Where does one go, when one seeks feathers in Vheshrame? Or, if one is intending to impress someone else who does? The answer is obvious, if one is suitably well connected. One goes to the Ducal Menagerie.
The Ducal Menagerie is outside the city walls, of course. I saw few, if any, creatures which would be forbidden inside the walls -- so far as I know, at least. A dread and wicked conlee could have been labelled as an ordinary thirrline, and I could hardly have spotted the difference.
But I daresay that the Master of the Menagerie would be hard to fool; she is a Rassimel, and much of her days and nights are spent in the Academy's Zoology building, or in various classrooms. She's quite a nice woman, and, like any high-quality Rassimel, is delighted to talk for hours and hours about whatever interests her. Now I know the difference between small-eyed thirrlines, Bencubus' thirrlines, lesser reticulated thirrlines, Aradrueian thirrlines both crimson-necked and aquiline, and wasp-eating thirrlines, plus another half-dozen varieties that were not present in the menagerie. Strenata was fascinated, with that quick incendiary Orren interest, and the private exhibition was adequately interesting, so I stayed awake.
On the way back, though, Seeks-Feathers (Strenata) asked me why there weren't more people visiting the menagerie. She didn't seem to like the answer that, to see the menagerie, one must have suitable connections at court.
"Why should it be reserved for nobility?"
"It's the Duke's menagerie. I daresay he can do whatever he likes with it. And you could probably have gotten in yourself, if you'd talked to the Master, or taken one of her clases," I said.
We discussed that a bit more. She's distinctly displeased with the nobility of Vheshrame for some reason. I do hope she doesn't have any powerful enemies.... I suppose she likely doesn't. Anyone of any great political influence who actively disliked her could surely have, oh, exiled her, or gotten her flogged, or some such by now. And that she has not been.
At home:Thery introduced us to a Rassimel gentleman named Dubaille. He is in the final stages of divorcing the Lady Quissenden; he is eager to leave the townhouse that they shared for nine years and three children. His family fortunes are not the greatest --- I gather he married Quissenden as much for money as any other reason --- and the revenues from Nhopp Nhiffem (which he owns) are also not the greatest; he does the accounts for half a dozen bakeries around town. He is reasonably elegant of appearance, and he expressed willingness to be exceedingly neat for Havune's sake. When we described Dustweed's deformity, he simply shrugged. He seems rather ground down by his recent events, which certainly makes sense to me. I daresay he'll do for three months more.