Mellia — Garden Of Healing
????, Earth Season, Season/Disorder Week
1626 Earth Season/Disorder Week/Freezeday/early afternoon in the temple of Chalana Arroy in Boldhome. [[[s01:session-46|Session 46]]]
There’s a light knock on the doorframe outside Mellia’s room at the Temple.
“Come in,” calls Mellia.
Varanis steps into the room, looking cheerful. “How are you, Mellia?”
Mellia sits up when Varanis enters the room. Mellia props herself up on some pillows. “I am paying for running off to see the Flame lit. Other than that, I’m well. How are you?”
Varanis shrugs. “I’m at a bit of a loss. The Flame is lit and Kallyr returned. I’ve fulfilled my oaths and am now waiting to find out what comes next.” She doesn’t seem too worried by her lack of direction just yet. Indeed, she is still radiating joy and relief.
“I am sure Kallyr will think of something,” Mellia says. “What, I do not know.”
“How long are you trapped here?”
Of course, Varanis thinks of quiet time healing as being trapped.
“Until Clayday, maybe a little longer. I am the most popular patient here, in a way. The novices are brought around every morning to see me.”
The Vingan shudders. “I would hate that.”
Mellia reassures Varanis, “I don’t mind. They’re learning valuable lessons by seeing me. Most people don’t get to see The Wound Chalana Arroy Could Not Heal.”
Varanis studies her cousin. “Are they feeding you something more than gruel? You look pale. And we know how these Sartarites feed their patients.”
Mellia chuckles. “Oh, occasionally I get something other than gruel. Occasionally.”
Varanis looks a little awkward in the sickroom. Like she doesn’t quite know what to do with herself. She’s fidgety. Although she had sat on a chair pulled up by Mellia’s bed, she gets up and paces again. “You need some sunlight and fresh air to get better,” she announces. “Want me to break you out of here for a bit?”
“I am supposed to get up and walk occasionally,” Mellia admits. “I’m not leaving the temple grounds in this nightgown, though.”
“Don’t they have a garden or something?”
“They do indeed. Let’s go.” Mellia gets out of bed. Indeed, that white nightgown isn’t appropriate wear anywhere other than bed and maybe not there, either.
“Do you want to use my arm for stability?” Varanis offers, saying nothing about the gown.
“Please,” replies Mellia. “I really overdid it the other day.”
The Vingan is wearing her armour, so it’s not likely to be comfortable for Mellia to hold onto, but it will be solid. She placed her helmet on the floor near the door and offers her arm to her cousin.
Mellia slowly gets up and walks over to Varanis. Mellia takes her cousin’s arm. “Thanks. I lost a lot of blood and pushed myself hard. We may need to go slowly.”
Varanis holds herself to an uncharacteristically slow pace. “Which way?”
Mellia doesn’t move well at first. “This way.” Luckily, the temple herb garden is in the center of the temple and not far from Mellia’s room. The time of blooming is past, but there are many shades of green. There’s even a few benches.
Varanis gently leads her cousin to a bench to sit.
By the time the pair find a bench, Mellia is ready to sit. “Thanks. I feel better already.” However, Mellia is a touch sweaty and pale.
Grey eyes survey the healer skeptically. “Do you want me to get someone? Or even just a cup of water for you?”
“I’m fine, ” Mellia insists. “Well, as fine as I can be at the moment. I just need to sit. They don’t walk me farther than the end of the hall.”
Varanis helps Mellia to sit on the bench then fills the space next to her. “So,” she says. “Now what?”
She glances around. “It’s a very practical sort of garden, isn’t it?”
Mellia takes a moment’s rest. “It is. I’m afraid they need to use the space they have wisely. It smells good, though.”
There’s a nod in reply.
Surrounded by life and the earth, Mellia’s color is better already. “Do you remember playing in the gardens at home?’
Varanis smiles at the memory. “Yes. And I remember the potions you’d mix up from those plants.” She makes a face at Mellia, then bursts out laughing.
Mellia laughs. “There are worse things in the world. You have to admit they helped. I just didn’t know how to make them taste better.”
“You put so much honey in them, when you could get away with it!”
“Which wasn’t as often as I would have liked.”
“Do you remember the time I broke my arm and you snuck your concoctions into my room?” Varanis grins. “You didn’t get into too much trouble, did you? I must have slept for a full day!”
“No, I got away with that one,” Mellia says.
“You know, even after sleeping it off, I could taste that for days. It didn’t help that grandma Mirava had me on bread and water too.” Varanis shakes her head. “The second one made the first one almost taste good!” She begins to laugh.
“How did she expect you to heal a broken arm on bread and water? Gruel would have been an improvement.” Mellia’s brown eyes sparkle.
Varanis laughs harder, but manages to say, “she knew the best way to get my attention was through my food.”
Mellia snickers. “It runs in the family. How is the Prince? How’s her hand doing?”
Through gasps of laughter, the Vingan says, “how… should I… know?” Tears begin to run down her face. “No one… tells me… anything…” She’s laughing so hard that she’s having a hard time breathing. Someone as astute as Mellia will note that this is no longer humour.
Mellia will try to get Varanis to calm down and breathe. “Varanis! No one is blaming you for anything.”
It’s a long time before she calms down and tears mingle with fits of giggles. “I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s come over me. I’m fine. You are the one who is injured.”
“It’s only physical,” Mellia soothes. “You’ve been under enormous stress, Varanis. Be gentle to yourself.” Mellia adds, “Even if Kallyr doesn’t need you, we do. I have a sneaking suspicion Kallyr will want to keep you close.”
Varanis calms her breathing, swiping at her eyes. “Forget about me. Focus on you. You have a wedding to plan. And a wedding night.” Her attempt at a lascivious wink is spoiled by her tear-stained expression.
Mellia impulsively hugs Varanis. “Do you think we can get Kallyr to pay for the wedding if we ask nicely? Seriously, Varanis, you need to rest and relax. Otherwise you’ll never survive being my maid of honor.”
Varanis grins in reply. “I’d go through the Underworld again, just to be there for you, Mellia,” she says earnestly.
Mellia’s eyes shine with unshed tears. “I know. Let’s hope that’s not necessary. I wish Aveuth were here. My eldest sister can be pure poison sometimes, but she might have some wisdom for you.”
“I don’t think that one ever approved of me.”
“I don’t think she approved of me either,” Mellia says. “I suspect she wants to be Grandmother someday. Anyway, we asked the gods to save Sartar. They did. We should not be surprised that the price was high.”
“I was supposed to be the one who paid it.”
And there it is. Survivor’s guilt. Of everyone who set forth on the quest, Varanis is the one who suffered the least. And she doesn’t know how to deal with that.
“Varanis,” Mellia says gently, “the gods in their mercy decided to split the price up. I for one am glad they did. Otherwise, we might be attending your funeral. I would hate to do that.”
“I was willing to pay that price,” comes the quiet answer.
Equally quietly, “I know. I think we all know.”
“I didn’t mean for anyone else to suffer. You are injured. Xenofos looks haunted and determinedly not talking about it. Berra has vanished into her temple…”
“We knew the risks, Varanis. We agreed to them freely. I will do what I can for Xenofos. Your price might be the highest and hardest to pay: a lifetime of service to Sartar.”
This earns Mellia a startled stare, like it hadn’t occurred to the Vingan at all.
“The Flame can’t do it all alone, Varanis. There’s a lot of politicking to do if a civil war is to be averted.”
“But that’s for Kallyr and her Ring,” the other woman protests.
“Kallyr is going to need help with the Ring after this incident, I think. Left to their own devices, Kallyr and Leika might fight each other. You are a hero, Varanis. Not to sound like Cousin Dormal, but that can carry a lot of weight in these matters.”
Varanis shakes her head in denial. “I have to think about this. Come on. We should get you back to your room.”
“By all means,” agrees Mellia. “Eat. Sleep. Celebrate. ” Mellia slowly gets up. “Hmm, I think it’s time for me to lie down.”
Varanis rises and offers her arm again. “Back to bed with you then, Healer.”