In the Interests of Peace and Harmony
We were so happy when we finally left the barren lands behind us! For the young ones, like Rani, it was almost a miracle, they had never seen lush, green, fruitful land. Sometimes I have to work hard not to blame their elders for deciding to stay in their villages, but then I think, “if the school hadn’t sent me out, would I have left Turenay?” And the answer would for sure have been “no”.
And pretty soon we’d meet up with Mazao who had been looking for other people living there, and with the rest of our company! I’ve missed Maile and Jeran and Halla and Sidhan and everyone so much! I wonder whether they have missed us…
Well, they did! When we were finally all together, we took a day or two break, so the people from the barren lands could get to know each other, and us, and each other.
Now they’re together, I can see that the village idea really can work, if they’re fine with mixing up with Ishey. One wants to start an inn, another is an experienced smith, though without an anvil (we’ll provide that from the baronial coffers!), there are farmers — and Jinla feels more and more that she wants to become a real Priestess of Naigha, if she can get help from colleagues in the neighbourhood.
Mazao told me his aunt had already visited them here at their camp, from Habali, which I always thought was the main Ishey settlement on the Mera, but no, the big one is still furtner north, and is called Hokaji.
Then we left to visit the Ishey, and an hour or so before we would enter the town, we halted, so Roushan could pretty up the baroness and me. In full state we rode in, and made ourselves known. Of course, the ladies had been warned we were coming, so they had a proper reception for us. It was quite fun, and these ladies are A LOT sharper than those in Selday.
Lots of food, of course, and drink, but that’s a given. Every Ishey lady over thirty weighs as much as three Sithi ladies of the same age. But we had really good talks about Idanyas, we told them all about Tao and Mazao, which tickled them pink; they are family. We discussed the need to cordon off the barren lands — maybe with a ditch spanning from the Mera to the Sea?
At least that would be a challenge! And Ashi really had some good ideas here, and if she could get funding for things like shovels, wheelbarrows and stones, and if there were enough people to work with them on the project, it should be doable in a couple of months, maybe half a year. There are plenty of people out of work in Selday, still… So we need to get a letter to our Secretary of Work.
That sounded optimistic to me, but she’s the expert, so I shut up and just smiled.
After the reception meal (which was at noon), we got a tour of the main Ishey house, and met local worthies, and then there was dinner, and after dinner… We were shown our bedrooms! For me, Moyri, Sidhan, Halla and Vauri, Maille and Jeran, there were four bedrooms in a single corridor. The others had places to sleep, too, from a very fine bedroom for old lady Arni, the grandmother of Jerna and great-grandmother of Jarn and Aine, to lofts in the stable for our “rabble”.
But before Moyri and I could jump in bed and start fucking, we first had the evening lessons and prayers, which really interested our Ishey hosts, and one of them, a young woman named Tineh, she joined in, too! And soon a bunch of her cousins, or sisters, were also in the game.
But Moyri and I always forget that we get so enormously hungry from teaching semsin, so by the time we were in bed and had had finished our first bout of love-making, I had to get out and find the kitchens and see if there were left-overs.
There were! And not all sweet, either, but lovely pasties and goat-on-a-stick and a jar of green wine. The people in the kitchen who gave me the food, there were only three, they had been playing a game on one of the tables with a late-night snack as well. They understood me perfectly, when I said I didn’t want sweet stuff.
Well, we had our own light meal, and then made love in a real bed for the first time since we left Lord Rayin’s village, where we picked up their gifted son, Corin… And then we slept, and when dawn broke, an Ishey girl walked into our room with warm water and towels, giggled and — stayed, looking with interest at what Moyri was doing with my pussy.
“Young lady, haven’t you been taught to knock on doors!” I panted.
“Sure, miss Sheriff, but I figured it would be…” she replied, eyes still glued on us, water slopping over the ewer.
“More fun? That you’d learn something you could gossip about?” That came out rather staccato, because Moyri was for sure not letting up, and, well, she knows that I actually rather like being watched…
“Maybe…” she teased, and put down the ewer, left the room and closed the door.
Half an hour later, when I had my head between Moyri’s legs, another girl, the dead spit of the first one came in, but she was really silent, so we didn’t notice until I came up for breath and smelled fresh cinnamon rolls!
“Madam Baroness, miss Sheriff, I wanted to ask, do you want hot tea with your buns?” she managed to say, in between gulps of laughter — at the expression on our faces, I guess.
“Yes! And next time, if you hear panting or shrieking, or laughter, or voices — wait until we’re done, maybe?”
“Huh, most Ishey women in this house aren’t so particular about who sees them,” she shrugged, “though nobody seems fuck each other as often or as long as you two seem to do! You must be really in love, not just having a bit of fun while waiting for a man to get his dick out of his friend’s ass!”
“Shoo,” Moyri said, and the girl left.
And pretty soon after the buns were eaten, Moyri and I took care of some business; making sure that Halla and Vauri were looking into books — together with the girls who had given us “room service”, because the books were in Ishey, of course. Women’s Ishey is a written language, men’s Ishey isn’t. We’d sent out someone to fetch the nearest Priestess of Naigha for Jinla. We made sure everyone had things to do and was comfortable; including Arin, Ishey boys had taken him fishing, promising that they didn’t mind that he was a bit “different”.
And, indeed, apart from it being really hard if you’re an Ishey boy and don’t want to have sex with other boys, because that’s almost an obligation, if you want to have any friends, Ishey boys are incredibly patient and kind, at least in my experience. They might like to brag and tell tall tales and love practical jokes — but they never make anyone suffer for their jokes, the best jokes are funny, unexpected and make people’s life better, they say.
Wel, I like Ishey, so there. Give me Ishey any day over people from the City. Stuck-up pricks that we are.
We decided to go into town for a real breakfast, and found a nice, clean-looking inn overlooking the Mera, where we could sit outside in the shade, and watch the river, and eat breakfast.
Of course, we soon became a sight! And before long people joined us at our table, and, well, it was nice. We could tell his granddad about Veh building a palace for the King in Turenay, one of the Great Ishey works that people would keep talking about. We discussed being at the end of the road from Selday with the inn-keeper, and discussed pigs with an Ishey herdsboy. We talked about schools with some other boys, who had never expected that anyone would care whether they could read and write and made great eyes with astonishment when they learned that, for sure, the Queen does care, and that they simply had to learn to write Ilaini, especially since they spoke it so fluently.
And then, just after Moyri and I had taken a bit of “rest” in the back room of the inn, a ship passed, the first of the day. I asked whether it would stop here, but the man we were talking to shook his head, “not likely, it’s likely already full with merchandise.”
“Will it pass Dol-Rayen?” I asked.
“For sure,” was the answer.
So I pulled my shirt over my head, dropped my skirt and jumped into the river and swam at the ship.
Later I learned that this had mystified everyone, except for Moyri, who, by now, knows me. I wanted to talk to the ship’s company!
And I managed to get onto the boat, to the surprise of the crew, and introduced myself.
“Hi! Can I talk to you guys for a while? If you moor your boat for a while, we’ll make good the delay, the Baroness and me. I want to hear all about you! It’s not bad, I’m not investigating you, I’m just curious!”
Since it wasn’t likely that a naked girl of twenty would be a match for a company of sailors, they decided to trust me. Though mooring seems to be trickier than I had thought, if people cannot keep their eyes on their work. Still, the implied compliment made good a good many bumps.
When I had brought my quarry to the table, I picked up my shirt and skirt, and we sat down.
We learned a lot from them; they wouldn’t stop at Dol-Rayen, but the river boats are sea-worthy enough to go all the way to Banay. And the bit along the Mera where the barren lands are, that’s bad! Eddies and sand bars, and also just — bad-feeling. When we learned that they were going to Banay (and after I made the suggestion, they were thinking seriously of Selday, they’d get a much better price there for their pelts and things), Moryi and I ordered the inn-keeper to provide a good meal and good beer, and we went into a frenzy of letter-writing!
To our chancellery in Selday, to the Temples of Mizan and Naigha in Selday, to the hospital and the school in Selday, to my colleague baby guild runners, to the other barons, to the King and Queen, to my mother in Turenay, to the other sheriffs… Pretty soon we had about two dozen thick letters all sealed up, which I then wrapped in leather that I waterproofed with wax.
And now we’re on our way to the north! First to Hokaji, where we absolutely shouldn’t tell anyone we thought that the town we came from was the major settlement, and then to Tal-Borin.
The barren-landers are off east, along the road to Selday, to select a good place for their new village, with some Ishey men along to help out.
And our travelling school is all with us, apart from Halla, who is going through the requirements and finances for the Great Work with Temne.
It was fun in Habali! And our two peeking Ishey sisters have taken two other sisters, and have joined us, as have two more Ishey boys.
Tonight, when everyone is tired with semsin lessons, but before prayers, I think it’s time Jeran and I presented our Views on Intercourse and Intimacy again. Also, fun, talking about having fun and what you want and don’t want. Getting a host of thirty or so teenagers who are going to camp out together really clear about all that is essential for peace and harmony, we feel!