A Very Cunning Plan
Today, I bought a bottle of white port wine, having been of the opinion that that probably is the drink Khushi likes best. I’m a bit tired of not being able to have a guest and giving her of the best… So let Khushi be our guest for a bit.
I think that I like Mialle’s village best, of the places we’ve visited. It’s… Naughty? Like, they don’t care so much about the rules, not just the rules everyone wants to disobey, like smuggling, but any rules. In any case we had a good time resting from our work, and the last evening a very, very raucous feast. I had a good time having a very safe flirt with Jilan, Mialle’s fisherman husband. He’s for her, I’m for Moyri, and we could just play out the steps, with compliments for his nice eyes, and for my nice curves. There was dancing, there was eating, there was drinking, there was making love…
The next morning we went on to the Stone Bridge, where we could cross the river.
This is a real ISHEY bridge! WITH CARVINGS!!! This did cause a delay, but Hylti needs to have rubbings of this bridge immediately, of course. The only other real Ishey bridge is in Lenyas, the one in Tylenay being more a practical joke than a real bridge.
(Though, of course, is it a real joke?, is that really making fun of people?, if after a flash flood you replace a washed-away wooden bridge with a solid stone one, in two nights, even if you pre-age the bridge with piss and old carvings, so you can tell everyone it’s always been there, and, look, if you remember there was a wooden bridge, you’re barmy — this stone bridge here, it’s been here for two thousand years!)
If I’d been writing Síthi, that last paragraph would have had a better sentence structure. Anyway.
We rigged ropes and things, and I went alongside and underneath the bridge (the river was at least a hundred feet beneath me) and made rubbings of every carving and all text, and we carefully folded that together and had brought back to Mialle’s village, to be packaged, carefully, and sent on to Selday, to the Temple of Mizran, where I’m sure Erian will have it copied and will send the originals on to Hylti.
Real Ishey carvings! More text! It’s so awesome, and we discovered it!
I’d barely recovered from, in the first place, my headache from the party, and in the second place, my acrobatics getting the rubbings done, when we arrived, again, at the leper village. Of course, this was the right moment for another big party, because we only had prayers the night before we left. It was fun, pity I didn’t have any excuse to get naked, but I did dance with Anshen again, and with lots of people. And Moryi and I crept away to our noon trysting spot, and fucked each other into sleep.
So… Tired from two parties in a row, acrobatics underneath a bridge, and acrobatics underneath the most beautiful pussy in the world, we left again, the very next morning.
I decided I needed to compose my thoughts, so I traveled in the cart, not on my horse.
I have been told I snore very prettily.
The next village’s White House was in the hands of a Rhydin matriarch, who had very, very clearly taken a look at the way the Ishey women boss everyone around and had decided she liked that a lot, thank you very much. At first she was inclined to be a bit snooty and tried to boss Moyri around as well, but well, Moyri is the boss, after all. And of course, the usual worries about having to start paying taxes.
Curious how many of these White House dwellers bring that up within heartbeats of being introduced to the Baroness.
Of course, we were given shelter and food, and I got to meet the people at her White House. They were mostly children, in-laws and grandchildren of Lady Alaise. One person I spotted almost immediately was the page, Erian, who sort of felt like a budding grand-master to me. I whispered to Moyri that it was time we started collecting pages for the Baronial Court, wouldn’t it?
She nodded, and we ate, and discussed the plans for the next day with her ladyship. She does take some things seriously: she teaches every teenager an hour or two, three, maybe even six in a week in advanced subjects, from astronomy to cartography, from arithmetic to poetry.
That made me like her a lot better, and I offered to take her lesson next morning, when she would be closeted with Halla and Moyri, going over the records of this demesne. She looked a bit surprised, and said, “I’m not teaching them reading and writing, you know.”
“Well, I won’t be teaching them that myself. Being only a Sithi, I can barely read and write myself!”
At which point Moyri gave me a tap on the nose with her spoon and said, “Be nice, Khushi.”
So I was nice, and kissed my wife.
These people are decidedly more stuck-up than Mialle’s lot, in the valley village, and I think that here it’s going to be a case of showing off shameless, not cute. They need to have a bit of a jolt, I think.
And when we decided to use the Iss-Peranian toys that night, I guess Moyri agreed, because she asked me to fetch some oil or butter from the kitchen — the leather needs a bit of fat so gets supple and slippery, instead of tough and absorbent — and I felt her chuckling in my mind all the way to the kitchen.
Naked as the day I was born, but with a lot more surface, I walked in and calmly asked for oil, needn’t be the best, just slippery stuff, for the imitation penis Moyri and I wanted to use tonight.
And I got a small jar of third-grade grapeseed oil, and a wink, and I went back to our bedroom, where we put the oil, and the toy, to good use.
What I hadn’t expected was that the next day, after breakfast, one of the kitchen maids sidled up to me and asked me about these toys. She’s married, but her husband is a carpenter, and often away for a month or two, working in other villages. She didn’t want to cheat on him, but she likes sex, and wants something to please herself with when he’s gone.
So I got into the details of the construction: wood or ivory, a leather cover (without seams!) that can be replaced now and then, because, for sure, a woman’s inside makes those things age!, and a bit of instruction on how to keep things supple, smooth and slithery. Also, make sure you realize that there is an essential bit of “give” missing, before you put it in your birth canal, the core is firmer than any man’s wood, at least, as far as I know.
I haven’t known every man carnally, of course, so I might be surprised one day. But I’d have to be a widow for that first.
And a good carpenter should be able to make a dildo. It’s not harder than carving a spoon, the shape is just slightly different.
At breakfast, I’d been talking to Erian, and offered him, subject to his parent’s permission, a position as page at the Baronial court. He was quite enchanted with the idea, and I promised to talk to his parents that afternoon.
But first I had my lesson. Erian was there, again, and five other young teen people. I’d been thinking on what I was going to teach them, but the first lessons in right and wrong that we get at the Guild School, by Lord Vurian and Lady Rava, would probably hit the spot just fine.
So that’s what I did: right, wrong, legal, illegal, good, evil, ripe, rotten, courageous, spineless, truth or falsehood. And then the greyness in between, that’s there too, and that that’s where people live their lives.
And in the end I set them a task: in three groups of two, they had to debate my Law, the one about giving back the loser 10 per hundred of what they have lost gambling or playing at marbles. None of the people assigned to debate against the law wanted to do that, because they all thought it was right and proper!
So there was another lesson, on learning to think like your opponent, properly, and discuss his position, because only then you can be prepared for attacks.
Note: they do have attacks here. There is a bandit village in the hills to the north, and they come down to steal cattle. Or maybe rustle cattle? That’s what the Ishey would say. If you cannot protect your goat, she’s better off with the pilferer anyway.
And that needed to be discussed as well, so I think the six of them learned something that morning.
After that, I went to Priestess Arvi and Lara, for a nice cup of tea and a chat with just us women. Lara still wanted to go to the Temple in Selday, and explained why she felt she wanted to serve Naigha; Naigha cares, is what she said, after I had told them the story of how Naigha had helped the people escape from Nalenay, and that’s why she wants to do her work; she cares, too.
And then we started discussing the next village. It’s called Banai or Balai — I think it’s Banai, but the way these people from Idanyas speak, it’s almost impossible to make out — and apparently it’s almost a real town. It’s got walls! And a lot of people from Dol Rayen live there, and try to keep up the good old traditions from Dol Rayen.
Priestess Arvi warned me that they would very likely be very much opposed to the idea of a Baroness, and wouldn’t really care to receive us.
At that point, I got a brilliant idea! I asked Lara whether there wasn’t a young girl in the village, as naughty as possible, but at the same time, not mean. Not a bully, but someone who’d search the edges of everything and who’d be game for everything.
She knew someone: sheep-Rani. The daughter of a herdsman and herdswoman, about eleven, twelve, like Lara, and in fact Lara’s best friend.
I asked her for an introduction, and we went to the field where all of them, their herd and their dog were keeping the grass cropped. The dog was really interested in me, but to me, all dogs are a bit meh.
When we met Rani and her parents, I had lot of explaining to do. So I let Lara introduce me first, and had her tell Rani’s parents about all the different hats I wear. Great Anshen, I’m pretty sure Rani is going to turn out gifted, too.
Then I told them I was taking Erian astin Rhydin with us, as one of our pages, but that I wanted to have pages who weren’t duyen, too, and that I had heard from Lara about Rani’s many admirable qualities, notably her unruliness, and that I thought I, speaking as the Sheriff, felt that it would be a good idea to spread that all over Idanyas.
They grinned, but then became serious: after we’d be back in Selday, would I take care of their daughter? Would she be able to learn a trade? And if she were gifted? And would the apprentice price of 12 riders be needed?
Well, yes, sure, no — and then I had some more explanation to do. I don’t think it’s fair to take someone’s daughter on a long journey where it’s extremely likely she may suddenly witness the baroness fucking the sheriff… But I asked Lara to explain that, and she did that admirably.
“The baroness and doctor Khushi are really very much in love, and they don’t hide that. Ever,” was her contribution.
That got some nods, and the agreement that Rani would be outside the gate tomorrow morning at dawn, with two sets of clothes, a spoon, a knife and — that was all.
I’m going to make sure she’s got a pony to ride, even though all she’s tried to ride before were rams.
My plan… I guess I’ll wait a bit before I write that down, but the more feisty teens I’ve got, the better its chance of success. Weird to think that I actually thought that what I want those kids to do, was what I had been sent out from Turenay. But if you want to know what, you’ll have to wait a bit longer.
So, I discussed Jeran — I mean Erian, it’s the same name, just pronounced differently, and spelled differently, but it’s still the same, his, anyway, future with his parents. They were weeding the vegetable garden, so I joined in the pursuit.
They had some questions, but did agree it was time their son saw some more of the world. And he liked the idea that Rani was coming, apparently they have been friends, too, and she’s wild enough that he admires her, quite a bit, and she likes him as well. So, with the solemn task laid on his shoulders that he should bring a pony for Rani as well, I told him to be ready by tomorrow morning, and he left to talk with Rani, and Maile, and Sabeh, and the rest of our bunch, and I had a more adult discussion with his parents.
But they’re fine with me fucking Moyri, and that their son will probably see us being shameless, and they do want him to be trained, too, and had already been harbouring suspicion that he was going to be a grand master, so I agreed then and there with them to send him on to Turenay after a year, if that happened to be the case.
Also, he was there, Erian’s father, when Raith of Lenyas married all those people in the jungle in Iss-Perain, during the campaign against the Khas. When she married women with women, men with men, men with women and women with men. He wasn’t surprised anymore.
And the next day we left, all of us. And I still hadn’t told anyone of my plan, except Moyri, of course! She thought I was brilliant, and better believe I got some extra-special kisses that night!
And at noon, when we were away from Lady Alaise’s village, I gathered the throng around me, and explained my plan.
First, Rani would have to teach all of them the local dialect. Let them speak as broad as the sea is wide!
Second, they would sneak into Balai (or is it Banai?)
Third, they would start telling everyone the stories of the far-famed Baroness of Selday, Moyri, and her wife, and how the sick were healed, the law was upheld, schools were founded, temples endowed and slave children freed.
Basically, telling people we’re good people — but that’s true, right? Moyri and I are trying to do the right thing, and we do succeed, now and then. We weren’t asked to be bragged about!
And then when the people in the town were on our hand, Moyri and I would arrive at the gates and demand entrance. I bet the notability in the town won’t dare keep us out!
And in the meantime, Moyri and I, the captain and the private (Jeran was coming with Maile, to demonstrate the doctoring skills of us all) would quarter ourselves in a nice farm, and Moyri and I would take a bit of a break.
In each other’s arms. Of course.