Oct 21, 2018 9:19 PM
then everything changed
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Father's out on campaign and doesn't know. Mother thinks she's on a school trip. The school thinks she's staying home. In truth, she's in a cave in the mountains. Digging a tunnel with her fists, in the dark. If she can connect the southwest passages to the main burrow, she'll be able to visit much more freely.

Her steady break-scoop-pack movements make a comfortable rhythm, and she allows herself to fall into an almost trance-like state as she works.

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A severely injured woman, though Eliko may not be able to determine those details in the dark, appears in the tunnel behind her.

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She can tell that something approximately person-sized just appeared. She pivots, fists raised defensively, and stomps to send a small tremor to map the intruder more precisely.

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Intruder is lying there. Shifts to a more comfortable position after a minute.

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Something in a foreign language, some three or four words.

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Feels human. Words don't sound at all familiar, though.

"I can't understand you. Are you a spirit?"

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Foreign language foreign language!

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This is definitely the second strangest thing that's ever happened to her. Well, maybe third. Top five, at least.

"That still doesn't make any sense. I hope you don't mind if I call some friends." She taps the wall behind her several times in quick succession.

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If the stranger minds she does not manifest this objection in any way. She lies there.

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"Do you need- help, or anything? You probably can't see. I didn't bring a light, I wasn't expecting to need one."

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Inconveniently Tarinda has no bioluminescent mods. She sits up slowly.

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"Oh, you're moving. I guess that's better than you not being able to do that." Probably. In most cases.

There's a low vibration coming through the ground. "They're almost here."

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Tarinda can't really do anything about that right now, for good or ill.

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There's a puff of air as the wall behind Eliko collapses and something large and snuffly pokes its snout through. And then it licks her.

"Yes, hello to you too." Pat pat.

The floor shakes a bit as the badgermole steps forward and sniffs the air around Tarinda.

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Tarinda holds still.

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Snuffle snuffle.

Churf.

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"Oh really? Well, that's good to hear."

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The beast turns around and starts back the way it came.

Whurf.

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"I have no idea if she can understand me..." she mutters.

"You're invited back to the den. It's this way. If you want to follow." And maybe if she starts walking the other will get the idea?

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It takes her a bit to discern through hearing alone what's going on but she does get to her feet and follow, yes.

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Oh good. She doesn't have to go hold hands.


Further ahead there's a faint gleam of light. This proves to be some sort of moss growing on the cave walls.

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That's really helpful. Tarinda looks quite intently at the badgermole and at Eliko.

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Eliko: is a twelve year old girl with black pants and a red shirt, both rather dusty. She's not wearing any shoes.

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Badgermole: is quite large. Looks like a cross between a badger and a mole. Long bald tail, big furry body, sharp claws.

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Fancy that.

Tarinda, if Eliko (or for that matter the badgermole) should happen to look, is a woman of no identifiable ethnicity, with a sword on her back and knives on her belt, dressed in leather boots and leggings of a mystery fabric and a tunic sort of thing that might be linen. She looks weirdly healthy, and pretty too, but has smears of blood all over her person.

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