May 21, 2022 1:57 PM
Xian in Cosel
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OH THANK THE EMPEROR, a cute preindustrial - what is that SMELL.

Right. A cute little preindustrial village. He's smelled worse. For instance, dead bodies!

Does the cute little preindustrial village have anyone prepared to trade him food and language lessons for song, poetry, or manual labor?

 

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With sufficient miming and polite smiling and reassuring nods he can get food (lentils and bread) and a five year old assigned to babble at him incessantly while he chops firewood.

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SUCCESS. He will chop ALL THE FIREWOOD.

He is very grateful to the five-year-old's babbling, with luck he'll pick up a few words here and there.

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"- and then, you should put me on your shoulders, like my dad does, and RUN RUN RUN all around going ROAAAAR like a monster because I'm a monster tamer," opines the five year old.

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This seems broadly acceptable to Durante, but he's going to do it in the direction of the five-year-old's father, and he's not going to do it until after he's chopped all the firewood.

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"And then, you should try to eat my sister, but I'll stop you, because I'm a monster tamer, and you're a monster, and then I will have saved her life and she will have to be my slave for one THOUSAND HUNDRED YEARS."

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"Slave? I don't understand that word."

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"That's because you're not very smart. And then we will go to the sea and go under the water and fight elementals! You can breathe underwater. Because you're a monster. And I can do it because I'm going to eat your monster spines." Now the five year old is trying to bite him on the leg.

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NO. Do not eat Durante's leg. Eating his leg is BAD. You will stop eating Durante's leg IMMEDIATELY (this is also the voice he uses on new recruits) because he is supposed to CHOP FIREWOOD. And then you can explain what an elemental is.

(Though, frankly, he has a guess.)

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"They can fly and they kill people till someone does magic to stop them," says the five year old. "My aunt died from an elemental."

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"Oh. I'm sorry to hear that."

Pause.

"Someone should do something about the elementals."

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"Yeah! Once they're caught they're useful. Liiiiiiike dogs! If you find a stray dog it bites but if you have a dog it'll let you pet it and stuff... I want a dog... we had a dog but it died... you should get me a dog, you should go chop more firewood till you can get a puppy from the smith's dog! I have good ideas. I want to sit on your shoulders and eat your monster spines."

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... Okay, it's not as if the elemental talked to him, but he still feels really uncomfortable about that idea as applied to anything human-shaped.

"I need to try to fix the world, so I can't spend all my time chopping you enough firewood for a puppy. I am sorry."

And the kid will NOT be allowed to sit on his shoulders if it will get him his spines eaten.

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"But I waaaaaaaant tooooooooo!"

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"You can sit on my shoulders if you want to, but you cannot also try to eat me. People don't do nice things for you if you bite them." This is an important life lesson that everyone needs to learn eventually.

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"I will eat your tail. I'll eat it all up." The kid mimes biting his imaginary tail.

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"Since I do not have a tail, you can eat my tail. If you try to eat anything I do have, I will object."

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"You don't have spines! You got mad when I ate your spines you don't have!"

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"That was because you bit my leg. I do have a leg, even if I have no spines."

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The kid resumes eating his imaginary tail.

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Then Durante will finish up the work, and then, as promised, put the child on his shoulders and RUN RUN RUN him back to his father going ROAR until he gets there, when he will explain as politely as he can with a five-year-old's vocabulary that the work is done.

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He will get food for his trouble (it's bread and chickpeas).

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Excellent!

Can he get some idea of where the big cities (if there are any) are from here, or what the local political situation is? He's sure they can tell, but he's from a very long way away.

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They go to Wuld for market day; they think there's bigger cities farther west, on the coast, but don't know exactly how to get there.

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Great! Do they know where Wuld is or how far away it is or what its government (if any) is like?

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