The next morning, at Base Camp, an exasperated and underslept Gyovanth leapt upon Vaareng, in a brutal and vicious surprise attack. Actually, it was no surprise at all. Vaareng was quite sure that it would happen. Driaith the lover may or may not have actually forgiven him, but Driaith the defense mage did prepare for Vaareng a bouquet of caustic and actinic surprises, and both Driaith and Mirinxan were close at hand and ready to defend Vaareng when the attack occurred. I didn’t get details of that fight, but a duodecade later the bones of Gyovanth’s forelimbs were still riddled with structural weaknesses which could be tenasensed without staring from many yards off. So Driaith’s surprises must have been quite good.
A trial was immediately required. Osoth appointed himself, Katamerces the lawyer, Jaraswat, and Wo Awo as the jury, and Tultamaan as the magistrate. Since Jaraswat, Gyovanth’s enemy in the first brawl, was on the jury, everyone immediately concluded that it was a kangaroo court. Osoth assured me that that was not his intent; Jaraswat, as the second-or-third ranked dragon in the party, demanded and deserved a role in the trial, and he couldn’t very well be magistrate, so the jury was the only choice.
Tultamaan: “Behold Gyovanth, the Mighty drake who has so often asserted how superior his Married Status makes him to the rest of us.”
Gyovanth: “I won my mating flight; you lost all three of yours. The facts are clear enough!”
Tultamaan: “That fact is clear enough. So is the fact that, at the moment, I might be able to best you at Arm-Wrestling. My forelimbs have been Paralyzed from my Separation. But Yours have the honor to be wrapped in Many Medical Materials from Psajathrion working all afternoon upon them. So I daresay they are Equally Flaccid and probably More Painful, but I claim the advantage of Considerable Experience in getting them to do the few things that they can actually do. Shall we Try the Experiment after the trial?”
Gyovanth: “You are armless; I am armless. In a year, you will still be armless, but I will be hale again.”
Tultamaan: “Oh, Gyovanth, I am Ever So Sorry, but the point I am making has Zoomed Past You, waving a Large Mauve Flag to attract your pinspeck little Attention. Let me try again. Open your Mouth Wide, for, although it is no Faster or more Elusive than any Stunned Sheep, you clearly need all the Advance Preparation Available so you don’t miss it.” Tultamaan evidently considers the role of magistrate to be one in which he can show off his skills at offending people.
Gyovanth: “Osoth! I demand a new magistrate! This one is rude!”
Osoth: “If Tultamaan recuses himself, Jaraswat shall take his place, due to his rank in the Expedition.” Everyone was right: this was a kangaroo court and no question. I considered interfering, but to what end? Bringing him to another kangaroo court on Hove, run by myself?
Someone: “No Jaraswat! Tultamaan is easier to understand!”
Someone Else: “No Jaraswat! Tultamaan is also funnier!”
Tultamaan: “I shall not recuse myself. Jaraswat thinks himself to be a Scientist. I note that this makes him Incapable of Intellectual Honesty”
Itharieth: “By the Flawslip’s clawtips, I too am a scientist! Am I then thusly incapable?”
Tultamaan: “Jaraswat thinks himself a Scientist. You are actually a Scientist. There is no real comparison.”
Jaraswat: “Tultamaan, you a juke-taj and an ohio-omorsko!”
Tultamaan: “Jaraswat, I am insulting you Plainly. You have no need to come up with these Obscure Terms. If you wish to Insult me, do so Clearly. See if you have either the Wit or the Courage to come up with some Epithet which has not been used a gross of times already.”
Osoth: “Tultamaan, Jaraswat, if you wish to duel, please do so on your own time. Today we are trying Gyovanth.”
Gyovanth: “In so disorderly and biased a court, there is no justice! I demand a trial on civilized Chiriact!”
Tultamaan: “Civilized Hove, not civilized Chiriact, is the relevant dragon-world. In any case, we shall return to Your Case. Your Forelimbs are, as I have observed already, entirely Swaddled in Medical Items.”
Gyovanth: “You know it. Cowardly Vaareng worked some slight of magic upon me, with the help of his cock-worshipping faggot butt-boy!”
Tultamaan: “You might wish to revise your Testimony. Half the jury is, if not actively Cock-Worshipping, at least working hard to Appreciate Them as a Tolerable Substitute for What Is Actually Desired.”
Gyovanth: “There is no such need. The verdict is decided, is it not?”
Tultamaan: “More or Less, but we must go through the Motions and Procedures. In case, let us say, there is some Extenuating Circumstance which we have Neglected to Notice that you might wish to bring to our Kind Attention.”
Gyovanth: “You are enjoying the chance to get a judicial revenge upon your natural superior, a married drake who exhibits no disgusting lusts!”
Tultamaan: “Ah, the Present Tense! It comes so easily to you, does it not? Woe to you! For you must use the Past Tense for one of those clauses. We shall see what becomes of the other, especially if the Hints of your Extramarital but insufficiently Coy Flirtations on this expedition are accurate.”
Gyovanth: “Oh, get on with it.”Support this project! Show that you’re reading it by exchanging notes with the characters, other readers, the writer, and occasional other entities at sythyry.livejournal.com. And/or buy Bard Bloom’s books on Amazon, especially Mating Flight and World in My Claws, the prequel to this story. Also: Glossary and Dramatis Personae.