Bribing Vae [23 Hispis 4385; Eigrach, Srineia]
Bwipin wagged his tail. "Now, we have a few things that Vae might like." Phaniet lowered one ear a twelfth of an inch, so Bwipin added, "Though we'll go through your blasted Zi Ri to offer them of course. We already agreed that, Phaniet. No need to get furious about it."
"I suppose not," agreed Phaniet. "My arrow-wound is aching, is all... no, thank you very much, I'd rather have my friends take care of it back at home. More comforting that way, you know."
"Right then," said Bwipin. "We've managed to track down a rather nice hunting lodge -- constructed for the benefit of one of our distinguished counts of the last decade, wouldn't you know? But abandoned a few years ago when she lost interest in hunting and replaced it by an interest in geneological research. Blasted lot easier to carry out when you're missing a leg, right? So I'm afraid the lodge has a bit of an infestation of hugeng. It's in the Verticals, you see. A spot of cleaning-out -- our guards can do it, it'll be a bit of an apology for them, and they blasted well ought to apologize."
Phaniet wagged her tail slowly. "I can remember that. I'll have to discuss it with the lizard though. The little lizard I mean."
Bwipin nodded vigorously. "Discuss it 'til you're blue in the ... any body part you blasted well like! Nobody from Eigrach will be watching, I can tell you that!"
"Oh, dear, what are you hinting at, Bwipin?" asked Phaniet.
Bwipin snorted. "I think your last party blasted seven information-magi!"
Phaniet rolled her eyes. "I think they blasted themselves. They shouldn't be scrying on Strayway, anyhow."
"They learned that right enough!" said Bwipin. "Ho, does your big lizard like polished stone? Ach, who doesn't? The Mayor has a granite-topped desk, showing an intricate floral pattern in dyed granite and rubies. At least, he says it's an intricate floral pattern. Looks like some sort of giant soul-devouring space squid to me. But I suppose most things do if they're depicted in dyed granite and rubies. In an attic in the Mayor's palace, if you want to sniff at it. The Herethroy dusted it off just yesterday, you won't sneeze too much."
"Stone space squid table, one," said Phaniet. "I understand that."
"And, oh, what was that other thing, Mmixamk? -- Right, the stone swords. I do hope she likes stone. Five ancient stone scimitars, from some lost pre-prime civilization here, sharp as Flokin's cute little pinkie claws. I cut myself on one and bled all night from it. Not the sort of thing you'd put in your enemy's hands! But we're thinking that Vae's not our enemy and this way we'll show it."
"I don't think they'll make Vae much more dangerous than she is. After all, if she's chopping your guards' heads off with ancient stone scimitars, she's probably not throwing acres of countryside like an angry child throws poptaloops," noted Phaniet.
Bwipin poured himself a chalice of kathia, and then two more for the mayor and Phaniet without asking if they wanted some. "They cut both ways then. Double-edged scimitars, hah! They cut both ways!"
"I think I understand that too, then," said Phaniet, lapping at her chalice without much noticing it.
"Then there's the usual list of stuff and oddments. Incense, food, money, gems, clothing -- whatever we can buy in the city, really."
"In Vheshrame, Sythyry did a great deal of shopping. I imagine zie knows all about how to do that," said Phaniet.
"Think she'll accept all that and call it even?" asked Bwipin.
"I haven't the faintest idea. The only one I know who's injured her this much and she's still on social terms with is her mate. I don't think you did enough damage to impress her quite to the point of copulation though," said Phaniet. Bwipin looked a bit worried, so Phaniet added, "Actually she's quite loyal to Oixe; you needn't fret."
The conversation drifted around after that, and for not very long either. Phaniet did not have to feign weariness, or even blood loss.
Back aboard Strayway, Phaniet gave me some cley -- that is one of the traditional though unspoken duties of a wizard's assistant -- and I used it to heal her, while she told me about her negotiations.
"Thank you for doing that. I'm glad I didn't have to," I said.
"You look a bit on the half-melted side," she said. "Your feathers are drooping, and they've gone a sickly yellow-green all down your right side." Which they weren't and hadn't.
"I certainly wasn't in shape to deal with a mayor, or even a baron. Vae's been quite enough work; rather more than usual. She's quite upset: bit her heart out three times in the space of an hour," I said, exaggerating somewhat. "You deserve a token of my appreciation, though, too," I said.
"Beyond the healing spell?"
"The healing spell that you paid the cley for? Certainly, more. How about a couple of hypertrophied Herethroy?"
She snorted. "I'll stick with my normally-trophied Rassimel, Thank You Very Much."