Mellia — Not Eloping
????, Dark Season, Movement Week
Towards the end of Dark Season, in the House of Saiciae. [[[s02:session-18|Session 18]]]
“Sweetheart, I think we need to return to Sartar. I don’t want to cause trouble for your father. Should we elope?”
“No, But we could just travel?”
“I think we should go to the Paps, but your father needs to go home. The negotiations need to end soon.”
“He’s not needed here. I mean, not NEEDED needed. But if he left he should probably leave me behind as well, to agree on whatever Yamia tells me to agree to. Otherwise they’ll just have to send for his signature. It would be best if there were two of me.”
Mellia shakes her head. “He will stay as long as this goes on. Maybe I should speak to the Blue Tree folk.”
“What would you say?” It sounds like a question to check her plan, not a defeatist one. “And I should try to send him.”
“That I long to be wed and we all need to go home. I wonder what the current problem is?”
“Sounds like a good thought. But what I say to father… would you like to know, or would you prefer to be unable to answer if asked?” Venlar looks innocent.
“I think I had better not know.”
“I’ll talk to him about a housecat. If anything else comes up, well, these things happen. Give me a kiss for luck, and I’ll give you one?”
Mellia gives Venlar a great kiss.
There’s another in return. Then Mellia calls on the Blue Tree delegation.
The three men of the Blue Tree are seldom available at once, but Gan, a cousin of the chief, can see her at short notice.
Oh good. Mellia will call on Gan and ask what the current sticking point is.
Gan bows to her, offers her food and drink, and says, “So many small matters… There is no one sticking point, but a host of interlocked discussions…”
It is hard to read him, and he seems to just be being polite. Maybe underneath he is hiding something? “A host of discussions,” he repeats.1Mellia fumbles Intrigue, and this conversation becomes an awkward point in the negotiations.
“I hope matters will be resolved soon,” Mellia says. “We all need to go home.”
The man blinks, and then nods. “Of course. Of course. We have nothing but desire to help. Perhaps if the matter of bride payment were addressed directly that would help? Is your ransom a downpayment or a full payment, we wonder…” And he shrugs.
“I honestly don’t know. I suspect Grandmother is trying to get as much as possible.”
“Indeed. But it all has to be agreed. To be fair and free with you – WE are trying to get as much as possible too. We owe it to the clan. But the current interesting points are which hides will be assigned to Lord Venlar, how the Cinder Foxes will be recompensed for losing a beloved son – rather than a Lord, which I think we have mostly covered – and whether child-rights will continue in the case of divorce. It looks increasingly like girl-children will be Esrolian and boy-children Sartarite in this case, if the marriage should end, but one can never be sure.”
He looks a little sorry about the whole thing.
Mellia nods. “In Esrolia one inherits from one’s mother. I can’t blame Grandmother. Would it help you if I talked to Venlar’s father about the land?”
Gan thinks. “It can’t hurt,” he suggests. “At least, to know what is really wanted.”
Mellia nods. “I will try to do something.”
Silor is free, of course. Yamia is busy in talks.
“Hush. People might notice.” He relaxes against a wall, arms crossed. “But I like it. What brings you here without my boy?”
“The negotiations. I long to be wed and we all need to go home.”
Silor looks for a moment, and then nods. “I want to be back there too,” he says. “Have you considered being stolen by an Orlanthi?”
Mellia nods. “The Orlanthi seems to want a proper wedding. If it wouldn’t affect the rest of my House, I would settle for the bridal price of a riding bison with lessons in riding her.”
“I was more thinking me,” he says. “Less romantic than you were thinking, but more likely to trigger action. I should go back home. If I leave Venlar but take you, it is a statement. You would miss him though, I know.”
“I would miss Venlar. Do you think that would trigger anything we want?”
“If you leave, the Blue Tree Clan become more confident you’ll be there. It depends on what you announce you are doing. If you said you were going to see to the Temple, that would throw the talk much into disarray – and start it again. But with you out of the way and me off as a distant threat, a lot of the smaller problems go away; Arand… Lady-Grandmother Aranda does not wish to see you fail to get her instructions. And once I’m away, Venlar can afford to offer things a father cannot offer. You’re being lost to this clan too – they want to keep your children if they can. But having our lands as a staging post for their visits means they can also have them as a pause for trade. My father stole my mother, you know? It caused all sorts of strife. She was very willing, but I’m still unwelcome in Hendriking lands.”
Mellia looks thoughtful. “It’s the wrong time of year to build in Blue Tree.”
“It’s the right time of year to leave to be sure of Sacred Time in the right place. Down here, it’s hard to remember the weather up there. I need to be in Sartar soon, as chief. It… if we took Venlar with us, it would delay you getting married, but you would be with him. It would only delay by the time taken to send me a message – which might be a significant delay. It would be better to have one of the men of the family stay, and… I should return. If not, Venlar should, but sending him with you and not going myself looks very awkward.”
Mellia nods. “I had hoped to be wed during Sacred Time and the Great Hospital is the great temple of Chalana Arroy, but I have responsibilities elsewhere. I will go with you.”
“And I’ll get back for Movement Week. I’d like to get back a long time before, of course. Before Death Week would be good, and we could do that if we set off soon and travelled fast. I’d like to see my brother before then. It’s been a long time… But you should say your goodbyes here, and I will let Yamia know.” He stands straight, squaring his shoulders for a moment. Even aging, he looks big and impressive, a storm that will blow away problems.
Mellia hugs him and trots off to say goodbye to everyone; everyone would be Venlar, Kirse and her friends at the Great Hospital.
Kirse greets her daughter with a thin smile. “My dear,” she says. “Did your nurse perchance drop you on the head when you were a child, while I was lamentably absent?”
“Not that I remember.”
“You might not… You attempted to speed up matters today, didn’t you?” The smile is still there.
“Yes. I really do need to go, however.”
“Go?” Kirse’s smile finishes. “Go where?” She sounds really puzzled.
“Blue Tree Tula. I have a promise to keep to the Wyter.”
Kirse stares for a moment, and then takes a deep breath. “Having thrown an alynx to the dogs?” She looks astounded. “The Blue Tree clan have already been talking to me today, since you visited. Your eagerness costs this house, Mellia.”
Mellia replies,”The negotiations have gone on too long. I have people to heal.”
“And you have a clan to support.” She half glares, then sighs. “You have just caused a great deal of trouble, but you love him and you are not changing. However… grandmother is not pleased. Lord Silor has been tugging at the details for some time now, and he even restarted the negotiations partway through. Blame him for delay – but go with my blessing.”
“Thank you, Mother dear.” Mellia leaves while she’s ahead.
The other conversations are much easier, although Venlar offers to see her to the edge of Sartar, hopefully, but without real hope. Silor stamps on that, so Venlar sends thralls to look after her.
- 1Mellia fumbles Intrigue, and this conversation becomes an awkward point in the negotiations.