Mellia — Candied Ginger
????, Earth Season, Season/Disorder Week
1626 Earth Season/Disorder Week/Clayday/lunchtime, in the temple of Chalana Arroy at Boldhome. [[[s01:session-46|Session 46]]]
When Xenofos asks for Mellia, he is shown into a sparse white room. Mellia, clad in a simple white nightgown, is finishing her lunch.
“Well met, cousin”
Mellia beams! “Hello, Xenofos! Have a seat. There’s a stool around here somewhere. Trust me, you don’t want my lunch.”
“I would not bet on it, nothing seems to have any taste these days anyhow. Almost like a healer was administering them.” He is smiling when talking. Seeing Mellia up and on good humor is good.
Mellia sets her tray aside. She reaches under her pillow. “What about honeyed ginger? Berra gave me some.”
“Sure, thank you.”
Mellia smiles as she gives Xenofos a piece of honeyed ginger. She eats one herself. “Ah, that’s better. “
Xenofos looks at the delicacy, smells it and chews into the candy.
“I’ll bet that has some taste,” Mellia says. “Do you think you could bear to write a letter for me later?”
Xenofos seems to be savoring the sticky tidbit and nods.
“Whenever I have time, my pen will be at Your service cousin Mellia. And writing of happy subjects brings me joy.”
Mellia beams. “Thank you, Cousin Xenofos. How are you doing? How are the others? Any idea what Kallyr is going to do?”
Short silent laugh. ” That is quite what I was talking of…. Me… Hard question you are asking cousin. Still trying to understand what we saw, and kind of horrified to the bone. And at the same time elated to over the highest hills around here. We are alive. I did not expect, nor dare to hope for that. It defies reason and logic.”
“I’ll agree the odds were stacked against us. We undertook the quest in haste at the wrong time of year. We have good reason to be glad. Why are you horrified to the bone? I found the latter part of the quest painful in more ways than one, but I’m not that horrified now.”
“Both horrified and elated, in a very weird mix”
“Weird but understandable.”
“Being alive in Hell is against nature of things, and some of the things we…. I saw… man is not supposed to see that.”
Mellia softly asks, “Can you tell me what you saw?”
“The River of Swords, but you saw that – and the Ferryman. The Castle Obsidian – and Only Old One – the ancient nightmare of Esrolia. But those were not the worst.”
“Though Ferryman’s hollow voice echoes still in my brain.”
Mellia looks thoughtful. “I think you need to discuss that with a priest. May I ask what the worst was, or is that a secret?”
“No, it is not a cult secret. Speaking of it just makes hair stand and my skin feel the cold wind of that nameless plain.”
“If it hurts you to speak of it, it can wait. When you are ready to talk, find me. I think I’ll spare you the bit about the villages.”
“I was alone. On a dark plain, ascending a road, a road winding ever leftwards. I was scared, so very scared. A very scaly road. Too big to be a dragon. That would defy reason… I tried to summon my loyalty but failed. Only thing that kept my going was understanding I was alive, alive on that blasted, lonely plain. That kept me going and kept me from quitting”
“You have great courage,” Mellia says gently. “Do you want to hear about the villages?”
Xenofos looks a bit distracted. “Oh… yes I would like to hear everyones experiences and write a concise treatise of our quest.”
Mellia nods. “It was after we were thrown out of the Only Old One’s castle. I was alone on an empty plain. Yet I could see Yelm’s burning blood, so I followed it. The trail led to two villages, full of my patients who had died. I didn’t have the full healing powers of the Goddess, but I healed most of them.”
Mellia continues, “Then I met a gigantic lizard, taller than the tallest tree. He asked me if I had healed the villages. I said yes and he let me pass without harm. Then I met a man with black skin who asked if I could heal him. He had a huge hole where his heart should have been. “
Xenofos is writing the tale down on wax tablet.
Mellia begins to cry. “He punched me in the kidney, called me a fraud, said I couldn’t heal the world and beat me senseless. That wasn’t the worst part.”
Xenofos puts wax tablet down and tries to comfort Mellia.
“The trail led onward and yet back to the villages. In the first one, all those I had healed were dead.” Now Mellia is sobbing. “My healing salves ate into them. All those I had saved were dead. Eventually I went on to the second village. Everyone there had become undead. They nearly grabbed me when I tripped and fell. Looking back, I must have been saved by a troll. The rest you know.”
Xenofos is hugging Mellia.
Mellia cries a bit on his shoulder. Eventually, she stops, “Thank you.”
Xenofos is not saying anything, but your shoulder is getting wet too.
Mellia hugs Xenofos and rocks him a bit.
“We are forgetting your letter… “
Mellia nods and lets go. “Do you want to do that now?”
Wry smile. “Yes.”
Mellia manages a smile and begins to dictate the letter. Predictably, it’s to Venlar. Much of it is about events and how much she misses him. There’s also a section where Mellia says she would ask Kallyr’s blessing on their marriage, but she thinks they’d get wed at bowpoint if she did.
Xenofos wrinkles brow at mention of forced marriage , but takes dictation professionally. No smirks on any mentions of affection or love.
“Thank you,” Mellia says when she’s finished.
“Thank You.” Xenofos nods seriously.
“I don’t know whether to ask you what you think Kallyr will do, or rest.”
“I can only guess where our barbarian prince will turn except to make herself the king of Sartar and I have seen very little of the others. Trying to keep track of our dear cousin has so far occupied me fully.”
Mellia smiles. “Varanis can be hard to keep up with. I think I’ll lie down now. Don’t forget to get some rest yourself.”
“I try. But this sheer joy of being alive and giddy of the very thought and trying to keep with everything that has passed makes it very hard…”