The Conversation [17 Hispis 4262]
Ptefshi came charging into my bedroom early in the morning, and prodded me with the tip of his sword. I suppose that's forgiveable. I was in the fireplace at the time. And he did keep his sword sheathed, which is considered gracious under the circumstances. "Sythyry! Why aren't you in class!"
I sort of glared at him. "Because yesterday ruined my week's work. And my spirits." (It really had been a miserable night. I kept dreaming The Troublers of Tulterry, and waking up a lot.)
"Oh ... well, there are two nendrai at the Halflight Gate. They want to talk to you," said Ptefshi.
"I don't want to talk to them. They broke me enough yesterday."
"They want to apologise," he said.
"I hope they have a few weeks."
"Vae said something about The Conversatiion. She thought you'd know what it meant."
"Oh. Two nendrai?" It's got to mean something if Vae is willing to have The Conversation in front of her-um-his new girlfriend. Also it probably means something if Oixe is still here. Or if she came back the next day.
So I got up and took a bath in boiling kathia to wash the brandy residue off my feathers, or at least to wake up more. (Well, no, I didn't, but I did stick my whole head into a full-sized chalice of kathia. Washed off though.)
Vae and Oixe were sitting by the Halflight Gate, right in the road. Well, they'd turned something or other into a very solid hardwood couch upholstered in a rather crude purple and green brocade (spellwork never does as well as real crafting), and were sitting on it, tails wrapped around each other, playing diamond chess. Oh, and Vae was a girl and Oixe was a boy.
"Good morning! What does it mean when nendrai wrap their tails around each other?" I asked them.
"Oh! Sythyry! Not so much did we notice you coming out!" they both said, with slight variations. They didn't answer the question, which maybe answers the question.
"I take it you had a good date yesterday?" I said, because I am an ambassador and I know enough to make friendly conversation even when I'd like to destroy them with my seven-winged burning thing (which would be hopelessly outclassed by either of them), or at least break down crying (which would probably lead to some sort of victory).
"The big apology we owe you, Sythyry. Not a bit did I remember your opinion of Mentador spells yesterday. The helpful is all I intended. The Oixe was wondering at at after you left, for her primes never favor it," said Vae.
"I do wish you'd learn that bit. Even if you can't keep from casting spells on me, at least cast decent ones," I said. So we had The Conversation, as promised, and not an abbreviated formal version like sometimes. Vae was in tears in the middle of it. Oixe wasn't, but she-um-he was rather nodding at some of the spikier points. And did mention that she-um-he has the same problem about being helpful too.
"And the mind-spell? May I take it off of you now?" asked Vae, quite politely.
"Why, yes! Thank you for asking!" One must always encourage nendrai to exhibit polite behavior, even though it is probably hopeless.
So she did. Now there's a squirrel by the Halflight Gate which can perfectly remember all the words to The Troublers of Tulterry. Poor squirrel. We saw it reciting ... I have no idea what. I can't remember anything about the play at all anymore. Anyways, it was reciting at the other squirrels. Since squirrels can barely talk, and that only in Common, they seemed rather perplexed. Better it than me, anyways.
Oixe poked Vae in the side with a foreclaw, drawing lots of blood. "The present! The present you must now remember!"
"The present of apology! Sythyry! The present of apology we wish to give you is this: a paidameddwl, a big spell protecting against Mentador."
"That sounds entirely fitting. Can you do it in a way that you can't batter down, though?"
"Not quite! The defense like that you must make for yourself, with Great Enchantment. The paidameddwl that we make, I can break through in three spells or four. The time for you to yell at me and bring me to my senses will that be!" said Vae, and unwound her tail from Oixe.
Oixe grabbed her tail, quick as a flash. "The consent! The consent is what you must wait for!"
"The mistake I almost made! Oixe, you have saved me from another The Conversation and its tears!" said Vae, and spent a moment kissing Oixe, which I suppose was cute.
"I will accept this spell, and thank you for waiting for the formalities," I said.
They cooperatively cast it, which was very interesting to watch. It had Vae's subtlety and Oixe's raw power. That's a scary thing to know, that nendrai can cooperate. I've got to write a formal report and an ethology paper. Two ethology papers. The other one will be mating customs.
After that, I was feeling a lot better about the nendrai. (I just checked, and it wasn't a Mentador spell changing my opinion.) Current opinion: they're awful,
"How did the rest of the date go?" I asked.
Vae looked into each of Oixe's eyes. "And should I tell everything?"