Dustweed's Obituary [Vheshrame; 11 Trandary 4385]
Dustweed moved back into Castle Wrong to die last decade. It took zir a while, though nobody was hurrying zir and several of us were trying to delay zir as well as we could. But there aren't very many Herethroy, and not many primes at all, who can wrestle time and win. Dustweed was the last of my mortal friends from my Acadamy days. They are all gone now, one way or another.
This entry is mostly about Dustweed. But I do need to apologize a bit, in case there are any immortal monsters reading anymore. I just reread the last few entries I wrote, a hundred twenty-three years ago. I was trying to write every day or so, really I was. But Mynthë was over that last evening. "I should write in my journal," I said. "I've got an hour left on this Cloak of Another God. It's me or your journal tonight,", he said. I picked him. (Mynthë used Orren and Rassimel shapes mostly, both male, and those pronouns too.) Which was the right choice. But it did mean that the journal got stuffed on a bookshelf, and eventually in a crate in the Whining Void Between Seven Doleful Cosmoses, or, if you prefer simpler names, the attic.
When the weather was fine, we would help Dustweed out to the Patio That Needs A Fancier Name. Zie would sit in the sun, and tease me about borrowing one of the Cloak devices (we've got four, which is ridiculous, even for Castle Wrong) to turn into a Sleeth so zie could do it properly. Once in a while zie'd even do it, for there is absolutely no better shape for sleeping in, and zie spent far too much time in bed to find sleeping easy. Last week, when the spring was firmly underway, zie took my neck in zir hands and told me to remember zir, and to tell the stories about zir to my friends.
Actually my friends have been doing that a lot lately -- 'lately' being fifty or sixty years -- and I will do this thing while I'm getting ready for my vacation.
You may remember this part: Great Baron Dustweed Grentian was born in mixed circumstances. Good: zie was the first child and heir of Great Baron Bethony Grentian, hereditary owner of (I think) three Herethroy villages. Bad: Zie was both-female, bi-sexed, being both female and co-lover. Herethroy despite both-females as being a mistake of Virid. The proper thing to do would to have abdicated, and pretended to be an unmarriagable female, and generally try to vanish. Zie didn't though. Zie forced zir parents to send her to Vheshrame Academy. Zie was my first roommate -- I had missed hearing about the scandals concerning zir when I moved in, or I probably wouldn't have done it. Zie was a Rassimel woman's lover for quite a while. Zie was one of the more wrong persons to be associated with Castle Wrong, back when it was rather smaller and still called Quelldrie House.
Dustweed did graduate from Vheshrame Academy in Aquador and Herbador, though it took zir an extra year. (I never managed to graduate exactly.) Zie and I and a couple others opened a sort of mage's collective in Vheshrame, Peppers and Cley. Peppers and Cley didn't do particularly well -- we didn't really have a magical specialty, though we had some pretty good mages. We transcribed spells for each other, and sold bound spells and minor enchanted items to keep going.
In 4275, Grand Baron Bethony Grentian lost both zir left legs to a remorshka. (We had a lot of trouble with remorshkas around then.) Zie did get them regrown, but zie didn't much want to leave the city walls after that. The regrowth spells were expensive, and zie tried to sell one of her villages to pay for it. Dustweed had to bring zir co-mother to court to block the sale. Part of the settlement was that (a) Dustweed would pay for the healing, and (b) Bethony would abdicate in favor of Dustweed. I wound up paying for most of it myself, making a Heal Truly talisman for the Healer's Guild. Dustweed never actually paid me back for that, but it worked out well for me anyways, since I stopped being known quite so much as "Vae's Delivery Boy" and more as "The Zi Ri who made that big talisman for the Healer's Guild."
Dustweed went to live in zir villages, back to zir family's home. This was not particularly successful. Zir family was furious about the lawsuit. The village that would have been sold really would rather have been owned by a new and very normal Herethroy noble than a city-dwelling, none-too-agrarian both-female. Three families actually left the village over the next year, and that never happens. Dustweed suffered any number of minor accidents and injuries at her subjects' hands and hand-feet, most of which could be interpreted as carelessness. When the villagers got into the habit of freezing their chamberpots' contents into semi-solid lumps and teleporting them into Dustweed's bedroom as zie slept, Dustweed got the message.
Zie moved back into the city, staying at Castle Wrong for just a few days which turned out to be twenty-eight years. (We're up to 4305, by the way.) Dustweed joined the city's Department of Flowing, and spent most of zir working life designing and maintaining aquaducts, building and repairing fountains, persuading sewage to depart from the city with a minimum of stench or even notoriety, and generally being one of those professional mages upon whose skills all urban civilization actually rests, though we don't generally think very much about them. After a decade or so zie started getting a trickle of rent from her villages, even. Zie enjoyed the work -- zie had been thinking about that as a career even back in school, hence zir choice of studies. Zie was better tolerated there than zie would have been in most places, since the Department of Flowing is mostly Orren (who are mellower and slinkier than most primes, and tend to care less about the gender flaws of insects). Also zie got less anger from other Herethroy: the job seemed more humble than being a traditional Grand Baron.
During that time, zie had two serious relationships, one with a Cani man and one with a Rassimel woman, both of whom lived in Castle Wrong. Dustweed never called zirself traff, and was never very happy dating mammals. Finally, in 4303, zie met Oakie, whom we dubbed "The Herethroy Woman Without Prejudice". Oakie was a secretary and part-time stevedore in a shipping company. They got a small apartment with a very strong door together, and lived quietly in a happy but incomplete relationship for quite a long time. (I don't know for sure if Dustweed ever lost her virginity in the Herethroy sense of being part of a full triad.)
In 4315, they fostered Kaxiki, an orphaned Gormoror girl of about ten years. (They had offered to adopt a Herethroy child once or twice, and then a Rassimel child, but were never allowed. Gormoror children were not as important.) It was rather tempestuous, or even downright fighty, but it was a family of sorts for all of them. Kaxiki was here when Dustweed died.
In 4330, the three of them took a two-year trip across Craithea, for no better reason than they wanted to see the oldest world-branch. They lived for three months in Inihithre, the oldest city, and had a very pleasant visit with my grandparent Myrihaaveinen. (I still haven't met Myrihaaveinen.)
Oakie died in 4370, quite an old Herethroy woman. Dustweed retired from the Department of Flowing that year. Zie had been too weak to do much but sorcery for them for some time. Zie had achieved a measure of acceptance and even honor in that department, which had been pretty scarce in zir life outside of Castle Wrong.
Dustweed lived alone, tended by a succession of Rassimel servants. The last one mistreated zir mildly. He cooked what was convenient, not what zie wanted. He pretended not to hear zir when zie called to him from another room. (Well, zie was hard to hear.) He refused to read to zir. Once he tried to punish zir by pointing zir chair into the corner -- zie was too weak to move it zirself -- and at that point zie fired him and moved back to Castle Wrong. I installed her in the place of [dis]honor as the Wrongest of All, and a co-founder of the castle. Zie was well-treated and even beloved by a succession of traff, species-dysphoric, fugitive, and otherwise socially unacceptable people, who were generally glad that their service to the Castle in exchange for room and board consisted of nothing more onerous than taking care of a sweet old lady who was really one of them.
And zie was a sweet old lady. Sad, yes. Dustweed had a handful of delighted days, and a century or so of bittersweet-light-on-the-bitter years, but zie wasn't what zie wanted to be, and nearly no Herethroy would let zir forget that for an instant. Zie managed to be charming and strong nonetheless, and to have a full and long life. And funny, too, with a quiet but occasionally very pointy humor.
I hope zie comes back as a proper co-lover next time 'round.
And now all zir other friends, who are mostly a century younger than zie was and mostly not of the species zie actually wanted to have friends in,, are cooking zir favorite foods and telling other stories about zir downstairs. It would be ungracious of me not to join them. After all, I have more stories than anyone.