Sythyry (sythyry) wrote,

Distant Wedding Bells [9 Nivvem 4385]

Mirrored from Sythyry.

We hired a dignified Rassimel man named either Kupozo or Kuhozo (I never figured it out), who wears a truly impressive corded orange frock and more ribbons than I could count in my whole life — or at least, more than I could attach to my body — and whose every action and movement bespeaks the gravest dignity and forethought. I am sure we are paying sixty lozens for the frock alone, with another forty lozen surcharge for the ribbons. Hopefully he will be worth it.

Kupozo: “It is unusual, to say the least, for foreigners to engage a solicitor immediately upon their arrival in Hanija. One might be moved to wonder if you have illegal — or potentially-illegal — activities to engage in.”

Me: “I don’t think so. Some of us are interested in the theoreticial ramifications and intricatices of the tofyof laws…”

Phaniet: “And some of us are interested in the most practical applications!”

Me: “And, since we have managed to get quite severely misinformed about them …”

Grinwipey: “We want what is red and blue!”

Me: “What?”

Lithia: “We want what is true, he means. Not that I’m worried about it myself. I’m already married”

Kuhozo: “For a truly remarkable fee — explicable only if one considers my costume — I will be glad to explain matters to you and offer both theoretical and practical advice. And as a necessary codicil to that agreement, I note that our conversations are considered evidence.”

The Crucial Question

Invincible Fire Demon: “The crucial question is, can a tofyof be a different prime species from the keeper?”

Kupozo: “Indeed, certainly. How could one imagine otherwise?”

Vind: “And can a tofyof be the same prime species as the keeper?”

Kuhozo: “Certainly, indeed. How could one imagine otherwise?”

Hrone: “Which is more common?”

Kupozo: “I should have to say that same-species tofyofs are far and away more common.”

Alzagond: “Is there any punishment or treatment for keepers with different-species tofyofs?”

Kuhozo: “No more than for any other legally-permissible activity.”

Alzagond: “Does this not shred the moral fiber of your city-state, rendering it as repugnant as a pool of rotting eel entrails left in the heat of the hot-Surprise day?”

Kupozo: “Ahem. It does not. People are going to take adulterous lovers, concubines, other-species lovers, same-sex lovers, lower-class lovers, foreign lovers, non-prime lovers, less-than-adult lovers, nonsentient lovers, conjured-elemental lovers, and all manner of such things in any case. No amount of law or custom could prevent that. The tofyof laws single out those cases which are not utterly horrid, and regulate them so that the weak and innocent are not harmed. The utterly horrid cases — adulterous, non-prime, less-than-adult, and so on — are of course altogether illegal. The rest, perhaps regrettable and perhaps merely inevitable, are made safe for all concerned. And what, after all, is the purpose of law, except to keep people safe?”

Alzagond: “I would hope it was to keep people decent as well. I suppose I would not say that someone who has fallen into transaffection is safe — that is a terrible spiritual injury!”

Me: “No, it’s not. Healoc Spiridor, and Healoc Mentador for that matter, do nothing at all to transaffection. Decency doesn’t exist.”

Alzagond: “Decency exists! You have simply never encountered it in your lifetime!”

Me: “Decency is like language, say: it’s not a substance that any form of magic can detect or manipulate.” (Which is only approximately true, even for language. I don’t know much about the magical treatment of decency; there is little theory and less practice.)

Kuhozo: “Decency is a legal concept in Hanija, and one that is not casually defied. The tofyof laws are entirely decent.”

Invincible Fire Demon: “So, what are the basic tofyof laws?”

Kupozo: “I now present a two-thirds-of-an-hour lecture upon that matter!”

Students: “We take careful notes!”

Practical Tofitude

Phaniet: “Suppose I would like to formalize my relationship with Este — the Rassimel man who was here at the beginning of the session but seems to have wandered off — under Hanijan law. What would I do?”

Kuhozo: “Well, for you, it will be difficult.”

Phaniet: “What, because I am foreign?”

Kupozo: “Because you are Cani. All of your spouses must also take him as their tofyof as well. This is difficult to arrange in most cases, and quite expensive. I have only twice helped a Cani family take a tofyof.”

Phaniet: “Well, I am not married.”

Kuhozo: “What? Not married, a Cani, at your age?”

Phaniet: “Precisely.”

Kupozo: “That introduces another set of difficulties! The laws concerning tofyofs generally require that the keeper be married according to the usual customs of her species.” He held up a hand to shush Phaniet, which somehow actually worked. “Extra legalities must be observed, exceptions which are routinely made must be made. Formalities only; they are never denied. Less of a formality: is this Este willing to endure the morganaticity, and accept a lower social status than you for the duration of his tofitude?”

Phaniet: “He does already, I think. I’m one of the captain’s closest advisors and friends, and he’s just a handyman and carpenter.”

Me: “A good carpenter!”

Phaniet: “A good carpenter, and the love of my life. And even in Vheshrame, a full step lower in social status than me.”

Kuhozo: “Allow me to instruct you in the rights he will have, and your responsibilities to him.” And a third of an hour later, he concluded with “Are you prepared for all of that?”

Phaniet: “I can’t insult him more than three times in one day? Or he can sue me?”

Kupozo: “I’m afraid that is the case.”

Phaniet: “I’ll have to watch my tongue then! Still, I get to inflict corporal punishment if he violates his tofyoffy duties?”

Kuhozo: “No. The court may inflict corporal punishment. It is an administrative manner, not an actual court case, but it has to be done properly. You cannot so much as box his ears, as you would an ordinary servant.”

Phaniet: “I suppose that will have to do!”

Me: “Do you actually swat him at all?”

Phaniet: “You do not need to know the full details of our soon-to-be-marriage bed!”

Me: “I am going to go hide in the fireplace for a while now.”

And so it is that Phaniet and Este are going to get married. Well, not married exactly, but Este will become Phaniet’s full and legal concubine, which is the closest any of us have come to that.

I am writing this while sitting in a fireplace in the dining hall. From under the table I can see the legs and tail of Yerenthax and Jyondre, as they debate which of them will be the tofyof of the other.

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