Sythyry (sythyry) wrote,

Originally published at Sythyry. Please leave any comments there.

Dining on a Ring of Fire [18 Lage 4261]

“There’s all people and magic birds watching. I don’t want
to chat here,” said Vae, and did something fairly
complicated with more Nouns than people usually cram into a
spell. I tried to resist it, without really thinking, but
that was hopeless: her spells are stronger than they are
complicated, and they are too complicated for me. The
essential world squirmed around and grabbed us in a closing
flower of straight and curved claws, and opened again, with
us sitting around the tavern’s table, on a circle of arken
wood that had just been air, with a rim of flame around the
edge. About six hundred miles above Vheshrame.

I asked, “Are we to miss the next courses?”

“Oh, cakh the bath more!” said Vae, and did something
insanely complicated. Whenever the later conversation got
too indirect for me to follow, I stared at it and tried to
work out what it did. The chairs still at the other end were
now animated, and looked like us, and would accept our food,
which would then be teleported to our table. Then the
illusionary chairs would illusionarily eat it, arranged to
finish when we did, so that the waiter would bring us the
next course. All done as a single spell, whose complexity I
estimated at about a hundred.

I am sure that everyone has figured out, by now, that I am
writing three versions of this history. The first is the
official report to the Duke, Kaim-Su, and Hezimikkinen. The
second is my usual journal. The third is a letter of apology
in advance to Yylhauntra. The actual conversation between
Vae and Seeks-A-Peaceful-Solution is transcribed in full in
the first of these documents, but I am suddenly stricken by
a worry of conscience about explaining to some monsters just
how we negotiate with other monsters, so I am not going to
write it down in my journal.

But Seeks-A-Peaceful-Solution got her peaceful solution, or
sort of peaceful. Here’s what it is:

  1. Vae formally apologizes for cursing those guards, and
    undoes the remaining curses. The city guard will pay for
    the uncursings that have already been done, and Vae will
    perform various elaborate magical workings that the city
    guard can’t afford on its own by way of payment. (I think
    the Duke has to pour some money into this as well, but Vae
    doesn’t know that and presumably doesn’t care.)
  2. Vae will swear to abide by the laws of Vheshrame
    whenever she is on Vheshrame’s territory — which, for these
    purposes, seems to extend to the Underneaths where she
  3. Since monsters are legally forbidden to go into towns or
    even farming villages in Vheshrame, and since Vae
    instinctively needs to get things from primes, people will
    be found to do Vae’s shopping for her. See point (1) below.
  4. Vae will put on a show of force making it clear to
    Vheshrame’s allies and enemies that she is ours. See point
    (2) below.

Point (2): A show of force

“You could put on some kind of a horrible good horrorshow a
dozen miles above Pshent. Something that would show off the
full force of your magic to the whole city, and, by rumors
and spies and broadsheets, to the whole branch,” said

“Not the full of it, but plenty, I will do,” said Vae.

“Not Pshent! Yylhauntra is there now! Zie’d probably do
something quite extreme … I’m sure zie has some tricks. Or
connections,” I squeaked.

“Oh, good point. Oorah Thrassen, perhaps? They’re not
aligned with Pshent at all. That’s a bit riskier, they’re
very good mages there,” said Seeks-A-Peaceful-Solution.

They chatted about what Oorah Thrassen can do, and Vae
proposed a truly impressive but utterly harmless show of
power. I laughed when Seeks-A-Peaceful-Solution suggested
it. I will not describe it until it happens or does not
happen, save only this: Floooosh will become rich.

Point (1): “people will be found to do Vae’s shopping
for her”

Seeks-A-Peaceful-Solution and Vae were discussing just what
the law did and did not allow. “You can certainly stop at
the border-post of the village and call to Greenspikes, or,
if Greenspikes doesn’t mind, send some sort of messanger
spell to call zir.”

“Is it Vheshrame city Greenspikes will go in?”

“Well, if she wants to, though it’s hardly convenient.” said
Seeks-A-Peaceful-Solution. “But someone a bit more
sophisticated, who actually lives there, might be a better
choice. Sythyry, I’m sure you’d be glad to help Vae out on
that, wouldn’t you?”

I’m sure I’d rather have nothing to do with Vaisessasilmin
ever again, nor any other nendrai. It is hard to convey to
someone who is not currently sitting on a disk of wood
surrounded by flames, floating hundreds of miles over
Vheshrame, where the nendrai had teleported me despite all
my efforts to resist it, without asking me, just how much I
would rather have nothing to do with Vaisessasilmin ever
again, nor any other nendrai. I understand
Yylhauntra’s opinion considerably better. I concur with

But Seeks-A-Peaceful-Solution had given me a glance when she
said that, a glance which said, “Saying yes at this
point is exceedingly important in ways that I cannot
communicate with just a glance.”

This in addition to the presumed inadvisability of offending
a kaiju monster when one has been teleported hundreds of
miles into the sky and is sitting on a flaming-edged wood
disk, and dining on a ragout of eels topped with grilled roe
sent up by a spell four times as complex as my best.

So what I actually said was,
“I’d be delighted to, Vae. I know all the best shops in
Vheshrame, but my stipend is only so large, and I’d be happy
to spend some of yours too!”

She giggled. I grinned. Seeks-A-Peaceful-Solution looked pleased.

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