Itharieth half crawled, half levitated to Psajathrion’s hangar. “Good doctor, have you a moment for some professional attentions?”
The doctor shook himself awake. “Of course, Itharieth! What has become of you? Your forelegs are broken, your wings are in tatters, your face is badly burned!”
“Jaraswat happened to me,” said Itharieth, collapsing gratefully in front of Psajathrion, presenting himself for an initial examination. “He came to me just now and said that he was accepting my challenge. ‘What challenge?’ said I. ‘The challenge to my authority as Chief Scholar,’ said he. ‘And I get to choose the form, which is Rhedosaur’s Duello Prolongato.’”
“I note that there are the regulation twelve injuries, as suitable and standard for a Duello Prolongato, and that he has confined himself to traditional and easily-healed sorts of injuries, at that,” said Psajathrion. “I do hope you gave as good as you got.”
“Me? Hardly. Jaraswat came thoroughly prepared, with Driaith’s best the Hoplonton, and a dozen enhancements, and his spirit in a fury and a half! I was still muzzy with sleep when he broke both my legs. If I got a single bite and two breaths, I’ll be the Frandy’s brandy! Ow, that hurts!”
“Simply medical pain, Itharieth. You do want that foreleg to be set straight, do you not?”
“In fact I do, good Psajathrion. But I am in the mood for self-expression now, and the self I wish to express includes a great deal of pain. Also a certain measure of anger and outrage. I cannot say that Jaraswat behaved unlawfully or improperly, but he certainly used our more violent laws and customs as a very big set of fangs! Also, I might add, his own fangs are plenty large.”
“Well, no lasting harm done, at least, Itharieth. You must have put the first-aid preservation spells into yourself quickly! The injuries were as fresh as if they were just dealt, not the dozen minutes old they actually are. Healing will be quick and thorough.”
Itharieth scowled. “Well, yes. I quickly saw the way of the duel, and spent my time on preservatives rather than, well, actually fighting. He did mention the possibility of long-lasting harm though! He threatened to take my ability to speak away, with that wixio of his, should I persist in defying him.”
Psajathrion worked for a bit longer. “Well, that is what can be done now. You should sleep for two days, or, better, for three. No, no, you should not move so far as your own hangar! You shall have my bed. I shall sleep across the hangar door, and scowl away anyone who attempts to bother you. I do not trust Jaraswat not to challenge you again on some other pretext!”
“The dignity of an autonomous drake, or peaceful sleep? By the Jatt’s cat, it is no contest! I shall take your offer, and gratefully!” Itharieth levitated himself into Psajathrion’s hangar, and embarked on the medically-recommended rest.
Psajathrion discussed the attack with Osoth and Tultamaan, and eventually with me. We were forced to admit that Jaraswat was within the bounds of permissable and traditional behavior. We punished him, in a feeble administrative gesture, by moving everyone who had been involved in the god stalk from Jaraswat’s domain to Tultamaan’s.
Jaraswat’s reaction was simply, “Horiẗotħ.” Nobody else knows what language that’s in, even.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.