“Ienas.” I swear that my little professional god created me specifically to have fun with me.
My son looked up from where he was making the last entry in our daily take book. “Yes, dad?” I let the letter in my hand flap open to show the fancy stock, the silver ink and the silver ribbons. He blinked. “That can’t be real, so soon after we catered those big parties of his…”
“Oh? And who didn’t believe me when I TOLD you the Spark of the Sun’s Ray likes the place? That the Yeoli Imperator invited your mother and me up to the Marble Palace? That we’ve been catering…”
He’s flapping his gold-beaded moustache ends at me. “All right, all right, dad, I believe that you are beloved of the highest in the land… what’s the letter?”
“One of his closest friends… his tutor would you believe, is getting married and would we be so kind as to give him – Sparky Elect -- a price for the hosting of the man’s pre-wedding party!”
“Hmmm. Sparky’s going to be witnessing for the man? Be his bemas?”
“Looks like. He says the invitation list is enclosed so we might have an idea of numbers and the kind of security we might have to hire. NOT Shefenkas… who’s still in Yeola-e.”
He scanned down the list, his lips pursing as he reads. “…most of the University history department, writers, a number of those foreign Gybr people… heh… the Regent Imperator’s dad and a bunch of other solas – who – I might add – were friends of the bride's first husband… so she did well for herself, hmm? Marrying up?”
“Yes, son, that’s not as important as it used to be…” We both glanced up at the wall of the office where his swords hung. Not that we figured he’d ever use them and I didn’t say a single word about him paying a trainer somewhere in the city… A fessas restaurant heir who happened to have made his money as a mercenary out east somewhere so far away that it makes the Yeoli mountains look like pimples?
The office wasn’t just my book under the cashbox in my Fig any longer. I’d moved into a back room of the Figgish Gourmand and did the books there. That was also where our strong-box was and my Ienas was one of the fellows who delivered our daily take off to the Most Virtuous and Fecund Second Exchequer – wearing his swords.
Dorn was endlessly ribbing me about my ‘warrior son’ and I pretended hard that I was just tolerating it all, even as we shamelessly indulged in having someone in the business who could do that without charging a bond and half the earthsphere for money transport. I mean, the Sereniteers do their job… but there’s still crime in the city.
Some gang calling themselves Losfamilias was trying to steal people’s money and charge innocent shop owners and business owners protection, as if the city didn’t have enough taxes! They’re mostly pimply faced bully boys who think that if they can frighten people enough they can steal more.
When they sent four to try and scare Dorn and me, my son and the Immortal… in for an evening glass of wine without the woman and sproutlings with for once… hit them with chairs and then pinned them down with the legs… sitting on them to wait for my youngest to bring the Sereniteers on the hop. Protection, Mikas’s double-ended butt plug!
“So we have a moon to plan it… it will be high summer and it will make us a beer-wagon load of money.”
A tap on the door and my wife opens it. “You two almost done? It’s well past your late dinner.” The grandchild is a lump in the sling that Ienas’s bride made. Arkan women who are showing up more and more in public all the time with newborns were asking her all the time how to make them. Not for good, strong fessas women to waste a family’s hard earned money to pay someone to carry the babies for them.
“Coming, mother.” My son. I could just burst. He picked up discipline and good sense from somewhere. Not from me. We just fought like hooped cats. ‘Course I’m not going to say any such thing to him.
“My sera…” She smiled at me, twinkling that I was being so formal.
“Yes, my ser?”
“We’ve got another Sparky catering commission.”
“Good. That way we can have more grandchildren.”