Mirrored from Sythyry.
The next time that I saw any Rounses or Noritts was two or three months later. I had just finished an enchantment — something exceedingly technical involving teleportation, so subtle and obscure that I didn’t really understand it in the slightest — and was attempting to abduct Arfaen for a pleasant lunch. Arfaen said, “A third of an hour, you demanding lizard!”
“Why, O Cani wife of mine? Why, why, oh why?” I wailed.
“What, O Zi Ri wife of mine? How can it be that you have not been tasting little bits of your projects at work? I certainly do that at mine! And hush! I won’t hear a word that you are working on some ridiculous wooden ruler, so very different from my huge and tasty kitchen. You, lizard, are being uppity, and you, lizard, must wait until after the herb delivery.” She sometimes talks this way. I think I am a bad influence on her.
“How long — how long must I wait?” I wailed.
“Arfaen? The herb-farmers are here,” said one of her assistants.
So I sat on her shoulder, and coiled my tail comfortably around her neck, and kissed her left ear, and was thus discovered by Allam and Coriander and a huge hand-cart of bundled herbs. “Is this a bad time? We can return later if you prefer…,” said Allam.
“Actually this is the best time. Arfaen won’t have lunch with me until she’s done with you,” I said.
Arfaen stood up, wagging her tail. “Let’s smell what you’ve brought!”
The next third of an hour was all about sniffing and tasting spices. I sulked on Arfaen’s shoulder for the basil and the krillmary, but by the time they were discussing the ginger, I was curious enough to stretch my neck out.
“It’s still not as strong as Dren Mafferhame’s ginger,” said Allam.
“It’s better than last year’s Kismirth ginger, at any rate,” said Arfaen. She took a glass-edged knife to a rhizome, and popped one of the slices in my mouth. “I can’t use it for everything, but there are plenty of recipes where I can simply use a ninth or a third more ginger. It’s certainly very mellow. Which isn’t a good thing for ginger all the time — a good ginger should be piquant and pungent — but at least, when I use extra, it doesn’t get off-flavors.”
Which was not true of the saffron or the blue-saffron, and on and on.
“So what’s to become of the herbs that Azliet won’t take?” I asked them, at the end of the inspection.
The Herethroy seemed surprised that I didn’t know that. “Why, the saffron and blue-saffron we’ll hand-plow back into the carts, and we’ll see if they can flavor the basil a bit better next time ’round. The other spices we’ll take to some other restaurants and see if anyone wants to buy them.”
“They’re good enough for most people. I just wouldn’t serve them to Cani,” said Arfaen. “And, since most of our food goes to we-know-not-who in the Quick Quarter, we make everything as for Cani,” she added for the Herethroy’s benefit. “And mostly for Herethroy too — the meat dishes and such are all marked, and everything that we could make Herethroyable, we do. Speaking of the Herethroyable, are we finished? I do believe that my concubine is making demands on me.”
“Concubine?” asked Allam.
“The lizard currently insinuating zir feathers into my ears, who claims to be married to me. A dubious argument indeed, with only a few legal documents to support it!”
The Herethroy blushed and fled.
Which should have been the end of it — except for what Arfaen and I did at lunchtime, which was
devouring scraps and leftovers from her restaurant best not described in a public and polite diary. But the Herethroy invited us to dinner the following week.