Mellia — Away With Venlar Vi
1627, Sea Season, Harmony Week
Sea Season, Harmony Week, probably Godday. [[[s02:session-32|Session 32]]]
Mellia gets up at some point in the morning and remembers to get dressed before getting out of bed.
The sounds of the room around her are a good reminder. This is a working hall, even if a lot of people are out.
There are half a dozen people here now, including the Vingan Arianatha, and a scattering of very old adults looking after the children. As far as tiny people go, there are about a dozen, playing or running about or napping.
Venlar is getting dressed now he has space to move his long limbs.
Mellia wishes everyone a good day and asks about breakfast.
A woman she does not recognise looks up, and says, “Of course. We have bread and cheese, but the morning stew had meat in it.”
Mellia says, “Bread and cheese is wonderful, thank you. Is there anything of the stew left for Venlar?”
There is, already set aside, in a pot that is warmed by having a hot stone added, and the thralls were fed when they woke up. The portion is smaller than Venlar likes, but he makes no complaint, and politely leaves the last spoonful in there to indicate it was too much hospitality and he can eat no more.
Something that size is probably leaving Yamia hungry too, but she has already gone out to see the village.
Mellia would show Venlar around the village after breakfast as best she can.
One of the women warns them, “If you haven’t greeted the river yet this year, don’t go there without a guide. He’s in a bad mood this season.”
Venlar nods gravely, and promises to let Mellia guard him.
And then, outside, he says, “This place… What do you think right now?”
Mellia replies, “Yehna said the harvest was poor. These people are going to be living on fish and turnips. I fear for them.”
“We should do something to help them,” he says. “This will be my clan. But is it wrong to help before they ask for it?” Confused, he scowls at the ground as he walks and neatly avoids falling over all of the rocks.
“I would try to help them now.”
“Yes, but how? What is right for them, from us, or from one of us?”
“I wish I knew.”
“Yamia will know. Or we could write to mother and ask her to send something to the clan? Or I could just give them gifts and not try to keep them polite sized. But they have pride.”
“They do have pride. Perhaps we should consult the priestess of Ernalda.”
Venlar brightens up. “Yes. Good idea! Earth isn’t so prideful as air.”
“Earth is practical.”
“Someone has to be. Where is the Temple? I didn’t notice last night.” Venlar is facing the wrong way, and looking puzzled.
Mellia gently turns Venlar so he can see it.
“Oh, you’re awfully good at this. A holy area, yes. And the Orlanthi one too!” He has spotted the little building that keeps the small Earth Temple company.
In the bright morning light, Mellia can see that the roof of the Vingan part of the Orlanthi Temple has been patched up, and the two rooms for the little Chalana Arroy Temple have a white-clad figure fussing over a warrior who is having his arm wrapped. It all seems very matter of fact.
Venlar chuckles. “Oh, look at him – he’s sweet on her!”
Mellia chuckles. “I want to talk to her about the disease spirit, but I don’t want to interrupt that.”
“It does seem a shame, yes. Perhaps when she’s tied the bandage and he has thanked her?” Venlar looks around at the rest of the village. “It’s oddly pretty. Rocks everywhere. I hadn’t expected that.”
“This is rocky land. I am sorry I didn’t make that clear.”
“No, you said, but it’s not until you see it that you know. I suppose I shall have to learn how to farm rocks.” He looks serious. “Maybe small ones at first.”
“Maybe small ones,” Mellia agrees. “I would build walls with the rocks.”
Mellia waits patiently for her colleague to be free.
It takes a few minutes, and then the warrior goes off and the White Lady is free. It is Sosa, but she says, “Tathia is asleep. The baby did well.”
“I am glad all is well, Sosa. Tell me, have you ever seen a disease spirit that looks like…” and Mellia describes the spirit she found in Dangerford, including as much of the disease as possible.
Sosa shakes her head. “It sounds a bit like the creeping chills, but not quite.” She looks to the little shelter. “Tathia will be awake soon, but she got in after dawn.”
“We should let her sleep. It is not an emergency.”
Sosa nods. “It was a difficult birth. Can you hold the altar for a few hours if I go off and visit? I know it’s not for you, but people would love to see you here.”
Mellia nods. “I can do that. I am sorry I haven’t been here.”
“No, it’s been fine,” Sosa smiles. “Tathia is so good to talk to about what she knows, and everyone’s kind to me anyhow. She’s taken a lot of the burden off, even though we are so busy.”
Mellia smiles. “I am glad to hear that. Why are you two so busy?”
“There are two clans coming in here now,” Sosa points out. “The Green Fish – they prefer to be called the Alynxfish – and us. They come from a long way, and there are more warriors because the people dedicated to protecting us often practice here too.”
Mellia nods. “That makes sense. For a minute I was worried.”
“Oh, nothing but more area to cover.” Sosa sees the worry, and smiles it away. “We are hearing about what goes on to the West, of course, but it hasn’t affected us.”
“There might be refugees from the north coming. Dangerford is full of them.”
“Anyone who has blood-kin beyond the river might find them arriving,” Venlar supplies, as Sosa looks shocked.
“Oh. I suppose so, yes,” she says weakly. “But we don’t have much food.”
“The refugees have nothing,” Mellia says. “I don’t know if they would be good in the long term or not.”
“Oh, of course we could not turn them away,” Sosa replies. “But the thing is, how to feed them?”
“I don’t know. I wish the harvest had been much better.”
Sosa nods. “But I must go see a new baby. New mother too. She really just needs fussing over, Tathia says. The Ernaldans are all over it but of course they won’t know when to let her rest because she does not know yet.” Sosa picks up her basket to go.
“Take care, Sosa and give them my best wishes.”
She gives Mellia a smile and a wave, and sets off at a fast, determined walk.
“I’m going to write to my mother,” Venlar says quietly. “And have her see what we can spare.”
“That’s very thoughtful, my love. Give your mother my love. I will be here at least until Tathia gets up.”
“I’ll.. yes. Do you mind me being show around without you? There is a lot to see.”
“Not at all,” Mellia assures Venlar.
He wanders off, already composing the letter, to tell by his expression.