Among Friends [8 Hispis 4262]
I left the ducal palace on Seeks-Leeks' shoulder. Not that I was too drunk to fly -- I don't think I was quite drunk at all actually -- but, well, sometimes it's better to ride a cute Orren than to fly. Most of the time, actually. Even if the Orren in question is definitively cisaffectionate.
Esory was sitting in the parlor of Quelldrie House, reading something about divine numerology, and waiting for me.
Esory:"Hi Sythyry, Seeks-um..."
Seeks-Leeks:"Seeks-Leeks, at least until I decide on tonight's dinner."
Esory:"Whatever. Sythyry, what happened to you? I haven't seen you for a couple days.... and you look awful."
Me:(murphled incoherently about having a hard couple of days.)
Esory:"What have you been up to?"
Me:(morgled incoherently about investigated for assorted treasons, and losing a fight with Vae.)
Esory:"I don't quite follow that..."
Me:"Here. Read." I shoved my journal in her hand.
Esory read it, and then went as bristly as I've ever seen any Rassimel.
Esory:"That is unbelievable! I can't believe the Duke let them put through such insulting, vile, slanderous ... grr!"
Seeks-Leeks:"I don't think that's quite what the Duke meant by it."
Esory:"As if being tortured by Vae wasn't bad enough, for your reward, let's talk about having you executed and then slap you with a fine once we condescend to admit that you've done nothing the slightest bit wrong."
Me:(melfulled incoherently about having forgotten about the fine already)
Esory:"Never mind actually, oh, commending you for bravery or service to Vheshrame or risking your life, mind, and sanity every single nine-day for Duke and city!"
Seeks-Leeks:"Well, the sanity part was never zir strong point."
Me:(mruppled incoherently at Seeks-Leeks.)
Seeks-Leeks:"OK, no more teasing the rest of the day."
Esory:"If you actually did betray Vheshrame (with or without the application of torture or Mentador), I for one should hardly blame you!"
Seeks-Leeks:"Esory? Not to interfere with a fine and fulminitic rant, but maybe tone down the sedition down a touch. Since people are, well, trying to convict Sythyry of treason."
Esory:"It's not treason if they betray you first!"
Seeks-Leeks:"That's not how I interpreted it."
Esory:"And how did you interpret it, Baroness Seeks-Leeks?"
Seeks-Leeks:"You needn't be bitey, Esory. I'm just as much on Sythyry's side as you are. Only, the other side."
Esory:[lashing her tail]"Whatever. How did you interpret it?"
Seeks-Leeks:"Well. The Duke isn't on Sythyry's side."
Esory:"Obviously, or he'd never have treated zir like that."
Seeks-Leeks:"But Sythyry is on the Duke's side."
Esory:"For reasons which escape me at the moment!"
Seeks-Leeks:"And the Duke is fairly determined that his side shall prevail. This time, and in general. And the Duke has been kept well-informed about what Sythyry has been up to, he knew he wasn't going to convict Sythyry of anything. Barring some huge surprise, of course."
Me:(Moppled about how he could have told me that.)
Seeks-Leeks:"He usually doesn't, in case something does come up. Kaim-Su should have, though."
Esory:"You might think. Orren are so scatterbrained." I don't quite understand why she was insulting Seeks-Leeks to her face.
Seeks-Leeks:"One of our unique charms. In any case, I think that the trial was a private little humiliation for Darsues. Darsues has been taking this "loyal opposition" part of the job a bit too seriously."
Esory:"Especially the 'opposition' half of it. Sythyry's being a regular Cani about this."
Seeks-Leeks:"The City Guard isn't terribly pleased with Darsues, I have to say. We're not an army, and he keeps wanting to use us as one."
Seeks-Leeks:"Well, when you told Rhedwy that he's a prostitute, most of us were muchly amused. He's not stupid though. He's just a total Rassimel about his job... nothing to him is more important than the Exchequer and the following of proper procedures."
Esory:"So the Duke just put Sythyry through the grinder to count coup on a minor political enemy?"
Seeks-Leeks:"That's how I interpret it. And to remind everyone that his personal projects are not to be interfered with, on pain of lesser or greater humiliation."
Me:(mabbled about not interfering with projects and still getting humiliated.)
Seeks-Leeks:"The Duke basically said, 'You're innocent, you're doing something crucial to the city, and anyone who accuses you has not a clue in the world.' Not so humiliating."
Esory:"Though the Duke mostly left out that 'doing something crucial' part."
Seeks-Leeks:"I'm pretty sure he implied that a few times."
Me:(mardled about getting fined.)
Seeks-Leeks:"Two hundred lozens is a bit steep."
Esory:"Especially as a fine for not embezzling!"
Seeks-Leeks:"So, can I buy you dinner?"
I am not, as far as I know, able to resist a dinner invitation from a cute Orren, even a cisaffectionate one. Esory came too. She bristled and fumed on my behalf all evening, which was very sweet of her, because that way I didn't need to do it myself.