There was a scratching at my window, very late last night, and a hissing Orren voice whispering "Sythyry! Sythyry!"
So of course Tethezai untwined Dustweed's left arm from her shoulder and zir other left arm from her rump and zir right arm from under zir neck and zir other right arm from her bosom, and hopped up to look out the little chunks of cut-up bottle that give us daylight in cold times. Cold daytimes, anyways.
Outside was Spirshash, blinking in. He squeaked. "Tethezai! What are you doing in Sythyry's bedroom?"
"Zie's hired me as the new doorman," said Tethezai in a very reasonable tone of voice. "Shall I announce you, then?"
By this time Dustweed and I were awake, and snickering.
"Is anyone else in there?" he asked.
"There is Dustweed, currently working as the valet; there is Hezimikkinen, currently working as the butler; there is Shaliun, currently working as the sous-chef; and of course Accanax, God of Destruction, will be around shortly to do the sweeping-up. Which is to say, nobody but the hired help.
"Shaliun ... the Rassimel girl from Advanced Linguistics? She's involved with you too?"
"Oh, heavens no, not her. I never date within my own species, Spirshash. The ancient magic theorist that all the other Shaliuns named after."
"But she's dead..."
"Do you really think that would stop Sythyry?"
At this point, politeness (or perhaps common sense) demanded that I fly over and nip her ear. "Do be quiet, Tethezai, or I shall have you demoted to second undergardener. Spirshash, whatever are you doing coming around at this hour?"
"Paying you back. Can I come in?"
"Surely, surely, you know where the door is. I lent you money?" I have absolutely no head for accounting after midnight.
"You paid three lozens for that hat I destroyed," he said when he had come in.
"Oh! Truly, I would like those back, but I wasn't planning to spend them before daybreak anyways. Tethezai can just wait for her wages."
"That I shan't! I'll be stealing from your cabinets shortly!", she said. (I had invited him into the bedroom. It seemed sensible, even to a sleey lizard's mind, to have witnesses and chaperones. Not that Tethezai and Dustweed would be anyone's first and second choice for chaperone -- well, not anybody innocent's choice -- but waking Havune seemed unkind and I would just as soon not have Dubaille witness anything of note.)
He blinked. "Well, I was feeling tremendously guilty for making you pay."
"That's quite kind of you, but it's really not that urgent.
"Tillissa and Oostmarine have forbidden me to speak to you again," he said.
"Is that why you are sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night to speak to me?"
"I couldn't leave you un-paid-back!" he wailed.
"Is that your true and honest reason?" I was rather expecting some sort of declaration of love, for me or for Oonway, or perhaps even for Strenata or someone I couldn't imagine.
"You might have thought I had asked them to forbid me, as a way to not pay you back!"
"You're not notably parsimonious. And we do know a few of the same people. I daresay that a few lozens placed into Tethezai's hand, or Havune's, might well have made their way back to me not greatly diminished."
His ears went flat. "I never thought of that."
"You've been in a wild rush all day, haven't you, Spirshash?" said Dustweed.
"A bit of one, perhaps."
Zie patted his head. "We'll, you're all paid up now. Go home, snuggle with your husband and wife, and act reasonable."
When he was gone, zie asked me, "Sythyry, why is it you like Orren? Or even stand them?"
Well, their wild rushes are cute. Dangerously cute.