What price?

Mellia — Price

????, Fire Season, Stasis Week


Context

1626, Fire Season, Stasis Week, Windsday [[[s01:session-36|After session 36]]]
The party is now at the village of Greyrock Falls, having returned mostly intact from the fight in the cave.

Events

Mellia goes looking for Varanis, probably during a rest stop on the way to Wilmskirk.

Varanis is pacing the perimeter, working off some stiffness from riding, and looking along the path they are following.

Mellia does her best to fall in beside Varanis, expression solemn. “Hello, cousin. May we speak?”

“Hello Mellia. I’ll always have time for you,” Varanis greets the healer.

Mellia smiles, but the smile fades quickly. “It’s about Berra and Dormal.”

Varanis looks instantly worried. She glances around to make sure no one is too close. “Tell me.”

Mellia softly says, “We need to get Berra to a safe place, one where she feels able to fall apart, as soon as possible.”

“Where is that? Her Temple, with Eril around? Blue Tree Tula? If you know where, I will work on an excuse to get her there.”

“Probably Blue Tree Tula,” Mellia says after a moment. “No one feels safe around Eril. Berra has chosen to try to forget her ordeal. She achieved a precarious balance. I think I upset it when I spoke to her.”

“I can’t get her to talk about it either. I will need to think of how to get her to the Tula then.” Varanis looks thoughtful.

“Maybe escorting me? Berra, by the way, is taking the wrong approach. It’s like not washing a dirty wound: it’ll be attacked by disease demons and eventually kill the patient.”

“I wonder if the Wyter could help her.”

Mellia looks hopeful. “It may have a better chance than either of us.”

“We will need you for the quest, but maybe if you need to go to the Tula before the quest… you’ll need escorting. It might be worth seeing if D’Val will support this plan. Of course, if he thinks it could help, he might just tell her to go to the Tula and talk to the Wyter. He wouldn’t need a way to trick her into it.” The Vingan considers the options.

“The less trickery, the better,” Mellia agrees. “Dormal seems to be doing much better than Berra. He is taking solace from his usual plotting and scheming. There is something I should tell you, but we have to keep Berra from finding out.”

Varanis looks at Mellia sharply. “What’s wrong with him?”

“I do not know, but I will say this: should we succeed, Kallyr’s political opponents may move to put you on the throne, like it or not, ready or not.”

“Not you too, Mellia!” Varanis sounds dismayed. “I do not want a throne. I will not take it. They can’t force me to do it.”

“What price are you willing to pay to stay off it, Varanis?”

Varanis studies her cousin. “I will do what is needed to strengthen Sartar and make Kallyr Queen. A strong Sartar means a protected Esrolia.”

“Does that include watching all of us die?” Mellia asks. “Not only are the rest of us handy leverage, someone on either side might decide better gains are to be had with us conveniently out of the way.”1Varanis’ player says: Oh. Ouch. Xenofos and Berra just talked me off that ledge!

“No. I…” Varanis looks completely dismayed at these words. “Xenofos doesn’t believe Leika would do what Dormal suggests. He thinks Kallyr will benefit from having me at her side, not dead and buried. A weapon in hand, rather than one callously discarded.”

“All it might take is one expendable follower of either. She’ll get executed to satisfy justice and honor, but we’d still be dead.”

Varanis stares at Mellia. She begins to pace again, having come to a stop earlier in the conversation. Her agitation is obvious in the colour of her cheeks, the tension in her shoulders, and the way she can’t seem to find the words to reply.

“It’s a horrible thing to have to think about,” Mellia says with compassion. “You don’t need a plan today, just by the time you relight the Flame.”

“What would you have me do? Abandon the quest? That is not an option.” She’s upset, but holding onto her temper.

“No,” Mellia says sadly, “that is not an option. Just think of a way out of the resulting mess.”

Varanis takes a long, slow breath, willing herself to calm. She nods abruptly. “I am trying.”

“That’s all I ask,” Mellia softly says. “Is there any way I can help you calm down?”

“I just need a moment,” Varanis says. “I feel under attack from all directions sometimes.” She takes another slow breath. “I want to protect you and the others, but I don’t know how. Berra keeps telling me to trust that people can make their own decisions and take their own risks. But, if, as Dormal has suggested, being with me makes people targets… how can I live with that?”

“We know the risks and we choose to stay,” Mellia answers. “We’ll be fine if you plan ahead.”

Varanis nods, her expression troubled. “It looks like we are getting ready to move again.” She glances in the direction of the others, who are starting to organize their mounts. “We should get you back to your cart.”

Mellia nods. “I wish I had been able to bring better news.” She begins to walk to her cart.

“It’s hard to hear, but…” The Vingan shrugs. “I will always listen to what you have to say. Your advice is valuable to me, White Lady.”

“Thank you,” Mellia replies.