Rankotherium:“How can it be that the terms of my oath are still satisfied?”
Me:“Ythac is king of Hove; I am queen. We’ve also got two prince-consorts.” I was forgetting about poor Kuro, who was trying to hide among the bachelors. Probably just as well to leave him out of the discussion.
Rankotherium:“Does any important draconic law or custom stand unchallenged and undistorted at all, on Hove?”
Me:“I think we’ve been pretty good about killing small people attacking dragons.”
Rankotherium:“I daresay you will have plenty of need of that, if you continue on as you have begun.”
Me:“Perhaps so. Though outside of a few large countries, hovens regard us as worthwhile monsters.”
Rankotherium:“Yet your world is improperly conquered.”
Me:“Not conquered at all, in most places, yet we have more tribute and authority than we know what to do with. Have you congratulated your son and his new husband yet?”
Rankotherium:“Don’t be ridiculous.”
Me:“Don’t you be ridiculous. He is the greatest and most influential of the drakes of a new dragon-world; he will be a major historical figure, who may exceed even your own glories. He will bring you more honor than dishonor.”
Rankotherium:“Plenty of both, though.”
Me:“I imagine you can blame the dishonor on Dessvaria.”
Rankotherium: [laughing] “I will congratulate him. You know what you must do to win my forgiveness, though.”
Me:“Nrararn and I will work on it diligently.”
Off to one side, Dessvaria was quietly chatting with Ythac and Llredh about whether she and her adulterous lover could and should emigrate to Hove. In case we need another draconic law or custom or major dragon of Mhel to offend, I suppose.
Me:“What are you doing here?”
Tarcuna:“I told the waitstaff that I was one of the ones you brought from Hove, so they let me help serve.”
Me:“You’re not married! You should be on the outside!”
Tarcuna:“So I lied to them about it. Besides, whose fault is that?”
Me:“Yours, for not staying with anyone for more than a half-dozen months.” (She had gone through a great many girlfriends over the last dozen years, and even a few boyfriends.)
Me:“What, you’ve been waiting for me to realize you love me more than Nrararn does? I’ve known that for years. It’s your own fault, or at least mostly due to brain damage.”
Tarcuna:“Actually it’s because we’ve never lived anywhere that girls can marry each other. And some big black monster with immense legal powers has not seen fit to make it so.”
Me:“Well, next time you’re in love with a hoven girl, go to Perstra. I suspect Ythac and Llredh would give you that law, as a present. And it’s not so far from your home.”
Tarcuna:“In case my family ever forgives me? Well, anyhow, I am happy for you.”
Tarcuna:“Not too bad. I’m still your friend and seneschal.”
Me:“Always, Tarcuna.” Well, as long as she’s alive and wants to do it, which is only a few more duodecades.
Tarcuna:“That’s plenty for one hoven. Hey, I’d better get back to the kitchen…I love you, y’know.”
Me:“I love you too, Tarcuna.”
Nrararn gave me a very tolerant look, so I wrote to him, «And you, I am busy learning to love. Properly and fully, and in good draconic style.» He seemed suitably appeased.