Shroom Doom [11 Thory 4385, Eigrach, Srineia]
I should write down some of the meal, because it really was exceptional and unusual, and I won't be having many of the more interesting dishes any time soon. (Unless I go back to Gutrumy House, which I might.)
I don't much feel like it, because, of course, of the doom.
Naturally there was doom at the poison mushroom restaurant.
Naturally it had nothing to do with the poison. That part of the meal worked just fine. The most trouble we had was with the big green glowing mushrooms, with an utterly exquisite flavor and an utterly non-exquisite amount of itchy poison. Since it was large, several of us made the mistake of cutting it up and eating it in several mouthfuls, and itching furiously for the last half of the course.
Also I don't really remember very much about the third course. I was distracted.
The Third Course
It was all quite innocent really.
Kantele:"The work on the skyboat has been a bit slow. Perhaps that's just because Sythyry has been working exceedingly fast and you're not ready for it"
Bwipin:"Well, yes, we are a blasted bit disorganized here and there about the guilds, aren't we? We're still trying to sort out the finances, wouldn't you know. Are we counting your ship repairs as 'road maintenance' or 'building that new sewer everyone agrees we need'? Not that that's your problem though."
Kantele:"But at least that fine gentleman Thenel has paid us two investigative visits and been attending to preliminary matters."
Bwipin:"Well, yes, though I must admit that's rather on his own initiative, since the lozens that will pay him for it are still earmarked for expanding some pond or other ... I suppose he's already gotten paid and well-paid for his efforts though."
There was a rather awkward moment, as most of us interpreted Bwipin's statement to mean "I, Bwipin, know all about Sythyry's little adventure with Thenel, and consider the lizard's sexual favors to be payment enough for Thenel's survey." But Bwipin had made a few references to our deviances before, and always with considerable smirking and sly words. This time his manner was just his usual conversational manner, without any special emphasis or winking.
Phaniet:"What do you mean?"
Bwipin:"Well, not him, quite. But Rehit got that quite wonderful magic sword already."
Me: [Thinking: "oh, dearie."] "Why is Rehit's sword a direct payment to Thenel?"
Bwipin:"Oh, Rehit is Thenel's fiancé. Has been for years, actually; they're taking their time getting married. Still, all in the family. They both think you're quite a fine gentleman and wizard, even if you are a bit questionable in some aspects."
Me:"Oh, I see."
Bwipin peered at me a bit worriedly. Cani can't read minds, but they can read bodies; I'm sure I came off as thunderstruck. Fortunately there's a Cani on my side, too. (A real one. All of us looked like Cani, but without the training of growing up Cani, we don't get the body-reading tricks.)
Phaniet: "I'm not entirely sure that last healing spell had a full effect, Sythyry."
Me:"Nor am I. Excuse me a moment ... and, where's the privy?"
Phaniet:"Over there ... Actually, I'll come with you, if I may."
When we were behind the ornate tapestry screen, and hopefully out of sight, I abducted Phaniet into a private corner of space and time, and exploded for a while. Along the lines of:
Me:"How could he possibly not mention having a fiancé?"
Phaniet:"You didn't actually talk with him all that much, from what you've told me."
Me: fume whinge complain
Phaniet:"And he seemed pretty shy about personal matters. Which isn't an excuse, just an explanation."
Me: mope grackle whine
And, for variety,
Me:"So, is he cisaffectionate or transaffectionate?"
Phaniet:"I don't know. Bwipin did say they'd been engaged for a long time. Perhaps there's something defective about the relationship: and perhaps it's that Thenel is traff?"
Me:"So what am I? The home-breaker?"
Phaniet:"You're the lizard with the serious crush, is what you are. I have never seen you like this."
Which is true. I haven't felt quite like this for over a century, before I met Mynthë and didn't date (or get disappointed) quite so much.
And of course:
Me:"What should I do?"
Phaniet:"Calm down, go pee, wash your face, let me brush your fur smooth, and go back and enjoy the rest of dinner."
Me:"No! I mean, what should I do?"
Phaniet:"Either break up with Thenel, or have a long and detailed talk with him and hear his side of the story. He is obviously a very private person; there's surely more going on than you know yet."
Me:"Oh. So I don't need to break up with him because he's a sneaky cheater and really cisaffectionate?"
Phaniet:"If, after you investigate, you discover that he is a sneaky chater and really cisaffectionate, I would advise you to break up with him unless he's a really good lover. Even then, you'd probably be better off with Inconnu, from a moral point of view."
Phaniet:"In the mean time, can you get collected enough to not be too awful at Bwipin?"
Me:"I don't care about Bwipin. He's not even your real friend. He's your clan-assigned friend, and he's more loyal to Eigrach than he ever will be to you."
Phaniet:"Of course. He's my real friend too, but just of a lesser degree. Obviously I don't trust him in all respects. But he's fairly good company ... you were having a good time chatting with him until two minutes ago in the real world. You just have to know what his loyalties are and what they require of him. Right now, they seem to require having an extremely delicious if poisonous dinner with us. When you're ready, shall we go back and enjoy it?"
I wasn't ready for another hour and two-thirds or some such. Fortunately it was only a few minutes by everyone else's time.
I was pretty quiet for the rest of the meal.