Jun 24, 2021 5:05 PM
a vampire Nick in the Hari Empire
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The Milliways door opens in a fishing town in Meiu. It's the exterior door of one of the two apartment buildings in town. Boats bob in the water. A belul sits on a dock, eating fresh fruit.

"I have an interview and then I'll be able to show you around," Valanda says in Hari. "Shouldn't take long."

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Still standing inside Milliways, Nick says, "I'll need some time to learn to talk again. I'll just go lurk somewhere 'till you're done, I'm good at that. I do think I'll want to hang around you for a while."

He steps through with his big backpack and finds a spot to lurk in nearby, hopefully within vampiric listening range of Valanda and her interviewee.

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Nope! There sure is some excellent soundproofing on that building.

A belul and an agerah walk out of another building together, talking about a possible upcoming construction project. Another agerah is lounging in the shade, splitting their attention between watching the waves and watching a nonfiction show about tanning leather.

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Figures. And he'd better not actually spy on them. It'd be skirting the rules.

He can absorb large sections of language by listening to conversations, some of them a block or so away, and all the little illusion shows he can hear clearly from here, and rubbing little circles into the Hermes statuette and muttering about being a messenger requiring understanding and eloquence.

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The agerah and belul wander around the area. The agerah points out gardens that they don't want to build anything immediately south of.

The other agerah watches three episodes of the show.

The belul on the dock glances furtively at Nikolas as he finishes eating and heads inland.

Eventually Valanda finishes his interview.

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Oh, he's not important. Almost magically so. Is there really nobody else outside? Hm. Well, he can get a good head start on learning the language anyway.

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A couple of people have business outside but don't talk to anyone, otherwise it's pretty quiet.

"Hey there. Learned any Hari yet?"

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"No." Shrug. "Quiet."

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"First floor of that building over there," Valanda points, "the imperial government rents a room. They might have a copy of the show I learned Hari from. Ask for Hari Ar Sarag Marsaehu, either it's free or they don't have it."

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"Yes."

Off he goes. He can listen for the presence of a talking tablet before even approaching the office's secretary or whatever. Unless everything is soundproofed to hell and back here, too.

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Once he's inside the building he can hear that they do have a copy.

The secretary or whatever is two humming birds.

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Thwilit, yes. "Hari Ar Sarag Marsaehu," he points at the correct drawer. "Is free?"

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"Yes, it's free."

They're very surprised someone actually wants it, if he can read thwilit body language.

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He can sorta guess. "Learning." He takes one and gives a jaunty wave as he heads back outside.

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The show is not designed to be fun or easy to remember but if he solves that problem with vampirism or willpower it's very informative.

Valanda's waiting for him, gives him a curious look, almost says something but hesitates.

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Vampirism is handy like that!

He winks at Valanda as he walks right past him.

He thinks he'll try to find a market or something. Those are always good to get to know a place.

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The signs on one of the buildings seem pretty suggestive, might be in there.

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Here he is just strolling around sticking to shadows as much as possible and being boring and unobtrusive don't mind him.

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There's only so far that'll go as a stranger in a small town, but it's rude to stare anyway.

An agerah is buying fish, some birds are trying to sell honey, a floating erel haggles multilingually with a belul over the price of blood. A sign marks where to find the town doctor, a death mage who claims to know how to cure everything from distemper to mange.

It's not a very big market. But then it's not a very big town.

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He has rings, courtesy of bar. None of these people have tea, still a comfort drink - though the honey may be tasty later, he does still need to eat human food - but he doesn't really feel like trying exotic new kinds of blood today.

...He inquires in broken Hari about various sorts of plants and meat and such, playing the harmless stranger, getting a feel for the market. He buys a little honey.

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They probably have some of what he asks about! As long as it's edible for beluli or agerah and isn't tropical or arctic or unpopular in this tiny town for no good reason.

"A ring if you'll tell me where you're from?" says the belul selling fish.

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"You would not believe me."

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"You don't know that. I might."

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"I'd bet you ten rings you wouldn't, but you can just decide to believe me and win."

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"Worth anything to you to know why I'm interested in the answer?"

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"I think I can guess - I'm a weird foreigner who's learning Hari alarmingly fast - but sure, tell me why you want to know and then I'll tell you where I'm from."

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