Public — Getting Domestic
????, Dark Season
In Boldhome after the fall of Alda-Chur early Dark Season [[[s02:session-55|Session 55]]]
It takes a couple of days to get merchants organised; Venlar advises leaving it until the crush of bodies has had time to trample the snow, and then it snows the next day, and he has to look like he expected that. However, he has the rich man’s habit of sending out to be sure that what he wants will be available, and he gives Mellia the option on whether she wants it brought over, or whether she wants to get out of the Sambari mansion and the White Grape, their two little worlds.
Mellia thanks Venlar and points out that Varanis will want the merchant to come to her.
“Well, this is not the only time we can see her,” Venlar notes. He seems to want to be out and about despite the inclement weather.
Mellia says choosing a merchant might be best done at the market. “We can pick the best one and then we’ll get her to come here.”
“That seems entirely reasonable,” Venlar says. Yehna looks politely excited, but no more.
Mellia says, “Let’s get going before the snow gets worse.” Mellia is in a good mood.
Venlar ducks out of the door a bare moment later. He has to come back for his long, thick coat. Yehna, more sensibly paced, is ready by the time he has sorted out his buttons in the snow outside.
Mellia looks happy in her white cloak.
The great market is indeed a different place by snow, although there are many stalls up; they all have pointed covers to them now, and most of them are selling warm clothes or winter supplies. Venlar looks around with curiosity. Yehna says, “I see the wool merchants there…” She is one of those who makes her own clothes, and so she is now eyeing the scrum around the people selling warm materials.
Mellia looks in that direction. “We’ll see if we can get through this crowd.”
“We want to have it made anyhow,” Venlar says, “So surely we don’t need to buy from there?” He looks surprised by the thought of it.
Yehna tells him, “You’ll struggle to find people to make things now, if that’s what the queue is for material. I mean, people to make things to order. I can make what we need.”
Mellia says,” I hate to put all that work on you, Yehna. Maybe we should look for things you can’t make first?”
“It’s not work,” Yehna says in surprise. “It’s what to do in winter. But I can’t make furs and quilting takes a long time, so we should buy those if Venlar does not mind.”
“What is mine is hers,” Venlar replies. “And yours. We should get you a few things.”
Mellia agrees,”We should indeed. Let’s look at the furs. Varanis wants a fur cloak.”
“I like furs,” Venlar declares. “But I should not wear fox, of course.” He lets his size and strength take him into the crowd, murmuring quietly to get attention and then ushering the women before him.
Mellia thanks Venlar. “I like being warm. Maybe a pair of gloves for me.”
With the appearance of someone obviously so rich, the first of the cloth merchants finishes off with a customer and turns to Venlar. Venlar looks to Mellia and Yehna for help.
Mellia says, “We are looking to buy in bulk. I need to be in white, of course. My friend here needs to be in colors which suit her.”
“Of course,” the man says smoothly. “Please do come take a look.” He gestures them both forward into an area where scraps are laid out, each pinned down to one of a few big stakes on his table. “We’ve got plenty to keep you warm for the winter, white or not.”
Mellia looks at the scraps. “Yehna, what do you think of these? “ Mellia adds, “If these suit, my cousin may want you to call on her.”
Yehna takes on a lot more confidence when being asked about such things. “Those would be good for under-tunics,” she says, “With the smoother side out. Those would be very well, but I’m unsure of the dye on this batch. The red will come out in the rain. The woad and the weld are good, though, and that green which looks like it’s both of them. I’d wear it happily, but I think these might be a bit plain for Varanis. She needs something special.” Yehna stares at the cloth merchant. The cloth merchant just nods his head. “Of course. I have a few things…”
And then there’s another set of samples, this from under the counter. Linen and wool mixes in the weaving, and heavier dyed material. Yehna tells Mellia, “It’s all decent quality, but there’s nothing that stands out as worthy of my sister’s friend.”
Venlar has wandered off to find more expensive things.
Mellia says, “Thanks, we may be back later,” to the merchant. Mellia looks around for another merchant.
There are plenty in evidence. Venlar is looking at silk scarves. Yehna puts a hand in front of Mellia just in case. “Don’t encourage him,” she says. “He’ll spend all his money.”
Mellia nods. “Let’s get him looking at furs and quilts. Pretty and practical.”
“Over to the right,” Yehna whispers. “I see a furrier.”
Mellia says to Venlar, “Sweetheart, would you please do me a favor and check out the furrier to the right? I know nothing about furs and we’ll want to get good ones.”
“Oh, of course,” he replies. “Let me have a look.” The silk merchant gets a bow. “I’ll be back. I’ll want to see decorative scarves.” Then Venlar drifts over to look at furs. There is a discussion over what is best for what, and he makes a pile of soft, fluffy things. “These will be good good linings and cuffs,” he tells Mellia. Then he says to Yehna, “We should make sure you can dress to show off.”
Yehna shakes her head slightly.
“But what if you meet someone nice, or need to appear at Court? You should have one nice outfit,” Mellia says.
“I don’t go to court,” Yehna says. “And anyhow, if I did, what I’m wearing is fine.”
“Maybe not court,” Venlar notes, “But your sister does sometimes, and you’re seen with her.”
It is a foul blow. Yehna bobs her head, and marches back to the first merchant. Venlar sighs. “I think she’s scared of politics.”
Mellia sighs. “That’s not really politics. Let’s get the furs. Does this merchant do cloaks?”
“This man just does the furs for sewing in,” Venlar replies, and casually tells him, “Bring anything white to the Sambari House at dawn tomorrow. We shall see what you have.” He simply pays the price asked, and says, “Bring those at the same time.” Perhaps somewhere Irillo is wincing.
Mellia winces at the price, but can’t bargain if Venlar accepts it. Mellia isn’t a good bargainer but she does try.
Mellia says,”We should go catch up to Yehna.”
“Of course,” Venlar replies, “But let us give her the chance to be her own person for a moment first? She needs to make the decision to marry on her own.”
Mellia nods. “I want her to be happy and safe. I think I will ask the Axe Maidens about the local scoundrels.”
“What, in case she falls for any?” Venlar looks confused.
“Yes, or in case any come fortune hunting.”
BleysRex: “Ah, yes. Of course, we could put a bodyguard on her, but I think it likely that we can scare off any who are truly wrong.” Venlar looks troubled. “She should have her own choice, but we can let Berra meet those ones early on.”
Mellia says,” I just want her to choose wisely.”
“She’s good at choosing cloth,” Venlar replies. “Surely that has to count for something.”
Yehna now has a bundle of cloth and is settling in to haggle. There is a lot of gesticulating from the merchant.
Mellia says, “She is good at bargaining. That will count for something.”
Venlar says, “Still, quilting. I don’t need much – I brought warm clothes, I really do just need trimmings. I think Varanis is suffering, though. We should get her enough to make a proper robe.”
Mellia says, “Varanis needs a good quilt. Haran might need one too.”
“For sleeping under? Furs are better. I’m talking about clothes. Yehna says she has enough for Haran, but let us go see what we can find, and then we’ll know whom to bring back to the White Grape.”
BleysRex: Venlar steers Mellia over to where a pinch-faced man who looks far too thin for the weather is standing nevertheless, wrapped up in a thick kaftan and with a warm fur hat. “He’s the only one selling cloth that is already quilted together, I think,” Venlar says, and then is briefly distracted by a man selling food.
Mellia looks over the samples. She is looking for plain white and really fancy cloth for Varanis.
Mellia asks the merchant, “Do you have clothes as well as quilted cloth?”
“I do,” he says, “And in fact more of those than of the cloth plain. Are you looking for warmth for yourself, or comfort for your handsome husband?”
“Warmth for myself and my cousin who is back at the inn. She is not used to your winter. I wear only white, of course. She, on the other hand, must attend Court.”
“Oh, then a jacket that can be shucked easily is ideal,” he says, indicating his own attire. “With coloured accents, or a dyed exterior. It can be trimmed in anything you like, of course.”
Mellia smiles at him. “My jacket must be plain white. Hers can and should be fancier. I think a dyed exterior would be nice for her.”
“Of course,” he says. “Her favoured colours are?”
Mellia says, “Blues and greens.”
“Orlanthi,” he says with approval. “I have a few things. What is it that she likes for lining, do you know?”
Mellia says, “I don’t know. “
“I can bring a few options,” he replies. “If she is not used to winter, then we will see about a big overcloak, to keep her own clothes underneath for comfort.”
Mellia nods. “She is used to Nochet. An overcloak sounds wonderful. I am tempted to get one for myself. Yehna?”
Yehna saunters up, to look at what is on offer. “It’s a Praxian style of coat,” she says, “But done in a different material. For warmth you would want the fur, but this is not bad. The problem is that with these, if you want to have them waterproof at all you have to smoke them, and they turn yellow. That’s not a problem with fur. But it’s a sensible shape, and if it’s not raining, these will be warm. Even if it is, if the lining is well made, it will get wet and still keep warmth. I’d have to look more closely, though.”
Mellia says, “I can’t wear yellow. We’ll have to hope the lining is good.”
“Can you wear white leather?” Venlar asks, “Or white fur?” Yehna winces at the implied expense.
Mellia says, “I believe so, but the cost is high, my love. Also, my clothes must be washable.”
“Mmm. Maybe not, then. Do you know Maalira was complaining about getting blood out of her clothes?” Venlar is plainly yearning to be spending money, and when stymied reverts to being bored.
Mellia sighs.”That’s the burden of being a White Lady. See the jackets, sweetheart. We can trim one for me.”
“We can. But meanwhile, yes. Find a white one for her and I’ll buy it, and then we can trim that with what we like. Yehna will put those on for us, won’t you, Yehna?”
Yehna nods. “Of course. It’s no effort.”
“And then bring anything green or blue to suit a tall woman who is slim but muscular, preferably tying up high, and slit at the back. She’s still riding in this weather.”
“I can move ties too. That’s really nothing.” Yehna seems resigned by now to Venlar spending money like his purse has a hole in it.
Mellia kisses Venlar on the cheek. “Thanks, my love. Have we bought enough fabric, Yehna?”
“We’ve got plenty for me and for Sanila,” says Yehna, who has left her cousin behind with Haran. “And I can make some new breeches for Berra because she goes through the knees so fast. I think I’ll put leather patches on if she keeps going. We don’t have the impressive fabrics that Varanis will want, but I could come here with Felgin now I know where it is, and we could look over the place more carefully.””
“Brooches,” says Venlar. “We should get brooches.”
Mellia says, “I think I might need one outfit in blue or green. We’ll talk about that on the way to the gem merchant.”
Venlar sweeps an arm around Mellia, and it falls over her shoulder gently. “I should send something to my mother,” he decides. “When the roads have opened, of course. I could not fly it there.”
Mellia agrees, “Your mother would like that.”
“I’ve been after something in jade for her for a while. And of course, jewellers are inside in this weather. Are you coming, Yehna? Come get warm, and see if you like anything. You’re my wife’s clan, after all.”
Yehna gives Mellia a look that is not quite an eye roll, but nearly is.
Mellia says, “Something in jade would be wonderful. Let’s get warm and look at brooches.”
The market has small shops along the sides, both under porticoes and deeper inside. Venlar chooses one with a brazier, and solid walls, and settles to the serious business of looking over gems, asking for everything square and jade to be brought out. “We’ll show anything we like to Varanis,” he tells Yehna. “That’s the best eye for this sort of thing, and I don’t want to send Mama anything with a flaw. And if you have anything white,” he adds to the jewelsmith, “Or that takes my wife’s fancy, I’d like to look at those things as well.”
Mellia grins and looks at the earrings.
There are plenty of opals here, creamy-white with touches of fire, set into pendants that are wired onto blocks of wood. In answer to Yehna’s puzzled look, Venlar says, “He’ll add whatever extra setting you like. These are just here to be shown, and the main bit of metal that sits around the gems is usually the slowest thing to make.”
Mellia admires the opals. She asks,”Do you have any sets of arm bands, suitable for married couples?”
“For you and your husband,” the jeweller replies, “I could do bronze, or hammered aluminium. Would you want the same material?”
Yehna idly looks over the brooch stones without touching, but points out those of a good green colour to Venlar.
Mellia says, “Yes, matching materials and design.”
“Then he’ll need to know which metal,” Venlar says, distracted from what is in front of him by what is beside him. “I prefer bronze.” Of course he does.
Mellia says, “Bronze, please,” to the jeweler. The man is probably thanking Issaries.
Mellia says suddenly, “We forgot about Yamia needing clothes and she only wears black.”
“Yamia is related to me,” Venlar says. “She has warm clothes already. She does wear other colours too, you know? They just tend to be dark. But she looks very good in undyed linen too. We should probably get her something for Tamakt, though.”
“Yamia is not the only person looking after Tamakt,” Yehna says. There is the wetnurse Enranin too, who is not as rich as Venlar.
Mellia says, “There is Enranin; does she need clothes?”
“She’s not rich,” Yehna says, “And she does not like to leave Tamakt when she has him.” She has another child as well, a little older than Tamakt, but he stays attached to his mother almost all of the time in this cold weather; it is Yamia’s boy who is passed around.
Mellia nods.”More clothes. I still want to see the arm bands.”
The jeweller brings out a few, keeping a polite eye on Venlar and Yehna. He has heavy and light twisted rings, single and double and triple bands, and a couple of arm cuffs. Venlar looks to Mellia to see if she likes any, but does not seem to think he must have anything there.
Mellia looks at all the rings, but doesn’t fall in love with any of the sets.
Mellia thanks the man and goes to look at the green gems.
There are several that are very nice, of deep colour, and Venlar orders them to be sent up to the White Grape for a decision, along with several bits of amber, and some petrified wood set in silver.
Mellia smiles. “Maybe we should all go rest.”
“Not a bad idea,” Venlar says. “We can go back to the White Grape for some food. We’ll have to be back at the mansion for tomorrow for the furs, but it is not a difficult journey save for the cold, if it gets dark.”
Over the next couple of weeks, Venlar seems to leave off trying to persuade Yehna, and then one day a Colymar warrior comes to ask if she wants a walk. It happens on a day when Yehna is helping to move into the house that Varanis has bought, or is buying, and he finds a polite but busy woman there. Without hesitation the man, Mehrim, offers to help. He pitches in, apparently forgetting about his task, until at the end of the day Yehna gives him a friendly peck on the cheek and asks him to come back soon.
That evening, the last one planned in the White Grape, Yehna’s cousin hands over a grumpy Haran, who missed his mother. She tells Yehna there are songs about her generosity and level-headed kindness and young wisdom, being sung alongside those about Berra’s bravery.
The next day a different warrior comes to offer to escort Yehna to her new house. This is Asdel. He is awkward, even standoffish, but Yehna treats him with courtesy nevertheless. He does not get a kiss on the cheek, although he does get a hot drink from a roadside vendor, courtesy of Venlar.
BleysRex: Berra continues to be absent, present but under difficult strictures, or off duty to allow her to recover from the onerous path that the Humakti Temple has mapped for her. Yehna takes over running the new house and cooking, but she also takes either a morning or an afternoon for herself each day. Sometimes she takes Haran out and leaves her cousin to keep the kitchen warm. Meanwhile, Yamia and Venlar visit most days, sometimes bringing Tamakt. Venlar buys carved toys for his nephew, who cannot hold them yet.
Summary goes here.