Apr 11, 2021 11:25 PM
A Nick invents early celestial navigation and goes out and meets Azan
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"I'm wrong. I'm - a strong man some days, and I'm not some days like today. I feel broken today."

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“Who says you have to be a strong man all the time?”

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"If I'm not a man-" Sigh, flinch. "I don't know... Who says you have to send people to the gods?"

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“If we don’t send someone to have a conversation with the gods, they might not know what we mean. ...Do you need a hug?”

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It probably won't help all that much. They sleep in close quarters, he's had hugs. But, "If you want?"

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Maki wraps his arms around Enat and squeezes.

”I’m scared most of the time. I left home because my feet carried me away and I’m not even sure why. I’m doing this work—some because I like it, but mostly because I’m useless for anything else. If there’s something wrong with you, there’s something wrong with me, too.”

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...It's nice. He doesn't quite manage to hug back, but it's nice.

"I don't know if you're useless. I know I'm not as good at sailing or fishing or rowing as Hetan or Masel. I don't know why Anik let me come with him, but I'm glad he did... I can cook, I guess."

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“That’s something! And, you know, you don’t have to be the best at something to be good at it or useful.”

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"Maybe. I'm never going to be like Anik, though... I don't even know why you're talking to me instead of someone more interesting."

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“I wanted to make sure you were okay, first. Now, I’m enjoying talking to you.”

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Enat flinches, steps sharply backward out of the hug, looks at the ground, takes a deep breath.

"I am okay. I can do what I need to." Go back on the water despite the fear, follow the genius Anik who will never notice him as more than a useless pair of hands, go home eventually and never do something so overwhelming and terrifying that causes such strange emotions, breaking him even more, ever again.

Anik would want him to learn something useful or profitable.

"...I - I want to hear about Azan."

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Well, now he’s concerned again but prying seems like the wrong decision.

”We’re ruled by a king—Azan he right now, but sometimes Azan she—who’s advised by a council of people loyal to Azan above all else.”

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Calm. Listen. Learn. "We call she kings 'Queen'. I don't think we have a council. Not as a rule. The king listens to all the big men, though."

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“The king is just Azan as a person. We don’t have queens. It doesn’t matter if Azan is male or female.”

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"...Our king is not Kisla as a person. Kisla is the people, not the king. But, king and queen are the same thing. It's just a different word."

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“I don’t know why you’d need a different word. We only even use Azan she because some kings prefer it.”

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Oh.

"Oh. That-"

Enat takes a deep breath again.

"I... Want to be a girl sometimes. That's part of how I'm broken."

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“That’s not broken. The second king to take the title Azan she was born a boy. It’s not common but it happens.”

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"Not in Kisla, though..."

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“You didn’t feel comfortable telling anyone in Kisla. There are probably others who feel the same way.”

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Enat thinks about the people he knows. None of them act like he does - happy some days, miserable the next. And he doesn't know much of anything about Azan. They could all be crazy. The people from Lia thought so, anyway.

"...No, I don't think so."

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Maki shrugs. “You can be a girl if you want to be. You can be a girl sometimes if you want to be. It’s not anyone else’s decision to make.”

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"...No, I can't. I don't have-" He mimes around his chest. "Those. Or the right hair. I never will unless Vivani changes me. But that doesn't happen. And I would be just as wrong, just on different days."

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“The right hair?”

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"Women have long hair. Men have short hair. Look at Heta - Anik's wife." He gestures.

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