Ficina's Distillation [2 Oix 4261]
I tried to visit Ficina -- and, incidentally, Yarwain, Thery, and Levande -- yesterday evening. It didn't work. They had decamped! Escaped! Fled! I actually had to bribe the hotellier to tell me what had happened. They -- Yarwain and Levande, since Thery was still unconscious and Ficina had not yet experienced Surprise -- had decided to move to Levande's townhouse. Where, among other things, the Sorceress of Gloun controls the temperature.
(I don't think I've met the Sorceress of Gloun. Levande does, apparently, have a whole sorceress on retainer, for use in ... whatever fancy magic a county needs. Truthspells, surveying spells, battling monsters, and climate control, I suppose.)
So, of course, at noontime or so today, I visited.
Thery had been awake for an hour!
She's not looking very good, to be sure, but she was sitting up, lapping from a chalice of brandied milk that Yarwain was holding, and cupping a sleeping Ficina in her tail. Thery did not look wholly pleased with the situation, nor quite familiar with it. I suppose she hadn't been worrying quite as much as the rest of us about whether she would come out of her coma or not.
Levande was sitting on a divan in the corner, looking entirely scorched.
Thery and Yarwain and I exchanged a modest number of greetings, platitudes, expressions of goodwill, obvious sentiments. Thery fell asleep in mid-platitude. Yarwain evicted me, saying, "She's only been sleeping for two weeks. It's not time for her to get up yet."
Levande demanded that I join her for kathia after I recast her Draught of the Rassimel Mother.
Levande is very obviously a countess. The kathia that her cook makes up on no notice is better than most that I've had in even very good kathia shops. He brewed it strong, though. Levande has been drinking it rather than sleeping.
Levande does not cut a fine figure of a countess these days. Expecially in contrast to Ilottat.
Levande:"When Thery's feeling a bit better, could you talk to her?"
Me:(in the Nice Language)"I ... hope I don't forget how to speak Ketherian by then."
Levande:"I beg your pardon?"
Me:(Back in Ketherian)"I don't think she'll be too upset with me."
Levande:"She's upset with me. She thinks I kidnapped her, and stole her daughter's affections, and seduced her husband."
Me:"... seduced her husband?"
Levande:"I didn't! Not exactly."
Me:"Not exactly? He seduced you, then?"
Levande:"... no ..."
Me:"You'd better tell me what happened."
And what happened was this: She was nursing Ficina on the couch, and Yarwain was helping, as usual, and sat down next to them, because he won't leave his daughter alone with Levande ever. Everyone fell asleep. When the maid came in, someone's mouth was positioned in a fairly improper position, except that everyone was clothed. The maid's tittering woke them up. I'm not quite sure how Thery heard this story.
Levande:"But that's not what's important. I fear that Thery will hate me and think the worst of me."
Me:"If the worst of you is that you have been making considerable personal sacrifices to tend her family ... I have a nendrai I wish would measure herself by your standards."
Levande:"If the worst of me is that I've stolen her daughter's love and rammed myself into her family forever, how am I different than a nendrai?"
(I'm pretty sure this is a trick question. Here are some answers:
- She is a person, not a monster.
- She lactates.
- Her powers are reasonable and lawful.
- She is the creation of a nice goddess.
- Her tears are salt-water, not jaggy glass.
- Her powers can produce good kathia.
I somehow neglected to say this to Levande, though. (I have only a certain number of emotional cley set aside for bearding counts, and I am saving them all for Ilottat.)
Me:"Did you steal her daughter's love and ram yourself forever into their family?"
Levande:"I hear from other wet-nurses that Ficina will take as mother whoever acts most mothersome towards her."
Me:"That makes sense to me; it's how I arranged matters. Though I don't have a mother or father in the multisexed mammal's sense."
Levande:"But I have rather intruded on their family."
Me:"Saving Thery's life is all but unforgiveable. I wish that were a bon mot, Levande, but I think ... in her situation, I would feel indebted in a way that could not properly be paid off. On top of another debt that I had already declared ethical bankruptcy on."
Levande:"You mustn't make Thery out to be wicked!"
Me:"No, just Rassimel."
Levande:"... like me ..."
Ficina woke up and started demanding services of the countess. I assured Levande that I would do my best to calm Thery down, once Thery was in any sort of shape to endure discussions.