Psychology and Politics

1626, Fire Season, Stasis Week, Fireday


The party is preparing to leave eave the village of Greyrock Fall, but Mellia wants a word with Dormal. After Session 1.36: Cave Crocodillem


Mellia goes looking for Dormal before everyone leaves the village for Wilmskirk. She finds him in the feast hall, sitting with his leg propped up on a bench. “Dormal?” Mellia asks. “Is now a good time for you to come with me somewhere more private?

He shrugs, grabs a large stick which had been stashed under the bench, and levers himself up with it.

“Lead the way.”

Mellia leads the way to the local waterfall and its convenient large rock.

Dormal is limping, but nothing seems broken.

Mellia will help Dormal sit on the rock, if he needs help. Then she’ll sit next to him. “Dormal, may I look at your chest, back and leg? I want to make certain they’re healing correctly.”

“If you like. I don’t think the leg’s broken. As for the chest and back… they knew what they were doing, they’re just fading scars at this point.”

“Thank you.” Mellia inspects the chest, back and leg. “Would you like them healed?”

“They’re just marks now. They’ll heal on their own, and we’re heading into danger. Conserve your healing.”

“If we need to fight before Wilmskirk, heal the leg.”

Mellia nods and heals Dormal’s leg. “I don’t think we’ll need to fight soon, but I’d rather get this done now.”

“If you can spare the healing. But don’t wear yourself out on account of this.”

Mellia promises, “I won’t.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re very welcome. If you ever want to talk about how you got these, Dormal, I will listen.”

“Clan secrets, I’m afraid. You’re a white lady, you get to keep your hands clean of all this. You can ask Grandmother, but if you have no taste for politics, or what goes on in the shadows… my advice to you is don’t ask.”

Mellia winces. “I really think you should talk to someone allowed to hear the secrets in your tale. Talking can be tremendously healing.”

“All in good time, if certain plans come to fruition. To speak too soon or too freely would render the effort wasted. And doing all this…” gestures to the scars “…for nothing, that really would be depressing.”

Mellia nods. “Dormal… your mind is too high a price to pay, no matter the benefit to the clan. Keep in mind that we love you, no matter what.”

He chuckles. “You probably believe that, and for you it may even be true… the rest? Misplaced guilt, on occasion. Disdain and contempt? Usually. A feeling that they are entitled to demand my services so they needn’t get their own hands dirty? Always.”

“You do walk a hard road,” Mellia agrees.

He shrugs. “It is the road in front of me.”

“So it is.” Mellia seems willing to listen to Dormal as long as he needs.

He pauses, considering. “And what is your opinion of this little quest we are on?”

“I am very worried. Relighting the Flame of Sartar is important, but I wonder if we are equal to the challenge.”

“That is the least of our problems. If we are very lucky, we will fail and survive.”

Mellia comments, “Then we had better fail soon. What do you think happens if we triumph?”

“Well. Picture the scene… Kallyr is not secure in her power. She has claim to the throne, but then Vareena of Collymar, a tribe with a competing claim to the throne, who has been confirmed to be of the blood of Sartar, turns up in Triumph and restores the flame. That’s three ties to the throne right there. Naturally, she is humble and claims not to want the throne for herself, but only to serve. A speech that could have been lifted from any number of coups in Esrolian history.”

He continues. “This goes one of three ways: Vareena tragically dies in achieving this heroic feat, and Kallyr accepts her sacrifice, honouring Colymar, and consolidating her public position. Vareena tragically dies, but the Colymar move first and claim the throne in her honour. Vareena lives, and willing or not, a faction forms around her and tries to take the throne for her. The first two are very bad for Varanis, but do give Sartar some stability. The latter plunges Sartar into chaos, but is personally better for Varanis.”

“Indeed,” Mellia remarks, “all too plausible. Varanis is learning fast, but Kallyr is the better ruler.”

“Our problem here is that the two outcomes that are good for the two big factions in Sartar both require Varanis, and by association us, to die, after succeeding, but before we can talk. And Varanis opened by telling the currently ascendant faction what she was trying to do, so they can prepare.”

Mellia sighs. “Should we tell as many people as possible what we are doing, or would that not help?”

“That would just ensure that the Colymar and Kallyr would both be racing to take advantage of our tragic, unexpected deaths. No. I am going to attempt to get some leverage to keep us alive. And if you can at all prevail on Varanis to move for the throne herself, without warning anyone, it might be easier for us all to live.”

“True,” Mellia admits, “but Varanis is not yet ready to sit on it.”

“She’ll never be ready if she dies.”

“Very true. I will try to talk to her about this.”

“But whatever you do, not a word of this to the Humakti.”

Mellia nods. “Berra, bless her, would gladly die for Sartar.”

“She’d also instinctively blurt out any secrets she thinks are mine even if it would hurt her. And right now, that would hurt all of us.”

Mellia nods again.

“But now, we’ve fought a Death Lord and lived, my leg is healed, and although almost certain death awaits us… I plan to get very, very drunk.”

Mellia chuckles. “As good a plan as any. Take care of yourself, Dormal.”

“Somebody has to. No rest for the wicked.”

“No indeed. Very little rest for the healers, too.”