May 13, 2021 4:16 AM
Matoran Gabby meets some dryads
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Gavi's just checking on her medicinal herbs when a very strange Rahi -- huge, snakelike, with a mirror taller than she is for a face -- appears and crushes the other half of her garden. She knows a little self-defense, but it's obviously better to run and tell the village guard about a teleporting Rahi.

Unfortunately, the Rahi is faster, and now she's been teleported... somewhere.

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Crumbling walls overgrown with vines stretch out in every direction. This place has been abandoned for long enough that trees are growing out of the roads and nearly every roof has caved in.   A deer bolts at her sudden appearance.  

 

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The Rahi is weird-looking enough to distract her for a moment, but the plants are more interestingly unfamiliar. Hey, tree right there, you poisonous or theoretically edible?

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Not poisonous.  Whether or not its edible depends on how you feel about leaves and wood.

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She's not surprised the tree's not food, really, most aren't. Unfortunately, since she doesn't recognize its species, she can't use it to guess where the Rahi teleported her.

She'll follow the road, oh, left. Are any of the plants more than superficially familiar?

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Nothing here looks familiar.  

The plant walking out of one of the old buildings looks especially unfamiliar.  It is inhabiting an elaborate frame of finely carved wood which give its vines the support to stand upright.  They push and pull on the frame like muscles, propelling the plant forward in long, slow strides.

It freezes as it notices the stranger, then raises one of its frame's arms in greeting.  

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What. What. That is an extremely weird Rahi. A plant Rahi? Are those a thing? They could be a thing.

She'll... wave back. Probably it's friendly, and if not she'll bolt.

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It - she? - speaks in an unfamiliar language, the sound coming from somewhere inside the torso.  

"Hi there!  That's a strange chassis - how do you see with your leaves hidden like that?" 

She sounds cheerful.

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Uhhhh. Processing, please wait.

"I'm a Matoran," she manages after a moment. "I don't, um, have leaves."

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"I've never heard of those.  Do Matorans live around here?  Does that mean you have 'eyes' instead, since you can still..." She bounces excitedly for a moment before remembering herself and cutting off the questions.  

 

More formally, "I am Wovenveil, apprentice archaeologist and anthropologist.  My mentor and I are studying these human ruins."

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Gavi blinks. (Her eyes are a solid, faintly glowing lime green, visible through her mask's visor.)

"Gavi," she says, gesturing to herself. "I don't know if Matoran live nearby. I was tele-- teleported here by a strange Rahi."

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Wovenveil considers this for a moment.  "That doesn't sound like anything we've come across out here, but maybe Elsecall knows about them.  She's in charge of the expedition.  We have some maps at the camp, too."

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Gavi nods. "Maps, sure. What dome are we in?"

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She begins leading Gavi a bit further down the road.  

"Dome? We're on the northern hemisphere of Tle," she answers, taking her best guess for what dome might mean.

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Gavi follows. "I don't know what you mean by, um, hemisphere. Or Tle. Dome, as in..." She shakes her head and waves a hand at the sky. "You go high enough, you see the stars are giant lightstones in a curved roof."

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"The sky here goes on forever, and the stars are giant balls of burning gas that float in the void far away.  Our sun is a star that's close enough to still look really bright from here, and its planets revolve around it."

"Tle is the planet we're on.  They're big spherical balls of rock, with 'down' being at the center.  This one has air on the outside so people can live on the landmasses and oceans on the surface.  There are two other planets circling our same sun - Muur'Kari and Netarin.  The gods claim that there are other intelligent beings living on them, but we don't have good enough space ships to visit them yet."

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Gavi absorbs this information. Eventually, sounding unsettled, she says, "Okay."

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They soon reach camp.  Many of the plants have been cleared away, and a large section at the center is criss-crossed with string into a grid.  The cleared squares reveal a mosaic.  Over to the side is a brightly colored tent and a mud-splattered truck.  

The dryad working on the dig stands up as they approach.  She's over twice as tall as Wovenveil, with metal in her chassis.  "Where have you been?"

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"I was, uh."

"Well, it was a good thing I went out.  I found someone in the forest."

She summarizes their conversation.

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"I see."  

"Welcome to the camp, Gavi.  Unfortunately I suspect our maps won't be very useful, though we will do what we can to help.  Is there anything you're still confused about?  I admit I am quite interested in learning more about your people and lands.  Most pressingly, do you require food, or sleep, or other such things?"

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"I, um." She falls silent for a moment and rubs the back of her head. "I sleep. Food--" She seesaws a hand. "Can get energy from... plants, meat? Don't eat. Do drink. Water. ... Don't need any of those right now."

After another pause, she says, "Sorry I am... slow, right now. I am easily overwhelmed."

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"Take whatever time you need."

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Nodnod.

She'll just... sit down somewhere that looks out of the way and examine the nearest plant in excruciating detail for a few minutes, then, with both her regular senses and her Bo-Matoran ability. That's always soothing.

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Wovenveil is sent to clear a space in the tent.  Elsecall gets back to work on the mosaic, removing dirt with a tiny brush.

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After a little while Gavi feels like she can talk properly again, and wanders over to Elsecall. "I have questions," she says.

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"What would you like to know?"

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