Salty Remarks

1628, Dark Season, Probably Harmony Week


Mellia looks for answers regarding Berra’s wound. Session SA3.13.


Mellia descends on the Boldhome temple to Chalana Arroy. First she lets them know that she is in town and pregnant, just in case she shouldn’t be tending the sick.

There is the usual quiet bustle there, and a High Healer tells her, “Try not to face any disease spirits. We’ll put you away from all that. The Air room will work for you.” Air is for those problems caused by strength and pride; often bloody and dramatic, it can be physically onerous but does not usually see the curses of Mallia.

“Thank you. I need to consult with someone who knows about wraiths and the Wyter Priestess, please.” Mellia explains, “A patient of mine recently bound a Wyter and is acting like someone cut her heart out.”

“Let me ask around,” comes the reply. “You go be helpful, and we’ll get back to you.”

It takes some hours before Mellia is called after that; a man in the robes of a surgeon of Arroin asks, “Lady Mellia? Are you free to follow me?” He has waited until she had a break, and sewn up a small knife cut for good measure.

“Yes, I am. Thanks for waiting,” she says. Mellia washes up and follows him.

“I am Gandrig,” he says. “I attended on the wounded Wyter Priest, and I have tracked down someone who knows about wraiths. I’ve been trying to put together the story of that day. There were a lot of rumours and our dragon statue here woke up, which always means a lot of … interesting things.”

“Pleased to meet you, Gandrig. I don’t know all the details. I know they fought wraiths. I went on that quest once, years ago. I met my husband that way.”

Gandrig passes his hand over his face and smooths his expression away. “Interesting day again,” he murmurs. “What the Temple knows is that the healer Maalira came in, and was talking to Lady Beneva herself, and the White Dragon woke and came and greeted them. It left with the initiate, and later came back with a dead Grazelander, before heading back into the city – as it does – to help others. When it turned back into a statue we had Orlanthi bring it back. They are good that way. It had gone to the site of an old, old Heroquest. You know the one, I think. I prefer not to mention its name in these halls. I was called to put together what magic could not touch.”

Mellia nods. “My patient still has the wound. It’s healing as expected. You’re very good, Gandrig.”

“You’re kind.” He gestures down a corridor. “This way… I examined her physically, and found that she was debilitated by more than the wound. She had little strength and less stamina when asked to perform even the most minor of tasks. Ah, here we are.” There is a doorway with a curtain of long strings beaded in pieces of pale limestone. It allows air flow and keeps out most insects. The place is an alchemical laboratory, currently almost devoid of strange things. A woman sits meditating in a circle with a dozen bowls of salt around her, but as far as alchemists go, that is entirely normal. “This is Charaadan,” Gandrig says. “She knows about wraiths, and a little about spirits.”

Charaadan opens her eyes. The right one is a blank, probably sightless, orb. “Please come in,” she says. “Mind the salt and don’t tread on any chalk lines.” Fortunately the floor is quite clean today.

“Yes, Charaadan. I’m Mellia.” Mellia comes in. “I need to know about wraiths, please. Can wraiths do more than claw their victims to ribbons?”

“Find a safe place to sit,” she says, but does not wait for Mellia to actually find a seat before she goes on. “Do not set fire to any salt. Wraiths are ghosts formed by a death that leaves the spirit frustrated and hateful. Hold your breath please. I think something is about to boil…. no, never mind.”

Gandrig examines the floor, presumably for chalk, before he settles down.

Mellia sits down after holding her breath for a minute.

“They seek the restoration of the life they had,” Charaadan goes on. “And for this, they will take the life and strength from a person. Out of anger, they can also take the mind, reducing a person to the level of an animal, or making them so docile they forget to breathe.”

“Aha! Can this be cured, Charaadan?”

“Usually when someone survives, they recover on their own. It would be a rare case that did not. Someone would have to be so weakened they were unable to recover, and yet still not die. A horrible fate. They might be unable to move, or simply reduced to an animal state.”

Mellia says, “My patient can walk, but is a bit weak and doesn’t know her friends and family. Is there a way to restore her memory?”

“I do not know,” Charaadaan replies. “That usually comes back, if it is affected at all. Time would be the best healer, for a Wraith attack.”

So far, it must have been several days, maybe more, given where the fragment of the Upland Marsh is, and when Berra was in Boldhome to be wounded.

“How much time? It’s been at least two weeks. My patient fought in the Upland Marsh, returned to Boldhome, finished the quest and then my cousin sent for me.”

“I would expect some improvement by now,” Charaadan replies. “But if she was close to death from the experience, that improvement would be slow.”

“She’s a Humakti and she bound a Wyter,” Mellia says. “Does that count?”

“It would depend on the Humakti and the Wyter,” Charaandan suggests, instead of saying she does not know.

“The wraithtouch was healed the day after she bound it,” Gandrig supplies. “The Temple of Death called on our healing mother.” He leaves out that Wyter Priests are valuable assets and tend to make people nervous when they are ill.

“There’s another possibility,” says Mellia. “Part of that quest requires taking a wound that can’t be healed. Could her mind have been cut at the same time by accident?”

“I am not an expert there,” Charaandan replies.

“Memories are known to be lost in that Heroquest,” Gandrig says. He has done his homework.

“Thank you both! May the White Lady bless you! Now I know who to talk to,” Mellia exclaims.

“Do not step on any lines at all on the way out.” Charaandan gives Mellia a happy smile.

“Thank you, mother of mercy,” the Arroin surgeon says politely as he stands.

Mellia is liable to hug them both before very carefully leaving the lab. Once she is out the door, Mellia will finish her shift and go see Lord Eril.

The wait at the Temple of Humakt is a long one. They can serve Mellia dinner while time passes, and they have a recommendation for a good food vendor nearby, should she wish to stretch her legs. It will be well into Godday Eve by the time Lord Eril is pleased to see her; finally an initiate walks her to his private office. It is sparse, as always, but the turning of the season has not yet chilled the air greatly. The man who brings her lets her straight in, bows by the doorway, and retreats.

Eril is sitting by his desk, just cleaning a dip pen with a nib of stretched and twisted glass. “White Lady,” he says. “Welcome.”1Mellia fails Insight Human. Eril is not in a patient mood.

Mellia thankfully accepts the offer of dinner and waits patiently. She sent a message to Yehna’s house when it started getting late.

When she finally gets to see Eril, she curtsies deeply and makes sure no one’s in earshot before saying, “Lord Eril. Congratulations on becoming a Hero and thank you for seeing me. For Lady Berra’s sake, I need to discuss the quest with you.”

Eril nods just once. “Make it quick, if you will.” His expression is impossible to read in the dim lamplight.

“Should I have a look at your wounds first? Lady Berra is sorely wounded in mind, probably by a knife made from the Wound That Cannot Be Healed. Is there a way to restore her memory?”

“I am not wounded,” he replies, and then gives Mellia a long glance. “Before coming here, did you consult with Thane Varaena?” His voice is light, almost amused.

“She sent for me,” Mellia says with a smile. The smile fades as she continues, “Berra has a wound that can’t be healed, right where my cousin Irillo had one. She doesn’t know me, or much of anyone else.”

“Then either the Thane has not yet talked to my blacksmith, or she has not told you the details.” Eril stands, setting a few things straight on his desk. “I do not need to be giving this briefing, White Lady. Track down your cousin and use your ears.”

“Of course, Sword of Humakt. Thank you for seeing me.” Mellia curtsies again and leaves.

On Mellia’s way out, she will make an appointment to see the blacksmith.

That request is passed back into the Temple, and what comes back to Mellia is a letter. The initiate who delivers it says, “This is for Lord Venlar.”

Mellia nods. “I will take it to him right now. Thank you.”

The man bows, and goes back to hanging around near the gate. Nobody offers her an escort home, but then again, who would hurt a White Lady?

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    Mellia fails Insight Human. Eril is not in a patient mood.