Tempest Flight, Safe Landing [18 Lage 4261]
And so the arrangements were tentatively made. "I will do my best to talk the Duke into agreeing with this! I can't promise anything. Though I can't imagine that the Duke will refuse this arrangement."
And so Vae did another ridiculously complicated thing, simultaneously sending us to the Tavern and sending the illusions of us to the sky. She's not elegant about it. She probably could have done it ten complexity less, and without relying on her tremendous power to make the paired teleports happen so fast.
So we dined on grilled zabouf with a sauce of pureed lobsters and apples, and, oh, I can't remember what else. Vae was much more relaxed, and ... it's still very pecular, watching someone display signs of obvious physical delight whenever the waiter hands them a dish of fish, or refills their water glass. Of course, it was even more peculiar when she was biting her arm to shreds and healing it. One must expect the peculiar from nendrai, I suppose.
I tried to be safe and sensible and diplomatic. It's tricky business with a nendrai, even a nendrai who is trying her best to be friendly too.
Me:"Where do you live? What sort of a place is it?"
Vae:"A sort of manifold nest of sticks and boards and roots and Locador-stiffenings it is, underneath Vheshrame, more or less. No very nice neighborhood, though the view is exceptional."
Me:"It sounds unique and remarkable at any rate!"
Vae:"You should come to see it!"
Which is not at all the response I wanted. I did my best to distract her.
Me:"You seem to enjoy Locador spells considerably! You have cast some quite impressive ones."
Vae:"Oh, truly! Locador's my favoritemost of the arts. Well, except Healoc of course." (Nendrai can never get Healoc, and given how much she injures herself on a simple social visit, she must need it.) "I've a bit more reach in Locador than anything else..."
She twisted a bit of the essential world into a long forking snakey sort of thing, reaching outward into terrible places. Something tugged at it from the outside. She tranformed her forky snake into a fierce fearsome clawed paw and ripped bits off the whatever-it-was. If I'd had reference books from Prof. Ili's course available at the time I would have been more intensely terrified than any time ever before, but I was fortunately ignorant and was simply intensely terrified.
After about six hundred and fifty years, the luncheon was over. Neither Seeks-A-Peaceful-Solution nor I had been transformed hideously. We didn't even pay the tab -- Seeks-A-Peaceful-Solution showed some sort of Vheshrame letter of credit, and said that the city would pay.
Vae smiled at me, all innocent and happy, and teleported to her lair.
Seeks-A-Peaceful-Solution said, "Well, that didn't go badly at all."
"Except for the part where she nearly ripped a hole in the side of the universe," I said.
"I missed that ... oh, that Locador thing? I couldn't follow that," she said. I explained it inadequately, and told her to ask Prof. Ili for more details.
"Well, glad she swatted it off, then. Shall we ride on up the Alamme, or off to the hills?"
"Strenata? We just talked a nendrai out of having an independent life. Can we go home?"
"And miss most of the ride?" said Seeks-A-Peaceful-Solution. "I've been looking forward to this for days -- its the first time I've been Nestrune-free outside the city this summer!"
"I want city walls around me. More than anything else I want city walls."
"Well, I suppose I can see that," she said, and Shadowfrog (despite being disappointed at having the excursion cut short) bore us home at a moderate gallop. Strenata changed her name to "Seeks-Suitable-Remuneration".