Jaraswat — to pick an atypical dragon — started out in the typical way, in his hangar, tossing some of his hoard into a crate and hurrying to the portal.
Itharieth, waiting by the portal-mouth, asked him, “You do not wish to be a linguist any more?”
Jaraswat snapped, “What zenziz blithering are you blithering now?”
“The wixio, surely you remember the wixio. By the Jhirstomater’s thermometer, I saw it late last night in the drawer of the cabinet in a science hangar!” Itharieth was, of course, wearing veriception blocks; but dragons, of course, almost never lie to each other.
“Oh, horiẗotħ eventuality! And I did not realize it had turned adorla!” And, so saying, Jaraswat set his crate down and rushed to the science hangars. Itharieth’s directions, which had seemed quite clear enough at the portal, proved terribly ambiguous: there were seven hangars the biologist might have meant, each of which was supplied with not quite enough cabinets, whose several drawers were not quite adequate hold all that must be held.
So the first drawer he tried proved to contain an alembic and five graduated cylinders, shoved on top of the wixio-extracted sweaters he had put there. The alembic did him the disservice of shattering with a rather rude ‘pop!’, reminding him that scientific and magical instruments were quite overmatched by a dragon’s strength, and that it would do him no good to find the wixio by snapping it in half.
So he was more careful with the second drawer, and shuffled through the jade stirring-rods and silver-plated charybdonna feathers that it unaccountably contained instead of the sound-holders he was sure were there, and the wixio that he thought might be. The third drawer was stuck on something, and he jiggled it warily for many valuable seconds, and finally clawed through the side of the cabinet. He nearly breathed the whole cabinet to destruction when he discovered that the drawer had jammed on Mr. Norb’s favorite mug, which had been lost months before Mr. Norb’s horrible demise.
“Not that cabinet!” Jaraswat looked through another, and a third, and then thought that perhaps he might have left it in the hangar of the hhejŝṧhyant. Where he found Yarenton, who gave him a quick report. “Rhosmanthus and Nrusco are back from Eleer. The others are too far away to reach. Jyothky is not answering the venstroma, so we cannot talk to them now.” (I was, of course, asleep on Hove, and the venstroma has no sort of alerting or alarming.) “I do not wish to let the doom off of Narethy, I cannot wait for them.” He struck the hhejŝṧhyant in a point of particular vulnerability with his vô, destroying it and condemning four dragons to life in exile.
“Oh, a bolob for that rollimer Rhosmanthus and Nrusco the nipperlan! The wixio! Where is the wixio!”
“I have no idea,” said Yarenton, and departed the hangar for the portal to Hove.
“And what of the more Laggardly of the Dragons?” asked Tultamaan, who, with Itharieth, was keeping count.
“Four are lost forever on Eleer. The rapist is searching around in the science hangars,” said Yarenton. “All others are here or on Hove.”
“Let us go then!” said Tultamaan. Itharieth snatched Jaraswat’s crate, and the three of them fled to Hove. Where Tultamaan and Itharieth both struck the portal to Narethy, destroying it.
And Itharieth extracted the wixio from his neck-scales, and tucked it into Jaraswat’s crate.
And that was the end of the Hoven Royal Exploring Company’s first expedition.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.