“Well, I think getting you and Arilash into separate worlds would make everyone happier. For my own part, I fear that my government will fall apart without the constant stream of insults and contempt for everyone at all and especially yourself. But without your insightful explanations and political advice, I should be a great deal happier. Oh, you wish to frown! Did I get that backwards again? Anyhow, Osoth decides who goes with him and who does what, but I shall support your application.”
Rather later, in and in the middle of a long discussion of practicalities and participants, Osoth said, “Eleventh. Tultamaan. I don’t suppose he’s making some sort of peculiar and oblique jest against all of us?”
“No, not at all. He’s quite serious.”
“He and I have barely spoken since he stormed out of the mating flight so many years ago. I suppose this long run of good fortune must come to an end. He has been your advisor, correct? Not your lover, just your advisor?”
“I have a very small set of lovers, and you know who all of them are,” I snapped. He is the only one that I might keep on as a lover after my doctor says I am sufficiently fertilized, and that only because of an alliance between Nrararn and Osoth when they were due to lose the mating flight.
“I intend no offense! I simply note that anyone who is twining with Tultamaan probably does not want the fact to be widely known. He is a good advisor?”
“He is rarely wrong. Once in a rare while some dragon or other surprises him by being less cynical, wicked, arrogant, cruel, or self-centered than Tultamaan expects. Actually Csirnis constantly baffles him, and I try to, too. He hates and fears everything, and expects any event to rebound surprisingly against him. This is just what you want your Master of the Defenses to expect. I can’t imagine a dragon who would do better at the job. We’re mostly sure that our might and magic can overcome any, say, cyoziworm, twistor blast, undead god, or rebellion of small people.”
He knew what I meant by that list: dragons alone had not precisely won against any of those things, on Hove. “I am persuaded to allow him along. I suppose that, if he gets too annoying, I can cram zombie centipedes into my ears.”