Mellia — Husband
????, Storm Season, Disorder Week
Storm Season, Disorder Week, Windsday. [[[s02:session-24|Session 24]]]
CONTAINS MANY SPOILERS
There are a lot of spoilers in the next few logs.
Dawn finds Venlar declaring, “Oh, Makastos and his chariot deliver me from women in love… or at least, deliver breakfast.” He is not utterly destroyed, although he does move carefully as he gets up.
Mellia is a bit ‘tired’ also. She is in no hurry to go anywhere. Mellia would like to witness Eril rejoining the clan.
Venlar gets dressed quickly, after a good morning kiss. He takes a deep breath before going to see the world outside.
Breakfast is brought in by a boy of about eight, with a couple of missing teeth. It has a note from Venlar on it which has a poem about fleeing mercy and missing it afterwards.
Mellia thanks the boy, laughs at the poetry. Once she gets fed, washed and dressed, she will go see what is going on.
If there is nothing to do at home, she would go to the shrine.
Today is Windsday, and Silor is not in Temple, but he IS sitting in his big hall. There’s a rock there, with a bearskin over it. It is raised up on a dais and therefore looks impressive. It has a big crack in it, to go with Silor’s name, Cracks-rock. He sees Mellia, and gestures to her to come over. “My son’s on guard. He insisted – his uncle was overnight, and he’s not to be outdone. If you’re into tricky points of law, we have a good one today.”
Mellia smiles as she comes over. “This should be interesting.” Mellia would sit down where indicated.
Mellia would be helpful if possible and attentive if not.
“So… I have a member of my clan who was unjustly cast out, a long time ago. He left nine hides of land behind, which our father – who was the one who cut him off – had not assigned to anyone else. They were in the care of the mother of some of my children, Thenaya. It was appropriate, I felt, to leave them in her care, and so I did… who do you think they belong to now? The adult children, the woman, the clan, or the man?” Silor looks amused by the question, more than puzzled.
“The man,” says Mellia. “Someone owes Thenaya a fee for taking care of the lands. I am not sure what to do for the children.”
“But the clan lands were given by the clan,” Silor replies. “So you are I suppose saying the injustice meant there was never a time when he did not own them – only that he thought he did not? Yet he was not a member…”
“I am saying that he should never have lost the lands. I begin to think this is really tricky.”
“Yes. It was unjust and he should not have, but he did. And for a time, Thenaya held them without the right to – something I shall be overlooking on purpose in the judgement, I feel. In law, she was on the lands when she should not have be, and was not punished for it, and I winked at it when I became chief… but then I was ousted by the Lunars, so a petty, lawyerly sort could argue that anything I did before I returned is suspect. But it seems to me to be clear – if the clan pays him recompense, and he pays us in service, to show he is worthy of it, we shall be close to justice, and to doing each other honour. The clan is poor, although well armed, but this is one of the reasons, I’m afraid, that negotiations were slow with Yamia. I had to meet with my brother to be sure we could come to an agreement, if we were to pay anything but the minimum for your hand.”
“Aha. Don’t let me beggar the clan. I rather wish at the moment that my clan was not rich.”
Mellia sighs over her clan.
“Interesting, isn’t it?” Silor smiles. “And it was all going her way until the Blue Tree clan paid off their ransom. Then the negotiations started again – but the timing was good for me. Anyhow – soon Yamia will write to me and I will write to her. We won’t be beggared, but we’re losing a son and the Blue Tree have far less than we do, so we need to keep links with him. So he may be married to your Temple instead of the clan, if they cannot keep up his household.” He pauses, and then admits, “I do love this sort of problem. It brings people together, if you get it right.”
“I think he will end up married to the temple. Blue Tree are good folk but rather poor. I thought they would never get the ransom paid.”
“It was certainly awkward to have them negotiating with grandmother while they were under such a burden,” Silor muses. “And an interesting point of law I should probably take up with someone who knows more. Should they have done that, or should they have returned? But while I note poverty, there IS an interesting matter to deal with. Dear Aranda misses me already, it seems – she’s sent a gift from your house to my clan, which I’m going to have to reveal during the day, and by a curious coincidence I find myself in need of recompense for a Lord who had a great wrong done to him. I admit I laughed.”
Mellia laughs. “The gods are smiling on you.”
“Yes. Let us hope it is Orlanth and the friendlier members of the Storm Tribe… so recompense, and I know Thenaya did get a living from the lands she was looking after, and my children have no claim on it whatsoever, so I can assign that to Eril, but then – and this is a little awkward – what about Thenaya? He should have his lands back, but what about her?”
Mellia thinks about that. “Could we call Thenaya’s freedom partial payment for minding the lands? Or we could pay Eril for her. I would do it if I had the money.”
Silor blinks. “Oh… She’s free. Thrall mistress, not thrall. Eril did it, when he was young – before she was an adult.” Suddenly a new mood has taken him, a sad one. “Everyone thought he was falling in love with his little companion, but it wasn’t that.”
Mellia looks sad too . “I don’t think there is a way to restore the missing memories.”
Silor sighs, as heavily as befits an Orlanthi chief. “No. He remembers only being children together. But this is the problem of guiding a clan. I have to do right by those who have been wronged in law, and that will hurt one who has never done wrong. The answer is to see if she will want to continue managing the lands, or if she wants others to look after; she deserves the responsibility, and she looks after her people well.” Despite her being free, it seems Silor thinks of the thralls as ‘her people’, by how he talks.
Mellia nods. “I wish I could see the best solution. I am a healer, not a lawgiver.”
Silor shrugs. “I’ve got worse things to deal with, to be honest. I’ll be asking her today about what she would like, ideally, and I’ll suggest that as a solution to him. A lot of lawgiving is avoiding giving law. The less I have to rule on, the more people have got what they want already. The really awkward one today is likely to be the the chicken theft. Everyone says it was their chicken, and the evidence got eaten.”
“I know. And they’re not even arguing over a chicken. They’re arguing over being unable to back down. It is very tempting to ask the Lord who will by then be our newest member for help on this, to see which one quails.” Silor pauses. “Quails. Chickens. I just fell off my own thought-horse.”
Mellia snickers a little bit at the accidental joke. “Better him than me. I could only make the chicken into soup.”
“Which you then couldn’t eat, but would be very good for someone, I think. My cat’s trying to feed a guest as if I’m not doing enough. My son was asking personal questions about me and his mother. My household is beyond me, let alone the grasp of complex multi-generational arguments, and I absolutely know that the money and effort spent on proving the chicken one way or another will be more than the price it was worth. Jengharl left the really awkward problems for me. Oh, and my wife is probably going to ask for a divorce. She’s not angry with me, but the Locaem are her people and I think she wants to go home.”
“I am sorry to hear that,” Mellia replies. “Can she just go home for a visit?”
“She does, from time to time, but in my absence she was thinking. It’s bad timing for the tribal confederacy, though. She hasn’t yet said it in open court, but she’s asked if it would shame me – can I pay back her dowry, in other words. I love her well enough that I’d miss her greatly. The children from that marriage would stay with me, but they’re not old enough to marry yet, so I can’t make a different generational tie. Yamia’s path isn’t marriage, and Hengrast isn’t… isn’t right for the Locaem right now. My cousin on my father’s side usurped my place with the help of the Lunars, and so his children … while they exist, are not part of my family as such. And on my mother’s side, I’m banned from Hendrikingland, the relationship is that good.” Silor says that like Whitewall is not part of Hendrikingland, or at least, like he has not been there recently.
Mellia frowns. “I seem to be causing trouble. Would it help if I spoke with her?”
“Oh, you’re not causing it at all. I suppose it can’t hurt to have a woman asking her questions, for there are things she cannot say to a man who is her lord.”