It's almost time for game night and the first four people to show up are setting up the board for the Garden of Seihra-Gara on the biggest table. Slightly yellowish illusion lights in the corners of the room are already the main illumination for the room, with the fake windows showing the post-sunset twilight of a nearby orchard. There's plenty of room; they're expecting nearly two dozen people to show up. But they are not expecting any of those people to be strangers.
"We need room for five for - tonight's what I'm authorized to pay for right now, but they might end up wanting more time than that," Seli tells the bird.
"Together or separately?" asks the bird.
A drawer opens and some notes come out and hold themselves up for the bird's inspection. "There's a caralendar-style suite on the fourth floor that might suit you. How late were you hoping to rent it for, would you be leaving or renewing by dawn or will you need more time than that?"
"It's around dusk. Something like five twenty-fourths of a day before midnight. Ish. Something like that."
"I can show you exactly for a ring," says the bird.
"Then we can do afternoon checkout, no later than when the sun's about like so," the bird says, as the pad of paper rises on its own to illustrate the angle, "about four hours after noon." And the bird can quote them a price for the suite for that long.
Seli haggles a bit and then hands over some coins, after which a small stone with the room number written on it floats up out of a drawer and sets itself down on the desk.
"That'll be the room key," says Seli, "I think you tap it to the door to lock and unlock it?"
"Yeah - near the handle, not the hinge," says the bird. "Bring it back here when you check out."
It's a classy suite. There's one big central room with a table and eight stools, and two boxes labeled "chill" and "freeze"; there are two bedrooms each of which has some currently unrolled soft mats and one of which has a spare rolled up in the corner; and there's one small room with something similar to a toilet and shower, equipped with a smallish box of sky-blue soap that is neither entirely liquid nor entirely solid. All the interior walls are the blue of the ocean; the bedrooms have almost-but-not-quite wavelike swirls of white. The windows are tall and narrow and come with metal shutters.
No one interrupts them during the night.
She can be found, and wants them to follow another of her men to another place where the animals are.
He heads for what looks like a large building mostly painted the same green as the trees around it, in a direction orthogonal to the one they came from. Near the entrance are a group of boys and one kitten playing freeze tag.
"Yeah, inside there. Um, one thing first, there are a lot of enchantments in there that affect who can scry what and where illusions can go, and I don't expect you to stop being able to translate while you're there but if that does happen just... don't panic about it, if nothing else we can come back out here to talk."
Inside there are a number of animals of various species that should learn various dances.
The strangers assess the animals - they need to know about their range of motion and so on - and then they can stand in their odd way and make the animals dance. They don't do it on command, it just becomes something they might do like they might pace or groom themselves, but the training can be applied to the behavior once it's there.
The person who brought them here threads some rings onto a necklace, equal to the price for enchanting the animals minus the price for the room last night.
"I forgot to ask Lanisal if I was supposed to pay you in cash or help you get things from the market," he confesses once they're done.