Walking with Hunter-Style-Slayer [5 Trandary 4261]
Of course she had gone to my home before stopping back at hers, while I was waiting for her at hers. Havune told her where I was, so she flew (literally - she has grafted a flight spell) back to her apartment. She flew the long way, getting a bit lost in the trees and buildings.
At the same time, I was quite annoyed with Oonspath, who had been flirting with me as I waited. He flirts with a quiet, self-confident energy, and he is certainly physically appealing to anyone who appreciates Orren, but his entire etiquette and manner of speech must have been dipped in honey-oil when he was young. I find him unpleasant at the best of times -- even before he cheated me at the Sloop -- and while waiting for Strenata he was wholly unendurable. "I don't know that she's coming back this evening, Sythyry. But you could do at least as well with what's available." (For extra insult, he didn't even seem to care that much whether he caught me or not.) After hearing that, I flew home the short way, threw myself in the fireplace, and, naturally, missed Strenata in transit.
And when I had more or less buried myself in ashes, she dashed in the front door, wearing riding leathers and a card saying "Hunter-Style-Slayer" in her hat, apologizing out of her mouth, nose, and both ears. She was very, very sorry! She had been out riding with Nestrune. The sun was going out more slowly than usual, making it hard to judge the hour. Nestrune had insisted on stopping for brandy at Lumber Swalle's, and, when she had mentioned that she had not eaten since noontime, he ordered roast pockers hunter-style for each of them. Over her protests -- she had even mentioned her plans with me. "Zie has considerably more time than I do, by virtue of being immortal. Zie has considerably less appetite than I do, by virtue of being small. And, in any case, a Zi Ri may wait for a crown prince."
"I might two-thirds have expected you to storm out of there when he reminded you of his rank. Knocking him over with your tail on the way out."
She looked quite embarrassed, or even disturbed. "It is unwise to knock over someone who is in the midst of buying you dinner, even if the someone is just a crown prince."
"I suppose so... still, if you ever wish to have someone buy you a hunter-style roast pocker, you need not stoop to asking a crown prince. A slight hint to a Zi Ri could easily suffice."
"It's not my favorite dish, to be sure. Neither do I fully understand why hunters are expected to carry with them butter, cream, snails, and fresh marjoram. Cognac, garlic, and crushed pepper are at least easier to stuff in a backpack whilst they traipse around the woods."
"And as a mark of non-favoritism you proclaimed yourself the slayer of it?", I asked. I was still more than a little jealous.
"I was not entirely pleased at sitting there eating it, rather than getting back. I ripped off a wing of it, rather than cutting it, and thereby flung a snail halfway across into Lord Parantharam's ale. Which caused further delays, as Nestrune must needs apologize to him at length, discuss dressage, and buy him more ale. After which he stuck the name in my hat himself, without asking."
"Strenata? I didn't know that you let people change your name around. I've never seen anyone else do it."
"No, I don't."
"Yet Nestrune did."
"Rather without asking me. And I've been too busy to change it again, rushing around to find you."
We bickered a bit about whose fault that was -- an exchange that did neither of us any credit, and which I would much rather forget. In the end I wound up apologizing. I am not entirely sure why, or for what.
"Do you have any paper? I think I'd like another name now." She fretted around, and finally settled on Vnel. Not at all her usual style even when she is not seeking anything, but she was not happy.
"Well, O Vnel, the sun has quite gone out, with this and that. Will you still walk with me in Ghaln-Yastrou Park, so that we may romantically and elegantly collide with trees?"
"Sythyry? Could we walk together tomorrow, at leisure, instead? I daresay we'll both enjoy it more than tonight."
"I suppose we might, crown princes permitting?"
"I'm not riding with Nestrune tomorrow. The day after," she said.
I'm afraid I hissed a bit at that. With sparks.
"I am hardly obligated to excuse myself to you, Sythyry! I shall ride with whomever I need to ride; I shall walk with whomever it pleases me to walk, and..." She stopped abruptly. "And I think that no further words will do any good, tonight." She cast her flight spell again, and took off, going the long way.
And after I finish this paragraph, I will go bury myself in ashes again.