The Invaders Plot (Day 810)
Eleven dragons came to visit us in Damma, us being Nrararn and me. Chevethna and Arthane of course, and Psilia and Boruu. Ythac and Llredh and Kuro, flying in a triangle. Csirnis. Tultamaan. Ignissa and Gwixion: last, despite the heaviest travel spells I have ever seen. Ignissa can barely fly. She’s elegant and pleasant though. If Tultamaan had a dozenth of her grace, he’d still be in the mating flight.
We welcomed them all with suitable happiness and considerable amounts of spiced meats. Damma was being a very good host, especially considering that we were meeting to discuss how best to conquer them.
Tultamaan said, “Before we can conquer anyone Else, we must conquer Ourselves. I suggest that a King and Queen who are not married to each other — who are, in fact each married to someone Else — are not a suitable King or Queen. They might be Disharmonious. A certain amount of Disagreement is possible, and maybe even likely. It is not a Supportable Monarchy. I urge them both to Abdicate in favor of Chevethna and Arthane, in keeping with the Original Plan.”
“The fool of a silly, he is Tultamaan! Changing king, changing queen, this is no easy matter the tiny dominance fight! A war has established it, a war it will take to change it!” roared Llredh.
“By standard law, a straightforward dominance challenge should do it. Not like on a long-conquered world, with a knotted net of fealties and allegiances,” said Boruu.
“I wasn’t in on the original plan,” I said. “And I mostly defeated you to protect some friends here: some hoven, some dragons. Chevethna, Arthane, I’ll want some broad and honest promises from you if you are queen and king.”
“What, we’re not Uplifty enough for you? Listen to what we have done with Ghemel and Ghemelia!” roared Arthane. “Then you may judge for yourself!”
“I’m more worried about Ythac and Llredh. And Trest,” I said.
“I’m pretty worried about us too,” noted Ythac.
Chevethna sprayed us all with delicate flames. “What are you saying, you sillies? Ythac and Jyothky rule Hove. Anyone who disputes this may fight me first.”
“Backwards is good style on Hove,” said Boruu. “I thought you wanted to rule a world, though.”
“I certainly do! I want Jyothky to conquer it for me though. That’s much more convenient.”
“Never had a tyrant queen such a loyal subject,” I complained.
“More precisely, Jyothky and Ythac know Hove rather better than the rest of us. They might as well suffer through leading the conquest, which I imagine will be long and tedious. When Hove lies quivering and helpless in our claws, Arthane and I will have a long private discussion to decide whether we’d rather be king and queen of all Hove, or simply the power behind the throne.”
“It is theoretically possible that Jyothky and Ythac will have their own power, and you could wind up as neither,” noted Csirnis.
“Exactly!” chirped Chevethna. “If that happened, we’d challenge them.”
“Like any proper tyrant queen, I am flattered to be informed that I will either be weak or deposed,” I said, rather annoyed with her. “It will be harder to conquer Hove if I constantly have to worry about you supplanting me.”
“That’s exactly it. We promise not to be underhanded about it, and to be your loyal subjects and warriors — or doctors and architects or whatever you want from us — until we’ve won. Then you will need to worry about us supplanting you for a few days. After that it will be over, one way or another. And if you’d like me to say that again without veriception blocks, I’d be glad to,” said Chevethna.
Tultamaan hissed. “I do not approve of this Change of Plans. Jyothky and Ythac are not suitable as Leaders.”
“Not as easy to talk into things as Arthane is, you mean,” snapped Chevethna.
“Which of them is the picture of a Heroic and Mighty Dragon, suitable as symbol of power and rulership? Arthane, definitely. Llredh, perhaps, if one is Unaware of his Disgusting Habits and Wilfully Ignorant of his History. But even so, Llredh is neither King nor Queen. Ythac is a stout and solid beast, again ignoring his History if one can somehow manage to do so. He is not the Picture of a Great One. Jyothky, for her part, is the Smallest and Slowest of us, and a rather Flighty and Inconstant sort of person.”
“We’re not in a mating flight together, right, Tultamaan?” I asked. I’m sure I was spitting sparks in two flavors, fire and lightning.
“You proved yourself Thoroughly Unsuitable to marry me quite some time past. I merely took the natural action that follows.”
“Then I challenge you to a Duello Prolongato. With the stakes being, the loser shall stop complaining in public about the winner for a duodecade,” I snapped.
Most of the dragons smirked. Chevethna giggled outright. “I think you’d best do it, Tultamaan.”
“Win or lose, I shall surely Suffer the Most,” he said.
“If you’re not my fiancée, you can’t score points off me for not being able to feel. And I’m not going to score points off you by talking about your foreclaws,” I said.