Nycathath [14 Hispis 4385]
A black giant spread its black wings and leapt off one of the houses on the inistella's back, flying far faster than I could. "What on wood is that?" whined Phaniet, who has never been much of an adventurer outside of the laboratory and the bedroom.
"He is a nycathath," said Rheng. Phaniet did not look greatly enlightened. "He is the large Cani with wings -- he is the bat-giant. In his armor, with his vast metal sword, he is a warrior greater than us, greater than our nendrai."
"I don't see weapons or armor," said Phaniet.
"He creates them with a spell," explained Rheng.
Phaniet shuddered. "So he's a terrible wizard too?"
Rheng snorted. "He has only one spell. But it is a very good spell. Our wizard and our nendrai together cannot match it." (Which is literally true; it is a spell of a dozen aspects, most of which Vae or I can exceed. Just not all at once.)
"Ahoy, the skyboat of the wizard!" shouted the nycathath in a voice of grand drums.
"Ahoy, the nycathath and the inistella!" shouted Yerenthax, nearly as loud and nearly as deep.
"May I come to you and land on your deck? For dire need is upon us, and a great sadness has come to us, and primes shall die if we do not act and act soon," said the nycathath.
"The primes here are my primes! If you kill even one of them I shall slay you with a variety pack of a thousand assorted pre-death and two thousand post-death torments!" hissed Vae.
"Not your primes shall die, but my primes!" proclaimed the nycathath.
"Hostage situation," I hissed quietly to Rheng and Grinwipey. "On my signal, you two zoom over and rescue whoever you can."
"Aw, I can't rush any faster'n a Herethroy humpin' a hat," grumbled Grinwipey.
"Hold on to Rheng. Teleport if you need to."
"You may land," said Yerenthax. "And deliver to us an explanation of your misdeeds."
The nycathath folded his wings, and landed on the balcony. (Strayway's balconies and decks are retractable, and generally kept inside, but fighting through windows is sometimes awkward.) "In brief: five Rassimel philosophers and their families dwell with us. Before yesterday, the most of them fell asleep, one by one. They will not wake; we cannot rouse them. They take neither food nor drink. We fear for them, that they will die."
"Plague ship, is your inistella," I said.
"But these are Rassimel: they are prime, they are the spawn of the healing god. What plague could touch them? It is we who suffer diseases, not primes."
"Actually there are four contagious diseases for primes: one for Rassimel. The symptoms are, first, unaccountable sleepiness; second, a deep sleep from which there is no waking; third, death," I said, in approximately the words of the second lecture of my Diseases and Maladies class a century before.
"What can be done?" demanded the nycathath.
"A routine Healoc spell can heal it," I said. "Nobody dies of it unless they're very unlucky, and quite careless to boot."
"Then bring your luck and your care to the back of mighty Doöaru, if you can, that our companions shall not die!"
"Aw, what a load of licorice-iced pony cupcakes!" said Grinwipey. "What is this, Stupid Catch The Traveller Trick Number Three? You're all like 'We've got this little puggly trouble and we're too stupided in the brain because we've been phelping each other front and back all day like a bunch of doik-fundered puffies, but you get to help us, you lucky wicky plucky vundervoips.' And then we get over there and -- Ooh, pissgargling surprise! All the dying Rassies are really a bunch of duffer-luffing ororosti! And you're all like, Oops, terribly sorry, natural mistake mister, I'm so fuddled from my erotic anaphoresis activities and skoonerdonking that of course I mistake strings of floating eyeballs for furry raccoon boys. Now I gotta kill you.' Sheesh, nycabuster. If you're gonna do a sponge-pounding trap on us, at least do one I didn't have heard of when I was three."