Two hours before noon, several wrongfolk were prepared for a picnic by the Zonsmi Oak. These preparations included:
- A bottle of Sgwarnog o Fryn 4308. Not the best brandy that we brought from home, but not the worst, either. Eigrach was barely civilized eighty years ago. They produce some decent brandies now, but nothing particularly well-aged, which this has been. So this should be a treat for our foreign, which is to say native, guests.
- A jar of very strong healing salve. Not quite from 4308, but from some time ago … 4380? 4379? I’m not sure. Adventuring-grade stuff, certainly. Not well-aged, but vintage eyebright is not so valuable as vintage brandy. Not to suggest that I’m terribly worried that Rehit will stab me through the heart again.
- Mr. Snootloose (Quendry’s rag doll). This was a compromise arranged in the kitchen. Somewhat thus: thus:
Quendry:“I want to go on the picnic!”
Arfaen:“Absolutely not. It’s too dangerous. “
Quendry:“Mr. Snootloose wants to go on the picnic!”
Arfaen:“It’s still too dangerous.”
Quendry:“Mr. Snootloose can go without me!”
Arfaen:“… I suppose he can. If he’s very very good.”
Mr. Snootloose has been instructed to remain strictly inside a picnic basket, and, like the rest of us, has been protected by the precautions taken by a wizard and a nendrai who are being determinedly cautious and a little bit worried.
- Sandwiches, pickles, grain balls stuffed with things (or perhaps with other things, they weren’t marked), sauces, small composed salads in packages woven from big edible leaves, and other food items, prepared by Arfaen.
- Swords, shields, armor, and bows for those who like such things.
Me:“They aren’t really all that useful here.”
Yerenthax:“Yet, if other beasts come, shall we be defenseless?”
Me:“We’ll still have the nendrai.”
Yerenthax:“Bah! Vae is dangerous enough, but she lacks the hero’s spirit!”
Fair enough, I suppose. I don’t really know. I too lack the hero’s spirit. Unless a bottle of Sgwarnog o Fryn 4308 counts.
- A jar of our very best burn ointment. No particular stories here.
The wrongfolk who finally decided to go were: me, Vae, Grinwipey, Windigar, Phaniet (who worked quite hard persuading Kantele that she could single-handedly keep the doom away from me), Este (to rescue Phaniet), Jyondre, and Yerenthax.
At the appointed hour, Thenel, Rehit, and their Herethroy colleague Sabatario flew up to Strayway in a specially-designed air-pinnace. The boat was a heavy wooden barrel some five yards long and three high. Quite heavy: the wood was a good fifteen inches thick. Everyone else found it cramped when we got into it, and I would have too if I had been biped-sized.
The hull of the pinnace was utterly invisible. It is a wonderfully viewsome sort of pinnace.
The Eigrachters opened an invisible hatch and hopped out, and we greeted at each other politely for a while. The only notable exchange, which I hope to Hren Tzen that Rehit did not notice, was this:
Thenel:“Phaniet, I believe you have an Orren shipmate named Bluelark. I do not see her here. She will not be attending, I believe?”
Phaniet:“She has pressing other engagements, and errands that must be performed. If I see so much as the tip of her tail, or the echo of her favorite spell, I shall give her such a scolding as will remove all the fur from her body.”
(Which is true: if I got caught as Bluelark on this event, and Phaniet scolded me thusly, I would surely turn back to Zi Ri and stay that way for quite a long time.)
Thenel:“I see. Very well, it is no great concern; I simply wished to know if I might see her again today.”
Phaniet:“You might, but I rather hope not. She is not the sort of person one would wish to bring along on a sightseeing tour such as this. She causes excitement, you know, and we will have plenty of that without her.”
Thenel:“I believe I understand.”