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.

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