“A pity that Roroku decamped. She would do this as skillfully as a Rillfully,” said Itharieth.
“We have, at least, cobbled together a sensory mess from six mismatched spells held together by thin wire and your silly rhymes. It barely deserves the term hhejtaƞitẖ,” said Psajathrion, mainly in Sraddic except for the term of formal magic. “And behold! A twinge of magic! A curse has manifested already!”
“I don’t know where though, or what might have caused it.”
The two disguised dragons took their immaterial contraption to a market of mud-brick colonnades and gleaming displays of the local vegetables. The spell twinged seven times in nine minutes, giving them clear targets of the curse: seven ordinary-appearing girgs, shopping and socializing in the square.
“The curse is certainly being triggered frequently, by the Fottom’s bottom!” said Itharieth. “The market is crowded. Perhaps we will have to — what? there, it just struck at me again!”
Psajathrion inspected the haphazard hhejtaƞitẖ. “It is listening.”
“The curse is listening?”
“The curse is listening. To words, I believe.” Psajathrion indicated certain aspects of the spells. “These were ringing. Say again what you said before, if you please? Slowly”
Itharieth grinned a remarkably predatory grin for a garg’s physique. (I do not know exactly how that works, given where they keep their mouths, but I do believe that it scared children in the marketplace.) “As I recall, I said ‘The … market … is … crowded. … Perhaps … we … will …’ There! ‘We will!’ It struck at me again!”
”‘We will’. Yes, indeed; it has struck at me too,” said the doctor. “The first person plural future in Sraddic is cursed.”
“By the Scense’s tenses! This explains everything about the eye-worms!” cried Itharieth. “They are an especial curse on Sradites, because they speak Sraddic and are likely to use such an ordinary phrase! Infants are not afflicted, for they do not speak! Animals similarly! The curse deposits eggs in the eyes, which hatch days later, and girgs cannot perceive when it happens, so there is no clear cause and effect!”
“Some questions remain,” noted Psajathrion. “Why this curse in particular? Who or what hates the first person plural future in Sraddic? Is it easier to revise the language, or break the worldwide magical effect altogether?”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.