Aug 09, 2020 6:54 AM
Mehtien lands in Khshassa
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Marinyan's declining prosperity poses a challenge to its most stubborn children. The intelligent flock to other estates for their education. The skilled travel across the seas to sell their wares. The Marinyani are relics from a bygone era. Their military might was their greatest strength, and there have not been militaries in Khshassa for four hundred years. The cities of Marinyan are said to have more halhasan on one street corner than all of Kiengiri does within its borders.

Nonetheless, the streets of Shabesu bustle with activity. The earliest commanders' descendants live luxurious, decadent lifestyles as clerks, governors, and judges. They keep the city alive through the constant stamping of paper. Each contract signed and letter delivered is a victory for Marinyan. Most of what these clerks, governors, and judges do is shuffle paper around until they can collect taxes, officiate marriages, or administer punishment.

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One such clerk is deeply regretting the decision to collect taxes from what must be the most stubborn shopkeep in Shabesu. He's been arguing with the woman for the better part of a day about why her decision to keep live animals on the street is entirely different from the decision of the shopkeep right next door, "can't you see, boy" to sell two types of flour. She's insistent that she knows the law, and of course the law never changes and is always in her favor and really, he's quite tired of it. His gaze is drifting, watching the crowd.

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In an entirely separate place, a boy is walking into an inn. He and his company have spent hours trading from their carts under the blazing sun and the poor horses have waited long enough to be fed and watered as they should.

As the door swings shut behind him, Mehtien notes firstly that he doesn't see an innkeeper and secondly that this place doesn't look like anything he's ever seen before.

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There are chairs, tables, patrons of various limb configurations and colors and shapes and sizes...drinks, everywhere, flowing freely...it's a very different sort of place than he might be used to.

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Something makes a high-pitched keening sound and moves in his direction.

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Whatthefuck

Mehtien has no idea what is happening but instinct tells him that it's very bad, what the fuck is that - surely a demon - Mehtien turns on his heel and dives for the door.

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The door lets out into the blazing sun. The architecture looks different. The people look different. The door behind him no longer leads to the strange, demonic inn.

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what the fuck what the fuck

Is this a vision - no one's ever described a vision like this before - it's strange not to recognize the architecture when he's seen so many places, this is very different -

Panicking is inconvenient. Mehtien tries really hard to stop, but he can't force the dizziness away. He wishes he had his bow on him, he feels naked without it in a hostile place.

He wishes he were back in the demonic inn, even though his soul was probably about to be devoured, because at least then the horrible strangeness was contained and he could believe that outside it was different.

 

Mehtien will find some shade nearby, if that's possible, and try to look around. How do the people look different?

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The people here look healthy; no one in this city is going hungry. There are a variety of skin tones, although there are darker people here than he's seen before. The city is somewhat dusty, but somehow the dust never seems to touch the people. The sun shines brightly on him, the heat penetrating deeply- but if these people are bothered by the heat, they give no indication.

There is shade to be had, in this alley of small, squat buildings.

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Mehtien will huddle in the alley for a little bit.

 

He has no idea what to do. He should be trying to fix this and get back to his delegation - who are probably waiting on him, who probably haven't noticed that he's missing. He has no idea how to do that. Mehtien can only really hope that this is a bizarre, prolonged vision that he will snap out of at any moment.

But in case that doesn't happen and he remains here... survival. He needs resources. A horse, food, water, ideally more shelter than an alleyway. Hopefully these are things he can afford through non-demonic payments that don't involve setting himself on fire or something. Mehtien doesn't have enough valuables on him to afford a horse, but he can probably steal one. (If he can find any. He doesn't see any horses or any places that look hospitable to them.)

Mehtien... will try to find a non-demonic inn. He ventures from the alleyway and approaches the nearest approachable looking person. "Excuse me?" he tries. "Are you familiar with this place?"

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The nearest approachable-looking person begins babbling excitedly!

He can't understand a word of it.

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A less approachable-looking person has taken notice.

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He notices him back, eventually. Does this man look less approachable in a threatening sort of way?

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Mostly just the unfriendly expression and his current occupation talking to someone else- both of those seem irrelevant now, as he approaches, smiling.

He speaks with the other stranger in the same foreign language. He tries a few gestures that might seem friendly: he waves his hand, presses his palms together with a bow, and smiles encouragingly. Then he beckons both of them to follow him.

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...well Mehtien doesn't trust them at all.

But. He doesn't have many other options, and he is probably in a strange demon world where nothing trustworthy is liable to ever happen. He thinks he could take these men in a fight, unless they are demons, in which case he's extremely doomed no matter what he does.

He bows back, and follows carefully at a close distance. His eyes flicker between the men (demons??), over their arms and legs and shoulders, scanning for any tension that would indicate preparing to attack him.

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Both of them look different kinds and amounts of excited. They arrive, somewhere. The less approachable man/demon speaks to a stranger wearing head covering and a beaded necklace. They argue, and the less approachable one hands him coins. The newest, more adorned stranger removes her beaded necklace, placing it around the less approachable one's neck. He turns back to Meh'tien.

"I take it you'll be able to understand me now?"

He sounds as though he's speaking Meh'tien's own language.

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How unsettling.

"...yes. Where are we? Why did you buy this item to talk to me?"

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"We're in the marketplace of the city of Shabesu. I bought this tool so we could speak without the need for an intermediary. You're a visitor from another country, then, like I expected?"

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