Picnic with Friends, part 1 [17 Trandary 4262]
Scene: The Cafe Dutoillier, a little Cani-run cafe in a pavillion in a determinedly quaint little Cani ranching and farming village four miles out of Vheshrame. The Cafe Dutoillier is determinedly quaint too -- more than that, it's grimly quaint. They ought to have a sign saying, "I'll give up my chenille doilies when you pry them from my cold, dead hands."
The Cafe Dutoillier has a gazebo in its herb garden -- and not just any gazebo, but a gazebo painted pink, with artificial flowers festooning the inside, just in case there weren't enough flowers on the outside, which, by the 17th of Trandary, there certainly are. Inside this gazebo are tables: pastel teal, lavender, lilac, and pale aqua. They need a sign saying, "He who steals my purse steals trash, but he who questions my use of tertiary and quaterniary pastel colors questions honor itself."
We got the lavender table, by prior arrangement, in honor of one of Byalar's names. "We" being myself (the host), Byalar (the guest of honor), Ghirbis Vlaan (the Evil Roommate, fearful that I was about to out-do her), and one "Baronness Vaisessasilmin" (the reason that this was a picnic at all, and the actual reason why this was an Evil Event.)
The Baronness Vaisessasilmin was, of course, a very pretty Cani woman who appeared to be about as old as I am -- which, for those who were under the impression that Zi Ri are born a thousand years old, is, um, not very old at all. She had rather poodle styling, wore copper earrings and a generic baronial insignia in her hat, and had pink fur that (after a quick Mutoc Illusidor spell, which looked very odd when cast from a touch of her cotton-puff tail) matched the gazebo perfectly.
Me:"Baronness Vaisessasilmin, I have the great pleasure to introduce to you Byalar te-Braccath Oineract Lavender-Spray Tright, the visiting scholar whom Ghirbis and I have the evident honor to be sharing a house with. Byalar, I have the great pleasure to introduce to you the Baronness Vaisessasilmin, who -- if not the most remarkable of the country gentry -- is a noblewoman of such distinction and character and other qualities that everyone of any status visiting Vheshrame certainly ought to be aware of her."
Every word of that is true, except that she doesn't formally have a barony. Of course, most people who call themselves "Baron" aren't really barons either, they're spouses or children of real barons. Going by military power, she'd rank about like a duke, anyways, and that has to count for something, so I figure it evens out.
Byalar:"My pleasure, baronness." He wagged his tail and quirked up his ears in a way that surely was the equivalent of about five paragraphs of detailed exposition to another Cani. Ghirbis and I couldn't understand any of it. The Baronness, naturally, understood even less.
Vaisessasilmin:"Oh! The pleasure is all on me!" She wagged her tail artlessly, because she knew Cani are supposed to do that kind of thing. Byalar glanced at it and looked a touch perplexed.
Byalar:"I admire your town, m'lady! It is beautiful as we drove through."
Vaisessasilmin:"Not my town is this! The actual barony is rather distant. The Cafe Dutoillier is simply a convenient place to meet visitors from the city, like."
Byalar:"Oh? I should hate to think that we compelled you to a long coach-ride simply to meet us for lunch!"
Vaisessasilmin:"Not a bit of that! The skill at teleportation is in me!"
Byalar:"You must be quite skillful, if you can teleport several miles! I am honored that a noblewoman as pretty as you and with such a mighty skill in magic should deign to spend two cley to meet me for lunch!"
Me:"One for coming, one for going, I suppose."
Vaisessasilmin:"Oh! The truth is, I didn't spend even the one, so do not feel that you have put me out one bit, Byalar."
Me:[hastily]"The baronness is one of the few people in Vheshrame who can feather-cast teleportation spells." I should have said that she had an enchanted item that did it, which is much more plausible, but I didn't think of that until too late.
Byalar:"Impressive, indeed. I am honored that a wizard and noblewoman -- and beauty! -- should take the time to come to luncheon with us."
Vaisessasilmin:"Think nothing of it! The Sythyry is buying, after all."
At which point the waiter came to take our orders, and the conversation turned (for a time) into a technical discussion of certain menu items. Fortunately, "Vaisessasilmin" can smell and taste at least as well as a real Cani, and, quite properly, asked to sniff the baby lettuces in the garden to pick one that met her mood for the day.