Mellia — In Nochet Xii
1627, Fire Season, Disorder Week
Fire Season, Disorder Week, Freezeday. A chaperoned meeting. [[[s02:session-41|Session 41]]]
Yelnor leads the way.
The garden is already bustling with people. Jengharl and Venlar are there, and so are half a dozen guards, mostly older men. By the time Venlar sees Mellia, Yelnor is already gesturing her towards a seat.
Mellia sits down.
Venlar comes over to sit down beside her, after telling the guards that no, he is not here to steal her. He glances at her, and then looks away, blushing.
Mellia smiles at Venlar. “We’re lucky we can see each other. How was your trip?”
“It was fine.” He gives her a glance. “I missed you. Can I put an arm around you?”
Mellia nods and will snuggle close. “This whole business is half about the House showing off.”
“I know.” He rests his head on hers, a reminder of just how tall he is. “And I know that this is an Ernaldan house, so you have to make up your mind and come to me – which happens on the day. But when we get back to Sartar, just look out. I can steal you from any house I like, then – as long as you want to come with me.”
Mellia chuckles. “I will always come with you. Stealing me before the wedding is said to be horribly bad luck, though.”
“Of course it’s said to be. The feast would be really awkward without a bride or groom… It’s bad luck if your family doesn’t show itself at its best, though. For them.”
“It’s almost over. I hope the cousins are well.”
“The last time I saw them, you were with them. They’ll be fine – they are strong warriors and have Xenofos as an advisor. He has wit and knowledge.” Venlar sighs.
Mellia says, “Life is more complicated than I can say right now.” She sighs too.
“Tell me what has been happening here?” he suggests. “And if you know of any way of getting woad out of the roots of hair.”
“I wish I could help you with your hair. I have been working on the menus. I went to invite the Highest Healer and she is coming. One of my old friends wants to meet you. I think I am going to be sick if I have one more dress fitting.”
“Jengharl makes a good Vadrus. I wrote to say. I am a little worried my younger brother might follow Storm Bull, but if he does and it makes him happy, I suppose I would be happy too. Fera would have to learn how to calm beasts, because Yamia certainly will not.” Venlar pinches at the roots of the hair at his temple, and looks at the blue smear on his finger and thumb. “Mostly, I need to oil it out, and we brought light oil with us, but I’ll be a gooey mess for three days. The opposite of in the desert. Who is your friend?”
“Erna and I trained together. She is still in the hospital. If your brother ends up like Rajar, we should all be happy. How is Yamia doing?”
“Well. I think she’s further…” He sighs. “She’s not happy. She was a really good Humakt and then she has to be an expectant mother again and she hates it. I want to be happy for her, but she’s not happy. She’s just not herself.”
“I wish I knew how to help her. Women here are usually thrilled to be mothers. Then they can become priestesses of Ernalda.”
“Maybe we should offer to adopt her child? I don’t know. I think that might be best, but I haven’t discussed it with my father yet. Or with mother. She’ll want a baby to take care of, I’m sure. She hasn’t had one since she had three at once, and she loves all the children of the clan.”
Jengharl and Yelnor are in some sort of discussion, while most of the Sartarite guards are sitting around, stoically bored. These are the older men – the younger ones have apparently not been invited to watch a young man talk to a young woman.
“That is a brilliant idea, my love! We’re going to have to talk to people about that.”
Venlar looks down at her and smiles. “It would make things easier for her, and I’d love to help her, and it would keep a child loved by family.”
Mellia smiles and snuggles.
After a while, Venlar says, “Jengharl has arranged to meet your mother tomorrow. Would you like to play swords and boards, or let me help you with your writing, while they are busy?”
“Let’s play swords and boards . I will have to thank you for that wonderful poem later.”
Venlar makes a little growling sound in the back of his throat, and trails off to say, “Don’t promise that. Not yet. I miss you dreadfully. Every part of you.”
“I miss you horribly.”
“There’s that, at least. This will pass. Oh, did you get a letter from me yet, asking about cheese? I found out what that was about.”
“Yes, I did. Has Yamia been drinking sheep’s milk?”
“No, Yamia was asking because mother wanted to know, because she is the one who is trying to work out what cheeses she wants to make, and I got confused. My family all thinks you are adorable, it seems, and they also think I know everything about you.”
Mellia chuckles. “I love them all.”
Several times, Venlar nearly says something, and then decides against it. Finally he asks, “Do you need a drink? Can I get you anything?”
Mellia shakes her head. “You are all I need.”
“Good. I could summon up clouds, but the city tends to see them off pretty fast, and I don’t want to move.”
Mellia kisses Venlar.
His breath catches for a moment before he responds, and after a few moments he very carefully says, “I have a clan and a family to behave for,” as he disentangles himself.
Mellia lets go of Venlar with a sigh. “Indeed. Maybe we should get some rest.”
“You have given me a smile already,” he says. “If I can make you laugh, that is the next thing that Orlanth does for Ernalda.” He stays where he is, although he offers her his arm to help her to her feet.
Mellia thanks Venlar and gets up. “I am sure you can get me to laugh. Rest well, sweetheart.”
He keeps his hand extended towards her for a moment after she is steady, and then watches her away.
Jengharl and Yelnor drift apart, so that the warriors who belong to each group can find the right people to depart with.
Mellia collects her guards and leaves.
“Jengharl, I may die of this,” Venlar says. “And I want you to know, if I do, that I died happy.”
Mellia and Venlar talk of their love. It’s sweet