Hara looked down at the letter in her hand and then up at the women in her workroom. “Um. Does this mean what I think it does? We need to help this man. Between him and my firedrakes and power scales we might actually have a way of effectively fighting Prime.”
Thriti looked concerned. “If he slips and lets Prime know we are here before we can fight back then he could trigger a war we most likely cannot win.”
Mariush, the First Mother of Lainz, was nodding. “It might sound callous but we need to let him make his own way here, first.” She looked down at the babies playing on the floor. “If he is incompetent or careless then he will draw Prime down on himself and not on our population.”
Everyone was quiet for a long moment. Shashi came back from changing her little girl's diaper and looked around. “Let me guess,” she said dryly. “Someone said something grim.”
They all looked at each other and burst out laughing. “Exactly,” Hara said. “It looks to me like we are building to an all out war against Prime but the longer we can hold off on it, the more likely we are to be able to hold our own, even if he holds the highest of high ground.”
My workroom is full of firedrakes now and the zardukar are on cushions all around. Just like Pa and Stepapa's throneroom. But this room at the bottom of the butte feels safer and when we finish another firedrake they slither quietly out of the doors down there and into the river. They seem perfectly content to wait under what water we have and now that the river is risen, and roaring, we have almost a hundred firedrakes with their mouths locked into the riverbed, while their bodies are waved and thrashed like grass in the wind. How many should we make? Surely a hundred will be enough.
Security code relay: to Prime Operator Perrin Thurmentaler. Sensors indicate a radiation spike. Location longitude 120 E latitude 46 N Glittercliff formation in this area. Possible avalanche likelihood forty-seven point two percent, possible erosion incident likelihood twelve point seven five percent, possible maladapted terraform program likelihood five point zero six percent, possible human activity likelihood two point five four percent. These conclusions have a confidence of ninety percent. Human activity is weighted highest priority by order of Prime therefore a second recording pass will be activated and reported, once the atmosphere clears over the area and vernal precipitation has passed.