Nov 13, 2019 1:46 AM
A Nick invents early celestial navigation and goes out and meets Azan
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Two of the boys from Anik's boat wander the beach a bit, looking for dry-enough driftwood to burn and digging up clams if there are any, before that happens. They have strict instructions to come running back if anyone questions them, though.

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No one bothers them before Aban comes back with a dozen-odd people with some examples of local goods.

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The visitors are roasting fish on a driftwood fire now. They've arrayed their woven baskets and furniture on the beach, Anik holds small bags of spices, and a dozen or so small mammals are busily munching on fish guts, tied to the boat.

"Hello everyone! I am Anik. I am very happy to see what kinds of goods you have."

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They have metal tools! And paper, and leather, and assorted food items.

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Metal tools are amazing. Wow. You could cut through a tree in just one day with one of those axes.

He's not sure what paper is any good for, and he knows how to get leather already, though not this kind or in this much quantity. And new kinds of food are always nice. Trading ensues.

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One of the visiting trader's helpers is clearly a lot less comfortable here than the others. He's fit and handsome enough, for someone who's still finishing growing, but he's - shy. He holds himself small, arms close, short steps, looking down. He moves slowly and shies away from the wide gestures and loud voices of the other two young men, though he glances at people a lot before his eyes dart away again. He flinches whenever Anik calls out 'Boys! Get me...'

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There’s someone on the edges of the other group, too. Eventually he approaches the flinching foreigner.

”Hey, are you okay?”

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Oh, one of them is talking to him, instead of Anik or Hetan or Masel. Why? They're better at this.

"...I am okay? I am not speak Azani much, sir. Anik speak more."

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“You...” He probably doesn’t know the word flinch. Maki twitches in the way he’s trained himself out of. “Like that.”

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"They are loud. It..." He just feels terrible and wrong sometimes. He worries so much. He's not as good as the others at... Anything. How do you explain that?

"They are loud and smart and strong and I am not." He shrugs.

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“Nothing wrong with that,” Maki assures him. “I don’t like loud noises either.” He’s not even going to try to touch the ‘smart’ or ‘strong’ things now; that seems like a good way to run into cultural misunderstandings.

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Well, he can't talk about it to his people. He tried - they didn't understand. Might as well try here.

"...Some days I can be loud like a boy should and I'm okay. Today, I just feel sick. Do you know- Do Azani have that?"

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“That could be a few things. Is there anything else you can tell me about it?”

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Half-flinch, suppressed. "I'm just strange. I don't know the words..."

He glances over to where Anik is making deals. The trading conversation seems to be getting on well enough without them.

"...I am Enat. Hi."

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“I’m Maki. I’m Azani but I’m not from around here either. You don’t have to worry about flinching around me, by the way. I used to do it too.”

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"Not from here? I am from so far the stars-" His eyes go wide and he cuts himself off. And flinches a little bit. "We are from very far away."

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“I’m from what used to be Kal, it’s...a lot farther inland. Not as far as where you’re from. I’m here to listen to stories and take them back to my king.”

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"You are a big man, you know the king? ...Anik will say, do you want to trade a story?" He chuckles. "I will just tell you."

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“...I don’t know him personally, I just work for someone who works for him. But yes, please, tell me a story.”

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Enat can tell Maki the story of the gods Kislai believe in. He gets less nervous and twitchy doing the telling - he loses himself in the tale.

 

Vivani, the one who made all the plants and animals and all else that lives... And disease and rot and aging.

Yolan, the one who made people, who made minds and made them love and think and build and speak. And hate, and grow jealous and discontent.

And Sokal, Anik's favorite, creator of the land, sea, stars and moon and sun, storms and lightning, and all other things of the brute force of nature, good and bad.

 

Kislai mostly believe that the gods created people and don't do much anymore, but they still sacrifice things to them once in a while, so they don't forget the Kislai are there and put a volcano down or some other calamity. They think everyone else's gods are probably a misunderstanding of Vivani, Yolan, and Sokal, or maybe those three's children and grandchildren. (Sokal is male, Vivani and Yolan are females, this is important and unquestionable).

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It’s a really nice myth; it’s got more of a proper symmetry than most of the ones he’s come across so far. Also, Enat is cute when he’s focused. Also, he should definitely learn more about Kislai and oh hey there is a convenient Kislai right here that he can keep talking to for definitely only that reason.

”You just send people to remind your gods you exist? Not to ask for anything?”

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"...People? We send - gifts! Art. Tools. Food. Sometimes pigs. We chant around the fires so they hear us and remember where the gifts come from."

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“...I guess if you’re not asking for anything that would be enough?”

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"Yolan made people and taught them to have children and teach their children, and that was enough. She does not make and teach each child anymore - we do that. Maybe that's why I'm - wrong."

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“You haven’t done anything that seems wrong to me so far.”

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