"Someone was looking for you," a drunk, muscular man applying some paint to his fingernails says to Belmarniss as she walks by. "Drow girl."
"Many drow parents do spend any time with their babies. Expose them to the right accent, notice when there's incipient personality, that kind of thing. But they don't feed them and don't hang onto them when they puke and yell."
" - so it's just that drow parents lack the motherly instinct, specifically."
"No? Kids yea high who mispronounce 'can I have more cake' are adorable and people dote on those. Pretty sure that's also a parental instinct."
"Not the parental instinct, the motherly one, in particular. It's like you all have the instincts of a father."
"You don't think babies are cute and absent vague ethical sentiment would squish one that annoyed you?"
"I wouldn't squish one, and they're cute once they've had a little time to get a normal shape. But I couldn't feed them and change them and wake up in the night for them and so on. A child who only had a father wouldn't make it."
"I think it's more complicated than that but maybe that's a fair approximation."
Fy hisses at Hagan.
"What does that mean, is it hungry?"
"No, she says that the ways drow and humans do babies sound ridiculous and she's very worried about us."
"Don't snakes, uh, lay eggs somewhere and then forget about them? ...did she really say that? Can she understand us to that level of granularity?"
" - I'm translating a tiny bit of conceptual stuff she didn't put in words? But she can understand language, yeah."
"Hi Fy! What are the advantages of your childrearing arrangement?"
"You don't have to spend time on them and you certainly don't need a suitable mate."
"I guess those are advantages. Do you have a lotta little snakes somewhere?"
"If they're not dead, which they might be, as babies are stupid."
"They are that. Something all sorts of babies have in common."
"Interesting they have enough Osirians to crew the whole place if they want. Not very properly international pirates."
"The whole gang is mostly local. I don't know why."
"Shouldn't you have an especially low rate of piracy? But they're at least not outright hostile to foreigners, there's a handful."
"Maybe we have a higher rate of piracy because we have a lower rate of on-shore crime? So all the people who are irretrievably criminally inclined leave? But I wouldn't have predicted it'd work that way."
"Yeah, me either."