I have done Task the First, to find Spirshash and extract from him the story of the previous week. It is ugly.
|Date||Cani side||Spirshash side|
|Nivvem 20||"You know this part, Sythyry". Oostmarine and Tillissa break up in a terrible fight. Spirshash tries to stay with both. I leave for Threeze, telling Havune to keep an eye on Spirshash.||Oostmarine and Tillissa break up; Spirshash tries to stay with both.|
|Nivvem 21-3||Spirshash, Oostmarine, and Tillissa reconcile and break up (in some configuration or other) every hour on the hour.||Oostmarine and Tillissa each try to get Spirshash to break up with the other. He refuses. Oostmarine has a fling with someone (nobody will tell me who). Tillissa, angry at this betrayal on Oostmarine's part (unjustly angry in my opinion) rips up all the love letters that Oostmarine wrote to Tillissa, and mixes them loosely with horse dung, and wraps them as a birthday present, and has them delivered to Oostmarine. She is rather careless in this process; several letters from Spirshash to one or the other of them are in the mix, as are a couple of unpaid bills and some letters from Oostmarine's grandparents to him. Oostmarine is quite angry, and demands that Spirshash leave her. Spirshash is furious with both of them at this point (justly in my opinion) and declares both relationships emperilled. Tillissa immediately calms down, though she does go to spend two weeks with her parents for First Day festivities and a birthday or something. Oostmarine calms down too, and quite calmly divorces Spirshash: he refuses to have a husband who is married to someone that he hates. Spirshash mopes extensively at Havune.|
|Nivvem 24||Spirshash and Oostmarine come over to the apartment for the third time to complain about Tillissa, who has abducted various of Oostmarine's memorabilia, and destroyed many of them. Oostmarine is deep in his tears, and greatly in need of comforting. Havune notes that Tillissa could also abduct their common funds. Spirshash runs to the bank to prevent her (or, to preemptively abduct them himself); Havune continues to comfort Oostmarine. On the way back he is distracted into a kite-flying contest by Strenata and does not return for two or three hours. By the time he returns, Oostmarine and Havune are taking Tethezai's best advice -- and mine, according to Leiska -- about whom one should be intimate with, and how. (Leiska didn't sound terribly happy about this, and Havune had his tail between his legs as best as I could see with the blankets.) Spirshash is furious. Oostmarine curls up and refuses to say a word. Havune apologizes with dignity for letting Spirshash see it, but not for the deed-in-progress itself. Spirshash says with a big smile, "There is one thing you can do." Havune eagerly says, "I'd be glad to!", expecting delightful excitement too large for his own bed. "We shall duel, then. With spears," says Spirshash. Havune realizes just a touch too late that he has misread Spirshash's mood considerably; he attempts to evade the event, but only gets the promise that the duel shall be merely to first blood.||Oostmarine wants to move all his furniture and such out of the ex-trio's apartment. Spirshash is willing to help, but wants more people, and goes to collect Havune and thereby a whole pack of Cani. The pack isn't there early in the morning, but is supposed to arrive around noon. Spirshash goes to try to acquire some other strong yet diurnal friends. Havune politely offers Oostmarine a snack, including brandy. Oostmarine does not have a great tolerance of alcohol, and is lecherous when drunk, a fact which Spirshash says that Havune must have known (since Spirshash spent the previous night complaining about it extensively) and surely exploited, by means of refilling Oostmarine's chalice several times. When Spirshash got back, Oostmarine was nearly in water-shape from drinking so much brandy, and nearly burrowing under Havune's kilt besides, and Havune was rather more encouraging than discouraging him. Spirshash was thoroughly in his anger because of (1) Oostmarine was now in no shape to move, and he, Spirshash, would have to dismiss the four or five friends he had accumulated to help cart furniture around on a winter's day; (2) Havune should have had better manners than to be so visibly entangled with Spirshash's just-recently-divorced husband; (3) Havune had seduced Oostmarine by means of alcohol; which, under the circumstances, was just two degrees shy of raping him. I tried to add (4) Spirshash was jealous, but he denied it and said that he would have challenged Oostmarine rather than Havune in that case. I don't believe him.
Anger aside: Spirshash mainly considers that he saved Oostmarine from being quite thoroughly taken advantage of.
|Nivvem 26||The duel is fought on the campus duelling ground. Havune pays for the healer. Havune decides to let Spirshash stab him without defending particularly, so that the duel shall be fast and so that Spirshash shall be satisfied. Havune does not realize that Spirshash is actually quite good with the weapon. Spirshash strikes very hard indeed, and subtly, damaging Havune's entrails in some horrid way. The healer earns zir pay, but cannot heal Havune entirely at once; Havune's injury, with the spell on it, will recover in some days of rest.||Spirshash concurs.|
Havune is resting at home. Everyone he is engaged to is there tending him, and preparing for First Day in this way or that. They are generally somewhat annoyed with him. Cani are hot-blooded and liable to be lecherous, but ought to have more of a sense of responsibility -- to themselves; to their fiances, and to the miserable, emotionally vulnerable Orren that was put in their care. Anoof in particular said some variation on "If you wanted that put there, you should have asked me." Leiska, who was to be Havune's mate, still plans to be Havune's mate; also she repeatedly and fiercely pointed out that the laughy rumors of this duel will hurt her chances of getting a good husband. "And knowing Havune's tastes, you're going to need a husband and a half, Leiska," said Narngi. I do think Havune has lost a great deal of status in his family-to-be over this.
No Cani thought of it as Havune being disloyal to the family-to-be. I had to ask several times to understand this properly. They have various customs about who is allowed to do what with whom when. Since the engagement is not yet formal (strict fidelity is required during the period of engagement, though neither before nor after), and since Oostmarine was obviously not someone that might get married in (and in particular, he wouldn't be more married to some other family member, who should get to couple with him first), it's not out-and-out wrong. But the Cani did think that Havune displayed rather poor judgement to do it, worse skill to get caught, and abysmal wits to get speared.
|Spirshash, Oostmarine, and others (none of them Cani) move Oostmarine's furniture away.|
So, now a good friend of mine considers another good friend and roommate a nearly-rapist.
I asked Havune about it. Havune gives Oostmarine every bit of blame: Oostmarine's hand poured Oostmarine's chalice full of some rather expensive brandy three times, brandy that should be lapped delicately rather than gulped like rosemary vodka. Oostmarine offered this and that to Havune, "Since Spirshash is taking so long, and since Spirshash has seen fit to divorce me." (This is perplexing because Oostmarine divorced Spirshash, not Spirshash divorced Oostmarine; but I suppose that the brandy was not fully informed about the details of the events.) Havune was fairly sure that Oostmarine was trying to make Spirshash jealous -- to make Spirshash realize the full depth of his love for Oostmarine, and thereby to come back to him and/or choose him over Tillissa. Havune admits to not thinking deeply about this plan, but to the extent he was thinking at all, it seemed a good idea at the time. Or, at least, the physical attention seemed like a good idea at the time. But Spirshash was delayed, and it had evidently gotten somewhat further than Oostmarine had suggested by the time Spirshash had arrived, to the point that hands were starting tentatively to creep beneath clothing.
And there was giggling. Havune says that the giggling, beyond all other matters, displeased Spirshash; that Spirshash specifically bewailed the lack of amusement and joy in marital activities for some weeks.
So that doesn't sound like an all-but-rape to me. Of course, Havune is surely perfuming own his truth, just as Spirshash is surely bemerding it.
This is entirely hideous. I suppose I should be glad to have been away, or I would have had to pick Havune's side, or Spirshash's.
Who should I believe?
What should I do now?
Please advise me of anything else on this.