Tultamaan: “And now we resume. There is one further matter.”
Gyovanth: “What sort of ridiculous trumped-up charge are you going to kangaroo me with next?”
Tultamaan: “Your Determined and Forceful Elimination of a Valuable And Skillful member of the expedition.”
Gyovanth: “Again you bring this charge? I have paid in full and then lots for my Entirely Justified Assaults on Jaraswat and Vaareng.” (Note to self and everyone: never, ever try to mock Tultamaan’s Ridiculous Overcapitalized Speech Patterns. The attempts always come out pathetic, and Tultamaan doesn’t care.)
Tultamaan: “I refer of course to the clever and skillful Analysis Mage who has recently chosen to Depart or even Skedaddle an infinite and insurmountable distance from her Normal Duties, largely as a result of Your Behavior.”
Gyovanth: “What? Jaraswat drove her over the edge, not I! And besides she is a useless she-wombat, a vile and disgusting female toad, a lump of harpy eagle feces only suitable for copulation, devoid of both magical and intellectual force!”
Tultamaan: “The perplexed court notes with some distress what Gyovanth does with harpy eagle feces.” Much amusement from the audience! This was what they were there to see. “We must leave this unimaginable deed unimagined. And I mean ‘must’ in the sense that to do otherwise would leave very unpleasant imagines in our imaginations. ”
Gyovanth: “I splutter in fumaceous rage!” [not his exact words]
Tultamaan: “You do indeed, and with considerable skill. Still: do you assert that you were a pleasant husband, of the sort who would not drive a wife to despairing and extraordinarily radical action? That is, do you live up to the standards of 20,735 drakes out of 20,736?”
Gyovanth: “I simply provided a few points of encouragement towards her greater glory, her worthiness to exist in upper Chiriact society!”
Tultamaan: “These ‘points’ that you mention. Are they, perhaps, the Points of your Fangs and Claws?”
Gyovanth: “When that seemed appropriate! Who among us has never bitten his wife? — Ah, I forget. None of you have ever had a wife, for you are each and every one from the inferior half of the drakes in your mating flights.”
Tultamaan: “Being in the upper half seems to have had a Less than Salubrious Effect upon your Ego. As a matter of Psychic Health, I recommend that you boast about a considerably more Exceptional and Unusual Point: viz. that you are the one dragon so unpleasant as to drive his wife to flee to another universe.”
Gyovanth: “Hah, it is not I who did that! It is Jyothky herself! Roroku would often whine and wail about being in Jyothky’s debt forever!”
Tultamaan: “Roroku could have avoided Jyothky’s Infinitesmal Wrath by the simple expedient of Not Coming On The Expedition. I suppose we can Look Into the Matter Further. Itharieth, Osoth, you know about this point?”
Itharieth and Osoth: “Gyovanth had a dozen measures in Roroku’s litany of sorrow. Jaraswat had a half-dozen. Jyothky got a scant single measure. The assorted urning drakes who resent all dragonesses, a half-measure. That is the sum of it.” I could have corrected them, but didn’t.
Gyovanth: “Bah! I am her husband! Who would know better what she said and thought?”
Tultamaan: “Nearly anyone! It was not Evident that you ever Listened to her, even when you Were her husband.”
At this point, Gyovanth’s legal defense abruptly became an incendiary offense, which I believe to be a legal offense as well. Tultamaan was expecting it, and well-defended. He simply smirked and Gyovanth’s flames splattered off of Driaith’s best handywork and Tultamaan’s own collection of magical talismans.
Tultamaan: “Well put, sir, well put indeed. Have you further Explanations or Excuses?”
Gyovanth: ”… no …”
Tultamaan: “A pity. Does anyone else wish to add anything before I pronounce the verdict?”
Gyovanth: “I do! You are a …”
Tultamaan: “Yes, yes, we know all that already. We have heard it a gross of times, and I make no particular Denials of it. Anyone else?”
Driaith: “You are what Gyovanth was about to call you, but at least you’re a smart one. And your tongue and your wit as sharp as an uncrippled drake’s claws!” Which got him an awkward two-legged curtsey from Tultamaan, and that got him glowers from Mirinxan and Vaareng.
Tultamaan: “There is no doubt that you are guilty beyond the meager extenuating circumstances of Injuring Vaareng, of Destroying Equipment, and of Driving Roroku Off.”
Gyovanth: “I have paid for the equipment! In excessive measure, beyond any reasonable punishment!”
Tultamaan: “True enough! But for the first and the third, you have as yet done nothing. Upon consultation with the senior members of the Expedition, we find you far too Disruptive and Disobedient to allow to remain. Thus we banish you from our number.”
Gyovanth: ”WHAT?” I don’t blame him for being furious. He had paid for the equipment on an implicit suggestion that he would be allowed to stay, and here he was, being dismissed after being robbed.
Tultamaan: “Banished. You shall leave immediately. Osoth shall send undead creatures to bring your possessions to Hove.”
Gyovanth: “I shall do no such thing!”
Tultamaan’s squad of guards rose to their feet, grinning many terrible grins, shining with Driaith’s defensive spells.
Gyovanth: “I shall depart — but I shall appeal this judgment to King Ythac!”
Tultamaan: “To Queen Jyothky, who is our royal sponsor. Osoth and I shall, of course, abide by her decision. Would you like to make an Intelligent Comment now? No, it seems you shall let your Perfect Record of the day stand? Very well! Be off with you. We have much to repair here, from the damage you have left in your wake!”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.