Mellia — Home With Venlar Iii
1627, Sea Season, Disorder Week
Sea Season, Disorder Week, Clayday [[[s02:session-31|Session 31]]]
Contains major spoilers for potential future plot.
Overnight, Venlar is attentive and attracted and worshipful, a happy man with the weight taken off him, trying to make his woman just as happy. Morning comes and he groans something about being dead, and calling for his sister to make sure of the job.
“She is in Nochet,” Mellia points out. Mellia snuggles, feeling somewhat dead herself.
“Then I have to get up,” Venlar says. “This poses some difficulty.”
“Not yet, surely?”
“It’s dawn.” He closes his eyes again. “Someone else can make sure that the day happens. You’re right.”
Mellia grins and kisses Venlar, then goes back to sleep.
The day is warmer, with the smell of the sun on the fields, when they wake again. Venlar steps out of the room into his private courtyard to greet the Air. Breakfast has been left for them on a low table in the centre of his thick carpet, but the thralls are nowhere to be seen.
Mellia says her morning prayers, then waits for Venlar before eating breakfast.
The food is good, although the fry-bread was probably better when it was hot. It is find now with a bit of young cheese spread on it, and some finely cut chives. Venlar eats enough for about three people, and is still eating when a knock comes on the door.
Mellia would answer the door. Mellia ate, but not as much as Venlar.
Venlar tries to finish what he has. Outside the door is Jengharl, dressed in good clothes. “Father wants to see us all,” he says. “To talk about enemies.” He does not try to come in without invitation, of course.
Mellia invites Jengharl in. “I can come now. If nicer clothing is wanted, ten minutes.”
“Venlar needs to look good… Orlanth’s eight hands how much have you eaten? You’re … wow. Hungry?”
“Not any more. I’ll get dressed up.” Venlar always does dress well, so he only has to put on rings and get his brother to fix the kohl around his eyes. Jengharl does that with a sigh, like he is used to it but does not like it.
Mellia decides not to wear a nicer robe and grabs her medical kit.
When Jengharl is done, Venlar says, “You may not be aware of this, darling. Because my brother is here, instead of a messenger, my father wants what he says to be secret.” Normally he does not put makeup all the way over his scar, but now he looks formal, and the extra definition that it gives him suits him.
Jengharl has picked out a lot of his own tattoos in henna and bone white.
Mellia asks, “Should I find a better robe? There’s no time to work on my tattoos.”
“No, you’re fine,” Venlar says. “But we’re his sons.”
Jengharl does not disagree openly, although his expression says he thinks Venlar is too much in love to make that decision.1Mellia passed Insight (Human)
Mellia fishes a better robe out of her luggage and gets into it and puts on jewelry.
Venlar watches with love in his eyes. Jengharl gives him the minor gossip that he missed last night, politely averting his eyes in token of privacy, but really giving as much attention to Mellia as is enough to see if she is ready yet. He does roll his eyes when Venlar tweaks her collar into line and takes a bit of dark thread off her shoulder.
Mellia thanks Venlar with a kiss and says,” I am ready.”
Venlar takes her hand as they walk, and Jengharl leads them back to Silor’s room. The chief leads them through what seemed to be a cupboard, but in fact leads to a staircase, a half-imagined luxury in rural Sartar, and up to the grassy roof of his house. “I keep meaning to have that blocked up,” he says, “But it’s useful for slipping out.” This is a small, hidden patch of turfed soil, from which most things are hidden by the ride of the lumpy roofs around them.
“Don’t mention this bit either,” Venlar murmurs to Mellia.
Mellia nods at Venlar. She then greets Silor and everyone else she has not seen already.
Silor bows to her, and says, “We will not be talking here. But please do take my hands.”
Jengharl mutters something in Stormspeech. Silor offers Mellia a hand, and Jengharl another.
“We’ll talk a few miles away, and then walk back.”
Mellia takes Silor’s hand and holds on tight.
Silor nods to Venharl, who holds the same hand Mellia does. Then the chief peers up on tiptoe to see over the roof properly, pronounces a few words, and the world changes. Then he laughs. “Well, Orlanth is with us – he has seen fit to return my offering of magic to me.”
They are in a wooded area outside the walls, with no signs of hoofprints or footprints nearby, but Silor still walks a little way, explaining as he does, “I really do not wish to be overheard, so let us be certain we are out of range, and … here will do. Jengharl?”
Whatever words Jengharl pronounces, a shimmer grows in the air, in a round shape. It is big enough for all of them, probably an Orlanthi sanctified area. Silor sits on a comfortable-looking rock, pauses for a moment, and then smiles. “I was half expecting that to crack. So. Children-mine. We have a problem.”
“Whatever it is, we are here to help,” Mellia says.
“There is a vampire in the Enstalos,” he says. “Somewhere high up within the tribe. I suspected it for some time, but what attacked me in Sacred Time could only have been sent by a powerful, undead creature. The one that ambushed my brother long ago.”
Mellia says, “Can we find a good excuse for your brother Eril to pay us a visit?”
“Not until I know more. It trapped him once. It managed to persuade the Firebulls to do that Heroquest, I believe, that resulted in the marsh at Cavalry Pond. As his clan chief I can call on Eril, of course, but we cannot do so unless we can give him a clean kill.”
Venlar nearly says something, and Silor sees it, and tells Mellia, “What you cured me of?” He glances significantly at Venlar.
Mellia looks thoughtful. “That would be a better reason to summon Rajar, who of course would bring Berra. They would come if someone hasn’t sent them out on a mission.”
“No, this is not yet a job for warriors,” Venlar says. “This is a job for politicians.”
“Indeed.” Silor looks at Jengharl. “Time for you to find me a wife from the Enstalos.”
Jengharl narrows his eyes, considering. “Could take a while,” he says slowly. “Lots of visiting.”
“Visits, gifts, negotiations – this could take years,” Mellia says.
“It will know we are looking,” Silor says, “But cannot reveal itself – or if it can, the whole clan it is in, perhaps the whole tribe – is lost. First, look from among the Firebulls.”
Jengharl replies, “From now, I keep my own counsel, Lord. You need not know what I do or where I search.”
Silor gives him a surprised look, and then nods. “Very well. But I want a pretty one. Fertile.” His hands sketch a set of curves and then he shrugs, and stands. “You two?” He looks to Mellia and Venlar.
Mellia looks sad. “I can’t give much advice. May the gods protect you, especially at night. Some undead don’t fear Yelm’s rays; others may have living allies.”
“Oh, I know. Vampires are particularly dangerous, and this one – however it hides itself – has many allies. But I meant only to tell you to take care and listen, but not to talk about it unless you walk in wild places or speak in a Temple.” Silor smiles down at her. “But now it has attacked me too, I will be linked to it. We can find and summon it with a chief’s magic if need be. We will win out.”
Mellia nods. “I will keep quiet. I still wish you could take Yamia with you, Jengharl.”
“She’s busy right now,” he says. “But I’ll be fine. I learned from someone good.” He nods to his father. “I know how to think, and how to find out what must be done, when an enemy is bigger than I.”
“Back to the house,” Silor says. “I think I could take us there magically, but there is no need. We will have lost anything that was trying to listen. Only Orlanth knows, and that is the best we can do for the moment.”
Mellia nods and silently hopes Orlanth will tell Humakt. She begins to walk back to the house.
Venlar walks back with her, although Jengharl asks for a little of his father’s time.
Mellia spends the walk talking with Venlar about good reasons to stay in the Tula for a while. “Let’s see: sort through presents, visit Thenaya, check in with the healer, heal people, view Venlar’s inheritance….. going to Greyrocks is not a good idea.”
Venlar adds, “See my sister – she is back. And mama. They are out on our lands. We can do all of those things. But we can visit other places. The Blue Tree would like to see us, and I should go meet those I will be marrying into. I need to order a few things, and we should look at making my household fit for the move to the North.”
Mellia agrees. “We should go to Blue Tree. They are good people. We may need to do a lot of work to get a home fit for you.”
“I understand it’s a little rudimentary,” he notes. “But let us go back. You can look over the gifts you were given and I’ll look at my accounts before we visit the places they refer to.”
Mellia nods.”They were much too kind.”
“Mellia. Darling. My father was unable to lead – and they have him back. I don’t think you know what that means to them.” He smiles, wonkily. “What it means to me.”
Mellia smiles and kisses Venlar.
Some delay later…
Venlar has spent much of the day looking at neat rows of figures and words, and making his own notes on a square of parchment. His writing desk has a stool with a bench by it, so that someone can keep him company there, even if they are at a rather lower level than he is. “Not a good year,” he says finally. “But I think the rockier land did better. Hengrast is more reliant on grain than I am. I’m… well, I did alright, but he has less than I do, and it was dry.”
“May the gods be kind this coming year. I hope Greyrocks can survive.”
“That’s going to be touch and go, still.” Venlar looks towards the big slate ridge, out of sight behind other mountains. “They know cattle, at least. And Ernakt is sound…” He does not seem too confident. “Maybe we should give them their fertility idol as soon as possible. Did you get a good one?”
Mellia nods and takes the idol out of her luggage.
“That is a thing we should take. I like her breasts. All of them. She’ll be good in the clan’s house.” Venlar looks on admiringly but does not risk taking hold of the precious thing. “If you do that I could see mama, but I know she will want to see you too.”
“Maybe we should both see Mama, then go to Greyrocks.”
“Let’s. We could ride out now but we would arrive late, and she would feel she had to feed us. Still, I miss them both, and Yamia will have news from Esrolia.”
“Maybe if we brought a guest gift of food, we could go now?”
“I’ll send a runner,” he says, standing eagerly. It was on his mind too.
Mellia asks,”How long do you want to stay with them?”
“I have clothes and things there, so I can travel how we like. A day or two if we want to get to the Greyrock tula fast, but we could stay longer, couldn’t we?” He looks wistfully at Mellia.
“Of course we can.” Mellia starts packing up.
“You don’t need to bring much,” he points out. “It’s an hour of riding. We can send someone for anything we need.” He still helps her, though, folding her things clumsily, and then remembering himself and calling for a thrall instead.
Mellia packs less, then. She will look over the presents and see if there’s anything good for Thenaya and Yamia.
Venlar has brought back a small carved idol for his mother, from the Paps. For Yamia, he has skullbush oil and some rhino hide, enough to make a scabbard.
It is easy to find things that an Ernaldan would like, after a visit to the Paps, but a lot harder to find something for Yamia, elegant swordswoman. Mellia had the chance to pick up whatever she wanted in Esrolia. Still, a stone from the shadow of Tourney Altar is packed for her. it has a Death Rune chipped into it, so Venlar makes sure it is securely wrapped and packed away from everything concerned with Fertility. He does that by telling the woman who arrives to help that she should.
- 1Mellia passed Insight (Human)