Once everyone has settled into the White Grape, Mellia goes looking for Yamia. Mellia will try her room first.
Yamia calls, “Who?” in answer to that trial. The door is partially open, but she cannot be seen through it.
“It’s Mellia. May I come in?”
“Please do.” There is the sound of a little shifting as Yamia moves.
Mellia comes in and shuts the door behind her. “How are you feeling?”
The warrior is sitting upright, on a stool pushed back so that she can lean her shoulders softly against the wall. In her right hand, she has a spindle, of all things, and she seems to be spinning silk. A tiny wooden plate is balanced on her thigh to hold the spindle’s weight as the thread forms. “I am well, thank you,” she says with her little half smile.
“You can spin silk? Can you please do me a favor and let me get a look at you?”
“It is a process which requires patience,” Yamia replies, but she catches the tiny spindle between finger and thumb with her left hand, and then scoops everything into her right. “But it is not fundamentally difficult. The strands are long.” She rises gracefully, back perfectly straight. At least she is not wearing her armour, but she still seems to be taking her weight with preparation. She is obviously very conscious of how to stand, beyond her usual poise.
“I never would have guessed that you did that.” Mellia briskly examines Yamia, taking care not to hurt her.
“I do not usually reveal my private life in public,” Yamia points out.
The examination is easy enough. Her belly is swelling enough that she is plainly pregnant now, with a mid-tone stretch mark extending down from her navel. It looks like she is further along than Mellia suspected; the baby is likely due before the end of Earth Season. In fact, it kicks a couple of times under her hand – a child with plenty of Movement in it, or one who is already starting to think about being born.
In answer to questions, Yamia admits to being in pain, and a reduced appetite.
Mellia says, “We must pamper you a bit. Your body is working hard. You need to rest more. We’re going to spend a few days here.”
“I have been doing nothing onerous of late,” Yamia replies. “And I am perfectly capable of returning to my Tula. But for my brother’s wishes, I would have gone already.”
Mellia frowns a little. “I don’t think it wise to travel alone . Accidents happen.”
“He is not alone. He has two bodyguards, a cook, and you.”
Mellia explains, “I meant you. If you don’t want to rest, I know a great clothing merchant. I believe you met her before.”
“I can accompany you if you wish.” Yamia nods her head. “Give me a few minutes to arm myself.”
Mellia shakes her head. “Tomorrow’s soon enough to check on my dress, thank you. Cheer up, this should be all over by Dark Season.”
Yamia considers that. “I suppose I shall have to engage a wet nurse.” She does not look pleased by the notion, but then again, she does not look displeased either. Just thoughtful.
Mellia comments, “It’s a possibility and a good idea .”
“I am not the nurturing kind,” Yamia observes. She picks up her dress, neatly folded onto the table. “Do you know how to spin wool, at all?”
Mellia answers, “Not really.”
“I have some with me, if you want to start to learn?”
“I would love to,” Mellia says, seeing a sneaky way to get Yamia to rest.
The Humakti walks over to her luggage, a pair of panniers balanced on top of a small travelling chest. From one of the panniers she pulls a linen bag. “I have a spindle that is easy to learn on.”
Mellia says, “That’s good.”
Yamia’s spindles are like little wheels of glass on polished wooden sticks. “The weight – the wheel – goes at the bottom on yours.” Her hands work quickly to attach a chunk of soft, bouncy wool to the yarn that is already on there. “You hold the fleece in your right hand, and pinch out as much as you need with your left, as the weight spins, and that allows a small section to be twisted.” She hands over the spindle and wool together.
Mellia tries to follow instructions. The results won’t be any good.
The wool pulls out lumpily, thin and thick, but it does twist into a sort of thread. “Adding a little at a time is important,” Yamia says. “You cannot hurry this, but you can always slow the spindle if you need to.”
Mellia nods and tries to spin again.
“Just keep going,” Yamia says. “All that matters now is to get the feel of it.”
The wool is soft and smells very faintly of sheep, for there is a little oil left on it.
Mellia keeps going, trying hard to spin a decent thread.
Yamia takes up her seat once more, with wool instead of silk now. “Silk takes water to bind it as you go, because otherwise it slides past itself. It is only a thread once it is fully made. Wool likes to hold wool.”
Mellia nods and looks for a place to sit. “I didn’t know that.” Mellia will keep trying to spin the wool.
“Clouds cling together well, but spider webs work best when they are trained and teased into place. That is spider silk, but tree-silk is cheaper, and takes dyes more deeply.” Yamia is making woollen yarn so thin it is just a suggestion of grey against her plain clothes.
Mellia’s eyes pop. “Some people swear by spider webs for bandages and packing wounds. I never knew that they could be made into clothing.”
“The trolls have spiders large enough to give silk,” Yamia replies. “It comes from Dagori Inkarth, and probably from far beyond that. Mostly it is sold as a fine thread already, and there would be hundreds of webs in …” Then she sighs. “I have lost concentration, and in trying to make thin thread, have made bad tinder. My hands are oily now, from handling the wool and setting up for you, and wool should be easy, but I was looking to see how thin I could get it.” She discards what she does not want, and winds what she made successfully onto her spindle shaft. “Wool needs wool to cling to. This stopped wanting to cling.”
“Thanks,” says Mellia. “I hope it’s not incurable. Perhaps if you washed your hands?”
“If I am talking, I am not concentrating on silk, and silk needs concentration, as I am making it. It will be a veil for Fera, and she likes very light cloth.” Yamia watches Mellia for a moment. “If you are lifting your right hand that high, the thread is too long. You can stand up, which helps a lot, or you can unhook the wool where it attaches, and wind it onto the spindle.”
Mellia chooses to unhook the wool and wind it. She starts again. “Should I leave you alone for a while?”
“I do not mind,” Yamia replies. “I will be doing nothing difficult for a while. Not in wool.” It is not a yes, but not a no either.
Mellia says,”Thanks for the lesson. I think I am going to rest a little. Venlar’s been spoiling me.”
Yamia nods her head, precisely. “Spindles are easy to buy, and cheap. A new one should be started with a thread from someone else. Thank you for your help.” Those are her last words, and she goes back to her efforts.
Mellia quietly leaves.