Mellia — Seeking
????, Storm Season
Early Storm Season. [[[s02:session-25|Session 25]]]
On the caravan, the route goes through rainy, cold weather. Setting off when things are miserable is key to getting there first. Venlar’s thralls have been trimmed again. He is only taking three people with him, two guards and a general servant who can also cook. He quickly goes about trying to make friends with people, but people are not up for being friends in this weather. As someone used to having others react to him well, that makes him miserable.1Venlar fails an impressive number of Charm rolls.
Mellia tries to comfort Venlar. This may be hard as Mellia does not like traveling in the wet. Mellia would treat colds as they arise.
Sniffles, coldburn, miserable people. They stay miserable, and so does everyone else. But in the nights there is someone to snuggle up against, and he is doing his best to be a good leader for his men, so at least he is not in a bad mood all the time. Mostly, it is the thrall, Felgia, who makes sure they are warm and dry. Food gets cooked for them each evening and she somehow manages to dry their clothes by the fire as she cooks, so there is always something dry for the next morning.
Mellia thanks Felgia. Mellia is probably busy all day keeping people less miserable.
There are no major problems as they traipse out onto the windy plains of Prax. Venlar keeps the warriors company sometimes, taking his responsibilities seriously.
Mellia is happy that the journey has been peaceful. She hopes that the plains won’t flood.
The plains flood. The caravan master picks the way from place to place with the skill of someone who knows the high points even between long slashing curtains of rain, and ankle-deep water throughout.
Yuck. Mellia tries to stay on her mount, thoroughly miserable. She prays to Orlanth to ease up and to Ernalda to have mercy on Greyrocks and Sartar.
No answer to the prayer, although of course there might not be.
A day into Prax, Venlar admits, “I have no idea where we are, but I think we’re heading to Pimper’s Block.”
Mellia makes a face. “I grew up with servants, but I never saw a slave market. I hope we’re not going to Pimper’s Block.”
“Mama’s grandmother was bought there.” Venlar looks at Mellia, suddenly worried. “It’s not the same rules as under the Sambari…”
“What are the rules? Are we in danger?”
“No, no. I wouldn’t let you go into something like that… But do you know the Sambari don’t keep children as thralls? It can seem that way, because thralls inherit debt, but if you can pay it off, you’re free. And out here, they don’t. You can be born into slavery and never leave it.”
Mellia shudders, then checks her purse.
Venlar looks curious.
Mellia explains, “Perhaps I can buy a child and free her later.”
Venlar nods. “If there are any. If we go there. It’s not unheard of to keep someone a while, so you’re protecting them. There was a woman a few generations back who made a point of buying women with children, and freeing the children. Some of them marry into the clan, some leave to find their own people again. It depends on how they were treated.”
“It’s a great idea,” Mellia says. “Thanks, sweetheart. I still don’t want to go there.”
“I… I suppose I could do with someone else?” he says carefully. “It would be better in Sartar than out here. Usually what you find is part of the two-way trade, though. People who don’t get ransomed are the usual stock. It’s wise to send them away from where they can rebel or escape, until they learn how to be peaceful with their new life. You might well find Sartarites there, but children will likely be Praxians. And then odd things, too. Mama is very pale compared to most of us. Not me, but Uncle Eril’s… odd really now I think about it. Grandmother was a Hendriking.”
Mellia is thoughtful. “Then it’s my duty to buy and free any White Ladies. I think I don’t have enough money for that.”
“Oh, they wouldn’t do that! Everyone would respect Chalana Arroy.” Venlar pulls Mellia closer in the tiny area of warmth and dryness that civilisation has created. “But if they don’t then everyone would free them.”
Mellia is reassured and much happier.
“Father made me promise not to come back married,” Venlar says a bit later, and Mellia can feel him smiling in the darkness. “He’s too … he’s lived a long time. He knows me.”
“So he does,” Mellia agrees. “It’s a good time and place to wed.”
“If it wasn’t done going over the border into Sartar, now would be wrong. We’d be fleeing him, not Esrolia. But if I can do great deeds, they’ll sing about them at the wedding.” He is getting sleepy, his voice slowing.
“That would be wonderful.” Mellia snuggles a bit.
“You can do them too,” he says generously, and then he’s fast asleep.
In the morning, one of the horses has a new scar. One of them spooked and the guard who saw it patched them up rather than waking Mellia.
Mellia would look at the horse anyway.
It is wet. Beyond that, it seems to have no issues. The scar bears the tiny whorls of having been healed with air magic, probably godly. The scar is a short one, but along the neck, and it could have been bad when it was still open.
Mellia is reassured. On she goes through the rain.