The portalsnake doesn't keep Azan from winning its war.
They take prisoners. One of them is not going to catch Maki's eye.
“Incredible,” Azan he declares. “What is Iral he up to?”
It takes Iri a while to figure out who Iral he is. They look for people saying they just visited Iral he, then follow those people back in time.
"...He's eating a meal with four other humans. One is an adult female. One is... almost an adult? The other two aren't close to being adults, one is my age and one is seven months eighteen days old. They're talking. The woman says..." Iri repeats it exactly as she says it, not translating it into Hari, "'I think now that they realize they can't stay independent some of them will be willing to fight for us, if it means avenging their countrymen.' Now Iral he says... 'Not with all the bad blood between us, I think. If they have honor they'll die, if they don't they'll side with Azan. Don't look at me like that. How are tax revenues this half-year?' And she says 'Up, but not as much as I expected.' He's frowning and eating... Now nobody's saying anything..."
“...So are they planning to attack or not?” Azan he wonders.
"That's not the kind of question magic understands. What do you think I could look at to find the answer?"
“Anything Iral he’s written in the past couple weeks, maybe.”