Quick recap since it’s been a minute since the last update – Tythel successfully hatched the egg, and Bix was able to repair Synit’s broken body. And a reminder that Patreons are ahead of the posted parts – you can get ahead here.
For a little while, everyone was silent as Synit basked in the relief of a life finally free from pain. Then it was time for explanations. Tythel filled in Haradeth on everything that had transpired since they last parted, and the insane plan she had to resolve things going forward. Haradeth was certainly interested in discussing the details, but with Bix working on a way to try and fix his mother, he was too scattered to focus well on the details.
Instead, while Bix worked – and drew blood from Tythel with a needle, an unusual experience Tythel hoped to never have to repeat – Poz explained how his people’s metamorphosis worked, and how he’d been able to survive Nicandros. The shame of consuming manflesh was apparent even to Tythel, but as far as she was concerned, it was just smart. Quite literally, in this case. She hoped she could convince him to try it again, given how powerful it had made him.
Haradeth filled Tythel in on the Sylvani, their otherworldly nature, their strange goddess Anorita – who was actually crystal lattice mind – her constraints on helping them, Bix and her nature. When he was done with that, before Tythel could fully process, he and Lathariel together shared the nature of gods and goddesses and Godcores and dragons.
It was almost too much for Tythel to process.
“So…” Tythel drew out the word, buying herself time to think. “I…even without the phoenixes, I could create a new true dragon from an Aeromane, once I’m old enough.”
Lathariel shook her head. “I’m sorry, that was explained poorly. An Aeromane could be used to create…I suppose the best term would be a classic dragon. Like your father and others of his form. But they are no more ‘true’ dragons than anything else so ascended. You are a true dragon. If you were to use heartflame to elevate a cat, it would be a true dragon. Dragons are, by their very nature, another species hybridized with heartflame. Which the phoenix will be able to channel much more easily. So long as they exist, Dragons will never go extinct – and with the death of a dragon, there will be a new phoenix born, so long as there is Heartflame to awaken it.”
Eupheme had gotten over her frustration at the dangers, and was listening with rapt attention. Haradeth was nodding along. Tythel was just…staring ahead. “I thought…I don’t know what I thought. I just…” Tythel’s nictitating membranes flashed for tears that weren’t there. A twitch she never expected to get over.
“I understand,” Lathariel said, her voice soft and warm.
“We will get Bix what she needs to make more Godcores,” Tythel said firmly. “I swear to you. The gods will survive this, as the dragons have.”
Lathariel smiled, and Haradeth rubbed the back of his neck. “Thank you, your highness.”
“Assuming that’s true,” Tythel said. “Lathariel. You confirmed that locket meant I was the princess. And yet…the Alohym have made claims about my lineage. Ones they say are disproven by something in my…cells.”
“Oooh!” Bix piped up. She’d been mostly silent while they talked, but her mechanical eyes narrowed at the mention of cells. “These are the blood words I told you about, Haradeth. Genes. Yes. That could absolutely be used to disprove parentage.”
“I…know nothing of these blood words or cells,” Lathariel said. “I know only this – that locket was the princesses. Light was woven into the very gold that forged it. It is impossible to fake – the art was lost long ago. And yet…it is impossible to prove that it remained in the princesses hands.”
“Why would my father lie about that?” Tythel said.
“Perhaps he was lied to?” Synit said, her buzzing voice oddly comforting.
“Karjon was many things,” Lathariel said. “The tales I have for you, Tythel, when times permits, could fill an entire tome. Yet a liar he was not. He likely believed it himself.”
Tythel nodded. “If I’m not, though – and we have to acknowledge the possibility – where is the princess?”
“Well likely learn of it at the worst time,” Synit said, a bitter edge to the words. “I know the Alohym. I know how they think. This princess, if the Alohym have proof of her wearabouts and her nature, will be a weapon they’ll hold until the right moment. Then they’ll thrust it into your heart, your highness, in a time and place where the wound will bleed the most.”
“You’re likely right about that,” Tythel said. “Which is why we need to take the offensive.”
“I can absolutely pilot their ships,” Bix said. “I can also help you and the Umbrist take the ship. It won’t even be hard, really. Just involves lots and lots of stabbing. And I’m very good at stabbing.”
“She bested Theognis,” Haradeth said.
“Damn right I did. Because I’m incredible. Although you should be saying that, not me.”
“You are incredible,” Haradeth said, and while it was clearly prompted, Tythel didn’t detect any sarcasm in his words.
“Good Godling,” Bix said. “Anyway. Piloting an Alohym ship won’t be a problem. I can directly interface with its Crystal Lattice. Unless their ships are intelligent, which I bet they aren’t because you don’t build a flying death machine and give it eight powerful lasers and then give it the ability to have thoughts and feelings. Well, you all probably would because you’re dense, but the Alohym have a multi-world empire, so they probably figured out by now it would be stupid. So I can take over their ship.”
“I can likely join in the fight,” Synit said. “And can carry one other with me for the journey. I don’t know if I’m strong enough for two.”
“I’ll go,” Haradeth said quickly.
Bix snorted. Given that she had no nose and no need for air, this was accomplished by a grating of gears that gave it a mechanical sound. “No you won’t. We need people who can survive if this goes pear shaped. I need to go, but – as established – I’m incredible, so it’s not a worry. Her Mucky-Muckness can fly. So can Synit. The Umbrist can use shadows to get to the ground in a hurry without going splat.”
“I have a name,” Eupheme murmured.
“Of course you do.” Bix turned her attention back to Haradeth. “Lorathor can make himself all flat and sploochy so he’ll drift. And if we shove a bird in the Underfolk’s mouth and give him time to pupate, he won’t fly, but he’ll have hollow bones and feathers so can at least glide and might not die.”
“I’d need a seabird,” Poz said. “The flesh of seabirds is not the smartest Flesh, but they are the best for gliding.”
“There is the concern they’ll send warning via songstone to others when we attack,” Haradeth said.
“I can scramble their communications like a overworked chef with a dozen eggs,” Bix said. “They can call for help all they want, no one will hear.”
“I think it’s the best plan,” Tythel said.
Lathariel spoke now. “There’s one element you’ll need to add. The ground assault. That will be critical. It will prevent the Alohym from being able to focus too hard on incoming ships. They’ll be distracted.”
“And we have to convince d’Monchy,” Tythel added.
“I can handle that,” Lathariel said. “It’s at least something I can do here.”
“And you can fight,” Bix said. “Sure, you won’t have your extra special god powers, but I can at least get you back up to divine strength. And immortality. I can get your immortality back. Looks like your Godcore was just editing the telomeres to make sure that…” Bix trailed off and saw their confused expression. “Arg. Meat. Okay. Aging is caused by your body getting sloppy with how it copies the magic blood words. The Godcore corrected that, but eventually it’ll stop working for you because you don’t have one anymore. I’m gonna build a crystal lattice that does the same, and shove it in the hole the Godcore left. It’ll do the same things as a Godcore for your body, though it won’t grant extra power. And before anyone gets any idea, this only works because there is a hole to put the lattice in. I can’t just make anyone immortal. Yet.”
Tythel didn’t focus too hard on the implications in that last word. “Then it sounds like we have a plan.”
“There’s so many ways this could go wrong,” Haradeth muttered.
“I’m open to suggestions for alternatives,” Tythel said.
Synit’s antenna twitched. “They won’t be needed,” she said. “I do not think we have much hope of doing anything else.”
Tythel nodded in agreement, and no one was able to offer an argument.
“Then,” Haradeth said. “Only one problem remains. How do we find a ship?”
Bix tapped one of the glass surfaces in front of her. “You leave that to me. I’ll find us a ship. Might take a couple days but-”
“I know their patrol routs,” Synit said.
Bix huffed. “Fine. Boring. But fine. I kind of regret fixing you.”
“I owe you a debt that can never be repaid,” Synit said.
“Blah blah blah this is not what I want to deal with. You’re fixed, I did science to you, everyone’s happy.” Bix glowered at all of them. “Get out of my laboratory. I have hit my limits for interacting with meat today, and you all need to do meat things like eat and sleep and have emotions. If Synit knows the patrol routes, then get ready as quickly as possible, and we’ll go. I’m ready to stab an Alohym.”
There wasn’t anything in that statement Tythel was even remotely inclined to argue with.
Thank you all for your patience with me over the months and years. I will be updating more consistently going forward, but am going to hold off on having a more precise schedule untill I have a better feel for where I am. If you want to support my writing, the second book of the Dragon’s Scion, Ghostflame, is now available on Amazon. You can get it here. It’s been edited from the original version. And if you’ve already read it, an honest review on it or Dragonflame would be a huge help to me!