L'Apres-Selling [21 Lage 4261]
I have never been to Zimi's little mansion before.
When I say "little mansion", I am being precise. The building is built for Zi Ri -- or, rather, one suite of rooms is built for Zi Ri. Underneath and off to the side, there are rooms built for larger people: the kitchen, the pantry, the other rooms for service. The pleasant rooms, the diningroom and parlor and presumably bedroom, are all built to Zi Ri scale and frame, with very low ceilings. The parlor and dining room, at least, have interior windows leading to the service rooms, so that her Cani can reach through to give us grilled shrimps and refill our wine-chalices, but they cannot come in.
This is a peculiar character of luxury. It is nice to know that no Herethroy dean will break my paw; no Herethroy could fit in the parlor. But if I were to bring my boyfriend there, I would have to keep him wet: he could only fit there in water-form. No other primes could fit than Khtsoyis.
Ugh. He could bring his wife and her boyfriend.
In any case, I don't know that I wholly like this short-ceilinged kind of luxury and privacy. There's no room to levitate or fly. When I am rich, powerful, and a very very long way from Vaisessasilmin, I will build a parlor with a complicated sort of open-work pagoda in the middle for myself, but in a room that is otherwise sized for normal primes.
Eitharheinen, Hezimikkinen, and I were sprawled on the parlor floor. Actually, there is another reason why the parlor is suited mainly to Zi Ri. Zimi keeps it quite hot. When I spilled my wine, it didn't quite boil on the tiles, but it was dry inside three minutes.
As I was saying, Eitharheinen, Hezimikkinen, and I were sprawled on the parlor floor. The Cani servants would, when we called for them, reach through curtained windows to serve us. I, personally, think it is less alarming to be waited on by a whole Cani than by an arm reaching through a curtain.
I'm avoiding writing about the actual conversation, aren't I?
Zemi's servants are quite efficient, and I was quite rattled at the start of the evening, and, perhaps by some combination of the two, I was quite drunk by the middle of it. Well, not embarrassingly drunk. I sort of sprawled out on the hottest part of the floor, right over one of the underneath fires, and watched my ~mother~ and half-sibling fight about everything from my new job to Hezimikkinen's rumored excursions into transaffection. Or, rather, Hezimikkinen's refusal to give Eitharheinen any account on whether the rumors are true or not. Hezimikkinen, if transaffectionate, is discreet. Perhaps zie has ~mother~-detectors up in zir windows. Or, more likely, zie has no bedroom windows.
In any case, I am in no way enlightened about Zemi's lovers, if, indeed, there are any of them. I am, however, enlightened about the wide range of ways that an expert courtier can say "I will tell you nothing" without giving much away. I am also enlightened about how many times Eitharheinen can ask essentially the same question and get essentially the same answer.
Of course Eitharheinen had started out dissecting my own choices on the matter. I defied zir by means of looking wholly miserable and exhausted. Zemi said, "Zie's been defending the city with light conversation and book-buying all day. Please, let us speak of something else." After Zemi said that about four hundred and eight times in eight hundred and forty different ways, ~mother~ actually did talk about something else, viz. Zemi's failings as the secret ruler of Vheshrame.
No, Zemi's not the secret ruler of Vheshrame at the moment. That only happens when (1) there's a weak Duke, and (2) nobody is watching. Right now we have a strong Duke, and he, himself, is watching.
In any case, I slunk out of the mansion as soon as I could, and flew back to my sadly Orren-free bed.
(And, for the record, Ilottat had been waiting for me outside the cordon, and he was exceedingly solicitous between classes. He even let me ride on his shoulder. Perhaps this was a matter of jealousy, for I had been riding on Seeks-Balance's shoulder beforehand. Or perhaps he thought he would avoid the appearance of transaffection, since, after all, I had been riding on Seeks-Balance's shoulder and everyone knows she's utterly cissy.)
Tomorrow, I will probably do terribly on my Formal Enchantment II examination.