Sythyry (sythyry) wrote,

Burial Customs

Burial Customs

The exploring company never cared enough for exploring Narethy. It was nearly useless as a dragon-world, after all. If anyone wanted to conquer it, they had merely to fly over it, gaining considerable land and some treasure but neither subjects nor glory. So the dragons of the company, when they were bored, looked around for what treasure they could find.

And what treasures they were! Few of them were made of precious materials, but their artistry with common stuff was adequate. The narets rejoiced in plate-glass windows with intricate scrollworks etched around the edges. In ceramic vases painted with romantic and pastoral scenes. In cubes of polished granite with poetry calligraphically engraved on five of the six faces. In twisting tattoos, half geometric and half organic; they flayed their decorated dead and stretched their beautified hides in frames in art museums and the walls of mansions.

The best of Narethy’s loot would be worth adding to a dragon’s hoard, if the dragon were either penurious or a collector of decorative art. Or well-storied art, perhaps, especially those flayed hides, which Osoth often persuaded to return to a semblance of life long enough to tell (or even write down) their own stories.

Now, some dragons were such collectors — Xilobrax, Mirinxan, Yarenton, and Osoth himself. More of them were penurious, at least in the sense that their hoards, like the rest of their persons, had already once proved inadequate for the putative purpose of hoards and drakes, viz. acquiring a dragoness. (☣)

(☣) Which leads me to the question, “Does a drake’s hoard actually matter when winning a dragoness’s heart, or, more accurately, her claspers?

To which the flippant answer is, “It is a matter of ššḁ; the actual effectiveness is not quite relevant. But yes, dragonesses are as much moved by ššḁ as drakes.”

Well, my suitor Csirnis was beautiful and skillful and heroic and kind. He was once the crown prince of Chiriact, and to him came naturally all the elegances and brilliances that Gyovanth tried to claim. But he had abandoned his title, for a heroic reason. By the end of the mating flight, he did have something of a hoard — hovens gave him gifts for his heroism, and some were fairly valuable. But he kept every single gift, including a sheaf of oddly-spelled, oddly-worded, and oddly-drawn thank-you notes from hoven children. So his hoard was puny, haphazard, and ridiculous. I will not say that this made Csirnis unattractive, but it certainly diminished his attractiveness to me.

Or, consider Meliavras, the dragoness who chose Tyozangi over Vaareng. Her hoard focussed on drinking vessels. It was not the most spectacular of hoards, but it was very tidy, well-maintained and well-organized: small, but beautiful. Tyozangi had a similar passion and skill for collecting țwery, which is to say (in Petty Draconic), symmetrical metal objects. So the two hoards fit together sensibly into a larger whole, which they have on exhibit in a long gallery in their castle. You can certainly tell which third is Meliavras’, which is their joint hoard, and which Tyozangi’s. But as you walk along the gallery, which I did as part of the research for this paragraph, you get the sense of why their marriage is so right, of how the two distinct persons function as part of a harmonious pair.

(And no, Nrararn’s and my hoard is a vast shaggy mess with neither theme nor order to it. We have hoven curators who try to put it in order, but we don’t have time ourselves. Royal hoards are often like that. We are busy dragons, and have many visitors bringing gifts and supplicants bringing bribes. It is a rare day that we can spend sorting through our stock of treasures. Our marriage works well, but our hoard is a shambles.)

Support this project! Show that you’re reading it by exchanging notes with the characters, other readers, the writer, and occasional other entities at 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.
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