Itharieth attempted a diplomatic solution. “Perhaps you could refine your curse, so that it could tell the difference between a noun and a verb? And explain the holy gesture and sign, so that the girgs do not accidentally produce it?”
“I shall not labor to allow dishonest indirect worship of Wiwíl! He is fallen, he is destroyed, he may not be honored at all! Nor will I defile myself with his holy gesture and sign! No! Anyone worshipping him will suffer my wrath! My curse is as I wish it, and I shall maintain it forever, unchanged, unchanging!”
“Well, we must insist that you modify your curse, if not drop it altogether. You are large, and have strong theotonic prowess. But we are quite powerful as well, and suitably prepared, and, should it come to a battle between us, you should have little chance of surviving,” said Itharieth. “Being gentle people, we prefer to negotiate a settlement which is acceptable to you and to the girgs both.” (I have no idea why he thinks we are “gentle people”, but he said so.) “But we must insist that you be flexible on this point, and we are prepared to destroy you rather than leave the curse as it is.”
“I am flexible!” roared the girgod. “I make the curse more stringent! Now any word that has either syllable of Wiwíl’s name shall bring eyeworms! Now drawing a single triangle shall bring eyeworms!”
Itharieth curled his tail in a sign of withheld menace, not that Nahúm had any chance of knowing draconic body language. “This is flexibility, but you must flex in the other direction. Make the curse less stringent! Allow education so that girgs may choose to worship Wiwíl, and those who do not choose to do so shall not be afflicted! Exclude children altogether! These are matters of simple justice.”
“Simple justice is simply that all who worship Wiwíl shall be punished! I would punish them worse if I could!”
“Well, if you will not negotiate, if you will augment the curse rather than diminish it, we will correct you, with violence. Please be aware that you may choose to surrender during our fight. You know our terms already.”
And, so saying, Itharieth and Psajathrion took wing, and struck at Nahúm with their fierce breaths, a bolt of traditional flame from the right, a bolt of equally-traditional lightning from the left. The girgod wailed at the pair of dragon-sized burns on its flanks, and belched forth a clot of theotonic energies at Itharieth. Itharieth dodged it without particular effort, forewarned by dangersense and theoception both. The clot arched about, and coagulated an innocent tree on the mountainside.
Itharieth tried one more negotiation. “You have seen how the fight will go. We will blast you and burn you terribly. You will burp away at us without putting us in the slightest danger. Choose now: a painful death, or an honorable negotiation!”
Nahúm answered with another theotonic blast.
All six dragons have described the battle to me in detail: who was where, what order the breaths struck the poor monster in, how many cubic yards of its flesh were destroyed at each strike, how its aim started out mediocre, and rapidly became worse as pain and injuries clouded its abilities. I find that, while I am happy to glorify the dragons’ motives, which were as close to noble and just as any I have seen, and I am happy to glorify their research, which was clever and well-chosen, I am not going to glorify their battle, beyond saying that it was unhurried and supremely effective. Nahúm never had a chance.
Rather, he never had a chance to win, or even to injure a dragon. He had plenty of chances to surrender and end it. But I suppose that a creature who cannot retreat and does not indulge in dominance contests has no instinct for surrender.
“Well, that wasn’t particularly cooperative of him,” said Psajathrion.
“You’d think a god would know how to fight better than that!” cried Vaareng.
“Not really. I don’t believe that he (or they — I suspect that girgods are hermaphroditic) had ever met anyone of any real power. Nor any girgs, for that matter,” said Borybran.
(In fact, further research revealed that the girgs knew that their gods lived on Wotom. However, they were under the impression that the gods were girg-like, and concerned with the deeds of girgs at a quite detailed level (which is true), but concerned with matters of purity and sin (which is false). They found the truth rather boggling, and I’m sure that a historian would have a wonderful time tracking all the wars and schisms and whatnot that ensued in the gross-year after the revelation.)
Itharieth and Psajathrion visited some of the other girgods, and warned them to use their powers to bless the girgs, rather than curse them. The girgods had watched the dragons easily and amusedly slaughter mighty Nahúm, and were quite cowed. I’m sure a historian would have an interesting time seeing how they behaved in the gross-year after the threat, after the dragons had left.
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