The End of Delaying
Dustweed looked fiercely at Tethezai, using some secret lovers' trick to tell her to be quiet. Such things are presumably lawful, since they do not explicitly involve Mentador. I hope I learn more about them someday.
Which left it to me to explain matters to the Countess. "Well, she's not in ... and in all available honesty or sincerity I do not expect her back today." Nor for several days; she did not visit so often since she moved out, but we neglected to mention that to the Countess.
The Countess drooped. "Might she be with Yarwain, then?"
We allowed as how she might be -- though our information was uncertain, little more than guesswork, and, indeed circumstances could be quite otherwise. Tethezai, listening to us, had to go to the washroom and scrub her face, for her smirk at our intentional awkwardness might have done her an injury otherwise.
The Countess drooped more. "Might you venture a guess about where she is?"
Well, we might, indeed, venture a guess ... indeed, we ventured a great many guesses. She could be in Pratter's Inn, or, perhaps, Candledance. Or in Ghaln-Yastrou Park -- indeed, the park was a likely choice, for she had been known to stroll there several times recently. No, she had not, said Dustweed; she merely mentioned several times that enjoyed seeing the the Pillar of Incangiophor. Dustweed and I bickered about this for several minutes, ignoring the Countess entirely. Tethezai had to wash her face again.
The Countess drooped still more. "I really do need to talk with her as soon as I can."
"I'll be delighted to help!" I squeaked; an entire and complete lie. Or, an incomplete truth: I was delighted to help, but I would help Thery, not the Countess. "I shall seek her, flying more swiftly than you could ride your exhausted swifthorse through unfamiliar city streets..."
"... I was a student at the Academy. I lived about three blocks away from here ..." she muttered.
"... In any case, you cannot ride it over houses, nor see so far from atop him as I can see from the middle air. I shall go seek Thery, and return her to you ever so soon. You rest here!" And I darted out the window.
And flew directly to the apartment that Thery and Yarwain shared, where, of course, Yarwain was washing the dinner's dishes and Thery was sipping wine with pondygreen and pretending to do the next day's reading. The two of them were conversing in low, unhappy tones.
I scratched on the shutter, and Thery let me in. "Sythyry, thank you for the warning. Levande is the Countess Gloun, though."
"I found that out a bit late, thanks to Tethezai. I was expecting someone a bit, well, grander."
"Her mother was grander, but her mother died two years ago. Levande hasn't quite grown into her title yet."
"Oh... no, she hasn't quite. We delayed her for as long as we could." I explained our strategems. Yarwain chuckled. Thery strangled a napkin.
Afterwards, Thery struggled for words a moment. "Sythyry, that was very kind of you. If Levande had been an assassin, you might well have saved our lives. But as it is, we might be able to put this off for an hour, perhaps for a day, but not for too much longer."
Yarwain's ears flattened. "We had been hoping for another month or two."
Thery nodded. "It would have been nice to be, well, more sure that our child would not be miscarried, before I destroy my reputation and education and betray my family using the child as an excuse. Still.. Yarwain? Shall we ask?"
Yarwain nodded. "Yes ... Sythyry? We had wanted to ask you this in a more relaxed moment, but would you do us the kindness of witnessing our encounter with the Countess?"
I blinked. "How do you mean, witnessing?"
Thery said, "Just, well, be there and listen, and if anyone asks, tell them about it."
Yarwain said, "Now or later. The Countess might be more inclined to be reasonable if she knows that her deeds will be discussed ten thousand years ago ... and that, in all likelihood, the only mention of her in ten thousand years will be from what she does today."
This was a use of immortality that I had not really understood before.
"Of course, Thery, Yarwain."
Thery squeezed Yarwain's hand so tight that her blunt Rassimel claws drew blood. "Let's go, then."