Mellia — Talking
????, Storm Season
Early Storm Season, in the Praxian rain. [[[s02:session-25|Session 25]]]
When it becomes clear a White Lady needs a translator, there are several volunteers. Everyone wants to be in the good sagas of the woman who might be sewing them up. the next day, at breakfast, the teen son of the caravan master turns up to practice his Tradetalk.
Mellia is happy and thanks the lad a lot. Mellia would help him with Tradetalk and perhaps learn Praxian.
His name is Geffel. He’s happy to translate, although he can only give it a couple of hours per day, morning and evening. Still, learning and teaching and talking with the children becomes possible.
The girl is Infara, the boy Nyteem. They are Sable Tribe, which makes Geffel spit. “Lunar-lovers,” he says to Mellia. They look at him miserably.
Mellia replies to Geffel, “They are young and can learn better.”
“Blood is blood,” he says. “But still. You’re the boss. And they want to know why they keep getting two bowls. Which one belongs to them?”
Mellia explains, “They each get a bowl. I am hoping to teach them decent manners.”
There is more back and forth, and a surprised sound from Geffel. “Their family all eats from one bowl,” he says. “To share equally. To show they’re a family.” More talk in Praxian, and Infara glares at him.
Mellia sighs. “I suppose we could put all the food in one bowl for now.”
“I told them about the spoons. They’ve only ever seen free people use them. They don’t know …” More talk. Infara turns away from him. “They don’t think it’s right for them to use what you use. You own them.”
Mellia says,”They can earn their freedom. Perhaps we should let manners go for now and work on Tradetalk.”
Mellia is planning to train the children to be helpful with First Aid.
Maybe Plant Lore too.
It takes a few days before Nyteem speaks to Geffel at all, and it only happens after Infara has pushed him that way. When he does Geffel sighs. “Nyteem says his belly hurts.”
Mellia will examine Nyteem and see what the problem is.
He is suffering from having enough food. After a long time spent with too little to eat, even the plain food Venlar’s cook serves on the trail is too much for him.
Mellia tells the cook that the children need to eat a little less. Too bad soup is not possible.
She can water it down for him, Felgia says after a while. “And bulk it out with some plain soaked emmer,” she adds. “I don’t like not feeding a child.”
“Neither do I, but they aren’t used to this much food. Thanks, Felgia.”
Meanwhile, Venlar has managed to make friends with Infara, if not her little brother, who is suspicious and angry at the world. In the evenings, she combs his hair, which leaves Felgia free for longer. Venlar’s mane needs a lot of attention, being already thickly waved before taking into account the effect of rain and a damp atmosphere.
Felgia takes the time to cook flatbreads on hot stones, and to alter the children’s hide clothing so it is a better fit.
Mellia thanks Felgia and tries to help with Venlar’s hair.
Venlar says, “It’s really getting unmanageable. I need to start queuing it and clubbing it up, and then I only have to do that every three days. But sometimes I wish I could be like my sister. She cut all of hers off once. Someone had told her it was pretty so she gave it to him.”
Mellia says,”There must be something we can do.” Mellia could certainly queue and club his hair.
“Any oil will get washed out, and into my clothes, and it just crinkles up when it’s wet. But if you do it, what will…. oh. I’ve not been giving her orders, but I’ve been acting like Infara’s mine!” He suddenly looks very embarrassed.
“It’s fine, my love. We will get Infara to do your hair.”
“But don’t let me get comfortable with ordering her about? If she’s yours, that should be clear. If we’re marrying, that’s going to be part of the contract, and if they are not free before then, we need to have it certain that they are named in law.” Venlar blinks, and gets water in his eye, and sighs. “Tell me again about Rajar and Nala, and their tribes?”
Mellia nods. “Rajar has the bigger tribe. They ride and herd bison. Nala’s tribe herd and ride unicorns. I don’t know what the Unicorn Riders do with their boys.”
“I don’t know much more.”
Venlar nods. “I don’t either. Not in general. I know a lot about specific trading partners, but that’s less than helpful when you’re hock deep in mud.”
“Do white ladies have hocks? I’m a bit worried you could be secretly a zebra.” After a long day of riding he is falling asleep.
Mellia cuddles close. “I am not a zebra.”
“There was going to be something about carrying you but I forgot it.”
The next day is cool, but there is sun and a wind from the south, drying clothes as people walk and ride. Venlar gets a sunburned ear, and a few people come to Mellia with other minor burns. Only he asks to be healed by the prettiest healer he knows.
Mellia will heal Venlar and kiss him.
He says, “I am tempted to go fight Yelm again now. But perhaps for you, I should labour under him instead.”
Days pass. The weather is wet. A rider coming the other way excites Geffel, who says that the Blue Llamas were in the local area. The path into Tourney Altar is a foot deep in water, they say, and his father is deciding whether to go that way, or skirt straight around for the Paps and the sacred places.
Venlar’s hair is still terrible.
Mellia would vote for skipping the water if consulted. Time to teach the children Tradetalk and First Aid. They should at least learn “bring the medical kit “.
Venlar hears Mellia’s views, and goes to put them to the caravan, and they skirt around. This may have something to do with her wishes, or could be natural caution. After that, they are on their way towards the Paps. Venlar is twitchy, probably not liking being a guard when he wants to be a leader.
Mellia will try to soothe Venlar. Mellia would try to find out if Infara wants to be a priestess of Ernalda.
Infara says, “Eiritha,” clearly, and rather sulkily.
Venlar is enchanted to be soothed, and spends the next few hours trying to find new parts of Mellia to be enchanted by, and writes a poem to her kindness.
Mellia thanks Venlar a lot. Time passes.
He survives this.
As for Infara, Mellia would try to explain that staying in Prax isn’t an option. Not if Infara wants to be free and serve a god.
Infara and Geffel argue for a bit, and Geffel says, “She will think about it.”
Time passes. Infara can learn to care for the zebras.