Mirrored from Sythyry.
The next day was extremely busy. It lacked the drama of the previous week, so I shall present it in a cursory form, so as to emphasize the calm and scattered nature of the day. I understand that such days are scarce in this journal. (Not entirely scarce in my life, actually. I don’t have doom every day. If nothing worth writing about happens in my life, sometimes I skip writing about it — though, more often, I write a meandering essay on the proper way to cook weed-pods or something equally inane, and then refuse to let my translator see it, much less translate it. (But today I rejoice in the not-worthy-to-write-about! So I shall write unworthily about it! (And you must read it and despair. Or rejoice. Or yawn. Or whatever it is that you do when you read of unexceptional days.)))
- Nangbang was duly untrapped from his extremely constrainsome bed, fed an immense quantity of fish soup, and pronounced fit to travel. Our entanglement or lack thereof was not discused. Breakfast conversation, with Nangbang and Eitharheinen, mostly concerned either Saza or the foibles of our common ancestors. Questions such as “What on wood are you doing with this Orren man?” were studiously (if unfortunately) avoided.
- We dosed Nangbang with tincture of elstromizarde, and set off in the same general way as yesterday. Nangbang was still a bit rattled and sickened by the teleportation, but not too badly. When we got to Vheshrame, we took him to a public pond, where he curled up on the bottom for a third of an hour, and was fine afterwards. I doubt he’ll have trouble on the trip back to Oorah Thrassen, with suitable tinctural precautions.
- Nangbang was then dropped off at the Temple of the Seven Gods. He immediately demonstrated his cisaffectionateness by seducing the Archdeacon of Hren Tzen, who, due to a lack of Zi Ri interested in the priesthood, is an Orren of considerably advanced years and few romantic prospects. At least, they seemed to be old friends from a series of priestly conferences, and Nangbang was quite eager to escape from me and treat her to an expensive dinner, so I will credit him with a seduction and not inquire too closely about the details.
- When I got there, Castle Wrong was as frantic and upset as a beehive through which a flaming rapier has been stabbed. Most of the Vheshrame wrongfolk were in assorted states of panic and despair, for they had recently discovered that the accounts which pay their salaries and maintenances had vanished. My return was taken as a good sign. My supplying account information of obscure banks on certain sub-Ketherian branches was taken as a better sign.
- Actually getting useful amounts of money from that far away will not be very fast (and that is assuming that Zascalle has not set up further traps). So I mortgaged a Know the Last Hour taliman (previous hour! Not terminal hour!) and a ferocious perpetual Bonfire Well, for a better arrangement than I could have gotten in Eigrach. (Being in my home city is really much more convenient.)
- I left strict instructions on what to mortgage next should need arise. I am rarely this fussy, but I seem disinclined to trust the people I have trusted for the last dozen decades.
- I made various efforts to procure suitable accounting and auditing. This insulted several people in Castle Wrong — “You cannot think that I would do what Zascalle seems to have done!” — and much time and effort was expended disoffending the offended. In the end various slapdash measures were taken, giving neither adequate security nor adequate inoffensiveness. They Will Have To Do for now. At least there’s not much money to steal, and I imagine thieves will think they are being watched.
Of all the things that Zascalle stole from me, I most miss the easy trust between myself and the other wrongfolk.
- I had my chatelaine start to make inquiries about buying land and other such permanences, since ~mother~ (and Saza, and Zimi, and others) is right. “You have no money at the moment — you are, in fact, in debt — so of course it is the perfect time to buy land!”
- I visited Vheshrame Academy, and informed Kantele’s appointed successor that he must take courses in forensic accounting. (“I already know arithmetic quite well! What more could be necessary?” — the answer being, of course, a thorough understanding of the ways that fraud might be committed and how such frauds might be prevented or detected.) He was not greatly delighted. I spent a great deal of time (a) calming him down, and (b) reminding him that I was paying for his education and needed him to know some useful things to go with the theoretical opera and abstract linguistics. I daresay I will be paying for an extra term or two. It will probably be worth it.
I was accosted by various friends, acquaintances, and enemies in the streets, and gave a variety of more or less incomplete and inaccurate explanations of what had happened and why I was back in Vheshrame. (Ranging from, “An emergency on my estate which I felt obliged to zip up from Srineia to deal with”" — mostly to impress Countess Annoyingly Always-Better-Than-You with the fact that I can zip a few thousand miles along the tree — to “Oh, they don’t make good poptaloops in Srineia, so I came home to get a bag of them from The Bakery Once Run By Floosh.”)
This, plus considerable irritation with nearly everyone in Castle Wrong, lead to me accepting a dinner invitation with the good and traff-curious doctor Milistra, who regularly hints at an intimate availability. She hinted throughout dinner, but was not actually available, due to an attack of the bloody flux. (She was not fluxed herself, but some fifty people were, due to some extremely bad catering at a wedding banquet, and she quickly became busy. I helped some, but not that much.)
- So, instead of that, I slithered off to find some music, alone, and instead found myself seated next to Delights-In-Whatever-It-Is-At-The-Moment.
Who is approximately my god-granddaughter or something; I was intimately involved — though not in the room! — in her grandfather’s conception. I stayed up too late chatting about justice, enchantment, music, fish, scrolls, family and mutual friends, fur-styling, the theory and practice of vacations, Eddy and the Swirls and several other musical groups, the state of music in Eigrach, and, well, that was only the first two-thirds of an hour. Delights is a very very Orren Orren. She is Orren the way that Inconnu is traff: determined to live up to every stereotype, even those that are flattering or largely untrue.
- I slept alone, in the fireplace where I have spent most nights the last dozen decades. Better than I sleep on Strayway.
I woke up feeling terribly homesick — in the sense of “This is my home, but soon I must leave it again.” I slithered down to the Lightly Scaled Refectory, and ate scrambled eggs with offirrah and scallions the way Jarmiet used to make them, prepared by someone who learned the recipe from Jarmiet, and … didn’t rush off to the enchantment room, because the enchantment room is mostly off in Strayway.
[RL recipe: A little bit of a strong Indian garlic pickle and a tiny drop of fish sauce is a good real-life analog for offirrah. Delicious in scrambled eggs. -bb]
By mid-afternoon, I collected Nangbang at the Temple of Accanax, and we decided to stay in Vheshrame another day, because it was fairly late and we wouldn’t get back to Saza before nightfall.