The great bird flapped its mighty, impossible wings, as it raced through the night sky. Nisrioch seated on its back, gave a nod at his progress. "Thank you for this," he said.
"You are welcome!" declared the Roc in its booming voice. "And thank you for the meal of pickled crocodile tongues. Most delicious."
Nisrioch nodded. "Of course, you would not be here if I hadn't given you the offering..."
"Of course not!" agreed the Roc. "But still, it is always nice to see the proprieties followed. So many of your ilk these days have forgotten all that. No manners, the lot of them! Just demand, demand, demand! 'I have a talisman, you must obey'!" It gave a throaty chuckle. "Always a pleasure to eat them."
"Yes, I can imagine," agreed Nisrioch quietly.
"Though not as pleasant as crocodile tongues!" stated the Roc. "I miss them so since I largely left this world!" It gave a mighty sigh. "Such a shame. Such a shame. So, yes, yes, I was quite pleased to do this for you for that. And it is always good to have a favor with your mother. How is she doing, may I ask? A rum old gal, is Zamial..."
"It has been a while since we last met," said Nisrioch. "To be fair, given my previous impression, I do not think aiding me will improve your standing with her."
"Oh, you do her wrong, Nisrioch," said the Roc. "She dotes on you, that one does. Dotes on you! And you know that for she brought you into the world! Few of we Ancient Residents have done that! I certainly haven't!" It clicked its massive tongue. "Never had to, of course. Renewed by my own eternal fires, and all that..."
Nisrioch gave a weary nod. "Indeed. You look most excellent."
"Keep myself in fine shape, I do," said the Roc. "Not many of our kind can boast this, you know. The Barghest... gone utterly to seed, you know. Not that the blasted dog will ever admit it!"
Nisrioch nodded. There were many reasons he refrained from summoning demons. The conversation was a large part of it.