In Which Levande is a Worse Monster [12 Chirreb
Yarwain was asleep on a couch, with Ficina cradled in his
hands as though she were the most precious thing in the
universe. Which she may or may not have been, to him, but
the other candidate for that honor was held together by
thread and Sustenoc, and probably wouldn’t be safely
holdable for some time.
So the rest of us arranged their life for them, of course.
Dathrynne:“We’ll have to find a wet-nurse for
Levande:“Is that hard?”
Dathrynne:“Well, it might take three or four
days. Which isn’t terrible: Ficina can survive on babywine
and boiled guntry’s milk cut with fish stock ’til then. I
do wish she weren’t so premature and fragile
Levande:“Hmm. Can a woman be caused to
lactate, in a hurry?”
Dathrynne:“Oh, certainly. It’s a serious
spell, though. I don’t know of anyone in town who
has it grafted. And it’s Mutoc, of course; it’s not
pleasant. Not that many people will accept it. We’ll just
find a wet-nurse, someone who’s already lactating and has
milk to spare; that’s much easier. I’m sure there is
someone — these things happen every week, and there’s never
much trouble for Rassimel.”
Levande:“I shall find someone who will accept
it. Can you get a copy and a person to cast it?”
Dathrynne expressed indignation at how Levande was bullying
the Healers’ Guild. “And bullying some poor Rassimel woman
with your full power as a countess to nurse this child! No,
no. Find a wet-nurse the proper way. Ficina will not
suffer for it, or not much.
Levande:“I have a volunteer.”
Iska tried to say something, but she didn’t stand a chance
against Levande’s mild expression of disapproval.
Dathrynne:“Within a ninth of an hour, since the
matter came to light, and you haven’t sent a message? I
doubt that! You’ve a servant girl you don’t mind ordering
to great indignities, I daresay, or even a slave.”
Levande:“I am a Rassimel woman, in case you
have not noticed.”
And Dathrynne had very little to say after that. Yarwain
might have, but he was asleep. Iska tried, but nobody paid
her any attention.
Levande:“Now we need the spell, and the caster
Dathrynne:“Draught of the Rassimel
Mother, is the one I recommend. It is a Mutoc Corpador
spell of complexity 20.”
Me:“It’s Mutoc. Could the nendrai do
Dathrynne:“If the nendrai knows her Rassimel
biology, she could. There are two hundred and eighty-eight
ways to do it, if I remember that class. Three of
them will cause no harm to anyone, and Draught uses
one of the three.”
Everyone:“Let’s not mention this to the
Arrangements were made. A copy of the spell would come to
the Pavilion of Splendor within the hour.
Levande:“And who can cast a Mutoc Corpador
spell of complexity 20?”
Everyone else looked at me. Cloak of Another God,
which I seem to cast twice a day or so and only my boyfriend
pretends nobody knows I do, is a Mutoc Corpador spell of
Levande:“Excellent. Sythyry, you shall graft
the spell immediately.”
I expressed various forms of hesitation and delay and
inconvenience and thinking-we-should-check-with-Yarwain and
such as that.
Levande:“Sythyry, you shall graft the spell
As a connoisseur-in-training of menace, I find that an
inexperienced countess far outclasses an inexperienced
nendrai at unstated or understated threats. Though I should
imagine that an inexperienced nendrai outclasses an
inexperienced countess at blatant shows of force.
Me:“It’ll take all night and more!”
Levande:“You are a student. You can stay up
all night now and then.”
Well … Yes, I can. I did. In the cloakroom of the
Pavilion of Splendor. Levande was waiting outside, and
brought me pots of kathia every two hours. She had to give
me the cley to cast the spell, but I am traff and presumably
don’t really mind embracing a countess of another species in
public. I distinctly prefer a Orren count’s sixth son to a
full countess though.
She cried from the pain of it. Still, she got off the
easiest of anyone involved. (Though she’ll need to put up
with it every few days — the spell doesn’t last that long.)
And Yarwain awoke somewhat later to the sight of his
protectress or archrival or whatever she is, nursing his
daughter, very clumsily, with help from a midwife or
something who knew how to trick a baby into nursing.
By all reports he was not delighted.