Mellia — Letters Melons
????, Earth Season
1626 Earth Season/Week/Wildday/morning at breakfast. [[[s02:session-12|Session 12]]]
It is the morning of Wildday. No commotion yet. People have not begun to worry. Venlar is just settling down to breakfast when one of his thralls, Imnea, comes in to offer over two letters. He looks at Mellia with wide-eyed wonder. “News from home!”
Mellia smiles, delighted. “That’s wonderful, beloved. I take it your mother wrote at least one of those? May I hear it?”
These are folded parchment, unfamiliar in Esrolia, although not unheard of. One is sealed with melted wax that has a bit of half burned wood in it. One is tied closed and the tie has wax and a thumb print. “Of course. One is in her handwriting.” He examines both. “But one is Jengharl’s and he has put dates on both of them, so I should open his first. His is dated first.” That is the one with a cinder in the wax, and Venlar pauses as he breaks it. “Could you move my plate away? I don’t want any accidents and my hands are full. And my heart.”
Mellia moves the plate well out of the way. “I wonder what news there is of Sartar?”
Venlar breaks the seal fully, and another letter falls out. “Huh?” He looks at that too. “Oh, mother’s writing… He sent that on as a cover? Jengharl’s writing is fluent and his words good, with regular lines across the page, much as a noble should write, but without the complexity or beauty of a scribal hand. Oh dear. He starts off by calling me a fool…”
“I’ll read it and you can judge… “Oh, little-fool-Venlar. Thenaya tells me you did not leave a forwarding address when you fled to visit joy. Having had your second letter, I can now pass this one on to you. Stay well, stay honest. Let Yamia take all the care she may. Things are… interesting here. “Jengharl, your brother and friend. And big brother. And don’t you forget it.” Venlar translates at the end, “So something of a political report, and it’s not safe to send political reports.”
“It never is safe to comment on politics. Your father may have to go home,” says Mellia.
“Maybe. But I can tell you a few things from this. He didn’t want to send a warrior or an explorer to bring this. He wants to keep people. And he did not talk about father, so he does not want father’s whereabouts known. Probably. And he’s my big brother, so he’s in charge, and he believes he’s doing fine. I do not THINK he needs father back. But he waited to have a reason to send this to me. Mother’s. Or… well, I’ll look again at the dates with father. I don’t like where he put ‘here’ in that last sentence. It was not things here. It was things. That were where he is.” Venlar’s strong hands break the tie on the next letter. “This is from mother,” he says gently. “A hand that writes less but uses a lot of abbreviations. Taught well but unpracticed. Forms her stave letters with a distinctive style.”
“I hope Sartar isn’t on the brink of civil war.”
“So do I… yes, this one is from before any other letter could have arrived for her. “I am worried about Yamia but about you too. I know you will be good to her. The heroes have made big changes. Hengrast is affected too, but he is still speaking. Only he is talking about regret. I will keep talking to him. He has a list of girls he said he was not good enough to, and times he was foolish and full of air that he wants to say sorry for. I will help him. “Let me know as soon as you know about Yamia. I worry about my little girl. Women do. “Give my respects to Mellia. Loving respects if she will take them. She brings me joy in this. “Thenaya.”
At the end of that, Venlar kisses the signature.
Insight: Venlar’s expression indicates something in the letter brought him pleasure Mellia could not bring, and now he’s hiding something. It might not be important.
Mellia says, “Of course I will accept loving respects from your mother. It sounds as if Hengrast wishes he was getting married.”
“Maybe.” Venlar pulls himself together. “This one’s dated more recently. Very recent, in fact. I paid a horseman to take the letter, so it could well be…” He breaks the seal, another bit of string. “Mother heard about Yamia!” All other emotion is forgotten in his excitement for a happy letter.
Mellia beams. “I am so glad she’s happy. I am also glad Yamia is mostly back to her old self.”
Venlar scans it, and then says, “I think I can say that mother believes I’m married now. We’re married now. Listen:
“Ernalda be praised for bringing my girl back to life, and you as Orlanth. All the village is pleased and most of the Tula knows. All know about Yamia, some about the heroquest rescue. I told Hargui, and he told everyone. I am so proud of you and so pleased. I have divided up your room so there is a separate loom-chamber. I could not bear to make it where I used to sleep, though. I think that would be wrong for your Ernalda. We think we should probably push the wall out a little there and align it to new posts, if you stay here with her. If you move on, and join her clan, we might do it anyway and have a loom there in honour of your deeds, but with a different entrance.”
Mellia giggles. “I shall have to learn how to weave. Speaking of the Blue Tree, where are they?”
Venlar gives Mellia a look. “Nothing here about them. But she goes on. And oh dear… “Your old girlfriends are reacting how you would think. I know some of them wanted to be rescued. Oh well. The warriors think you are splendid, and it has done much for your fame. Your hide-holders tried to call for a moot to have your deeds sung but Jengharl is in Wilmskirk all the time. We made extra beer and will be drinking it spiced soon.” He’s blushing. Definitely blushing.
Mellia asks, “When does one drink spiced beer?” She’s blushing a bit too.
“When you want to have spiced hangovers. But it’s a celebration. They all think I’ve done well. Mother’s happy, so the thralls will be happy, and that means the whole Clan. But if we don’t come back as man and wife, we need to do something about that.” Venlar gives Mellia a look of sparkling devilment.
“We can have two ceremonies,” Mellia says. “Or one ceremony there. Just so long as we have one somewhere.”
“I’ll read on.” Venlar does not look away from Mellia.
“Is she asking about grandchildren already?” Now Mellia is really turning red.
“No. I was just lost in your eyes.”
Mellia gets up and kisses Venlar. “Hmm, better finish the letter.”
After a moment to recover, Venlar snakes an arm around Mellia to pull her onto his lap. “The next bit is not so happy,” he notes. “I think Hengrast is not well, little one. He has started remembering all the things we forgave him for, and they hurt him when once they did not. Maybe we will have that moot, and have him judged. That might help him.”
Mellia snuggles a bit. “Hengrast sounds as if he’s been affected as well as Yamia, but not as badly. I hope.”
Venlar nods, a movement against Mellia rather than something visible. “Uhh… if I do this next bit I might be in rebellion against my father. But I’ll read it. “Send your father all my love. I know Aelna has written, so make it clear it is a friend and not a woman sending it. Kiss your wife on the cheek for me, as a mother should, and welcome her. “Thenaya”
Mellia blushes. “Your mother is wonderful. I wish my mother was like her. When you write back to your mother, send her all the love of a loving daughter-in-law, please.”
Venlar’s lips brush against her neck. “Do you want me to? If we say we’re married, I won’t go back from that, but… father would be disappointed. So I could write those words without giving you her kiss, and I should…” He trails off, hugging her in a way that makes accidental lip-cheek contract-sealing impossible.
Mellia replies, “I don’t want to disappoint your father, but as far as I’m concerned, we’re getting married. The rest is details and I begin to lose patience with them. I know Sacred Time marriages are said to be lucky, but really.”
“But are we married now?” He asks, quietly. “And is that rebellion too far? It…” He sighs.
“I would say we only lack the blessing of the gods to be wed, beloved. We might have that, too. We certainly act as if we are married. Maybe we should speak with your father.”
“I only know I love you. Maybe I should explain what I can read of the politics?” Venlar is suddenly hopeful of a change of subject. “And then speak with him. Maybe.”
“Please,” Mellia says. “I hope Kallyr and Leika have found a way to forgive each other.”
“There are a few things here. First, these notes arrived together, but Jengharl has dated them differently. That’s complex and I’ll ask father. But he is in Wilmskirk all the time, and not coming back even for a moot that mother makes much of. She doesn’t send hidden messages like we do, but I think we can read it that way. It is good news he is in Wilmskirk. It means he is not leading warriors, and he is not bringing in the Clan. She would have mentioned that, but we might not have had that letter. He is staying where he thinks he can best influence people. So worried, but not war, when this was sent.”
Mellia considers that. “I wish he had less to worry about, but at least he is not fighting.”
“He’s a good warrior and a good leader. We’d be fine under him, if we had to be.” Venlar disentangles himself carefully, so Mellia can get up. “Let us eat. Oh. Another thing. Mother mentions warriors. So there are plenty still at home, I think. It’s likely nobody’s been called away, although obviously, that could be wrong.”
Mellia gets up, then nods. “Hopefully everything will sort itself out.”
“Interesting way of putting it.” Venlar holds onto Mellia’s hand for a moment. “But breakfast.”
(( Venlar is so obviously not hungry for food right now. ))
“Breakfast. We will need our strength, sweetheart.”
More ink was spilled on this record.