Mirrored from Sythyry.
Arfaen and I were getting divorced, so we threw a nice private party for a few friends that we thought would understand. Most of these friends were with us for our surprising and unintentional wedding, so it seemed only fitting to have them there for the predictable but equally unintentional divorce.
Of course, we also invited some more recent friends — and I use the term optimistically — like Greblakaan, the new head of the new Healer’s Guild. (Kismirth is big enough to have a proper chapter of the Healer’s Guild, and, I’m afraid, wild enough to need one.) Greblakaan and his pack of half-a-dozen same-species husbands and wives had only arrived from Ulmarn two days ago, and they were not yet used to the way that we do things here.
(I shouldn’t blame them for not being used to the way that we do things here. We’re not used to it either — we’re still making it up.)
Of course, this lead to some awkward conversations.
Greblakaan: “You seem quite cheerful, Sythyry. So may I congratulate you on your divorce from Arfaen?”
Me: “Why thank you, master-healer!”
Greblakaan: “If I am not mistaken, Arfaen is quite cheerful as well…”
Me: “I certainly hope so!”
Greblakaan: “A generous attitude, which I find commendable. Usually I should expect a divorced Cani to be reacting … somehow.”
Me: “Well, my marriage with Arfaen is not the usual sort.”
Greblakaan: “Insofar as you are a Zi Ri and she is a Cani, I should think not! Yet I should expect some sorrow — to the extent that I will stretch my imagination, in the Kismirth spirit, and pretend my hardest that it is a marriage of some sort.”
Me: “Well, actually, that’s not the unusual feature. Our marriage is more properly a concubinage — we are not equals in the eyes of the law. Well, in the eyes of the law of Hanija, where we got married.”
Greblakaan: “So she is celebrating her … liberation, I suppose, if I may use a slightly unflattering word.”
Me: “Oh, not hers. I was her concubine, not she mine.”
Greblakaan: “But she is your … cook, is she not?”
Me: “Yes, and quite an excellent one, too.”
Greblakaan: “Having tasted these stuffed chub-beetles, I must agree. You are a wizard and a master-healer, are you not?”
Me: “I certainly hope so, or you’ve got much less of a guild chapter than you expected.”
Greblakaan: “And she is…”
Me: “My cook, and, until about noontime, my keeper.”
Greblakaan: “One might expect that, if there were some social inequality in the relationship, a cook might rate below a wizard and master-healer?”
Me: “What? You have tasted her chub-beetles, and you still suspect this? Is your tongue deficient, man? … Well, there’s a professional inequality in the relationship. But it’s not a professional relationship, so I don’t see why that matters.”
Greblakaan: “I don’t quite understand, but I suppose I don’t need to. After noon it won’t be a social relationship either, which should simplify matters greatly.”
Me: “It won’t?”
Greblakaan: “Well, not an intimate one at any rate, and I should imagine she will be moving out straightaway.”
Me: “I should be surprised and displeased if either of those were true!”
Greblakaan: “I beg your pardon?” Greblakaan tucked his tail between his legs.
Me: “She’s not actually going to move away from me. I imagine you don’t wish to know any intimate details …”
Greblakaan: “I would just as soon not.” While Kismirth is The City of Transaffection, most people who have moved here so far are cisaffectionate — like Greblakaan, they keep their romances and other entanglements within their own species. Arfaen and I, and many others here, have no such decency.
Me: “… But we shall be living just the same as we have for the last five years.” Which, for those who care about the details, means that I am one of Arfaen’s dozen or so regular lovers and I-have-lost-count-even-if-I-ever-had-it-w
Greblakaan: “But, if you are going to live just the same as you have been, why bother to get divorced at all? Merely to confound the newcomers?”
Me: “You seem unfamiliar with the laws of Hanija!”
Greblakaan: “Surely you mean, the laws of Kismirth, where we are now! For Hanija is a distant city on distant Aradrueia, and its laws cannot apply here. Can they?”
Me: “Kathbeia, actually, which is a side-branch of Mrasteia.”
Greblakaan: “Further away still! What should I know about the laws of Hanija? Or, what should I know about them?”
Me: “Oh, the term of my concubinage was seven years, and it’s over today. We can’t really renew it without going back to Hanija. And that is impracticable as well. I doubt that they are quite ready to forgive us for our last visit.”
Greblakaan: “And with this intimate understanding of the behavior of tourists, you are seeking to make Kismirth a tourist destination of the finest?”
Me: “You understand!”
Greblakaan: “What, precisely, do I understand?”
Me: “Why we need large and skilled Healer’s Guild chapter here!”
Greblakaan: “Oh, dear.”