Dec 02, 2022 10:53 AM
gazette in survivorverse
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Ky is sitting for a new portrait; Iskander's gotten better at, not so much drawing, but at transferring drawings to woodcut, plus she's aged a little, and so her picture in the editorial is getting updated. He's only sketching her face, so she's fidgeting with some paper, practicing not looking down at what she's doing while she curls and uncurls it, folds and unfolds it.

And then they're somewhere else.

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Specifically, they both appear across a table from a young man with neat black hair and wearing plain dark clothes of an unnaturally simple sort, buttoned white shirt tucked into plain black pants, with an extremely small cavalry pistol in a cunningly-designed leather sheath at his belt, papers spread out on the table with writing in an unknown language and a map of nowhere she has ever seen. There's a curtain across the only window in the room, and the only light is coming from a glowing glass bulb above their heads, and a noise somewhere between a bell ringing and a bird chirping is presently coming from an unclear location. The young man was bent over the table, studying the writing, but is now looking at them both with an expression of shock on his face.

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"- pardon me, this was an accident, can you tell us where we are," says Ky, grabbing discreetly for Iskander's hand.

Ky is dressed in a linen dress thing, belted with a cord and pinned with fibulae; her brother's outfit isn't very different. She is also wearing a conical sun hat, woven sort of like straw but made out of strips of paper instead, in shades of blue and pale yellow.

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"[gibberish in a foreign language]," he says in an affable tone of voice!

There is not particularly a period in which he can be seen drawing the pistol, as opposed to it being in his holster and then in his hand, though some complicated motions were involved. It is not directly pointed at them. 

"[Completely different gibberish in a foreign language!]" he says, over his shoulder.

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...Ky takes her hat off and holds it in front of herself in a gesture that might just be polite. Iskander slightly shifts behind her.

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Well, the young man with the gun is not going to respond as long as Ky isn't holding it like a weapon.

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A young woman, about the man's age, wearing a neat knee-length black dress with short sleeves, enters, keeping her eyes locked on Ky's. 

There's also a pistol holstered at her belt, though she hasn't drawn it; instead she's carrying a small box of an unknown material with several glowing lights on it, like the glass thing above their heads but much smaller and less bright, which she places on the table without keeping her eyes off Ky's.

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Ky will continue to hold her paper hat to her chest and watch the proceedings.

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The man says something the woman, then  presses part of the surface of the device into the rest of it, then says something that - 

She can read his lips and he is clearly not speaking her language but when it reaches her, he's saying, "Can you understand me now?"

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"- yes, I can."

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"Excellent. My name is Sandor Balog, known in the popular press as the Titanium Tyrant. Do you know why you appeared in my apartment?"

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"No, I do not. Do you?"

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"Titanium?" whispers Iskander.

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"Given that you don't recognize my name, no. And the two of you?"

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"Kybele, known as the Curator or Gazette, and my brother Iskander."

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He nods, as if that confirmed a theory he had. "The language I speak is English, and we are in the United States of America." An offer, will she return it?

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"We're from Scythia and speak Scoloti."

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"Excuse me, Thei, would you be willing to ask Blitz for the world map?"

She turns to go.

"Thank you."

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The map arrives in extremely little time, and he spreads it out on the table. It's astonishingly detailed.

"Does this look right?" he says, pointing to a spot on it.

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"...this is by far the most elaborate map I have ever seen. It doesn't look right, but I don't know if that's because it's wrong or because the maps I have seen before are."

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"Fair enough."

In that case he'll roll it up. "In that case, I am sorry to tell you that either your society is completely out of contact with my society, you are now in another world, you are now at least two thousand years in the future, or one of us is seriously hallucinating. If you have heard of a 'Union of Soviet Socialist Republics' or 'Tsar' or 'Premier', the first is most likely; if you are from a highly urban, developed society, the second is most likely, and if my clothes and the amount of paper available to me as well as the map are surprising, the third should be considered probable, and of course we should all be taking the fourth much more seriously than we, in fact, are."

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"I am not familiar with those things. I would have told you I was from a highly urban developed society if you had somehow managed to ask about that without implying heights of developed urbanism the likes of which I have yet to imagine. Your clothes do look strange but I'm not sure how to distinguish foreign fom surprising - and I have that much paper, but I suppose most people don't."

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"If your people are not extremely nomadic, then I think this is mistranslating the word for your nation as the word for a nation from my world's history which no longer exists."

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"We live in a city. What is - 'this'. That is translating."

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"An - electronic, if this word translates - device I obtained from my former teacher." He quirks an eyebrow. "It translates. I have not the faintest idea how."

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