23 \ 111

The autopod containing General Alisandre and the Dragon Councillor descended smoothly through the layers of Foshan’s atmosphere, reaching the formational storm clouds beneath.  Attendant pressurizing meant they had time to continue discussion.  In their case, that meant Councillor Arkuda carried on a considered monologue while the General concentrated and displayed his reactions and degree of comprehension.

“The difference between seeing a dragon, and meeting a dragon… with the latter, you may have some exchange.  For instance, I don’t actually talk to that many people.”  The General thought that Arkuda talked to a great many, then thought perhaps the dragon drew a distinction between public speaking and conversation.  “Having met once, it’s easier to meet again.  I’m an easier dragon to meet than most.  I am well understood.”  The dragon blinked with satisfaction.  “I have been well understood by many over quite some time, which makes seeking me simple to an unnoticeable degree.”

“Other dragons are more reclusive, even alien to those who haven’t considered eir existence, or thought as to what ‘e might be like, besides simply a dragon.  We have very little in common at times between individuals.”  The dragon briefly clasped er scale-plated hands before bowed head.  “This is our problem currently.”

A noise alerted them that the autopod receiver had made contact and was now guiding their vessel.  Below them loomed a massive black bar sitting very still in the storm-tossed waves.  It was as long as some of the tallest buildings in Alisandre Capital, and radiated shadow from its light-absorbent surface.  A landing port slid open beneath a pop-up fielding, which deflected an errant wave like a stone.  The autopod entered the giant bar with Arkuda and Claymore inside.

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22 \ 110

The Dragon Councillor had familiarized the General with the kind of bird they use in covert messaging. He hadn’t before needed the service of these creatures, or rather the dragons hadn’t employed them to his function.  Claymore could see the recognition and wayfinding abilities in their eyes.  Their plumed posture belied a sense of humor.  They were said by dragons to have a ‘confusing warble’ which causes them to be strangely forgettable to dragons despite their charming appearance.  Excellent birds, said Arkuda, who seemed to have a fondness for them.  Claymore, too, liked the bird well on its visits, and noted its plumage.

That’s how he knew this was a different bird arriving to his office, not the one with whom he was already friendly.  The bird looked primally satisfied as the man removed its written burden, and left without ceremony.

“3 Pyrean,” spelled the message in shorthand.  Claymore understood why this course of action should follow.  They had discussed seeking, hunting, baiting, drafting, hiring, and auditioning, all relating to different dragons.  They would seek three of this year’s Pyrean Midsummer dragons; Saga, the fourth, was known to have a long-standing conflict with this conflict.

Three Pyrean.  That meant he needed to tie up loose ends today, or at least tuck them in.  Now that the Sturlusson matter was delivered entirely to the Keepers, he could address his new primary duties.  The General opened an occasional line to his planning officer.  They spoke of his likely travel course.

He could continue to be the operatives’ anchor as a briefly active agent.  The royal family didn’t strictly need him at this time, even if they liked having him around.  Keeping himself chained wouldn’t bring the missing Princess any closer.  General Alisandre also needed to pay a visit to Freshwater, for more than one reason – he’d been invited to a rabbit dinner.

“While you’re off-planet, do you want us to shunt communications to the next organizational layer?”

“That will not be necessary – for I, Draig Claymore, am in charge.”

“Thank you, sir.”

After finishing his call, he retrieved his box of previous bird-carried messages.  He translated one of his more recent missives to Councillor Arkuda.  “Cultural liaisons and military historians recommend Viridian Phasing protocols.”

That sentence meant pages of debate that the dragon Councillor would infer because ‘e would be the first to point it out.  Convincing the participation of enough dragons was a battle-scale endeavor.  This war maneuver (for that was what it was), researched and proven in a nearly mythical time, was a matter of rare curiosity.  General Claymore thought to himself that if he could vanquish impending struggle by ringing the first and last note of a twenty-part chorale, he would award himself another imaginary secret medal.  His favorite kind.

This was to be a seeking.  Claymore knew there were steps to a seeking, and Arkuda would make them easy.  But one still had to embark upon it.  From his armoire, General Alisandre selected a midweight streamlined woolen outer.

Sticker Mystery, Share Your Words

Here’s a strange facet to the season: mail theft!

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Whoever it was (perhaps a certain… jolly fellow… behind on deadline) got my freshest batch of Bones of Starlight stickers!  Courtesy of Seattle’s own Uncle Slappy.  Careful, that could be a stolen black market sticker.

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I’ll take this opportunity to again direct attention to a small side project, Share Your Words @ Standing Rock. My typewriter was the vehicle for people’s thoughts and expressions on Veteran’s Day, 11/11/2016, at the Oceti Sakowin camp near Cannonball, ND. The historic unfolding of these events is a piece of gladness for which I still feel waves of gratitude, and some friends of mine still hold that ground.

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The six collective pages are being hosted and transcribed over its own facebook page, and I intend to continue storing and propagating these images and words in different places on the web. Melwing also archived them on imgur.

I’m now in the midst of sharing the higher quality scanned images of the typed pages, and transcribing what’s written for readability and searchability.  I do it in my extra time, therefore it’s not under schedule.

The images and their written contents are available to the public for distribution, reuse, and evolution under a Creative Commons free culture license (CC-BY).  I feel this is in the spirit of the collective work, and I don’t even feel the need for my name to be attached so long as it isn’t misattributed.  But I will appreciate the nod when given.

21 \ 109

The dragon Arkuda is remembering the names of the unbanished dragons alive for the War, and which of them still live. ‘E is one of them. Thinking of the others not by the shorthand pronounceable by other species, but the name of a dragon called by another dragon, the bugle that can be heard over other planes. A human, an eagle, or an ant might hear it as a roar. They might all hear it.

Some that hear a name might have a response, and by that response guess whose name was spoken, calling them closer by remembering. Unseen dragons often lurk in the unremembered. Unremembered by whom?

The Dragon Councillor sought places of revealing, though nowhere near a revelation. A revelation fills the sky. Calling dragons was a matter of timing, not time.

Arkuda liked the Imperium. Thought it was a genius idea for its time. ‘E’d already spent human generations explaining it to other dragons, so they would understand how they were included. Conceiving of oneself as a part of the universal fabric is different from interlocking with a species nation.

Arkuda didn’t mind explaining all that could be explained. This is why Arkuda was selected as Councillor.