Sep 29, 2022 3:55 AM
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Prota is trying to convince the girl to show them where the family keeps their medical supplies. 

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You gently ask the girl where to find the medical supplies. "Hey kiddo, I need to find your medicine and stuff, can you be a good girl and show me quick?"

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Step 44

The girl is not frightened of Prota. She also heard her parents ask for the medicine, so this is not a surprise. The girl is slightly offended at being called a "kid", but this distracts from the fear. 

Glint understands what is needed. He will shift to carry Prota and the medicine to the family down the slope. Horses can carry a lot, but goats are more surefooted. The trail isn't very steep and was able to be traversed by a wagon and oxen, so a horse is fine. 

(Elaborating on the fear of magic sets the stage for potential challenges to Prota and Glint in towns ahead.) [Villagers who distrust magic sometimes use signs to ward away evil. Not all magics are necessarily suspect; a village suspicious of outside magic might have a few Blue-gifted individuals whose presence and magics are known and trusted. Because greefolk have wealth and useful magic and blusefolk have more random magic, fear of magic is more common among middlefolk than greefolk or blusefolk.] 

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"'m not a kid," pouts the girl, "Zafton's a kid." But she directs you to a small crate near the front of the wagon. You can lift it, but searching the contents or carrying it to the family downslope might be difficult. Fortunately, Glint has your back. "Load up, I'll take you," he says, shifting into a brown draft horse. 

The girl gasps and shrinks back again, making a sign of warding. Blue-gifts are not welcomed everywhere, you recall. Zafton, the boy, only giggles. 

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None. 

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"This is my uncle. He's a horse. I'm part horse," I say lightly to the girl, hauling the crate into place. "You could probably tell because of my glorious mane, right?"

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Prota is joking in an attempt to make the girl less frightened. They do not explicitly say that they get on the horse with the crate, but that is the most effective way to keep it steady, and trying to fasten it to Glint without a saddle or pack would be time-consuming. It may be assumed that Prota gets on the horse. 

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You set the crate on Glint and climb up behind it - there's not really time or tools to attach it securely, but you can keep a good grip on it - and joke with the girl in hopes of setting her mind at ease. 

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Step 45

Glint will carry Prota and the medicine to the family, let Prota dismount and unload, then shift back and help however he can. 

A single joke isn't enough to fully win trust from Venir, but it will partly shift her mood from "frightened" to "dumbfounded". Venir can't quite tell if Prota is joking. 

(The injury is a chance to offer Prota a meaningful choice about spending their resources.) The family is poor and had to make do with what they could get when they left home. The crate contains plenty of bandages and a bit of medicine, but is missing a few key consumables necessary for proper wound cleaning. Prota has a suitable balm. It is safe to assume they kept their medical supplies with them rather than in the cart when they approached. 

It is fair to assume that Prota will continue to help. The next logical step is to unload and sort through the supplies. The prompt can skip to that to avoid forcing the Player to state obvious actions. 

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The girl only stares at you, jaw hanging open. 

Glint carries you and the crate downslope to the family, stepping carefully to avoid unbalancing load or rider. It's actually a smoother ride than most horses, in fact, and shortly you're able to dismount with the medical supplies. Glint returns to his body, resting on his leg-stumps and helping you and the man unpack the crate. There are plenty of bandages and a few herbs, but you notice their kit isn't as complete as yours. In particular, they're missing a good disinfectant or wound-cleaner. Perhaps they already used what they had, or perhaps they couldn't acquire any before they set out. You have a suitable balm with you that might help, but there's not much of it. Kyintri's gash is long and deep, and properly treating it would take half your stock. 

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None. 

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Did I notice anything in their cart that would be worth trading for?

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Prota wants to know if a trade is possible. 

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You recall what you saw in their wagon, wondering if you could ask for anything in trade for the balm. 

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Step 46

The road to and from the Blue can be harsh, and it is common enough for travelers to trade for things they desperately need. Asking for a trade is not unreasonable, though it would be considered somewhat mercenary to demand payment before resolving a crisis. In this case, the crisis is the wound in dire need of cleaning and dressing. (Making this a semi-official norm held by migrating clans will expand the worldbuilding and anchor the Player's choice in Prota's local environment, while still allowing a genuine decision either way). 

The family has standard supplies for travel: food for themselves and their animals, water, containers, some simple medicines. They might have enough bulk supplies to spare, but Prota's cart is mostly full already, so anything they offer of value might need to be fairly small. They don't have much money, since they spent most of their savings preparing to migrate. They do, however, have detailed information about the state of Adwell and the road ahead, which can be valuable to travelers. Prota might be able to turn that to their advantage. [Demand for draft animals and livestock has increased in Adwell because several families dislike Sebastine and are moving early.] The family could not take advantage of this because they were heading gree instead of bluse, but Prota could buy animals from Clan Pratchett and sell them in Adwell at significant markup, if they don't mind traveling a bit slower. 

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You didn't see any high-value goods in the wagon. Anything you got for your service would need to be light enough to carry on your already nearly-full cart. They might be able to pay you in coin or services, perhaps trade a few tools you couldn't obtain at home, but they look to be townsfolk rather than traders, and poor ones at that. On the other hand, most travelers on the Utannic want to look poorer than they really are, to avoid giving too much to bandits. In addition, supplies aren't the only valuable commodity on the road. If they came from one of the towns on the Utannic, the travelers might know a great deal about where you're headed. 

Migration etiquette is to resolve immediate crises before discussing the price of help; in a pinch, one can indicate willingness to trade-for-assistance before committing, in which case the helped party is supposed to be generous in settling the debt afterward. Still, people can be duplicitous when no longer pressured. If you negotiated now, before cleaning and dressing the wound, you could probably extract a better deal. Such things are generally frowned upon, and it would win you no favors, but the road is a harsh place, and it's been done. 

Either way, unless they have some very well-hidden trinkets, they are likely to owe you more than they can pay, especially considering your help against the gallowgale. You might even be within your rights to demand they trade their wagon and oxen for Beldry and your cart. On a journey like theirs, such a loss could be ruinous, but with Glint on your side they couldn't exactly say "no". 

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None. 

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It's not my decision alone, and conveniently conferring doubles as an excuse to open up trade negotiations without being rude. "Uncle Glint, my guess is this would take about half our balm to dress right, do you agree?"

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Prota's question serves the dual purpose of confirming their intentions with Glint and indicating that they intend to trade. 

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Implying that you are willing to trade for assistance, you ask Glint in earshot of the couple, "Uncle Glint, my guess is this would take about half our balm to dress right, do you agree?"

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Step 47

Glint is generally self-sufficient enough that he does not need to extort travelers. He will generally default to migration etiquette unless facing a particularly hostile negotiator. However, his current priority is Prota's safety, and he wants to know how they handle themselves in this situation. He will follow Prota's lead. 

(To expand on the rules of migration etiquette and worldbuilding, the next prompt can describe how Prota is familiar with migration etiquette. This may also sneak in an element of game theory relevant for travelers in this world, though not known as such.) [Most migrants going the same way follow "passing rules" - in other words, participants in a trade are heading the same direction and expect they might meet again, or that their reputations matter among those they expect to meet. A negotiator following passing rules assumes future interactions will occur and doesn't try too hard to screw over their trade partner. "Contra rules", on the other hand, refers to strangers traveling in opposite directions who don't expect to meet again, and who therefore want to extract as much as possible from each other before they go. Goodwill is not a factor in contra rules. Passing and contra rules are abstractions, often unspoken, and the prevailing norms among most clans are passing rules regardless of which direction a traveler is heading. Foreigners and rival clans often get treated on contra rules, and bandits often act according to contra rules.] (A slightly more euphonic and unique term for this is passing-kind and contra-kind). 

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"Aye," Glint acknowledges. He leans a bit closer to you and murmurs, "Passing-kind or contra-kind, greenjay? Your call." 

A few years ago, your mother and father sat you down to talk about the rules of the road. "Suppose two travelers meet while migrating gree, one a bit faster than the other," your mother began. "One has sheep, and the other has grain. They decide to trade. They're headed in the same direction, so they or their clans might meet again later, right?" She went on to explain how the travelers would want to treat each other with respect, trading good sheep for good grain, building a good relationship and reputation. "We sometimes call it passing-kind," your father had added. 

"Now suppose two strangers meet each other going opposite directions," your mother went on. "They're from different clans, claiming different territory far away from each other, and they don't expect to meet again. But it just so happens that one has sheep, the other has grain, and they want to trade..." In this story, the shepherd tries to sell the weakest, most sickly sheep, and the farmer tries to pass off the rotten grain with a layer of good grain on top. "Some of the people you meet might be like this," your parents said. "They are contra-kind, going the wrong way. They might know this and expect you to hurt them, even if you trade, and they'll try to squeeze as much from you as they can. Time may come when you'll have to do the same." 

Despite the name, passing-kind is more or less the norm among migrating clans on the road in either direction, though you've seen foreigners and greefolk treated contra-kind. It's particularly common when wealthy gree pilgrims pass through your clan's territory on their way home - after all, they sure as heck won't be coming back. 

In short, Glint is asking you - are we prioritizing helping out first, and settling the debt afterwards? Or are we playing hard, demanding payment up front? Does he need to prepare to be intimidating, to get as much out of them as you can? 

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"Passing-kind," I tell him firmly; I don't want to come off worse for trying to help, but I'm not trying to soak the travelers for everything they've got.

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Prota is speaking only to Glint. Although the Player did not specify, Prota probably responds in a low voice. 

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You reply firmly in a low voice, "Passing-kind." 

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