Mirrored from Sythyry.
Nangbang took Treacle-Eyes into a small and secluded parlor, and used his promised one cley to block scrying. It wasn’t a very good block by Vae’s standards, and we could have snuck around it. We didn’t, except to keep half a magic sense out in case Nangbang were somehow blasting his daughter. Which he did not do, perhaps because killing her would have been a poor way to rescue her from a fate that was moderately better than death.
He came out of the parlor an hour later, scowling.
Me: “How did it go?”
Nangbang: “Ah, Sythyry! Just the prime I was looking for. I desire violence — I desire blood and blasting!”
Me: “From me you will get little save phlegm and fleeing! Though I have a fine nendrai not far off who would probably appreciate the exercise of a challenge.”
Nangbang: “Ah, Sythyry! How you have your little joke. I merely wish to borrow the teleportation device, for convenience in zinging off to the Verticals, where surely something shall oblige me.”
So I lent him my teleport arrow, three bound Heal the Awful Wound spells, and two defensive talismans. I had no great desire to explain to Pulla about how I happened to lose her husband.
The Meeting of the Brides
Treacle-Eyes: “What befell you when Sythyry tried to dissolve our upcoming nuptials?”
Lithia: “Sythyry was regretfully reasonable! Zie will take a role in the masque.”
Treacle-Eyes: “That’s wonderful!”
Lithia: “And what befell you? Your father stomped off in a cloud of violence, so it must have been good.”
Treacle-Eyes: “He agreed that, with a few minor exceptions, I would be permitted to marry you.”
Lithia: “What kind of exceptions…?”
Treacle-Eyes: “I have to change my name.”
Lithia: “That’s all?”
Treacle-Eyes: “That’s all!”
Litha: “That’s wonderful!”
The proceeded to embrace, bounce around the parlor, kiss each other, kiss Dorze (who must surely have complex feelings about the situation), kiss Inconnu (who went to gargle with cooking wine from having kissed a member of the same species), and dance a two-person version of the triafrella. The latter was interrupted by Lithia’s hourly cramps.
The Negotiations of the In-Laws
Nangbang: “Thank you for the loan of these devices! May I return these bound spells, too? I didn’t need ‘em.”
Me: “No, you may not. However, you may lie upon that couch and accept bandaging and healing spells.”
Nangbang: “I am making somewhat of a habit of accepting your medical services on this voyage!”
Me: “Well, try not to get too wounded tomorrow, for I will be back to enchanting, and that means using nearly all of my cley first thing in the morning.” It took a great deal of will not to flirt with him.
Nangbang: “I will try to survive the morrow unscathed! And many further days. Did you know there’s a chromodon lurking around out there?”
Me: “You met Shadatei? I do hope you didn’t irritate him unduly. Even Vae would prefer not to make an enemy of such as he.”
Nangbang: “Let us say, rather, that he irritated me. I simply offered to choose for my prey a beast that he wished dead, and he rather snootily informed me that all such beasts were long since his victims.”
Me: “Shadatei has graced us with his presence several times. That would seem to be about as friendly an exchange as anyone has had with him. So, what did you kill?”
Nangbang: “Oh, a thing like a smallish jack o’hooks that squirted nasty water jets at me, and yelled out painful shockwaves. I don’t know what it might be called.”
Me: “I’ve never heard of such a thing. Did you get the body? You could try writing it up and seeing if the biologists let you name it.”
Nangbang: “No body; it collapsed into water when I slew it. Or maybe it turned into water and flowed away rather than actually dying. I was satisfied anyhow.”
Me: “So I take it our daughters are still going to get married?”
Nangbang: “Our family honor is never going to live this down — never.”
Me: “Well, someone’s family honor isn’t. Marrying a stowaway, indeed.”
Nangbang: “My daughter was a stowaway; yours was a shifter hybrid. Not long after, my daughter was a legitimate passenger, and yours, somehow, was still a shifter hybrid.”
Me: “True, true. Will Pulla be upset with you for failing utterly?”
Nangbang: “Oh, great staring gods, yes! I must write to her today that I have lost — malperformed — missed the mark! Then, if I may prevail upon your hospitality for another two or three weeks, perhaps I shall ride out the worst of the storm in approximate peace, rocked only by the slow dismal waves of knowing my own failure, and the distant thundrous tsunami of Pulla’s epistolary displeasure!”
Me: “You may, of course, stay for as long as you wish. I can even promise that the most notoriously traff member of our crew shall not flirt with you.”
Me: “He’s Orren, you’re Orren, he’s not interested.”
Nangbang: “I had somehow thought you were making an actually useful promise.”
Me: “It would be uncharacteristic of my species to do such a ridiculous thing!”
“OK, that’s as close to flirting as I should do with Nangbang,” I thought to myself.
“But wait … perhaps I am actually cissy, given my night with Saza? Am I merely ogling Nangbang to prove to me that I am traff…?” myself asked.
I had no good answer, so I helplessly and hopelessly tried to act like myself. Whatever that might mean.
Nangbang: “Well, I should be safer here than in Oorah Thrassen. Even if I am required to beat off wrong-species suitors with a trireme, “
Me: “Is Pulla so terrible as that?”
Nangbang: “No. But I do not want to miss the wedding, if wedding there must be, and even less do I want to travel up the trunk and down again so soon. Your tincture saved me from the worst of the space-sickness … but ah, the flavor thereof, the awful flavor!” (It’s not that bad.)
Me: “Fair enough! We have plenty of room, and I imagine our expert staff of chefs can prepare food to the taste of the cisaffectionate, somehow.”
Nangbang: “What, do you eat different food?”
Me: “Not really. Though I didn’t eat much meat when I was all-but-married to a Herethroy.”
Nangbang: “Oh, one other favor, dear Sythyry, if we are to be in-laws?”
Me: “What is that, good Nangbang?”
Nangbang: “Please reserve such comments for those occasions when, for whatever reason, you wish to disturb and disconcert me.”
In case I had forgotten that I am — or appear to be? — in a less respectable and more vile social category than Nangbang. As is my ~daughter~.
Anyhow, I am sure there is something wrong with secretly ogling my soon-to-be-fellow-parent-in-law.
I am so confused.
At least Lithia seems delighted, which is worth something. Specifically, it is worth being cordial to Treacle-or-whatever-Eyes for a dozen years or so.