Dear ladies, gentlemen, and others, my name is Dina Demille. Welcome to the latest edition of our Tea and Chat. Today our tea is Harney and Sons, Victorian London Fog and our guests are Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, and Roman, the Black Volhv.
Roman: Please, Roman will do. The Black Volhv is my father.
Hugh: How is he doing by the way? Last I heard, he picked a fight with Makosh.
Roman: Yeah, it went about as well as you think it did. You fight with the goddess of Fate, you get what’s coming to you.
Hugh: I’m just amazed he managed to piss her off.
Roman, shrugging: That’s his special power. Nobody can fight Fate. Whatever will be, will be.
Dina: That brings us to our first question. Roman, could you clear this up for us. What is your actual full name? Is it Roman Semionovich? Am I pronouncing that right?
Roman: You are and it’s not.
Dina: How did we get it wrong?
Roman, sighing: Russian names are made up of three parts: the given name, the middle name, which is a patronymic meaning derived from the father’s given name, and the last name. In a formal setting, we are addressed by the given name and the middle name. So you would be Dina Gerardovna. And Hugh here would be Hugh Asklepisovich. Shit. Shouldn’t have said that.
Hugh: Don’t worry about it. They’ll find out in the next book anyway, if it ever gets written.
Roman: Tell me about it. They’ve been sitting on my book, for like what? Four years now? Five?
Hugh: Three for me. It’s “too dark.”
Roman: Oh, is it now? With all due respect, of the two of us, my book would be da…
Dina: Roman, about the name?
Hugh: Yeah, how the hell did they get Semionovich out of it?
Roman: There was a scene in one of the books where my father, my uncle, and my mother were introduced in a formal way. So they introduced my dad as Grigorii Semionovich. Grigorii, son of Semion. My uncle, who is from a different father, was also there and he is Vasiliy Evgenievich, Vasiliy, son of Evgenii.
Hugh: They just decided your last name is Semionovich because it’s your father’s middle name?
Roman: You know how the readers are. They jump to conclusions, and then when you try to explain things, they tell you that you don’t know what you’re talking about, and they know better than you what your name is.
Dina: So your name is Roman Grigorievich? And that’s the given and middle name, right?
Dina: What’s the family last name?
Roman, sighing: Tihomirov.
Hugh: It means quiet world.
Roman: That’s what we’re aiming for.
Hugh: Well, this got heavy all the sudden. Good tea, by the way.
Dina: Thank you. My next question is for you, Preceptor.
Hugh: Just Hugh. I used to be a Preceptor. I left that life behind.
Dina: So what are you now?
Hugh: Semi-retired. Just a simple gentleman of leisure…
Dina: Here is a napkin.
Roman: Gentleman of leisure? A country squire, perhaps?
Hugh: Yes. That’s it.
Roman: Semi-retired from what?
Roman: I’m sorry, which one of us blew up a fort two months ago and then stood on the rubble with a troll’s head in his hands?
Roman: On the rubble, covered in blood, roaring like a maniac.
Hugh: I thought that raven felt funny. What were you doing in my neck of the woods, Roman?
Roman: I was there on unrelated business. You were making so much damn noise, I stopped to see what the commotion was about. Was loping off troll heads part of the retirement package?
Hugh: It’s more of a fringe benefit. How’s love life going, Roman?
Roman: It’s going fine.
Hugh: Oh? So you managed to get past the first date or do all of the pretty women you meet still run away screaming once they get to know you?
Roman: They’re not afraid me. They’re scared of the family. You should know all about that.
Hugh: What does that mean?
Roman: What do you think it means? You think I don’t know? I could feel her from 10,000 feet up in the air. My feathers nearly went white from stress.
Hugh: Are you insinuating something about my wife?
Dina: Preceptor, about the chicken…
Hugh: I asked you a question, priest. Did you say something about my wife?
Roman: Yes, I did. What of it?
Dina: Preceptor, there is no need for violence.
Hugh: And who are you to judge? Did you forget who you serve?
Roman: I never forget. You should consider the consequences. The living breathing consequences that result from…
Dina: I’m so sorry. We have to cut our chat short. Our guests had some place to be. Some separate places, with many, many miles between them. Join us next time for Tea and Chat.