alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
Alex Conall, social justice bard ([personal profile] alexconall) wrote2013-04-20 10:34 pm

We Come In Peace [set on Anne B. Walsh's Trycanta, written with permission]

Serrune was the first to catch sight of the mazor. They were making no attempt, magical or otherwise, to conceal themselves; the purple head and green wings of the one and the blue and gold scales of the other were plain against the pale sky. They couldn't have seen Serrune—his fur was much the same shade as the tall grass—but the next moment it was plain that one of them had, because they arrowed down towards him.

Botue loped over to Serrune, staying low to stay as hidden as he might. "They're carrying blue flowers," he said.

We come in peace. One of the few conventions the mazor, the people with two legs and wings, and the lyrror, those with four legs and fur, held in common, for the times when they preferred to talk rather than fight.

Serrune nodded. "Let's let them land."

Grounded, the mazor would be much easier to hold down with Shifting and tear to shreds. It wouldn't be a good idea to violate a truce, especially one the other side asked for—that would have horrible effects on any lyrro that needed to beg safety from mazor—but just in case.

"Peace," called the blue-and-gold mazo the moment it was in earshot. "Peace." Purple-and-green waved its hands about, and Blue tried again: "You us make peace please."

Well, the meaning was clear enough, if monotone and lacking eloquence. "Peace," Serrune agreed, rising out of his crouch but keeping his ears lowered, his tail flat against the ground, his claws sheathed but ready. Mazor, whose language was entirely gestural, should understand the signs. "At least for now."

Blue turned to Purple and waved its hands around; Purple waved back, and Blue faced Serrune. "I," Blue said, pointing at itself, "dytri." Fire, feminized. "She," said Blue, pointing at Purple, "shenni." Grace, already feminine. "You, you," Serrune and Botue, "we not know. We want know."

Oh! Names! "Serrune," said he, pointing at himself, then pointed at his companion. "Botue." Mazo magic couldn't do anything horrible with names, could it?

Botue grumbled something and stood up. "Why are you here?" he asked.

More waving of hands. Then Dytri said, "Shenni sees. Whole world peace. Need you help. Need help you. You help." Dytri raised a hand and drew a symbol in the air: the punctuation marking a sentence as a question, not a statement.

"Do you know how to read and write our language?" Serrune asked. That seemed easier than pantomiming information that should be conveyed by tone of voice.

"Not know you say," said Dytri.

"Veny lantil," Serrune said. Some earth, flowing like water as his magic commanded, rose from the ground to form a slate to write on. "Nin," he added, thinking 'Can you read?', and the shapes of the letters were carved into the tight-packed dirt. "Turn," he told the slate, which obediently rotated to face the mazor.

Shenni lit up, her hands moving frantically. "Yes, yes," said Dytri, still in that monotone.

Words appeared in front of Shenni, glowing the same green as her scales, each sentence hovering until Serrune and Botue both nodded to indicate that it had been understood.

I See that the lyrror are as devastated by the mazo attack on lyrrir as the mazor are by the lyrro attack on mazer.

I See that the damage is permanent, written into our futures: there will always now be many more male lyrror than female and many more female mazor than male.

I See that there is an answer, out among the stars: a people who are still balanced. A people who could, with the proper magic, take either of our shapes. A people with whom we could thus interbreed, lyrror and mazor alike.

We need your help to bring some of those people here.

The last sentence hung there for a long time.

Botue sidled up to Serrune. "I think we should say yes," he said quietly.

"What?" Serrune snarled. Trust two mazor under blue-flower truce—always, always temporary—that was acceptable, understandable. Trust two mazor bringing an incredible message and an unbelievable request—

"We knew we were trying to destroy them," Botue said. "Sounds like they were trying to destroy us, too. And they got us worse than we got them. You have a daughter, Serrune—think about her! If we're going to keep up the same birth rate we had before, she's going to have to have three or four cubs for every one cub our mothers had!"

"Way to tangle the ankles," Serrune said flatly. "Who told you my Dyni died of complications of pregnancy?"

"You, just now," said Botue. "May-her-memory-be-a-blessing and do you honestly think she wants Reni to go through the same risks she took, only four times as often, without anyone caring what Reni thinks of the idea?"

Serrune growled, and the earth dropped out from under Botue, catching his feet in dirt near solid as rock.

"Who's tangling whose ankles now?" Botue inquired. "You're not the only one who's lost good friends over the years, you know. And yes—" He lowered his voice further. "—trimydir nur mosakar om trimyder puk yl buzuntir." Serrune snorted at the ancient phrase of insult, and Botue resumed his usual tone. "We don't have to trust them. We just have to work with them. I don't see that we have a choice."

The world seemed to hold its breath.

Serrune breathed in, and breathed out, and commanded the earth to release Botue. "I think you're right," he said. He turned to face Shenni and Dytri, and blanked his slate, and wrote one line, and turned it to face the strange new allies:

Let's hear your plan.

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