Marin intends to enter the bridge. It's a procedure she's implemented thousands of times before; leaving Nymet requires using the bridge, and Marin Pathfinder of Nymet could not have survived cooped up in a single innangarð for her entire life. It's not an exaggeration to say that she has spent more of her life in the bridges than in any innangarð. She knows how to operate them: entry, traversal, and exit. It should take a moment's thought to conclude her journey. Instead, as her staff strikes the earth, the bridge opens...somewhere else. She's standing on a bridge- an ordinary bridge, one made from materials and not the raw power of the gods- in an unfamiliar innangarð, with no sign of the bridge she just exited behind her.
Another voice calls back. "Does someone have a new hatchling?" A pause. "I'll be down shortly."
Spinel turns to her. "Might as well show you the museum while we're waiting." They lead her into a fairly large circular room with a spiral staircase in the center and various exhibits arrayed around it.
Sure, she'll examine the exhibits. She might just learn something about what story they're trying to tell her.
Immediately to the right on entering there's part of a wall with a star like symbol and a spiral of symbols.
After that there's a piece of pottery, a skeleton and a contraption made of metal with three legs. Each is in a glass case with a placard in front of it.
Fascinating, she supposes, in the abstract. The concept of a museum is somewhat new to her. Perhaps this is an honest expression of how the utgard thinks, and that is why they are so dangerous. They want to study them. Again, though, that is her temptation to ascribe meaning where there is none. No conclusions yet, just hypotheses.
"These are Nomai artifacts, then?"
She makes a show of saying this without glancing at the placards, since she won't be able to read them anyway.
"The wall and the pottery are. You could call the skeleton a Nomai artifact too being that it's a Nomai skeleton. The probe is Hearthian make though."
"You must have theories about what Nomai culture is like. Is it a popular point of speculation?"
"We don't know much. There are small and large skeletons to be found so I reckon they had hatchlings like we do. They also have what seem to be houses in those upside down cities on Brittle Hollow. They didn't really seem to use many tools though. We haven't found any knives for example."
"What about evidence of higher-level math?"
"I reckon I don't really know. Hornfels says that technology requires math but I'm no expert on that."
There's the sound of footsteps coming down the ramp. "What are you saying about me now Spinel?" And then there's a clearly audible gasp. "So not a Hatchling. Spinel why didn't you tell me you had an alien with you? How did you get here? Do you know anything about the Nomai? I have so many questions..."
"I can't offer you new knowledge about the Nomai. I come from a place called Nymet. We don't have a name for the planet. I'm happy to answer whatever questions you have."
"You didn't say how you got here. Do you have a spaceship or did you warp or do you not know?"
"I traveled here via bridge."
She gestures with her staff, something which they won't understand if they're not from an innangarð.
"I've never heard of that. How does it work?"
"Bridges are the paths that allow us to safely travel through the utgard. Using my staff, I build them up between one innangarð and another."
"What's the utgard? What are innangarð?"
A direct question, that's interesting. Maybe she's in a very isolated innangarð.
"The utgard is the vast, chaotic, unstructured wilderness between innangarðs. Innangarðs are the protective bubbles in which intelligent life and civilization prosper. When you refer to space travel, what do you mean?"
"I haven't seen any protective bubbles anywhere. Space is the emptiness between planets. When we travel through space we use rockets on our spaceships to fly from one planet to another."
"Space sounds like it our understanding of the utgard, and rockets resemble bridges, but perhaps I'm relying too heavily on my assumptions. Were there more questions? I heard you would be quite excited to meet a potential alien."
"That doesn't sound right to me. Bridges and rockets are pretty different things. Unless you mean something really different when you say bridges. How are you speaking our language anyway? We've had a hard time translating Nomai writing even with examples scattered around the solar system."
"I'm using my magic to translate. It conveys concepts for maximum mutual intelligibility, but it struggles to cope when the gap is too large. 'Bridges' is likely the closest concept you have for what I'm saying, and if anything is coming through untranslated, you likely have no equivalent at all."
"Magic you say... are you sure it's not technology of some kind? As for bridges, to us they're structures made of wood or some other building material that connects two places. Rockets on the other hand use channeled chemical explosions to generate thrust."
"Bridges are typically made of wood, stone, or packed dirt, and they connect two innangarðs. We wouldn't have much need for a bridge within one. They're not ordinary structures, though, since no one could safely build anything in the utgard. We construct them with magic. I am fairly certain it is not technology, since we did not develop it, and we can cast it through any wooden object of the right shape."