The Undiscovered Country

Credit where credit's due

As Anarië watched the Dragonborn ride off on its/their newly summoned steed (she could never remember the appropriate pronouns for these creatures), taking their by now somewhat wretched prisoner off to Hommlet, her thoughts turned to the eggs they had gone to such trouble to retrieve.

Three genuine dragon eggs would have been a game changer. Two queer-looking blue goblin-things, not so much. It was disappointing, but she had to concede that The Bard’s precipitate action in erasing the sigils from one egg had been a blessing in disguise. It would have been awfully embarrassing to make a big show of presenting to the King three dragon eggs that later turned out to be nothing of the sort.

Even so, the eggs would still be of interest to His Majesty’s Wizard in Chief. He was eager for anything unique or novel, and his laboratory was crammed with ingenious artefacts, curious rocks and a grotesque menagerie of stuffed hybrid creatures. He might be able to glean some intelligence from these eggs that would be valuable in the fight to come – and even if he did not, his gratitude was always valuable.

Provided, of course, the remaining eggs did not fall victim to another impulsive rascal. This was why she had painted, in clear, flowing script, DO NOT ERASE directly underneath the sigils on both of the eggs. With luck, it would suffice to stay a reckless hand.

But Anarië had a greater concern. There was little point in going to all this trouble to deliver these eggs to the capital if she and her family did not receive due credit. Her first thought had been to take the eggs all the way there herself, but Tuakiin’s news about the oncoming enemy made that prospect uncertain. The exigencies of war might well mean that the eggs would have to travel south without her. And therefore, in all probability, that master Burne or some other intermediary would claim the discovery for himself.

She borrowed young Kai’s brush and paint once more. Beneath her previous writing, she added DISCOVERED AND RETRIEVED BY ANARIË OF WARBECK on both of the eggs. That should help.

Contemplating her handiwork, her thoughts turned to her companions. They too had braved to cave fortress, they too had defeated the enemy lurking within, they too had nearly come to grief at the vile fleshy tendrils of that… thing on the ceiling. Of course they were commoners, hardly players in the great game, giving no thought to the political reordering that would inevitably follow this war. Nevertheless, it felt to Anarië only right that her friends should be credited with this discovery alongside herself. After all, she would certainly have died in those caves without Kai and The Bard, they would have stood no hope against the enemy hordes had it not been for Ser Gweneth’s whirling greatsword, and Carreg… Carreg had undoubtedly done something terribly useful at some point, even if she couldn’t quite put her finger on it right at the moment. All of them deserved their proper recognition.

She picked up the brush once more. A few delicate strokes, and her work was complete. Beneath the mystic sigils, clear and unmistakable, the text now read in full:

DO NOT ERASE

DISCOVERED AND RETRIEVED BY ANARIË OF WARBECK

ET AL.

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