Tuesday, March 30, 2010

239 - Settling

The emerald was worth more than I thought and the clerk gave me change and a receipt. It was good that I had more silver chains and several gold rather than the gem. I wouldn’t have to risk changing it, out city.

Gannara was sitting in the window, reading, when I got back to the inn. Kaita had settled Ili for a nap in the room next door and Ailadas was still out.

“Hey there.”

“I bought Ailadas a house.”


“I bought Ailadas a house.” I put the deed on the table. “And he’s already carrying some extra gems, I stashed some in his bags in case he wouldn’t take it openly.”

“You did? Oh shen, so did I, when I thought…. oh kyash.” He leapt up and started rummaging in our various saddle bags.

“You mean you put some treasure in his bags while I wasn’t looking? And I put some treasure in his bags while you weren’t looking?” I started giggling. He sat down with his hands full and started giggling too.

“We think alike, brother!”

“Yeah, I figured he wouldn’t take it so…”

We were rolling on the floor laughing when Ailadas came in and it was odd. It was as if us being happy somehow lightened his face, his heart. “S… sorry… sorry… Ailadas… just a joke… not a fart joke…”

That sent Gannara laughing again. Ailadas settled down in the chair and picked up the deed while we were still struggling to control ourselves. “What’s this?”

He looked at it idly until a word caught his eye and then more intently. “I… own a house? In the fessas quarter? When did this happen?”

“I…” I was embarrassed somehow. “I… was walking back from the lake and… well… there was this place…”

“And you just bought it?”

“It has a nice fessas couple renting the basement apartment who want to stay. And there’s a roof garden and bedroom alone just under… it has four floors all together. Basement, a main room and a kitchen floor, four bedrooms and a sacred room on the second floor and a bedroom up top. You could live there and you could bring your sister and maybe, if you could, keep Ili and Kaita with you? I know it’s fessas quarter and beneath you but it’s safer… less obvious –“ He shook his head at me, cutting me off.

His hand was on the deed and he coughed and then got up abruptly, turned away… I wasn’t sure what to do and started to get up but Gannara waved me down. We sat on the floor, waiting. Had I insulted him? Had I messed up?

“…and you’d like me to aquire a pretend grandson more permanently? Have you spoken to Kaita about staying on as his nanny? She will be able to re-assume her proper caste now. I doubt very much that… he… will find us now.” His shoulders shook as much as his voice. “Ahem. Minakas, brilliant. I’m certain it will be charming. You have… ahem… quite inadvertently handed me a solution to a problem! Ahem. Ela… my sister… And if my secretary and his brother need a place to stay… if they ever come back to the city… they will have one!”

Gannara, from the floor, quietly said. “They’re really, truly hurting for professors at the University. Your story might be true. They need someone of your caliber, Ailadas. And Minis even bought a house close to the History buildings of the University.”

“It’s meant to be!” I chimed in. Even if they don’t hire him in an instant, an anonymous endowment will help with that.

He straightened, quietly blew his nose and took a deep breath, trying for calm. “Equanimity, my master! Ahem. Equanimity now!” I did my best Ailadas impression and he blinked at me as he turned around, but he did smile.


Dear Editor,

Please enclosed find my article ‘Only the Weak are Cruel’ for you consideration. Should you find it useful in any way, please reply by way of Post Box 449 or should it not be suitable please return it to same. I enclose a self-addressed, paid packet. Thank you for your time.

Most Sincerely,
Minakas Akam, fessas

I had re-written it several times and was finally sure of my argument and reasonably sure of my basic spelling and grammar. Ailadas assured me he found nothing wrong with it there, though we still did not necessarily agree on the content.

Kaita said she would love to stay on with Ili and since Gannara and I weren’t rushing off immediately to get him home, we found ourselves in possession of the upstairs bedroom. “It’s the size of my day-robe closet,” I said to him, when we’d actually unpacked our things.

“But better than a tent three-quarters buried in snow, with 2nd Amitzas,” he retorted.

“Yeah. But there’s one thing that we need to make it perfect.”

“What’s that? Ailadas’s sister won’t be moving in until after we're gone, whenever that is.”

“We need to get Ailadas his cat back.”

“What? Steal Pish Pish from the Yeolis in his old house?”
“Yeah. He lost so much, he needs his cat.” 

Gannara thought about it and grinned at me. “You’re right. He’s been funny since we got back to the city… kind of angry, and sad. So sad.”

“And we know its name. We get a box to carry it in, lure it to us with bait of some kind.”

“The neighbours on the other side of that house has a huge stand of catmint next to their fence, I noticed,” Gannara said. “They’ve got a yappy dog so that’s probably why it’s untouched.” I giggled at the thought.

“So… let’s see if we can get some pillage back from the Yeolis tonight?”

It was a silly enough idea that we were both giggling again but hoped it would help Ailadas, seriously.

That was why we were standing, very quietly, by the fence next to Ailadas’s old house, waiting for the Yeolis to let the cat out for the night. Gannara reached through the open fence and broke off a stem of catmint. “It’s like all the cats in the neighbourhood are avoiding this place. It's weird even with the yappy dog.”


“Shh dog!” Maybe because of this little noisemaker?” I said, but he ignored me, going down on one knee.

“Here kitty… here Pish Pish… here Pish Pish! Puss Puss!” He had both fish and mint now and had seen the light when they’d opened the door. “Here kitty.”

I had my hand on the fence, standing behind him and was just wondering how it could be raining when the sky was perfectly clear. I looked up into a mouthful of fangs looming over the fence and sank to my knees, just as another drop of saliva fell. It was a Great Hound with its front paws folded over the top bar, straining to reach us, while the little mop on legs yipped its head off.



  1. I'm glad to see Minis is not too frightened of his new freedom to stop thinking.

    But along with haggling he needs to learn to NOT grab the first property he sees. Comparison shopping, dude!

  2. What does he know about buying houses? Five bedrooms in the fessas quarter is a veritable palace! And a yard! He lucked out...! Of course he has no idea about the persistent basement leak... and the carpenter ants...

  3. Better to have such problems than not. Since I bought my house three years ago, I've spent half its price in repairs and replacements and have not regretted one penny. I've still spent less in that time than I would have renting this space, and compared to my student lodgings . . . well. Let us just say that I would rather have carpenter ants than a cardboard roof, and believe ser Koren to feel likewise.

  4. Very much my thought. My mtg is less than half the rent.