RARU (Day 1128)
Ythac had picked out RARU because it was large and particularly careless about new members. «Though nearly a quarter of my subjects are in some sort of anti-dragon society or other, if you're a bit generous with the definition. Far too many to do anything about. And it's growing. I should just make a law that everyone needs to join a seditious organization and leave it at that. A few subjects might choose not to join one because of that law.»
He was right. Two RARU members were handing out fliers on the corner of Burrer avenue and Twelfth street to anyone who looked (a) hoven and (b) not like a gendarme. My hoven clothing was a very ordinary workaday tunic, blue and slightly stained, and a two-flounced skirt, also blue but not stained, and I wasn't wearing wire hoop insignia, so I got a flier
Are you unhappy with the current administration? Do you disapprove of the actions and the nature of the government? Do you find their actions unfair and inappropriate? Come to a peaceful demonstration at the St.-Larque Government Building an hour after Eclipse!
A pair of gendarmes walked past me as I read it, their hatchets thumping against their leather leggings. The RARU fliers looked nervous, and so I did too. (But my small white cat was brave.) One of the gendarmes frowned, and extorted a flier. He read it, and showed it to the other. "It is nothing, merely a silly advertisement for some concert or other." The other nodded. "Nothing we should be concerned about." They handed the flier back to the RARU members, and wished them a pleasant afternoon and a good concert. So much for the loyalty and diligence of Ythac's gendarmes. At least it is clear why RARU is so careless about new members.
The demonstration didn't have the fury of the one that Llredh had broken in Churry City so long ago. The St.-Larque Government Building stands stolidly behind a large semicircular amphitheatre. Someone had hung a banner reading "Dragons out of Trest!" between two third-floor windows of the Government Building. «A printed banner, not just casually painted on a sheet. They have used it before,» wrote Nrararn. « A weather-stained banner, at that, used many times.»
«Ythac doesn't have a government in Tublier. He's got a rebellion disguised as a city. If not as a province.»
RARU didn't quite hand out programs and sell expensive cups of very good fermented watermelon juice, but almost. They did have a table offering knit hats with the letters RARU around the brim, and pamphlets which would have gotten the writers burnt up in Llredh's breath if half what they wrote was true, and biscuits and cookies. I bought a hat and a cookie. «No, you can't have any,» I told Nrararn. «If you want to eat cookies, be an omnivorous pet.»
«I won't give up my fangs. Unlike some dragons,» he answered. So I teased him about the intimacies he's not giving up in that form either, and what I would do to him when I got him back to the apartment. I felt rather like Arilash to talk that way, or at least like an ordinary grown-up.
Then the speakers started. The demonstration had an easy rhythm. One person would stand on stage, being introduced in highly enigmatic terms like "Brother Red" or "Magistrate Turquoise". Many of them wore masks of the appropriate color, presumably so that the gendarmes would have to take the extra quarter-minute's effort to remove the mask when they got arrested. Not that the gendarmes were arresting anyone that day; they seemed quite oblivious to the whole event. The masked speaker would then propose a simple chant, which the audience would try and fail to chant in unison for a few minutes. "North, East, South, West! Dragons must get out of Trest!"
«What does that even mean? If they left one of those out, should we get out of three-quarters of the country?» Nrararn wrote.
«It's a geomantic allusion. A sign of active undeniability, like sweeping all the way around the compass, pushing dragons out of the land,» wrote Tarcuna. «If it went 'North, South, East, West', it would indicate completeness and completedness. You really need to be Trestean to pick up this sort of fine point.»
I chanted it properly.
«Everyone can tell you're lying,» wrote Nrararn, with a smirky spoiled-milk edge to his lie. Which is an ordinary taunt from one dragonet to another.
«They can not. I've got veriception blocks up.»
«And they don't have veriception anyways.»
«They don't. You, however, have a sense of touch, and can feel pain,» I pointed out.
«Torturing your pet cat in the middle of a demonstration will not further your purpose.» Nrararn wrote. He sprawled on the pavement in front of me and chewed his hind paw, carefully exposing his traditionally-feline genital region to me.
«Then you should be less obnoxious. Especially if you are hoping to twine me later tonight» I wrote.
«Jyothky? Has our relationship changed considerably since we last discussed the matter?» Arilash wrote back. I had not controlled my the Horizonal Quill right.