Dec 07, 2019 1:57 PM
A dragon explores space, finds Amenta.
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Hello. This might be difficult for me, please excuse any misunderstandings.

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It is difficult but I can understand you. It is good to talk properly - satisfaction, relief - I come here from curiosity and you are frightening you remind me of another species - image of a bearded human man in bronze armor, inextricably coupled with a stink and with anxiety - there were two great wars long ago we left our home planet to seek peace and found it and now I fear bringing war to the Kin again.

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The blue murmurs aloud to the rest of their party. We don't want to start a war. We want peaceful contact with other peoples.

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Some -rare, precious, a friend, mourning- humans wanted peaceful contact. Most did not care to leave our land to us when they could kill us and remove all that was natural and good and live there instead.

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Our people are called Amentans and most of us are agreed on wanting to befriend alien societies.

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I would be glad to be reassured after learning more about you. The pain of the Fleeing runs deep. Right now we know very little about each other. I do not know where to begin explaining.

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What brings you to Amenta?

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I was curious. And I had invented my light-bridge, so I decided some of the Treasure of other stars ought to be mine.

'Treasure' is a weighty and complicated concept, which he tries to express in a sensible way but doesn't really come through in words. Rarity and effort and beauty and worthiness - secrets and achievements and gold and cunning devices. Pocket everythings are Treasure of a sort even though there are many, which makes them a bit less desirable - they are cunning and fascinating and he wants one.

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We'd be happy to bring you your own pocket everything.

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I will enjoy investigating it. What do you wish to trade for it?

Because of course they will want something for it, even if 'something' is 'a favor later'.

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It's a gesture of goodwill, to establish that we're eager to be on friendly terms.

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He is confused. The idea of gifts just... Doesn't make any sense.

Eventually he settles on, So, the price of a pocket everything is listening to you with more consideration for alternate viewpoints than I otherwise would have?

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I suppose you could construe it that way. Is it typical to make all occasions when things change hands explicitly transactional like that?

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When any thing is given, there is always a reason for it. Especially when the thing is Treasure. But it is not Treasure to you, it is as special as a stone, so the cost is small. Wanting me to listen to you and believe you, for actions match words, is a reason that makes sense now that I think about it in those terms.

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All right. Someone will be along with a pocket everything for you soon!

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Slow nod.

My people are called the Draak. We name ourselves for what we like about ourselves and having others accept your name because you have shown them you are worthy of it is a matter of great pride. I am Seeker of New Truths, the Claw that Finds Secrets, Voyager of the Black Sea, Eye that Sees All, Silent Watcher of the Hidden Depths, Scholar of the Ocean, Wise Herald of the Hidden World.

This long and grandiose title comes with strong emotions of pride and curiosity.

'Seeker' will do, in the interest of brevity.

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(The blue's still murmuring to everybody else, and they're taking frantic notes.) It's a pleasure to meet you. Our first names are given to us by our parents, often as much for sound as meaning, and our second names represent what is important to us about our jobs. I'm Kasa Amseli. Amseli means "greeting".

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It must be so confining to have to make sounds to communicate. (He sends pity, then deliberately negates it.) Or perhaps not, since it is in your nature. Sounds can be pleasing - names are sometimes chosen for being a pleasing sound? I like that. It's musical.

I would like to hear what 'Amseli' means to you, if you will tell me.

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I'm trained as a diplomat, and one of the elements of diplomacy I find most compelling is the first exchange of words, with very little content but enormous import, where people acknowledge each other. Greetings.

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(Amusement, admiration) Greetings. I do not fully understand what a diplomat is but there is wisdom in that.

 

There are very few Draak compared to Amentans unless most of your hives/cities are empty.

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No, they're very full. There are about thirteen billion Amentans.

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So very many. The number of Draak... The mental comparisons to busy bees, anthills, and other social insects aren't really deliberate, but his thoughts wander and he sends them idly while he makes an estimate. Perhaps fifty thousand, perhaps less.

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Why so few?

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Many possible reasons. The Fleeing brought only myself and 478 others to a new home. Our numbers were much diminished by the first war even before we left behind our kin who chose to fight the second. We like to keep large territories in close to their natural state and hunt sustainably for food. The time of mating comes infrequently, and many hatchlings are not strong and clever enough to survive their first few years.

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What happens to your hatchlings?

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