Mirrored from Sythyry.
Bonus post, and many thanks to two people who made donations! Those donations, by the way, are going towards cover art and other production costs of The Wrath of Trees, coming soon to a website near you!
Beating up the Nendrai
And first of all, I got into a horrible fight with Vae. I simply said to all concerned that I was staying aboard with Vae for the first night, but they could go examine every fleshpot and/or tofyoferie — are there tofyoferies? We have never heard of them in our primary sources — and revel as much as they wanted.
And Vae rather snapped at me. “Sythyry! Not a bit of me is here for the purpose of keeping you from the bars and brothels of Hanija! The revelry and pleasures of the city are for you, they are for you now! The going-to-them you must make, and make quickly and instantly!”
“I’m not in that much of a hurry, Vae,” I said. “I’ll stay here with you.”
“Not that will you be doing! The terrible weapons will I unleash if you try! The bears made of ice from beyond space will I construct to give you your chasing to the gates of Hanija! The vast gap will I make where you fly, so that you shall fall towards that city! The roaring-out will I roar, so that there is neither rest nor peace for aboard Strayway, but only peace inside of city walls away from me!” proclaimed Vae, looking rather monsterous with her head all burning with putrid flames, and a hundred writhing quills on her back stabbing this way and that.
“Wait, what? You’re going to battle me out of my own skyboat, Vae?” I asked. She sounded serious.
“The battling-out will I make for you! The tomorrow will I let you back in, only, and for that at noontime unless there is a hangover upon you.”
I stared at her. “Vae? What is wrong? What do you need the skyboat for tonight?”
She stomped, scoring the floorboards deep with her foreclaws like scimitars. “The wrong it is that I entangle and encumber and interfere with your joys, simply because I am a monster and I am every sort of horrible. The wrong it is that, when we come to a new city, you must play nursemaid to a nendrai made of tears, and not see it and experience it. The wrong it is that I am a thick and sticky web entangling your wings in moping, you who should fly free and with delight!”
“Vae, you are my oldest friend. Taking care of you and giving you a bit of company is both my pleasure and my duty.” And on and on like that, and not entirely false though definitely not the emphasis I put on it in my secret thoughts. (And by “secret” I mean “I don’t talk about them”. I do write about them.)
Vae was having none of it. “And what sort of a friend am I, to keep you from every bit of fun this year, as I have this last century and more?”
“You’ve missed one or two bits here and there. Like, oh, Mynthë, and even Inconnu and Arfaen lately. And, well, quite a bit else. And you haven’t even been the most annoying person to me lately — Zascalle was that!” I said. And on and on like that.
Eventually Phaniet hit me with a sofa cushion. “Sythyry, c’mon with us, already? Make sure you’re wearing scrying emblems so Vae can watch.”
“The acceptable proposal is this to me! Not so acceptable are any of the other alternatives!” proclaimed Vae.
Very well. I’ll take on a nendrai any day, but not if my assistant is allied with her.
Hanijan Fleshpots and Brothels
Inconnu: “Guth-ha, sweet Guth-ha our hired tour guide, Guth-ha who knows all things about Hanija — where are the fleshpots, where are the bordellos, where may an appealing foreign Orren enjoy the embraces of native Rassimel, Herethroy, and Cani?”
Guth-ha: “There’s no such place like that, Sir Foreign. Hanija is always a very well-behaved city, very proper is here, sure. I can take you art show, nudes in the picture. Drinking, sometimes a bad thing might happen, when everyone all drunk, that would be you and your friends being together.”
Inconnu: “I have already had every one of my friends, except the Orren of course.”
Guth-Ha: “That is not how it is talked in public, Sir Foreign. Any of that happens in Hanija Mene, never say so, it is a very bad behavion and should not be said out loud. Just the married and the tofyof, that is all that is inside of the law. Very well and strict, is Hanija.”
Inconnu bravely pouted for a third of an hour.
It never rains in Hanija.
There is plenty of water. The wall is a tremendous bubble over the city, and there are a thousand canals that take the place of city streets. But it never rains.
This has done some very strange things to the city’s architecture. Houses are fairly small, even by city standards. I have not the slightest idea why they are, by preference, three stories hall and cylindrical, and barely big enough for one room on each floor (with external stairs), and topped by a tall mast.
I do know why each house consists of three, four, five, or six cylinders, spaced more or less evenly around an open courtyard of grass, flowers, vegetable gardens, boardwalks, fountains, ponds, and what have you. (In the poorer regions of the city, the courtyard is likely to be scruffy grass, with maybe a few cheap flower beds and vegetable gardens. In the richer — any sort of thing.) This is because the courtyard is the most important room in the house. It is parlor, dining hall, room of games, meeting-room — any thing which might need any but the smallest room is done outdoors. For privacy, they draw tapestried curtains from house-tower to house-tower, and only a flier could see in. (I didn’t peek.)