Varanis — 1626 0615 Mending
????, Sea Season, Movement Week
1626, Sea Season, Movement Week?, Freezeday? On the road to Clearwine. [[[s01:session-29|Session 29]]]
Varanis approaches Mellia in hopes of repairing the morning’s [[[varanis:1626-0600-boxes-betrayal |damage]]].
It was a long day. Other than talking and walking with Sid for a while, Varanis maintained her distance from the rest of the party. She was polite, but distant to anyone who spoke to her. Now, as the day is winding down, and the camp has mostly finished preparing for the evening, she comes looking for Mellia.
Mellia is sitting by herself. She spent the day being quiet, except for a long chat with Irillo in the morning.
“White Lady,” Varanis says, her words stiff with polite formality, “may I sit with you?”
“Of course, Thane,” Mellia replies a little less formally and stiffly. “How may I help you?”
Varanis folds her length into a seated position on the ground, next to her cousin, somehow making it look like her position carries the same dignity as sitting at a formal dining table in the Saiciae Great House. “I come seeking advice, as I have done before. If I ask for it, will you give it?”
“I will gladly help you, if I can.” Mellia’s posture is a lot less formal.
“I do not know who to trust. I thought I did, but that trust was…” Varanis seems to be searching for words. “Misplaced? Betrayed? And I do not know how to move forward.”
“Hmm,” Mellia says. Her posture shifts to ‘healer seeing patient’. “I think you have two options. First, you can just stay away from that person in future. Second, you can go talk to whoever this is and try to sort things out.”
Blue-green eyes bore steadily into brown. “And which would you prefer, Lady?” she asks pointedly.
“I am sorry, Thane. I did not realize when I spoke to you just how bad Nala’s opinion of you is, and why. I should have known. I should have warned you. I truly wanted and still want to see you and Nala reconciled. I seem to only have made things worse.”
Suddenly all the stiffness seems to drain from Varanis. “Oh Mellia, I hate this!” she exclaims. “I thought I was going to say that I was sorry. I did say it. But it wasn’t about the apology at all, was it? It was all about that stupid box. I wish I’d never seen it.”
“I think the apology helped,” Mellia replies, eyes shimmering a bit. “Part of the problem is that Nala is proud, stubborn and jealous of Tiwr. The box is a symptom; the real problem is that Nala thinks – don’t shout – that you feel you should have anything you want. Worst of all, Nala does not understand that you have valuable skills.”
“Well, you seem to share Nala’s opinion,” Varanis retorts angrily. “You said that it was an example of me taking things that aren’t mine.” She places a lot of emphasis on the word example. “That implies there’s more. I’m not a thief, Mellia! I keep telling Dormal that too.” She stops suddenly, as though realizing she said more than she meant too. She takes a deep breath to calm her anger, then continues, “look, I already knew that the Praxian has no love for me. I was only hoping to make peace with her. But you…. I thought you knew me better.” Her eyes have taken on a glassy sheen too.
“Oh, Varanis,” Mellia says, beginning to cry, “I know you aren’t like that. That’s why that box scares me. If I knew how you could convince Nala of this, I would tell you right now.”
“I don’t care about Nala. She can piss in the wind if she wants to. I care about you.” She shifts closer to her cousin now, wrapping an arm around the smaller woman’s shoulder to pull her into a lopsided embrace. “Sid reminded me today that I can’t control how others feel, I can only be me. Nala will think what she wants to.”
Mellia hugs Varanis back. “Sid is wise,” she says after a minute.
Varanis laughs, though it’s a slightly soggy sounding laugh. “I never thought I’d be friends with a troll,” she admits, “but I like him.”
Mellia smiles a little. “Most beings have worth. I am beginning to change my mind about the Lunars, though.”
“You honestly don’t think I’m a thief?” Varanis asks, turning serious again. “Your words have been spiralling around and around in my head all day long. I was desperately trying to think of what you might see as other examples. I know that some of our kin still question Grandmother’s decisions and Aunt Hura once told me that my hides were stolen from real Saiciae and I had no business having them.”
“What? You ARE a real Saiciae.”
There is a wealth of buried insecurity in Varanis’ words and tone. These are old wounds. “Mellia, you know my mother’s mother wasn’t Saiciae. We only count as Clan because Grandmother decreed it so and gave us the hides. Even from my first days in Nochet, I knew that people didn’t always accept it. Do you remember the first day we met?”
“Grandmother knows what she is doing.” Mellia smiles fondly. “Yes, I remember.”
“Well, I had only escaped grandmother Mirava because she was having an argument with one of the older aunts. That aunt said that I should be sent away and that I was no child of the House. She said a lot of other things too, but when they were caught up enough in each other’s venom, I slipped away to courtyard.”
Mellia winces. “Some of our older relatives are horrible.”
“You were always nice to me. When you said…. what you said, I thought it had been a lie.” She shudders. “I wasn’t prepared for how much that hurt.”
“I am so sorry I hurt you so, Varanis. I had no idea.”
“I’m not used to trusting people or talking about things as much as I have been doing since we left Nochet. It has made me feel very exposed. Honestly, I haven’t really had people to talk to since Dragonrise. Ever since the demon attack, I’ve kind of locked myself away. If nothing else, this trip has made me realize that I wasn’t really serving Vinga as I ought to have been, hiding myself from everything.”
“Then it is good you came,” says Mellia.
Varanis sighs. “I should still try to figure out what to do about Nala. She’s nothing like the Praxians I fought with. They were more like Rajar and they made sense to me. Point them at the enemy and trust that they would do what was needed. They were impressive and I was glad they were on our side. But her… I don’t know. I do know that we can’t go on like this. We need to find a way to work together because we are hurting others the way things are. There has to be a solution. Vinga teaches that if something doesn’t work, you need to look for another way. There is always another way.”
Mellia nods. “If Orlanth and Yelm could reconcile, there’s hope for the two of you. You might want to consult Irillo.”
“I will think on it. Thank you, Mellia. I should go check on my horses and make sure that they are properly settled for the night.” She unfolds herself and gracefully rises. She offers Mellia a hand up.
Mellia takes the hand and gets up. “You’re welcome, Varanis. Sleep well.”
Varanis pulls her cousin into a proper hug. “You too,” she murmurs against the other woman’s hair as Mellia returns the hug.