Mirrored from Sythyry.
(As is clear, I was not around for any of this. It is based on reports from certain of the principals, and on gossip, and, especially in the wording, on sheer fabrication. Of course I assume that everyone strives to speak in felicitious and even florid language, even in moments of drunkeness and devastation — that is, that everyone speaks like Inconnu has taken to speaking. Anyhow: Every newcomer to Kismirth has a story. Here is one of them. It is of course atypical, but at least it is no more atypical than is typical. — Sythyry)
Fennel folded his lower arms and pretended to pay care as his right-hand wife and mari scolded him. The two of them were taking turns. Nasturtium, his mari, said, “We know that you think Melna and Lovage are younger and prettier than we are.” Cressel, his wife, added, “And they’re fresher to you than we are.” Nasturtium said, “Though you’ve been married to them for three years already.” —- “One might think that the shiny newness would have worn off by now!” —- “But we’ve got a very definite arrangement!” —- “Right spouses get you five nights a week. Left spouses get you the other four.” —- “And it’s no fair if you go sneaking around to them on our night!” —- “Even if you do it in the afternoon or something!” —- “You don’t have a lot of chores in this marriage!” —- “And we hope that making love with us doesn’t count as a chore for you!” —- “But we think we deserve a full measure of your attention!” —- “And your passion!” —- “Especially since we are your first spouses.” —- “And, not to put too find a point on it, the actual nobility.” —- “Your title is just a courtesy title.” —- “No matter how much you wave it around!” —- “So you can understand why we’re a little bit offended that you spend all your attention and energy on them.” —- “And don’t have enough for us.”
Fennel sighed, drooping his antennae. “Of course, you’re right. Just like always. I was just delivering some eggs to Lovage, and … we got a bit distracted.”
He had intended it as an excuse, but there is no making excuses to a spouse in a fury. Cressel snapped, “And how long has it been since you got a bit distracted with one of us?”
“That’s not what I meant!” he whined.
“Well, what did you mean?” —- “That Lovage is appealing to you?” —- “And we are not?” —- “I can’t think of any other way to interpret it.”
“Well, you’re both so responsible. And important. People are always stopping by to see you, to get your permission to buy a new wagon, or to settle a dispute about whose strip some furrow is in, or organize the pren harvest. It would look bad if you were having a quick tumble in the middle of the day,” said Fennel, hoping that it would be flattery and that flattery would be helpful.
“And which of those are so important that they couldn’t wait an hour?” —- “And you go visiting your left-hand spouses even when it’s a holiday and none of that is going on!”
Fennel dipped his head. “Yes, that is all true. I have misbehaved, and I will behave better. In the meantime, may I do thus-and-so for you?”
“As long as you act like you really mean it!” said Cressel. “I’d rather just take my time with Nasturtium, who acts like zie loves me and like zie’s committed to our one marriage, than have a half-hearted trio with you while your head’s clearly in your other marriage.”
“I mean it, I mean it! I love you!” protested Fennel. His ssecret thoughts, and the source of his uninspired performance, were not for either his right- or left-hand marriage, though. They were for the printer’s boy.