The town of Leopard Hill stands with its gates open and its guards ready to close them if anything happens, which it probably won't. Sesat might be at war but this town is far from Azan. With all that territory in the way it's probably safe to go run errands outside of town. Right?
“Why would we sacrifice someone unwilling? They’ll just go to the gods and ask for revenge.”
"Oh, that's much less concerning, I thought you were offering them to the gods as slaves."
“We send them to ask the gods to grant us...whatever it is we need badly enough. Food during a famine. Rain during a drought.”
"We believe it's possible to pray to the gods while you live."
“Strange. How do the gods ask you to clarify what you mean?”
"They talk to you. I've heard of people hearing from them. I haven't personally; I suppose they're not very interested in me. Maybe only our gods can speak to the living and yours can't."
Nadi nods thoughtfully. “It is said—you don’t know any of the old Azani stories, do you?”
"I doubt I do."
“It’s said that once, the gods could talk to the living, but we were tricked into giving up our ability to hear them.”
"That sounds unpleasant."
She shrugs. “It’s just a story, now. I don’t know if I’d feel any different, better or worse, if we hadn’t been tricked.”
"But you wouldn't have to kill people."
“I suppose so. But it’s an honor, really, and we don’t do it that often anyway.”
"I suppose. So tell me about your supposedly harmless plans for us."
“Well, my plans personally were to find supplies locally and keep treating the wounded. I don’t know what the larger plans are, mostly because I don’t know what problems Sesati tend to have. Oh, other than the serfs, there’s definitely something being done about them and how they’ve been treated.”
"What thing is being done about them?"
“It’s all above me so I don’t really know, but at least some of them were in situations they felt they had to flee from, and we feel strongly that no one should have to live like that. I’m not going to be involved except for treating those who need medical care—which I’m assuming will be more often than not, but you’re really the only Sesati civilian I’ve met, so you would probably know better than I would.”
"Why do you expect anyone to trust you to treat them?"
“What else would I do to them?”
"Hurt them somehow. I hope you'll forgive my saying so but you seem too naive to be allowed away from home."
“Your suspicion would be out of place where I grew up,” she counters.
"Someday someone will take away everything you love."
“Not as long as Azan stands.”
"As I just said. Someday someone will take away everything you love."
“Is that what happened to you?”