[LMB] Birthday Tixie October 15

M. Haller Yamada thefabmadamem at yahoo.com
Sat Oct 15 12:50:18 BST 2016

Well, today we are in for quite a treat! As you remember, the area around 
Martensbridge is teeming with castles -- a fat swollen tick on every hill, with 
some of them falling apart from mismanagement and ill fortune, others laid low by 
politics, some shining with the sort of savvy that comes from a good friendship 
with the Princess-Archdivine, some staunchly independent and neither bright with 
wealthy nor shabby with greed-gone-wrong, and at least one or two burned to the 
ground with nothing but scorch marks to record their former existence. And now 
we've got a treasure map!

The code is crazy-difficult, and the scribes are all working hard on a special 
project, so we're forced to fend for ourselves. Breakfast debate centered around 
whether the triangle splotch should be read as a C or an X . . . phonetically, 
they could be the same, but they throw off the calculations on the first leg by a 
power of ten. Our party split up into two grumbling groups, both perfectly sure 
they are right. Jerrie takes off in one direction, and Jean takes off into the 
other, and we promise to meet up at dinner to see just who was right. 

Jean, our chief birthday tixie, has been storing a little extra Tixie dust 
against a grumbly, growly day like today, and she uses it to cheer up her party 
as they slog through The Area's Saddest Castle: a burnt-out shell near a lake. 

After a very cheerful picnic lunch, her quick tour around the former stables soon 
has her metal detector beeping. She unearths a box carved with squiggly writing 
and geometric patterns. Inside is a lovely set of thick, gold bracelets, studded 
with turquoise and chased with darling little deer and hunters. Perhaps a caravan 
from a distant desert land has passed through. Since there is no lord for this 
castle, the treasure is hers. Underneath the bracelets, a false bottom reveals 
exotic jewels for everyone, and it's quite a happy chance that brought them this 

Jerrie, on the other hand, has gone way past the burned-out castle, straight into 
a Bastard's Convent for Wayward Bards. Also a Birthday Tixie of note, she 
sprinkles the place with a little bag of Tixie Powder she's kept for any sudden 
cases of rheumatism. The bards prove to be very cheerful indeed! Her party is 
treated to the best of their cellars, and a very fine lunch of every good thing, 
and, our treasure-seekers declare they don't need any treasure, anyway. 

The bards, always in search of a good filk, demand to know the whole tale, and 
rouse the merry group from their post-prandial stupor. Soon enough, Jerrie's 
metal detector is also beeping at the exact spot where her calculations said a 
treasure should be buried.  What's this? 

A famed "singing lute"! The oldest bard begins to sing the tale of Dorothy of 
Darthaca, who is said to have passed through this very convent, leaving her lute 
and a pair of ruby slippers. Jerrie and her band soon fill in with found objects 
-- spoons from the dinnertable clack, the wineglasses sing like theremins, and 
the old oak table provides a thumping rhythm for the song. 

The lute is passed around, but it seems to like Jerrie the best. Her song leaves 
all those listening in tears and laughter, and the oldest bard awards the lute to 

At supper, everyone feasts on apples and crackers, being still stuffed from 
lunch. We argue good-naturedly about who was right, but the astounding fact of 
the matter seems to be that this country is simply bursting with treasures. The 
scribes, finally done with their duties, come down for apples and cheese and 
song, and one of them notes that the treasure map is actually not for this area 
at all. 

An amazing set of coincidences on an amazing day. One by one, the merry-makers 
stumble up to their beds in the Temple of the Bastard, and as I blow out my 
candle, I shake a good measure of Tixie dust over the dreamers. A most happy 
birthday to both of you!

More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list