1628 Year, Earth Season, Follows from tired and dusty
[Boldhome temple of Earth .] Session 3.25.
Listening to the early morning song of birds Lenta wanders through the streets towards the temple of Earth. Her steps are light, her gaze wandering at rooftops just starting to be lit.
The birds are greeting Yelm, as always. He edges into the valley to greet his wife, and the great roof of the Temple of Ernalda catches the light. The statues blaze in gold and green, the harvest bundles – last year’s corn, for good luck – hang from the end beams as she gets close. It is a beautiful autumn day.
A woman in armour outside the Temple scowls at Lenta.
Lenta walks confidently into the temple not paying attention to moods of some warrior.
The woman scowls at the sky as Lenta walks in. Within is cool, bustling with energy, full of busy women. Some are singing and dancing, greeting the sun from within, as they prepare to move out into the street for the last days of the old grain-year. It’s got the feeling of a place just waiting to happen.
Lenta stops for a while, leaning against a pillar, looking what is happening.1 Do me a Manage household please. 03 that would be a Special
The wrong people are here. This is a place where Priestesses often are, and obviously they should be here – but many are initiates…. And there are too few people wearing gold, and few people wearing expensive clothes. The Priestesses are not all here. Not wearing makeup and having a very informal hairdo is not as out of place as on some other day. Lenta looks at the procession with appraising eyes, shrugs a bit and saunters towards Kalis’ lodgings.
The lodgings are a private floor of the Temple, with a courtyard to herself, and another layer of guards. This place is quiet, almost but not quite restful. A young girl, seven or eight, skips through the corridors leaving flowers in her wake. A woman in iron armour gives Lenta a lazy salute.
Lenta nods to her in return. “Is Kalis in?”
“The lady’s not to be disturbed.” It’s a soft voice, gently, at odds with the blank face and the battered armour.
Lenta raises an eyebrow.
“If she hasn’t invited you, you’re not coming in.” It’s a polite explanation, not a threat.
The name bubbles up from memory. Asta. A Rune Lord. A newish one, in armour that used to belong to someone else.
“She sent me an invitation lady Asta. Told me to pop in at any time.” Lenta hands her the tablet. Ernaldan looks at the door with a tilted head and then at Asta “But I am not in a hurry… Is she resting or occupied”
Asta brushes her hand over the tablet, examines it carefully for a moment, and then says, “She doesn’t have a lover-husband in.” The Rune Lord steps aside from the door, and opens it a crack. “Visitor, Lady,” she calls.
Kalis herself comes to the door. “Thank you, Asta. Oh, Lenta. Such a relief. Do come in.”
Lenta nods to Asta and glides in after Kalis.
Kalis is in a flimsy dress, and over it a soft lambswool robe fixed with a wooden comb with three tines. She glides over to a low table with some soft cushions beside it, and lets Asta close the door. “You’re a sight to greet tired eyes, dear.”
“Thank you my lady, you are too kind.”
There are already snacks on the table, and a pitcher of water with mint in it. “Tell me about how she is doing, and then tell me about yourself.” It’s a kind instruction.
Lenta sits on the cushions delicately and brushes errant lock of hair from her face before answering. It is possible she blushes a bit “She had helped to make sure the people were fed before the village would get the harvest in. And I think she helped arrange that Eiritha would be present in the quest. It is true she was quite eager and that may have put in some strain on the village elders… But I think the success of that quest more than made up for any perceived trouble.”
“That’s the friend version. What’s the Grandmother version? What does she need to work on?”
“She thinks she needs to do everything herself. That if she lets other do things she is at fault. That is a weakness. But that is also her strength. A thing that draws people to her and inspires them to act.” 2I suppose Kalis has high enough insight human to hear the devotion in Lenta’s voice.
“You cannot improve her if you worship her,” Kalis says gently. “And if you love her, you should want her to improve.”
“You know I love her.” Lenta answers quietly. “But I don’t want to change her. I want her to be happy.”
“She never can be, while she stays still. The only question is which way she goes. Now, how are you?”
“A bit confused, a bit annoyed, a bit hurt. I don’t understand her attitude on way back. First she sounded vaguely jealous and then after meeting her cousin…” Lenta looks away for a while “But then it was told to me she is sent away as a champion… I am worried she may be hurt. I am happy that she can go and do something…”
Kalis considers that. “I see…” Her expression is politely closed, just for a moment. “And do you want anything to do, on your own behalf?”
“I want to follow her. Share the risks and be with her…” She breaths in, swallows and straightens her posture. “But that would not be wise. She expressed displeasure at me being at the village on your orders and behaved weirdly when we travelled back. So my presence would not aid her. Could even hurt a bit. But is there something else I could do, lady Kalis, to help.”
“Right now? We need every able-bodied person we can use for the harvests. The warriors have set off at the most inconvenient time. Possibly, given you are not versed in how we do things, you could stay at the Temple in Holy Week, and help with the rituals of thanks and joy.” Kalis’ face is a mask of beauty and kindness.
“People should eat. I am young. Maybe I should take part in bringing in the harvest even though I m not versed in that labour.” 3str 12, con 15, siz9 – she is better suited to work than Xenofos… and less of a snob.
She looks at the priestess. “But I’ll do what you think I am most useful in…”
“If your hands will be up to it…” Kalis holds out hers to examine Lenta’s.
Lentas hands are soft and delicate, having never been blemished with serious work. They have held a spindle and the needle and the tools of a gardener, but what they have done over and over and over again have been following the gestures of dances. The gallant dances of noble youth, the sacred dances of Ernalda and even the mournful gestures of dances sending the departed on their way. Kind of strong and agile, but soft.
Kalis says, “These will bleed, and that’s bad practice.” Her own are soft as well. “I’ll send someone else, and you can fill in here. You dance – do you sing, and do you know harvest rituals within Sartar, at all? There are some differences.”
“I do sing – not as a master, but I can carry a tune. But I have not been instructed or learned the specific rituals of harvest here.” 482 on cult lore Ernalda…
Kalis nods her head gracefully, and her hands flicker through a set of complex signs, which Lenta can follow without really thinking about them. In fact, it is best not to think about them, just to understand what they mean. Kalis is good, and fast.
Dance: Such a pity to be parted. Yet joy will follow after the armies.
After Kalis finishes Lenta closes her eyes. Her hands are crossed in her lap, right over the left. After a while the upper hand seems to release the left one and she signs. Winds and birds should fly free. Earth waits if they want to land.
“Very good, and you have good posture. Better in the Temple. Ernalda in the Distance should be small – there is a theatre for just this. We’ll find out who Orlanth is once we know who’s left in the city. Probably Tennebris – I can handle him.” Kalis stands. “I find I am in need of a more substantial breakfast, and you should go find the Mistress of the Ritual. She’ll be whoever is looking most overworked right now.”
As Kalis begins to speak Lenta opens her eyes. “Can I find her after the breakfast, mylady. I have not eaten anything else this morning either.” (And as it happens, she did not touch the snacks here either…)
“Yes, but you can’t have it with me,” Kalis says with a smile. “Go down and find the hall-of-food.” It’s a trade-talk word, although that might be for a variety of reasons. “Then come up and I’ll give you a letter to the Mistress of the Ritual, and anything else I think of. You’ll have two days to practice and learn.”
Lenta smiles and nods. “As you say, lady Kalis.”
- 1Do me a Manage household please. 03 that would be a Special
- 2I suppose Kalis has high enough insight human to hear the devotion in Lenta’s voice.
- 3str 12, con 15, siz9 – she is better suited to work than Xenofos… and less of a snob.
- 482 on cult lore Ernalda…