Back in Strayway, in the parlor with the dismal couch, and a party which we had prepared in honor of Jyondre and Yerenthax before we set out, and felt obliged to have anyhow so as to avoid insulting the cooks and/or skipping treats.
Yerenthax:“False family fled, each foetid fang / bruised by bells that ’round them rang!”"
Jyondre:“What on wood are you talking about? I didn’t see any bells!”
Yerenthax:“Forgive me, my love. Though this be the hour of your gravest distress, I, too, am rattled, and my normally peerless staves are, while still peerless, not strictly correct anymore!”
Jyondre:“It’s quite all right. I love you for many reasons, of which staves are not the first, nor the second, nor even the third.”
Yerenthax:“My staves are not so bad!”
Couch:“Your staves are harbingers of the emptiness of all things!”
Me:“I’m so sorry, Jyondre. That’s a horrible way for family to behave.”
Jyondre:“I’m rather used to it, actually. I guess you’ve never seen me particularly upset — I do it too.”
Me:“You resort to execrations?”
Jyondre:“I say very rude things when I’m upset, anyhow.”
Me:“You’re quite polite now.”
Jyondre:“Well, I’m not very upset now. One thing though — could you check and see if that curse actually was the kind of cursing that does things, or just a nasty poem?”
Me:“Of course, Jyondre.” I inspected him with all the means at my disposal. “There’s no magical or physical force behind it that I can detect. Any twigs that find their way into your boots are probably just due to carelessness or squirrels the usual way.”
Jyondre:“Well, that’s not the only force. I don’t know how my old friends will react to me any more. Or my banker, for that matter… I may be relying on my girlfriend for support for a while.”
Phaniet:“Well, seventy lozens a month from Eigrach isn’t shabby either.”
Me:“And Castle Wrong, wherein you will always have a home if you want one.”
At which point Jyondre started crying. So a dozen assorted wrongfolk climbed onto him and hugged and petted him ’til he stopped, .
Inconnu:“What did you think would happen, going and kissing Yerenthax in front of everyone like that?”
Jyondre:“Why do you think I kissed her with the whole Eigrach city guard between me and my parents? I picked my moment most carefully!”
Inconnu:“Oh! You were expecting it!”
Jyondre:“Can you imagine the slaughter if it was just Yerenthax and me and them, and they discovered the awful truth? They would have mobbed me, and Yerenthax would have scattered them like chaff and flensed them fur from flesh as a falcon flattens a flaccid flounder! I was being nice to my family, actually. “
Inconnu:“Your ex-family! And does a falcon flatten … what you said …?”
Jyondre: [sighing] “My ex-family. I don’t know. Trying to keep the Gormormor happy; she’s all that’s left to me now.”
The Gormoror looked rather happy, at least at the moment.