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Mar 07, 2021 9:38 AM
Saevetei makes new and exciting friends in a new and exciting wasteland
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Boooooored. Are they there yet?

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Nope.

It takes a while still, and the sun starts getting noticeably lower in the sky. Taharqi points at another cannibal camp on the other side of the river when they pass by it, somewhat camouflaged by the stones and foliage and substantially smaller than the one they raided earlier, but they go unnoticed. It's not too far after that, though, that she can spot a constructed structure in the distance.

It looks like... a house, right by the river. It is, of course, much sturdier-looking and of higher quality than any of the tents and bedrolls she saw at either cannibal village. There are torches providing its illumination, and they all seem to be lit, judging by the dancing shadows visible from the window and the flickering light reflected from the walls and ceiling.

The location seems more tranquil than most places they've passed by, with a peaceful pack of gazelles grazing nearby and the occasional flutter on the surface of the water indicating live fish. As Taharqi crosses the river one final time to get on the right bank, she will be able to see two shadows next to the house that eventually resolve into an alligator and a shaleback... who are not in any way attacking each other. They seem to just be there, content to exist near each other.

Despite the growing darkness of the lowering sun, it is still light enough that she can see tall ruins in the distance, behind the house. They give the place an eerily calm ambiance, as if the whole place is a still image removed from time. But soon enough it becomes too dark to see the ruins properly, and the house is just a house.

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She is very charmed by the house! It is an exceedingly cute house.

“Aw! Is that your house, because it’s very cute.”

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"That is indeed my house! I suppose I shall take that as a compliment." He slows down and then stops before the steps, and with one agile movement dismounts. As he offers Saevetei a hand again, she'll notice the alligator and the shaleback have approached them, looking up curiously. "Hey, boys! Impatient, aren't we? I didn't bring anything exceptionally great for both of you but I'm sure you'll like it anyway. Just wait a minute, the both of you."

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Saevetei is significantly less graceful than he is about dismounting! But she can manage it with some assistance! ... also why does everything hurt. She was just riding a horse, it’s not fair that this caused everything to hurt.

“Ow,” she grumbles, wincing.

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"Oh, right, first time. That is going to hurt for a week."

He lets go of her hand and reaches into a couple of the bags attached to Lucky. One of them contains some strings of sun-dried meat, which Taharqi throws onto the ground a few feet away and which the alligator happily chases to munch on; the other has some purple-blue berries that he bunches in his cupped hand so that the shaleback can eat from it.

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"Great. And me without any healing charms. Mrrgh." She looks at his (kind of scary) pets, and decides that, actually, she will go pet Lucky again! Who is a good horse, you are a good horse.

"It's okay. It's not your fault, and if it were I would forgive you," she coos to her.

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The horse whinies and huffs at that. "There are some more berries from that same pouch," Taharqi says. "You can give them to Lucky if you want. Just cup them in your hand and let her lick them off. Ow," he says, looking at the shaleback again. "Now what did I say about biting, boy?" he tells the creature with no heat in his voice. It makes a meek little raspy noise and he pats it on its head a couple of times.

Now that they're close enough to the house, Saevetei might notice the sound of drums coming from inside.

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"Are those drums? Does someone else live here, too?" she asks, while of course fetching Lucky's well earned snack, for bringing them all this way. Here you go, pretty girl, enjoy your berries.

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"Oh, yeah, that will be Sendhei. He's probably dancing, he likes doing that... well, approximately all the time."

He starts untying the ropes and removing the bags attached to Lucky to fetch all of the spoils.

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"Well, I look forward to meeting him."

Saevetei can help with that, once Lucky is good and fed! Even though she hurts. But she's still perfectly capable of carrying things despite that.

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Taharqi'll accept the help with the untying, but she doesn't need to worry about carrying it all, really.

He walks up the steps onto his torchlit porch and pushes the door open, calling, "Home!"

    "Welcome back!" another voice replies from inside.

He leaves the door open for Saevetei, and the very first thing she will see right at the entrance is a tiger's head staring at her. Through the window she'll also probably be able to spot Sendhei himself, who is indeed dancing, though he does not seem to be carrying any drums on his person.

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Mostly she's distracted by the head on the wall! It is very, uh. Itself.

"Taharqi, why do you have an animal head on your wall. Right at the front entrance. For all of your guests to see as their first introduction to the interior of your home," she says, staring.

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"It looks cool," he replies with a shrug.

The ground floor is a single room with one other door than the one the walked through (presumably the one that leads to the fenced outside area she saw before) plus the wooden stairs that lead up. In addition to the Stygian carpet adorning the immediate entrance, there is an animal hide rug in the center, where the other inhabitant of the house had been dancing until just now. Next to a wall there is a single leather-bound drum, which seems to be making drum noises despite no one being there to... actually play it. Or so it seems, as the music fades to a stop after Sendhei stops dancing. Next to the rug and up against the wall is a bed with light covers and a pillow, and against another wall there is a wooden cupboard.

Sendhei himself seems to be of the same ethnicity as Taharqi, most of his head shaved with the exception of a strip of light brown hair in the middle, going from the forehead to the back of his neck. He is approximately as naked as Taharqi, except that while Taharqi's attire seems more focused on practicality Sendhei's is definitely going for a specific aesthetic. He has golden nipple rings connected to each other by a thin gold chain, and a golden choker in the likeness of a serpent adorns his neck. The index, middle, and ring fingers on both his hands have rings, and the wrist that doesn't have a magic bracelet is adorned by a different bracelet, also golden, also having snake motifs, while his upper left arm is encircled by golden band. He has a thin golden string with golden decorative blunted spikes around his waist holding something that would require substantial generosity to be called a loincloth - the middle of the front cloth ends before his penis begins, while the sides go all the way to his knees, making it something like an arc or an inverted U shape that draws attention exactly there. He is also wearing black sandals with golden trims that match the colours and style of the not-a-loincloth. His build is lean and athletic, in contrast with Taharqi's bulkier and stronger frame, and is covered from head to toe in a glistening sheen of sweat, although this does not stop Taharqi (who in the meantime has taken off his fur vest, longbow, and quiver, and put them plus the loot down on the ground) from walking up to him and giving him a hug.

    "Oh, you brought a friend," says Sendhei belatedly when he notices Saevetei there.

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Saevetei unstrings her bow and leaves it by the door next to her quiver. She plans to make a better bow tomorrow, but there's no reason to mistreat this one for the time that she's got it.

"Hi! I was rescued from cannibals that mistakenly thought I was edible, nice to meet you."

Sendhei: also pretty and mostly naked. Why. What did she do to deserve this level of ironic fate. There are definitely some people she can never, ever tell about this. They'd maybe say something about how she'd fit right in, even though she actually feels very out of place. Even if someone else is also wearing gold.

She's in multilayered and colorful robes set in greens and violets, with embroidered gold trim at the edges, and there's honestly not very much of her skin showing at all. The robes fall off of her shoulders and leave a large opening on her back, and her gloves are archer's gloves that leave several of her fingers out in the open, but aside from that, she's. Very covered. The bright red hair probably doesn't help her blend in, either. Oh, well. She's used to being ostentatious, anyway. At least she doesn't have a floating magical chain attached to her wrist, like how she stands out in the dream world. Clothes are removable.

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    "Nice to meet you, too! I'm Sendhei."

"And I," Taharqi declares, "am starving. You get that rhino meat done by any chance?"

    "Sure have. It's in the pot upstairs, I left it above the embers to keep it warm, figured you'd want to eat it if you survived. Or, well, died, I guess, you usally come back hungry."

"Wonderful." He turns to look at his guest. "Saevetei, would you like some?"

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Saevetei makes a bit of a face. She doesn't like meat very much even when it doesn't come from a dead animal. Meat that has come from a dead animal is the exact opposite of appetizing.

"You don't happen to have any fruits, nuts, or vegetables available, do you?"

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"I do, actually! I have some desert berries, seeds, and leaves. Some nuts, too, I believe."

    "You don't eat meat?" asks Sendhei curiously. "I think I'd be hungry all the time if I only ate plants."

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"Then that would be great, thank you," she says, with a grateful smile. "I can and have in situations where there's nothing else, but. No, not if I have other options."

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    "Huh. Strange."

"Would you mind getting us some bowls and cups, Sendhei?"

    "Yes, master."

"I am not your master," Taharqi sighs with the tired tone of someone who does not expect this to change anything. Sendhei grins mischievously but does not reply and instead goes to the cupboard by the stairs to fetch said dishes while Taharqi walks to the stairs. "Make yourself at home, Saevetei, we will figure out sleeping arrangements after we've eaten."

    "Wait, so you're not sleeping together?" asks Sendhei.

"Yet to be determined!" comes Taharqi's voice from upstairs already.

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In Saevetei's opinion, that came out of nowhere! What. Uh. She's not against the idea - he is very pretty, and it's not like she can get pregnant - but, also, what?

"U-um," she says, and then decides to instead change the subject because flailing over differences in cultural norms sounds like the opposite of fun. "Why are you calling him 'master'? Besides just to annoy him, I mean."

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    "It's pretty much just to annoy him," Sendhei says, shrugging. "I used to be the Stygian pharaoh's slave, one of his performers," he explains as he takes three ceramic bowls from the wooden cupboard and sets them in a triangle on the floor after kicking the rug to the side to give them more space. He returns to the cupboard to fetch the cups. "He returned early from a diplomatic trip and caught me in, ah, 'unlawful unsupervised fornication' with one of his concubines, and sent me to the Exiled Lands." Cups fetched, he sets them by the bowls and takes a cross-legged seat behind one of them, facing the center of the triangle. "I banded together with this other exile who decided I would be her slave, and it's not like I knew anything different, so I went along with it."

"And one day I ran into them and she decided she wanted to bash my skull in, I tried to stop her but she just wouldn't stop so I killed her and knocked him unconscious," says Taharqi, returning with a large roasted piece of haunch on a ceramic plate plus a larger bowl with non-meat things in. "Then I explained to him that actually this whole 'slavery' business is not really cool and how about we help each other survive out here. He didn't get the first part of the message." Sendhei once again grins unashamedly as Taharqi sets the two dishes down in the middle of the triangle then returns upstairs.

    "He has some personal grudge against slavery or something," Sendhei shrugs again.

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"Shocking," says Saevetei, in a deadpan. She sits on her heels behind her bowl of not-meat, eyeing the animal hide rug with some discomfort. She feels a bit like it's staring at her. Judging her. Look, she didn't have anything to do with your death and skinning, critter, and she doesn't even know where she'd find your soul to bring you back! Stop judging her, please.

"'Unlawful unsupervised fornication,'" she then repeats, looking somewhere between confused and offended. "What a phrasing. Does the sex have to be supervised to be lawful, or was it unlawful and separately unsupervised, both of which are grave offenses. Because. Wow."

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"You know, I'm not sure? It was definitely lawful if the pharaoh was supervising."

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"Wow," she repeats. Is this culture shock? This feels like culture shock. "You know, I thought I was very cosmopolitan for my culture, but this conversation is really opening my eyes to how actually I am a spoiled sheltered dream child who has absolutely no idea of the horrible things people can do to one another."

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