Bickery Boring Day (Day 36)
I was sprawled on the top of Kuhankun Mountain, in a blobby crevice that I had melted the other day, catching the noontime sun. I couldn’t see the caves. This was a good thing. I didn’t much want to see any dragons. I’d seen about eight too many of them lately — or maybe nine — and had a surfeit of dominance contests.
The drakes were looking a bit surfeited themselves. Half of them were sprawled on the sand by the river. They couldn’t see me casually. If they had been the least bit paying attention, they would have magiocepted or heard me. But why would a pile of drakes pay attention? I couldn’t see them either, but they were talking loudly.
Llredh:“The casual friendly fight — who will join me in her?”
Osoth:“I am afraid that you must be partnerless in this dance. Ythac is off hunting. For the rest of us, the taedium of the endless contests has become rather redolent of ennui.”
Nrararn:“He said ‘no’.”
Llredh:“The Grand Draconic — he should learn to speak it!” I don’t know why he said that. They were all speaking in the language of Mhel, not Grand Draconic.
Csirnis:“He is not wholly wrong. There is no urgent need for having constant dominance fights, beyond the minimum that sociability and honor require. Arilash will couple with whoever suits her fancy, and pays the contests no mind. Jyothky will not couple with anyone, and, also, pays the contests no mind.”
Llredh:“Forget Ythac not! You must recognize that he is every bit as eager a vulva-wielder as Arilash.”
Csirnis:“Saying that of our rival, sir, is beneath contempt. Withdraw it or I shall ask to fight you immediately, in a Tea for Disharmony.” Which is one of the most painful of Rhedosaur’s 541, since minor hits don’t count.
Llredh:“I withdraw it! The berserk rage, she leaves me today, tomorrow she returns.”
Nrararn:“Just like Arilash”
Osoth:“An energetic bunch of suitors we are today. No fighting for our fiancées. The only challenge over Ythac‘s honor.”
Csirnis:“Well: all our honor. But I shall gladly contend with you in any way you wish, for any decent stakes, or for no stakes at all if you prefer.”
Osoth:“I would sooner seethe the vile Nevethian stench-pig in the ichor of mummified crospolids to quaff as a sleeping-posset.”
Nrararn:“He said ‘no’.”
Llredh:“The baroque coiling speech, I understand her generally!”
Osoth:“I shall endeavour to exhume archaic verbiage and the cloying remains of ancient elegies from the catacombs of Hove, to the singular end that my quotidian expression shall become a polysphinxian miasma of enigmas.”
Nrararn:“He said ‘no’.”
Csirnis:“He should have done, at least.”
They were silent for a moment or two.
Nrararn:“Csirnis, were you serious about Jyothky?”
Csirnis:“While she is not wholly opposed to the core reproductive purpose of the mating flight, she does not follow the lead of Arilash. She has her own style, which is rather less earthy.”
Llredh:“He said ‘no’.”
Csirnis:“I said ‘yes’, actually.”
Llredh:“He said ‘no, I didn’t get to coil tails with her.’ That recreation, that fiancée, she evades me also.”
Nrararn:“So, which would be the unluckier one: the drake who marries Jyothky, or the drake who marries Arilash?”
Llredh:“The fool, or the simpleton: which one is you? The husband of Arilash enjoys her thrice or four times a day. Lucky beyond lucky the husband of Jyothky counts himself to enjoy her thrice or four times at all!”
Which stung a lot!
Nrararn:“Does Arilash’s husband think he can keep up with her? Does Arilash’s husband think he can keep her? She has never been faithful a day in her life, except the last few, and that only because no suitable adultery partners are convenient. Do you think she’ll be a faithful mate for more than, oh, three weeks at the outside?”
Llredh:“The constant copulation, I provide for her! The need to wander will be far, far from her.”
Csirnis:“And saying that of our fiancée, sir, is even further beneath contempt than Llredh’s insinuations about Ythac! Nrararn, I expected better of you! Withdraw that libel — withdraw it at once, I say, or you shall face the fiercest fight that law and custom allow!”
So Csirnis will defend Arilash’s honor, but not mine?
Nrararn:“I withdraw, I withdraw!”
Osoth:“Still, let hyperbole be rendered into parabole, or even elliptibole, our fiancées are a study in amatory opposites. Perhaps, in all mental equilibrium, one drake may prefer the one, another the other. Even if neither one is precisely perfect in all regards.”
Nrararn:“Not that we get to choose. Still, which would you prefer?”
Osoth:“There is no real choice. Arilash may toy with me now and then on our mating flight, when the bumptious appeal of Llredh is temporarily flaccid. I expect no more after she marries.”
Nrararn:“And no less, too?”
Osoth:“I make no such pronouncements in the presence of the prince.”
Llredh:“He said ‘no’.”
Csirnis:“Llredh, you will not trick me into fighting Osoth for reasons that are not my own. If you wish him to be injured, you must do it yourself.”
Osoth:“Nrararn, you humiliate yourself. You attempt to inviegle us into speaking ill of our fiancées, at least one of whom can surely hear our declamations. This is a poor and petty amusement for any day, and thrice poor and petty during a declared truce.”
Llredh:“Oh, what is he doing, is it that?”
Nrararn:“Simply chatting. There’s little enough to do here else, save fight and fuck and feed.”
Csirnis:“Which are, as you well know, the proper and important duties and rights of dragons on their mating flight.”
Llredh:“Dead dull, the rest of each day.”
Osoth:“And what does a bellicose beast such as yourself do the rest of the day, when in your familial domicile you did reside?”
Llredh:“Research into poison, mostly, on Mhel. Antidotes for curchao stings.”
There was a moment of silence. I wasn’t expecting that of Llredh, and evidently nobody else was either.
Csirnis:“I am not from Mhel. What are those?”
Llredh:“The large poisonous insects of equatorial Mhel, is what they are.”
Csirnis:“Large enough to endanger a dragon? I heard nothing of such dangers of Mhel!”
Llredh:“The smallest dragonet, she fears no sting of a curchao. Harsh their stings to small people! Many the mhelvul who lose a limb to one, or a life or a child. Yet a few drops of tincture of scharniu, a common thing on Squeretz, will save nearly every one. This thing I discovered myself, after much seeking.”
Csirnis:“Remarkable! I knew nothing of this. You take better care of your small people than I had expected.”
Llredh:“Small people, they are the labor. A bit of care, they work all the harder, and last the longer too.”
Nrararn:“Well, this dismal desert holds no attractions like toxicology, or much of anything else.”
Osoth:“Alas, there are but few ghosts in here, and those of the dimmest and most tedious sort.”
Llredh:“Plentiful copulation, she is of some attraction.”
Csirnis:“But with only two females — for which again I apologize on behalf of my former world — and only one of those being as eager as one might have thought a dragoness on her mating flight would be — even that attraction is somewhat limited. Physically engaging, to be sure, but there are aspects of life beyond the body’s basic wishes.”
Nrararn:“We are agreed, then?”
Nrararn:“Finding something less boring to do.”
I stuck my head over some melted bits of Kuhankun Mountain. “Yes, let’s!”
Llredh and Csirnis looked pleasantly embarrassed to realize that I had listened to them not speak so well of me.
|Fiancé||Last Time||Change||This Time|