"Someone was looking for you," a drunk, muscular man applying some paint to his fingernails says to Belmarniss as she walks by. "Drow girl."
"Abadar doesn't say we shouldn't have an army or a navy, because sometimes there are more wars if you don't look willing to defend your interests in them. ...I don't know. But there could be something like that going on, conceivably."
"Anything that might've looked like this at some point in the course of events happened before that you can think of?"
"I know almost nothing about foreign policy. Sorry."
"We might be planning to sell weapons and ships to Andoran."
"Do they...have any money. I thought they were trying really hard to stop the Avistani infanticide thing and it was really overtaxing them."
"I've heard that too. They must have some."
"Could be doing it as a loan."
"How generous of us. Maybe we're being asked to watch and observe while they hammer out the interest rates."
"If Andoran needs help we'll help."
" - yeah. Sorry."
"Maybe just enough help that they work on having enough orphanages and not enough help that they fund a big campaign downstairs."
"Have they been doing that?"
"Not recently. I knew somebody in school who managed to get out of town, some thirty years ago, when they showed up to kill all the drow where she lived before. She got her dad's cousin to take her in."
- that's - helpful to know. Thank you."
"Is it? What're you going to be helped with knowing this sort of anecdote? She said her mom grabbed her baby brother trying to get out, having heard they usually won't stab you if you're holding a baby, but in the dark and general confusion they thought she was attacking the slave she grabbed him from - it's possible that in fact she was, even. Wasn't sure what happened to her dad or her toddler sister or her older brothers or any extended family but as of my departure none of them had come looking for her with her cousin."
"Well, sometimes it's hard to imagine why Abadar might choose not to have Osirion help more aggressively in defending innocents from conquest by Cheliax, and then it turns out there's a reason I wouldn't have thought of even if I'd been thinking about it for weeks. And it's helpful to keep in mind that the world is vast and complicated and I should do my best but not expect that other people doing the right thing will look much like what I'd be tempted to do."
"I'm just not sure what the - additional detail - is doing for you. Of course if you go try to steal somebody's property there might be lethal violence about that. You must know that sometimes people go on slave-liberating adventures under the auspices of Good. Obviously some of the people in any society that persists more than a generation are kids. No population is invariable enough that they're all to a one going to stand and fight, especially if not all of them personally own any of the slaves, or the specific slaves that are being liberated. In any very crowded combat situation in a residential area as opposed to a nice tidy battlefield where one side thinks the other ought reasonably to be subjugated or dead and the other thinks the one is all evil anyway so does it really matter there'll be stray casualties among would-be noncombatants. And escapees. Of course there are people like that who ran off, whole family dead, because some neutral good people picked her village that day."
"I didn't know Andoran was organizedly raiding drow villages, or if they were that this involved any fighting drow, as opposed to just teleporting out with as many slaves as they could grab."
"I don't think it's very organized but it's a cause that gets popular support, as I understand it. Teleporting's more expensive than stabbing and running but you get both sometimes. Though if they teleport out with an unfortunate subset of the slaves babies do get extra infanticided for lack of childcare. Or remaining slaves get killed off because feeding them is pricey when the food is not being farmed by as many people."
"Well. Dunno if suggesting they steal babies too would improve anything and I think Andoran has too many babies."
"Maybe everyone should be half elves, I think they're the only species that has the desired amount of babies."
"If somebody has a half-drow I think they usually just kill it, I've never met one. Maybe sometimes somebody escapes with one in tow."
"Adventured with some half-elves once. They couldn't relate to all the things humans do to make sure women don't have children with no one to feed them, but they didn't hate babies either."
"They get out fertility perk? Cool, I'm sold." She finds a place to write this down. "I don't hate babies, there's just a very severe limit to how much you can enjoy something that screams in the middle of the night and can't control its bodily fluids and pulls your hair and so on if you don't think it's cute!"
"I admittedly would probably like them a lot less if I had to deal with all that."