Welcoming Committee [20 Hispis 4385]
Having sent a useful and polite letter to the government and aristocracy of Eigrach, it would be impolite to simply wander around Eigrach on our own. So we waited from morning until late afternoon. Probably greeting foreigners was not anyone's most important job, in Eigrach. It certainly wouldn't be in Vheshrame. We dressed in our finest and most formal clothes, and waited.
The sun was more than halfway out [accurately placing the time at somewhere between nine minutes and nine hours after noon; Sythyry is being intentionally vague here. -bb] when a smallish and haphazardish procession passed by the wicker bordello, out the gate in Eigrach's unimpressive wall. When our Extremely Assistantful Lookout (Quendry) noticed them and sounded the alarm, we descended a staircase and formed our own medium-sized-ish and haphazardish procession to meet them.
The Herald Harulse was a tall Herethroy woman, brilliant green of shell, with spark-twinkles tied to her antennae and a sort of caftan of alternating stripes of purple and shell-matching green. She carried a staff covered with bells in two hands, and a large bullhorn in the other two.
The Mayor Mmixamk was a pure-black Cani man wearing formal purple robes and black ribbons that would not have been out of place on a minor official -- a baliff, say, or a minister's secretary -- of the Duke of Vheshrame's court when I was young. If he came there today, he'd look like a clown. Still, he wore the ceremonial diamond-and-copper tiara of mayoriality.
The Sorceress Aiziju was a brick-and-white Rassimel woman with tight stripes on her fur. She was the only one who had not dressed formally for the event; she was wearing a stained ex-white tunic and a pair of quite revealing shorts. She is 378 years old last 17 Oix, and looks at least twice that. She is the only person on Srineia that I have met before.
The Others were a half-dozen assorted notables of assorted species whose names and ranks I would have to ask Kantele to tell me.
Harulse:"Bow, bow, bow and become mitescent, ye foreigners and dwellers in pessundated lands! Now approaching you in all dignity and honor is the grand and unequalled Mayor of Eigrach!" She was using her ceremonial bullhorn; it was not needed from ten feet off.
We bowed, because that's good manners. Aiziju winked.
Harulse:"Now, by the amorevulous command of the great Mayor Mmixamk, you-huh-dono are permitted to rise, to stand up straight and erect for the first time upon the noble soil of Eigrach Mene!"
So we did that too.
Mmixamk:"Ah, yes, quite a pleasure, quite, welcome to Eigrach and all that, it's definitely, promoting tourism, distinguished, very much so, highly, Ketheria, extraordinary. Lenkasia, was it?"
Kantele:"We are pleased to present the Ambassador from Vheshrame, and the credentials thereof, to the most lordly and supreme Mayor of Eigrach!" She held the parchment out to the Mayor.
Mmixamk:"Oh, Vheshrame, Vheshrame, that's the place, wonderful, so happy, not very many, but plenty, don't you know?"
Harulse:"The great Mayor of Eigrach deigns to accept the embassy of the noble city of Vheshrame to the noble city of Eigrach!"
All of the attendants cheered, so we all cheered too. The formalities continued similarly for two very long minutes.
Mmixamk:"Welcome, happiness, prosperity, all of that stuff, lots of things, it's about time, don't you know?"
Harulse:"The Ceremony of Bewelcoming is Concluded. Our Visitors from Afar are officially permitted to place one foot and then another upon the soil of Mother Eigrach, and, from doing so, to perambulate this way and that all through our noble country! By which it is to be understood that visitors from Vheshrame are forever to be welcome in the noble country of Eigrach!"
Kantele:"Wonderful! Would you-nob care to partake of a modest repast of traditional Vheshrame delicacies?"
Mmixamk:"Oh, quite important, any time now!"
Harulse:"The noble Mayor of Eigrach respectfully declines your invitation, but wishes to invite you to a modest repast three days hence at the Mayoral Palace."
Me:"We are delighted to accept."
And, so saying, the Mayor and two of the attendants wandered back to the city, and the rest stayed and chatted as several liveried wrongfolk set up folding tables and chairs on the lawn. They brought forth some of our traditional delicacies: poptaloops, skewered chub beetles with chili cream, skewered mice in the style of Mrasteia (which have over the last century become a staple served at every restaurant in Vheshrame), and this and that and the other. Nobles and wrongfolk partook, and chatted, and it was reasonably friendly.
Aiziju:"Ah, Sythyry. I-hero am glad you've come. And I do hope you're here in a professional as well as a personal capacity."
Me:"Well ... which profession do you need particularly?"