Mellia — Away With Venlar X
1627, Sea Season, Death Week
Sea Season Death Week, Freezeday Eve to Freezeday. [[[s02:session-32|Session 32]]]
The shrine is quiet. Tathia, bundled up against the cold, is banking down the fire in the main area. She looks prepared to sleep there.
Mellia tells Tathia, “You missed Finarvi acknowledging his son. Did I miss anything here?”
“It was peaceful,” she says, “And the fire sparked a bit and a bird flew in, but I carried it out so it did not get trapped. I think it might want to nest, so we should make a hole in the door so it can always get in.”
“Okay. Is it my turn to be here a while?”
“Do you have warm clothes?” She looks willing to be persuaded.
“I do, if this is warm enough. The men are in the hall drinking and talking.”
“You’ll want a few more blankets, but I can bring some. Did you eat?” Younger than Mellia, Tathia fusses over her.
“No, I have no idea when dinner will be.”
“I’ll get you food, then. And something warm to drink.” Despite her words about letting birds fly in, Tathia makes sure the door is closed securely when she leaves.
Mellia calls thanks after Tathia, then settles down to wait for patients.
Tathia is the first voice she hears after that, arriving with food and a pile of blankets with Venlar’s cloak and a love-note piled on top. Apparently Venlar is missing her already and wishes her an easy time for the good of the village.
Mellia thanks Tathia, eats and settles down for the night. “If you are going that way, Tathia, please tell Venlar I love him.”
“I can go that way,” she says. The shrine has been swept while Mella ate, with Tathia putting spiders into different corners so they will not fight. “I’ll tell him you are bearing up bravely.”
Mellia thanks Tathia and chuckles.
The night is uneventful. In the morning, a couple of younger children slip on ice nearby, but the sun is already out and shining and the cold weather seems to have broken. They just jumped in an unlucky puddle.
Mellia checks the children for broken bones and bruises.
The boy who landed first took out his sister, who bumped her head on falling over him. He has a cut elbow, a torn sleeve, and a teary look of panic over the whole thing. She has a cut on her forehead that is more dramatic than alarming.
Mellia bandages the cuts and tells the two that they will be just fine.
A few minutes later their mother comes by with both of them to present a couple of dried apples to the Temple.
Mellia thanks her for the apples. Mellia will eat one of those. Breakfast!
Venlar leans in to ask, “Healer about? I think Finarvi will die of lovesickness.” He is up early, by his standards.
Mellia smiles and laughs. “There is no cure for that, sweetheart.”
“I had feared as much. Am I doomed too? I brought you something that they are calling porridge, but it’s not the same as the porridge I eat at home. Can you believe they salt it?”
Mellia says, “How strange! Thanks, sweetheart. Want to help me eat it? I ate a dried apple earlier.”
“I’ve had a bit, but I could help.” He has only brought one bowl, but there are others here, five stacked neatly for the use of patients and the two initiates. There used to be only two, when Sosa was alone.
Mellia grabs a bowl from the stack and splits the porridge.
It is strange stuff, smoother than she is used to, and salted. Venlar looks really confused all the way through eating his. “I mean, it’s not had but it’s got salt in. Who does that?”
“They do, it seems.” Mellia is also confused.
At the end of the bowl he is still staring at it. “Well. Time to break into the spare we brought with us?” He lowers his voice to go on. “I don’t want to eat too much while I’m here, despite their generosity. But is it awkward to have my own? If I were a Lord here already I could share but I’m not, and I don’t want to shame Lord Dogva.”
“It’s awkward,” Mellia replies. “They are proud. Maybe we should cut our visit short.”
“We do not have to stay too long, and we could leave with Finarvi if he is not going to stay another few weeks to see Antoril. We know him already, so that’s a polite way of slipping out.”
Mellia nods. “Either that, or we get serious about finding my cousins.”
“That leaves us with the question of whether we should go North. Yamia needs to help answer that.” He looks around for a thrall to wash his bowl for him, or at least take it away, and finding nobody puts it back down.
Mellia takes the bowls and washes them, if possible.
Venlar sits outside the shrine in case anyone comes while she is busy, but when someone does it is only Sosa, who says, “Goodness, you don’t want to be inside on a day like this! It’s glorious out here.”
“I think I will go outside. Good morning, Sosa. It’s been quiet except for a pair of cuts. There’s a dried apple if you’re hungry.”
“Oh, I’ll keep it for later. We like to give slices of those to the bravest of children. Did you know you have Venlar here?”
“And we should get out of here. Thanks, Sosa.”
“I’ll be walking around, but I just came to pick up my basket. One of us sleeps here overnight, or both, so nobody else has to be woken, but in the daytime the Ernaldans can handle anything that comes, and we go look after the people further out.” She comes in to fetch her reed basket. “I’ve already soothed an ego today, but no bruises.”
“Good for you! Do I need to do a route?”
“Only if you want to. I know you didn’t come for that.” Sosa steps back to the door. “I think your Humakti might need someone better with words than I am. She’s in a terrible mood.”
“Uh oh. We should go find Yamia before she kills someone. Thanks, Sosa.”
“She never would,” Venlar says, but he is already up, the little stool he had borrowed to sit on rocking where he was.
Mellia hurries off to find Yamia.
Yamia, when she is found, is sitting on a rock on the sun, meditating, Her eyes are closed but her breathing is too fast, and her muscles have not relaxed. Either she is in a trance thinking about anger, or she is in a bad mood. However, at least nobody is dead.
“Oh bother,” Venlar says. “She’s gone pale. This is bad.”
“Great. Think I should try talking to her?”
BleysRex: “We should find out what the problem is, and she respects you, but if I were you I would pull up a couple of stools and we can play the Ur-game or cat’s cradle until she is ready to talk back.” Venlar does not come closer. “Right now she wants to destroy someone. So we should give her time.”
“Okay.” Mellia sits down at a safe distance and prepares to wait.
A few people passing by do ask what is happening, but Venlar says they are keeping their sister company. As Yelm climbs up into the sky, Yamia’s eyes finally flick open, and she looks around, and straight at Venlar, and then at Mellia. It is a scary look, promising no good to anyone, and only letting the two of them pass because she has decided to. Venlar stands up, brushing off his sleeves as he tries to look casual.
Mellia stands as well. “You look like you are having a bad morning, Yamia. Want to tell me what happened?”
“One of the Malani warriors decided yesterday to try to humiliate me,” she said. “I do not mind that. Today, he took it further. He says my brother is not my father’s. I am considering what to do.” The look that promises destruction does not change at all.
“What a twit,” Mellia says with sympathy.
“It would be wrong to challenge him,” Yamia says, “But everyone knows he is doing it to get a rise out of me.”
“He’ll get one out of me too,” Venlar says. “This is slander, if he repeats it.”
“If the idiot wants a duel, don’t give it to him. How much worse will he be if ignored ?”
“My reputation would suffer,” Yamia says, “And my brother’s. But he will not be ignored. I will find the right stroke.”
Mellia sighs. “I should leave you two to discuss this. My vows forbid violence.”
“Oh, violence is far from my mind,” Yamia says. “I have an idea, anyhow. He does not like me because I will not back down.”
“Mm? Oh, a polite swear-word. No, I know how to win.” Now she looks like she is concentrating on the air.
“It is not just my parents he is calling a liar. Perhaps best if you warn the village of that.” Yamia turns a look on Mellia. “I am sure he does not realise which face he is insulting.”
Venlar closes his eyes. “Oh.”
“Whom is the fool insulting?”
“Lord Eril. I suppose if he chooses not to hear there is no harm.” Yamia smiles just a little, dangerously, as she thinks about some image she has summoned up.
Mellia shudders at the thought of Eril’s possible vengeance. “I think I will go talk to Lord Dogva.”
“If you want, I can talk to Delesos about his behaviour, and try to calm him, but I think he just wants to humble me. I am not humble.” Yamia looks delicately ready to strike in any but the two directions occupied by Mellia and Venlar.
“A bully,” Mellia says. “I will go warn the elders.”
Venlar says, “I’ll stay with my sister. Yamia, we need a word.”
Mellia leaves in search of the elders.