Traff Attack! [19 Hivvem 4261]
There was a knock on the door. Grandille yelp!ed and looked very much as if he wanted to hide under the table. Thelvion said something utterly unmemorable. Esory opened the door. I looked dignified: a crucial task, and fortunately so, for I am too small to open the door.
A short Orren man wearing a short sequined cape bounded into the room. "Oh, entire entire delight! My true kindred, at last!" He waved to his companions. "Come in, come in! The Society of the Traff is about to meet!"
The two companions follwed. The shy one was a Herethroy woman, wearing a warm jacket of brown velvet with wooden ornamentation. The absolutely terrified one was a Rassimel girl, wearing a frumpier bikini than I would ever have thought possible.
Introduction were necessary. The Orren was named Whiskey. The Herethroy was named Mintiet. The Rassimel was named Jrakh, and her accent was even odder than Iska's. I was named Sythyry. Thelvion was named something utterly unmemorable, like Thelvion. Esory was named Esorbys ky Fiaunrhel. Grandille was named "Bo... I mean, Grandille."
Whiskey hugged everybody. "I know we're all going to be entire, entire friends! Let's get started!"
"Well, it's not quite the appointed hour. And I daresay a few people might straggle in over the next third-of-an-hour, if they have afternoon classes that run late or even on time," I said. "I think we should just chat for a while, and, when the nibblements I ordered show up, also nibble." Everyone but the Orren nodded and murmured agreement.
Whiskey naturally outvoted us all, without the least hesitation. "Well, we need a name, first of all -- I heard about this under three names. I thought there were three entire, entire competing clubs! Until they all tured out to be meeting at the same place. Second, we need a symbol -- no, we need two symbols! We need a symbol that says 'I'm traff and I'm mighty and I'll love you if you give me half a chance unless you're the same species', and we'll need another symbol that says, 'I'm a member of the Vheshrame Academy Traff Student Club and I'm entirely, entirely mighty, and I think I've got a night free in the middle of next week'! And after that we need to figure out how we're going to tranform society. Because you know we ought to."
We mostly looked terrified.
"Maybe a few more personal introductions would be in order," said Esory. "You don't need to say if you don't want to. Grandille says that he has a Rassimel girlfriend of some seriousness..."
"She was rather too nervous to come today, but if I give her a good report she might come next time," said Grandille.
"And Sythyry and I are currently uninvolved, more's the pity. But what brings you to call yourselves traff, if you want to say?"
Mintiet said, "I'm not exactly sure that I am ... I'm sort of trying to figure things out..."
Whiskey leapt across the room faster than he could have teleported, and insinuated himself into her arms and legs. "I'm entirely, entirely in love with Mintiet!"
(Technical Aside: Since various monsters wonder about these things, and even primes are not always overdosed on magic theory. Teleporting, even if one is very good with the spell or has a magic item, requires at least an instant's thought about where one wishes to go. Whiskey's leap entirely, entirely didn't take that much thought. Nothing he does seems to. It was cute the first few times.)
Mintiet scooped Whiskey up and sat with him in her lap in a chair. "Well, we've been a couple since the start of the term, at least. But I've got a Herethroy co-lover fiancée too. Whiskey doesn't like zir."
"That sounds like an adequate-sized bowl of doom for one semester!" said Thelvion. "And what about you, Jrakh?"
"Oh, I've got a Herethroy co-lover too. And an Orren man and a Cani woman," said Jrakh. "I married them two years ago."
"That's rather the full set!" said Whiskey. As one of the four others, I did not agree. Whiskey continued, "I nominate you for Baron of the Club!"
"I didn't know that people could marry outside their own species," I said. "Not legally, anyhow."
Jrakh twisted uncomfortably, and said, "Not in Inner Ketheria, I don't think."
Thelvion:"Where are you from?"
Jrakh flattened her ears, and said, "Dlesty."
Thelvion:"Dlesty... I don't know of Dlesty. It must be on some deep and distant branch,"
"Just Choinxeia," Jrakh said. (Choinxeia being the branch that Vheshrame is on.)
Thelvion:"Green squeaking gods, where?"
Jrakh:"About forty-seven thousand miles out."
Whiskey:"Ah, entirely entirely lucky Dlesty, that allows transaffectionate marriage?"
Jrakh:"Well, mostly it doesn't."
Mintiet:"But yours is legal and allowed?"
Jrakh:"Well, I'm a heirogamist."
Jrakh:"A holy marriage of the four populous species."
Me:"Are you some kind of priest, then?"
Jrakh:"Well, not exactly."
Me:"What, then, if you'd like to tell?"
Jrakh:"I'm the emperor."