the internet ate my post.
Well I’m not really inclined to write all that kak again, so have a snippet instead:
When the rustling of silk and taffety and lace has quietened, Carien crosses her hands over her knees, and leans forward. “Tell us about the bat,” she says. All the heads around me come closer, and I am reminded of jackals gathering about a wounded goat.
The bat. I bristle. I want to lash out, to tell them his name, and explain to them that he is just like them. But I know from their looks, from their gleeful maliciousness that this would be sport to them. And frankly, I need their husbands’ business partnerships – and for that I need them. What Jannik doesn’t know. . . I shudder in revulsion at what I am about to do.
“It’s a political marriage -” I begin.
Carien waves me silent. “Oh we don’t want to hear the Pelim House line,” she says. “We can get that from the Courant.” She leans nearer still, close enough that I can see the lamplight shine yellowly off her teeth. “Do you touch it?”
“No.” At least that is not a lie.
My answer leaves her looking disappointed, and she withdraws. “Really?” She eyes an area above my head, apparently already bored with me now that I have failed to give her what she wants. “How dull. Don’t you ever get curious?”
“About what?” I say without thinking.
I have Carien’s interest again. Her smile is infuriating, a smile that says I know something you don’t. “I’ve heard they’re magical.”
And here I thought everyone in MallenIve had relegated the bats to nothing more than animals or sometimes, if they were lucky, to the status of kept-whores. “Have you now?” I try to take a deep breath, but the stench of scriv is so heavy that I feel like all I’m breathing in is spoiled fruit instead of air. It’s been so long since I had any, that I’ve finally realised how awful it actually smells. The women here are rotten with it.