The Worst Patients [14 Hispis 4385]
Seventeen wrung-out Rassimel. The plague is more debilitating than death itself, or at least more debilitating than death by having a sword driven through your heart followed by immediate resurrection. Or so my expert informants tell me; I've never done either.
Jyondre said, in Sriniean, "So, my Khtsoyis friend, do you-unhi still expect an attack by a squadron of exhausted limp grandparents and children?"
Grinwipey said, "Nah. It's the smicker-felking surprise I'm worried about. I know these guys have a surprise coming up soon, and I'm a star-stellated dodecahedron stuffed with coriander if my poor innocent little smicker doesn't get felked all the way to Daukrhame."
I looked to Kazrie. "You do have a surprise, don't you?"
Kazrie took a moment to swallow a great cud of dried apricots, and wash it down with a thin and curried broth of cockroaches. "We are a simple philosophical sect, O Zi Ri. You have seen all of us; you have seen our most subtle and dangerous wiles and our wickedest and most devastating arts."
Vae turned a dried apricot into a huge three-headed sixteen-horned bombasticus, with a hollow tail which presumably fired some sort of missile. "Not for a moment do I believe that."
"Even your mighty tail cannot mutate truth to falsehood," Kazrie said.
"Nonetheless, perhaps you could give a more complete account of your lives and your ways?" asked Jyondre. "Perhaps one that explains to some extent why you are living in the depths of the sky, with monsters as your companions and your very foundation? And why you are not welcome in prime cities, for that matter?"
"And how you're gonna pay for all the wizard's spell work that's just saved your gribbulating lives!" added Grinwipey.
One of the other philosophers -- Arvaky, I think his name is -- said, "They do have a nendrai with them, Kazrie. And I doubt they will kill us after working to heal us. It would be a waste of cley."
Kazrie drank more cockroach broth. "Very well. We are a philosophical sect devoted to the proposition that monsters and primes can and should attempt to live together in peace and harmony. This village is an exercise and an example thereof."
Vae turned the table into a swarm of furious flying spatulas. "Not a bit of truth is there in that proposition! The concept is vile, is wicked, is contemptable, is the most wrong thing!"
Doorwaying -- allowing monsters to come in to prime cities -- is generally and sensibly regarded as the worst crime available to primes on the World Tree. Of course these philosophers aren't welcome in civilized places. They are too close to doorwayers for anyone's comfort.