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Old 09-18-2003, 09:01 AM   #161
Bęthberry
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Belin Ibaimendi's post

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"Don't mind him," said Wingesith, with an attempt at a reassuring-but not too familiar- smile, curbing his alarm at the woman's upset face. He had to calm her down before she decided to make a fuss. He wasn't sure whether it was Fremman's zeal for cabbages, change, or women that had done it, but in any of these cases, they could hardly afford to get in trouble now. He shot him a single evil look before assuming his most pleasant face and voice to explain matters to the woman. "I apologize for my colleague," he said, "he has certain difficulties, you see. It makes the company of the unfamiliar difficult to him. I do not think it is his intention to be impolite."

The woman eyed him skeptically. "You mean he's drunk?"

Wingesith bowed, quickly and almost involuntarily. "Many have speculated along those lines," he murmured politely and vaguely, unwilling to speak of his colleague's faults to an outsider.

"They might by thinking of the smell," she suggested in a dry voice. Was that a shade of amusement in her voice? Wingesith grinned broadly. "Oh, no, you don't understand. We're performers, we do this for our show. Fremman here is the Drunken King himself. perhaps you've heard of us?" The woman shook her head. Fremman chose this moment to giggle loudly, ignoring his colleague's glare. "Sometimes, you see, people have don't look at me like that. Fremman, there's no reason they shouldn't have. We've been everywhere, somebody must have heard of us by now. Certainly their 'tokens of appreciation' suggest as much."

The woman's face had composed itself into unreadable politeness. Wingesith took this as an encouragement and continued. "Fortune and fame, you see, ma'am, fortune and fame. The life of a traveling actor is a not a dull one. Why, I've been places and seen things you wouldn't believe if I told you."

"Oh, I have no doubt of that." She was definitely smiling now, just a little, just a little, but she was smiling.

"You should hear them," he pressed on eagerly. "Why, in the town of Htirit, where they throw crockery out the windows to celebrate their weddings, the square was so full they had to close the shops. Not that anyone minded, you see, they were all pushing and shoving to see the show. Ah, the coin we gathered that day? I take no credit, of course," he added quickly, "but the worth of the show itself is indisputable, and they just had to see it. Fremman helped me design it, you see. You do not know him until you understand his genius."

Fremman nodded in agreement, blinking slowly at the woman and failing to brush off a large fly that had settled on his brow.

"You should come to our show next time. You would like it, I can tell. It's in your face."

"I'm sure it would be a delight," answered the woman, "but I'm afraid I'll be up in the inn for several days, longer than you'd care to stay in town, I'm sure."

"I like inns," put in Fremman.

"The inn?" said Wingesith, with a sudden eagerness. "There'd be no jugglers in the inn, and the audience wouldn't be so obssessed with vegetables and with keeping the ways clear. "That's an idea. I'm sure they could use a bit of entertainment up that way, couldn't they? We'll accompany you, you don't want to be out here with the cutpurses, you know."

"Oh, I don't think that will be?"

"For company then. Everyone can use some company, don't you agree? My name is Wingesith," he added, as he took a few steps to show that he was in earnest. "Er... and you do know which way it is, correct?"

[ September 27, 2003: Message edited by: Bęthberry ]
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