Lunch With Thery And Iska
I had of course intended the title to be just "Lunch with Thery", which is how it had started off.
"More pondygreen, Thery?" We had brought our lunches from our homes, Thery and I, and we were sitting on a sort of gangly spidery gazebo perched ominously on the edge of the upper level of one of the two-level boardwalks near campus, looking for all the world as if it were about to reach out a fierce buttress and snag a passing linguistics student.
Thery sounded more than a little dejected. "More pondygreen -- pondygreen at every meal now. I'm wearing a nasty tight girdle with pads that hold my womb tight, and make it hard to bend or twist for good measure. Cold baths twice a day. Lots of fur-brushing, with willow powder; that at least is pleasant enough since Yarwain does it. A very light levitate-the-belly spell which I won't really need for months yet but never hurts. A wreath of mint and hebrify under my pillow at night. Whatever we can find in three reliable medical books that we can arrange, that doesn't involve doctors."
"Is it working?", I asked.
"It hasn't failed yet. I am getting little darts of aches here and here, which could be a symptom of an upcoming miscarriage ... or, according to other books, could just be your basic little pregnancy pains. Well, not yours, but anyRassimel's."
"Mine would not be so little, no... when can you go see a doctor about it?"
"A month or so, we think. I am thinking of pushing Yarwain for sooner though ... but that's risky. The whole thing is risky. Oh! Hallo, Iska. Come sit with us ... you know what we're fretting about."
"Good noontime, Sythyry, Thery! I know and it is not mathematics. You are all still well I hope?" She sat on a foreleggy bit of gazebo and offered us dried prens. I took one. Thery took three.
Thery gave the same sort of complainsome answer. Iska nodded. "Hard hard, plotting against a countess with the possibility of a child."
"And Countess Gloun was distinctly irritated the last week with Mother, too. I wish this were simpler. Could I get as smart as you Iska, or as rich-familied as you Sythyry, and not have any debt..? No? I didn't think so"
Iska lowered her ears. "I would help as if I could."
"That's 'I would help if I could,' Iska." I probably shouldn't have poked her when we were comforting Thery ... honestly I probably should pretend to like her more than I really do ...
"'as if' means ...?"
And the conversation wandered off into linguistics, which was much more comfortable for everyone.