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20 July 2015 @ 07:28 am
_External Relations_ part 10  

He tipped in a bare splash, then hastily pocketed the flask. He turned with the decanter in hand. Filled both their glasses. And then others as well. No doubt it was some symbol of being their servant, or at their service. Is this part of their secret game language? Am I belly up and weeing like a puppy showing submission?

A real waiter showed up and opened another bottle, took the decanter from him.

Mushy slid away, found Whipper pretty much hiding in the corner.

"They are going to eat us alive." Whipper hissed. "Princesses shouldn't be in a cabal, like this. They're supposed to stick with their own assignment. Observe, not join. This is Not Good. They won't let us leave alive if they aren't sure of us."

Across the room, Ziod giggled. Then the old woman grabbed Izfo and kissed him.

"He's mine!" Dee stalked up to the other Princess, cheeks flushing.

"Not for tonight, he's not!"

Ebko threw his arms around both their shoulders. "Ignore him. Fight over me."

Mushy spotted Wizz, sipping wine while she watched, wide eyed. Then she looked around at Idzo. "You look so much like him." She stepped up to him and rubbed herself up and down his front. Definitely caught his attention. She was starting to glow, hell, they all were. The shields were coming down fast.

Mushy stepped over to the frowning Matre'd. "You might want to send any of your staff that are, err, young, away for a bit."

The man jumped as if startled, jerked his eyes away from the glowing Princesses. Then he grabbed a girl and aimed her for the kitchen. "Stay out of here!" He turned back and pushed through the crowd of increasingly amorous Oners.

Mushy grabbed Whipper and hauled him through the kitchen door as well. "If we can get out of here, they will be mad at each other tomorrow, not mad at us."

Whipper looked down at his wine glass. "You didn't!"

"Did. C'mon."

They stumbled around the oversized mansion a bit, peeked in the wrong doorway and fled the full blown orgy, found the front door and started walking.

"Mushy, just tell me I didn't just see the Subdirector of Granite Peak buggering the Subdirector of Tall Trees."

"You didn't. I didn't either. In fact, I don't believe I even went here tonight."

"Ah. That's the ticket. Didn't see anything."


Izzo stopped dead and tried to work out the changed atmosphere of the whole Directorate. It was edgy and angry. But not aimed at him. In the elevator two Princesses ignored each other, with frost building up around them. Literally. They were pulling power. He got out hastily on the third floor.

In the middle of the reception area, Ikti and Iffi were facing each other, in belligerent stances. They glanced his way and each turned and walked off, away from each other. One reception desk was vacant. At the other, Ikti's Princess Qeez looked disturbed, standing and looking after Ikti.

Izzo nodded to her. "Things seem a bit tense today, what did I miss?"

"A party." She scowled. "I missed it, too. I don't like this. He's shutting me out."

In as much as she very nearly ruled the department from her modest desk, this was a bit alarming.

"Is the One bothered? I'd hate to start losing people just when I thought they might be coming around."

She frowned down at him. "I suspect you'll only lose the ones who are most resistant to the New Philosophy."

"Oh. Crap. That's a nasty thought."

"Indeed. But their ambitions were all honed on the old philosophy. Perhaps that . . . party . . . will shake them loose from it."

Izzo nodded. "I hope so. If you think I need to bang some heads and bring some of them down to avoid worse repercussions later, just drop the word."

Qeez, whom he'd heard called Queens, frowned at him. "I was told you didn't bother being subtle."

"Tends to go right over my head." He nodded politely and headed back upstairs.

Ajha was hovering around Kiel's desk, and Izzo waved him into his office.

"Do you know anything about this party?"

Ajha's eyebrows rose. "Is that why Ebko is upchucking in the men's lav? Idzo is in the hospital, collapsed after he got home late last night. Serious power drain, but there shouldn't be any long term damage. Ziod and Deop have left for Makkah, to request a ruling on a dispute. I hadn't heard of a party. It must have been a beaut."

"Two assigned Princesses had a disagreement so bad they're seeking a ruling?" Izzo sat back and stared at the wall. His mind felt as blank as it was. "And my damned painting has gone roving again. Wonder where it will turn up this time? They're running out of potty humor destinations."

Ajha snickered. "I'll keep my eyes open. And didn't you used to have a rather nice Balukistan silk on the floor? I'll update you if I learn anything about this party."

"Sic the Fiend on the Princesses, perhaps?"

"Good idea. Give her some competition in the Bad Girl category." He slipped out.

Ebko stalked in, glaring at Ajha as they passed. "Your other spy have anything tasty to report?"

"Idzo's in the hospital, serious power drain. That happen at your party?" Izzo watched Ebko's eyes jerk. Ha. Got him!

"He seemed fine when he left."

"Apparently he'll recover. I'll check on him in a bit."

"Good. That's good." The man looked green. The burst of normalcy that had gotten him this far was ebbing fast. "I, err, Mushy and Whipper, umm."

Izzo frowned. "At breakfast they said something about leaving the party early. Said it wasn't their kind of scene. I had warned them it was probably part of a play, but they didn't want to offend you." He shrugged. "They aren't terribly bright. But they fetch and carry well."

"Umm . . . "

"Perhaps you should go home, or see a medgician. Perhaps both. You look awful." I'm going to have to pin those boys down. Or better yet, send Ajha. They'll talk to him.

Ebko nodded and staggered off.

He commed the hospital, which claimed someone was just finishing the paperwork to discharge Idzo.

Izzo sneered at his inbox and called Davi to bring the car around.

"No alcohol and eat regularly. Well balanced meals, mind you."

Idzo was nodding as he finished buttoning his shirt. He looked up, surprised, at the sight of Izzo. His expression shifted toward guilt, then went blank.

"Thought I'd give you a ride home, Cousin." Izzo put on a grin and tried to radiate good cheer. "I was a bit worried I'd lost a subdirector there. Trying to make me look bad my second month here?"

Idzo managed a sickly grin. "Why would I do that?"

Izzo led him solicitously into the lift. He grinned back. "Can't think why, myself. Damn near looked like the Princesses had been told to go for a clean slate there for a bit. Scary thought."

Idzo made a faint choking sound.

"I know, ridiculous idea." He ushered the man to the limo. Davi opened the door and helped Idzo into the seat. "We'll get you home and Lwar can take care of you properly."

"Thanks." Idzo sounded a bit faint.

"Just as well Kowj is in Paris, eh? Hate it when the wife sees you sick. Your Princess really does have to take you, for better or worse and so forth." He put on his best concerned face. "Or, was Lwar there? Is she sick too?"

Idzo managed to shrug. "How would I know, she went home with Ikti."

"Ikti? Huh. You lot swap Princesses around very often? Draw straws or something? Who'd you get?"

Something close to panic crossed the man's face. He smiled sickly, and scrambled for the door lever as they pulled up to a large older home with mature trees and overgrown landscaping. He staggered into the house without saying anything else.

"Davi, let's swing by the Horror first."

Xiat was out in the barn, brushing horses. She pointed at an empty stall. His painting was on the wall, his rug on the rubberized flooring. At least they picked a clean stall.

He shook his head. "No one's seen Wizz all day, and there was something weird going on at that party last night. Would you like to escort me to Wizz's room while I check that she's alive?"

"Good grief. That must have been some party."

"One subdirector was briefly hospitalized, Ebko looked about bad enough to join him. Two others looked to be at each other's throats. Two Princesses headed for Makkah for a judgment."

Xiat dropped her brush and hustled for the house. "I should have started worrying when those two idiots came home without her. She's such an arrogant little idiot . . . Mier, have you seen Wizz? No? Which room is she in?"

The door was unlocked. Izzo hit the light switch.

"Oww! Off, please, turn it off?" The voice wavered, full of pain.

He swiped the switch, and walked to look at her. "Ah. Hangover. Looks like a real beaut." He touched her forehead with a painkiller spell. She seemed to sink even deeper into the mattress.

"Goodness. Mier, I think some weak tea, and dry toast is in order. Bring the pot." Xiat sent the girl off and returned to feel Wizz's forehead. "Congratulations. If you need any help with the advanced exercises, I know them, of course."

Izzo stepped back, out of the girl's field of vision. Women's magical abilities, even more so than men's ramped up with each major life stage. He hoped the girl's loss of virginity had been voluntary. Hell, he hoped she'd been sober enough to remember enjoying it.

"Oh. Oh. My. God. I got drunk and suddenly Idzo looked just like Izzo and I, and I . . . "

And he deflowered a Princess and almost got drained. Izzo suppressed a bark of laughter as he realized that Idzo's panic had been because he'd deflowered Izzo's Princess. One! Did he think I was saving her for dessert?

"Goodness, well, I won't tell Izzo you, umm, visualized him. But surely that was after the party?" Xiat was looking a bit shocked. Don't Princesses party? Or are they supposed to be celibate if they don't bed their assignments?

The girl hid her face behind both hands. "No. Right at the first. They didn't tell me it was going to be an orgy! I don't believe some of the things I did! And who I did them with. Oh One! I think I . . . did half the subdirectors."

Xiat choked. "Which subdirectors were there?"

"Oh, Ebko, of course. Idzo, Izfo, Wgli, Ikti and Iffi. And four of them brought their Princesses. Mushy and Whipper . . . they must have left early, I don't remember seeing them . . . when I finally got sensible enough to leave . . . that cute little House Boy . . . on the way out. Xiat! What did I do?"

"I hope you had fun. It sounds like you were at a party that was a bit more . . . mature than you were ready for."

"Fun? One, the things people were doing! Right there. And I was doing them too! And I used to think Wiggly was kind of cute!"

Izzo heard a clink, and opened the door for Mier. Teapot, too many cups, dry toast. Xiat made shooing motions, so he slipped out.

He wolfed down a quick sandwich, assembled under the affronted eyes of the cook, in her kitchen, and headed for the office.

Tried to not wonder what exactly Wiggly had done.

hollybambolo on July 20th, 2015 05:15 pm (UTC)
"Nothing! Not laughing at anything that's your business! Get back to math!"

Well, other than having to shoo kids, I hope you were going for funny. Poor Izzo. Poor Wizz. Exterior department Princess baby boom, huh.

Mushy studying up to be the One's Just Desserts?

It occurs to me that if the Oners ever figure out they can just ask the Fallen half their spy desires will be answered immediately. Nil's Wizard raising philosophy, I guess. His students all seem to be very much of the 'Here's the spell, you're responsible for what you do with it' school that we saw from Nil in Black Goats. Very Libertarian, that old Tyrant. The Witches are more . . . maybe I shouldn't be mapping modern philosophies over theirs . . .
matapampamuphoff on July 20th, 2015 08:08 pm (UTC)
Nil grew up around Gods and Goddesses from 21st century North America. Lots of the attitude lingers.
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on July 20th, 2015 10:30 pm (UTC)
I rechecked Empire ch 33 but it would seem that Mac & Fool didn't get any or enough wine so no baby surprise.

I have no problem with the scene shifts or locations here.

Little Egret in Walton-on-Thames
matapampamuphoff on July 21st, 2015 06:21 pm (UTC)
I haven't needed to make up my mind on that. Nor on Wizzy.
Bretbretw on July 20th, 2015 06:37 pm (UTC)
I'm totally lost.

One moment Mushy and Whipper are with Susto, then they're at some party with apparently a bunch of subdirectors and princesses. Where is the party? At Izzo's place? Why is there a party? Subdirectors without the director (Izzo)? Why were Mushy and Whipper invited or otherwise there? Was the spiking of the wine preplanned? Or did Mushy just do it sorta randomly? When Rael got a few drops in Empire, she noticed the spells immediately - why didn't these princesses notice? If Mushy and Whipper are Izzo's "errand runners," is Izzo behind this (doesn't look like it)? But won't this be bad for Izzo?

To me, it's kinda a fun scene, but could use more of an introduction and answer some of the questions above.
matapampamuphoff on July 20th, 2015 08:06 pm (UTC)
Did I miss posting the part where they took all the potions back to Izzo, and he sent them to Research?

Anyhow, this book is so far into the future it'll get a whole lot of revision. I can already see spots where scenes need to occur in the opposite order, and so forth.
Bretbretw on July 20th, 2015 09:28 pm (UTC)
You posted that scene, but I'm not sure how that one sets up this one. In other words, getting from Wrla's lab to this party, etc.

No problem if you're gonna be revising later, I just wanted to point it out to reduce the chance that it falls through the cracks.
hollybambolo on July 21st, 2015 03:12 am (UTC)
Research gave them back the mugs/clay goblets/whatever that had the traces of the Wine in it, they realized what they'd been hit with, and decided to add more wine.