Gimuse and her secretary, an older hoven woman named Daprone whose hooves were so worn that she had iron shoes like a horse nailed to them, came to Osoth. “Osoth? Do you have spells to allow ghosts to cry?”
“Not as such, Gimuse,” said the necromancer. “Why do you want to cry?”
Daprone showed him the response to Gimuse’s postcard:
You give me a sick, horrid joke, pretending to write letters to me in the name of my dead wife! You are a stinking sphincter of depravity and spiritual discord! Cease to torment me! -- Dv. Pardilomeh Spremm.
“Is this an occasion for tears? You could write another card to him describing some shared secret and proving that you are yourself. Or you could go and visit him, haunt him or say farewell to him. We’ll be here for a while. I can find another ghost for a scout. Many hovens have died, after all.”
“No, it’s worse than that, Osoth. He has married that Livise Spremm woman whom he had an affair with six years ago. And she has made him back into the very religious man he was before he met me. He’s gone back to signing his name with ‘Dv.’ — that’s ‘Divinatorum’. At this point he’d probably consider me an emination of Curset sent to destroy him. So my original plan was to cry for a few hours and then try to forget him. I’m having trouble with the first step though.”
Osoth rubbed his facial horns. “Not an easy problem, letting the dead cry. That requires a body, a living one. Possessing a hoven would be inadvisable. Would you like to possess a ninnygoat? That can be arranged. I think they can cry.”
“No, thanks. I feel too much of a ninny as it is. I can probably get the same effect by composing bad poetry.”
“Will you need me to write it down?” asked Daprone.
“Thank you, but no thank you. This is the sort of poetry that is best not written down,” said Gimuse.
Osoth returned to his planning, musing on the limitations of draconic powers to solve problems.
The fourth attempt to reach a new world reached another Coldest Ice, and the fifth and sixth, another pair of Dull Glows, without even the curiosity of visible life. By the seventh, which was different but no more useful, the audience at the finishing of the Pentagonal Cyclone had shrunk by a third: various people who did not have to be there chose not to be.
“I was expecting another Coldest Ice,” said Itharieth as the minikin reached the end of the cyclone. “It is not. There are stars in the sky. Not many stars: I count nine visible from the cyclone’s opening. The ground is smooth and reflects the sky, rather as if the world were made entirely of glass.”
“It is, or at least, if I recognize the type as a Burned Out, it is,” said Sjojarn. “This is a very old Basic Ball world. Its sun once burned large and bright enough to melt the world, and then sun and all stars cooled and are on their way to death.”
“Is there anything there for us?”
“Is Osoth a mighty enough necromancer to raise the ghost of a dead sun?” asked Sjojarn.
“Potentially, if the sun once lived. Mere balls of flame do not have spirits,” said Osoth.