Varanis — 1626 0570 Blisters
Slightly later in the morning, the day after the party arrives in the Blue Tree Clan Village. Between [[[s01:session-27|session 27]]] and session 28.
Morning after arrival. Sun’s been up for a while, but it’s still pretty early in the morning. Mellia is already in the village shrine to Chalana Arroy, helping Sosa with the day’s work and patients.
Varanis approaches the shrine, looking rather different from usual. Her armour has been left somewhere and instead she is in well-made dark woolen trousers and a tunic that might have embroidery. It’s hard to tell though, because they, like Varanis, are liberally covered in mud. Her sleeves are rolled up and her hands and arms show signs that she may have attempted to wash, perhaps in a mud puddle. “Mellia? Are you free for a moment?” she calls out cheerfully.
“Of course, Cousin!” Mellia calls back. “We may have to clean you first if you’re hurt.”
“It’s not much, but Arianatha wants me to get it sorted before I come back. We’ve been working on repairs to the walls of the shrine, and well, I guess sword calluses aren’t much use for this kind of work.” She’s a little breathless by the time she finishes. She holds her hands out, palms up to show a set of rising blisters. One seems to have torn already and there’s a bit of blood mixed into the mud. “It’s not serious,” Varanis assures her cousin.
“It will be if we don’t get those clean,” Mellia says. “Let’s go get some water and wash your hands.”
Varanis cheerfully follows, chattering about fetching water, cutting wood, and stuffing muddy straw into walls. It’s no wonder she’s filthy. Her hair has been braided into a single braid today, and it is already coming loose from its bindings. She brushes it out of her face with one muddy hand, and then stares wryly at the mess she has made. “I really miss our baths…”
“I do too. Maybe we should build a village bath house.” Mellia gets water and a soft cloth, then carefully cleans Varanis’ hands. Once the mud has been washed away, Mellia takes another look at the blisters.
Varanis winces slightly during the cleaning process, but keeps chattering about various things: the river, a child names Insterla who wants to be a Vingan, the elderly initiate who cares for the shrine…
Mellia smiles and chatters back while she works.
“Normally,” Mellia says, “I’d apply the correct salve, bandage your hands and tell you to take a few days off. You’re thinking of running right back and doing more building work?”
“After breakfast. She’s an old woman. I can’t leave it all to her. I could heal it, I suppose. It’s just… well… when I was an apprentice, we were told that healing minor injuries that time could fix was wasteful. I was hoping that cleaning it up would allow me to head back to work after.” Varanis takes a deep breath. “Mind you, this stings more than I realized,” she admits.
“I think we’d better do something about them.” Mellia carefully touches Varanis’ hands while Mellia murmurs something. Healing power flows into the blisters, which disappear. “Tell your elderly sister-in-Vinga I said you can raise blisters or work with mud, but not both.”
Varanis smiles gratefully at Mellia. Her expression shifts suddenly, as mercurial as ever. “Mellia,” she asks seriously, “have you spoken to Xenofos at all?”
“Last night,” says Mellia, “why?”
“He spoke to me last night, and seemed very concerned about how quickly things were progressing here. He’s not at all happy with the idea of joining the clan and he seems very worried about how Queen Leika will respond to all of this.” She continues thoughtfully, “he had some good points. If Samastina gave some of Saiciae land to outsiders, Grandmother would be very angry.”
“Joining the clan will fix the outsider problem, I think. I hope. If Queen Leika decides to argue with Prince Kallyr, I hope the queen leaves us out of it.”
Varanis nods, but her eyebrows are still furrowed. “I hope you are right. You must be right.” Her expression clears. “After all, the Prince called me her kinswoman, and you are mine. So, what choice does Leika have, really?” Her blithe assumption of the rights entailed by rank and family would be breathtaking in anyone else. In Varanis, it seems like a return to her normal self.
“I occasionally wonder that myself,” Mellia says. “The thought that keeps crossing my mind is Leika might offer us recompense of some sort in exchange for the land. If we take that, we had better clear out of Sartar and not return. If we refuse it, we had probably better clear out of Sartar and not return.”
Varanis blinks in astonishment. “But, Mellia, I am a Colymar too. I have a right to this land. And even if you aren’t of Colymar, you have a right to this land too. Can you imagine the queen refusing to have a Temple built to Chalana Arroy? It’s inconceivable!” Varanis’ tone has become passionate and her posture has once more taken on its customary arrogance, which is slightly comical, given her overall bedraggled appearance.
“It is highly unlikely,” Mellia agrees. “All we can do is go to Clearwine Fort, get an audience with Queen Leika and see what she chooses to do. Perhaps we had better bring a gift.”
“A gift does seem wise,” Varanis agrees. “We should probably meet with the others sometime this morning. Before Xenofos or anyone else finds themselves in a position of possibly rejecting the Wyter. For now, I promised to eat some breakfast and return for the next stage of wall repairs. I should probably get moving.” Varanis rises. “Thank you, Mellia. I do appreciate your help and your wisdom.” She gives a little bow to her cousin.
Mellia bows back, smiling. “You are most welcome, Varanis. Lightbringers smile on you this day.”
“And on you, White Lady,” Varanis replies respectfully. She gives a bow to the shrine and a parting wave to her cousin, before she strides away, in search of something to eat.
Varanis spins on her heel suddenly and comes rushing back. “Wait! I forgot to tell you, the child…. she doesn’t speak. Hasn’t spoken since the Tusk Riders raided. Ask Sosa about her. We should help if we can.” By we, Varanis clearly means Mellia. And then she’s gone again.
Mellia firmly says to the empty air, “I will do that. ” She goes in search of Sosa.