May 22, 2019 11:26 AM
an Ahrotahn goes dungeon-delving
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It – feels good, in a way she didn't expect, having him with her. Warm.

'I should tell you about my granddad, sometime,' she tells him during a lull, as she makes their way up a longish corridor between branches. 'The one time I came home from school smelling like cigarettes, my parents were furious, but Granddad sat me down and looked me in the eye and talked to me like an equal. Told me about how he'd started smoking when he was in the army, and spent the rest of his life trying to quit. Didn't try to order me to do anything, just – asked me, please, not to make his mistake. And said he'd give me any help I wanted to accept.'

'I don't wanna say I didn't already love him. I did. But I think that was when we really started to be friends.'

Is that oversharing? Well, too late to do anything about it now.

'I dunno if it's weird to say that you remind him of me, a little. I hardly even know you, yet. But – he did always say, the strongest bonds are the ones you make in wartime. Your buddies on the battlefield. Maybe that's what this is, that we're in this together.'

'I guess that's a roundabout way of saying that I really appreciate that you're here.'

And then they reach the next branch, and there's two lizardcats up to the left—

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'Oh - wow, thanks. I like having friends! You're nice!'

He then warns her about the lizard-cats - they might be too close to get away from, even as something almost like halting air begins to turn in the back of his mind which would be so useful for stealth if it would just click - and 'I don't feel anything close enough to come running for a short fight, but their hearing is good and I can't muffle the sound. I don't know how well we can sneak past them.'

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And there's no way she's firing a gun in a dunj full of monsters that to all appearances track them by sound, so the Indiana Jones option is out.

'Yeah, I think we might have to fight our way through. I think we can take them, though. What d'you think?'

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'I think we're Team Awesome!'

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Heh.

Sneak sneak sneak... sweeping slash, swipe, hop back, stab!

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Looks like that second one grazed her leg before she put it down, though. It's not a deep cut, but she takes a minute to wipe it down with alcohol and tie a bandage around her calf. No reason to take chances when she doesn't have to.

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'What'cha doing?' the sword asks.

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'–right, sorry. Bandaging up my leg, one of the monsters got me. I don't think it's serious, though, just the surface really. Stings a bit. I'll be fine.' She tries to send him a mental impression of what she's doing, what the cut looks like and what the bandage looks like and how her arms are moving as she bandages it up.

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'Why are you red, are you okay?!?!'

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'I'm okay. The red is blood, that's one of the fluids in my body. When my skin— my surface got damaged, some of the blood leaked out. My body can heal – uh, repair itself – over time, though, and I hardly lost any blood, so I'll be fine. This is mostly just to make sure I don't get dirt and germs inside my body. Uh, germs are – well, if they got inside me, my body would have to spend energy fighting them off, so I'd be more tired for a while, while that was happening.'

'I don't think I really realized how complicated human bodies were, before now. You're just solid metal all the way through, and we're – bones and muscle and tendons and nerves and skin and all sorts of different bodily fluids, we're these squishy bendy things with all these internal parts, breathing and sweating and shedding little bits of skin and constantly growing and regrowing ourselves...'

'...uh. Sorry if that's rude or something. I don't mean to say you're – less. Just. It kinda catches you off guard, realizing – it's something you don't really think about, and then kinda, seeing it from the outside?' She wiggles her fingers. This must be why people stare at their hands when they do drugs. Heh.

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'It's cool! I didn't think you meant that. Humans have a lot of stuff going on! I hope you don't get hurt too bad though...'

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'Thanks. I hope so too.'

And it's time to move on. Further down and further in.

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He'll continue guiding her, chattering some about odd things he senses, until during a more boring stretch he asks, 'Do you know where I came from? I only kind of remember stuff.'

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'I inherited you when Grandma died. I dunno where she got you, I don't think she and Granddad had metalworking stuff. Originally you woulda been forged and tooled by someone, but I dunno who that was. Woulda been a long time ago.'

'They used to have you hanging over the kitchen door. Maybe you remember the wallpaper... no, you can't really see, can you. The air in there was usually humid in the afternoons, with Grandma cooking. The air in there was never really still, not like an empty house, even at night. I don't know how they did it, but you could always tell from the, the sound and the warm and the smell and the I don't even know what it was, but the house always felt – like it wasn't just a house, it was a home.'

'It was different, after they died. Even when it was just Grandma, you could still tell there was someone living there, but it felt... half-empty, I guess. Like the house was too big for one person. And then Grandma died, and it was empty, and cold, and you were there over the door –' she sends an impression of the steel shining in the sunlight from the window, just beginning to gather dust, with faded yellow wallpaper behind. 'And I couldn't stand to let you stay in an empty house like that. You belonged in a proper warm alive place, like you had been all my life. I took you home with me the same day we buried Grandma.'

'I guess when I say it like that, it sounds obvious why you remind me of him. But before you woke up, I think you mostly reminded me of her. And it's not really the same kind of reminding at all. A – memento, not a friend.'

 

'I miss them.'

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'I want to hug you. I remember that, I think... Hugs, and that place. It was - nice. Like sunlight.'

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'Yeah. That's a good way of saying it.' She sends a mental impression that's more a feeling than a specific sensory experience, a warm hug and a warm smile and a warm bright home.

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The wind sort of wraps around her in response. (He can't really do stuff on his own - which kinda sucks - but that seems to have counted well enough.)

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Aww, he's a sweetie. She sends an impression of pulling his wind around her like a blanket.

And then – an impression of being outside, under the open sky, the same sunlight from her memory of him hanging over the doorway, and the same wind wrapping around her. The fresh open outdoors.

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!!!

He wants to go there!

...After this of course.

But that seems nice. He wants to see it - wants to feel that blue -

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I'm looking forward to sharing it with you. A memory of hopping from stone to stone across a stream, almost dancing – picking out the way across, avoiding the stones that would move if she put her weight on them – the cool green light filtering through the leaves –

(He might recognize that half-dancing half-jumping motion in her combat footwork.)

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He does.

'That's really neat!' This is making him want to move, jump around, more than he can just by controlling the wind...

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She tries to listen to his impulses, let herself be directed. She shares what she's seeing in the moment, and the sense of where her feet are falling and the sensation of how her weight falls with each step.

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The wind around her in real life still, sounds becoming muffled then louder then muffled, as he explores the thought-memory, exhilarated. 

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...that's interesting.

She tries to share what she's hearing, too, but she doesn't actually have the ability to focus on that many things at once; she ends up just sharing her hearing, and the feeling of how her weight lands as she steps, and a vaguer sense-memory of fresh air, the smell of wind and its touch on her face and arms.

'Do you feel that? The sound is – changing –'

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It changes a bit more as he startles at the weird double input.

'Yeah. Uh. I was trying to do a thing? I can feel the sound but I can't really - do much - with it...'

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