Disclaimer: The wondrous world of Dragaera was created by Steven Brust.
written at 5th april 2006, by Misura, as a failed attempt at writing a drabble for the livejournal-community dragaera100 (prompt: Vallista)
"How about we turn left here, boss?"
"Let's turn right."
"Why? Just because I suggested to turn left?"
"No, just because I feel like right's the right way to go."
"If that was supposed to be a pun, it was a very lame one."
Sometimes, I really get the feeling Dragaerans are all desperately trying to compensate for something. I mean, I've never met a Dragon who wasn't lugging a big sword around with him - or, okay, in two instances, a Great Weapon, which, I'm sure, is just as good for its owner's confidence as a big sword, and possibly even better, considering the way the two people in question tend to act.
Dzurs, while also fond of swords, seem to use their big mouths even more. It's tempting to add that Dzurs also have big egos, but that's just as true of Dragons, or nearly every Dragaeran who finds himself in the company of us mere humans, so I'll refrain.
You might, I suppose, claim that Issola, at least, don't carry around any obvious signs to show the world their hidden feelings of insecurity, to which I'll reply that I've yet to meet an Issola who didn't know enough social niceties to fill a small library with. Issola aren't -nice- by any means, yet they've got acting properly down to a habit - which is a lot better than getting something down to an art, and bound to make sure you never find yourself in a situation where you don't know what to say. If that knowledge's not a boost to your self-esteem, I don't know what is.
Vallista are, I think, worst of all. They erect whole buildings just to assure themselves they've got the right to be proud and, if my present location is any indication, they must also feel a serious need to compensate for their lack of sense, logic and reason.
At least Dragons and Dzurs have the decency to only bother you when they're in the same room and sometimes, if the room's big enough like, for example, the great hall of Castle Black, they won't even get on your nerves too much when they are.
With Vallista it makes no difference whether or not they're in the same room; the room's there, after all, and if they designed it, you can bet they also designed the corridors leading to and from that room, and the keep surrounding that room, which makes it extremely hard to ignore them and pretend your temper and patience isn't tried by them in the slightest.
An Athyra might get you lost in a maze of words and give you a headache when you try to follow his arguments (though most Athyra I've met weren't all that interested in sharing their deeper thoughts and philosophies with me, a fact which I don't feel the least bit insulted or hurt by), but a conversation is generally something you can walk away from. Plus, being a lowly Easterner means I can spout some great conversation-stoppers without the need to worry about being challenged to a duel.
When a Vallista gets you lost, he does it with an actual maze, walls, traps, secret passages, the whole package. All of which leads me to believe that while all Dragaerans are crazy, this is particularly true of Vallista, and while all Dragaerans are trying to compensate for something, Vallista (rightfully) feel like they've got more to compensate for than others.
"This place looks kind of familiar, boss. Or would that be just my imagination?"
"Let's turn left here."
"You sure that's the right way?"
"Yes, I'm sure."
"Really, really sure? I mean, I wouldn't want us to go left while you actually feel like right's the right way to go."
"Loiosh ... "
"Yes, you told me so, and yes, I was wrong. Now shut up."
"Some people are just way too touchy."
x- there's light at the end, or fireworks -x