Traff Math [19 Hivvem 4261]
I rented one of the back dining rooms at Senagar's Bar for two hours in late afternoon, for use by the Traff Academy Attendees Association. For those who have never visited Senagar's, it is an unexceptional student bar and restaurant, best known for having cheaper fig wine by the chalice than anywhere else near campus. Also it serves grilled pig bits in several spicy and salty styles, and long thin salted buns with cheese sauce, and large and salty but insipid pickles. All of these make cheap fig wine taste better, and, conversely, cheap fig wine makes all of them taste better. This is how Senagar's stays in business.
This, and renting the back dining rooms to informal student groups. We were between the Sewing Fancy Clothes For Dolls Club and the Weapon Collectors' Club.
Ghirbis couldn't make it to the first meeting, and Rhedwy was going to be late, so that left me, Thelvion, and Esory, sitting in a small dining room and pretending we weren't nervous.
A ninth of an hour early, a very nervous Cani stuck his nose into the room. "Is this the, well, not the Doll Club or Weapon Collectors' Club?" He had dalmatian styling, though it looked fairly odd, and, when I looked a bit harder, was done by a crude illusion spell.
When I read the full story of this year and look for brave things I have done, I won't bother looking at the nendrai bits, or the bits with the duke, or even saying 'yes' to Ilottat. I'll just turn to this page, where I said, "This is the Club of People Who Seriously Love People of Other Species, yes.", and I didn't, oh, faint, or talk so softly he had to ask me to repeat it.
"Oh, good," he said, and slipped in as quickly and quietly as he could manage.
"I'm Sythyry, and these are Esory and Thelvion," I said.
He wagged his tail, wag-wag-wag like he was trying to sweep all the details in the room away. "Um ... I'm wearing a false scent. Do I have to give my name?" I've never heard of a Cani intentionally wearing a false scent, or not outside of a spy story.
"You could pick another name for us to call you by. Or we could pick one for you, if you'd prefer," said Esory, who had decided to be the Sensible in the club.
"Oh ... call me ... um ... Grandille." He sat in a char in the corner and tried to look as non-grand as possible.
Well, I know what must be done with embarrassed shy Cani at a small social occasion, as well as anyone. One must try to find common friends, or, failing that, other important personal facets in common. Of course, when the Cani in question is trying to be as anonymous as possible, one cannot do that. This left me feeling a bit awkward. Grandille, presumably, felt even more awkward.
Esory, as the Sensible, asked him, "Sythyry, I know, had an Orren boyfriend for some while, and Thelvion writes letters to a special Herethroy back home. What species and what relationship is it that inspires you to come here today?" Which is as nice an adaptation of proper etiquette as I could imagine, and better than I could come up with.
Grandille sat up a bit, and wagged his tail slowly. "A Rassimel. Let's call her Iridia." Iridia and Grandille are lovers in some famous play or other.
Me:"How long have you been involved?"
Grandille:"Three years and a bit."
Esory:"I haven't seen Grandille and Iridia in ages, but from what I remember of the play, they're an entirely decent and ordinary cisaffectionate couple of Rassimel girls who get married at the end, aren't they? "
Grandille:"Well, I'd like to marry her, if I could."
Thelvion:"Isn't that what 'transaffectionate' is about?, anyway? Loving someone of another species? Libertines will get their little personal satisfactions from them, and anyone with court manners will flirt without touching, but transaffectionates actually love." Which was the longest, most intelligent, and most interesting thing that Thelvion said in his whole life. I was impressed until I discovered he'd more or less quoted something Esory had said before I got there.
Me:"Well, then what are Ghirbis and Rhedwy doing here?"
Esory:"Um ... they're not here?"
Me:"They're planning to join, anyways."
Esory:"Rhedwy gets as close to love as a Sleeth can, with other species. She sort of loves Seeks-Potato-Mashers, I think."
Me:"Not that Seeks-Potato-Mashers loves her back, or not with any lust."
Thelvion:"Are you sure of that? Strenata has some sort of secret."
Me:"Well, fairly sure."
Grandille:"Ghirbis is probably just a libertine."
Me:"You know Ghirbis?"
Grandille:(with much tail-wagging)"Not exactly, but I've heard a good deal about her. She's introduced more than one Cani boy to the delight that is a Rassimel girl. Not me -- I already knew." He seemed much more at ease now that we had a friend-of-a-friend in common. If I ever need secret agents, I won't hire Cani.
There was a knock at the door.