I found Strenata in a market, with a basket of leeks and cucumbers. Her hat said "Dulcanny", presumably after the often-betrayed hapless hero of the short-story series rather than the current High Priest of Pararenenzu in Vheshrame or the secretary to the duke. Or to the purple-shelled Herethroy girl in Spelunking, for that matter.
"Hallo there, Strenata", I said, and settled on a green-striped awning of a green-striped Herethroy fruit vendor.
"I want nothing to do with you. I have nothing to say to you." She proceeded to say a very angry nothing about my behavior and ancestry for some minutes, and many people watched and cheered her on.
"You did, quite certainly, wound Tillissa's marriage more terribly than a blow with a jagged, envenomed copper sword."
"O Strenata, I've heard all the rumors about me. Not a one is true."
"O Zi Ri, I talked to Tillisa, and she's in her tears. And that's no rumor."
"Then they are tears of her own conjuration, for I've done nothing to give her them," I said. I was not being properly opaque of speech, for I was in my fury. In retrospect, that was a sensible thing to do, but for the wrong reason, much like the spell of that name.
"You and Spirshash together gave her them, for he mentioned you as an alternative to staying married to her. And by 'mentioned' I mean that he picked up your name, broke it in half, dipped each half in caustic soda, and crammed it in her ears."
"You can hardly blame me for that. I should be the offended one; after all, it's my name that Spirshash was breaking and dipping in his scramble for a weapon. In any case, he neglected to ask me if I was available as an alternative. If he had, I would have explained that I am not a large Zi Ri; I am plentiful for one Orren, but one is plenty."
She neglected to ask who the one was. "Well, perhaps you should behave more circumspectly around him in the future."
"That I shall not do. We never had fewer than a dozen chaperones the whole time we were together."
"That is not precisely Tillissa's concern," said Strenata.
"Tillissa has neglected to describe her concern to me! She asked me harsh questions and ignored my straightforward answers!"
"You are as straightforward as a serpent in a stream, Sythyry. You are as straightforward as your tail."
I had, of course, wrapped my tail twice around my feet when I sat down. When that was pointed out, a great embarrassment came to me ... should I straighten it out? Leave it coiled? Much giggling came from the audience! In the end I stretched it out, and there was more giggling.
"Well, if she wanted to know things of me, she could at least have waited for the full answers. I may take minutes, but I'm not yet so old that I take years."
Strenata shrugged. "She and Oostmarine were in a pair of wild rushes, all afternoon." She mused a moment, and then exerted that hideously annoying Orren power of easy and balanced judgement. "Well, I daresay you've got a share of the blame there, but not the only share there is." This is why so many judges are Orren.
"Why, thank you for divvying the blame like a Nihondras Day cake, and presenting each of us with our proper slice of it." This was not the wisest thing for me to say.
"Spoken like a true noble," she said, and turned stalked off to the next stand, where she tested a melon for ripeness so fiercely that her clawtip broke the husk and she had to buy it right there, underripe though it was.
It's time for me to swear off Orren forever again.
I think I'll swear off Orren forever once a term, whether I need it or not.