In Which Everyone Acts Like a Monster [24 Lage
(Or, “Official Vheshrame Scold-a-Kaiju Day”)
It is one flavor of challenge to scold someone who has just
committed a terrible crime on you. It is another flavor of
challenge to scold someone who doesn’t seem to understand
why you might be upset. It is a third flavor of challenge
to scold someone who is your only way to get home from some
ridiculous distance away. It is a fourth flavor of
challenge to scold someone with a quite large audience of
I gave up on it, after a bit. Vae hadn’t apologized or
understood or anything.
Vae:“Let’s have some cider and
cephalopods.” She was speaking Umtangeian, of course.
So we went into the finest restaurant in Bfelmykh, which is
a hideous hovel called Shfreyn’s. You might expect the
finest restaurant in a city to have a clean floor, say, or
polished walls. Or platters — Shfreyn’s used big leaves
that they cut off of a shurikfry tree (there’s no word in
Ketherian for it) next door. When they remembered, they even
washed the shurikfry leaves.
Shfreyn herself is a mherobump. She looked rather perplexed
and worried when a pair of (evidently) primes walked in and
ordered cider and cephalopods in (evidently) perfect
(Aside: I realize that I don’t know that Vae and I speak
good Umtangeian. Her Ketherian is very odd — perhaps her
Umtangeian is just as odd.)
Cider comes quickly. It is, in this case, the juice of
apples and ginger-roots and chili flowers and axacanthus
flowers, fermented intensely. It’s spicy and harsh and
potent, but it doesn’t catch fire if you breathe on it.
Well, even if I breathe on it. But it tastes as though it
We were waiting for the cephalopods when two yuldakai and
three hugeng stormed in to the restaurant. [Yuldakai are
stinking stretched-out Rassimel, with pincers around their
hands. Hugeng are huge levitating shrimp-serpents. -bb]
Vae waved happily to one of the yuldakai. “Hiio, Nthuur!”
Nthuur grew to double his original size, drew a sword of
hardened glass that couldn’t have been much smaller than a
Herethroy’s three-hander, and did his best to cut Vae in
His best would have cut me in half. I daresay his
fifth-best would have cut me in half as well. Vae, I
gather, generally expects trouble, and wears a vast heap of
ridiculous defensive spells. Nthuur’s sword was teleported
to the ground beneath Vae’s feet, turned into a very long
and very flaccid pickled radish, and surrounded by an aura of
Vae rather petulantly said, “Nthuur? Why are you attacking me?”
I rather petulantly said, “Help!”, perhaps because the other
yuldakai was growing and drawing a huge sword and looking
rather too eagerly at me. Vae absent-mindedly waved her tail
through her defenses and transferred a double dozen of them
The situation got rather confusing for a bit. Nthuur and
the hugeng assaulted Vae en masse, I think, and the other
yuldakai tried to attack me. I requested the services of
the seven-winged burning thing that my famous grandparent’s
famous apprentice had made, which seemed a bit more
appropriate and likely to be legal (well, by Vheshrame law
if not by Bfelmykh) this time than when I used it on
Milirant. I did have the presence of mind to try (and fail)
to spont Quick Instant on it. The yuldakai did try
to cut me in half, but Vae’s spell turned it into a flaccid
pickled radish. A flaccid pickled radish swung with full
force by a giant yuldakai hurts a great deal, though,
admittedly, less than a sword of hardened glass. I fiercely
flew up to the ceiling and tried to stay away from it.
The seven-winged burning thing disposed of the yuldakai — I
don’t know if it burned her so thoroughly that no ashes were
left, or whether she just teleported away.
Vae dealt with her enemies in her own way. When the fight
- One hugeng was a small and very ugly salt-shaker carved
from dung-mastodon ivory in the shape of a masturbating
- The second hugeng had several dozen of Shfreyn’s chalices
embedded in him, and was dead from so many wounds.
- The third hugeng’s legs were all turned into vicious and
angry serpents, and were striking at the hugeng’s chest with
poisonous fangs. The hugeng was thrashing around the room in
terrible pain, and seemed basically doomed.
Nthuur was spread-eagled on a rack sort of thing made of
very heavy amber beams, with his hands and feet embedded in
the amber. He was wearing a collar of braided devastations
which hurt my magic sense to look at.
- The front wall of Shfreyn’s Restaurant had been
transformed into a wall of scorpions, which were stinging
the other patrons.
Me:“Can we go home now? Fast?”
Vae:“Well … that we can.”
And three teleportations and two instants of falling later,
we were back in the grove by the Halflight Gate. Vae, and
me, and a still-racked Nthuur.
Vae:“Nthuur? Why did you attack me? It’s a
terrible bad idea, that much you know!”
Nthuur:“Despisèd Orren, I shall attack
you and any sort of prime whenever I find it
advisable. And, in particular, whenever I deem you
outnumbered.”He tried to teleport away from the rack,
but Vae caught him in something very nasty and
Locador-looking, and put him back.
Vae:“Nthuur? It’s most of my life you’ve known
Me:“He doesn’t recognize you looking like
that. He thinks you’re one of us.”
Nthuur:“You? Who are you?”
Vae:“Vaisessasilmin” She turned back to
her proper shape.
Nthuur got quite furious, and started berating her for
looking like a prime and thereby forcing him to attack
her. She didn’t seem to understand his point either.
Vae:“Well, if I let you out, will you not
attack Sythyry or anyone else around? For I’m here in
peace, not in war, and it wouldn’t please me to serve you
the way I did the hugeng.”
Nthuur would, indeed, be peaceful. He wanted to go back to
Vae:“Oh, surely! One moment, though!” She
poked me with her tail a few times, and put another pile of
defensive spells on me. I was, I’m afraid, a bit too shaken
to have much to say about the matter. Or to realize the obvious.
Three teleportations and two instants of falling later, we
were back by Shfreyn’s, and the yuldakai was free.
But of course a good part of the city was in flames. The
seven-winged burning thing had found a way to keep itself
amused when it didn’t have me around to defend anymore.