Mirrored from Sythyry.
[Today's entry delayed on account of some horses and pie and things. -bb]
[This is not part of a novella, just travelogue. -bb]
First Day is, of course, the first day of the new year. It is also the anniversary of the day that the Herethroy and the Sleeth got created, so it is very much a Celebration of Primeness sort of day. Back home, that means a rather bumptious and sometimes ribald sort of festivity. Hanija is a lot more dignified about it.
They have parades. Parades, in a city of canals, are not a simple matter. They involve floats. These floats actually, literally, float. Not in the usual way, with levitation spells, either. They float on boats.
Which would work a lot better, I think, if Hanija did not have a thousand and seventy beautiful and decorative — and rather low — bridges. Well, there are some canals which have only high bridges: the Canal of Shippingness, the Rufjith Canal, and the four canals around the Ietunudaro make for a very nice route for masted boats, and, hence, tall floats.
But for most of the city, the bridges are numerous and low. And pretty! It is a rare bridge which does not have square pots of flowers spaced regularly on it, and a little shrine sort of thing in the middle. (The shrines are not generally religious ones. Lots of them are devoted to some civic virtue — my favorite cafe is across the Bridge of Linoth and Sapei-Yobung, which has a very pretty little shrine to Behaving Respectfully To Those Of Lesser Rank Than Onesself. Some are to some particular person, which I think usually is someone who paid for the bridge. Or sporting teams, or, in one particularly egregious case, the addition of the letters “-f” and “-ng” to the Hanijan alphabet, which in the Bad Old Days used the same symbol for “-th” and “-f”, and for “-ng” and for “-m”, and there was Much Woeful Confusion. One could not tell a tofyof (“tofyof”) from an adjective meaning ‘growing in the style of a mushroom or fungus’ (tothyof). Now the situation is clearer, in most cases, though I leave my own out of it.)
This means that parades going on most canals have to be low, and flattish, and altitudinally deprived.
So, we sat on the Bridge of Linoth and Sapei-Yobung, on the shrine to Behaving Respectfully to Those of Lesser Rank Than Onesself, and watched. I sat on Arfaen’s shoulder, with my head respectfully lowered, as befits a tofyof in the presence of zir keeper. Arfaen picked up bits of grilled liver and fish on teethpick, and fed them to me. I believe that the spirit of the shrine would have been pleased, if it had been real rather than metaphorical, which it was not.
Beside us were some of the other couples who were legally allowed to be transaffectionate in the streets in Hanija, being legally transaffectionate in the street. Which is to say, Phaniet was holding Este’s hand very nervously. (Mellilot was off to one side, staying away from her ex-lover Arfaen.) She kept looking around and dropping it when she saw other people around, then remembered that she is legally Este’s keeper, so she took it again. Legality gives one the most remarkable powers.
Oh, and Jyondre and Yerenthax were thoroughly wrapped up together, but that is not so unusual for them.
“When we make our own city, I think we should have higher bridges. That picture of Hrikkak the Mighty looks more like Hrikkak the Squished Flat By Falling Off A Very Tall Building,” said Jyondre.
“Well, that float was made by third-graders,” noted Este. “That may have something to do with how splatted it looks. Still, Jyondre does have a point. High bridges.”
“Why not have flat bridges with Locador transoins underneath them, so that very tall ships can fit underneath them?” asked Phaniet.
Jyondre scratched his head. “Isn’t that a very lot of enchantment for Sythyry to do?”
Phaniet laughed. “Well, it’ll be part of the crystallization effect.”
I looked up. “What am I doing, now?”
Phaniet patted my head. “Building us a city like a good little lizard.”
“You can wait ’til we get home,” said Phaniet, kindly.
I blinked. “Sweet of you to give me that permission. Do I get a say in the matter?”
Phaniet thought about that a minute. “Well, probably you could veto it if you really wanted to. But you don’t really want to, so no, you don’t get a say in the matter.”
I looked grumpy, buried my muzzle in my keeper’s fur, and complained about Cani until my keeper reminded me she’s Cani too.
Yerenthax asked, “Why will we have bridges?”
“To go over the canals, just like Hanija,” said Jyondre.
Yerenthax asked, “Why will we have canals?”
“Because Sythyry will want to attract all the Orren zie can to the city,” said Jyondre.
I buried my muzzle in Arfaen’s armpit and swore off Orren for life for the, um, I think it’s 178th time.