1627, Sea Season, Movement Week
Duck Point, after Varanis has been very ill. On her feet again, she goes looking for Mellia. After Session 2.38 (Seeder Forest).
Mellia is in Venlar’s room when there’s a knock on the door. She answers, looking sad and tired.
Her cousin is standing outside, helmet tucked under one arm, smelling of armour and horse. “Hey there,” she says by way of greeting. “You ok?”
Mellia manages a faint smile. “I will manage. Come in. What can I do for you?”
“It’s more about whether or not I can help you,” Varanis replies. She steps into the room and glances about.
The room is obviously occupied by Venlar, but he’s not here. “Don’t let me forget the news.” Mellia sits down on the bed. There’s a chair in there too.
Varanis sets her helmet down and pulls up the chair. “So…. Yamia…”
Mellia admits,”Yamia worries me a lot. She is a high risk pregnancy.”
“It’s time to tell Venlar, but for some reason, she thinks he can’t hear from her. Will you tell him?”
Mellia sighs. “I never told him, but you’re right. Venlar needs to know now. I wonder why Yamia wants the two of us married before we learn who the father is.”
Varanis shrugs. “It’ll be political. Maybe Venlar will understand. But listen,” and she gives Mellia a very serious look, “you need to stand down. I know you’re worried about her and you’re a healer and caring for others is what you do. But, she’s planning to go home in a couple of days and she needs you to let her be herself. Trust her to look after herself.”
“She is not doing a good job of that,” Mellia says, looking upset. “Maybe her parents can help her. I don’t like giving up.”
“I know, but you can’t force her. That would be like trying to lock me in a room. If you force Yamia to be something she isn’t, sooner or later she’ll be climbing the walls and leaping out the window.” Varanis says gently, “The harder you push, the greater her resistance and resentment will become. She knows it’s time to go home and she’s planning to do it.”
“Thank Ernalda. Fine. Can I persuade you to eat soup for dinner and rest tonight?”
“Yes, but it’s only midday now. And Berra’s vanished. I was going to go look for her.” Varanis sighs and as she does, she deflates a little. Having completed one of her tasks, she suddenly looks worn out again. Looking at her, Mellia is reminded that the Vingan returned from her worship hours before she ought to have. There was probably a reason for that.
“I don’t know where Berra is, but she is probably praying for her sister’s husband and her clan.”
“Her sister’s husband?”
“Is dead, cause not mentioned. The clan had a bad harvest. Soon they will be living on turnips.”
“Oh no,” Varanis exclaims. “I wonder if that’s what Yamia was talking about. Oh, poor Yehna. And their wee boy. He’s too young to lose a parent.”
Mellia guesses, “Probably. The good news, which is not as good, is that you’re invited to both weddings.”
Varanis blinks. “Weddings. Right. You’re having two. Sartar and home? I’d love to come, of course. But it will depend on the Prince. I go where she commands, in service to Sartar.” There’s a pause. “I need to go home if I can, though. I need to find out if there’s news… oh! Irillo came with you, didn’t he? He might have news.” Varanis lurches to her feet, then turns pale and staggers, stumbling into her helmet and nearly falling over. She swears softly.
Mellia gets up and comes over to support Varanis. “Bed now and you can talk to Irillo when the market closes. Besides, I spoke with Tenebris.”
“You did?” The unresisting Vingan allows Mellia to direct her. “A short nap. I will rest a little. But tell me about Tennebris?”
“Tennebris asks if you and Serala would consider a year-marriage.” Mellia is trying to get Varanis into her own bed.
Varanis looks startled. “But… Kallyr said…” She allows Mellia to guide her to her room and the sleeping pallet. The room smells better than it did the night before. Somebody has obviously come in to give it a thorough scrub down this morning. She turns to gaze in confusion at Mellia. “That means that Kallyr didn’t say no… but I haven’t even brought word back about my mission. And how did… I tried to be careful…”
“I don’t know what Kallyr said, but I think it is a good idea. You can start negotiations if you want, but you don’t have to. Meanwhile the two of you are happy.” Mellia helps Varanis to remove her armour and then encourages her to lie down. “I had to put some pieces together, but it pays to have friends in high places.”
“Truthfully, I didn’t expect to be allowed such a thing at all…” The Vingan looks hopeful. “Grandmother may have other ideas, but… if the Prince will allow it…” She permits Mellia to tuck her in, a bemused smile starting to tug at her lips. “To be given the gift of a year…”
“Tell those two to stuff it,” Mellia advises. “You deserve some happiness. Now sleep.”
Varanis’ eyes drift closed almost immediately, though the whisper of a smile remains a while longer.