Kitties~ (A sketch of Tír na Cali)

There had always been something a little strange about the Baroness Enasshi ni Firanne O Tertia’s household.

To be fair, the entire O Tertia household had been strange right from its founding, and their little barony, barely more than a town and some fields, drew more attention than something its size had any right to.

But ever since Enasshi – and what sort of name was that? – took over from her mother Firanne (speaking of names) on that worthy’s seventieth birthday (speaking of anomalies; most Baronesses had to wait until their mother died, not just until they turned seventy; seventy was nothing to the children of the gods), the little Barony’s little household had gotten even stranger.

Lady Enasshi had spent three years in Great Britain when she was in her early twenties, something that was not unheard-of but not all that common, and there were those who suggested that it might be a British influence. Others suggested the two years in Japan, the year in France, or even the six months she’d spent touring Africa. As a rule, it was generally agreed that, for a Californian noble, she’d spent far, far too much time overseas.

Which might be what they could blame for her staff, almost all bred moddies somehow unsuitable for Agency service. It wasn’t that there was anything wrong with having genetically-modified staffers. It wasn’t even that there was anything wrong with having them as your butler and maid, your cook and your groundskeeper. (There was something a little questionable about having one as one’s Consort, but the Lady’s choice and the Consort’s were sacrosanct in that matter, and absolutely nobody was going to tell Lady Enasshi that she couldn’t have a dapper, well-turned-out cat-boy as her Consort.) It was just that, in addition to the oddity of a staff that was almost entirely moddies, from the chatelaine down to the pot-boy, in a rather well-appointed household, Enasshi insisted on dressing every single one of them in beautiful and elaborate livery that wasn’t now and had never been the style in Tír na Cali.

Most Californian nobles dressed their slaves simply- khakis and shirts with the household monogram was common – saving the frou-frou and ornamentation for their companions, their butler (only sometimes) and fancy-dress parties. Visiting their houses, even the house of a Countess, was like visiting a friend. Everything was casual. With Lady Enasshi, not so much.

“I don’t know what to wear,” bemoaned the youngest daughter of the Baroness Stasia ni Ysabet. “The last time I went to a lunch at Enasshi’s, the boy trimming the weeds was better dressed than I was. And I was in couture!”

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