"Just before the War got going in earnest, I received a sent dream which told me where Arthur the First of Britain lay sleeping. Knowing this, a hero would of course immediately gather companions for a quest to return Arthur to Britain at the hour of her great need. Since I'd been dealing with the Masters a bit, I tried first to find out who sent the dream and why before charging off to Avalon. It seems that Excalibur is a Key, a purpose artifact, designed to unite Britain under a single throne. If Arthur and Excalibur were reunited, he'd be forced to contest both the Elfin King and the human prime minister for absolute power. This would have occurred with King Gorumthar and Odin on the Scotts border, and Cthulhu tossing and turning in his sleep. I wanted elf human unity just then, thank you, not a three sided civil war.
"The other effect of Arthur's return would be to put Morgan Le Fey and the Avalon fleet off the coast, just as everything was about to blow. Morgan and Arthur just don't like each other... Gwydion's intent was to force the elves to defend the coast - against Cthulhu, not Morgan - and have Morgan killed when Cthulhu and company went active. It all would have been very very clever if it had worked. Killing Morgan Le Fey with a dream would have nominated Gwydion to the Master's Hall of Fame, right there. As is, everyone involved ended up very mad at Gwydion. His brother, Govanon, made him sit out the next crisis. He sulked.
"That's why I try so hard to talk to people I'm working with. Let them know what they are getting into, and why. Not only can they respond better when the inevitable surprise shows up, but they are more ready to work with me again next time. I like to think my style matches democracy like the old Masters were tuned to kingdoms and empires. Louis the XIV's claim, "I am the State!" might be true of Gorumthar or Kali or Cthulhu. They do as they please, for whatever reason, without consulting anybody. Me? I'm not the state, I'm a blabbermouth. I'm trying to exploit a hidden strength of the humans, and weakness of dragons and Masters. Every human child is taught a subtle but potent magic word, whose influence and power is beyond that of dragon and Master alike."
"And that word is?"
I thought for a moment, trying to decide if that statement is subtle and powerful, of she was feeding me pure BS. I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. "Dragons do not have friends."
"And will not be able to act in consort unless the species as a whole is threatened."
I eyed her, skeptically. "And yet you are said to visit Imyr regularly?"
"I am a complex and amusing toy, who is occasionally even useful. For my part, he serves an excellent vintage of wine."
"And you have two other reasons for each visit?"
"At least. If not, I do not go. When in Rome..."
"You admire them."
"Yes. The dragons have an intricate clean thought pattern, and the adult preference for thought over power has much to be said for it. I also admire the elves. They think in the long term, and seek an elegant, beautiful solution without blemish or compromise. I also admire the humans. They make a strength of differences, compromises, and competition. I have trouble admiring trolls, even at my most politically correct. They do at least remind me that if one starts something, one best have the brute force to finish it. Given sufficient brute force, building intricate, elegant compromises becomes much easier."
"Never met a sentient being you didn't like?"
"Will Rogers never met King Gorumthar of Trollheim. I do like you, however, all three of you."
"Three? I've been doing Jackie the Boy, which is me, really, and for a while Princess Jacquiline. That's two."
"Beware the third. The third is the part of you that understands your enemies. It's the part that forgets your tower is broken, your tutor dead, your command shattered, the lands you protected charred. It knows that dragons and Masters can not be figured out, and continues to figure. That part of you can kill Jackie the Boy, or reduce her to a shadow or tool if you let people like me stir it awake."
You see much, M'lady. Much, and nothing at all. "But wake it I must, or remain a hero. Heroes are but tools to the likes of this one, who intends to challenge his father, who is both dragon and Master."