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?”
“Oh, Indeed,” said Tultamaan. “One should scarcely Breathe or Excrete without the permission of one’s Chief. Why, I Myself would surely prefer to spend all day signing Pissing-Passes for the guards, just as Jaraswat for the scholars! Alas for my forepaws, that writing is impossible for me!”
“Your blorrub joy in the excretory processes which you so delight in is not the topic at hand,” snapped Jaraswat. “This is a matter of actual scholarly investigation. Already Itharieth and Psajathrion have gone beyond the appropriate bounds of researchers, and will be punished for doing so! The question is, is this haramash and unauthorized matter going to proceed further? The answer is, it will not! There is no need for us to involve ourselves in the pesty problems of girgs! And every reason not to! We must not spoil this world!”
“Ah! Jaraswat wants subjects with Ruined Eyes. I suppose that does not harm their Linguistic Interest. Alternatively, Jaraswat wants his Scholars to behave like unintelligent Undead. I am unclear on why we are using actual Dragons as scholars in this case. Jaraswat could get Closer to his Heart’s Desire with Clockwork.”
Jaraswat reared his head and spread his wings. “What? I require and demand obedience from my team! Just as you do to yours!”
Tultamaan laughed frostily. “When I say, ‘Go there and do thus’, my team is glad to do so. Not because of my title, which is worth precisely One and One-Quarter of Queen Jyothky’s Farts. Not because they Like me, for I am Odious. But because I am Frequently Correct in my Apprehensions, and Generally Thought Likely to keep my dragons Alive. I remain Unclear on what Advantage your Chieftanship provides for your dragons.”
“Academic gravitas! A clear focus on the important topics! If I did not constantly chivvy them about, they would spend every day engaging in unnatural junctures instead of investigations! Not just the nights!”
“Remarkable that they Attend to you in the Slightest, then,” said Tultamaan.
Jaraswat roared, and attempted to rake Tultamaan’s face with his claws. Tultamaan was warded by some mysterious potency (at least, I know what it is, but I’m not going to tell everyone about my friend’s defenses!) and Jaraswat’s claws raked the air instead.
“Ah, Jaraswat. Once again your Brilliantly-Reasoned Argumentation and Incisive Displays of Logic demonstrate to all just why you are Chief Scholar, and I am merely the Captain of the Guard,” said Tultamaan, his head lowered obsequiously. There was much tittering.
Jaraswat spat a few choice but incomprehensible words — “A ballibob! A veritable nipperlan juke-taj!” — and swarmed off.
“Well. Since he has blocked the Word-Fox, I am going to interpret those last few words as his enthusiastic encouragement on your expedition,” said Borybran. “Xilobrax, dear, are you with me?”
“Anything to twist Jaraswat’s tail!” said Xilobrax.
“If you are actually going to Quest Forth and Nibble Upon A God, I officially delegate two of the Guards to accompany your Wise but somewhat Crunchy Selves. Driaith and Vaareng, are you here? Are you Interested in adding the Score of a Deity to your Increasingly Impressive Tallies?”
“I should think so!”
“Prepare for an hour; I shall confer with Osoth, and then you shall be off.”
Osoth, it turned out, wanted to hear the end of the story too, and thought that priming the world for draconic conquest would be all for the best. As would thorough documentation of fighting the gods.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.