Mellia — Away With Venlar Vii
1627, Sea Season, Harmony Week
Sea Season, Harmony Week, probably Godday [[[s02:session-32|Session 32]]]
A couple of people drop by the Temple to deliver food, and in one case a bundle of spices and a small boy with his hand stuck in a jar. Some things never change.
Mellia gets the boy’s hand out of the jar. She will try to keep the food warm for Tathia and put the spices away.
Tathia is sleeping in the one bed, but she wakes for food, and gives Mellia a puzzled look, as if trying to place her.
“Hello, I am Mellia. I hope I didn’t wake you up. I have a question for you, but you should eat first.”
That seems to establish her, and Tathis nods. “Yes. Food. I had a breech to deal with, and a helpful woman who needed to be kept away. And I’m not really a birth person, but I might have been needed for other things. An initiate did most of it but I’ve been awake.” She sags a little.
Mellia serves her breakfast. “It’s been a quiet morning. I can stay for a while if you want more sleep.”
Tathia shakes her head. “No, it’s good to enjoy the quiet times too.” She eats with the care of someone who knows what the harvest was like.
Mellia asks, “In that case, have you heard of a disease spirit that looks like….” and Mellia describes the spirit she saw in Dangerford.
“Summer Chill-Sweats,” Tathia says instantly. “It’s not as bad as the Creeping Chills, but only because it’s more obvious when it begins. It makes a person feel bad earlier, so they are more likely to get help. Odd to see it in this season, though. It’s normally not until Fire Season, and it’s strong until Earth.”
“One of the refugees in Dangerford had it. The disease spirit was very strong.”
Tathia considers that. “I might have to go visit, then. Where one is…”
“I didn’t find more bad cases, or disease totems stuffed in wells.”
The woman looks disturbed, but nods, and takes Mellia’s understanding as sufficient. “It is a little odd,” she says, “But then, Malia sends new things.”
“So She does. I hope we’re not going to have many cases of Summer Chill-Sweats. Thanks, Tathia.”
“I will send word to tell the Ring there what is good for it, and how to spot it early,” she replies. “So you’re Mellia. I’ve wanted to meet you.”
Mellia smiles. “I can’t thank you enough for being here, Tathia.”
Tathia smiles. “It’s been interesting. Lady Jaldis told me I’d sink or swim, and the river here was cold. I wish I knew what she meant.”
“I am not sure what she meant either. The Blue Tree and the Green Fish were almost feuding, something I hope we can cure.”
“It’s helping that they talk now, I think.” Tathia stands and picks up her bowl to go put it out by the door. “They’ll wash this. They take good care of us here. Much more than in Whitewall.”
“They are wonderful.”
Tathia asks, “Do you know Sosa well?” in what might be a change of subject.
“Not as well as I would like. I met her when I first came here, of course.”
“She’s missing her family.” Tathia quells a yawn. “Just a thing to be aware of.”
“I thought she was local.”
“The Chief sent to Dangerford for someone, and the Ring chose her. He wanted someone not far away, but we’re still Colymar, and she’s not. Her people are Donalf.” Tathia gestures to the West. “A few days away, if you’re walking.”
Mellia nods. “I hope there’s no fighting over there.”
“It’s not near a major road, I think. I don’t know enough about the land here to say, though.”
“We can always hope.”
Venlar looks into the shrine, and does not come over the doorstep. “I’ve written that, and sent it off. I need to greet the river, I’m told, and so do you.”
Mellia asks Tathia, “Would you mind managing the shrine? I’ll be a while. It’s been quiet.”
“Oh, you should go do that. Take care, and don’t fall in!” Food has perked her up.
Mellia smiles, thanks Tathia and leaves with Venlar to go greet the river.
Outside there are over half a dozen people, the village ring – the chief, the lawspeaker, the priestess of Ernalda, the wyter priest – who nods to Mellia – two warriors and a woman Mellia vaguely recognises, carrying a baby. “All ready?” Chief Dogva asks.
Mellia nods. “I am ready.”
“Approach the river alone, and give him of your Air,” says Haralis, the Wyter Priest. “The water is high but there is a slack place.”
The trip down to the river is along wide horse paths, but Venlar asks, “Can I hold Mellia’s hand? This might be steep for her.”
Haralis laughs. “Yes, but when we get close enough she must go forward alone.”
Mellia says,” Will I need to get out of my robe?”
“If you want to. It depends on how much mud there is. It’s been rising, so you should be fine,” Haralis tells her.
Venlar takes her hand to steady her, as the path is gently downhill.
Mellia thanks Venlar and is careful going down the path.
Venlar is careful too, mostly of her.
The river, under a light rain that starts as they get there, is swollen up the banks, grey-brown with logs and brushwood and leaves floating past. For a moment it looks like there is a child struggling in it, and Venlar looks ready to act, even calling forth words for flight…
And then the duck waves at them, treading water, and hops up onto a nearby rock to watch.
Venlar blushes. But it really did, even to Mellia, look like someone was in trouble.
There is a muddy path leading down to the river. This is steep, but tree roots form a hand rail of sorts, and there is a stone at the bottom. “Just kneel on the stone, and breathe into the water,” Haralis says to Mellia. “You first, if you don’t want to get too muddy.”
“Thank you, Haralis.”
Mellia will go first, hanging on to the roots on the way down. She kneels on the stone, breathing into the water and thinking of an apology.
An unexpected eddy of water dampens her cheek, enough to make it possible the river spirit is present, but she does not fall in. Venlar offers her a hand up when she is close enough up the bank to be grasped, but Haralis says, “Do not touch the water on her until you have been down,” so he goes next, leaping onto the stone, hardly wobbling at all, and then kneeling to the river.
Nobody gets particularly wet, nobody is carried away, and the duck vanishes without a word.
Haralis says, “The river knows you now, but this does not mean he is gentle. Fire Season will not warm his heart, but treat him with respect and he will prefer you over others.”
Mellia and Venlar meet the river