Healing the Philosopher [14 Hispis 4385]
"I am Sythyry, wizard of Vheshrame, and these are my companions. Your village and your inistella -- Doöaru, I believe his name is -- are over there," I said. "I am a Guild healer, and have just relieved you of the plague." (pulse: strong and quick and angry. Breathing: strong and quick and angry. Fur: still rather limp. Temperature: a bit warmer. Eyes: open, black, flashing. Urine: still unavailable.)
"Is that what it was? I thought it was just a bit of fatigue, maybe from overexertion or too much cold air," she snapped. "How'd I get it, anyways? I haven't been near any new Rassies in months."
I had to dredge up old Healer's Guild lessons for that. "The virulent principle can harbor for months or even years in wine and dried fruit."
"Oh, can it? I didn't know that," she said.
"Yes. It's almost as if Mircannis knew what the Rassimel were going to like to eat when she made them and made the plague," said Kantele. She got a glare from Kazrie for that.
Yerenthax didn't look away from the nycathath on the balcony, but she did turn an ear to listen to us as best she could. "It appears that the nycathath told the truth, or much of it. I do believe we owe our guest an apology."
Vae hissed, "Not a thing in the world do we owe him! The insults he brings to us, the favors he asks of us -- if not the outright traps!"
Yerenthax looked uncertain, but didn't feel like arguing with an irate nendrai.
Grinwipey said, "Oh, I'll apologize all right. I'll apologize myself purple in the whoon-pleasuring eyestalks. Not that I've ever pleasured a whoon myself, mind you, not with my eyestalks nor any other way. I'll do that right after he proves there's no trap really, and he pays for all the cheen-swiddling wizard's time and cley." His lack of disclaimer about me was notable.
"Well, I'm much obliged to you for saving my life, O Zi Ri," she said to me. "How much do I owe you? I'd just as soon pay you and be on my way."
I usually charge quite a lot per cley. (There are good reasons for encouraging people to hire lesser mages for the works that lesser mages can perform. (Not all the reasons are selfish. Lesser mages who get practice will eventually become greater mages.)) And we're far from a city, which generally increases the fees of most civilized matters. And this Kazrie certainly wasn't a fellow citizen. And her inistella and nycathath had alarmed my entire ship.
"Let's say, just standard Guild rates for the plague: sixty lozens," I said, because I am on vacation. She winced anyways. "But the actual problem is, if the nycathath is to be believed ...
"Why on wood wouldn't you listen to Muot?" she snapped.
"We were uncertain about how much to trust him initially," I admitted. "In any case, he said that all the Rassimel in your ... village? ... "
"Commune," she said.
"... in your commune are unconscious with the plague."
"Oh, great staring gods. Muot, is everyRassy really sick?"
Muot spread his vast ears. "You were the first, Kazrie, but not so long after, each of your conspecifics was asleep beyond waking."
"This is bad, Muot. This is very bad."
"Your kinsfolk are not in great danger," I said. "Or shouldn't be, unless you have a great many kinsfolk there indeed."
"Seventeen. We've got plenty of kinsfolk. What we don't have plenty of is lozens."
Grinwipey laughed. "First part of the air monster scam! 'Here ya go, wizzy lizzy. Cast your super-valuable spells with your super-valuable cley. Give us the big discount rate if you like, make house calls onto a flippin' super-dangerous monster back, but we're not going to lutsy-nutsy pay you anyways. If you don't like that, d'you know what we're going to do? We're going to die at you, like a bunch of sliggety-pokety lustards.'
"Wipey, please be quiet. People don't generally get the plague as a tactical move," I said.
"Quiet is what I am going to not be! You're the boss here. I'll be poached in garlic and spaggering coriander sauce if I'ma let you get cheated like a smipsy thokker!!"
"If I'm the boss here, I get to say what I'm doing."
"You're not that kind of boss," said Grinwipey. Everyone else nodded agreement. They're a bunch of spaggering mutineers, like a (some?) smipsy thokker(s).
"Muot, do you think the perdithorne would be willing to help?" Kazrie asked.
"Madame, they were most extravagantly worried and fretful when you fell ill," said the nycathath.
"May we pay in kind?" Kazrie asked me. "We can offer bound spells."
"You sayin' the boss's spellbinding ain't good enough?" asked Grinwipey. "You're a right jiggy rustybum, seeing as how zie healed you and all, and zir spell bigger'n a toastus-whump."
"All I am saying is that we don't have that much cash, so we'd like to pay in kind," said Kazrie.
"All I'm sayin' is that a Rassy who lives with a nycathath and a perdithorne on top of an inistella ain't a Rassy who you should trust with your life or even your penny-pipple," said Grinwipey. "And I know from the cheats 'n murderers. That I do, Sythyry."
Phaniet lashed her tail. "We can't just let two dozen people die of the plague. Even if they are sky pirates. I don't think they'll be attacking us, even so."
Grinwipey said, "Make 'em go to the nearest Healers' Guild. I don't trust 'em. Can't be more than a gobberdrobbing day or two from here. They got more time than a whore has sluppocks."
Kazrie curled her tail. "The matter is not so simple. Doöaru cannot fly close to cities, and we are not welcome everywhere."
"Pirates. I bisking told you so, Sythers."