Cani Tourism [22 Hispis 4385]
Inevitably, Phaniet and Arfaen started off by dragging their families (Quendry, Mellilot, and Este) to the local headquarters of Clan Coryn. Inevitably, getting there was a bit of a quest, involving heroically asking for directions and mightily looking at streetsigns. And peering at every Cani that they passed by, until, at some length, a Cani passerby caught their attention.
Arfaen:"O Cani passerby, could you-huh tell me where I might find the headquarters of Clan Coryn?"
Cani Passerby:"Clan-cousin, I-colo-nob should be glad to assist you in this matter. For know thee-unhi this: that the headquarters of Clan Coryn are located in the green and grey longhouse all set about with arken trees at the roll'gainst end of Via Tydirdi. And all around it has been erected a fence of sharp spikes and interspersed thorns and prickers, so that certain riffraff shall not enter there. It is the longhouse of Lord Bwipin, esteemed of name and memory, and into his august presence few are permitted to enter."
Arfaen:"Oh, dear. Well, I suppose we don't really need to visit Coryn. Two of us are auxiliary members of Denn ... do you-colo-nob happen to know where Denn's headquarters might be?"
Cani Passerby:"Hah! Clan Denn? Clan-cousin, thou-unhi surely art moved to jest! For who might go to auxiliary Clan Denn, when they might go to Clan Coryn? Know thou not that, in Eigrach, the headquarters of Clan Denn reside in that realm of despair and despondancy and meagreness that is the fourth floor of the building whose first three floors are inhabited by the guilds of bakers and of cobblers, and whose fifth floor houses a branch of the public library of Eigrach? "
Arfaen:"Well, I am a baker..."
Cani Passerby:"Even so! How could such surroundings compare to the sweet terraces of Via Tydirdi, the garden of fragrant lilies which even now are in bloom, the gracious kitchen wherein at any hour of day or deepest night one may find our expert garde-manger and her assistants working mightly to prepare the finest terrines, pates, and sausages in all of Eigrach?"
Back in Strayway, where we were watching, Vae asked me, "The word 'our' is there! The such great luck Arfaenhad, to pick from all these crowds a senior member of the Clan Coryn household!"
To which I had to answer, "Well, he is wearing the Clan Coryn emblem on his hat, bigger than his ears."
Vae reared her butterfly-eared head at me. "And Sythyry, why do you smell embarrassed by that?"
"Well, the emblem is a stylized nendrai."
"Not a bit of one is it!" proclaimed Vae. "The long tail it has, but wrong is the face, more wrong are the ears, even more wrong the eyes, and nothing the slightest bit right is the body. The Clan Coryn minister must come here to me, and I shall help him to get his emblem right!"
"I think it's the same emblem that the whole clan uses, all across the tree."
"The world-wide clan offices are where I shall go, then!" said Vae, and it took me rather a while to persuade her that going there today would not fix the emblem any time soon, even if they instantly cooperated to change their many-century-old artwork. And it's expectable that they know what nendrai look like, and they are being deliberately artistic. And, of course, Vae's subspecies did not exist when the artwork was made.
Phaniet:"You have persuaded me, at least, and we do not yet have an affan-holder in matters of tourism and visitation. O Clan-cousin, I-unhi gather that you are a person of some importance in the local clan, if not in the branch's or even wider. Perhaps you could write a note of introduction to this Lord Bwipin? We should not like to intrude upon him unduly, but neither should we like to ignore our clan obligations, for we are newly come to Eigrach."
Cani Passerby:"Indeed, I shall do more than that! My sorcerous errands having been completed, I-nob-colo shall return home and introduce you to my brother-brother in person!"
Arfaen: [to Quendry]"And that is why you must pay careful attention to people wearing your clan symbols."
Cani Passerby:"Indeed, young gentleman! And, while we stroll through the lesser streets and inferior avenues of Eigrach's gate neighborhood, may I introduce myself? I-nob-colo am Jempjinga, treasurer of Clan Coryn upon all of Srineia; tree-mage; and, not incidentally, brother-brother to Lord Bwipin."
Phaniet:"And I-nob-edu am Phaniet, assistant to the ancient wizard Sythyry."
Quendry:"I'm Quendry! I have affan in funny noises and talking to the furniture!"
Arfaen:"I-unhi am Arfaen, chef in the household of Sythyry, and mother of this charming young gentleman."
Jempjinga:"And your non-Cani companions?"
Phaniet:"This Rassimel is Este, our carpenter; this Herethroy is Mellilot, factotum."
Jempjinga:"And your families?"
Phaniet:"My loyalty is entirely given to Sythyry and zir household. I have never married." [Which is quite an unusual thing for Cani, and not exactly true of Phaniet.]
Arfaen:"My husband and spouses are in Vheshrame still." She flattened her ears just a hint.
Jempjinga curled his tail a quarter of an inch, spread his whiskers a touch, and said, "Hm."
Arfaen froze, tucking her tail between her legs. Phaniet winced. Quendry howled, a high mournful howl that got half the street watching them.
"And what just happened?" asked Vae.
"I don't know. I don't speak Cani very well," I had to admit.
"And must I re-educate this Jempjinga, either with a display of excessive force, or a span of time in the body of a different species starved for affection?" hissed the suddenly angry nendrai.
"I can't imagine that being good idea," I said. "And we're certainly not doing it from here."