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Jun 20, 2019 3:01 AM
stevenchainsaw & imrainai in caravaneer
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Well, if it would be very helpful.

She tells him which tents belong to which people and takes him to the ones that she thinks will want to buy insects. She is always right. Eventually she decides that it is probably OK to ask questions, while they're doing all of this, in the sense that if it isn't OK he will probably offer some sign that she should stop before something actually terrible happens. He seems nicer than the other Drekar people were.

"So you're from the same place as this Olaf person?"

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"Yes," he confirms. "Cricket thought the Lintu might be able to help me find him but I guess he was wrong about that."

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"Ah. Sorry about that. D'you know anything about where he was going, or why, or where he was before...?"

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"Not as much as I'd like. All I know is that normally when he leaves home he comes back soon afterward, and this time he did not."

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"Mm. Where's home?"

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"Near where Cricket lives. Well, not very near, but nearer there than anywhere else."

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"There's nothing over by where Cricket lives. Nothing nearer than here, anyway. I think. But I guess if you were there then there must be something."

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"I might not have the distances right; this is the longest trip I've ever taken by quite a lot."

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"Huh. I mean, that makes sense and stuff. It's dangerous to travel. I've never been anywhere either, apart from just taking the sheep new places. - you're not Drekar, are you, I don't think they ever travel alone like you are. But I guess nobody ever really travels alone, because, well, Drekar."

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"I am not Drekar," he agrees. "And I always imagined Olaf traveled alone, but maybe he didn't. Or maybe he did and that's why he didn't come back this time."

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"Maybe. It's good that he has you looking for him, though. Most people who go missing don't have anybody. If they did they wouldn't've gone missing."

She considers. "If you're closer to Silos than here that's - south, so - if you have no idea where he is he could have gone to Pullid? Pullid's southwest of here. It's further from Silos than this camp is - or it usually is, we move - but it's the other place you'd think of, besides maybe Kivi."

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"I am... not sure I have any hope of finding it," he admits. "I'm already a little surprised to have made it this far."

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Karakul totally knows where Pullid camp is.

Karakul is pretty sure she has about zero percent of the authority she needs to volunteer herself for things that involve leaving the camp, and also that if she did she would totally absolutely die before she came home. Probably worse than die.

"We know where it is," she says. "Pullid doesn't like us very much, so I don't know if they'll talk to you if you have one of us, but - you could ask Kukul. And if you had someone then maybe Drekar wouldn't attack you. Other people would, but - that's how it is."

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"They don't like you? Why not? You seem like nice people."

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"Oh, well. It's - Pullid doesn't like Drekar. I mean, no one likes Drekar, but - Pullid doesn't like that we dislike Drekar less than they do."

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"Oh. That makes sense."

He hesitates. But she's the most approachable person he's met so far, and he needs to find this out at some point and it doesn't look like he's going to pick up much more from context than he already has—

"I don't, actually, know what Drekar... is."

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" - oh. Gosh."

She thinks for a moment.

"So - decades ago there were three tribes in the region. There's us, and there's Pullid, and there's Kivi down to the south - Kivi would give us trouble but it was trouble we could handle, mostly, and by the time I was born Kivi never left their settlement anyway. And then - six years ago, now, I think, Drekar showed up. They're stronger than us, they have more men and better weapons, and Kukul didn't think we'd win in a fight against them, so we paid them off, like they wanted us to. And the people in Silos, they paid them off. And Pullid didn't pay them off. And - well they lost, because of course they lost, and now Pullid's all elderly people and women - if they even have any women left - because all of their warriors were killed. So now the power in this region is Drekar. And they - I mean they don't bother us too much, as long as we stick close to the camp so they know we're Lintu and we're paying them, because if you kidnap people and sell them into slavery then they can't pay you anymore, you see? But if they run into you and you're not Lintu or they don't know you're Lintu then that doesn't end very well."

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"I see," he says thoughtfully. "Thank you for explaining."

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"Mhmm. Thank you for asking."

- that's probably a weird thing thing to thank someone for but it made sense to her when she said it. 

"You should talk to Kukul about seeing if someone could go with you to Pullid. Or about - if Olaf did get taken by Drekar, then Kukul's maybe the only person who could get him back, so you should ask about that, too. I should - probably get get back to work at some point, although - this was helpful, right, you could give me some of the insects for showing you around so my parents don't think I was wasting time?"

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"Yes, of course," he agrees immediately.

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Karakul takes what she thinks is a genuinely totally reasonable number of insects and does not try to cheat this weird person at all. Because he's nice.

It occurs to her that she should probably not be mentally labeling her new friend 'this weird person', even though she's never going to see him again after today. It'll make the story worse when she retells it.

"I'm Karakul, by the way," she says, dropping him back off by Kukul's tent. 

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Has he already introduced himself? He can't remember. Having to introduce yourself to everyone you interact with is sort of weird. "I'm Nick. Thanks for being so helpful."

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"Mhmm! Bye Nick. Hope you find your friend."

 

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"I hope so too!"

And now to ask Kukul if someone can go with him to Pullid.

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"Out of the question," says Kukul, and then he considers.

"You have to understand that even apart from any concerns our people might have about trusting an outsider, the Lintu have a fragile way of life here. Our margins for error are very small. One person leaving their work for - even a day, and more likely a week, in this case - could threaten the survival of our weakest members the next time something goes wrong. But there are ways of providing more stability to the tribe, and there are ways of demonstrating a certain degree of goodwill. So I think - if you're serious about finding your friend, and if you think you need a guide to do it, then you transport twenty-five kilograms of insects to us, and give them to me, free of charge, and I'll send someone with you for - two weeks, say. You know what a kilogram is?"

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