Waking [13 Hispis 4385]
I was awakened the first time around midafternoon the next day by a tremendous magical occurrence. Locador, it was, with Spiridor and Kennoc, and a tremendous weight of Mutoc. I decided, foolishly, that Vae was probably just trying to find the bathroom or some such thing.
I went back to sleep, and dreamed that Flokin (in the form of a three-headed bright-orange Sleeth) came to talk to me. "I lost a big and flamey-red silk handkerchief," It said. "It's right down there." It pointed at a vast patch of rippling red cloth that must have covered half a city-state on the world-branch below. "I want you to go find it."
"It's right there, isn't it?" I asked it.
"Yes, but I can't find it," the god said. "That's your job."
I would chalk this up to dreams being confusing, but actually it's theologically correct. The fire god is that confusing too. It says so in all the textbooks.
"I do hope I don't have a fever," I told the god. "All the textbooks say that the only dreams you talk in are fever dreams."
Then another magical occurrence occurred to me. This one was just Mutoc and Locador, but it was quite loud, and woke me up again.
I opened my eyes. I had somehow slithered out of the fireplace in my sleep, and was lying in a frighteningly undignified position on the dingy yellow hearthrug. It was a stylistic calamity, for my feathers do not at all go well with dingy yellow.
Floating in the air above my head were seven dull brown levitating ceramic mugs, their handles tied together with butcher's twine. One of the mugs had an intricate wooden spoon in it.
I quite diligently and sensibly breathed fire at it.
"Hey! And why are you breathing fire at me?" it demanded, blocking the flames with a thoroughly complicated spell that teleported them a hundred miles away. "Careful of the spoooon!"
Oh, dearie, I thought to myself. I've just tried to attack the fire god.
"I didn't know that that was one of your forms," I said apologetically.
"The I just got a spoooooon!" chirped the cups. "So I wanted to be some cups to go with it!"
Oh, dearie, but slightly less dearie than before, I thought to myself. I've just tried to attack the nendrai.
"I thought you were Flokin," I quite cleverly remarked.
"And why are you trying to destroy the fire god's carved wooden spoon?" she asked, quite sensibly.
I remembered my dream. "Do I have a fever?"
"Yes, the you certainly do," she said. "Not another explanation for your behavior or your hallucination-like reasoning can I imagine!"
"I'm not quite sure I believe you. For one thing, you didn't actually touch me to see if I felt hot," I said, rather crossly. I don't much like being woken up by nendrai pretending to be fire gods, you see.
"The acting-fevered is all on you, Sythyry," said Vae. "Not any need to actually touch you have I."
"No, I really want to know if I have a fever," I said, and rolled over and flew off. "Phaniet? Phaniet? Where are you?"
Kantele looked up from her desk. I imagine she was putting some papers in order, not that she ever lets papers get out of order. "Phaniet is in the solarium ... well, one of the solaria off that way, I think. Enjoying the view and a vigorous discussion with Este."
"I had better not interrupt her then," I said.
She curled her tail. "Este would surely appreciate the interruption." She grinned. "What, you miscast a spell and now there are cups following you?"
"No, that's Vae, being more than usually inexplicable. You can help. Do I have a fever?" I landed on her shoulder and pressed my neck to her nose.
She felt me with nose, tongue, and fingerpads, those being the main furless parts of her body that are suitable for touching her employer. "You do not have a fever. Why?"
So I told her about the Flokin dream. Vae buzzed around overhead, clinking together impatiently.
"Sythyry, that is a true manifestation of Flokin," she said.
"Oh, dear. I didn't really want to go questing," I said.
"Oh, it's not your manifestation of Flokin. It's from Bettangour's Tales of Gods, part of Yuzu's story. You read it to Lithia when she was four. It happened three hundred and twenty-nine years ago."
I blinked foolishly at her.
"As your personal secretary, allow me to recommend that you have a chalice of kathia before you attempt any sort of rational thought or purposeful activity," advised my wise secretary.
"The important advice is this!" clattered Vae. "Without such enhancement, I fear for the safety of my precious, precious spoon!" She wrapped the spoon in six-plus-twelve defensive spells.
They abducted me to the galley. Mellilot seethed leaves and spices, and filled a child's-size chalice for me, and an adult's-size chalice for Kantele, and ... "Vae, would you like some kathia?"
"The yes, the yes!" Vae can't easily refuse things that primes offer her.
"Um ... which cup of you should I pour it in?"
Vae turned back into a ugly, large lizard. "Not in me, not in me!"
I drank two and a third child-sized chalices -- I ought to have had an adult chalice, come to think of it -- and tried to make sense of the day. "OK. That wasn't the fire god. Flokin doesn't use Mutoc Locador spells."
"Not Flokin, not Flokin. The two nendrai who are dear to you use Mutoc Locador spells! And very sweet they are today! See? A spoon!", said Vae.
"Very well ... what about this spoon?"