The portalsnake doesn't keep Azan from winning its war.
They take prisoners. One of them is not going to catch Maki's eye.
Oh, that's why she wants them not to be too formal. Making sure they ask all the clarifying questions they need and aren't afraid to shout a warning and don't waste time on courtesy when things are happening fast. Valan has a few questions and he asks them and doesn't bother to call her "my lady" or anything of the sort.
So what they’re doing here is developing weaponry. Well, actually, they’re developing a lot of things, but Vida enjoys working on weaponry the most. It’s not as immediately useful but it’s fascinating.
This is not someone who has ever been on a battlefield, but she knows a surprising amount given that.
Good. He can be of use to Azan by helping them keep their new territory with the use of new weapons.
But first they should probably eat, the workshop isn’t a safe place on an empty stomach. (Not that it’s much safer on a full one.)
As things he has any reason to expect to ever eat now that he's a slave go, it's pretty good. He spends the meal trying to care about fewer things.
Can he care about fire?
...More specifically, can he care about keeping an eye on this section of the workshop and shouting for Vida if any of it starts being on fire. It probably won’t! But it might.
He can do that. That sounds like a great use of what's left of him.
Vida is not great at staying focused on any one thing for very long. She jumps back and forth between projects, demonstrates one or two things for the slaves before getting distracted again, explains things halfway and finishes hours later. She does seem to know what she’s doing, though.
What she doesn’t seem to know is where she last put half of the things she wants to use.
That seems like a job for an organizational scheme where she always puts things in the same place, but if she's not doing it that way she presumably has a good reason for that. He can probably just start remembering where everything in the workshop is at all times.
If there’s a good reason it’s not a clear one. She doesn’t seem particularly happy about it—but not for very long before something else catches her attention.
Maybe if it's still unclear in a while he'll ask. But not today. For some reason it's hard to talk today even though he knows he's supposed to stay able to.
Well, she doesn’t expect much from the slaves today anyway.
Eventually she points them towards the room they’ll be staying in and tells them to be ready for more work tomorrow.
He doesn't try to start a conversation this time.
Neither do the other slaves.
The next few days pass largely the same way as the first.
Valan barely talks.
Eventually he asks about organizing the workshop.
“Oh, would you? I’ve been trying for ages but it just...” She gestures at the workshop.
"What went wrong with the things you already tried?"
“I’ve just never gotten very far, I set something down and it’s a week before I see it again and by then I’ve put something else where it should go...”
"So when you tried it you kept setting things down in a place that wasn't where they were supposed to go and then forgetting you did that?"
"Does that happen because you can't safely put things away right after you use them or for some other reason?"
She shakes her head. “I mean to put them where they’re supposed to go, I just never seem to do that.”
"So you set up a system, then you use something, then you're done with it and you... don't remember the system? Would it help to have someone remind you whenever you're done using something?"
“Oh, hm! Quite possibly!”
"That sounds like something I can do. You'd still need a system, though. Have you liked any of the ones you tried before, besides the fact that you couldn't use them?"