Jan 27, 2021 9:24 AM
Thorn in Golden Treasure
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She smiles. "Another difference between us. Still, I am willing to rely on your good word and your camels to reach where I must go."

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"We will see you safely to Salmut. What can you tell me of your home? Do chaos's beasts threaten there, too?"

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"No, it is a safe place. We have had wars in the past, but for now we are at peace. It is varied and cosmopolitan: at times there are hunts for outlaws or beasts, but more rarely now."

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"Ahh, I'm jealous of peace. One of my cousins and one of my brothers was slain in a war with strange men from the east some six years ago. But we live with what we are given and try to improve it."

He seems to consider that the end of the conversation unless Thorn asks more questions. They water their camels. He goes and prays silently to the elephant-carving.

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She packs up her remaining gear, and clasps her quartz crystal close for a moment, hoping for good luck and a safe journey.

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The little caravan is moving again soon enough. They put her on a camel, which tolerates this treatment without complaint.

There's a little chatting, even if staying on track in the desert takes much of the locals' energy. After a while two of the younger men start joking and discussing how they might drive off a dragon if one attacks - distressing one of the children, who they tease.

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She's interested to hear more about dragons! How big are they? How smart are they? Do they breathe fire? They have a few varieties where she's from, what's local?

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They're HUGE! Bigger than a house!

(No they're not, this other guy heard a story about one not much bigger than a cow.) (Maybe it was a baby?)

They breathe fire! They have wicked, chaotic animal cunning which they use to eat people and livestock, and to steal and hoard gold and other treasure. There's green ones, red ones, and blue ones. There might be black and white ones but maybe not?

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This world is sounding more and more like a Prime, but she'll reserve judgment for now. 

She says she's heard of black and white dragons and even fought a black dragon. She elides the details but talks about a warrior party that gathered together to hunt the beast and how it killed three of those sent to fight it. But they killed it. Drove a sword through its heart! Not her, she was mostly a planner, but one of her companions. What was his name again? She can't remember; all of this was long ago in any case. 

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He must have been a great warrior. Half-remembered tales of valor can be shared around. Very few of them mention magic, except what old wise men or the foul dragons themselves can do, and that sounds more like superstition than real magic.

They make camp. The women in the group seem to consider asking her something and decide against it.

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She camps in her own tent. If the others want to know more, they can ask.

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One of them brings her dinner- Dry bread with roasted carrots and celery, and some kind of gravy sauce. She sets it down by the tent flap and hesitates again, but-

"Pardon my ignorance, please, but, ah... Raisah does not want another child, and I have heard that traders from distant lands have an herb which can help with this, without separating her from her husband. Would you happen to have some of it, or know where to seek it?"

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She smiles slightly. "Ah. I know of such a herb, though it is likely different from the one you have heard of. It is... how to put this delicately... good for the act itself as well as for its consequences. I should have some in my packs but I suspect it is buried under all my other equipment; may I get it to Raisah in the morning? No charge - you are already helping me, and the herb is not expensive where I come from."

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"Of course. Thank you very much. If you have much of it, you could make plenty of coin to support yourself a while with it, I think. I'm sure many feel the same way."

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"I doubt I'll have much trouble making coin," Felicity says. "Between the Sinflower and the other goods I bear. But thank you for the advice, in any case."

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"If you would listen to a bit more advice... If you're going to go alone, especially in Salmut and beyond, you should be visibly armed. A bronze or iron blade carried by the side is more intimidating than... A mystery. Even though the hidden snake's bite carries poison." Then she bows. "Enjoy your meal. You need not help with the cooking or chores." And leaves.

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She nods. (So guns are completely unheard-of. Not surprising.)

She eats, then she digs her beacon out from her pack and punches in the codes for a supply drop. Sinflower ten vials fifty doses each leather holster. 

A leather holster holding ten glass vials of cyan Sinflower blossoms appears. She tucks her beacon away and puts the sinflower on top of her pack where she can find it the next morning. 

She sleeps.

 

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Nothing disturbs the camp at night.

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In the morning she gets out her vials of sinflower and discreetly goes looking for Raisah.

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The one who asked last night, Larin, comes and collects the plate she ate on and subtly indicates which of the remaining two is Raisah.

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She carefully approaches Raisah with her bundle of Sinflower. 

"Excuse me, Raisah. I heard you had an issue you wished to speak with me about. Is there somewhere we can talk privately?"

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"-Oh, it's not a secret between us women, and the men are all over there. Larin says you do indeed have an herb to prevent pregnancy?"

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"Yes." She unfolds the leather holder and shows Raisah the vials. "Sinflower. Each flower is one dose, good for three hours. Take it immediately before the act. It will make you more receptive but also barren. I will give you one of my vials and that will be fifty doses, which should keep you some time."

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"Yes, it will do for a while. Thank you. You're sure you don't want anything in return? Why that name? Love is not a sin."

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"I'm sure. As for the name... an opinion not shared by all, I'm afraid. Those who discovered the herb were afraid of it. Said it would make women unfaithful to their husbands. The name stuck, unfortunately."

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