Approach to Ythac
“Ythac? Let’s go flying. Together, I mean,” I told him when I got back.
“Sure, why not?” he said. “Where?”
“Can you find us a nice canyon? Some privacy and some strong updrafts would be just the thing,” I said. You can’t get much more direct of an invitation than that.
He sighed, and cast a fancy finding spell. “Sure. River, or no river? The one with a river is a bit further.”
“The river might be a good idea, actually.” OK, that’s more direct.
We flew wingtips to wingtips, but without fouling each other, the way old friends do. More accurately, the way that dragons who have been flying alongside each other for duodecades do, but that’s pretty much the same thing.
“What did you think of Llredh?” he asked me.
“I was pleasantly surprised!” I said. “He’s a brute and a bully, but he was kind … helpful maybe I’d call it.”
“He didn’t say what you two did out in the desert,” said Ythac. “I was wondering if you’d really caught his interest.”
“Well, he worked a bit to catch my interest. By doing me a rather brutal, bullying sort of favor, I mean. And pointing out that Nrararn and Osoth were inferior to him in a surprising way.”
“So, does he want you instead of Arilash, do you think?”
I thought about that a bit. “I’d guess that he’s worried that Arilash will choose Csirnis, so he’s making sure he’s one of my especially suitors as well as one of hers.”
“Sensible of him,” said Ythac dully.
“Are you going to be one of my especially suitors too?” I asked him. “You’ve got special advantages over everyone else, if you want to use them.”
“I’m sure I’ll get into the style of it soon enough,” he said. “I’m not the very romantic dragon, nor the very aggressive one, nor the very lustful one really. I have to work hard for all of those.” He didn’t quite mention the mount-fighting, which sounded awfully aggressive and lustful to me, so I decided not to either.
“You’d be a really strong suitor if you wanted to try. You’re big and strong, even if you’re not the musclebound monster that Greshthanu is. You’ve got the cleverest magic of any of us, I think, with those supreme finding spells, and you’re even better with apotropaics than I am. You’ve got darkness breath as well as fire — that’s not like any of mine. And you’re familiar and comfortable to me. I might choose you over Csirnis even.”
“That’s really sweet of you, Jyothky,” he said, sounding a bit sad. “That is what my father wanted.” He grinned at me suddenly. “Have you ever tasted a bird killed by darkness breath?”