She was wrong about who wrote it, but we asked Ythac to hunt the author down. So within the hour, I had this conversation with the gentleman in question, in his study, in Tublier, frequently voted as the Least Interesting City In Trest.
“Hello, are you Deech Portero, author of this pamphlet?” I asked, looking like a fairly ordinary hoven girl.
“Why, yes, I am,” he said.
I turned into a small-but-larger-than-him version of myself. “I was curous about how you came to write it,” I said in a very gentle but very lizardly voice. “Oh, it is not a hurry. Take a moment to compose yourself.”
It took more than a moment, and more than one cup of wine. Healing spells can be cast quietly, and can dispose of alcohol as they do other poisons, so Deech wasn’t actually drunk, just under the impression he was. Which is almost the same thing.
“So, now that you are more comfortable, please do me the kindness of explaining how this particular pamphlet came to be written. More to the point, how it came to be written in Petty Draconic, and published in a format intended for a very small and specific audience of very large and scaly people.”
He scowled. “I have witnesses and evidence for all of it.”
“Oh, I am actually aware of the details of my romantic life, and I can only wish it was a grandth part as romantic as your pamphlet says! The facts are not in dispute, and this is not a trial for libel. Technically I could kill you and your family for lèse majesté and sedition, on my own authority. You’d be much safer, legally, if you were still Ythac’s subject … but I may choose to interpret this as an admiring if ill-conceived piece of fanfic. If you are good about answering my questions.”
He demurred a bit more.
“Oh, of course you’re an anti-dragon rebel. I am too, did you know? I don’t have my RARU card on me at the moment, but I did join, a while ago.” As Ythac’s spy, and I’m pretty sure that RARU expelled me forever, but never mind that. They had several days between discovering me and winning most of their country back with my help.
“That is nonsense,” he said. “I wouldn’t tell you for ten thousand thurnies.”
Which was an invitation to bargain if I ever heard one. We settled on three thousand, plus protection.
“I was commissioned by a dragon,” he said. “He (or she) didn’t give a name. Silver scales, sickle-shaped horns, a silver crest, intense blue eyes.”
“I believe I know the gentledrake in question,” I said, because that’s Gyovanth. “Did he leave you anything by way of instructions or source material?”
Gyovanth had left several sheets of paper, covered with rumors and odd tales about me, smelling strongly of himself.
“Yes, indeed I know the gentleman in question.”
So I commissioned another pamphlet from Deech Portero: a detailed study of my more impressive sexual escapades, written in the most florid and disgusted prose he could manage. A hoven reading it might conclude that I was some overblown libertine. A dragon reading it would find it routine and tedious. (Hovens do not know how to have sex well, except for Tarcuna and her ilk — the high-grade sex-worker ilk, that is, not the lesbian ilk or the in-hopeless-love ilk or various the other ilks that plague her life. Dragons do, except for me.) I had it dedicated to “He Who Knows”, which is to say, my husband. I don’t think that Deech liked dragons, or me, very much, but he did at least like thurnies. He included a number of oblique insults and veiled obnoxiousnesses in my pamphlet, and got paid for it. This makes him the second-happiest person involved in the divorce.
I sent a copy to Gyovanth, too.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.