Sep 27, 2020 9:13 PM
Verity portalsnaked to Innangarðr
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"Unfortunately, it's nothing specific about him. Assumptions about your immorality, instability, and immaturity would come from signaling anything which someone could read as interest in him. If I thought he were dangerous, I wouldn't put you with them."

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Looking around, she can see that the hut is about as small as it looked from the outside, meaning there are three rooms for all of its purposes. She can investigate more closely what those might be.

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"I'll avoid showing interest in men, or looking like I might be.  I'm unclear what men being singled out for this implies regarding whether or not I'm expected to show interest in women?  Not that either seems likely at the moment, but I'm trying to get a better understanding of what you think the differences are." 

"What sort of things will I be expected to do to help out here?"

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"Women showing an interest in women is somewhat uncommon. People tend to place a greater weight on relationships between men and women, because most people see marriage and child-rearing as an essential part of life. There are too many complicated social games, mores, and presumptions surrounding all of that to really keep track of. Just bear in mind that most people will assume you want to sleep with men, that you want to have children, and that, as an outsider, you'll be unscrupulous or selfish in making sure those two things happen.

As for what you can do- your moves sound like they'll help advance the state of our current plumbing solution. It's mostly handled by magic which could be better used for investing in long-term progress instead of maintenance. Do you have any other skills which made you stand out among your peers?"

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"Plumbing does sound like a good thing to help with.  Anything where you need water somewhere and don't have a good way of transporting it.  Despite the name, Surf does make potable water.  We can run fast, and keep up that speed for hours at a time without getting tired.  Freezing things.  In the long run, writing down everything I know about science and technology."

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"I'll speak to some of the other local figures. We'll hopefully have a better idea of what we can do for you tomorrow. In the meantime, get comfortable here. If you want to wander around, feel free. If anyone bothers you, repeat 'I am a guest of Marin Pathfinder' and they should keep their distance."

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She repeats it as best she can, stumbling a bit on a sound their languages don't share but managing to be understandable.  "Thank you."  

Lost for what to do next, they glance around the room more openly.  

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In the room that she is in, there are pots, pans, dishes, cups, and utensils filling up the available counter space. There is a table in the center of the room, chairs near the fireplace, and a plain, metal box on the floor.

Their hosts speak among themselves, seeming to take it as given that Verity and Araeneve don't need taking care of. If they're going to provide food, they're showing no sign of worrying about it.

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Sensing that she's been dismissed for the moment, she will poke her head into the other two rooms to see what they're for.  Then, she'll make a close circuit around the outside of the house, looking for anything like outhouses or wells that she might need to find later.

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She finds the pantry, well-stocked with flour, lentils, and assorted other ingredients. She can identify a small shrine: a table decorated with flowers and with small, colorful figurines. There are two cots, as well as a wardrobe. Outside, she does find an outhouse, although there is no well in sight.

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Luckily, she's unlikely to ever need a well.  She spends a while staring up at the sky and the plants and trees, occasionally reaching out to run a finger against the rough texture of the bark.  Not a VR simulation.  She's careful not to leave sight of the hut and eventually wanders back in to ask if there's anything she ought to be doing.  

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They seem to take this as a request for food. They seat her at their table (not in the best condition) and they all prepare to eat. The man sits down and talks animatedly to the older woman, while the younger busies herself with putting warm food on their plates. Dinner here appears to consist of a porridge, savory bread, and boiled vegetables served in a creamy sauce.

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She thanks them, trying to get across gratitude despite the language barrier, and follows their lead on when to start eating or other table manners.  Without staring, she listens to the words, trying to catch any patterns.  Unfortunately, she isn't very good at languages.  

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They all hold hands and close their eyes. It seems her seat has been chosen such that she can easily opt out of this ritual, if she wants to. After that, the older woman nods at her with a smile and begins eating. The other two look to Verity expectantly. One of them does say something which she can eventually gather, from repeated use, to be some kind of social nicety. No one offers Araeneve anything.

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Since it does seem to be an option, she'll opt out.  Verity already has to deal with one too many religions and this feels like something of that sort.

Does repeating the phrase back seem like the right thing to do?  She tries it, not knowing what the local response is, and also thanks them in her language.  

Araeneve doesn't need to eat, and finds somewhere comfortable to sit.  It's awkward not having daemons to speak to - or at least socially preen in absence of a common language.  The plain metal box on the floor continues to puzzle her.  None of the VR simulations of old planet towns had them.  It seems like something better to ask about once Marin returns than to try to peek into, so it is left alone.  

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Repeating the phrase seems to get surprised smiles all around. The older woman repeats back Verity's thanks as well. They do open the box soon after dinner, and the man takes out a wooden flute. The women sit on the floor, and the younger one pats the ground next to her, inviting Verity to sit.

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Well, hopefully it turns out to not be something weird, or an agreement to something awful.  

She will continue following their lead and instructions, sitting on the floor.  Araeneve sits in a row with them as well, on the opposite side of Verity from the women.  

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The man plays a song. It sounds passable, although he isn’t a professional. The women begin to clap, singing off-tune, and the man begins to dance. They seem to be enjoying themselves. After about an hour of variations on this, during which they each take turns dancing with one another (and Verity, if she’ll join in), the event seems to be over.

They all begin to settle in for sleep. The younger one, who guides Verity to a bed, looks flummoxed about where to put Araeneve.

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Verity hasn't done much dancing, but is graceful enough once she learns the steps.  Araeneve hums along with the music once each song has gone on long enough for them to pick up the melody, adding a harmony that goes along with the main tune as daemons typically do while Verity hums with the same tune the women are singing in.  

They don't want to put anyone out of their own beds, and those beds don't look rated for large daemons.  Also, at least in her own culture, that would be seen as 'showing interest' in the way she's been told to avoid, even if the other person isn't sharing it at the time.  Verity tries to motion that they'd prefer to stay on the floor, curled up mostly on Araeneve, possibly with a cushion or something for their legs if there are any that can be borrowed from a chair.  

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Their hosts provide them with blankets and cushions, and then they retire to their rooms. While the house grows quiet, Verity and Araeneve can hear the sounds of insects buzzing and chirping throughout the night.

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They curl up and sleep relatively comfortably, a blanket entirely covering Araeneve just in case someone gets up in the middle of the night and trips over them, though they selected somewhere out of the main walking paths.  

It's still a bit before sunrise when they wake up and can't get back to sleep again.  They quietly return the cushions to where they started and fold the blankets neatly, then step outside as directed.  

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The Innangarðr comes alive slowly. There are already some folks up and about when they step outside, but besides a few smiles and waves, no one approaches them. Most of the people who walk by them seem to be carrying something: bolts of cloth, baskets of food, beaded necklaces...

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After about twenty minutes, Marin finds them.

"Good morning. I hope you both slept well."

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She is very happy to see someone who she can understand. 

"Hello!  We slept fine.  There weren't any problems, as far as I could tell."

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"I'm glad. I've spoken to some of the other decision-makers in Nymet, and we've concluded that you should meet some of the feytouched. If your purification moves can cure them, you'll be an incredible aid to our world."

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