Mellia — Haralis Bluetree
????, Sea Season, Stasis Week
The morning after the adventurers arrive at the Blue Tree Clan, the Wyter Priest comes to see Mellia about tattooing on or around her scar. This probably takes place in 1626, Sea Season, Stasis Week, Windsday. (Session 27)
It is a chilly day, both louder and less frantic than yesterday. The village pallisade is opening up and people are yawning and scratching at night itches and calling out greetings to each other as they go out to their fields. The news has spread about the arrivals, and it is the main topic of conversation, but nobody is running to see Berra and the new arrivals this time. Oxen are complaining about the dawn, and somewhere a shepherd is practicing on the pipes. As the thin crowd fades away, walking towards the little shrine of Chalana Arroy is Sosa, and with her is an old man, leaning on a stick but without trace of a limp.
Sosa, in her white robes and hopeful expression, is given a respectful nod or two by the villagers, but the old man is given a respectful space in which to walk.
Mellia quickly finishes her morning porridge, gets the dirty dishes out of sight and stands to greet Sosa and the respected village elder.
Sosa, bless her eyes, has spotted the porridge and stopped to greet someone and ask about their dear little girl, and the village elder waits with her, patiently impatient. Then, as they approach, Sosa dips a little curtsey-bow and says, “Priestes…. uh, Initiate Mellia?” Her expression is all nerves and ecstatic worry. “Please may I introduce Halaris, the Wyter Priest? He’s Dogva’s uncle!” Dogva would be the chief, so this man is twice in honour.
Halaris holds out his right hand, palm upward. This is probably one of those villages where they kiss the hem of the robes of white ladies, but at least they define hem as being on the sleeve.
Mellia gracefully curtseys to Haralis. “Priest, you honor me this morning. How may I aid you?” She holds out her right hand, palm upward. Mellia also gets a sleeve end in convenient kissing range, just in case.
He does scoop up the hand, and the hem, and drops his head just far enough for a brief touch of the lips on it. “A little Humakti tells me that you have a scar,” he says, and his voice is slow and peaceful and calm. “I’d like to see it, to know if I will have to change the tattoo at all, if you do not object.”
“Of course, Honored One. May we step inside the shrine? I would rather not show the scar to the entire village.”
“It would be my delight. Sosa, my dear, would you…?” Sosa gets the hint and stays outside as a guard. “Lovely girl,” Halaris says. “And very good with herbal drinks for sniffles.” Sosa beams at the praise as she prepares to sell access to the doorway with her life.
“Sosa does her teachers credit,” Mellia chimes in. She enters the shrine, finds a private spot and then hikes up her robes. There’s the scar from Harrek the Berserk trying to chop her in half, in all its glory.
Within the shrine, there is a single room, with a cloth hung up to hide the altar from accidental sight, and a small table and chairs for when Sosa is seeing people. The end with the chairs is the private part, in that sense of the term.
Halaris looks at the scar, and kneels without effort, letting his staff lean against the wall. “May I?” He reaches a hand up towards her side, but does not get close without permission.
Mellia nods. “Of course.”
Haleris’ hand is warm, his skin dry, as he traces along the scar. “Mm. There is a binding inside,” he says after a moment. “It catches when you walk, sometimes? Or no?”
“No,” Mellia says. “Not now, anyway. I did a lot of walking after that battle.”
“Ah. That’s good. I can twine the hill-root around it, in that case, and it will come to no harm.” He stands up and bows, taking long enough to get his stick that Mellia can re-arrange her clothing, and speaks slowly. “Little Berra says that woad is not a problem, but you are from a different clan, so you will have to take care of other colours afterwards. The law-reciter can tell you the exact circumstances, but if you are to have a tattoo that is not in woad, then you must ask permission of the Tree. Our sacred marks are in its honour.”
“I see,” Mellia replies. Her answering bow is deeper than that of Halaris. “Thank you for telling me.”
“You are here suddenly,” says Halaris with a slow smile. “Normally this sort of thing happens for marriages, or the joining of big war tribes. The Tree understands need, but not want, in such matters.” He makes no move for the door, but seems to be considering it among the possibilities of his next move. Everything about him is slow and gentle.
“We were surprised and overwhelmed by the Prince of Sartar’s gratitude,” Mellia says with a warm smile. “Your clan’s welcome is most kind. I will repay that kindness if I can.”
“We are peaceful people,” he replies, “And in peaceful times it is better to trust a stranger than to hurt a new friend. But these are times of war, so we are grateful both to you, and to Prince Kallyr, who sends us one of our warriors, and the finest of healers.”
Mellia blushes a bit. “I cannot fight for you, but I can and will keep you all alive.”
Halaris bows his grey head. Up close he is not really so old. Wrinkles from the sun and the winds make him look weathered, but he moves slowly through choice, and not through decrepitude. He might be fifty, or seventy, and it would make no difference at all. “Let us go set Sosa’s mind at ease, then. We will not need to change the tattoo for you.”
“Let us go reassure Sosa,” Mellia agrees. “I would be delighted to host you of an evening, once I have a room of my own.”
Halaris hurries for the door in his own way. Slowly.
Mellia follows him.