Csirnis (Day 5)
Ztesofaum’s Pyramid is a great big tetrahedron of reinforced concrete and archaic plastics, nearly half a mile high. The mhelvul made it for their god Ztesofaum and his army of priests, subordinate gods, functionaries, crusaders, and assassins. I don’t really understand why. Ztesofaum had conquered most of the continent when the thing was started. (Osoth’s new pet god-in-a-bottle was one of his subordinates, I think. He might know why it was built.) And when my parents and their cohort showed up, neither pyramid nor priests nor subordinate gods nor functionaries nor crusaders nor assassins nor Ztesofaum’s own powers helped him very much. He died under Rankotherium’s breath. And Rankotherium wasn’t nearly so redoubtable back then I don’t think.
Anyways, the pyramid is a pretty impressive structure. It’s pretty small if you think of it as a mountain, but it’s awfully big if you think of it as a building. And all the ancient, broken guns and beam-projectors sticking out of the sides look kind of imposing too: like you want to wear the Hoplonton if you’re flying close to it. It’s made of some very stern black concrete. We had the mhelvul paint it pastel yellow and green after we conquered them. There’s nothing like a big pyramid that used to be the invincible fortress of one of your mightiest gods being painted pastel yellow and green to remind you just how weak you are compared to your new overlords. And the big hole that Rankotherium burned through it can’t hurt that impression either.
We like to describe it to off-world visitors, so that they can show up there and be impressed too. Not that it’s their ancestors’ fortress. Most off-world visitors are dragons anyways. But it looks like the site of a huge impressive battle. Actually it was a small impressive battle. The real sites of the huge impressive battles are places like the plains of Owixie where Ztesofaum died, flat and covered with farms now, or the Indigo Desert where the survivors of Owixie fled. Rankotherium’s hole in the pyramid mostly let him get at some subordinate crusaders and assistant functionaries and adjutant priests and auxiliary assassins. All the top-grade ones had died at Owixie.
So, at the third hour, Roroku made her final farewells to her friends and family (warm and heartfelt), and to her former mating flight (perfunctory).
Someone in Chiriact cast the Triangular Cyclonette. I have never seen the spell before. It’s worth remembering. It looks like a fierce wind made of fire, niobium, and poetry, blowing both ways through a gate made of ice, centuries, and death. Roroku dived into the wind and flew through the triangle, and I suppose she ended up on Chiriact. Her parents took that opportunity to fly off for home, with some good travel spells. Which didn’t look particularly suspicious at the time.
Then another dragon, Csirnis, flew out. I was pretty impressed with Csirnis, from the first glance. We all were.
Csirnis’s scales look like crisp leaf-shapes of gold. Mine do too, sometimes, but that’s because I’m pretty good at shapeshifting. Csirnis wasn’t wearing any shapeshifting spells. Eyes like huge emeralds, antlers with four perfect and symmetrical forks each, six perfect barbels, a long crest from head to mid-back with just the right touch of iridescence. Tail with an elegant diamond-shaped stinger. Six curved claws, and matching elbow-spikes, as white as ivory. Forewings shining like gold, hindwings shining like emeralds, matching scales and eyes just right. Big, too — twenty-five feet from shoulder to tailbase. As big as Greshthanu, who was distinctly the biggest dragon in the mating flight before. And not a bit of shapeshifting involved.
No spells to block veriception either. A lot of defensive spells, to be sure, as for a dragon who expected to be flying into a sudden battle. But we could all see that everything Csirnis said today was true, with neither lies nor evasions.
Also, despite the promise and the name, Csirnis was very obviously, beautifully male.
(If you’re a dragon and reading this, you know how I know. If you’re not, you should learn to tell because sometime you might annoy one of us by saying the wrong thing. Both sexes of dragon can be touchy about it.)