Srineia [Vheshrame; 22 Trandary 4385]
The Treasurer of the Smith's Guild stared at me over his long black muzzle. "I beg your pardon, Master Smith?"
"I am trying to pay my guild dues, Master Smith. If you are incapable of accepting them, you should resign your guild post and go back to making crude glass knives full-time." The Treasurer and I have been feuding for some twenty years, for various reasons, ranging from stupid (I flirted with his mate at a formal guild dinner) to intensely stupid (I tried rather vocally to get someone competent elected as treasurer in the last election, and failed). I am not recording his name because I do not want to encourage anyone to think of him very much.
"I am quite capable of accepting guild dues, Master Smith. I am simply not used to payment quite this far in advance," he said.
"Master Smith, your powers of foresight are an excellent match for your powers of accounting," I noted.
He glared at me and lashed his tail. Insults are rarely lost on Cani. "Master Smith, one might almost be tempted to treat this so-called 'payment of your dues' as some attempt to bribe or otherwise influence our honorable Guild."
"Yes. I am attempting to bribe or otherwise influence our honorable Guild to keep me as a member in good standing while I am away on vacation. Wicked of me, to be sure."
"But, paying your dues a century in advance?"
I breathed a little needle of fire at nothing in particular, to point out what species I am, and how planning a century in advance makes sense for me.
He jumped back. "Our accounting system only goes three years ahead!"
"It is you, not I, who claimed that you were an adequate treasurer," I pointed out.
He bristled. "You have something in mind. What if the guild dues go up over the next century? You are planning to underpay, Master Smith!"
"What if the guild collects interest on my advance payment? That should cover the increase and then some, Master Smith!"
He groaned. "Well, at least you will be gone for a century."
"Only a few years, I think, but planning ahead is often worthwhile."
"I advise you to travel longer, Master Smith! A pity to waste your century's prepayment of dues. Stay away long enough for me to be dead by the time you return, a state which I prefer to your presence," said the treasurer.
"Alas, Master Smith, that your stock of glass knives are too crudely-made to permit you hasten your transition into that state which you prefer!" I commiserated. He just sneered at me.
Zistacarri, his Rassimel apprentice, asked me, "Where are you going?"
I explained to her. I shall explain to you as well.
Eleven world-branches down from the top of the tree (that is, on the twelfth ring of world-branches) is a ring of six branches; Srineia is the northmost of these. It is fairly newly colonized. I think that the oldest city on it, Eigrach, is younger than I am. It is still a frontier branch in many ways -- though Eigrach and Bephengy and Heleshario do boast some fairly high culture, including, crucially, plenty of excellent restaurants.
The Language: Srineia was colonized from several places, including Araldy on Aradrueia. The Srineian language thus isn't too far from Ketherian. Castle Wrong is conveniently provided with a Srineian exchange student Jyondre, who has been giving us lessons in Srineian. Yerenthax got the best of those lessons, which is how Jyondre ended up in Castle Wrong in the first place. (Jyondre is an Orren boy, and Yerenthax is a Gormoror girl, and their liaison is Highly Inappropriate.)
The Waters: Merklundum, the god of water, is a sleepy beast, and leaves the management of quite large and important aspects of his element to his angels and elementals. The water elementals of Srineia are particularly playful. So the branch is blessed with a variety of exotic aquatic features, like a braided river, some impressive waterfalls gracing otherwise flat terrain, and an exceedingly deep lake with a restaurant at the bottom. As a consequence, Orren are plentiful in Srineia, and, yes, that has something to do with my choice of destination.
The Monsters: This topic is quite important to Vae, since she will be intruding on someone else's territory. The dominant monster of Srineia is a chromodon named Shadrate. Vae has already sent a messenger, and gotten permission to vacation there for a time. There are, of course, lots of other monsters there, even on the flat upper side of the branch; the place is not very civilized really.
The Cuisine: Brightly-colored and strongly-flavored fish! Brightly-colored and strongly-flavored crustaceans! Brightly-colored and strongly-flavored insects! Brightly-colored and strongly-flavored spices! Dull-colored and strongly-flavored cheeses!
The Treasure: I expect I will want to collect a variety of whatnots useful in Aquador enchantments. Not that I do that many Aquador enchantments, but some, and it's never a bad idea to plan ahead. Jyondre says that some adventurers in Heleshario have recently found a Glory of Hren Tzen, which would be endlessly useful for me: I do do Sustenoc enchantments in great numbers. So I shall see if I can do some shopping.
I don't entirely know if it rates a two-year vacation all by itself. If not, I shall go somewhere else, or return home. I haven't had that much freedom of choice in ... ever, maybe.