Obituary: Floosh [Vheshrame, 15 Trandary 4385]
Floosh tricked me.
I think it was payback for the time I sort of tricked her by mistake, when I hired her to make breakfast boxes for everyone in Oorah Thrassen, as part of a harmless but imposing display of Vae's magical power and a clear indication to our enemies that our nendrai was sufficiently intimidated that she would do the silliest things on our command. (Not strictly true.) It was rather a scramble on Floosh's part, and mine, and Vae's, and everyone in Threeze (Floosh's village). Floosh used her share of the spoils of war to buy the Academy Bakery from the then-owners.
The Academy Bakery was five blocks from Quelldrie House / Castle Wrong, or less if you're willing to fly over those blocks and, perhaps, get to glimpse something interesting or amusing or exciting going on in a courtyard. Students do quite a bit when they think nobody is watching. Also, Academy Bakery makes the best poptaloops in Vheshrame, and they are open well before dawn. So several times a week I flew there early, to get a poptaloop and some romantic advice or other wisdom from Floosh, and get to the Academy, or, later, my workshop, before it was time to start enchanting.
A few weeks after New Years Day, 4300, when I got to the bakery in the early morning, the assistant baker was in rather a state. Floosh had fallen face-first in the rye bread dough, and would not wake up. The latter was because she was dead. She was about a hundred and twenty years old [about eighty Earth years. -bb], so she wasn't being unreasonable about it.
She hadn't been dead very long, and I was (and am) a fully-qualified Healer's Guild member, so I made her stop being dead. Which wasn't going to work very well. There are no cures for old age; there are only preventatives.
She teased me for reviving her. After all, it was a new century, and she didn't want to spend it doing the same things in the same body as the previous one.
She did all the baking for her farewell party, or at least supervised it. It was rather a big party. We had to rent Ghaln-Yastrou Park for it. I think most of the Academy students and former students still in Vheshrame came, and lots of people from the Academy quarter. Ghirbis Vlaan travelled back from Mrasteia to be there (and stayed at Castle Wrong for two months, and seduced someone she shouldn't have, and there was Much Drama). She even brought Vae a package of leftovers afterwards, to say goodbye to her outside the gates.
A few days after that, she died quietly, back home in Threeze. That was a family affair; I was not invited. I did attend the funeral though.
I was rather surprised on my next birthday, when Academy Bakery delivered a cake to me. It was triangular, and bright blue, and covered with dragons waving brandy bottles and needles and cloth (I was doing my haphazard apprenticeship for the Couturier's Guild at that point), and tasted just like Floosh's baking.
I interrogated the bakers. Floosh had written a careful list of a hundred different birthday cakes for me, to be delivered over the next century. And, at the end of that, "I'll be back to plan the next hundred later."
A Digression on the Nature of Reincarnation on the World Tree
Reincarnation is a well-established scientific fact. The details are up to the creator gods: that is, Orren are always reincarnated as Orren, however it pleases the Orren's creator god Pararenenzu. There is no great uniformity to the process, as far as we can tell (which isn't very far): some people are reborn immediately, some after centuries, and some, perhaps, haven't been at all yet and never will be.
Personality and ego persist from life to life. Memories generally do not. For all practical purposes, when you are reborn, you are reborn as a baby, and there are very few differences between first-timers and hundredth-timers. I don't know which I am ... well, probably no more than a second-timer. I'm not sure that there have been a hundred Zi Ri with disjoint lifetimes since the world began.
(Exception: gods do know who was who, and if you pleased or offended a god in one lifetime, you may well have a boon or bane connected to that god in later lifetimes. And skills that you learned well in one life, to the point that they were nearly aspects of your personality, you can relearn quickly in a later life.)
It is possible for a mighty spell to restore full memory of all your past lives. My grandparent can cast that spell. Vae can't do it. I can't do it either, and I would have to exert myself mightily to even make a device which did it. It's a very hard spell.
In any case, reincarnation isn't a phenomenon of great practical importance.
Everyone (in Floosh's family, at least) says that Windigar is Floosh's reincarnation.
The evidence for this seems to be:
- Windigar, as a child, was quite fond of pastry.
- Windigar, nonetheless, does not want to run the bakery; he finds it tedious, as if he has already done it enough. He wants to be a sky pilot. (In fact, he is a sky pilot; we studied together for it.)
- Windigar is unusually sensible for an Orren.
- Windigar is Flooosh's great-great-grandchild.
To which I would add, despite being Orren, Windigar and I have no romantic interest in each other, as was true with Floosh and I.
One might argue that, e.g., many children like pastry; that running a bakery is boring compared to being a sky pilot; that, by definition, 10% of all Orren are in the most sensible 10% of Orren; and that Floosh has many great-great-grandchildren. And that, in any case, Pararenenzu has no particular reason to reincarnate someone as one of their descendants.
To which I might add that I haven't had any particular romantic interest in any new Orrens, or any new people of any kind, for decades now. I have been busy with other matters. Or something.
True or not, everyone in Threeze seems to believe it. Windigar has been called on to ceremonially relight the oven fires every year, and such as that.
In any case, I have hired Windigar to be the pilot of Strayway. More of that later.