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Jul 23, 2019 1:32 PM
The world Maki left behind.
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The portalsnake doesn't keep Azan from winning its war.

They take prisoners. One of them is not going to catch Maki's eye.

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He doesn’t interest any of the first handful of people choosing, either. Eventually someone points him out—a tall woman with hair so short it’s barely there at all.

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He wonders vaguely if she'll be disappointed to be stuck with him instead of all those people who got picked first. It doesn't matter anyway.

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It does indeed not matter.

There is no further maiming. He and a couple other Sesati are led away from the line and to a small room where they’re told to stay until someone comes to get them.

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He looks around the room and halfheartedly tries to strike up a conversation with the others.

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One of them doesn’t seem to notice he’s talking to him. The other halfheartedly picks up the other half of the conversation.

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Great. Nice weather they're having, isn't it.

He can't keep the conversation going on his own, though, so if the other captive doesn't either he'll just curl up and rest after not too long.

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That seems like probably a good idea, yeah. They lapse into silence fairly quickly.

No one comes to get them before night falls.

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Then Valan, at least, will sleep until he's woken.

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He’s woken early in the morning by the same woman from yesterday.

”You’re going to want to clean out and wrap up those cuts.”

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"I don't know where to find water and bandages, my lady." That's sure to piss her off but if he makes someone else be the one to ask then she'll be pissed off at them instead.

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“I know. I’ll be taking you to those. They just look rather nastier than I expected, up close.”

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"Thank you, my lady."

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“No need to call me that. I’m Vida. I’ll either earn your respect or I won’t. I don’t need yes-sirs. I need people who can think for themselves.”

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...Weird. He glances at the other captive who wasn't totally unresponsive yesterday, trying to see his reaction to that.

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He looks skeptical.

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Then it's probably some kind of trick. Valan isn't smart enough to guess what kind of trick it is but it must be one.

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“Okay, come with me. Hands first, and then I’ll show where we work.”

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He'll go where she tells him. He's obedient but very wary, waiting to see what the trap is that she's laid for them.

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There doesn’t seem to be any trick yet. There are water and bandages as promised. Vida inspects the bandages before declaring them sealed enough to keep things out.

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Good of her to make sure the slaves are in good shape. Not that she's doing it for them. Good of her to do it for Azan anyway.

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Well, to be fair, she doesn’t care if their hands rot off if they’re not working with her. But she also doesn’t care if anyone else’s hands rot off if they’re not working with her.

Their destination is a workshop so completely full of divers tools and equipment and objects that Valan could probably spend a day going through it and not find a single item duplicated. It’s an absolute mess; there’s no order to be found, and the chaos is almost headache-inducing.

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He doesn't touch anything and doesn't ask questions. He waits to be told what she wants him to do.

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That’s a good idea: “A lot of what’s in here is dangerous and might severely harm or kill you if it’s handled wrong. I’ll take you through section by section but as a general rule, don’t touch anything if you don’t know what it is. Have any of you worked with any sort of metal before?”

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Only to kill things with it, he doesn't bother to say.

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Okay, basic safety rules it is. Here is how to not die in horrible agony. Here is what to do if you do find yourself dying in horrible agony. Here is an explanation of why some materials are safe on their own but not together.

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