The Merman's Children
"Rain dashed against castle walls, in a night that howled." (p. 136)
Two sounds: rain on stone; howling wind.
"Cold crept out of the stone, past the tapestries, and darkness laid siege to lamps." (ibid.)
Physical sensation: cold. An appeal to the sense of sight: tapestries seen by lamplight but surrounded by darkness. This is all appropriate to the subject matter of the conversation, like the scene-setting in a horror film.
"Ivan Subitj sat across from Vanimen of Liri. He had dismissed his servants..." (ibid.)
This is to be a private conversation about sensitive matters.
"...keeping his wife awake." (ibid.)
So that she can take part in the conversation? No:
"She sat in a corner, warming herself as best she could at a brazier, till he signaled for more wine." (ibid.)
So that she can substitute for the servants: half the human race in a servile role. Meanwhile, another physical sensation: warmth from the brazier counteracting coldness from the stones.
Subitj uses another to me unfamiliar term, "'...guslar...,'" but immediately explains it: "'...a wandering musician, a ne'er-do-well...'" (p. 137)
Does he mean "a wandering musician and therefore also a ne'er-do-well" or "a wandering musician and also a ne-er-do-well"?
This guslar married a woman of "'...the Tzigani, those landless pagans...'" (ibid.) I have not found "Tzigani" with this meaning by googling.