Mirrored from Sythyry.
I tried to do the right thing by my friends.
By means both ruthless and dictatorial, I compelled all the crew of the Strayway to attend me in the Grand Dining Hall after breakfast. And by “all” I did not mean “all save Windigar, who, as the pilot, is not strictly crew”. Neither did I mean “all save Mellilot, who is busy with the washing-up.” Admittedly, I did mean “all save Nangbang, who can take care of himself”, but Nangbang was there with his daughter anyhow. I tried to mean “all save Vae, who does not need to hear it”, but Vae was curious, so she was there too.
Me: “As I’m sure everyone knows by now, Zascalle and Thiane had some bad reasons for some of the things they did.”
Inconnu: “What? Like trying to steal all your money? A bad idea? I’ll abandon my plans therefor straightaway!”
Me: “Yes. I am none too keen on those plans. But she had some other reasons for things she did, and, much as I’d like to, I can’t say that they were bad reasons.”
Phaniet: “There’s no good reason for sleeping with a Cani!”
Este: “Garoof, but you don’t have the faintest idea what you’re talking about. I do it all the time, and hasn’t made me go crazy, or even gloot glorf glorf gloppsies.”
Quendry: “Are you choofing me for funny noises? Bonga-ponga zoid freng! Tartwit under the goppers! Sheeng, sheeng, sheeng! Bloop-boop-poop-poptaloop!“
Arfaen: “That’s enough, dear. Sythyry’s trying to talk.”
Me: “I am, indeed. And what I am trying to talk about is, this has been an unduly dangerous trip.”
Inconnu: “What? It has? Arfaen’s cooking isn’t that dangerous!”
Phaniet: “Zie’s talking about the moral hazard. Now that zie’s started sleeping with zir clients, there’s not a one of us safe from getting that rare and envied seventh tick on their traff tally!”
Inconnu: “Oh! Oh! Endanger me, Sythyry, endanger me!”
Me: “Your job title is ‘assistant’, Phaniet, but you’re working too much on the first syllable just now.”
Inconnu: “She should cease and desistant!”
Grinwipey: “Get to the point already, featherbrains. I gotta get back to my needlepoint!”
Me: “Right. Sky pirates. Teleportation effects. Blackmailer on board. Stowaways on board marrying the captain’s daughter. Half-wrecked ship. Helpful nendrai buying engagement presents. It has been very dangerous, and I haven’t been able to protect all of you from all of it all the time.”
Vae: (cries quietly and bloodily.)
Me: “I’m sorry, old friend. You’ve succeeded at controlling yourself in situations I was sure you could not have done, and I am proud of you for that. And they are not all your doing, and you saved us as often as you endangered us. I must speak clearly to everyone — if they let me — and that will not always be nice to you. You should go elsewhere, and I will speak with you privately afterwards.”
Vae: “Not, not, I have done wickedly, I will listen and be punished some more, and maybe in time the wickedly will be punished to the corners of my spirit.”
Me: “As you wish, Vae. Anyways — I can’t really promise that the voyage will continue any less dangerous than it has been so far. I have done what I could do to make it safe, but that is not enough. So, none of you have to stay with me — except for Windigar and Vaisessasilmin. Anyone who wants to leave, I will send home to Vheshrame where it is safe … or somewhere safe anyhow, for the non-Vheshramites of you.”
I folded my wings, anticipating a frenzied rush off Strayway.