First Impressions of Srineia [20 Hispis 4385]
The first thing Windigar noticed about Srineia was the clouds.
(In case you care, the first thing I noticed about Srineia was the fact that our hurryup spells had botched. The first thing that Lithia noticed about Srineia was that Lost-Eyes kisses like a girl. (I don't know exactly what Lithia means by that. I don't believe that Lithia has enough breadth of experience at kissing to be able to tell girls from boys from co-lovers from the osculation alone ... I don't think I could do it, and I've kissed reasonably broadly.) But that is what Lithia and Lost-Eyes were busy doing while we were travelling. (According to a later report. I was not snooping. I would not snoop on them. Ordinarily I am quite happy to watch Orren kissing -- indeed, it is a favorite watchment of mine -- but Lithia is my pseudo-child, and I am rather annoyed at Lost-Eyes.))
Anyhow: the clouds of Srineia. As Jyondre promised, the clouds over Srineia are often froliose. I don't think that Srineia is the only place that has froliose clouds, but I have never seen them before in person. Froliose clouds are spherical in shape, pure white over most of their surface, but have a single cloudy-black shape on their northern side: today they were showing horizontal bars with a small circle at the west end. Jyondre doesn't think the actual shape has any significance. Srineian scholars disagree, or, at least, they have kept careful records of the shape-of-the-day for quite some time.
Windigar knows better than to fly through froliose clouds. They evidently leave everything sticky and reeking of rotten lavender.
Far from the first thing that Vae noticed was the shark-mouthed cat sort of thing that appeared next to her from a smallish blossom of (to the magic sense only) dark claws and spikes. "You-nob have come most noisily to my home territory!" the beast exclaimed.
"The yes! The greetings I make to you, O mighty Shadatei, and the thanks for allowing me to make this very temporary visit to your home territory, after which I shall be returning to my home territory which is very far from here and does not border on here and which is where I considerably prefer to live in any case! The name of me is Vaisessasilmin, but you may call me Vae if you wish, for everyone else does."
This, then, was one eighth of the chromodon Shadatei, the terrible monster who claimed a great deal of Srineia as his territory. Vae, incidentally, claims Vheshrame Mene and some significant space on either side as her territory. The rest of us ignore these claims: it is a matter of monster law or custom, and who cares about that? Well, aside from monsters.
"I-nob am less worried about the length of your stay than the manner of your arrival, O mighty Vae. Something extraordinarily dangerous peeked at us from beyond the universe," said Shadatei. Of course any great beast would notice such an intrusion, though most primes would not.
"Oh! That!", said Vae. It had been nearly eighteen minutes since we had nearly destroyed the branch; the event must have slipped Vae's mind. "We put it back. It will not return."
"You-nob are permitted to explain further," said Shadatei. From which Vae gathered that she was, in fact, encouraged to explain further, and she did.
Shadatei scowled, his teeth shining brilliant orange and purple. "I-nob would prefer that you refrain from such extreme actions on my territory henceforth. If you-nob are unable to defend yourself from prime pirates, I shall be glad to curtail their activities for you, or even destroy them outright."
Vae bristled. She was in a familiar shape as a long-tailed dull green serpent with (at the moment) fifteen butterfly wings along her spine. She fluttered her wings fiercely. "Not so hard is it for a N. Lacrymosa to take care of a few pirates, or a few dozen pirates! The other half of their city-state is what in a fury I would not destroy!"
(The subtext made explicit: Nendrai can work more terrible spells than chromodons, and are more terrible in battle. Not that chromodons are weak exactly -- they are among the great beasts, after all -- but they are dangerous in a different way. I doubt that Shadatei can cast any spell I can't, and I can cast many that are beyond him. But there are eight of him, all thinking cooperatively and quickly, and able to cast spells through each other. In a battle, he would shower us with dozens of substantial spells to each of ours (though I would presumably offset his advantage with generous use of Tempador). If we killed the body he was using, he would teleport it off and heal it, giving us no particular victory. If we killed it beyond healing, then the remaining 7/8 of him would plot a most clever and dreadful revenge -- and they are well-known for their revenges. In any case, Vae is more than a match for him in a battle, but Shadate would be most difficult to actually defeat in any lasting way.)
(Sub-subtext: "great beast" is one of various words that the mightiest monsters on the World Tree call themselves. Nendrai, chromodons, scyanturges, and a few others use the word. The rest of us generally don't.)
"I-nob am glad that you are willing to display the competence that one might expect from your species. Destroy whatever cities you are inclined to in Srineia; it is my territory, and I care nothing for the cities. But leave the husk of the world alone."
Vae fluttered her wings, then curled up. "The I will."
He snarled at me, "That goes for you too, prime."
"I will admit that I have no great desire to become the plaything of a Locador demon, and, thus, I agree to your terms without complaint. Indeed, this is a resolution which I made myself, some seventeen minutes ago," I said. I hope this is polite, or at least, matchingly polite.
He snarled at me again -- this time his teeth were crimson and black -- and turned to Vae. "I-nob wish you a pleasant visit. Indeed, a relaxing one, without the need for any of those remarkable exertions which your kind is known for. And, of course, without conflict with any other great beasts."
Then the curved and straight claws of an unimpressive teleportation spell embraced him, and he was gone: some few hundred yards outside of Strayway I would estimate.
"Charming monster, that," I said to Vae.
"Oh, yes! The I hope to spend more time with him. Not when I have just endangered him so, though; that's not a good start."
"I was trying to be sarcastic, actually," I said.
Vae pouted, which is challenging with a snake's face. "The few enough friends I will have here. Not so much should you denigrate the ones I can expect to have."
And she didn't accept a spoken apology either. The scene ended where such scenes often do: in the kitchen, baking cupcakes.