Mirrored from Sythyry.
Three Interrogations in One
The day after Senneth left, a nosy Rassimel showed up. He was not exactly our desired tourist either. He discovered the three relevant prostitutes — easy enough, since they were the three highest-class full-time ones in the city at that point. We have more now. As so often happens (when I am too lazy to report three similar conversations), the three had identical conversations with him, down to peculiar turns of phrase that serve for three rather different people.
Inspector Vector: “Excuse me, ma’am or sir as the case may be. I’d like to ask you a few questions about the recent visit of a Sleeth named Senneth.”
Prostitute: “I didn’t get his business. I don’t do Sleeth.”
Inspector Vector: “I wish to hire you myself — I am, as you can see, no Sleeth –, and we shall converse as we couple. A hundred lozens [$1000 or so -- a lot! -bb] will be your extra fee if your words satisfy me.”
Prostitute: “I am highly trained in the arts of conversation, having graduated from the Ulmarn Academy of Literature or a similar institution, or, in one case, being a pleasant and gregarious insect despite (or because of!) no formal training in such matters!”
Inspector Vector: “We’ll see about that!”
A variety of professional activities ensued. Inspector Vector is either a libertine, or willing to act like one.
Prostitute: “I have satisfied you as well as I possibly could!”
Inspector Vector: “Well, miss or boy. You’re not quite there yet. Observe these thirty-three lozen coins, which amount to the bonus I mentioned before?”
Prostitute: “With some difficulty, for they are balanced on my nipples (if I am of a species which has such things) and my genitalia (to the extent that flat places are available on or near them), and my neck is not so sinuous as it might be! Somehow, while they help conceal my most personal spots, wearing them as clothing makes me feel more rather than less naked than simple nudity.”
Inspector Vector: “That is because they emphasize your hireability. Earn your wages! Tell me about Senneth and you can keep them!”
Prostitute: “I professionally demur! And not in the slightest because I recognize the opening of a bargaining session, but because of my solid professional integrity, despite in two of three cases being fairly new to the profession and in the third aware in detail of just how integratuitous it is!”
Inspector Vector: “Observe this further trio of thirty-three lozen coins?”
Prostitute: “I cannot see them, for you have chosen to insert them surprisingly. But the glimpse of them that I caught en-route showed them as quite attractive bits of amber indeed.”
Inspector Vector: “Tell me about Senneth and you keep them too.”
Prostitute: “La! I shall keep them regardless, for any monies inserted in that particular slot are definitively gifts! Or, in one of three cases, I somewhat irritatedly proclaim that they are not shaped properly for that opening and a variety of useful and appropriate utensils are available if your own appendages are worn out and you still want to fill it.”
Inspector Vector: “Consider, then, this third trio of coins, fanned enticingly in front of your face. Senneth?”
Prostitute: “I sit up, I collect the nine nice coins!”
Inspector Vector: “Senneth?”
Prostitute: “We had an encounter on such-and-such a date. I invited him to my professional office the pretext of showing him my etchings and allowing him to taste my brandies, with the suggestion that a purchase of one or the other might be possible if he was suffiently moved. Having lured him in and plied him with flavorsome delights, I attempted to seduce him for my customary fee. Alas! He resisted my charms, nor did he purchase art or brandy. A most meagre customer was the Sleeth! Or some other such lie that makes the Sleeth come off looking good.”
Inspector Vector: “H’m. I shall replace those thirty-three lozen coins with hundred-lozen coins if the story becomes more salacious by far, and if it is notarized.”
Prostitute: “(a) I decline, I rather brusquely end the session, though I am sure to take the coins already earned. (b) I accept, and recite an encounter between a Herethroy maiden (which I am not) and a lusty tom-Sleeth in the greenwoods in spring (which this is not), based on a quite vulgar folk-song, and even get it notarized, and claim my nine hundred lozens for uselessly false testimony; (c) I attempt and even succeed in distracting Inspector Vector by professional wiles and activities, and wind up charming two of those coins from him as well as the monies already earned. Afterwards, I negotiate quite vigorously for his desired story, and manage to soak him for thirteen hundred extra lozens. I decline to explore the question of what I would have done had the story been more shameful, or had the Sleeth tipped better.”
Senneth and Inspector Vector made their joint report to the nobility and wealthity of Vheshrame. Not so much about the quality of our sex workers — I suppose they assumed that pretty much anyone who has genitalia or other appendages and is willing to use them can perform well enough. (Does anyone know if that is true?) But about their devotion to the privacy of their clients. Certainly the honor of many prostitutes can be bought — that is, in some light, the point of the trade. But the prostitutes of Kismirth did at least keep the price quite high, and did not provide the best blackmail material even for the high prices. Which is better, and less risky, than most prostitutes in most places.
(What that actually means is that our sex workers are smart — smart enough to recognize Inspector Vector as an information-weasel, and to respond in a sensible way.)
And over the next two weeks, we started to get a trickle of curious (and traff-curious) tourists from Vheshrame, generally from the higher classes and generally diving straight to the more carnal parts of Kismirth. Many of these were indeed quite concerned about privacy, and made a point of paying extra for silence. It took a year before we were getting as many tourists as we had hoped, and another year before we were getting a good deal more.