Jan 27, 2023 12:02 PM
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They've already done a tour on the border with Iral. They're going to Azan shortly. Feris and Valan are both hard to take by surprise. But teleporting a foot away? That'll do it. There's no time to figure out what the mirror is doing there, or move out of the way. There's barely enough time to scream, which Feris does, and then both of them alike are elsewhere.

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It's raining slightly on this broad stretch of sand. In one direction, there's an ocean, reasonably calm, though it's hard to say on such short acquaintance whether the tide is headed in or out at the moment. The only other notable landmark in sight is a small cluster of huts barely visible in the distance, along the curve of the shore.

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Feris is still screaming when they appear, but stops quickly.

"Did you, uh - what did you just experience?" he asks Valan.

"You were handing me half a broken arrow and then you were screaming and it looked like I could see us and now we're on a beach. You too?"

"Well, at least I'm not hallucinating. Shall we go see if there are people there?"

"Yeah." Valan starts walking toward the buildings and Feris follows.

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The village, on closer inspection, appears to be built where a small river lets out into the sea.

As they approach, a small child emerges from one of the nicer-looking huts and heads for the river, then changes direction when he spots strangers on the shore. Now trotting toward them, he calls out a friendly greeting in an unfamiliar language.

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Feris tries greeting the child in Sesati and less fluently in archaic Neza.

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The child shrugs uncomprehendingly at both of those, then turns and calls over his shoulder. A much older lady emerges from the same hut and leans on a walking stick as she regards the scene. They have a brief discussion in their foreign tongue; then the kid turns back to Feris and Valan and earnestly attempts to invite them in for dinner by mime.

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They confer briefly but they're both in favor of accepting the invitation. Probably they can convey this by going to the hut they've just been invited to.

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The small child is setting out two extra plates around a small table, and after another brief conference with Probably His Grandmother also dragging in an extra stool from a neighbouring hut so that all four of them will have somewhere to sit, and then serving grilled fish onto all the plates and chattering animatedly while Probably His Grandmother watches in mild amusement. There is enough grilled fish for everybody, and no explanation forthcoming for why they had so much.

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Ooh, fish. Is it recognizable as a specific kind they might recognize?

They try to seem polite insofar as they can do that exclusively through body language.

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It looks within the range of possible fish one might grill, but the species isn't familiar.

When the kid has settled down at the table and begun eating fish instead of peppering the strangers with incomprehensible questions, the Probably Grandma has a go at introducing herself: gesture to self, "Viasarae." Gesture to strangers...?

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They introduce themselves as Valan and Feris.

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The kid gives his name as Kioh and then goes on animatedly discussing unknown subjects in the local language.

Viasarae, meanwhile, studies the newcomers thoughtfully, and after dinner she sends Kioh to fetch a map of the continent. On it, she points out a river and traces a line with her finger that is not drawn on the map to describe an offshoot of that river, which she identifies with the river outside the hut. Then she makes a questioning noise and gestures between the strangers and the map, probably asking where they came from.

The continent depicted is not familiar.

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Valan looks at Feris on the theory that Feris might be able to figure it out. Feris looks at the map very carefully and does not figure it out, though he considers a couple of places that seem sort of similar.

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The map names cities and landmarks (in an unfamiliar alphabet) but doesn't draw any borders, and there's a very fancy city-mark floating off in the middle of the ocean for no obvious reason. Viasarae watches Feris study the map.

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He eventually shakes his head and spreads his hands.

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Viasarae nods thoughtfully.

Kioh hands her his empty cup. It fills with water. He takes it back and drinks from it. Neither of them seems to regard this interaction as especially interesting.

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Feris raises an eyebrow, watching the cup with the obviously deliberate calm of someone who doesn't want to let anyone get a rise out of them. Valan frowns and then makes a very bland expression.

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It takes a second before Viasarae catches on to their reactions, but then she looks from the strangers to the cup with a questioning expression, and after a moment refills her own cup to see if they'll continue to be weird about it.

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Feris is not really sure how to say much of use. He can point to the cup and raise his eyebrows, not that he expects that to help much.

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Viasarae takes this as a prompt for a vocabulary lesson: cup, water, empty, full.

Once those basics are established, though, she defines another category with more elaborate setup: when she fills an empty cup, or makes the water rise out of it and eddy through the air, or Kioh makes a sourceless flame dance above his palm, the thing they are doing is magic.

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They don't try to comment on whether this category is familiar to them. Feris repeats the words when Viasarae says them.

Valan says something to Feris in Sesati and then tries to prompt more vocabulary. How about the fire, the fish, the map...?

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The fire is a fire, the fish is a fish, the map is a map (and made of paper, and drawn in ink).

Viasarae is pretty content to play this game, and Kioh is also happy to contribute although his contributions are less reliable and it's often not clear exactly what he's referring to when he chips in with a word. Viasarae can sometimes manage to clarify, though, by such means as elaborately miming setting the table with many different plates each with a different hypothetical fish, which is a step on the road to explaining why Kioh insists that the contents of his plate aren't just fish, they're salmon.

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Types of fish are not that interesting but can they get a general way to say things belong to categories?

Valan tries to get more words about, not the map, but the thing it's a map of. This part here is water, right? What do they call the other parts?

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Category vocabulary is forthcoming after a bit of back-and-forth clarification. A salmon is a type of fish, a pebble is a type of rock, table and chairs are types of furniture, and yes, that part of the map is ocean which is made of water and is the same as the ocean outside, and that part is river which is made of water and is the same as the river outside, and these parts are land, and those parts are mountains which are a type of land that is tall and made of rock...

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Then perhaps they can convey that they came from a small mountain in Sesat.

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And Sesat, Viasarae inquires to confirm, is not anywhere on this map?

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