Strenata's Obituary [Vheshrame; 12 Trandary 4385]
On rereading my old journal, I find the occasional name that I have not heard
spoken in a century, and have not thought of in half that. Actually, I find a
great many names like that: Seeks-Leeks, Seeks-Feathers, Seeks-Justice,
Seeks-Revenge, Seeks-Slithering-Songs, Seeks-Square-Crabs, Seeks-Square-Stars,
Seeks-Inihithre, Seeks-St.-Trebulican's-Classroom, Seeks-Wild-Rushes,
Seeks-Thunder, Seeks-Kaleidescopes, Seeks-Trapped-Phantoms, Seeks-Spirals,
Let's see. She found leeks, and feathers, and square crabs, and square stars. She had the occasional wild rush, but she broke her kaleidoscope by mistake a few days after she got it. Wallpaper and hot water and handkerchieves, definitely, and she even found her wicked dentist, though he turned out not to be very wicked after all. I don't remember if I ever knew for sure whether she was a perpetual virgin or not, though I rather think not. She had whichever of my ears she wanted, pretty much whenever she liked. She never actually played a harp. She sometimes found some very good cheese, and often found some cheap but pleasant cheese, though I don't know for sure if it was theraputic; sometimes she shared it together, and I breathed on it 'til it dripped on the bread.
She found her philosophical battle within her own mind. She despised nobility qua nobility. There were a few nobles that she respected: Duke Conturge to start with. There were plenty of others that she despised, starting with Prince Nestrune but not ending there. (I think I was generally on my way towards earning my title in her estimation, though we didn't talk about it.) After Duke Conturge gave her a barony, she was rather confused. On one hand, she didn't approve of the title. On the other, she was flattered. On the third -- her subjects were Herethroy -- she wasn't a very good baron; she rarely spent any time on baronial duties. On the fourth, she did plenty of work in service of the city, and, I think, had earned her title in her own mind. We discussed this over brandy more than twice, but she never resolved it.
She found veils and treason here and there, and we often ate asparagus together, and sometimes at Duke Conturge's table, for, whatever she was seeking, it generally had something to do with the defense of the city, really.
She got to 4262, and 4263, and 4264, and even as far as 4273.
Ever since I known her, one of her main jobs was to spy on Prince Nestrune of Daukrhame. The city had given her half a horse so she could go riding with him, for one thing. After Nestrune became Duke Nestrune of Daukrhame (4272), Strenata spent a great deal of time in Daukrhame, poking around and being the ambassador -- a real ambassador, mind you, not a fake one like I am. Daukrhame had become very fussy about being part of the Choinxeian League. They didn't have much choice, not with a very powerful Vheshrame on their border, but they didn't much care for it sometimes. So they defied Vheshrame over some matter or other, I think something involving the all-important onion trade or something equally tedious. Seeks-Leeks went there to negotiate with Duke Nestrune.
Somehow, during the negotiations, it became clear to Duke Nestrune that
Seeks-Days Strenata ended her days under the headsman's three-handed sword in a public square in Daukhrame. She was killed four times: by fire, by lightning, by poison, and lastly by the sword. Her head and hat were returned in a box to Duke Conturge. The last name she had chosen for herself was the very diplomatic "Seeks-Fried-Onions". Nestrune himself had crossed that out and written "Seeks-Humiliations" instead.
That was the first time I've ever been in a war. I had to yell at Duke Conturge, and threaten to quit being his ambassador to Vae, before he allowed me to go. I wasn't much good in the actual fight, myself. I got Vae to give me some of her best defensive spells -- I know better than to ask Vae for help, ever, but I was in a bit of a fury. I drew a fair bit of attention from the enemy heroes, and, while my own spells and tricks didn't do anything to speak of, the seven-winged burning thing nicely scorched St. Aspen the Drauk, and greatly distracted Vorhäänger.
(In case you don't have a history book handy, Vheshrame won that duel-war, and Prince Nestrune paid us a substantial indemnity. And continued to be a pest for thirty-one years, until Jrakh poisoned him for some very Rassimel reasons, which I think included sexual jealousy as a minor component, and jealousy about getting a certain antique dollhouse table as the main single reason. In any case, Jrakh died twenty-eight times in her execution. Daukhrame was rather given to excesses back then.)
She was always seeking something, with all her heart. If she found it, she'd go seek something else. If it was too hard to find, she'd go seeking something else anyways, sooner or later. She was always in motion, always passionate, always either very very right or very very wrong. That's what makes Orren beautiful, and Seeks-Orren was among the most beautiful of Orren.