Coming Clean

Mellia — Clean

????, Fire Season, Season/Illusion Week


Fire Season/Illusion Week/Waterday/probably afternoon. The same day as Washed Frog Drink [[[s01:session-42 |Session 42]]]


Nothing should happen that will alarm people, although Berra and Yamia both look pale as they pull a big wooden cross off a chariot. There is some discussion over what to do with it. They will not let anyone else touch it.

Mellia is with the arriving group. She looks well-rested, unlike some of them. She is as far away from that big wooden cross as she can get and still stay in the group.

Varanis will look for an opportunity to signal to Mellia her desire to talk.

Mellia will eventually spot the signal and wander over.

In Esrolian, Varanis greets Mellia and casually mentions that their other cousin has arrived.
“He looks whole, but not well. And he did it to himself.” She’s maintaining a relaxed posture, discordant with her words. It’s as though she doesn’t want to draw attention to the nature of their conversation.

Mellia replies, “I wonder what he said or did to be sent here so soon. I expected him to be held for treatment quite a bit longer.” Taking a cue from Varanis, Mellia is trying to stay relaxed.

“I don’t know, but he admitted guilt, allowed the fines to stand, and came here almost as soon as he woke, I think.” She sighs. “You should yell at him. Somehow, I couldn’t manage it.”

“I will,” Mellia says, looking grim in spite of herself. “The question is, was that… herb… from the barn above the Chaos temple?”

“I don’t know. I only got as far as confirming that it was his and not planted on him.” The Vingan is having a hard time maintaining the calm she’s trying to project. “Would you like help with your things? You must want a chance to wash and put on a clean robe.”

“I would just love help with my things! Thank you, cousin.” Mellia beams at the mention of a wash.

“It’s just a wash basin,” Varanis warns, not wanting to get Mellia’s hopes up. “What can I carry?”

Mellia hands off the things she can to Varanis, which is probably a neat pack.

Varanis leads the way to one of the houses that have been allocated to the group. The houses are clustered together under a single roof as part of a convoluted combination of structures. The room has some beds and a wooden table with benches. It’s a comfortable space. “This is the one Rajar has been using, I think,” Varanis says. “Irillo, Berra, and I took the third and I made Xenofos stay there last night because I wasn’t leaving him on his own.” There’s a bronze basin and a pottery urn full of water. Varanis sits down in the doorway to discourage disturbance.

Mellia immediately starts getting out of her muddy robes and washing up, which will probably shock anyone who does disturb them. “That was wise,” she comments, “he’ll be craving you-know-what for a while. Xenofos has a problem beneath his use of certain herbs. Our task is to find out what that is and help him find another solution to it.”

“How do we do it? Short of sitting on him and forcing him to tell all? Everyone is hiding things, Mellia. Berra is still holding her hurts close to herself. Dormal shrugs his off. Xenofos has had his deeply hidden. But, I’m the one who gets chastised for it?” The Vingan’s outrage has built as she speaks.

“We may need to sit on Xenofos. Something tells me he’ll get nowhere until he understands he has a problem. Who is chastising you for this, Varanis? I’m not.”

“Not for this,” Varanis says, shaking her head. “For keeping secrets and hiding that something was wrong. Berra and Irillo were very cross with me the other night. I… I was still having problems with water and it was a while since I’d had any to drink. A very long while.” She looks at Mellia and adds, “Not as bad as Boldhome. But maybe moving towards it.”

Mellia squeezes her eyes shut and gets back to scrubbing. “I can’t leave any of you,” she says half in jest. “They were probably frightened and frustrated, Varanis. That combination tends to turn into fury. “

“I know, and they were right, even if they did try to drown me in my sleep.” Varanis is probably not serious about that last part. “But, the point is, they get mad at me about things like that, and yet they all do it too. It’s aggravating and unfair.”

“They’re mad because they love you,” Mellia says, “but yes, it is unfair.”

“Why won’t Berra talk about what happened to her? How can she heal if she keeps it buried inside? She’ll end up like Xenofos. With a wound so deep that it gets into all parts of a person. Why didn’t he trust me enough to tell me, Mellia?” Varanis suddenly looks like she might cry.

Mellia doesn’t look happy either, as if reflecting Varanis. “Why won’t any of them talk to me? Why didn’t I see what was wrong with Xenofos? I’m a graduate of the best healer education in Glorantha. I’m supposed to see.”
Mellia also offers Varanis a hug, forgetting for a minute that Mellia is in her birthday suit and wet besides.

Varanis, who is fully dressed, accepts the hug, even though it means her tunic gets damp. “What a mess we are. And we are supposed to save Sartar?” Varanis steps back, looks at Mellia and then down at herself. She begins to chuckle, the chuckle turns into a laugh, and suddenly she’s laughing so hard it’s like she can’t breathe.

“The gods have a sense of humor this week.”

“Save Sartar… us…” Tears begin to stream from Varanis’ eyes, seemingly associated with the laughter.

Mellia hurriedly dries off, even if that means she misses some mud. Then she tries to hold Varanis again.

“I’m ok, Mellia,” the Vingan says, trying to reassure her cousin. But the tears keep coming. “Or maybe not. But it’s all so ridiculous. How did we get from Nochet to here?”

“We followed our hearts and the gods’ promptings, that’s how.” Mellia takes the time to dress. Apparently the Great Hospital teaches speed dressing, because it takes only a few minutes. “And we made some truly bad decisions along the way.”

“We really have. At least they weren’t all mine!” Varanis is laughing again, for no obvious reason, even as tears continue to make tracks down her face.

“Of course they weren’t all yours.” As soon as Mellia is decently dressed, she will come sit next to Varanis. “Don’t chide yourself endlessly for your mistakes. Orlanth wasn’t born the mighty Lightbringer and if He hadn’t made one doozy of a mistake, the Lightbringers’ Quest would never have been necessary.”

Varanis laughs all the more. “I’m not…” She swipes at the tears with her sleeve. “I’m not blaming myself.” She laughs. “Or maybe I am. I’m sorry.” More laughter. “I don’t know what’s come over me.”

“A lot of stress with no outlet,” Mellia guesses.

Varanis takes gulping breaths, trying to calm herself down. “I need to…” Sniff “pull myself together.” She swipes at her eyes again. “I can’t be seen like this.”

Mellia tries to rock and hug Varanis. “If no one has come by now, I don’t think they’re going to.”

Varanis allows herself to melt against her cousin.

“There, there,” Mellia soothes, “everything should work out.”

The laughter has stopped and the tears flow freely for a surprisingly long time. But eventually, Varanis draws a shuddering breath and disentangles herself from Mellia. “Who comforts you, when you comfort everyone else?” she asks softly.

“The White Lady,” Mellia says with a weary smile. “It’s been ages since I’ve had time for what I think these people call ‘a roll in the hay’.”

Varanis blinks. Looks at Mellia in astonishment and blinks again. “Do you mean what I think you mean?”

“Probably not, but I haven’t been taking time for fun or dalliance.”

The Vingan begins to giggle. “Don’t try Hengrast. He’s sweet and enthusiastic, but… actually, I don’t know what direction your tastes lie in. He could be the perfect thing.” She laughs more, but it’s not the desperate laughter of earlier.

“I may take you up on that, cousin. Actually, few have the courage to approach a healer.”

Varanis grins. “Make sure you sit next to him at dinner then.”
((He’s one of Silor’s sons. He’d have been in the Marsh.))

Mellia grins. “I will.”

“I should probably wash my face before we go anywhere, shouldn’t I?” Her eyes are red and her face is distinctly tear-streaked.

Mellia nods. “With cold water. Can you tell me anything about Yamia and Vengar, Hengrast’s siblings?”

Varanis finds a smaller bowl and empties the last of the wash water into it. She splashes her face repeatedly with the water then realises she has nothing but her sleeves to dry herself with.

Mellia will dry Varanis with her sleeves, if needed.

“Venlar,” she says, correcting Mellia. “He’s the one that looks like Eril. When I met Silor on the way here, he made a comment about how his son should have been for Lhankor Mhy instead of Orlanth, but then corrected himself and said he was Orlanthi. But I don’t remember the exact words.”

“Hmm,” comments Mellia. “Lhankhor Mhy is an honorable god and a Sage could record his clan’s glorious deeds. And Yamia?”

“She is Humakti, of course, and she seems very threatened by Berra. She tried to intimidate me pretty much immediately upon meeting me, but I had more important things to think about. But… her father… well, he seems to like women well enough, but he’s no Esrolian. I’m not sure that he takes many women seriously, including his own daughter.” Varanis shrugs. “I might be wrong, but for all that Silor has been nice, I find him patronising.”

Mellia looks very thoughtful. “Silor hasn’t done that to me, but he wants my aid. Interesting.”

“He knew I had misled him about Irillo’s mission and chastised me for it. But he was also very good about it. He was within his rights to be very angry, but instead left me feeling like a youth called before Grandmother.” As she is talking, the Vingan is unbraiding her hair.
“Not that he’s anywhere as scary as Grandmother is,” Varanis adds as an after-thought.

Mellia chuckles at the thought. “Sometimes it is good to be underestimated. ” She looks thoughtful again. “So Silor is sort of the reverse of some of the matriarchs. Hmm.”

“I can’t tell if he underestimates me or is just supremely confident in himself,” Varanis says. “Maybe it’s both. But he casts a big shadow and all his children have grown under that.”

“I would guess it is both; he seems very confident.”

Varanis combs her fingers through her hair and then begins the process of re-braiding it. She acknowledges her cousin’s words with a nod. “Why do you ask about Venlar and his sister?”

Mellia answers, “My lips are sealed. I know, I know, no fair.”

Finishing off the braid, Varanis shrugs. “So be it. Oh, I think they share the same mother – Thenaya, the thrall mistress. She used to be Eril’s lover and she loves him still.”

“I may need to talk to her, too. Thank you. If I thought it were wise to tell anyone, I would tell you.”

“You should meet Thenaya anyway,” Varanis says. “She has some training as a healer. Tell me when you want to look for her and I will help you find her.”

“Thank you, Varanis. Perhaps in a little bit?”

With a nod, the Vingan asks, “Do I look presentable?”

“You look fine,” the healer answers. “Go forth and conquer.”