First Day, part 10 [1 Trandary 4261]
Havune brought a flock and a half of fiances, relations, friends, and nobody-in-particulars over, to feed them port in consomee and perform other Secret Cani Rituals (consisting mainly of telling jokes at each others' expense). I couldn't help investigating, though.
Sythyry:Anoof? Could we chat privately a moment?
Anoof:Certainly. Except of course that Leiska has compelled me to wear this enchanted ivory crab headdress, which reports to her instantly every word I say.
Sythyry:[Peers at Anoof's hat, which does have a little ivory crab on it, but no visible magic.] Is that a First Day joke?
Anoof:[Flattens his ears briefly] It is First Day still. No: the crab is from Leiska but it's just jewelry. As far as I know!
I tried to take him to my room. My door was closed, and there was much giggling going on inside, with voices including Dustweed, Tethezai, and someCani else. Did Tethezai acquire one of Havune's fiances, relations, friends, or nobody-in-particulars for further First Day celebrations in her own style? I didn't dare open the door. I acquired my own someCani out to the boardwalk in front of the house.
Sythyry:You've known Tethezai a while, they say, Anoof.
Anoof:Quite some years, truly. I am told that I pulled her tail quite hard at her third birthday party.
Sythyry:And, um, fairly well?
Anoof:There's well and there's well. A Rassimel's personality is a tall vase with perfume at the bottom. At the top you can smell it plainly. Stick your muzzle inside, and it can be overwhelming. My muzzle won't reach to the bottom, where the scent is strongest in its form as liquid perfume. The metaphor doesn't work as well for you, O squirmy-necked Zi Ri.
Well, if he had been Tethezai's Cani boy lover, he was no longer, and he might be bitter about it -- he might be complaining that he couldn't truly know her.
Sythyry:Was she always transaffectionate?
Anoof:Dustweed's not her first Herethroy, if that's what you mean. She couldn't have been more than eighteen [World Tree] years old when she went courting cross-species. [He chuckled.] And cross-class too. They say there's some definite good to dating gentlefolk of other species, but you shouldn't be caught in the bushes with your gardener's son.
That sounded jealous to me. Unfortunately I can get sidetracked.
Sythyry:What definite good is that?
Anoof:I think not so much -- it leads to your brother-brother getting speared by a jealous Orren in a rush! But the theory is that, since prime civilization gets such a strength from being made from eight species, that the leaders and epitomes of prime civilization ought to be comfortable and companionable with ... not all eight, but at least the suitable ones.
Sythyry:No need to be comfortable with Khtsoyis or Sleeth?
Anoof:I leave that to the Tethezais.
Did that sound a touch bitter too? The conversation wandered around for a while, without much more evidence one way or another.
Anoof:In any case, perhaps we could come to your question?
Sythyry:[Very embarrassed] Oh, it wasn't a particular question, exactly, and you've already answered it.
Anoof:[Blinks at me in that awful way Cani do when they know you're telling a white lie but they are being too polite to call you on it.] Well then, if you are fully and deeply satisfied, I should like another cup of port and consomee -- which, though he bought it from a store this year rather than making it, my conspecific beloved had done tolerably well with.
So that was utterly useless.