rose. When the negotiators who had gone to talk to the Saiciae were kidnapped, that left the Clan in an awkward situation, but no doubt Mellia knows more than she does about that.
Haran waves a fist angrily and is given a crust of bread to eat. He is big enough now that he would be crawling around or even walking if he were not tied on.
Mellia thanks Yehna and asks what shape the hillsides near Stone Bowl are in. Is the whole thing Chaos-tainted?
“The hillsides are recovered. It was seasons ago, and we … the Chief and Lady Doa… called for Storm Bulls, for Rajar was not here. Nothing could be found, but nothing needed to be burned, only the harvest for that whole village was lost. We’re all waiting for the winter plants to come in, to see how we’ll do this year.”
Mellia heaves a sigh of relief. “Thanks, I was afraid I would have to hero quest to heal the land. Let’s hope Ernalda blesses the winter plants.”
“The tops are looking like we might be able to feed ourselves, but we’ll be living on turnip. I don’t know how I’ll find a new husband if we can’t offer him a full store room.” Yehna catches the crust that Haran was about to drop, and folds it up into a cloth bundle. “We’ll have that in your soup later, little one,” she whispers to him, and he wriggles to be put down.
Mellia momentarily smiles. She is worried. Turnips are better than nothing, but the village will sicken on such a diet.
Haran is released to go wandering around the room, which is warm enough for him to be naked. He goes straight for the fire, and Yehna chases him, picks him up, and turns him around to look at people instead. He goes towards a group of small children who welcome him.
Yehna returns. “He gets into everything. He was born in Disorder Week.”
Mellia laughs. “At least he’s healthy and active.”
“Very active.” Yehna smiles. “And he loves being here. Are you sleeping here tonight? We could move here if you and your company want to be in a house? It is a bit smaller but you could have room for your bodyguard and a servant or two.”
“I wouldn’t want to offend the Chief, but that sounds wonderful. Thanks, Yehna.”
Mellia will go discuss the offer with Venlar.
Venlar is explaining about his father’s exploits as a bandit, and tries to get Mellia onto his lap to listen too.
Mellia would sit on Venlar’s lap and whisper Yehna’s offer in his ear.
After he stops giving her neck too much attention in public, he murmurs back, “Certainly not tonight. We said we would stay. Talk later?” And nibbles her ear.
Mellia nods, kisses Venlar and makes elaborate yawning noises as a hint.
“My love is tired from the long journey,” he says dutifully, and everyone pretends that they believe him. The group around him breaks up politely, or starts ignoring them.
Mellia says, “Good rest to you all ” and retires for the night.
Venlar’s people have given them a bed tucked into benches set into the wall. Most of the warriors sleep in such. There is a hanging to give them privacy, and Venlar takes advantage of it.
Everyone else but Yamia gets a bed on the floor. She gets one of the niches to herself.