Love Letter [13 Hispis 4385]
Vae flickered excitedly from one shape to another: a tree whose branches were snakes, a cloud with glaring purple eyes, an obsidian statue of a Herethroy, herself. "The love letter is what Oixe sent me!"
"Oh, that's great!" I said. "You've been missing her all over the ship. That's the wooden spoon, I take it?"
"How did she send you a love letter? She's hundreds of thousands of miles away, and from what you've said, she's not very good at teleporting," asked Phaniet. (Magic geeks are, of course, aware that even Vae, for all her ridiculous Locador power, can't teleport from Ketheria to Oixe at once. And Phaniet is the geekiest magic geek aboard Strayway.)
"The special envelopes I gave her when I saw her last, when she was gravid. They do the teleporting, not my mate!" chirped Vae.
"Have you read the love letter yet? How do you read a wooden spoon?" I asked.
"The I've read it, the I've read it, the dozen times have I read it!" Vae became an abstract violet spiral, then a barrel labelled "Pickled Mushrooms" overflowing with serpents, than a purple cloud generously adorned with sprigs of lavender, then herself. She held the spoon out for me to read: the bowl filled with pastry crust, with letters branded on it.
Dear Vaisessasilmin. The I miss you. Not boring is tending our egg. The vast dungeon I am building. The traps, the tricks, the dooms. Not much can I tell you. The I would like to be able to. Not a bit can I though. If you find any medium-sized monsters who want a dungeon to live in, send them to me. The nights I curl up around the egg. The very safe I am keeping it. The pictures I have sent of it -- 0.38 millimeters already long is our daughter! Not yet do I know what species she will be. The eyes I think are yours. The love and battle with you I miss greatly. After our daughter is grown, the hunting trip together we must go on, for we never got around to that. The I love you. -- Oikusanghlirxat
"The picture of the egg she sent! The mate of mine is very clever and devious! The things she shares with me, are more than a guarding nendrai usually can! See, see!"
I looked at the spoon, but the crust had vanished. "Where?"
Vae bounced, becoming a bowl of boiling grass, a flaming chair, herself. "The left ornament on top of the spoon, that is the picture!" The spoon had three ornamental knobs, each with a tangly Illusidor and Mentador spell on it. I don't much like Mentador -- and that is an unusually tolerant attitude towards it -- but for my friend's sake, I put my paw on the left knob.
And was greeted with a very vivid view and very vivid memory of Oixe herself. I'm pretty sure it was intended for Vae and only for Vae. I can understand why Vae might be pleased to read (or experience) this part of the letter, though I am not generally one to look lecherously on lizards. Especially not my friends' lovers.
As I attempted to recover my usual composure and coloration, Vae said, "Not your left, I mean. My left."
This time I pointed at the knob with a somewhat trembly claw. "This one?" The spells on all three knobs were the same, in the same way that the same ink and same paper can be used for a fairy tale, a distinguished jeremiad, a work of pornography.
"The that one!"
So I stretched out my paw and touched the that one. (I still don't like Mentador, even when it's not slithering lizard lust into my mind.) Vae and Oixe's egg is a dangerous-looking thing, cute and cuddly as a durian fruit, with alert brazinion needles on its spikes. It was surrounded by obscuring spells: Oixe was apparently able to show us the egg itself, but not anything that might hint at its location or defenses.
Then the memory shifted, giving us an Eyes for the Small-ish view of the slowly-growing embryo. A tiny curled thing, mostly tail even this early, wriggling happily in a vast-to-her bath of eggyolk. Her face was barely developed: a quickly-sketched curve of jaw, a tiny bubble of a face.
"I think she does have your eyes," I told Vae. At least, I didn't see any evidence to the contrary.
Vae wriggled delightedly: a blazing spear, a leopard with piecrust wings, a tower of books inhabited by aerial shrimps, a pulsating vortex of light and heat swirling with cartoony heart-signs, herself.