Mirrored from Sythyry.
The Preliminary Interrogation
Me: “If I may ask a question about the customs of Hanija, what is the common celebration when one takes a tofyof?” I struggled to remember my Hanijan grammatical markers for questions. “Tasapahu?”
Zu-Sum: “Ropaf, you mean? There is not a great celebration, it is not like a marriage. A married person will properly give a treat to her wife and spouses, as fine a lunch as she can manage, but without the tofyof-to-be. Then after that the official filling out of forms happens, in the early afternoon, and the registration. Afterwards, the keeper and new tofyof take a private meal and night-together in an undistinguished but pleasant place. The next morning the tofyof comes to the keeper’s home, and the keeper spends the day alleviating any jealousy of the spouses.”
Heni: “Honestly, if the spouse is as uncivilized as I am, it may take weeks. Or if the spouse is as generous and well-behaved as Zu-Sum, it may not be necessary at all.”
Me: “I see that there is great wisdom in these customs.” It is important to say something like this when one is about to do utterly otherwise. “Still, most of us have no other spouses to placate, and may prefer greater festivities.”
Zu-Sum: “I cannot see why. Taking a tofyof is a matter of minor concern, and becoming a tofyof is a matter of, arguably, a small degree of shame. Are these things to celebrate?”
Me: “As we are largely transaffectionate, all of our relationships are a matter of some degree of shame. These are less shameful than usual, and that is what we will celebrate.”
Heni: [putting a hand on Zu-Sum's shoulder] “The customs of foreign lands are undeniably foreign to us, though undeniably dear to those whose customs they are.” It is important to say something like this when one utterly despises someone else’s behavior, but wishes to be polite and circumspect.
So, we rented a medium-sized entertainment hall in the Wezisef district. It wasn’t called the Wezisef Hall, but it should have been. We called for a vast buffet dinner, with a dozen of the most delicious and least intimidating foods of Hanija.
Dancers were procured. This also procured a certain degree of drama. I had hired the Yof-Bo Celebratory Dance Company to perform the Seven Gracious Movements, and the Yofhena Delightful Dance Company to perform the traditional Hanijan classic ballet, Tales of Yofpiji.
Any suggestion that I was enjoying the syllable ‘yof’ in all the names is entirely correct.
How could I be so foolish — so willfully wicked and wanton?
Yof-Bo: “What scorpitude is this? We see the wagon of a Delightful Dance Company outside of the entertainment hall!”
Me: “Yes… They’re performing after the ceremony, and you’re performing before it.”
Yof-Bo: “This is beneath dignity and honor! I would sooner cut off my tail than share a rental with them!”
Me: “H’m. How about if you leave before they start?”
Yof-Bo: “As you are a foreigner and thus quite ignorant, I allow you a third of a minute to retract that ignominious suggestion! After such a time has elapsed, I will draw my scimitar and relieve you of your tail!”
Yerenthax: [looming terribly] “I do not permit such a violence.”
Yofhena: [popping his head out of his supply wagon] “Oh! Oh, no! We are ruined! We have committed a terrible act! Surely our costumes and properties will be burned in a fire of vile skunk-maple for this!”
Yof-Bo: “And properly so! How could you dare to challenge a Celebratory Dance Company!”
Yofhena: “Only through the most dark ignorance — which this our employer has produced, as if zie were to fart a vast cloud of elemental miasma that covers the land!”
Yof-Bo: “Upon you and our employer I shall take a most dire revenge!”
Yof-Bo and two of his dancers started a rather tedious pavane on the boardwalk in front of the hall. Dozens of passers-by stopped to stare and point. “The Rite of Ceremonial Disgust!” they whispered. Yofhena knelt by his wagon and started to pound his head against it, very loudly.
Strayway Healer: “He’s going to hurt himself with that.”
Yerenthax: “He is not. The wagon-side is hollow and resonant. They use it as a drum.”
The Rite of Ceremonial Disgust proceeded, with Yof-Bo curtseying to the other two dancers, then waving his hands in big circles. Bystanders gasped in horror.
Me: “What should we do about that?”
Hall Representative: “I have no idea — nobody has ever been so wild-willed as to hire a Celebratory and a Delightful Dance Company at the same time before.”
Jyondre scurried into the Wezisef Hall kitchen, returned with a bucket of fish entrails and onion skins, and tossed it full in Yof-Bo’s face. Many bystanders yowled in laughter. The Celebratory Dance Company packed up and departed in a hurry.
Me: “You are no longer sharing a dance hall with a Celebratory Dance Company. Would you be interested in a somewhat larger contract?”
Yofhena: “Indeed I would!”
Four highly-placed and highly-dignified officials of Hanija came to perform the officiations. They were officiant, and efficient.
Unfortunately, the highly-placed and highly-dignified officials of Hanija had stayed for the Delightful Dances.
The Happy Couples and Triples
There was much rejoicing and happiness.
The Unhappy Singles
Arfaen: “Sythyry, I know you’ve been terribly busy, and surely continue to be terribly busy, but might you be willing to give me a bit of company?”
Me: “You look like you’ve been crying, or maybe trying not to. Seeing Mellilot marry someone else must be hard on you.”
Arfaen: “It is. I might get over her sometime, but not now and not for a long while. You look a bit sad too.”
Me: “I miss Mynthë. Zie would have loved this.”
Arfaen: “I’ll distract you if you distract me…?”
Which seemed like an excellent arrangement — one which I have made with her for far less of a reason than that — and so we did.