With Full Obedience to the Duke [5 Hispis 4262]
The Legeriat's room is a biggish octagonal room on the second floor of one of the very fancy buildings downtown. The walls are covered, nay, encrusted, with very fancy and heavily fireproofed paintings illustrating very fancy incidents in the city's history, and prime history, and ... what is that picture of two tired Cani washerwomen leaning on brooms doing in the middle of that wall? The C-shaped table is ancient, polished arken wood cut with geometrical precision. The ceiling is covered with more paintings, only these are frescoes, I think. The rug is ermine. The rug is ermine. That's ridiculous.
I was there at dawn, too, with ribbons on. This is not the sort of thing you want to be late to. It did ruin the week's work in Enchantment. But that means I get to sleep late for the next four days.
Seeks-Treacle Strenata was there at dawn, too, looking very elegant and shiny in a brilliant blue kiltish skirt and a deliciously snug jacket. I was not allowed to sit on her shoulder, for that could have disturbed the lace of her collar. She explained that the two Cani washerwoman art is over two thousand years old, and one of the three most famous arts in the city, and I should know its name and history. (I have already forgotten its name and history.) There were some city guards there too, and servants running around and arranging papers and chalices and pens and muffins and kathia and such.
The Legeriator of the Wealthy, who is a youngish Rassimel man named Brelsny, came in about an hour early. We chatted with him a whole lot. He's in an odd position: he was elected by the wealthy to represent them. He was wealthy enough for that, but just barely. But then thieves struck his offices in Daukrhame and lightning struck one of his merchant skyships. So he's not, technically, wealthy enough to vote for himself for his current position. No matter! He expects to make it up before the next election. Very charming gentleRassy.
The other legeriators drifted in. Eleven of them, rather. The Legeriator of the Country Herethroy is in Ulmarn, negotiatiating something or other for the duke.
The duke didn't drift in. He strode in, wearing a military uniform with steel buttons and a tall shiny hat, and ... I really should care what he was wearing, right? Any time I meet any nobility in the next month I'm going to have to talk about it. It was purple. Or blue. I can't remember exactly.
At exactly two hours after dawn, the Duke strode to the open part of the C-shaped table. He said a few very formal words -- the founding documents of Vheshrame say what they are, I suppose. Then he set off some fireworks -- little indoor-style fireworks. I guess that's why the paintings are fireproofed.
They should have fireproofed the ermine rug. Seeks-Treacle and I did quick things with anti-incendiary spells.
The Duke said, "Now, that reminds me. Gentleprimes, I would like to introduce to you Baroness Strenata and Esquire Sythyry. They have proved rather useful in the diplomatic-adventury side of the city. Strenata has kept Daukrhame in an exceedingly tight collar, and helped prepare an even tighter collar for the next few decades. Sythyry has managed that cursed nendrai rather deftly. I'm glad to see that the up-and-coming crop of young nobles isn't entirely composed of libertines and layabouts." He glanced at me. "Well, not all the time at any rate."
I fumed a bit about that -- as privately as I could manage! -- and missed the next few sentences.
"You should feel free to avail yourselves of the services and expertise of Strenata and Sythyry in the service of the city," he added.
I fumed about that, too, and missed the rest of it. There wasn't much.
Then the Duke asperged the Legeriators with a bay-tree branch dipped in sweet wine, and spun on one heel, and strode elegantly from the room.
Then the legeriators started arguing about taxes on used clothing stores, which seems to be a bitter topic just now. Strenata and I shrugged at each other, and started to leave. Brelsny stopped us, saying, "Could you come back in an hour, Sythyry? There's some nendrai matters we need to discuss."
So now I'm sitting in a very fancy corridor outside the very fancy Legeriat chamber, writing my diary -- reading my diary, I didn't bring anything else -- and waiting for the hour to be over. It's nearly two hours already.
Can you resign a title that comes with your species?