Jul 21, 2019 7:22 PM
a story of the second age
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The city has winding stone-paved streets and lots of buildings, all of them pretty and all of them according to the same theme; either the whole place was one person's artistic vision or these peoples' tastes are very uniform. There are greenhouses and workshops and a market, though tall person seems to be trying to skirt those in favor of back streets which are more likely to contain painters, short hairy people, cats, and children. He smiles at her encouragingly every once in a while. They're headed towards the center of this town.

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She's gonna bolt if she sees anybody chained up or being displayed on a block or anything like that. Till then she follows the guy, occasionally tripping on the stones.

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Eventually they reach a side door of a building. It's not locked, though the plants growing over the entrance suggest it is used very infrequently, and he has to cut them away with a knife before opening it.

Encouraging smile!

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Yes, you have this much benefit of the doubt, tall dude. In goes May.

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It's a little auditorium with benches and desks and podiums up on a small informal stage and a chalkboard for writing. It's full of people. They all turn to look at her, delightedly. 

"Do you speak English?" asks the tall guy very carefully in an uncanny imitation of May's voice.

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"Yes. Do you?"

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The audience listens raptly and takes furious notes.

"Yes, do you?" he repeats after a second.

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"- are you trying to learn Eng- is this some kind of linguistics department -" She sighs and heads for the chalkboard, looking for a clear space.

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The chalkboard has only a little bit of writing in the corner, in an unfamiliar alphabet. 

"are you trying to learn Eng - is this some kind of linguistics department?" chants the whole room very softly.

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May writes the alphabet, upper and lower case each in columns. She recites it. Then she sings it for good measure. Then she starts spelling things out, including "Do you speak English?" and going on from there.

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Her audience diligently takes notes and echoes her softly when she says things.

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She guesses she is teaching the aliens or whatever they are English now. She gets kind of into it; she does numbers, and points at various sets of people to explain one of those pronoun charts they use in French class to conjugate verbs and then conjugates some verbs for them.

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It's not actually very long before they're asking halting questions, both for the linguistic content - "you are here, I am there?" and for the, well, explanation of what is going on.

"You are of far?"

"Did your horse become lost?"

"Were you trying to come here?"

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"I am from very far away! I do not have a horse. I was not trying to come here."

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"Where were you going?

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"I wasn't going anywhere! I was sitting in one place, far away."

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"Is it common where you are from to - end up places without going anywhere?"

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"It is not."

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"Is it common where you are from that humans cannot interact with osanwë?"

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"Osanwë?"

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"Edhel - like us - we talk without sound. Humans can normally hear us, and we can hear them."

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"Humans where I'm from don't do that! Maybe I can learn how."

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"Humans don't do it but humans can hear it and we can hear them, typically."

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"Well, I never met any Edhels before today." Since she is no longer writing on the chalkboard, she pulls her sandwich out of her backpack. It is in a plastic bag. Chomp.

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They want the words for plastic and for sandwich!

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