Negotiations [20 Hispis 4385]
Me:"Well ... which profession do you need particularly? Healing?
Aiziju:"Enchantment, of course."
Me:"Oh, that profession."
Aiziju:"Have you abandoned the teachings of your master so
(Aiziju is under the misconception that I was ever Glikkonen's student.
Reasonable enough, since we met at a celebration of Glikkonen's 4300'd
birthday and nearly everyone there was a former student of Glikkonen.
(I would have studied with zir, but zie never wanted to live in
Vheshrame for very long, and I couldn't leave the city for very long.) Aiziju
was slightly out of place, having been Glikkonen's wizard's assistant for most
of a century herself. The terms of their parting were not excellent, though I
do not know the details.)
Me:"No; I've just been doing a great deal of craft enchanting
Aiziju:"Well, we can discuss the techniques later, if you think
Me:"With all due respect, Phaniet -- the Cani holding hands with
the Rassimel over there -- is a perfectly fine wizard's assistant to
Aiziju:"I don't mean to criticize your assistant in the slightest
... actually, a warning: she might not want to be quite so affectionate
with another species in public here ... but if we might have a bit of
Me:"Well, of course. Private from Phaniet?"
Aiziju:"Not at all, if she is your assistant! This is a matter of
enchantment, after all."
So, rather later, in the parlor with the suicidal couch:
Aiziju:"Would you like to know the circumstances behind our
request, or simply the request itself?"
Me:"My dear Aiziju, we are here as tourists!"
Aiziju:"Forgive me -- for all my time working for Glikkonen, I
did not quite master the Zi Ri idiom."
Me:"We are here to experience the branch. Knowing the
circumstances is part of the joy of travelling."
Aiziju:"Well, perhaps you may think that Srineia is recently
colonized. By some measures, such as the history of Vheshrame or the life
of a Zi Ri, it is." (I wonder if she has me partially confused with
Sazandigraa.) "But in its own terms, it is not. The firstborn children
here are dead of old age. The cities are mature and starting to get
powerful. The monsters are being beaten back to the Verticals. In all
ways, Srineia is civilized."
Me:"So we had heard! Indeed, this was part of its interest and
Aiziju:"In particular, some fine points that the first settlers
left unsettled are becoming more relevant. The precise boundary between
Eigrach Mene and Heleshario Mene -- is it still partially demarcated by
the line from the town of Jungus to the top of the Zonsmi Oak?"
Me:"A topic that is surely a matter of great concern for people
living near Jungus, to say nothing of the family of sparrows nesting atop
the Zonsmi Oak. And, at a guess, even more so to any number of lawyers
and nobles in Eigrach and Heleshario?"
Aiziju:"Well, I doubt that a single bird comes close to the
Zonsmi Oak. You should go see it, from a safe distance. But you are right
about the lawyers and nobles. The discussion employed a great number of
them for, oh, twenty or thirty years."
Phaniet:"But no more?"
Aiziju:"But no more. The Zonsmi Oak has taken upon itself to
wander another mile and a half, generally towards Heleshario."
Me:"Oh, inconstant oak!"
Phaniet:"What sort of an oak tree is it?"
Aiziju:"I should not describe it as an oak tree at all, though
the resemblance is clear enough. In any case, what is the
border now? The line from the town of Jungus to the Zonsmi Oak? Or to
the Zonsmi Oak's previous position? And, if so, which one -- the one of
last year, before its current fit of wanderlust, or the one of seven years
ago? Or perhaps the original one from the first days of colonization,
when the agreement was made -- if we can figure out where that
Me:"Lenhirrik, the goddess of plants, must love the lawyers of
Srineia, so well does she prosper them."
Aiziju:"When the Zonsmi Oak wanders a few hundred feet at a time,
I agree with you. The current change is too drastic for lawyers; it is
several square miles of territory. Our noble and subtle mayor Mmixamk
wishes to declare war over the matter, following the customs of civilized
Me:"Forgive me, but are you quite sure that Eigrach is in the
right in this matter? An impartial observer might observe that the
boundary has moved considerably in Eigrach's favor, without particular
compensation to Heleshario."
Aiziju:"Oh, the justice of the situation is clear
enough. We are trying to grab a chunk of wild and debatable lands, no
question. If the Oak had wandered the other way, we'd be just as vehement
about the prior boundary. Nobody but that idiot Harulse thinks
we're in the right."
Phaniet:"Harulse is the idiot?"
Aiziju:"Don't let the mayor's speech problem fool you. He's
quite smart, and you can tell that if he's got pen and paper. Harulse is
a complete and utter idiot."
Phaniet:"Ah. So, about the war? What sort of war did you have
Aiziju:"Just a simple little duel-war: a few heroes from one
side, a few from the other."
(We've had more vicious wars than that in Ketheria over a few square miles of
land. Bear in mind that few countries are bigger than fifty miles by fifty
miles, so five square miles, say, is a significant slice of land indeed.)
Me:"I do hope you're not inviting me to be one of your
champions. I am not much of a brawny mercenary warrior!"
Aiziju:"We do not lack for suitable and enthusiastic heroes! But
we are a bit low on armaments. Our greatest warrior uses a one-charge
Shattering Sword, and another uses a Mountain Mace, can you believe
it? And the warriors of Heleshario know the command word for the
Shattering Sword, so it wouldn't be much good."
(Shattering Swords try to, um, shatter things that they hit, when a command
word is spoken. If your foe knows the word, she can make you waste the
sword's single charge for the day on something useless. Mountain Maces are
nice clubs: they are light most of the time, but become quite heavy when swung
downwards. In skilled hands -- or tentacles, more likely -- they are somewhat
deadlier than a metal mace. Neither of these is a particularly imposing
Phaniet:"Those are both recipe enchantments. Is Srineia lacking
in Great Enchanters?"
Aiziju:"Not completely lacking -- I do some -- but our
specialists are few and not quite up to Glikkonen's standards."
Me:"I, too, am not up to Glikkonen's standards. Ask me again in
four thousand years, and I may be up to zir standards of to-day."
My voice had a harsh edge to it, which Aiziju understood immediately.
Aiziju:"Oh, heavens, we're not asking you to make Holocaust War
weapons! We'd rather give up the whole Zonsmi Triangle than have anything
more serious than a duel-war here. We don't want to burn the branch off,
great staring gods!"
Me:"So you wish to have some more conventional weapons? Simply
of higher quality than the quotidian efforts of the local recipe
Me:"May I ask an impertinent question?"
Aiziju:"Well, of course..."
Me:"What is the relationship of Eigrach and Dossimar?"
Aiziju:"Not very good, I'm afraid. We have had rather less
contact with the upper branches since Dossimar raised their tolls, then
raised them again. Actually, there have been some rather extreme rumors
about Dossimar in the last month or two." She hesitated, so Phaniet
and I stared at her. "Well, an accusation that their navy took two
skyboats passing through."
Me:"I should believe that. They had raised our toll to thirty
thousand lozens plus a rape, and they didn't seem done with raising
Aiziju:"Oh, my. What happened then?"
Me: «A somewhat carefully edited and phrased version of the
history from previous entries. »
Aiziju:"That is not utterly out of keeping with the wilder
Me:"So: I would be glad to exchange some enchanted weapons for
the labor of carpenters and shipwrights. But I should not be so glad if
the weapons were to be used in the style of Dossimar."
Aiziju:"I am certain that some such exchange can be made. And
we scorn piracy, murder, and rape, as do all decent people. I,
who was born in Ketheria, would hardly be living here if it were a violent
or vicious place!"
Me:"Excellent. Phaniet, and Zascalle my accountant, perhaps
would be better than I for discussing the detailed arrangements for
payment and repairs?"
Aiziju:"And I'm sure that their counterparts in the city would be
delighted to discuss matters with them. You and I should discuss the
specifics of the weapons, of course."
No doom this time! That's allowed, isn't it?
Your favorite enchanted weapon is:
What do you mean by "other"?
And what sort of enchantment do you like on it?
Makes you invisible
Makes you faster
Goes around armor
Teleports victim around
What do you mean by "other" this time?
And what do you use it for?
Showing off your wealth
Oh, my. What do you mean by "other" this time?
And how do you like it decorated? Bearing in mind that each item of
decoration will cost you suitably lots.
Gem on the pommel or whatever
Fancy-shaped blade or head
My personal sigil
No such effete frippery!
And your custom decoration is...
And how would m'lord like to pay for this?
Cash: half now, half upon completion
The credit of our city and civic government is excellent.
This letter of credit upon a major Ketherian bank should suffice,
should it not?
A complete repair of your poor smashed sky-yacht would be about
Would you like this Grace of Hren Tzen? I think that more than covers
Behold the Arcane Legendary Crown! Perform this labor for me, and it
shall be yours!
Um ... after we slay Blue Trumgullion, we'll be rich and we'll pay you
then, is that OK?
Something quite original!
What novel payment scheme will you arrange?