There is one sensible Orren in Vheshrame. (I think there is a cosmic law that each city has one and only one sensible Orren.) So I went to her bakery to talk to her.
Of course, she was pretty well distracted by her own family troubles, and by every Rassimel in Vheshrame Mene coming to buy their Nihondras Day cakes. But there was some sensible advice:
- Find out what actually happened. Did Spirshash have an assignation with someone else? I was with him for an hour and a third, or so. Oostmarine and Tillissa were fuming about three hours. And best if I find out in a way that other people will believe.
- Talk to Strenata. Perhaps she will believe me, even if others do not.
And some advice that is probably sensible but I did not enjoy hearing, and therefore declare to be foolish:
- If I continue flamboyantly trying to get involved with so many Orren, I should decide to enjoy being gossiped about.
Well, flying about town and interrogating people seemed like a good way to get thoroughly noticed. (Not that I want to get more thoroughly noticed, but my choices seem a bit limited.) Spirshash was nowhere to be found. Seeks-Justice Strenata was nowhere to be found.
Real-Eel was swimming in one of the Academy's ponds, and called up to me as I was hunting people whose names begin with 'S'. From her I collected the current rumors about me, arranged from least to most ridiculous.
- Knowing of Spirshash's marital discord, which has been devilishly slow by Orren standards to resolve itself, I decided that he would be better off single, and chose the simplest and most direct means of ending the marriage. Purely as an act of public service!
- Spirshash, angry at Oostmarine for favoring Tillissa over him, leapt out of bed to collect the easiest bit of adultery available; which, for an Orren -- any Orren -- is me. (I must admit that I snarled a bit at this.)
- I have been systematically sleeping my way through all the Orren of the city: at least a dozen lovers, each of whom I drop as soon as I have caught them. Spirshash at first spurned me, so I redoubled my efforts towards him. In the end I got him drunk on Gnessoise and he succumbed.
- I have been seeing Strenata of late. We had a tremendous fight, which included me assaulting her with a five-tentacled ice elemental in the ducal park just recently. (There was one there, but Clyn Tyn Avaratica cast it after being turned into amber, as part of the war.) In a vengeful fury, I seduced Spirshash and flung that easy conquest in Strenata's face.
- Spirshash proposed marriage to me, as a way of getting political access to Hezimikkinen, and his other spouses be damned. I temporized, but accepted a sample of the benefits for purposes of improved decision.
- I have designs on Dassiaturna's treasure, and this is a move in a subtle game to acquire it. (Further conversation: Me: "Who's Dassiaturna?". Real-eel: "This must be the right one, for you pretend ignorance." Me: "If you assist me in my pretense, I will give you a cut of the treasure." Real-eel: "Excellent. Dassiaturna is Tillissa's great-aunt." Me: "Ah. Leaving Tillissa's marriage as the most direct route of assault upon her." Real-eel: "What could be more natural?" Me: "A pie of chili peppers, candied apricots, wolves' brains, and liquid mercury could be more natural... but let us leave that aside. What is her treasure?" Real-eel: "A range of obscure tools for enchantments, which she inherited from some famous ancestor.." Me: "Ah. It has not escaped public notice that my attendance to and indifferent performance in a first-term Enchantment course is another bit of deception. As an immortal, I must be very old; as Glikkonen's grandchild, I must be an expert enchanter, and thus, only satisfied by the most obscure, out-of-date tools." Real-eel: "It could hardly be otherwise." Me: "Well, then: thank you for revealing my most hidden and dreadful plot to me. Let us discuss it no further, in case I let slip some hint of my next wickedness." Real-eel: "Very well then!")
Given all that, I wonder just what Seeks-Justice is actually annoyed at me for?