Ythac put the Horizonal Quill into all of us, so it wouldn’t be nearly so easy to eavesdrop on us or anything. The invaders were clearly aware of us; we could magiocept their scrying spells around us, just as they could ours around them.
So we made a really stupid plan: mostly Csirnis’ idea, with some help from Ythac. It’s much easier to plan for dragons because we know how we’ll react to things, generally.
I had to fly back to Ghemel and get Khudris and Tarcuna and all out of the Blazing Lyre for Grilling Lambs. I flew Tarcuna around here and there and the other place, and broke painspells on engineers and artillerists, and set them to work. The remote control was the hardest part. That, and deciding where to point things.
Tarcuna tried and tried to talk me out of it, but of course it’s a matter of honor. And I was sure she could make it safe.
The Ritual Challenge to the Invading Dragons
And at length we flew back to Khamrou Voresc, and bellowed out to the invaders in the most formal register of Grand Draconic, “Hello!”. A better translation of that word under the circumstances might be, “We acknowledge your presence on our territory and your lack of immediate hostilities, and we refrain, however briefly, from attacking you, for the sake of the polite negotiations which are to come!”.
And they bellowed back, also formally, “Hello to you too!”. Or, in more detail, “We acknowledge your presence on debatable ground, and agree to a transient truce while terms of the upcoming events are debated!”
“This is our world!”
“Technically, no, it’s not.” Which is true. We haven’t established a formal claim to most of it.
“We’re defending it now!” we roared in approximately unison. Which counts as a formal claim of sorts.
“Then we shall be glad to contend, fang to fang-and-fang-and-a-little-extra, breath-and-breath-and-a-little-extra, claw to claw-and-claw-and-a-little-extra, and take it from you by greater force!”
Arilash snorted flames. “Well, drop the little extra from the claws, since you’re talking about Tultamaan. That leaves the advantage to us.”
Nearly everyone laughed. Tultamaan hissed at Arilash. “You will need to come up with a better Arrangement of Battle than you currently demonstrate for your Understanding of Arithmetic!”
“Let’s arrange it then! Send us your leader!”