Friday, October 24, 2008

MEMORY: 27

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Sheepishly, Parric backed out of the way and found a corner beside the open doorway. Djserka stared him down until certain Parric was no longer a problem, then threw itself back into the food preparations.

Parric watched grudgingly as dish after dish made its way over the edge of the balcony, empty plates and stemware coming up on the return trip. Occasionally, he caught sight of a unique delicacy, some rare foodstuff prepared exclusively for the gastric inclinations of a Crafter of Onimik.

Parric’s stomach grumbled as he watched a fluttering swarm of fyrit--tethered to the serving tray by minuscule golden threads--taken down to his simulacrum. Such a waste. The three courses he’d sampled were flawlessly prepared, but they’d been comparatively small. Certainly not enough to constitute an entire meal.

The simulacrum would eat them all dutifully, of course. Then the intermingled mess would be unceremoniously dumped somewhere within the palace once the simulacrum dissipated.

Finally, after an interminably long time, dessert arrived in the form of gossamer-thin orbs filled with aromatic smoke of varying hues. Parric watched with a mixture of exasperation and impatience.

A passing peq caught Parric’s look and shook its head in sympathy. “Empty calories,” it grunted, then ambled on.

With sudden purpose, Djserka turned to Parric and loped forward. “What,” it demanded, “is so important that you feel compelled to barge into my kitchen, unannounced, uninvited, during the single most calamitous dinner of the entire cycle?”

“Now looking here--”

“Yes, yes. You’re a Crafter of Onimik and as such demand that one addresses you with proper respect and deference. I know all about that,” Djserka said with a mixture of contempt and boredom. “I can assure you that as one who’s served as head chef for the feuding Hauptfren Oligarchy for three cycles--three full cycles, not two and some balance of weeks mind you--there is nothing in this, yours or any other cosm that can properly strike fear into me. And I left their employ with uniformly excellent letters of recommendation. Quite a feat, considering the seventeen previous head chefs left their employ as compost.

“So if you have something to say to me, out with it. I haven’t got the time of the stomachs for your posturing.”

Parric opened his beak, thought better of it, then bowed forward in a gesture of supplication, folding his fore wings together before him. “Most skillfulling chef, please be forgiving my intruding manner, but I am somewhat pressing for time,” Parric began cautiously. “On my earlier visiting, we are not meeting, but you--I am assuming--are preparing for my eatings simple foods off your menu that I am not adversing to.”

Djserka grunted. “I remember. No proteins. No citric acids. The list goes on for at length.”

Parric nodded. “Yet this timing, you are very well prepared with not only consumables agreeable to me, but very, how am I saying... upscale entrees. I am wondering if you are preparing meals for other Crafters of Onimik?”

“You mean Rapteer?”

Parric’s antennae straightened despite himself. “Is this Rapteer red by any chance?”

Djserka’s nictating membranes slid over its eyes. “Just how many colors do your kind come in?”

“Mostlying green, out in the cosms,” Parric answered.

Djserka nodded, as if this made sense. “Rapteer is red. Arrived maybe a week after the excitement with your friend and Her Imperial Majesty. Stayed three days. His Imperial Majesty had several long conferences with him. Quite a picky eater, that Rapteer.”

“You are having much contact with Rapteer?”

“Too much. He was quite insistent on the types of food he was to be served. The trouble was, as I’m sure you’ll know, those items aren’t readily available in the easily accessible cosms for us. I had to dispatch half my staff at times to track down enough ingredients for a single meal. Since it appeared to me your kind would be making occasional appearances here, my intent was to build an extensive stock of ingredients so we wouldn’t be thrown into a panic each time one of you showed up to spend a week or so. But then Rapteer departed, and His Imperial Majesty gathered in all the Nexial gaps and sealed them.”

“Waiting a moment... His Imperial Majesty is sealing them after Rapteer is leaving?”

“My reaction exactly. How could I build our stock if my staff couldn’t enter the Nexus for procurement?” Djserka shook its head. “Then they started this urgent ‘Transfer to Eternal Prime’ exodus. Why they can open the gaps to transfer courtiers but not for official staff business is beyond me.”

“Are you knowing why His Imperial Majesty is sealing the gaps?” Parric asked, turning the information over in his mind. “Is Rapteer and the Emperor... hostiling toward each other?”

“No, they seemed cordial enough, but then again I never saw them up close,” Djserka answered. “If you must force me to hazard a guess, I’d say it was most likely because of you.”

“Me?”

“Yes. For some reason, Rapteer was as obsessed with you as you appear to be of him. Hounded me relentlessly with his questions, and as you know, I’d not even met you,” Djserka said with a sigh. “He went so far as to insist that I contact him if you returned to the palace.”

Continued

3 comments:

Herbert said...

hey great one, but just a question? where or what inspired you for this name "Rapteer" ? sincerly

me ;)

Jayme Lynn Blaschke said...

A good magician never reveals his tricks. But I'm not a good magician...

It all comes down to the old writer's trick of typecasting a race (which I try to avoid, but...). Even if a species/race isn't a monoculture, it's easier to keep the characters straight in the writers'/readers' minds if there's a kind of uniformity to their naming conventions. So when a second Crafter entered the narrative, I pretty much had to follow this convention since I hadn't introduced enough of the species or its culture(s) to do otherwise.

I came up with Parric's name years ago, specifically for the homophonic qualities it shares with "parrot." I used a lot of insect and reptile traits in building him, as it were, and wanted a stronger avian flavor to hold it together. Plus, parrots non-threatening as far as connotations go (although they can give you a nasty bite if you piss them off) which worked for this character.

For Rapteer, I follow a similar thought process. Using a homophonic cousin of "raptor" conveys power, danger and threat, which is apropos since Rapteer is (supposedly) of an order higher than Parric, and no longer operates under any restraint (as far as we know). "Teer" also echoes "tears" implying "nothing good can come of this" which is a bit heavy-handed on my part, but hey, it's all good.

Herbert said...

soo i was just curious but i really like the idea of coming to that name..
my nephew is a songwriter and calls himself RapTeeR, that is why i was asking.. and he likes ur background ideas as much as me when i told him about it, just in case you´re intrested heres his link: www.myspace.com/rapteer
or
www.youtube.com/sapptherapteer

hope to read more of you soon ;)

HB