“Hallo, Borybran,” said Psajathrion. “A moment of your time, perhaps to extend for several days, in a professional capacity.”
“Psajathrion! Itharieth!” cried Borybran. He is cobalt-blue with white highlights and a single long forehead horn. He also radiates brightly to theoception, having gotten deified somehow as a matter of professional interest. (Don’t make too much of his godhead. It is no more amazing or impressive than that my husband the air-mage braids lightning bolts into his mane.) “What a relief it is, to be consulted in a professional capacity! I have written grand upon grand of theological reports, but, save for Vorav where events happened more swiftly than consultations, theology has been a matter of very little public interest!” One may suspect Borybran of exaggerating his labors.
“By the Gloringe’s door-hinges, it is no longer so, Borybran!” exclaimed Itharieth. “We have a matter of a god on Girgar placing a world-wide curse. We wish to investigate, to discover, to understand — to twist the god’s tail until they lift it, by the Flimnei’s chimneys!”
“Ah, Itharieth, you evoke deities whose names are obscure beyond even my deep study!” said Borybran. (“He makes them up,” Psajathrion muttered.) “But this seems like a veritable case study! Tell me more!”
So they told him more. As they spoke, Xilobrax and Tultamaan and Jaraswat and others slithered by to listen.
“Why, yes indeed!” said Borybran, much amused to be the center of attention. “The combination of eccentric fussiness, peculiar punishment, and oracular unclarity about it certainly does suggest the approach of a certain sort of deity. We must investigate and meditate and triangulate, and much shall be revealed that was obscured!”
Jaraswat scowled. “Borybran. Is your report on the theotonic field on Girgar both quarliq and complete? For that matter, are your reports on Kyspert and even long-departed Vorav kaperkonk in every aspect — do they exist at all?”
Borybran peered at the Chief Scholar. “What does that mean?”
Jaraswat bit Borybran’s left forewing. “Borybran! You spend every moment and every thought on that jawdidj fucking-glade of yours, and not enough on the heart of scholarship! ‘kaperkonk’ is straightforward Cĥẚriptaaan, ‘quarliq’ is equally routine Tlelismaxchi! Both are words I frequently use to convey the degree of perfection I demand from your work! Perfection which you do not deign to supply, preferring to flirt ignominiously with Xilobrax and Rhosmanthus and I don’t know who else!”
“Atharis and Sjojarn are better consorts than any female on any mating flight ever,” Borybran noted. (I dispute his accuracy! Arilash on my mating flight was peerless. I kept the flight’s average low, though.) “Kyspert and Vorav are long-lost; nobody will ever read those reports. The report on Girgar could be enhanced by more interaction with the theotonic field. In any case it’s the girgods themselves who our clients will care about, not just the field, so I’m going to go find the girgods.”
Jaraswat bit Borybran’s other wing, hard enough to break bones and to impinge on the limits of polite behavior. As Borybran healed himself, Jaraswat reared over him and hissed, “Who is it who is Chief Scholar? Who is it who designs the schedules and organizes the tasks of the wooraw hoard of ḋordond fucking-drakes that we are somehow pleased to call scholars here? Is it you? Is this why you proclaim so openly that you are going to go do this unauthorized and inappropriate side-quest?”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.