Mellia — Away With Venlar Xviii
1627, Sea Season, Death Week
Sea Season, Death Week, Likely Windsday eve to Windsday. [[[s02:session-33|Session 33]]]
Half an hour later, Venlar comes up to bed. “He did not like the idea. I am not sure he trusts me.”
“Salid is a strange person. I don’t know him well. I am not sure what you should do.”
“There are other trolls, and I have time. Now I find out what sort of person I am…” He lies on his back staring up at the low, grimy ceiling, with one arm under her shoulders. He has made sure she has the best pillow. “Theft is theft. It’s an ill thing to do.”
“It’s an ill thing,” Mellia agrees. “Why did Orlanth do it?”
“For love.” He squeezes her. “I would not steal from Salid for you. It would be wrong. But I would fight a troll.”
“Perhaps Salid knows a troll who would duel you for a pair of slippers.”
“He did not seem to want to help me. I may be too Orlanthi for him.” Venlar keeps hugging Mellia, possibly for comfort. “Yet, I will not betray what I know to be right. Someone else. I will let him alone.”
Mellia hugs Venlar back. “Maybe Cousin Irillo knows someone who would help you. We can ask him in the morning.”
“I think it should be outside his clan. He represents one related to you. But then, Issaries might have known.” Venlar sighs. “I can ask father what he did. I can write. And we can find your friends.” He smiles suddenly, in the dim light offered by the single lamp. “And then we’ll get married. It doesn’t matter if I buy them in the market, as long as I’m doing it for you.”
“I will marry you even if you can’t get slippers. We should go back, beloved. Yamia hints that the north is full of berserkers.”
“To your house?” Venlar looks unconvinced. “Do you think mama would want to visit?”
Mellia replies, “Yamia says if we head north, we should cross the river below the swamp. I am thinking of leaving a letter in Boldhome and going to Nochet.”
“Below the swamp would be West. We turn North after that.” Venlar traces a map on Mellia, although it is not a very good map, and he gets lost. “We can go past the Upland Marsh and into the Grazelands and then up towards Tarsh, or we can go up towards the other Tarsh, through North Sartar. Grazelands, Old Tarsh, Lunar Tarsh….
“Or coming around the other way… where your hand is…. North then North-West would take you to Lunar Tarsh as well.”
“We need to avoid Lunar anything. Can we do this in time, or should we go to Nochet?”
“We have time to travel,” he says. “At least four weeks, six if we decide to arrive fashionably instead of politely. Lunar Tarsh has not been fully Lunar for a while, any more than Lunar Sartar has been, but there are still a lot of them. As Irillo said, your companions should be fine.” He is talking himself into going with her again.
“Even Lunars respect the White Lady, but there’s a Lunar by the name of Onjur-Eel who wants to kill me.”
Venlar tenses up. “I heard. Yamia thinks that it is deeper than that. He wants to find people willing to kill you. Then he has someone he knows would do anything. So he gets even more, if he finds the right person. He gets an assassin.”
“So far, he has not found his assassin. I don’t want to get near him in case he changes his mind.”
“Lunar Tarsh is a big place, and the rest of the Empire far more so. For all we know, he may be back in Boldhome or Nochet again.”
“The gods forbid! I hope he is at the Imperial Court explaining his failures.”
“Ugh.” Venlar shudders. “Let us not think of such things. We can put the light out and explore this strange landscape I have found.”
Mellia chuckles and puts the light out.
Later, Venlar remembers a poem about hunting without companions. Or half-remembers it. He is sleepy.
“It was a bear spirit that hunted him in return,” Venlar says on waking up. “I don’t know why I didn’t remember that last night. We were even talking about Grizzly Peak.” He was very sweet, tiredly yawning about a poem and muttering about loving Mellia too much to remember it.
“It’s a new day. Hopefully you can find a troll with slippers today. We should probably see if we can travel with Irillo.”
“I’ll set Yamia to trolls, and we’ll come up with a plan together. Let’s go see if we can tempt Irillo into taking on a White Lady and a bodyguard.”
Mellia nods and goes in search of Irillo. Also she searches for breakfast.
Venlar takes the time to get up, wash, call for someone to help him dress, remember he can get dressed, and then with some embarrassment on both sides, have them help him. He comes down into the common room looking confused a little later.
Irillo emerges, in fact from the stables, where he’s been getting things in motion.
“Good morning, Irillo. Are you planning to set out today?”
“I am. The road is calling. And Salid says he’s been getting unfriendly looks from some of the people in the market.”
“Those are good reasons to set out. Are you planning to head north, south or somewhere with lots of trolls?”
“West, for now, then probably north a little.” He shrugs, “South, aside from Duck Point has the Upland Marsh in the way.”
“May Venlar and I come with you?”
“Oh, of course. My caravan is your caravan. You know that!”
“Thank you! We’re just going to eat and then pack as fast as possible.”
Venlar appears to ask what the answer is. He looks slightly flushed.
“We’re going west, then north with Irillo, sweetheart. We need to eat breakfast fast and pack up.”
“Crossing the river here West, or swinging south a bit West?” Venlar looks only politely interested.