His first real life encounter with an online Mistress.
"The older sister, Lady Arianna el Jien, is a great beauty, is it not?" Hanya el Farin put in. "And an high intelligence."
Tashka's blue eyes came round to el Farin in a curiously narrowed stare but then they flashed back at Pava with an enigmatic sparkle in them. "Are you thinking of writing a poem in praise of her high intelligence?" he said.
Vadya and Hanya el Farin snorted with laughter; it was widely known that el Maien van Sietter had given el Parva van Selaine the glove and deliberately cut him in the face over some ridiculous epic poem he wrote about the famously chaste Lady el Jien - Pava's cousin who was bestowed off on young van Sietter. Pava looked cross.
"There is Maive el Staten, of course," Tashka said, the glint flashing in his eye becoming wickedly teasing. Hanya el Farin looked up at Vadya who started blushing. Everyone in Sixth H'las knew he had once stopped out all night with the buxom young Lady el Staten whose whole family were notorious sluts.
"Maive!" Pava exclaimed. "That pink-fingered vixen! Your father would never ask you ... what?" Tashka was nudging him. "Oh. Um, well, a most delightful young woman ... lovely breasts ... I mean mind. But not for your marriage bed, my dear."
"Shush, she is el Vaie's cousin," Tashka said through another snigger, jerking his head at the Lieutenants a little way off. "He is ... sensitive about his family's honour."
"There is the daughter of the el Marins," Pava suggested. "She is a delicate piece of china if you like to take your tea in a delicate china dish. I saw her ankle in the dance once - ver-ry nice." Vadya looked aside in mortified embarrassment. "She reads darling little scrolls of poetry and paints pretty pictures of puppies and kittens which you could stick up in your lovely box-desk to moon over."
"Oh Lisette," Tashka said, lolling back on the rug and cushions. "She is no high intelligence to trouble you with a lot of stuff about politics, just clever enough to turn her pretty eyes and wave her pretty leg at you and hook you to her way."
"There is an el Shosta daughter is it not?" Hanya el Farin put in.
"Ah yes," Tashka said drily. "Clipping rider to the hounds and a voice that can be clearly heard admonishing the houndsmen across three regions. The el Shostas have no truck with any clever artistic nonsense of course. They are an excellent solid kind of people who breed good strong army officers." Vadya's face became so glum at this prospect that the other three could not look him in the eye without bursting into unsympathetic laughter.
"You have a younger sister," Hanya el Farin said to Pava but Pava shook his head, saying, "Vee's preferences make her ineligible to marry among the high nobility." Hanya el Farin's smile at Pava had a tinge of regret in it, he knew his own father was looking about for someone to bestow on him. Pava's sister was a charming and vivacious beauty. Hanya was sorry to have it confirmed that the el Jiens of the wine-producing Vail region would not be able to bestow her on any of the sons of the high nobility. After the disastrous attempt to palm off his sister on el V'lair van Athagine el Farin had refused to countenance a match until his father broke his sister's marriage. His sister was finally and happily settled and el Farin turned it over in his mind to ask Tashka who among the daughters of the high nobility might suit his brother.
"Is there not a younger el F'lara Lady?" Pava was asking. el Farin tried not to show how keen he was to hear more about this younger daughter of the wine-growing V'ta region. "Your ... your um, somebody knowest of."
Tashka shot him a sharp look and said, "Lady Ilya el F'lara van V'ta is too young," in a stuffy voice.