Quel Quen in the Courts of Hove
The current Queen’s Formal Court in Hove doubles as an open-air amphitheatre when I’m not using it, which is most of the time. Actually it started out life as an open-air amphitheatre on the hot, rainless Mnelnithan Island, centuries ago, during the brief and brilliant career of the Thespian Heroes of Mnelnia. Now it’s mostly used for reconstructed Thespian-Heroic plays, with interludes of Thespian-Heroic plays adjusted to the modern era, and attracts tourists who arrive thinking themselves to be extremely cultured, and who depart knowing themselves to be extremely overheated. But that’s towards the end of the day. In the beginning of the day, I sometimes take over the stadium, using the powers of my office as Half of the Absolute and Unquestioned Dictator of Hove, and hold court there. (As long as my visitors can ignore the occasional stagehand. I don’t have the authority to get rid of the stagehands. I’m not a very good dictator.)
And the reporters. (Spying by hoven governments was a bit of a problem. They would disguise their spies as stagehands, and have them listen to us secretly. This inevitably resulted in the stagework not getting done well, or not getting done at all. And that meant that the amphitheatre wanted us out. So instead we invited newspapers to send reporters to listen to everything and tell everyone everything. That put an end to the spying, and to the amphitheatre wanting us out. When we really wanted privacy we spoke in Grand Draconic, or by spells. (I hadn’t noticed before, but we never wanted privacy that much when speaking with small people.) Anyhow, now you know how imposing a queen I am.)
The visitor of the day was Quel Quen. I had imagined the great explorer as a massive hulking beast, like my non-father-in-law the redoubtable Rankotherium, who in his youth slew the gods of Mhel with his might and his breath, and in his adulthood tried and failed to find a dragoness to marry his perverted son. But Quel Quen was nothing of the sort. He was a tidy little drake, not too much bigger than me — which makes him quite small for a male. His scales were gold and crimson, in a pattern of diamonds and lozenges, and he sported a great many tiny spikes in a nicely symmetrical triple ridge down his back. He brought one companion, the drake Hhreamsen: not much larger, considerably spikier, and orange and brown and crimson.
He and Hhreamsen gave their formal curtseys. “We are pleased to formally accept your welcome! We have brought you tribute, on the hopes that the many and fierce dragons who dwell in this world shall be appeased and not chase us back into the outer void!”