Mellia — Away With Venlar Xvii
1627, Sea Season, Death Week
Sea Season, Death Week, Clayday or Windday Eve, [[[s02:session-33|Session 33]]]
Yamia then says, “A change of subject: what have you heard from beyond the river?” to Irillo.
Venlar’s arm snakes around Mellia’s shoulders again.
Mellia snuggles with Venlar, but listens closely to Irillo.
“Very little so far. The weather has been dreadful, of course. I plan to cross over, and push up and over into Lunar Tarsh. See what I can trade there, to swing back home.” He gives a faint smile, “Pick up my life before I got mixed up in this stuff.”
“Be careful, Irillo. Hopefully you won’t run into Onjur-Eel. Do you have any idea where the others are? I need to talk to Varanis and invite them to the weddings.”
“They were heading West. I think the Feathered Horse Queen was involved in some way?”
Venlar looks like that makes sense, and nods. Yamia looks like that makes sense, and narrows her eyes thoughtfully.
Mellia says, “Thanks. What news do you have from the west? “
“Oh, coming war. I’m going to not linger, I think. But a little trip into Lunar Tarsh, sell some wares, buy some others, have a bit of a look around, and come home.”
“We have a little news from the North,” Yamia says. “We spoke with a Donalf hunter this morning.”
“Mellia resurrected him!” Venlar looks at Mellia in amazement.
He whistles. “Never stops being amazing. That sort of power from the Goddess. You are blessed, Cousin.”
“No comment,” Yamia murmurs, which is comment enough.
Mellia blushes. “I am blessed. There’s usually fighting west of here. How bad do you think it will be?”
“Over the river, to the North, it seems that Argrath has settled in around the city of Alone, and his Praxians are taking what they will. The refugees here have stopped, which means it is stable. It does not mean it is good.” Yamia shrugs. “His beast-riders plunder as they will. You will need extra bodyguards, if you mean to go by Alda Chur.”
Mellia frowns. “The Praxians respect the White Lady, but searching for the others on foot will take forever. I want the first wedding in Nochet early Fire Season.”
“Well, ride? And leave messages for them at places you stop? Varanis and Xenefos can read,” Irillo points out.
“Mellia might have to be alone if there is strife,” Venlar says reluctantly. “But I could go by a different route, as I’ll be doing nothing else.”
Yamia has a sudden minor coughing fit.
Irillo says helpfully, “Guards of a White Lady may not be inviolable but it would be… bad taste to massacre them. The Cult might have views on the subject.”
Venlar looks suddenly hopeful. Yamia looks into the distance as she considers this. “What would you say is the strength in battle of good taste?” she asks after a moment. “In particular when someone has blood in their eyes and does not know who is who?” She does not look like this is sarcasm. She looks like this is mere curiosity.
Mellia says glumly, “Not much. I have the scar to prove it.”
Yamia nods like that answers her question. “I do not think we should cross the river here.”
“Where would you suggest crossing the river, Yamia?”
Irillo shrugs. It seems he’s less concerned about his cousin than about her floozy.
“Below the Upland Marsh, with the aid of the river folk.” Yamia makes a gesture of surrender. “You could go here, of course. But Venlar has responsibilities too. He needs to find slippers, a cloak, and a war band.”
“That can be Varanis and her people,” Venlar says instantly. Yamia gives him an interested blink.
Mellia predicts, “They will love it. Right, we will cross below the marsh. I am beginning to think we should leave a message for them in Boldhome and just go to Nochet.”
“It has the attraction of making sure the groom gets there,” Yamia says.
Venlar gives Irillo a look that says something about women, harridens, sisters, and solidarity.
“Always a good thing,” Mellia agrees.
Says amiably, “The caravan will go on. I can keep an eye open for them, and return south for… this is wrong! You want me to spend Fire Season at home and risk colder weather up here?” He gives a long suffering sigh. “I’d better not get snowed in again.”
Yamia suggests, “Perhaps invest in furs?”
Mellia says, “I know, but after all we did in Nochet, we think they should get the first wedding.”
“Grandmother kindly suggested it,” Yamia notes, supportively.
Irillo nods, “Well, if Granny says so…”
“She does, so that will be how things go.”
“Suggested,” Yamia reminds. “Agreed, even. But I would not like to say that there was a fiat decision. It would be far too strong a decision for the world that Lady Aranda put in.” She says it as if she was on first name terms with Grandmother, and like she enjoyed the experience.
Mellia gives Yamia a strange look. “It’s prudent to heed Grandmother’s suggestions.”
Yamia says, “Indeed. We gave them great heed, and many of them were good for our clan too.”
Venlar stands. “I shall go look for Salid,” he says. “Is he in the stable?”
“Take care, sweetheart,” Mellia says.
“Y.e.e.es. but mind what I said. He may view your search with concern”
Venlar nods. “I’ll start with telling him I don’t mean harm. I should probably plan this myself, rather than asking your help.” He does give Yamia a wry look, however.
“I am sure it will go well.”
Venlar goes off in search of someone to help him by being stolen from. Yamia watches with amusement, and then turns her attention back to Irillo. “How are you?”
He looks a bit surprised, but says, “Well, I think. I like being on the road, but I don’t know how long it will last.”
“Why is that?”
“War, marriage, life. Lady Serzeen will not wish to travel, in the long term. Tomorrow, all the sky could be on fire.” Yamia might be guessing.
He nods. “Mostly the last one. It’s hard to bring Harmony when the sky is on fire.”
“Yelm, of course, would once have said he did,” Yamia points out. She seems to have run out of her attempt at sociability.
“Yes. Rulers say all sorts of things”
Mellia smiles. “If you don’t make it to the Nochet wedding, I will give Lady Serzeen your fond greetings, Irillo.”
Yamia subsides a bit, eyes searching the room, and then she goes back to staring at Irillo.
“Thank you. I hope to be back, but…m” he waves a hand ” The road calls”
“You’re married to the road already,” Yamia says. “But then, duty always does call.”
“And Babeester Gor do not marry.”
“Comfortable all round. I am having to decide how much protection Lord Venlar will require, with a new village around him, and a wife so famous. Or, rather, the form it should take.” Yamia’s fingernails are already perfect, but she rubs at the back of one with the tip of another to check either that the first is clean, or that the second is sharp. With her, it is oddly hard to tell.
He ponders, “Surely, the best defence is making it in nobody’s interest to kill him?”
“Of course. He has suddenly become popular, which has its own problems. But being married to the best shield in Glorantha has its own problems too.” Yamia gives Mellia a nod of respect. “And the politics of a marriage and then settling down are not too complex. I think he will weather them.”
“I hope so,” Mellia says. “I don’t have enemies, except for Onjur-Eel.”
That makes Irillo serious, “a dangerous enemy”
“I have not heard from him in a long time, for which I am grateful. I hope he is in trouble for wasting Imperial money.”
“Wasting?” He shrugs, “I assume he’s had other schemes we’ve not found out.”
“What a nasty thought,” Mellia comments. “I presume he still has not found someone willing to kill me. Even the Lunars respect the White Lady.”
“We cannot list individual enemies and hope to learn anything. They have time to decide when to strike.” Yamia sips bad wine without wincing. “Venlar is a weak point for his wife, however.”
“We shall have to hope for the best, I suppose.”
“Hope is not a battle plan,” Yamia quotes as an aphorism. “We make it hard for him to go missing.”
“Having said that, I let him walk to the stable on his own.” She looks that way, briefly worried. It’s a Thenaya look which blends oddly with her usual poise. It might carry more weight with some than others.
“Do you want to go catch up with him? I should be just fine.”
“You will be, but I cannot hover over him all the time. He has learned to walk on his own now.” She takes another sip of wine, and it washes away her wistful expression.
“Salid is valiant. Venlar should be just fine.”
“Venlar is valiant. And it is the stable of an inn.” Yamia gets over her little moment of caring.
Irillo stretches, “Well if you ladies will excuse me.”
“For what?” Yamia asks, looking hopeful again.
“I need to comb my beard and turn in for the night.”
“Oh. That sort of excuse.” She looks down as if she should be blushing, but there is too much amusement there.
“Dream deep,” Yamia adds. “I shall see to Venlar and then turn in.”
Mellia nods and goes to bed.