Perplexing the Innocent [14 Chirreb 4261]
Last year this day or so, I was told how to get to my first
classroom, including sneaking through the dean’s window.
Some of the other new students were sent on different paths,
including through the sewers, and, naked, through public
spots. I thought to myself (and many first-year students
thought out loud) that it would be better not to do that
traditional prank. At the time, though, I was looking
forward to doing that to this year’s crop of new students.
Now … A very shiny blue-green Herethroy boy asked me
where the Green Tile classroom was, and I just pointed to
Sprowlween Hall and said, “Third door on the left. There’s
a green clay tile on the door.”
He looked a bit worried. “That’s all?”
He stode off, looking very wary. The wind of his passage,
or the approaching thunderstorm, knocked my romantical hat
off. Seeks-Lamps dashed off and caught it, and teased me
about not being sufficiently tradition-spirited to give
If I’d been a bit faster with my tongue, I’d have said that
I am being swatted around far too much by older and more
powerful forces myself, and that I don’t really feel amused
to pass the favor on. Probably just as well I didn’t think
of that at the time, though; she might have taken it poorly.
We went to the Pavilion of Splendor to check on people.
Thery is still unconscious, hammered to paper by
getting forcefully dragged back to life so often, and with a
big sewed-up baby-sized gash in her belly.
Yarwain looks ragged and acts ragged. He is trying
to learn how to take care of a helpless baby and a helpless
wife, with a marauding countess on the loose nearby.
Fortunately there are many experienced people around.
Unfortunately some of them are Thery’s parents, among
others, who are dearly and instantly and delightedly fond of
Ficina, and not nearly so fond of Yarwain for getting their
daughter pregnant and as-good-as-abducted and
many-times-dead and all. We abducted Yarwain for a quick
lunch and some same-species backrubs on the boardwalk.
(From Ghirbis and Esory, of course.) This helped some.
Levande looks ragged and acts ragged too. Ficina has
not really figured out how to do anything but cry. In
particular she has not figured out how to nurse, exactly.
If you put her in the right place (with her body under
Levande’s arm and head at Levande’s bosom) and tug her tail
’til she starts to open her mouth to squeak and shove her
head against the nipple, she’ll sometimes clamp down on it
and start lapping and actually get some milk. Sometimes she
will realize that this is a good thing, and keep going for a
while. Sometimes she will realize that this is a good
thing, but try to breathe the wrong way, and choke on the
milk, and start wailing, and you need to pet her a few
minutes ’til she calms down and you can try again.
Sometimes she will not realize this is a good thing, and
start wailing, and you need to pet her a few minutes ’til
she calms down and you can try again.
The nurses can get it right almost every time, so Ficina is
Levande and Yarwain almost never get it right. “You
flinched!” — “No, you pushed too soon!” Levande didn’t
realize that she would be working so closely with Yarwain
when she put herself into this position, and they are
grating on each others’ nerves — and then sprinkling the
freshly-grated nerves with arhoolie vinegar.
The nurses noted to us that married couples always do that
on their first baby. Of course, Levande and Yarwain aren’t
married, nor do they even like each other very much. That
can’t be good, can it?
Ficina, the Little Fig, is far cuter than her name
might suggest. She’s usually wrapped very tightly in
blankets, or being held by Yarwain, a relative, Levande,
Iska, or someone. Her eyes are two wide shiny drops of
cave-water. She twitches her whiskers left-then-right, just
like Yarwain. That’s about it for Ficina herself now, at
least the parts I’m concerned with. I suppose there’ll be
I hope in the end that she’s worth all the trouble. Which
is a terrible thing to say about someone, especially
someone even more innocent of things than I am, but several
people that I care about have had many bad months because of
her, and I don’t think it’ll be any better now that she’s
here. She was conceived as a weapon against Levande, and
Levande is trying to turn her and use her against Yarwain.
Well, I suppose I need to go work on my own career of being
used as a weapon against Vae, and do the preliminaries for
the nendrai class.