What You Do When You’re All Alone
«Want to know the best thing about having a world all to myself?» wrote Roroku one day.
«Not having one’s husband’s thunderstorm collection wake one up in the middle of the night, every night?» I asked, for reasons that need no elucidation.
«Being able to lie,» she wrote.
«You can’t lie to me,» I noted. The venstroma is as good as physical presence, as far as veriception is concerned.
«You, my ancient friend, are the only person I talk with as an equal: queen of a world to queen of a world.»
«You’re rather ahead of me on that score! I have to share with grosses of drakes,» I said.
«Exactly! No drakes here, and no dragonesses, and no one with veriception. If I tell a lie, no one notices. Except if they can fact-check it somehow of course.»
«Doesn’t that make you rather, well, foetid? If I tell three lies in a day, I get quite noxious under my veriception blocks.» (Mammalian readers may imagine being in a hot rubber suit, so tight and solid as to prevent all scent from escaping. After a few hours in such a situation, they may expect to be rather smelly inside the suit. Veriception blocks are about the same.)
«Not a bit so! No veriception blocks to hold the lie secret! It dissipates after a few moments!» said Roroku.
«I don’t think I’ve gone an hour without veriception blocks since I was six!» I said.
«I know! I hadn’t either! It’s wonderfully relaxing — freeing!»
«What great and amazing lies have you told, with your relaxed and freed powers?» I asked.
«That I couldn’t go to dinner with Dze-Ts-Kwy because I had too much to write, when actually I wanted to sleep!» said Roroku.
«But can’t you say something truthful there? Like, “I’ve got too much to write. I won’t be coming to dinner.”» Any implication that the two statements are connected is simply a mistake on the listener’s part.
«Yes but I don’t have to! And I didn’t!»
I’m not sure why this is a good thing — it sounds like farting in your own face to me — but she seemed pleased with it.
«Are you still friends with Dze-Ts-Kwy and Ka-twu-thu, then? How do you manage that and still be an angel too?»
«Nwa-Bher is a major religious center now. I — in my persona as Ro-Ro-Ku the Angel — maintain a pleasant residence there, and frequently confer with my kysp friends, of whom Dze-Ts-Kwy and Ka-twu-thu are the oldest and most trustworthy. Not quite up to the level of that Tarcuna you have, but that’s just as well.»
«Do you have other personas too?»
«I am Dwa-Neng, a scientist of indeterminate age and unclear origins, but an excellent reputation for making inspired guesses that turn out correct.»
«Guesses based, I presume, on analysis magic?»
Roroku wrote, «Absolutely! As Dwa-Neng I maintain a modest residence in one of Kyspert’s great cities, and have a circle of more or less casual friends. As scientists we enjoy sneering at the pretensions of angels and the religious hierarchy! It’s excellent fun, taking both sides of the social divide.»
«I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself and have found congenial company!»
Which is to say, Roroku is utterly insane, but it doesn’t matter, because she is all alone. Except for small people.Support this project! Show that you’re reading it by exchanging notes with the characters, other readers, the writer, and occasional other entities at sythyry.livejournal.com. And/or buy Bard Bloom’s books on Amazon, especially Mating Flight and World in My Claws, the prequel to this story. Also: Glossary and Dramatis Personae.