There was a great deal else to say. We said it all, at least six times each, and it took all day and through eclipse and well into night, and I was so glad when ten of those dragons left. The eleventh one, Csirnis, left too, which was rather insulting since he’s engaged to me and he hadn’t treated me a bit like a fiancée.
Still, that left me and Nrararn and a whole lot of quiet, flying over a fecund forest in the middle of the night.
“I know you’re probably tired of talking, but there’s one thing that still bothers me,” he said.
I was tired of talking, but I know how to treat a fiancé, even if Csirnis doesn’t anymore. And that’s not just twining him. “If there’s only one, you’re in better shape than anyone.”
“One thing that nobody quite said. Conquest by fire always works. Well, mostly. Sometimes you end up with a cinder-world, or sometimes you try to kill a god too big or something and you have to run away. But we could pretty much conquer Hove by fire if we tried. We’d be boiling our tails afterwards, but we’d win.”
“Yes,” I said, because it’s true.
“Insidious insinuation doesn’t always work. It doesn’t even often work. We’ve been on Yyrclarian for how long? Two grand of years? I think we own about eight cities and a pawful of islands.”
“Yes,” I said, because that’s true too.
“What if it doesn’t work here?”
“Then we’ll be stuck living very well here, without actually ruling, the way the dragons of Yyrclarian do. And we’ll have been treating the hovens decently all the while, too. Think you could stand that?”
Nrararn thought a while, which I really do appreciate. “I wasn’t exactly expecting to hold territory myself in any case. I’m still not sure if you’re going to marry me.”
“I’m not sure either,” I said, because it’s true. “I haven’t made up my mind one way or another. I have a few years left.”
“I suppose that the burghers of Yyrclarian endure their fates with aplomb. And with a rather more lavish lifestyle than we had on Mhel, mostly. I could probably do the same,” he said eventually.
“Well, will you support me in doing this the slow but morally-defensible way? I’m trying to behave well towards everyone anymore, even hovens. Not that it’s easy or even possible.” I demanded, which is rather rude in retrospect.
He laughed. “If I say yes, will it get me married?”
“If you say yes, it will get you twined,” I said. “Behaving well towards everyone starts with my fiancés.”
“That’s the best offer I’m like to get, for love or life. So yes,” he said.
We’re not Arthane and Chevethna. We’re not even Nrararn and Arilash. But he seems to have an adequately good time with me. Unlike the dragons who used to inhabit the temporary tents in the Imperial Patthakadu Cavalry Academy.