Roroku on Kyspert
Jaraswat addressed the scholars from atop a hillock on Base Camp. “Our preliminary scrying and scouting suggests that Kyspert is the sort of world we are looking for. The kysps are clever and sophisticated, but neither their technology nor their sorcery is particularly great. The world is both pandrimp and kaperkonk, if I may mix Thunbaẑorbo and Cĥẚriptaaan idioms.”
Roroku muttered to Itharieth, “Why is Draconic not good enough for Jaraswat, do you know?”
“I do not know! By Gormula’s formula, it may be the same mysterious affliction that causes me to spout rhyming nonsense epithets!”, whispered Itharieth.
Which got a grin from Roroku. Jaraswat was less amused. “Using precisely-defined terminology is hardly an affliction. ‘Pandrimp’ means ‘rich and ready for conquest’, with connotations of a total lack of appropriate defenses and overweening wealth that the closest Grand Draconic word lacks. ‘Kaperkonk’ is similarly just the right word. You really ought to devote the half-day of spellcasting to learn a few useful languages, Roroku, Itharieth.” It would only be a half-day of spellcasting if they had access to Jaraswat’s collection of wixio-stolen linguistic competencies, which was on Chiriact and generally forbidden.
“Now,” he continued, “Unless someone else wishes to display their feeble command of linguistics and general mental inferiority, may I continue? I shall! We shall take a delicate approach to Kyspert. We must, of course, learn all important things about it. But we shall not be flying about in draco, casually pillaging from this and casually snacking on roasted kysps from that! We have learned that this is not our greatest skill. We shall assume disguises, we shall emit distractions, we shall learn and investigate in secrecy! Kyspert is shall be a jarraj in our collection: a gemstone used as the centerpiece of a broach or crown, in the extraordinarily apt jargon of the jewellers of Tospu Mokikanghu, for the ignorant among you.”
“Rhosmanthus the illusionist shall have a particularly important task. When, let us say, Roroku or Itharieth, in carelessness or clumsiness, happens to reveal their true shape or their various natural capabilities, it will fall to Rhosmanthus to obscure their failure and confound the concerned kysps. Questhraum and Yarenton, if they can keep their paws off of each other for an hour” — the two of them flattened their ears, and untwined their tails from each other — “are his assistants, and have as their primary duty to discover and create suitably perplexing scenarios and stories for the use of Rhosmanthus.”
Yarenton nodded. “All small peoples have their own standard form of ill-regarded nonsense story. On Chiriact, for example, all sorts of tall tales start with a chir wandering into the woods following a trail of, often, pink mushrooms, observing fogs over the moons, and encountering a fairy or a chimera, and the story gets weird from there. We shall find the equivalents of pink mushrooms and moon-fogs for the kysps, and Rhosmanthus shall supply them at need.”
Jaraswat stared at Yarenton. “Yes, yes, you shall follow the ordinary procedures,” he snapped. “For the first round of scouts, I have chosen three dragons. Xilobrax the physical magicologist shall investigate in detail the technology and sorcery of the kysps, with the intent to discover any exotic, dangerous, or well-hidden capabilities they possess. Mirinxan shall measure the world, and shall map the world. Ithar… no, Itharieth can work from samples brought back. I shall choose another — Roroku shall go among the kysps and shall learn of their culture, their ways, their very dìmñeeḏ!” Nobody dared ask him for a translation, but the word means ‘spiritual essence’ in the theology of the despised tappu sect on Hove, members of which Tarcuna often dates, so I suppose Jaraswat might have meant that ‘dìmñeeḏ’ instead of some other.
Roroku, who had no training for that sort of investigation, curled her tail and crouched.
Jaraswat ⅖-spread his wings. “And remember! Kyspert is a world of the greatest value! I shall take failures as a personal affront! If one of you chances to spend the time enjoying your husband or husband-surrogate rather than performing your assigned task with diligence and expertise, it shall go the worse for you! I have the authority to veto one of you from the expedition, remember that!” (What he meant by this is something of a mystery. Osoth has that authority, though he would presumably consult with Jaraswat, and, more importantly, Tultamaan and myself.)
“Now, why are you dawdling and remaining zenziz? Go to, go to!” he roared.Support this project! Show that you’re reading it by exchanging notes with the characters, other readers, the writer, and occasional other entities at sythyry.livejournal.com. And/or buy Bard Bloom’s books on Amazon, especially Mating Flight and World in My Claws, the prequel to this story. Also: Glossary and Dramatis Personae.