The Alarming Baronness [17 Trandary 4262]
A white, wagging waitress brought us little pentagonal plates of appetizers. Since it was the 17th of Trandary, these were: squares of toast covered with violet butter (that's "sweet butter flavored with fresh violets", not some strange alien purple butter produced by purple butterflies or anything) and a few scrapes of sweet pickle and olive and lemon rind; tiny cubes of grilled pocker breast marinated in light wine and daffodil oil; and a little coil of pickled herring. If it had been the 18th, I imagine, we'd have had curried beans and whole pickled salamanders or something. The Cafe Dutoillier is a very fussy restaurant, even by Cani standards.
Of course, we had forgotten some of our precautions, which I remembered only at the last minute. Naturally, the waiter served us in order of social status, and naturally, that meant the person wearing visible signs of rank: the Baronness Vaisessasilmin.
As the waitress approached the baronness, holding out a plate full of doom, I sprang into action. (I have evidently been sleeping with Orren far too much, and their style is rubbing off on me. (Their style is not the part of the Orren that should be rubbing off on me, but, well, that's what I'm left with.))
Mansion of Unearthly Delights is a very nice spell, by my standards. It's a spell of complexity thirty, which most people couldn't even manage to cast. It creates a big, elaborate illusion. I did not use it at full force -- I nearly created an illusion of a wall of fire around Vaisessasilmin, but thought better of it. Instead, I created the illusion of an appetizer plate in front of the baronness already.
This did, fortunately, stop the waitress from putting another one in front of her. She gave that plate to the next person in line -- me -- and then the others at the table.
It did not, unfortunately, pass entirely without notice.
Ghirbis:"Oh, ♫ A plate appears, as if from nowhere -- behold, a plate, in the darkness of the night! A plate appears, as if a fool cast a spell -- behold, a plate, in the depths of mysterio!♬"
Vaisessasilmin:"And am I not permitted to taste the fabled pickled herring of the Cafe Dutoillier?"
Me:"Well, certainly you may."
She looked at me, expectantly, and a bit hurt. Byalar stared, astounded and perplexed. I'm not sure if he saw the spell being cast -- Vae is of course pretty much impossible to decieve with magic, and Ghirbis was watching, but Byalar isn't much of a mage or an observer. But the baronness's body language must surely have been unreasonable for the situation: sorrow, I would guess, and evident fear of a violation of etiquette, and suppressed anger at being denied. Perplexing, given that she didn't seem to be denied at all!
Me:"You must first take your precautions."
Vaisessasilmin:"And my precautions are...?"
Me:"The magical precautions you must take frequently to avoid violent or otherwise untoward reactions to, um, appetizers. Or occasional other presentations of food, such as might happen in the Cafe Dutoillier."
Vaisessasilmin:"What?" She sounded downright angry: not unpredictably so, as a prime had been about to give her something and then had not done. I had been known to get angry when Ilottat did the equivalent to me.
Well, there was nothing to do but say something clearly to her. "Put on that illusion spell to cover up your gifting-pleasure!" I said in the Nice Language.
"Oh, right! The I had forgotten my life-long affliction and its obligatory remedy!" chirped Vaisessasilmin, and wagged her tail in ways that a Cani tail is not supposed to go, casting a potent and very smart Mutoc Illusidor Spiridor spell in a way a Cani tail is not supposed to do.
Me:"Cast the spell, lady. Or would you prefer I do it?"
Vaisessasilmin:"Sythyry? It is done. And can you not tell?"
Me:"Oh, you did it at home? Right, right, didn't you?"
Vaisessasilmin:"Oh ... the ... perhapsly!"
So I handed over my appetizer plate. A small price to pay for not having Vae have what amounts to an orgasm in public -- or, at least, not a visible one. I'm sure she had one somewhere under her illusion spell.
Still, that left her with a real appetizer plate in her hand, and an illusionary one on the table. She was still annoyed, so she got rid of the illusion: not just by teleporting it somewhere else, but by turning it into the illusion of a very long and thin Gormoror statue made of ivory, and tied in knots, in the middle of the table.
Byalar:"Well, that is certainly remarkable. I can't pretend to understand what just transpired."
Ghirbis:"Vaisessasilmin has a notoriously strong reaction to certain foods at unpredictable times. She has been written up in the Howling Horn of Hressh-Huu for demolishing a very sweet cafe, in allergic reaction to a cream of peppercorn soup. Sythyry was perhaps being over-cautious with preventive measures."
Byalar:"Remarkable. Sensible, too, I suppose."
Me:"When you are as old as I am, being sensible is second nature to you!"
Which is true, isn't it?
Being sensible is second nature to Sythyry at this point: