Mirrored from Sythyry.
Me: “Now we come to the regrettable part of the conversation.”
Bwipin: “What’s the matter, man?”
Me: “You notice, I believe, the hole in the roof, through which both Jyondre and I flew?”
Bwipin: “I do, by the blasting-god!”
Me: “It should not be there.”
Bwipin: “Hah! Where do you want me to put it?”
Kantele: “In the realm of Nullity, would be an excellent place. The realm does not exist; neither should the hole.”
Bwipin: “Well, we’ve got the best shipwrights in Eigrach on the job, just as we had agreed.”
Me: “More precisely, you have the best shipwrights in Eigrach cowering from at the job, far away. None of them has so much as looked at the ship. They sent Thenel to do a preliminary assessment, and — there the matter has rested for several weeks.”
Mayor: “Hand rule!”
Bwipin: “The mayor notes that the Guild of Shipwrights, like any other guild, maintains its own law and rules its own schedules. They take a free hand with which to write the details of their tasks and assignments.”
Me: “I know how guilds operate; I am a master at several of them. If the Mayor proclaims, ‘Behold! You are a bottle!’, the guild will say, ‘And for a high price, we will pour forth!’.” Yet — a high price has been paid, in part, and more parts are ready. But from the bottle, the cork has been drawn, but the wine not sniffed, and certainly my chalice is dry. Unlike, I may add, my parlor.
Thenel: “For which my apologies.”
Me: “I am not specifically annoyed with any particular person in Eigrach. But I admit I am irritated with the city.”
Bwipin: “What are you threatening us with, man? For your wings are mantled threateningly, and smoke drips from your fangs!”
Well, OK, that last was a bit rude of me.
Me: “I am threatening to take my business elsewhere. Heleshario has a smaller shipyard than Eigrach. They make racing-boats, though, so I suspect they are quicker.”
Bwipin: “What, this Belt of Jyondre and Yerenthax, going to our rivals in Heleshario?”
Me: “And the Ring of the Deglassing of the Jaw. I made it for a Herethroy, but any Herethroy could use it effectively — and there are two likely Herethroy heroes in Heleshario.”
Shejanp: “But — you made it for me!”
Me: “I did, and I should be most pleased if you had it. But there remains a hole in my roof, and much other damage to my ship.”
Rehit: “And my sword — my beloved Festina Lente?”
Me: “Rehit, you have helped me in an assortment of emergencies; you have exerted yourself considerably on my behalf. Without your aid, I should have no idea where my erstwhile accountant had gotten off to. If your city does not buy Festina Lente for you, I shall make arrangements separately. I do not wish to separate you two!” I am truly a Zi Ri, capable of stuffing so many double meanings into one phrase.
Mayor: “Unfriendly wind!”
Bwipin: “His Lordship the Mayor would take it as an extremely unfriendly act should weapons built for Eigrach wind up in Heleshario. We have been generous to you — we have given you an entire estate!”
Me: “Complete with a gigolo.”
Kantele: “Or, under another interpretation, a rapist and strangler.”
Me: “I should be delighted to keep to our original contract … or, rather, to continue to exceed it, since both devices I have built under its terms are superior to the ones agreed-upon. However, the contract was not simply that I supply you with weapons, but that I supply you with weapons in exchange for my skyboat being fixed. Does this clarify the situation?”
Bwipin: “Yes, it does, blast it! Sythyry! Why can you not be reasonable, be temperate, be mild?”
Me: “The first few weeks I was mild; then I heated up to temperate. Now I am being reasonable. What do you suppose comes next in this sequence, and would you like to see it?”
Bwipin: “This is not an acceptable situation!”
Me: “We agree! Indeed, I have rejected it already.”
Bwipin: “The guild can’t be rushed. The Mayor is not a member of it!”
Me: “Yet, somehow, the Mayor negotiates on its behalf. I imagine that some acceleration is possible, with a few gentle words in the right ear and a pat upon the right buttock.”
Bwipin: “Deuced fussy, you’re being! Aren’t you immortals supposed to be patient?”
Me: “Oh, we certainly are. Especially when we’re taking revenge.”
Bwipin: “Well, we’ll talk to your pox-ridden guild for you. Can’t promise a blasted thing though. And we shan’t be forgetting this!”
Me: “I shan’t be forgetting how your spouses treated my lover Arfaen when we got here, either.” Bwipin’s ears went satisfyingly flat. “I shall forgive it: to the extent that you manage to behave like civilized and honorable people otherwise.”
Bwipin: “Blas [...]“
Vae, on my signal, cut him off in the middle of his favorite word by teleporting him, and the entire party, to the city gate of Eigrach. I took her to the kitchen and started baking cupcakes by way of thanks.
And we shall see what we shall see. In a week, if Eigrach remains inert, Este and I shall make a few crucial repairs, and then … Heleshario? Vheshrame? Somewhere else altogether? Not Eigrach, anyhow.