Mellia — Good Inky Fun
????, Earth Season, Season/Stasis Week
1626 Earth Season/Stasis Week/Clayday/morning, in Venlar’s guest room. [[[s02:session-10|Session 10]]]
On Clayday morning, Silor is very pleased with himself, and Venlar says he was sparring. He also says how wonderful Mellia looks today and can she spare a few minutes before she leaves him to go be Chalana Arroy, because he just wants to be with her. It’s very sweet.
Of course Venlar can have a few minutes! He can even have the whole morning!
He does happy staring.
Mellia does happy staring right back.
After a while the thralls make jokes about dusting around them. Venlar puts up with this patiently.
And then he asks what the Blue Tree Clan is like, and where the lands are, and what her Temple will be managing, and determines he’ll make a map. “How big is the holy space?” He has papyrus in lieu of parchment, and a pot of black ink, and a polished wooden stylus.
Mellia will cheerfully explain how large the holy space is. She’ll do her best to help him with the map. “None of this is set in stone, of course. I want my temple to be made out of something decent, but I think stone will just be too expensive. I’m thinking brick.”
“If the walls are strong, does it matter?” Venlar neatly sketches out a few shapes, leans over to reshape his pen on a bit of rayskin, and fails to notice his ink-pot in the way. He is looking at Mellia with a smile as his pen-hand returns to the drawing and the entire pot gets pulled over to teeter at the very edge of his desk.
Mellia quickly grabs the pot before ink goes everywhere. “Where do you want this, sweetheart? I don’t care so long as the walls don’t have cracks in them. Most of the village buildings are wattle and daub, which is something I would love to change.”
Venlar, surprised, pulls his hand back suddenly and that is a disaster. His sleeve catches the top of the pot and turns it out of Mellia’s hand and it gets worse, and he panics and grabs for it. It would have been better if he had let it fall into his lap and written off just one set of clothing, and maybe the floor. It spins in the air as his hand hits it, emptying itself and by some miracle bouncing past Mellia to land upright on the polished wooden inlay of the table. His right hand, his sleeve, his thighs, and his girlfriend are all gifted with a liquid rather less appropriate than Orlanth’s love for Ernalda. Black ink soaks through Mellia’s clothes and his, and patters to the floor.
“Aieee!” Mellia takes a moment to recover before observing, “Well, it should be easier to get out of our clothes than blood.”
Venlar sighs, and looks up at her. “The good news is, we should take our clothes off,” he says drily. “But the bad news is this one marks skin really well.” Only then does he dare move his hand, to wipe his fingers on his robe. “Don’t get it where anyone will see.” His tone is a little lower, but only to someone who knows him well.
Insight: Venlar is concerned about Mellia, and his heart probably skipped when she did not mind his latest disaster, and now he is a little confused about how to act.
Mellia begins to get out of her clothes. She gives Venlar a fond smile. “I love you more than I love my robes, Venlar. We need to get the clothes and ourselves in the wash as soon as possible. I think we’d better have a bath brought to us, or at least some water and scrubbing cloths. How does one get this ink out of skin?”
Venlar calls out for Talya, one of his female thralls, to help Mellia. He just stays where he is, keeping the stain from spreading. “Mostly, time,” he admits. “There is a preparation of wine and ashes that does it, but I thought I would not need it.” Talya, who has obviously seen such problems before, peeks in at the door and then comes to make sure Mellia does not get her hands or face inked. Venlar waits patiently.
Mellia cooperates with Talya, because Mellia doesn’t want the ink to spread. “Do you remember how to make the preparation of wine and ashes, Venlar? The thralls, or the House slaves, could make some for us.”
“They do,” he says. “I’m sure.”
Talya nods. “We do. Wine vinegar is best for the start, and bison-nuts if we can find any to burn. Otherwise sweet…” She trails off, and instead looks to Venlar, who nods to her. A moment later, Talya goes to give the instruction at the door, and returns to offer Mellia a soft drape, and offer in a soft voice to do what she can before the ink dries.
“Thank you, Talya,” says Mellia. “Please do what you can.” Mellia will get into the soft drape as carefully as she can. She doesn’t want to get ink on that, too.
Talya, like all of Venlar’s people, is good at these things. Without fluster or comment, she gets rid of the worst of the soaking, managing to keep most of the black stain from her fingers, and folding the cloth carefully before she puts it on the table. “The wine will take about half an hour to cook,” she admits, and then turns to Venlar.
“I’ll do myself,” he says. “It’s not going to get worse.”
With a tiny bow that is more fondness than respect, the thrall goes out.
Venlar gives Mellia a smile. “Wattle and daub is sensible for cold weather,” he says. “It has sheep wool and hay in it for warmth. You’re a warm person by nature. Maybe you have never had to know.” He is not yet undressing.
“You’re right,” Mellia says. “I haven’t spent a Dark Season in Blue Tree Tula yet. It’s probably colder than your home. I still worry about drafts. Do you want me to help you out of those clothes?”
“Yes please, but generally after something like this happens I should move really slowly. If I had trusted you to catch it, all would have been well. I think one of my shoes is still filling up. I… I have had worse but usually with sharp objects.” Venlar looks at his inky, damp hand. “I’m not sure where to start.”
“Oh.” Mellia thinks for a bit. “I’m not sure where to start either. Maybe with your tunic? We need to get you to the Paps, my love.”
“The sleeve is a little gummy,” he says, and carefully reaches for the cloth that Talya used, and then stops. “That will be gummy too. Do you have scissors?”
“Not with me.” Mellia sticks her head out the door and requests a pair of scissors.
Venlar has a collection of thralls waiting outside, chattering on benches in the corridor. By now, a couple have been sent off and the rest are alerted, and of course they have scissors. They have to mend his clothes a lot.
Talya has some on her belt, and hands them over, offering to help if it is wished.
Mastyr continues to gossip about the latest hairstyle and how he is sure that the woman he was watching had bought her hair.
“I would very much appreciate your help, Talya. Usually when something like this happens around me, it’s a head or neck injury and we just cut the clothes off.”
“Oh, you want to pick along the seams.” Talya gives Mellia a smile. “Usually we can repair it, but I don’t think…” She quietens down to murmur, “I don’t know there is an original panel still on his clothes. Some of the hemming cloths have held up well.” Only then does she go to Venlar and kneel by him, freeing him from his drying prison. “We put the stitches close to the top, usually. Although this is the first time I’ve cut them off…” When speaking of Venlar, her voice is low, even though he does not seem irritated by it.
Mellia will watch and try to help, but clearly Talya is an expert at this.
Talya does ask for Mellia to fold back the cuff carefully, and then she tacks the inky stuff back down, sewing quickly and expertly so that the problem is temporarily tucked away. “I learned a variety of stitches from Mistress Thenaya,” she says. “Mostly decorative.”
Venlar watches with interest too. “Oh, you’re making it so it doesn’t get worse when I take it off? That’s clever.”
Mellia smiles. “I’m afraid I only sew up people, not cloth.”
“I thought you might say that. If you’d like I could show you how to decorate clothing but you’ll have me for that, I suppose.” Talya looks at the mess in Venlar’s lap, and gets to work on repositioning clothing. It only takes her a few minutes.
Venlar uses the time to blow kisses at Mellia.
Mellia blushes and blows kisses back at Venlar.
Talya says, “Right, that is done. Little enough escaped, and I think most of it went into your shoe, Lord. If you could stand?” Mellia gets a glance. “We’ll just lift that off him, if you don’t mind, ma’am.”
Mellia nods and helps lift the clothing from Venlar. She tries not to get ink on herself.
Talya has made sure of most of the ink, and given Mellia Venlar’s left-hand side. He stands looking down at himself, his parti-coloured loincloth, and his almost piebald skin. “I don’t think I’ll risk wrestling for a while,” he decides.
“Probably not a good idea,” Mellia agrees.
“I think the inside of the shoe will be black but the outside will be fine. We might have to dye them.” Venlar sits back down and lets Talya remove his shoe and then, after consideration, put it back on again. “If you did build with brick, could you bake wool into it?” he asks Mellia. “I don’t know about brick-making.”
“I don’t either,” admits Mellia. “Would baking wool into the brick make the building warmer? Some rooms could have woolen wall hangings.”
“We’ll have to find out. I’d write it down if I could… Yamia was writing in clay earlier. Maybe that would be less messy.”
“It probably would be less messy,” Mellia agrees. “I’ll try to remember to ask Irillo about that.”
“Wax would work as well,” he says. “Do you know there are three… do you know what an alephbeth is?”
Mellia shakes her head.
“Oh. Right. There are different ways of writing the same thing. If you are writing with a pen or coal, your lines will be soft, and you write on the surface. If you are writing with a stylus, your lines are hard and you cut the surface. And if you are writing with a brush, it is the language of magical symbolism. Esrolian and Heortling use the same symbols for all three, though, so you will only have to learn Theyalan, as it is called.” Venlar reaches a hand for Mellia. “Alephbeth is a sort of joke word for it, the first three syllables of the set to learn, when you are young.”
Mellia takes Venlar’s hand and squeezes it. “I’m glad I only need to learn Theyalan. Sometimes I wonder how I am going to find time to learn anything at all.”
“There will be seasons we do not wish to go outside.” By his tone, that is all seasons, but he is prepared to admit that perhaps they should sometimes.
“Perhaps the Great Hospital doesn’t need me every day. After all, they’ve got Janina.”
Venlar smiles. “She can read…” he says with a smile that is intended to be a secret out in the open.
Mellia grins. “So she can. Clearly they don’t need me every day.”
“I put your name down on some of the papers, and your standing as an Initiate. I have no idea if she read it. She might not even realise you are that Mellia, now I think about it.” Venlar shifts on his chair, notices that Talya has left with his stained clothing, and kisses the hand that holds his. “Baths. They were ordered. It helps. I am sorry. I stained you all over, and you are so patient.”
All over is a stretch. There are many parts of Mellia that are far cleaner than Venlar is.
Mellia carefully kisses Venlar, so as not to get fresh places inked. “I forgive you. You didn’t mean to do it. I wonder where the baths are? I refuse to get your sheets all inked.”
Between them, Talya and Mellia have kept Venlar mostly clean where the stains will show, and he holds onto the arm of his chair with his right hand, to remind himself not to touch anything. “I can send someone to ask,” he offers softly.
“I think you should, or I can. I’m wearing more than you are at the moment.”
Venlar pulls Mellia closer for a deep, passionate kiss, which has to break off when the baths arrive, along with Mastyr to complain about the state of wine vinegar in this Kingdom. Anything else has to be put off.
Ink was spilled over the rest of this record.