Sythyry (sythyry) wrote,

Inside Voice, Outside Voice (24/170)

«He does seem a bit of a domineering churmalkin,» I wrote agreeably.

«Oh, no, not that! I just embarrass him dreadfully,» Roroku answered. «And I want to ask a favor from you, but I don't want him to see me begging.»

"And how are you finding Hove, good Duke-spawn Gyovanth? By the supremely civilized standards of Chiaract, it is surely a wilderness of wildness, but I hope not without its rugged charms, to say nothing of the unquenched vigor and creativity of the natives," I said out loud.

«Are you sure? You seem terrified of him,» I wrote.

Roroku answered, «He is everything that I ever wanted in a husband. He has vast lands. He has power — over small people, like everyone, but over dragons too. He is wealthy. At home we sleep on a bed of diamonds and spinels and garnets and jaspers. And he's beautiful, and his manners and fashions are perfect. And he's not a bit of fluff like some courtiers: he's an excellent fighter.»

"Alas, we have had only so much time to tour, to sightsee, to flitter hither and yon like a pair of besotted butterflies. We saw the Churns of Clin-candel. Who would have imagined that so much water could get from here to there and back again so quickly! Why it wants to go to either place is beyond me, since they are both dismal rocky holes." He grinned at me. "Perhaps the water does not so much want to go to the other hole, as it does to leave the hole it currently occupies. I can sympathize with that. I, too, couldn't leave fast enough."

«Well, if you're contented with him, I shan't try to talk you out of contentment and into unhappiness,» I answered. «I don't know Gyovanth, but I do know Csirnis his cousin quite well (yes, I still forgive you for arranging that I know him quite well), and Csirnis is all that you have described. Plus utterly mad, to the extent of having given up his belongings to go be an Uplifter of the poorest and most miserable of the small people of Hove.»

«Oh, there's no danger of Gyovanth doing that!» Roroku wrote.

"Perhaps our wilderness features are not the right attractions to attract you," I said. "After Chiriact's own Glaysome Cataracts, I can imagine that the Churns have little novelty." (I haven't seen them, but Csirnis is more impressed with the Churns.) "Would the churning vigor of hoven culture appeal to you more? The grand galleries of Perstra are well worth the gazing!"

«Well, if you're not here asking for a divorce, what can I do for you?»

«I need to do something to make myself worthy of Gyovanth! I can't match him in grace or manners, you need to be trained in those from the day you hatch.»

"I do not find it worth my time to pay attention to the artistic scrabblings of small people. They start out without the least bit of sensitivity or sensibility. Then, as they labor and study, sometimes they start to show a bit of promise — but almost instantly they exhaust their creative powers and die of old age before they actually live up to that promise. I can't even see why they bother trying. It's quite hopeless," said Gyovanth.

He is wrong.

«I could give you lands, but only to hold by wing-claw, because that is how it is done on Hove,» I said.

«Gyovanth has vast lands, from his parents. They don't like me either. And isn't it dishonorable to be given lands by the rival who defeated you? It's as if we were fighting a grand Caramelle, and you scored the final blow by a healing spell.»

"Well, if the native splendors of Hove hold such little appeal for you, what is it which brought you here?" I asked.

"Oh, that. I am simply following Roroku around, like the love-besotted drake I am not," Gyovanth explained, or rather, failed to explain.

«I don't think we're rivals any more. Are we competing for something? Please don't be offended, but I hadn't noticed that we were,» I said. This would be a terrible insult if we actually were rivals — an invitation to a massive duel, if not a downright declaration of emnity for life. There's no worse offense than to tell someone that they are so unimpressive that you didn't even notice their attack.

"Why are you following her, then?"

"She has this horrible habit of running off if she isn't constantly watched. You might have noticed it. It first manifested when she ran away from your mating flight. I regularly have to fly after her and haul her back to some unendurable torment or danger, like a friend's wedding or a court ball. Usually with my fangs in her tail."

«Oh, no, we're not competing. I'm not competing with anyone,» Roroku wrote. «I should be. I've won Gyovanth as my husband, but I want to win his good regard,» wrote Roroku.

«I've only got one way to do that at the moment. Have you heard about my exploring company?»


It seems that is what she was coming to me for, after all.

"That sounds like an unpleasant circumstance for everyone concerned," I said. "And embarrassing for you and her. Is it truly more embarrassing than letting her avoid the event? I'm not fond of court balls myself. I don't sponsor them myself. King Ythac has only held two, and they weren't brilliantly successful."

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