Seeking Ernalda’s Aid, Part I

Mellia — Seeking Ernalda1

????, Storm Season, Harmony Week


Storm Season, Harmony Week, at the Paps [[[s02:session-27|Session 27]]]
Continues in [ Part II]


Mellia goes in search of the priestesses.

Venlar offers to go with Mellia, “Unless you’d prefer to go alone and then call me?”

“No, love, I think you should come.”

With only a hint of nerves, and only the slightest wobble, Venlar gets up and offers Mellia his arm, and lets her lead him.

Mellia takes his arm and searches for the priestesses.

There is a Temple of Ernalda nestled not far from where they are camping. Ernalda, mother of the Mother of Herds, is held in honour.

From within the cool darkness of the Temple, a rather short, round form steps forth. Her greying hair is bound in thick braids, coiled around the crown of her head. Her dark eyes speak to inner secrets.

Venlar, as befits a man, stays half a pace back and stays silent, but he keeps Mella’s hand in his.

Mellia curtsies to the woman. “Green Woman (or whatever her proper title is), I ask you for help in healing.”

“I am called Glaraneep, White Lady. What healing can Ernalda offer you, that Chalana Arroy cannot?” Her voice is surprisingly deep for such a small woman.
Venlar’s fingers tighten slightly, in a supportive squeeze.

“And I am Mellia, Glaraneep. This is my betrothed Venlar. He was born with a weak connection to Life.”

Glaraneep looks politely interested.

Venlar bows, fluidly. “We found out when my spirit never strengthened after initiation,” he says. “I was always clumsy. Always have been. The best way I can put it is that my body is too big, and the spirit did not grow into it.”

Mellia adds,”He used to have fits where he would be weak and have trouble breathing. All thanks to the gods for curing Venlar of that. He has other problems still.”

“Like a fever, but cold. I’d be weak without reason, then it would pass,” Venlar helpfully supplies.

“I ask if he could sire children.”

Venlar neatly steps in behind Mellia, like he could hide behind the diminutive white-robed figure. He looks at her, not the Priestess.

“I see,” says the Priestess. She eyes them both. “White Lady, he seems to be hiding behind your robes. Are you certain this is something he desires?”

Venlar makes a little affirmative noise.

“Come here, boy,” she says holding her hand out to him. “I want to look at you more closely.”

Mellia reassures Venlar. “It will make no difference to me.”

He takes a deep breath, and then with a squeeze of Mellia’s shoulder he side-steps her and approaches. “I am not a boy,” he says, suddenly confident. “Of that part, everyone is sure.”

Mellia smiles at Venlar and lets him talk.

The priestess peers up at him. “Well, you’re not built like one,” she says. Reaching up, she strokes his bare chin. “Smooth as a cow’s udders. Do you scrape your face or does it not grow properly?”

“I shave. I can’t stand the feeling of a beard. It never stops itching, and I like feeling clean.” He leans down to help the woman reach.

She walks around him, poking him here and there in the process. Finally she turns to Mellia. “Tell me what you have tried already, Healer.”

Venlar stands there politely, with the expression of someone who has had all this happen before but is nevertheless interested.

“I honestly didn’t know what to do. Killing a certain demon seems to have cured the fits. I am but a battle healer. I can see the weak Life rune, but not how to strengthen it.”

The older woman circles around to the front of Venlar and takes his hands in hers. She closes her eyes and murmurs something in a low voice that felt almost as much as it is heard. When she opens her eyes again to scrutinize him, they have changed to a dark, penetrating green, lit from within.

Venlar looks back confidently now. He is back to being Orlanthi, shyness gone.

Mellia quietly watches.

“Yes, I see. It doesn’t fill you yet. But it is growing, I think. There are new shoots and leaves. Fresh growth.” She blinks and dark brown eyes regard Venlar again. “You are stronger when the Husband is within.”

“Entirely. When I follow his nature, I suppose either he makes good for me, or … well, I don’t know. But I’m a good warrior and a fine orator. I am proud of what I can do, and until I met Mellia only the strength of the Air could bring it out.”

“I must think. Go. Be back by Yelm’s Death.” She turns away without waiting for an answer.

Venlar turns to Mellia, and holds out his hands. No matter what else he is, this is the image of a young man in love.

Mellia takes Venlar’s hands, squeezes them and leads him back to camp. There may be pauses for hugs and kisses.

Back at camp, he says, “I should… I forget. Something about someone who isn’t you. Not important.”

“Oh. If you remember, you remember.” Mellia shrugs.