Mellia — Tmi
????, Earth Season, Season/Death Week
1626 Earth Season/Death Week/Waterday/morning, at the Great Hospital. [[[s02:session-5|Session 5]]]
Mellia enters the Great Hospital from the streets outside. As always, she finds the atmosphere peaceful, in spite of the crying children over in the rooms set aside for initial consultations. Mellia will ask to see the student Jenn, if that wouldn’t be interrupting class.
Jenn is on bedside visits, and Mellia is directed to the long, high-ceilinged light room in which she can be found. This room is full of dressed wounds, and smells of a little of blood, much more of disinfecting herbs. Most of the patients are slumbering peacefully, but one is having his leg re-wrapped after a dressing change. There are two lay members and Jenn, who is examining what the bandage has hidden, with a peaceful, distant expression.
Mellia will hover in the background and watch Jenn work. Mellia doesn’t want to interrupt patient care.
Jenn does not seem to like what she sees much, for she lays a hand on the affected area, and speaks. Then she gives the patient a wry smile, and repeats the words. This time, she looks satisfied, and she stands, and so does her patient, looking slightly confused but grateful. Jenn gathers the bandages to give to a lay member for washing, as the man flexes his leg and thanks her.
(( Mellia will have known what happened there. Using magic on everyone would exhaust you quickly, so Jenn did not until it was a thing she was sure needed it. ))
Mellia smiles at everyone. “Good morning.”
Jenn turns with a bit of a start, and the lay members bow their heads and then hurry along with their work of checking. Jenn, eyes suddenly wide, hurries over to Mellia.
Mellia beams at Jenn. “How are your studies going? I knew you could learn if I got you here.”
Jenn smiles, with little dimples showing. “I am learning so much,” she says. “I never thought I could. I have barely left the Hospital this week, indeed.”
“That’s how things go,” Mellia reassures Jenn. “I want to talk to you about a possible position. Shall I wait for you, or help you?”
“I am nearly done,” Jenn replies. “Just three more people. Sharp-edged wounds, in here. But if you would like to take the bed at the end, the lady there might need more than just a dressing. Don’t talk to the man next to her, unless you want to know a lot about root vegetables he grew in his youth.”
Mellia smiles, chuckles and goes to the bed at the end. Once there, she checks the lady.
The lady there has a long cut inside her thigh, which has been cleaned and left open. It looks deep, worryingly so, but it is not infected. She just needs time, but time would allow infection if she left and the wound were exposed to disease. It is one of the usual decisions that someone in the Hospital must make.
Hmm, magic or time? How full is the ward?
The ward has a couple of empty cots, and the man who was healed has just picked up his cloak from his, where it was making do as a blanket beneath him. There are twelve beds, including the one where someone on duty will sleep overnight. It could overflow easily.
Mellia nods to herself. It’s not as if she’s going to spend all day here. She gently places her hand on the lady’s thigh and chants.
The lady smiles, and murmurs a blessing of Ernalda, and sits up. “Such a dear thing,” she tells Mellia. “Thank you.” With pain gone, she is a plain, aging lady, made pretty by gratitude.
“You’re very welcome,” Mellia says as she offers the lady a hand up.
She takes it, steadying herself. “I have a donation,” she mutters under her breath.
Mellia nods, still smiling. She tells the lady where to leave the donation.
By the time thanks are done, Jenn is wrapping up the root vegetable man’s arm again. “Another day and you’ll be digging again,” she tells him cheerfully, then turns to Mellia and mouths ‘save me’. Her eyes are frantic.
“I do like a bit of digging,” the man replies. “I’ve been a farmer all my life.”
Mellia comes over. “Have you, sir? Will you excuse the two of us, please?”
“Oh, of course,” he says, beaten. Jenn gives him a bright smile and then offers Mellia her arm.
Mellia takes Jenn’s arm and beats a hasty retreat.
“He used to grow them for a lot of important people,” Jenn says quietly. “He’s one of the wax-in-ears patients.” She steers Mellia out of the room, with a nod to the lay woman still in there. Outside she lets go of the arm, and gives Mellia a rather young look, the calm healer mask slipping off her.
Mellia smiles brightly. “Is there somewhere we can sit and talk for a few minutes? I may have a post for you.”
“Yes,” Jenn says, and glances along the narrow corridor. A single window lights it. “Have you eaten?”
“Yes, I have. I’ll keep you company if you haven’t.”
“Food, then.” And Jenn leads the way to a large room by the kitchen, where privacy is guaranteed by the noise and chatter rather than by walls. There is bread and soup, and Jenn adds a peeled egg to her bowl, showing the limits of her own vegetarian habits.
Seats are easy to find, along long benches.
Mellia finds the two of them a good spot. “You look like you’re doing well,” she tells Jenn. “I am proud of you. Have you ever considered going to the temple in Whitewall?”
“Whitewall?” Jenn looks confused. “I hadn’t, no…” She mashes her egg into the soup and mixes it with the speed of a student who knows they could be called.
“High Healer Jaldis is asking after you,” Mellia continues. “I know it’s not your home, but it is within visiting distance.”
Jenn looks surprised. “Asking after ~me~?”
“Yes, indeed,” Mellia confirms. “She’s good at healing sick minds, if that’s something you want to learn.”
Around the place, the talk is mostly in Esrolian, and Jenn’s Heortling sticks out. “I could. I really had not… why me?”
“I don’t know,” Mellia replies. “I spoke with her recently and your name came up. Jaldis wishes to offer you a spot in her temple. I know it’s not here; nowhere else is here.”
Jenn nods. “I would love to,” she says. “To be close to home.” Suddenly it is obvious how young she is, a new Initiate. “They say I am doing well, but… it’s not Sartar. Whitewall would be close enough to visit sometimes.”
“It would indeed. Jaldis and I sometimes disagree, but she’s quite competent,” Mellia says.
Jenn gets on with her food, staring down into it. “What is she like?”
“If you want to learn politics, she’d be a good teacher,” Mellia admits. “Jaldis believes in letting her patients find her. She has interesting plans for Whitewall. In the meantime, she’s not afraid to get to work when she’s needed.”
“Whitewall was destroyed,” Jenn says. “Did they rebuild it?” Ahh, to be seventeen and think all things possible.
“Partly,” Mellia replies. “They’re doing a good job at the top of the hill. The rest of the city is wretched. Disease is rampant over there. If you want to learn more about treating diseases, Whitewall is a good place to go.”
“Oh. Yes, that would be interesting. I can see it would be useful too. I sometimes think I am learning small things here, and a lot of them. I want to learn the big ones too. Is that bad of me?”
“No,” Mellia says, “that’s good of you.”
“Oh. I wasn’t sure. I try to be useful but disease sounds worse… how long would I have to arrange travel? Does she want me this season?”
“No rush, but yes, she would like you this season. Is that going to be a problem with your teachers?”
“I don’t think so. There are no special arrangements because I am a foreigner, and I have given my time this season. I will ask if I can use the sacred spaces for communion, and learn better how to deal with disease before I go.” Jenn turns her attention to the future easily enough.
“Excellent. If you need money for travel, find me. I’m staying with my relatives at the moment.”
“No, I’ll walk with a caravan if I have to. That is on the road back to Sartar. But I should send a message back home, and I think I have money for that.”
Jenn finishes her food more slowly, like her appetite has been taken away by the news. “How big is the temple?” she finally asks.
“Nowhere near as big as here, or even Boldhome,” Mellia replies. “Big enough that they managed when Jaldis was called to look after Boldhome when Kallyr marched against the Lunars last season.”
“She’s famous. I’ve heard of her. She came from Sartar, didn’t she?” Jenn squints to remember.
“Kallyr? Yes. Kallyr, by the way, is alive, although her left hand is a lump of charcoal. The Flame of Sartar has been relit.”
“No… I meant Jaldis but. Um, wait, alive?” Jenn puts her hand to her mouth, amazed. “She was dead?”
“Not really,” Mellia begins to explain. “The Lunars grabbed Kallyr and left behind an illusion of a dead body. Kallyr somehow went on a heroquest and found the Spark. My friends and I found her in Humakt’s halls and brought her back.”
Jenn stares, eyes wide, taking it in. “Oh…”
Mellia nods, smiling a bit. “Just in time, too. Queen Leika of Colymar almost seized the throne.”
Jenn shudders slightly. “Those people are always pushing the Confederacy around,” she says.
“Somehow I am not surprised,” Mellia comments. “We were advised to leave Sartar for a while.”
“But surely … no, Kallyr couldn’t protect you, because she would be seen protecting you. And maybe seen failing.” She may be young, but there is the reminder that Jenn helped form a Clan Ring of children, before she was ever initiated. “And that can’t be done with.”
“Exactly,” Mellia says with a sigh.
“And you’d be a distraction. Am I replacing you in Whitewall?” Jenn’s mind probably can’t help but work on such things.
“No, but when you arrive, Jaldis will send someone to Blue Tree Tula. If it weren’t for Leika, I’d be there now, keeping my promise to heal them.”
“How do you feel about that?” Jenn replies.
“Irritated,” Mellia admits. “That promise has been eating at me all Fire Season. I want to heal the folk of Blue Tree and get my temple built for them and their neighbors, but I can’t do it. I will feel better if someone takes my place with them, but I would still prefer doing it myself.”
“But they would not have been better off if Leika had triumphed and there was no Flame. So you are healing them. You are stopping them from being hurt, aren’t you?”
Mellia nods. “You and Jaldis will get along famously, I think.”
Jenn blushes, looking down. “Maybe I’m too direct.” She has not yet picked up the habits of an Esrolian matron.
“Not at all,” Mellia reassures Jenn.
“We don’t get thanks when people don’t notice we have stopped harm. But that’s better than helping afterwards, only then we don’t… get thanks.” Jenn looks confused. “And without the support of the farmers…”
Mellia nods. “It is indeed tricky.”
Jenn shrugs. “The answer is a moral one. Chalana Arroy would stop the harm and then work harder. It is better for people.”
Mellia agrees, “It is indeed. Thank you. I feel better.”
Jenn looks down, blushing. “Thank you. I’ll be able to see Karlag.”
“Which is a good thing,” Mellia says. “Let me know when the wedding will be and I’ll try to come. I may be getting married myself.”
Jenn bounces on her seat, making the whole bench move and getting some looks from those who are on it. “I … we were thinking we should wait until I was back in Sartar. We still probably should. It’s unfair otherwise, to be married and have to wait to. Tell me all about your… man?” The way she says the word indicates she is not quite sure of the answer.
Mellia beams. “Venlar is so sweet and kind. He’s handsome too, but that isn’t as important. He’s the second son of Silor Cracks-Rock, chief of the Cinder Fox Clan. We’re in marriage negotiations right now.”
“I don’t know the family,” Jenn says, “Although I know of the Clan, of course. If he’s the second son, will you be joining his family? Is that a complicated question here?”
“It is complicated,” Mellia says. “When I received lands in Blue Tree Tula, I joined that clan. So I belong to two clans. I am hoping we’ll stay in our respective clans.”
Jenn thinks and then smiles. “All will be well,” she says. “I know it, because it should not be otherwise.”
Mellia smiles. “Thank you, Jenn. I know this wonderful seamstress in the Boldhome market, if you’re looking for a wedding gown. She’ll be doing mine.”
“It’ll come from my Tula,” Jenn says. “If all is well there. Local wool, so I can give them something in return. Nochet seems to use money a lot more, but I’ve been buying gifts to give them. Karlag’s sent me some, along with letters.”
“How sweet of him! How sweet of you! Last I heard, all was well in your home,” says Mellia. “I’m hoping to get Kallyr to preside at my wedding; that’s the boon I asked for. I might have to have two ceremonies. We’ll see.”
“You’re amazing! I knew when you helped us that you were special but that’s… amazing!” Jenn runs out of words.