Jyothky and the Ugly Dwarf
Time for the totally self-serving chapter!
Everyone must prepare themselves in their own preferred way to go to Graulfnir and see Lliashatheny’s mysterious inverted bowl. I prepared myself by means of a bowl of my own. I travelled to the mysterious city of Tublier in Trest (and by “mysterious” I mean “dull and industrial” — they keep their mysteries in windowless factories and warehouses, with private soldiers who beat up any hovens who attempt to infiltrate).
In this place I sponsor a laboratory and workshop, dully and industrially called the Corundum Forming Laboratory and Workshop (CFLW), in which, of all things, corundum is formed. Corundum is the pure substance; rubies and sapphires and emeralds are made by suitable impurities in corundum — and other gemstones, not found in nature, produced by other impurities. The “forming” part of the name is there because we squirt the molten corundum into molds.
The technology is not quite what it will someday be. We are trying to make bowls suitable for dragons, or punchbowls for hoven parties. They should come out perfectly bowly. The usually come out with a pucker in the rim if we’re lucky, or a flobble-hole through the bottom if we’re not. Some smaller shapes work better. We have some very
good expensive expensive and hopefully good engineers working on the problem. In the meantime we have some very arrogant good arrogant by hoven terms (but not really up to draconic standards) artists doing pretty things with smaller pieces.
(Some day I hope to export this artwork to the other dragon-worlds. It’s not exportable yet. Synthetic gemstones, created by spells or magic, seem to have a very bland lluyew, so we do not prize them as much as natural gems. Artistry helps somewhat.)
I picked a ruby bowl whose rim-pucker was at least symmetrical, and which the artists had arted upon with vigor and joy and energetic geometrical figures. I paid for it, in the sense that I may take so many pieces per month from the laboratory and its stocks, as part of the exchange for my sponsorship, and this is one. I renewed the spells on the equipment: the Hoplonton! Not that the pressures and temperatures of ruby-making are as terrible as those of a dragon-battle, but they are not good for unprotected equipment. I did the obligatory royal things and sponsoring-dragon things, mostly involving greeting a newly-hired sub-engineer whom I had not met and who needed clean pants afterwards; I am sure he lost family members in the draconic rule of Trest some while ago.
And made my way to Graulfnir, which was rather easier because the travel monument that Tultamaan had argued for earlier was now finished and usable.