OOC: Thanks to everyone who replied at LJ or here. What keeps me going is knowing that you are reading!
My best friend Ythac and his father Rankotherium flew to the party together. This is natural, since they were both coming from Pdernuz. This is also foolish, since they were fighting by the time they got here, as anyone who had ever met them both knew they would be.
«Congratulations and all of that,» wrote Ythac. A while ago I let him cast the Horizonal Quill on me, so that we can scribble messages to each other from far apart. I imagine his notes scratched on a waxboard with a claw-tip. He said he imagines my notes burned on planks. He’s good at language and information magic, probably because Rankotherium doesn’t think that’s very useful.
[Note: It’s the Horizonal Quill, not the Horizontal quill. It reaches as far as the horizon. It is not lying flat. -Jy+BB]
«I accept that in the spirit it was offered. And a better one, since you smell like you’re ready to rip someone’s wings off.» You can’t smell or anything through the Horizonal Quill, of course; it only shows what a pen can write. But I know Ythac pretty well.
«My father’s, or mine, I’m not sure which.»
«Well, wait ‘til after my party. I’d like to keep the actual bloodshed down to a minimum,» I wrote back selfishly.
«I want something in exchange if I do that!» he wrote. He perched on the curtain wall across the courtyard from me, and started a conversation with Tultamaan about winemaking.
«You can’t have that ‘til we leave for the mating flight!» Not that Ythac has ever made an improper advance on me, the way Greshthanu and Tultamaan did.
«Well, if I can’t have that, how about something else? My father has been insisting that I congratulate you effusively. He still wants us to get married right away.» Rankotherium has been sneakily maneuvering for that for duodecades. But when I marry Ythac — or anybody — I’m going to do it properly. Eloping is tantamount to coming in last in your mating flight.
«Why, of course I’ll marry everyone who congratulates me effusively! Wouldn’t anyone?»
Across the courtyard, Ythac smirked at me. «I think you’re mistaking Arilash for yourself. Anyways, would you mind terribly if, as the price of peace, I appear to ignore you completely and not say a word to you?» He listened attentively as Tultamaan discussed soil quality or something.
«Rankotherium will be annoyed!» I actually like Rankotherium, who has been friendly and kind. But I don’t mind helping Ythac tease him. «Actually, want me to pretend to get offended and come over and swat you for snubbing me, sometime when he’s watching?»
«Wait, are you annoyed at me, enough to swat me?» His handwriting had gone scribbly with haste.
«I laugh! No, I’m just conspirey with you.»
«Oh, good. I am happy for you, really!»
«But you can’t miss one of your last chances to stick lice under your father’s scales. I understand that!» I wrote back.
At which point the king waddled over and started congratulating me. «Sorry Ythac, I need to spew forth polite etiquette over here a bit.»
“I have been Tugging on your Tail for the last six minutes, but you have not become Aware of that fact,” Tultamaan said in my ear.
I looked over my shoulder, confirmed that he was indeed tugging on my tail, and glared. “I can’t feel, Tultamaan.”
“You have Mentioned this to me before. It is sure to arise as a Crucial Topic in any conversation that we Indulge in. Inevitably it is followed by a Catalog of your spells for becoming Aware of Circumstances which are occurring to you. My magioception being superior to your feeling, it is Clear To Me that your the Sentrydog has been trying to catch your attention for quite some time,” smirked Tultamaan.
I glared at the Sentrydog. It’s not a very good spell. Actually it’s a perfectly fine spell for dragons like Arilash who don’t have dangersense. It’s just not designed to report light, friendly touches. Which Tultamaan knows perfectly well. So I hissed at him, “Next time you want to get my attention, try one of the nineteen senses I do have. You could probably manage kineception” — that’s awareness of moving things — “or maybe hearing” — that’s awareness of sounds. “I’m not so sure you could manage to make yourself visible to dangersense.”
(Honestly, Tultamaan roars with potential menace to dangersense just as much as any other slightly crippled dragon. He’s roughly as dangerous as I am. In a party of a gross or more dragons, and him not attacking me, he certainly doesn’t stand out.)
He hissed at the insult. “There is more to being Dangerous than the use of Foreclaws. I hunt krakens in the Seas of Graulfnir!” To remind me that he’s got important relatives in more than one world, I suppose, as well of his cold breath and utterly ordinary fangs. “Some of those of us with Handicaps choose to experience a full and expansive Life despite a few Little Problems. Others are Not So Adventurous and prefer to avoid Interesting and probably even Enjoyable Situations.”
“You get to twine me on our mating flight. Not before,” I snapped. A few eavesdropping adults chuckled at my vulgarity.
“I do not strictly refer to that degree of Intimacy, Jyothky, but to any sort of Broadening Experience,” said Tultamaan. “You could have travelled in the Entourage of the King to other worlds.”
“And I could have stayed away from my doctor for a year and maybe never grown up,” I snapped. “We’ve had this argument before.” We hadn’t really, but I was fairly sure that I had told him that when I turned down his invitation.
“It is of Very Little Consequence anymore. The trip was a success despite your Conspicuous Absence,” said Tultamaan. I suppose it was, since the king put Tultamaan into our mating flight when they got back. “Though there will be further opportunities for Merriment of All Sorts when we travel together.”
I looked around for Llredh, but unfortunately my orange and spiky fiancé was deep in a conversation with my mother, and not available to rescue me from the one of his rivals I actually did want to be rescued from. The useless beast.