Dec 14, 2018 10:09 PM
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"It's not magic, it's cunning electrical engineering, I don't know how it's put together but they - do you have literal actual magic on top of dwarves and elves and whatever the hell else?"

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"Yes. Yes we do," says Stalas. "Not me personally, because: dwarf, but the world does in general. And you have - electrical engineering - instead, apparently."

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"I'm not sure that's so much an instead. Okay, if you have literal actual magic, riddle me this, when is a girl's bedroom or wherever you were going instead a bar with a weird holo-video of supernovas playing on one wall?"

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"Damned if I know... what's a supernova?"

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"Exploding star. Like so." He waves at the window. "Usually less... continuously and densely packed, but that's what I'd call the lightshow they've got playing."

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"Exploding star? Stars explode? And it looks like that?"

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"They don't do it often, and you're not advised to look at it happening straight on, but, yeah, more or less?"

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"I am very, very far from home," he mutters, and shakes his head. "Can't complain, though, nothing's tried to kill me in the last five minutes."

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"Oh, do you lead an exciting life, too?" Pause. "I wonder why you look like Miles, if you're not another clone? You sound like him, too."

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"I really couldn't say. I still don't know anything about Miles except his name and that apparently he's a short, scrunchy human. Is he skinny, too? Does he bruise like an overripe peach? Does he bleed lyrium? Well, I guess if you don't have magic you probably don't have lyrium either."

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"He looks like you but he's a few inches shorter. He... doesn't bruise, he breaks. I have no idea what lyrium is. I could find a holo." Pen woggle. "I might not have anything but wedding holos, though, and people who look like you are two for two so far on having, uh, strong reactions to Linyabel."

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"Who's Linyabel?"

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"Miles's wife, the one I have been known to refer to as an elf. She's... very... pretty."

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"I have seen pretty girls before," he says, in a remarkably Miles-like tone.

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"Well, now you're just asking for it."

So he calls up a lovely wedding-holo.
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Stalas peers at it.

"...That sure does look like me," he admits. "Marrying a very pretty human. I guess. I don't know anything about human marriage ceremonies, if you told me they were playing some kind of arcane surface sport involving fancy clothes I wouldn't know any different."
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"They actually had two weddings because the first human marriage ceremony didn't carry enough weight with the sort of humans who practice the second human marriage ceremony," says Ivan. "I don't have any holos of the first one, though, it was sort of sudden."

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"Humans are complicated," says Stalas. "But you have the population to be complicated, so good for you, complicate away. There aren't enough dwarves left for much diversity of customs to take hold."

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"Why, how many dwarves are there?"

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"Two hundred thousand nine hundred and fifteen, according to the last census three years ago. Plus maybe a couple thousand more on the surface, and however many are left in Kal-Sharok."

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"Wow. That's... yeah. Okay then."

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"It's... yeah. Darkspawn, did I mention darkspawn? They come from somewhere very deep underground and kill anything they can reach. Dwarves live underground. It hasn't been a good time for us since they started showing up."

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"That... makes sense. Especially if you're all stuck on one planet." Pause. "I feel like this situation would benefit very much from someone more qualified to handle it than I am but I have no idea what will happen if I open the door."

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"Want to find out?"

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"You are some kind of bizarre excessively tall un-clone of my cousin, swear to God. Why don't you open the door first?"

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