July 1, 2015 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
“I just have to say, it’s a little goatless, don’t you think?
Enrie tried to stifle a giggle at her roommate’s teammate, but it was such a Kyoket-House martial thing to say. Without a Goat was probably the oldest Calenyen saying in existence; Enrie could picture some ancient Calenyena warrior sneering at another one, are you gonna fight or not? Goatless scum.
A glance at Ledrie showed her to be smirking, too, so Enrie ventured, “I’d say that the one thing you cannot say about this prank is that it was ‘goatless’.”
“Oh, well, of course you’d say so, it was your teammate.” Deevdyaig flapped his hand in Enrie’s direction. “You have to stand up for her, even if she’s hiding behind some mechanism.”
“I think Enrie means,” Ledrie spoke carefully, as if she was practicing her Diplomacy homework. “You cannot say something is goatless that literally includes a goat.”
Deevdyaig scoffed. “Not a real goat. I mean, what kind of challenge is it, having a fountain piss on someone’s head? And then not even taking credit? That’s like standing behind a rock to throw pebbles at someone’s head.”
“So…” Enrie found herself smiling. “You’re saying it’s clever and pragmatic?” She spared a glance for the third member of Ledrie’s team, but Pookie was so deep into her reading, not even a literal goat in the room would have caught her attention.
“It’s cowardly! If you’re going to challenge someone, challenge someone!” Deevdyaig was getting louder; he smashed his fist at his thigh and glowered at Enrie.
Enrie was having the time of her life. She smiled back calmly at the boy while she hoped Ledrie would forgive her for teasing him. “But didn’t the warrior Itipsizhyettip say ‘to fight an equal opponent head-on is wise; to fight a greater opponent as if he is your equal is the height of folly’?”
“…Goatless crap,” Deevdyaig muttered. Faced with giggling from both Enrie and Ledrie, he jumped to his feet. “Goatless!” he reiterated. “You challenge someone head-on, or you stay quiet!”
“…then maybe you ought to challenge the goat-maker?” Ledrie offered, although her giggles made it far less serious a suggestion than it ought to have been.
“Idiots and cowards,” Deevdyaig sulked. “I’m surrounded by idiots and cowards. I’m going to go practice my saber.” He stomped off, leaving Enrie and Ledrie giggling until their eyes watered.
“Goatless,” Enrie snorted, when she could find words again. “…Goatless.…”
“No goats here!” Ledrie laughed, and they were off again. When they finally managed to calm down, Ledrie looked a bit worried. “You don’t think he will, do you… challenge Taikie?”
“Why would he? He wasn’t the one offended. I’ll warn her anyway, though… I wouldn’t want her to end up looking goatless…”
By the time they stopped laughing again, the thought and the worry had entirely left Enrie’s mind, although the word goat had a tendency to send her into spasms of laughter for the next week.
If Deevdyaig spent an inordinate amount of time glaring in her direction, Enrie thought nothing of it. Kyoket House and Estyaa house were natural enemies, and putting members of both in the same team was just asking for trouble.