Mellia — Serala Seeks Out Mellia
1626, after the HeroQuest
It has been well over a week since the HeroQuest, as people do their various errands. Serala has been keeping a low profile, avoiding everyone unless they happen to be riding out in the pastures. But eventually, she comes seeking Mellia out.
Mellia is in her room in the palace. She is wearing her usual white robes, not the extra-nice set she wore on the Heroquest. Mellia answers the door promptly. “Oh, hello, Serala. Would you like to come in?”
The Grazelander inclines her head, and steps into the room. “Thank you.” She seems a little unsure of herself, not settling, but shifting from side to side, not quite pacing, but almost. “I came to apologise.”
“For what, friend? Please sit down.” On closer examination, Mellia looks a little tired. There are comfy chairs to sit in. One of the tables has an incense burner and sweet herbs.
Serala does sit, perching on the edge of a chair, taking a deep breath. “For.. taking you for granted. All these months, we have travelled together and I just assumed you would be there. Calm, wise. Not to mention healing us..” She taps her leg lightly, where Onjur did so much damage. “Grandfather will have my hide for lack of respect.”
Mellia smiles. “You are welcome, Serala. How’s the leg?” Mellia leans forward a little to inspect Serala’s leg.
Serala lifts her leg and wiggles it. “Strong enough to ride.” Which is, of course, all that matters in Serala-world. “And you? The HeroQuest took its toll on.. those involved as far as I see. And you were very much involved.” You get a direct look from the plains woman, studying you in her turn.
Mellia doesn’t look any different, except for being a little tired. “I should check on the others. I’ve been busy thanking the Goddess for Her signal favor. I came back with knowledge.”
Serala inclines her head to that, “Berra has been at her own Temple,” she allows. “I have not spoken with Dormal or Xenofos. I have been mulling my own thoughts, mostly.” Quizzical, though, she wonders, “Are you allowed to share your knowledge? Or is it for your sisters alone?”
“I am supposed to share this bit with the world,” Mellia replies. Her expression shifts from quiet happiness to quiet joy. “I know the White Lady’s way back from death!”
Serala’s eyes widen, “The way back from… here? In this world?”
Mellia nods, smiling brightly. “She didn’t even ask for part of my soul in exchange!”
Serala is clearly beyond impressed. “That is… amazing, Mellia. I have no words.”
“I barely have any myself,” Mellia confesses. “I’ve tried to thank Chalana Arroy as best I can. Did your god gift you, Serala?”
A shake of her head, “I was barely there,” she points out. “It was not a quest for Yelmalio. It was you, Berra, and Kallyr who took the brunt of it, I think… although I have not spoken to Dormal or Xenofos.” She tilts her head to one side, “I still need to thank you. For everything. And I admit to not knowing what would be appropriate for a White Lady. An offer of time? A temple donation? Lessons in any skill I claim?”
Mellia says firmly, “I am sure Yelmalio looks on you with special favor, Serala – which may not be the most comfortable of gifts. Certainly the White Lady always accepts gifts. I admit to being curious about your skills. I hope this isn’t a prelude to leaving us, Serala. If there is something I can do to make you happier, please let me know.”
“You are perceptive,” Serala allows. “I have been unsure of my place here for some time. The ‘group’ is an uncomfortable place. I came to fight Lunars, not each other. While I have made my peace with Varanis, there are such different views on who we are, and why we are here, it is.. difficult. “
Mellia nods. “I am fortunate in that my place is clearly defined and accepted by all. Cousin Varanis… she wasn’t this way when she was a child.” Mellia pauses for thought. “I should perhaps spend a little more time calming the others.”
Serala nods slightly, “She and I had a long talk.. but I suspect that it would be good for her to hear from you. Being treated as a child clearly.. rankled. Even if deserved. And she has worries of her own, sent along as an adjunct to us with no clear role. She tried to claim one, but lacked the experience to carry it.” Serala moves as though to cross her legs on the chair, then remembers herself and quells the impulse. “I don’t quite understand the Esrolian ‘family’. Are you all actually cousins? And have known each other from childhood?”
Mellia nods again. “The clan is a huge, convoluted family. We really are all related somehow. I don’t remember all the cousins from my childhood, but I love them and care for them all the same. That being said, I hate needing to act as acting head of the clan. Varanis and I apologized to each other, but I will talk to her again.”
“Varanis is sheltered, I think. Training and tutors do not make for a deep understanding of the complexities of the real world,” Serala notes. “That will come with time. We… I… should probably take more care with her feelings. She seems to feel she has to act as head of the family – and family like Dormal will, I think, use that against her if it benefits him.”
“Dormal always was a black sheep,” Mellia observes. “I should be more careful, although I outrank her in the clan. I think,” Mellia says thoughtfully, “you and Varanis should sit down with Berra and discuss fighting styles and tactics. That way, you two can fight as suits you best.”
Serala nods, “That would be wise,” she admits. “I think we have all been licking our wounds and re-establishing our identities. Although.. do you even know where we are going from here? As a group, I think our work is complete? Is there a need for us to stay together now, or am I missing something?”
“Onjur is still out there,” Mellia points out. “He might even have the money for more assassins. I don’t think our work as a group is done yet, Serala. Eril will probably find a way to send Berra out of here into danger. The prince may well wish us to do something. Some task is likely to find us.”
“What is it with Eril?” Serala asks. “I genuinely don’t understand why everyone foams at the mouth about him. He’s no worse than some others in places of power.”
“He’s no better, either,” Mellia answers. “I think part of why I dislike him so is that I am fond of Berra and part is that I expect better from a Sword of Humakt.”
Serala actually smiles slightly at the mention of Berra. “I am fond of Berra, also. She is a good leader, with great strength and wisdom. I would make her life easier, if I could, but I fear her burdens are her own to bear.”
“Her road is a hard one, with a harsh ending. That’s what I need, more wisdom.” Mellia’s smile is now touched with sadness. “I suppose I had better watch my back where Beneva is concerned, also.”
“Because of the favour shown to you by your Lady?” Serala queries. “I had thought… hoped.. that healers had politics laid aside in favour of their greater calling.”
“We do, for the most part. Some politicking is inevitable, I fear. Beneva is much better about it than some I have met,” Mellia explains. “If I can convince her that I do not want to be High Healer here, all should be well.”
A quirk of Serala’s eyebrows, “That is assuming that isn’t something you want,” she points out with equanimity. “Have you longer term plans, Mellia?”
“I have been content to let the Goddess guide me. Still, it may be time to pick a temple and settle down. I miss the Great Hospital. Then again, if I go to Nochet, there’s Mother to deal with.”
“I, for one, feel safer knowing you are with us,” Serala acknowledges, “On the other hand, it would be wrong and selfish of me to try and keep you for myself. Is there a reason you need to settle at an established temple? You could found one of your own, in a place of your choosing. Maybe within reach of Nochet, but far enough that relatives wouldn’t be so.. immediate.”
“Other than needing a temple to take care of me, because I would be required to give almost all my money to the Goddess, no. I could found a temple. I could even bring young Jenn there, once she is fully trained.”
Serala grins briefly towards you, “Extort it from your friends,” she points out. “And yes, that is an offer – I would gladly help feed and clothe you. I was asking for how I could thank you for all your aid, and show proper appreciation. That would seem to be appropriate, if it was a path you wanted to take.”
Mellia smiles. “We’ll see, Serala. I don’t think I will be ready to be a High Healer next week.”
“It’s not a time limited offer,” Serala assures her. “But in the meantime, Mellia… know you are appreciated. And if there is ever anything I can do, please ask. I have use of my leg, and my ability to ride intact, thanks to you. And that is not something I will ever forget, I assure you.”
“Thank you, Serala. That means a great deal to me.” Mellia smiles warmly. “If there is something I can do to aid you, let me know.”
Serala comes to her feet, and makes a bow towards the healer. “You already do aid me, just by your presence,” she comments. “I am glad to know you, White Lady.” And with that, she slips away.