Rei'schu Ambassadorial Mission - Novelized Transcripts.

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Rei'schu Ambassadorial Mission - Novelized Transcripts.

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REI'SCHU FIRST NEGOTIATIONS VOLUME 1: "These are the Voyages..."
(Transcribed by Tiernan Quinlan, Novelized by Calum Traveler)

Our story starts in Eder Naybree, with the diplomats arriving, and awaiting for the arrival of the Linking Book to Rei'schu.

Jules Lavisham paced over the wooden bridge, visibly distracted and trying to get his nerves under control. Robert Murry soon arrived, carrying his maintainer suit and a backpack filled with some items to gift to the Rei'schu people.

Skyisblu sat on the long, waving bench, listening to the sound of the waterfall behind her. She rummaged through her rather large pack, pulling out a pocket knife and an apple. She cut it into chunks and offers a piece to Jules. "Jules, you're going to do some serious damage to that bridge with all your pacing, and I think Calum would prefer not having to repair it again! Come sit down - have a piece of apple. Hey, Robert, would you like one too?"

"Yes, please, Sky. Jules, I have something stronger if you need to calm some nerves," Robert Murry replied.

Skyisblu skewered a chunk of apple on the tip of the knife's slim blade, and extended it towards Murry.

"Thank you Sky. Mmm, it's very sweet with a hint of tartness." Robert watched Jules continue to pace about. "Jules, will you please sit down. We'll need our energy when we get there."

"No, you're absolutely right", sighed Jules. Deciding to give the boards a much-needed break, Jules took a seat and gratefully takes the apple slice provided by Sky with a nod of thanks. "Haven't felt this on edge since my old alma mater's model UN society back in my student days. Feels a bit more consequential now. For a number of reasons..."

"I've made first contact with a few tribes in my career," Robert mused. "Once discovered a lost Mayan tribe. It's never easy and always stressful. You don't know the cultural taboos and customs that you might stumble over. It's normal to be nervous. At least, initial contact with these people has been made, and they seem peaceful and at ease with us."

The singsong of birds could be heard despite none being seen. The wind blew quietly. The Sun inched overhead subtly, adjusting the shadows upon the wall of statues nearby, on the opposite end of the bridge. To those there, a sense of anticipation was brewing in the air... And alhough they do not move themselves, the change in lighting caused the statue with a lampshade hat seem to tip said hat slightly.

Robert remarked, "Do you ever get the feeling that those statues are looking right at us?"

Eresh Linked in, carrying a bag and an earthenware pot. "I hope the people of this world like lentils. It does strike me as the lind of place where a vegetble garden would do quite well."

"That's what I'm hoping for too, Eresh." Sky said. "I am looking forward to getting a real feel for the growing environment on this mission, so I can help them establish community gardens. I've been studying lots of gardening techniques that can be adapted to all sorts of climates. Plus, gardening is soooo relaxing."

"Yes!" Eresh noded, excited. "Legumes seem a good idea to include, since they fix nitrogen into the soil and fertilize the plants around them. And pulses are a good source of non-animal protein, since I am not sure hpw long it will take for them to get adequate supplies of chickens or eggs, or whether they will even like them."

Catchen, who arrived during the middle of this discussion, looks thoughtful at the idea of beans.

"Lentils, chickpeas..." Eresh mused,, "they're a great staple."

"All things we will hopefully find out! I am excited to talk food with them - learn their eating habits, their likes and dislikes." Sky stated, "Food is such a common factor across cultures and civilizations, it is hard not to get people to open up when you bring up the subject of food! And gardening, by association, is a close second."

"We can swap recipes." Catchen suggested.

"I can definitely concur," Eresh said. "I've worked for years in international groups, where we were separated by language, culture, background, and religion, and food always bridges the gap. Cooking together, even across a livestream, works great. I've brought a small ethanol burner and a set of little camping pans; it's not much, but we can cook something on it."

"I don't have any academic experience of this kind of thing, but..." Catchen looked sheepish for a moment. "I've had to carefully handle some People in some, uh, Situations."

"I have plenty of experience cooking in all sorts of situations - I also brought some good knives and basic seasonings, and a wealth of recipes which can be easily adapted..." Sky smiled at Catchen. "And good to know you know how to keep calm in tricky situations, Catchen. That is always a good thing to have in tense situations like we are about to enter."

Skyisblu skewered another piece of apple and extended it towards Catchen, "Apple slice?"

"It's not my first Mothman rodeo, you might say," Catchen happily accepted the apple slice. "Thanks!"

"My pleasure! If nothing else, I will always make sure the "troops" are fed," Sky declared happily.

"I'm interested to see what they make of my spices" said Jules, beckoning to his own stash of assorted goodies sitting nonchanatly by the gazebo on the other side of the bridge. "The prospect of restablishing something akin to the old Silk Road feels like something that the historians of old would look on with approval."

"The old silk road, not the...ahem," Catchen coughed. "...other one."

Jules looks over his glasses at Catchen. "There's more than one?"

"Uhh, its some 2000s illegal Internet crap." Catchen appeased Jules. "I wouldn't worry about it. Let's not bring these people Internet, eh? Or crimes."

"Let us keep the Internet far away from this society, it's more trouble that it's worth." Jules agreed. "I asked Ed what an NFT was once. I could actually feel my soul perish with each word he spoke." The sense of existential dread at those three specific letters would make any sensible person flinch.

Sky looked at the spice bag enviously. "Yup, these will make a fantastic curry! Hopefully they have something akin to squash there we can use! Oh...did I remember to pack some coconut milk?" She began to dig down into her backpack.

"I have grated coconut," Eresh offered.

"That works!" Sky accepted it.

A sudden thought occured to Jules, and he immediately darted across the bridge and busied himself amongst his own items. "Come on, come on, I can't have - ah!"

Eresh hands Sky a box of grated coconut, "I brought it for making sambhar, along with sambhar masala."

Jules uncovers a wrapped brown package with the stamped logo of Bird & Blend prominently displayed. "There. Whatever happens, we'll have the priestesses on side." He pats the package and replaces with the others, returning to the group.

"Tea, Jules?" skyisblu asked. "What types did you bring?"

Robert opened his pack. Inside are some crystals of various colors, some books, and a few bottles of a certain brown liquid that he had offered to Jules a little while ago.

"Oh snap!" Catchen exclaimed. "Guess what I also brought?"

Jules perked his attention up at the sight of the bottles.

"I'm hoping to trade them for a sample of those crystals to study and analyze." Robert explained, "I've brought some sapphire, ruby, rose quartz, and emerald samples. I also am giving them several books on Archeology, Geology, history, science and literature. The scotch is also a single malt from our family distillery, for relaxing while they read. If they don't want the scotch, then we'll have something to relax our nerves." Robert cocked an eyebrow at Jules.

"I kept with the Eton Mess, Sky, it was specifically requested." Jules explained. "But I also slipped in something herbal, thought they might go for some Deckchair Dreaming. Thought it might go down nicely with some of the musical choices we've provided."

Catchen grimaced, "Can you guess what's in the bag though?"

Jules gives Catchen's bag a going over, attempting to discern any distinguishing shapes that might offer up a clue.

"I hope no one brought any Heavy Metal or Viking Opera." Robert joked, "Their crystals would shatter, and that would be the end of our trip, not to mention us."

Jules mused, "I did consider some Wagner, but I figured they may need working up to that sort of thing. Holst offers a reasonably accessible entry-way into the classics, I feel."

Catchen opened the bag, and it's full of boxes and boxes of tea, of about 11 different kinds.

Jules eyes widened with unrestrained delight. "Yup, that should do the job nicely."

"Any coffee in there?" Robert asked.

"I think there's coffee?" Catchen shrugged. "It's, uh, it's instant, though. On the grounds of not having a coffee machine where we're going. Probably." She begins rummaging and locates the jar

"I brought Gwenael Kerleo's harp music, and some Bengali songs," Eresh remarked.

"No worries, Murry," Sky said, "I always travel with a moka pot. With the ethanol burner that Eresh packed, we'll be set for coffee, too." She then whispered under her breath, "...You can never trust the instant stuff."

The sun ticked overhead, and Kelsei linked in at the far end- a moment later, Calum joined her. Only Calum is clad in a Maintainer Suit, sans helmet. Kelsei has a large bag slung over one shoulder. Both approach the bridge at a sedate pace, carrying on a conversation from elsewhere.

With his voice drifting in as they approached, Calum sighed. "...onestly, I just wish we don't need to be so cautious about all of this. I'm worried about how radio silent everything's been. Books don't just get shoved between desks!"

"And sometimes they do," Kelsei rolled her eyes, and they crossed the bridge- not noticing everyone standing on the near side of it. "If those Most Wanted folks seriously thought they'd do anything by stealing your Pod 12 book, why wouldn't they make a name for themselves again? Returning the book and hiding it doesn't make sense. It's completely against their M.O." She smiled. "But it's better to be cautious than not. That's why I'm taking the book back to secure it once you all head through. I'll come by after I've locked it back up safe and sound where nobody will find it."

Calum looks annoyed, "I get I'm probably being paranoid again, but honestly, something feels off. If someone took the book to Pod 12 why put it back without doing anything?"

Kelsei gives Calum one of those looks. "Seriously, I think you're just reading too much into things here, Cal. You took a look around, I took a look around. Nothing's wrong in the age except the usual geothermal nonsense. Active Volcanoes do that anyways."

"Fine. I'll let it slide." Calum sighed, shook his head, and then looked across the bridge, realizing they'd walked past everyone so far. "Oh, looks like some people are here already. Shorah, everyone!"

Catchen waved, mid-stuffing everything back in her bag.
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Re: Rei'schu Ambassadorial Mission - Novelized Transcripts.

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"Ah, hello hello you two!" waved Jules. "We're just doing a stock take of our assorted offerings. I think between what everyone's brought, there's going to be something that hits someone's tastes, literal or otherwise."

"Hello everyone," Kelsei gave a wave and headed back over the bridge- pausing slightly over the one loose plank this time. "Sounds like a good plan. Has everyone shown up yet, or is it just you all so far?"

Behind her, Calum grumbled something about tree climbers and made no attempt to fix the loose plank as he passed it by, though he did check to make sure the rest of it was holding fine along the way.

"Just us so far, I think. I did check in with Ed, he's been in Whitby the last couple of days, the Uni's sent him off to track down a first edition Elias Bodenheimer that's been causing a bit of a stir in the usual circles." Jules checked his KI, his brow furrowing. "He does have his Relto with him, but knowing how these trips of his goes there's usually SOME manner of jackassery that ends up waylaying him. He did say not to let things hold up on his account if he can't get away."

Kelsei nodded, "Well, hopefully he can make it. It'd be a shame if-" She paused as Calum whacked at one of the metal spikes holding the rope bridge to the stone pillar with the side of his Maintainer Suit helmet. The metal on metal noise rung out like a bell. "Calum Would You Kindly! Not?!"

"Sorry- louder than I thought it'd be." Calum replied.

"Well, hopefully Ed can make it, and it'd be a shame if he didn't," Kelsei continued.

Carl Palmner linked in wearing a Maintainer suit minus the helmet. He takes one sour look at the group, and frowned. "Everyone needs to be suited up and ready for anything." He looked over at Calum. "I still think this is a bad idea. You and I both know that Age is not safe. Bringing a bunch of random volunteers along...I don't like this. We should have soldiers or hunters or something."

Calum snorted. "I think the locals have that angle covered Carl. Worst comes to it, I think Runa'mei will probably drop in like the Dark-Souls Protag she is."

Carl just grunts in response..

Calum shruged, and Kelsei sighed, muttering, "Boys."

"Carl, trust me... I can handle myself." With that said, Robert Murry headed to use the bedroom cave to suit up.

Sky waved emphatically at Kelsei, and Kelsei waved back.

"Don't worry about us, Kelsei - I've got my kitchen knives. But yes, you might be right about suiting up before heading in, Carl." Sky paused. "...Mind you, is it really necessary? I mean, it does look a little scary, the bunch of us waltzing in on a diplomatic mission, in the equivalent of army uniforms. And big metal ones at that."

"They're aware of what the suits are for," Kelsei said, and then side eyed Calum, who tried, and failed to whistle innocently. "None of us want a repeat of Calum's first visit at this stage."

Sky noded, "True. How are you feeling after that, Calum? Any lingering effects?"

"The cold? No." Calum shook his head, and briefly took off his glasses- revealing shocklingly violet colored eyes beneath the darkened lenses. "The Crystals?" He rolled his eyes. "Let's just say they left their mark." he put the glasses back on.

"Ooh - that's a new look! Umm...any side effects? Ability to see sounds or something, maybe?" Sky asked, trying to peer under Calum's glasses

"As far as I know, nothing new like that, just a visual artifact of a bad connection being severed," Calum answered. "Apparently my eyes were glowing different colors with the connection shifting for a while there while I was sleep walking."

"And thus, they stopped on purple when the connection was cut?" Kelsei joked. "Lucky you."

"Holy Hungus," whistled Jules. "You're looking a regular Titus Groan there and no mistake, Cal."

Calum looked confused. "Titus who now?"

"Oh yeah!" Sky exclaimed as she remembered, "That night I ended up helping you to find a lost cat, your eyes were glowing orange - I just thought it was a reflection of the light in the cavern." A smile. "I prefer the purple, too."

Jules smiled. "Remind me to bring you my leather-bound Gormenghast collection down with me next time. Quintessential work of British gothic literature. Cracking BBC adaptation as well."

Calum seemed surprised, "Orange huh?" Then, he glanced at Jules. "Gormet what now?"

Kelsei facepalmed.

Robert returned, wearing his maintainer suit and carrying his hat. He puts it in his pack. "I'm ready. Ladies, the cave is available for changing."

"I'll be holding back to secure the book back where it belongs, and changing then," Kelsei said. "So I'll pass for the moment."

"This here?" Catchen picked up some disassembled bits of a maintainer suit.

"Yup!" Sky responded, dragging her own suit behind her like a dead body, "Come on - the cave is over this way." She made her way to the back of the age.

Eresh looked askance at the bridge planks, then follows to the back of the age. Catchen followed them with an armful of suit bits.

Robert sat down and adjusted something inside his helmet. Jules's jitters were starting to affect him as well. This was normal for Robert at the beginning of an adventure. He knew to be cautious, but also to be very alert and observant of any new culture he encountered. This had saved his life on more than one occasion.

Doctor Tiernan "Tenny" Quinlan linked in, with his maintainer suit and what looks like a military medic's backpack. He held his helmet under one arm, squinting against the light for a moment. "Ach! Hullo all! I'm not late, am I?"

"Not at all, Doc," Calum quiped.

Tenny set down his backpack beside one of the benches and sits down to check through his equipment. "So, I've got stuff here t'treat a number of thin's," he explained, "as well as some medicines an' so forth f' th' natives in case they need it. I can teach them how to make these if they need as well. Is there anyone on th' team here with medical or first aid trainin'?"

"Well met, Doc", waved Jules. "All ready to have a stab at this Diplomacy business?" He frowned. "Been a while since my St John's Ambulance. Could probably do with a refresher on the basics. Especially if one of those Big Beasties presents their credentials."

"I've had Wilderness First Aid training. It's come in handy on more then one occasion." Robert rubbed at a scar on his right arm and smiles, remembering that time in the Amazon jungle.

"Excellent, excellent!" Tenny said. "I was thinkin' at least one of you folks had some trainin'... we might end up needin' some medics at some point. Hopefully not, but it doesn't hurt t' be prepared."

"Tenny, you're starting to sound like my old scoutmaster." Robert cracked a smile. " Heh. However, no offense, I hope we don't need your services, if you catch my meaning."

Catchen returned from the cave, in maintainer suit sans helmet. "Did someone say first aid?"

Tenny chuckled and grins. "Aye, same here, Robert! Same here! Hopefully I'll jus' be an observer."

"Yes Catchen," Robert explained. " The doctor was wondering who has had medical or First Aid training. Have you had any?"

Catchen nodded, "Some training, and some...personal experience I wasn't strictly trained for."

"Well any help is appreciated." Tenny said.

"Eh, festivals. They teach you things sometimes." Catchen said, which explained everything about the previous remark while explaining nothing at all in the way a good explanation always did.

Sky returned from the cave, walking a little more stiffly, getting used to the maintainer's suit, remarking, "I'm pretty good at bandaging up fingers, if it's any help."

Tiernan grinned and gave a thumbs-up to Catchen and Sky.

Calum checked the time on his KI, and surveys the group. "I think we've got about everyone? Is there anyone straggling behind who hasnt made it yet?"

"If need be, I could stay behind for a few minutes to wait for anyone who's late?" Kelsei offered, adjusting her book bag. "If you want to go ahead, that is."

"Eresh should be right behind me," Sky said.

Calum nodded, then to Kelsei, he said, "I think I'll go ahead and see if our welcoming party is waiting, if that's alright? Everyone can follow through at their leisure."

"Alright." Kelsei dug into her bag, and retrieved a linking book. It looked utterly plain and nondescript on the cover, save for an embossing on the cover, depicting a female figure with arms and wings outstretched.

She opened the book to the panel, and Calum, after doning his helmet, linked through.

"All sorted here" said Jules, giving his helmet sitting beside him a reaasuring tap. "Shall we bring our assorted gatherings with us when we come through?"

Kelsei noded, "I think that would be best, yes." She placed the Linking Book down on a vine covered bench and sat next to it. Examining the Linking Panel of the open book, the team could see a sort of temple like building carved into the side of a cliff. There's not much else to be seen at the present moment due to the fixed angle of the panel itself, but it gave some indication of the destintaion.

Tenny pulled on his helmet and chuckles behind it, sounding canned, tinny... "Ach, I sound funny in this thin'..."

"Right! In which case I'll start assembling." Jules moveed towards the assembled items and starts collecting his own into a couple of study woven bags, performing a quick inventory as he does so.

Tenny busied himself with shrugging into his backpack as everyone else gets ready to Link.

Sky swung her oversized pack up from its resting place on the bench and shrugs it onto her shoulders, "Ready when you are!"

"Right, all present and accounted for. Ready to do this thing." Jules declared.

Robert stood up and put on his backpack. Then he attached his helmet onto his maintainer suit and locked it on. "I'm all set and ready. Sky, are you having trouble with your suit?"

"I'm just not used to feeling so restricted in my movements. I'll get used to it. " Sky said, bending her knees and flexing her elbows, as if to loosen them.

"Did any of you ever play the Wall Game?" Catchen asked.

"Once. And my opponent was nice enough to let me win." Sky answered.

Robert tried to wiggle in his suit, but fails to get comfortable. "These things are definitely not unisex."

Catchen stifled a loud FNAR. Sky laughed out loud.

"Perhaps trying it with the hat left on, Rob..." Jules remarked.

"That's not the area that doesn't fit, Jules!" Robert countered.

Tenny looked over at the group. "I can help anyone if they need't."

Sky said, "I think the only thing that might help is a hammer, Doctor, to loosen some of the more - umm - tight-fitting parts!"

Tenny observed, "Heh, well, th' D'ni were thinner an' taller than modern humans, so it's not perfect by any means. It takes some gettin' used t', definitely."

"Well aware," said Jules, grinning like a good'un. "Was more the general style of the thing. Also, we should have SOME way of telling each other apart." He paused. "Ah, unfortunately I left my anvil in my other coat."

"Oh, I think I have some colored headbands..." Kelsei dug in her bag for a moment.

"Alright," Robert laughed, "Haha. Let's go."

"Ahha! here you are, Jules!" Kelsei retrieved a group of various colored elastic headbands, hairbands, and hair scrunchies.

"Ah, perfect. That's using the noodle." Jules approved.

Tenny chuckled and walked over to Kelsei to help distribute the colored bands.

"I do request that I get them back at the end of this, though," Kelsei winked.

Robert nodded, "Good thinking Kelsei. Maybe next time we can sew on nametags."

"Maybe next time, yes," Kelsei giggled.

Sky promised, "I'll make sure you get them back, Kelsei - I know exactly what a girl's hair elastics mean to her."

Kelsei smiled, "Thank you, Sky."

Sky tried to shove her own messy bun into the suit's helmet, with little success.

"Ach, Sky, lass, let me help y'..." Tenny moved over to Sky to attempt to help her wrangle her hair into the Maintainer helmet.

With much struggling and shoving of lose strands, the helmet finally falls into place - sort of.

"Oof. Thanks, Doctor, " Sku said with a smile.

Tenny chuckled and pats her on the back, gently. "Never a problem!"

Everyone did their final adjustments and checks of their gear and suits. Then, they looked expectantly towards Kelsei.

"Book's open," she smiled, and motioned towards the Linking Book.
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Re: Rei'schu Ambassadorial Mission - Novelized Transcripts.

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Upon Linking through the book, the team arrived in a large stone temple room. The massive chamber is lit by large crystaline lamps held to the walls by metal and stone frames. The metalwork depicts the same female figure upstretching her arms and wings.

It's clear that the room has been cleared out of anything that used to be in it that wasn't bolted down by its own weight, and is in the middle of being repurposed to some degree. A wooden crate lay in one corner, carrying large banners that are to be, some day, hung from the walls. Two large stone slabs lay in an alcove in the back, with piles of bedding thrown on them, on either side of a large stone relief of the cat-eared woman whose form is depicted in Naybree.

There is a single stone doorway, leading outside via a stone ramp. Were one not wearing the maintainer suit, the air would feel cool, yet humid. Outside, one can hear the vague noises of animal life, as well as two people chatting.

Robert looked around incredulously at the room. "Jules, have you ever seen anything like this in your life?"

Tiernan looked around the area for a place to set up. Finding an empty corner, he moved quickly over there and knelt down on the floor, clearing the linking-in area for the others.

Sky linked in and audibly gasps at the space. She walks around the room, looking up into rafters, at the crystalline lamps overhead... "WOW!"

"My feelings exactly, Sky," Robert said.

"Calum, is this the Cathedral? Because it certainly feels like it." Sky asked.

"It definitely ought to be if it's not," Tenny says, looking around.

"Calum?" Sky spun around a little too fast, making herself dizzy. "Cal - oh! Where'd he go?"

Robert steadied Sky. "Easy there."

"It's some remarkable masonry. Definitely constructed with the intention of impressing, and succeeding..." Gazing up at the walls, Jules was taken back to his younger days of staring longingly at the Mayan temples in the archaelogical periodicals he used to find in his old school library. "I wonder how old the stonework is... built to last, certainly."

"Nobody touch the crystals." Robert said. "Even with these suits on, we don't know the effects it would have on us."

"Agreed," Jules nodded. "They did enough of a number on Cal to know our physiology has something of a reaction. At the very least I'd rather not play colour roulette with my pupils."

Robert Murry quipped, "Yeah, I like my blues eyes."

Tenny chuckled, "I could stand t' have normal colour eyes m'self though. One gets a bit tired of people starin' at me eyes and askin' me if they're 'real'."

Catchen suddenly became a bit self conscious and worried she'd been staring. Seeing that, Tenny just chuckled again, reassuringly.

"The metalwork on the lamps and walls is very detailed and ornate," Robert observed. "I've never seen this detail in ancient temples."

Outside, there is laughter- and in response, one can hear a wary toned, yet somewhat astonished Calum remark, "Surely it wasn't THAT easy for something that big!"

The reply from the other conversationalist, a female voice, replied with a laugh, "I do not joke. It seriously leaped without checking the distance first. Ran headlong into the wall and sliped down the side- no matter how much its legs skittered for traction! The thing trapped itself in the river ravine! But it gets better!"

"Dare I ask how it gets better than a giant crab trapping itself in a ravine?"

"Almost as soon as it hit the bottom, the thing was eaten by a fish even larger than it was! Burst forth from the water and swallowed it whole!"

"...What."

"AND THEN! Then! The most absurd thing ever!" A burst of unrestrained laughter. "A massive slaughter crane- largest I've ever seen- swooped in and GRABBED the damned fish mid meal MID AIR!"

"You have to be joking!"

"I am Not! I swear with Chezahcen as my witness, it happened! Exactly like that, in a matter of moments between each happening!"

"There's always a bigger fish", Jules murmured to himself. He noted the term slaughter crane and filed it away for future contemplation.

Tenny tilted his head towards the conversation. "Sounds like Cal has made contact with a friend at any rate."

Robert went for his bag to retrieve something and stopped himself. 'Better not. Don't want the natives to get aggressive,' he thought. He returned to studying the crystals and the glyphs on the walls.

Skyisblu, oblivious to the entire conversation, was now sitting on the floor in a corner of the great hall, notebook in hand, sketching the large crystalline lamps overhead.

Carl swung his gaze around the group, counting the members, then stepped out of the temple and looked around warily, ears tuned to even the slightest sound.

The Outside area was a large island like protrusion, budding off the side of a large, C shaped cliff. The upper cliff was lined with trees and crystals, and the water churned below. In the distance, several large, forested mountains can be seen, and two piercing green moons that look like cats' eyes gleamed down from overhead.

Standing near the base of the ramp is Calum, clad in his maintainer suit, though once again sans helmet for the purposes of face palming. And a woman in leathers, armed with a large spear on her back. She looks to have tanned skin, and blue eyes- though her hair color is impossible to tell for certain as it seems to have been dyed with a white chalky substance to bind it into locks.

"Oh?" The woman looked over towards her left, at Carl. "It seems your friends have arrived."

"Oh, hey," Calum checked his KI at a glance. "Carl! Glad you could make it over so quickly." He motioned towards the woman. "Runa'mei, this is Carl Palmner. Carl, this is Runa'mei, Athsheba's granddaughter."

Carl said nothing, seemingly caught in awe, gazing up at the moons above.

"It's nice to meet you," Runa'mei said after seeing that Carl seemed a bit stunned into silence. "...Quiet one, isn't he?"

"Sometimes, yeah," Calum shrugged. "I'm guessing the others are inside already, we should go make introductions."

Inside, Tiernan was considering the cathedral area thoughtfully, looking around. "Should I set up here, or perhaps somewhere else?"

"This is just the arrival zone," Calum announced as he walked inside, rejoining the group. "Something of an initial quarantine area of sorts?"

Tenny noded inside his helmet. "Tha's what I was thinkin', a bit of a triage."

"Yes, the Priestesses have set people into the process of setting up a place for your people to visit safely," Runa'mei said, following Calum inside. "We wanted you to see it, apparently." She sounds as if she was not consulted in this decision until a later moment.

"Tenny, Runa'mei, Runa'mei, Tiernan Quinlan, or Tenny," Calum made the quick introduction.

"Heh! Hullo there, young lady!" Tenny said. "I'm smilin' at y'!" He waved.

"A pleasure," Runa'mei smiled back. "But yes, we're expecting to ferry you over to the actual negotiations area once the Priestesses arrive with the Linking... Book? Stone? I'm not sure which it will be." She looks confused for a moment. "Your 'english' language is confusing." She remarks to Calum, who chuckles in amusement.

"To us as well," he said.

"This place is meant to be, as I understand it, an arrival point where your people can survey the age without having to wear the helmets and suits," Runa'mei continues on. "It's very much in progress though, as you can see." She looked around. "I can't fathom why Chezahcen donated one of her temples for this cause, though. Sure, this one was unused due to it drifting away from the mainland, but even so..."

"Probably the spectacle of it," Calum remarked, motioning towards those who were enraptured with the decorative designs of the place.

"Doc, is it safe to remove our helmets?" Robert asked, eying Calum lack of headgear. "You know that Kelsei told us to keep an eye on you."

"I'm probably safer than most of you, due to recent exposures," Calum remarked. "I'd keep them on for the time being." He fumbled and put his helmet back on. "That said, I ought to be wearing it when we leave."

"I can run some quick tests, jus' a moment," Tenny said, opening his backpack and busying himself with his equipment.

"Hello Runa'mei. I'm Robert Murry."

"Nice to meet you," she smiled.

Robert nodded, "I read about your hunting adventure with Calum in his journal. I'm very impressed with your prowness and hunting skills."

"Oh? That?" Runa'mei looked slightly... embarassed isn't quite the right word, but perhaps resigned? "It's nothing special. It was practically a very average fight compared to some of my 'adventures.'" She clutched briefly at a crystal hanging off of a necklace. "I believe the phrase is 'It was tuesday'?" she glanced at Calum, who shrugged.

"I can't remember what day of the week it was at all, but yeah, that's the usual reference." Calum said.

Tenny set up a few things and pulls out a monitor, checking it and looking around. "Yes, we can take our maintainer's suits off in this area, it reads just fine, folks." Tenny pulled off his helmet and flashesd Runa'mei a bright smile. "Ah! There we go! Now I can give y' a right proper grin."

Robert unsealed his helmet and removes it. "Whew! That's better. I prefer making eye contact when talking." He winked at Runa'mei.

Calum sighed, and pulled his helmet back off. "Why did I even bother with this thing again?"

Runa'mei just ignored his remarks, smiled at Tenny, and then chuckled briefly at Robert. "Eye contact can be a valuable thing for sure."

Catchen followed suit and removes her helmet- or attempts to. It seemed to stick and she fumbled with the latches.

"It's a pleasure to meet you all," Runa'mei said. "I'm quite interested in hearing about your time in D'ni. It's a bit of a fascination to me."

"Whelp, when in Rome," said Jules, and removes his owm helmet. He savours the cool air of the temple on his face.

Robert went to his pack and started to pull something out of it. He noticed mid act that Runa'mei is eying him suspiciously and clutching the handle of her knife at her side. "Easy there, Miss. I'm just getting my favorite hat out." Robert pulled his hat out and put it on his head. "Never miss an adventure without it."

Eresh put down her bag and respectfully nodded to Runa'mei. "It's an honour to meet you! How should I address you?"

Runa'mei looked away from Robert towards Ereshkigal, and answers, "My official title is Chezwyrd Chen. Chezahcen's Hunting Champion in your language." But she gives an awkward smile, and says, "But I'm just fine with 'Runa'mei', it is my name, after all."

"That works! Pleasure to meet you, Runa'mei. Jules Lavisham," Jules introduced himself. "Tenny and I were here last time when our Cal was holed up with the lurgi."

Tenny chuckled. "Aye, that is true!"

"It's good to know you're atleast somewhat familiar with things here," Runa'mei said. "Means I can rest a bit easier, in some regards." She eyed Jules, and then said, "I hope you brought more of that Tea."

"The younger priestesses are apparently very much wanting more of it," Calum remarked, bemused, not much of a tea person but still understanding the draw for some folks.

Jules patted the side of one of his bags. "By popular request! Catchen and I have also bought a few more varieties with us too, so they should be well catered for."

"Lovely," Runa'mei smiled warmly, and in relief. "Maybe the next time I drop by my home village I won't have to deal with my local priestesses badgering me about when we'll be getting more."

Tenny chuckled softly, and Jules laughed, saying, "There's a reason my own lot have adopted it as their national beverage. Its the sort of thing that's relevant in any situation, for entirely different reasons." Feeling the ice has starting to break, Jules starts to feel himself relax a bit.

"It's an honour, Runa'mei." Eresh said, "And I can recommend Jules' tea; we have entire cultures on our world who love it!"

"Judging by the Priestess' reactions, I can see why," Runa'mei said, smiling.

Eresh offered, "We usually have this with some small snacks. I've brought some biscuits with cuminseed, a spice from our world. Would you like to try?"

Robert quietly muttered "Thank Chezachen that Skyisblu brought some coffee for the mornings around here."

"I appreciate the offer, but not right now, I'm... 'on the job' as your people would say?" Runa'mei glanced at Calum, who noded at a correct phrasing. "Yes, I'm on the job at the moment. I'm mostly just keeping an eye out for any wildlife that might seem fit to intervene." She continued, "But to fight some beasts off requires a clear mind and a settled stomach. I only have a few foods I eat while working. What I've found I can stomach if things get messy."

Robert looked longingly at his bag again and shook his head.

"Messy, right," Calum looked to be lost in a rather unsettling memory for a moment.

Robert asked, "Runa'mei, are we in any kind of danger here?"

"Not on this island, no," Runa'mei answered. "The most you'll see are some medium sized... crabs I believe you'd call them? In the waters below."

"By medium, you would say...?" Jules held out his hands and gestured a hypothetical size with his palms.

Runa'mei glanced to Calum and asked, "How big would you say the haul-rats are?"

"Man-sized," Calum answered.

"A single one of the haul-rats would be the equivalent to small crab," Runa'mei clarified. "Medium is... hrm... about the size of four next to eachother? Perhaps a bit bigger?"

"Car sized," Calum clarified.

"They stay in the waters," Runa'mei said. "They aren't good climbers by any stretch of the imagination. That said, I'd avoid swimming."

Eresh looked startled. "On our world, we have large things, too. But they tend to live in the water, as the gravity gets too much for them on land. I wonder how the creatures here stayed so large?"

"I mean, giraffes and elephants are a thing," Calum shrugged.

Robert steadied Jules, "Easy there, old boy. Just when I thought you were feeling at ease with this place."

"Hmm? Not a bit of it", said Jules, hurriedly putting his hands down. "Merely regretting not bringing any tartare sauce with me." ('Or something sharper from the collection,' he added privately to himself.)

With a gasp, Catchen had finally gotten the helmet off. "Sorry, did somebody request tea?"

"They are very tasty, when served right," Runa'mei said in response to Jules remark.

"I'd love to learn how to cook them, if they don't eat us, that is... How aggressive are these crabs?" Eresh asked.

"The medium ones are content to swim as long as you don't harass them," Runa'mei answered. "That said, the small and large ones tend to be... more aggressive."

"How aggressive are we talking about?" Robert asked.

"The small ones would be like a tiny dog barking at you, i'd expect," Calum mused.

Runa'mei noded. "More show than bite, the small ones." She paused. "Ah, but the large ones..."

And then she started to laugh

Calum rolled his eyes. "You might as well tell them what you were telling me earlier."

Barely restraining her laughter, Runa'mei grinned, and said, "Let me tell you about my latest hunt."

Tenny looked around, thinking a moment. He then decided to remove the rest of his maintainer's suit.
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Re: Rei'schu Ambassadorial Mission - Novelized Transcripts.

Post by Traveler263 »

Runa'mei settled the group down in a circle- sans Carl who was still gazing at the sky above outside in a rather concerning BSOD state- and tookout a small green crystal from her bag. She placed it on the floor, and hum,ed briefly. In response, the crystal suddenly shape shifted into a terrain map. One could see a large ravine, next to a village.

Collecting a few items from his backpack, Tenny headed for the entrance. "I hope y'don't mind if I set up a weather station outside here a moment--" He pauses as the crystal projects the map and tilts his head with interest.

"This is..." Runa'mei considered for a moment. "Oh, it was either Sara'nen Village or Nara'sen Village." She considered a moment longer, then moved on, "Anyways, it's a costal town of sorts. They get harassed by the large crabs who take offense at the harvesting of their smaller bretheren."

She hummed again, and a large crab shape morphed out of the crystal near the town. It looked comically posed, with its pincer claws held in the air.

"This one, the locals called 'Rage Claw', who seemed less interested in avenging his fellow crabs, and more about trying to make a show of things."

With another hum, the whole crystal mess reshaped to show just the crab- now much larger in scale- with a very small humanoid figure for scale. Jules watched on in fascination, transfixed by the display before him, much as the others were.

"Needless to say, 'Rage Claw' was not very smart." Another hum, and the scene shifted- the humanoid figure now held a spear, and was jabbing it at the crab, who was flinching away in surprise.

"Apparently, he did not expect resistance to ever come his way. Did not know what to do when someone, or something, stood up against him." Runa'mei hummed again, and the scene shifted back to the ravine... The Crab was fleeing from the spear wielding figure, heading for it.

"So, he ran. And Rage Claw, as I said, was not very smart. He thought to jump the ravine and lose me in the act." And then she burst into laughter again.

With a series of rapid shifts that followed, the scene shows the crab launching off one edge of the cliff... and smashing headlong into the other side of the ravine, several feet lower than the top of the cliff.

"He miscalculated, and fell down the side of the ravine, right to the bottom!"

The crab scuttled, trying to climb back up the cliff, before falling, and landing at the bottom. The image shifts soon after, showing water splashing up as the crab hits the bottom of the ravine.

"And then comes the most brilliant part," Runa'mei giggled.

She hummed once more, and the scene shifts to show a very large shark like creature bursting forth from the water, grabbing the crab in its jaws.

"But that's not all!" Runa'mei managed to get out between fits of laughter.

With a concerted effort to get out one final hum, the scene shifts to show a massive, crane-like bird having swooped out of the sky, and grabbed the shark-fish mid leap.

"The largest slaughter-crane I've ever seen grabbed it and took off with it!" Runa'mei then colapsed to the ground, laughing.

Tenny blinked and stared on. Catchen had completely forgotten about tea, transfixed by the crab story.

Unable to maintain its shape, the crystal display suddenly shrunk back into a compact crystal with a snap, and rocked back and forth along the ground from the momentum.

Robert stared in awe of the projections. "Amazing! The crystals don't just store images; they also can project them." He looked at Runa'mei questionly. "Or are they storing memories?"

With Runa'mei laughing over the story still, Calum answered Robert's question. "Depending on the type, the crystals are something of a strange mashup of Rime Crystals and Serenian Memory Globes, or Rime Crystals and Tay Crystals." Calum dug around in his own bag, and pulled out a small blue stone. "Some of them are very receptive to just taking on an image if you think of it and push it at it."

With a concentrated look, and an attempt at a humming note, the crystal in Calum's hand shifted into the shape of a cat. It doesn't hold the shape for long before resetting.

"It takes practice to get it right, though," Calum concluded.

"Brilliant!" Tenny said.

Runa'mei's laughing fit was contagious, it seemed, as Robert started chuckling as well.

"They're pretty handy things," Calum said. "They have classes where they teach the children here how to manipulate the shifting stones, among other classes with actually shaping things by hand."

Robert requested, "I would certain like to attend such a class if I may be allowed. Jules, did you see the size of that bird? Jules?"

"Astounding. Absolutely astounding." Jules said, in awe.

"I was able to take a few classes while I was staying here, so that should be fine," Calum said. "But we'll see what the Priestesses say."

"These crystals are beautiful!" Eresh said. "I wonder how they respond to different music; would they take on different accents or cultures depending on what is sung to them?"

"Ah, I bet those kids from ASU would love t'see these crystals," Tenny said. "They love things like tha'."

Runa'mei finally started to get her laughter under control, sniffling back laughter tears as she manages to set back up.

"Different crystals respond to different harmonics," Runa'mei managed to get out between a few lingering chuckles.

"The applications for both teaching and storytelling... incredible." Jules shook his head. "Certainly beats my faculty's old overhead projector. Blows Powerpoint out of the water especially."

"That's amazing." Catchen agreed.

Tenny laughed and grinned at Jules, nodding.

"That's beautiful." Eresh asked, "Do the crystals themselves also sing? Do they have minds of their own?"

"It depends on the crystals," Runa'mei answered.

"Are they alive?" Eresh asked.

"Some are sentient, some are waiting to be, and some never will be," Calum quoted.

"These little shifting ones?" Runa'mei picked up her example crystal. "Alas, they're not sentient. They take on images and hold them, but they'll never take on life that isn't given to them."

"Can you communicate with the sentient ones, Runa'mei?" Eresh asked. "What wisdom such a crystal might hold..."

Runa'mei smiled wistfully, "Some hold onto the memories of our ancestors. And yes, we do communicate with them."

"Like the Serenia ones, which hold memories," Eresh realized.

"Yeah," Calum nodded. "From what I've gathered there's a major Serenia-like vibe with the afterlife system here."

"Like 'Soul Stones'?" Robert asked.

"So you'd say they exhibit emotions?" Jules asked.

"Oh, yes, as many as the lives before them held," Runa'mei nodded. "Though, the process of imprinting oneself into a crystal is a long one. It's not an immediate thing."

"Do people keep their own crystals to imprint upon?" Eresh asked.

"Some do, yes," Runa'mei nodded. "The Priestesses tend to be the ones who do so as a requirement of their job, but others who are experts in their fields often pick up a crystal to save their experiences to."

Tenny took a few notes on his tablet before tucking it back into a smaller case he'd taken out of his backpack. "That is a process I'd definitely like to learn more about."

"This sounds like a wonderful system for keeping knowledge alive. Do you use the written word as well? Or do you no longer need it?" Eresh asked.

"We use the D'ni font for our written language," Runa'mei said. "Though, only the Miners Guild speaks it as a given course."

"Is the stone you're wearing... are you imprinting upon it?" Robert asked, eyeing Runa'mei's necklace.

"This stone? No," Runa'mei held up the stone around her neck. "This was a gift from the Priestesses. It's a translation stone. I'm using it so I can speak your language."

"Why the D'ni system? Does it work well for your language?" Eresh asked.

"As for D'ni..." Runa'mei paused. "That's a question best left to the Priestesses."

Robert gasped, "Incredible! It works like a Universal Translator."

"Does it work telepathically?" Eresh asked. "If it can connect with minds..."

"Something of a sort, yes," Runa'mei nodded. "It's connected to my mind in a stable method. It provides the language you all speak as something of a filter I can choose to parse my thoughts through."

Eresh mused, "It works even for me, and I speak the language of the others here as a second language."

"Well, it's adjusting what I say, rather than adjusting what you hear," Runa'mei clarified. "If I choose to, I can turn off the filter..." and then Runa'mei speaks an example sentence that is clearly neither D'ni nor English. She grinned, and then resumed speaking in English, "It's a handy cheat in that I don't need to take years to learn the language manually."

"Beautiful sounding language! The melodious sound of the sentence reminds Eresh of Finnish." Eresh praised.

"Thank you," Runa'mei smiled.

"Nifty little innovation, that" said Jules, whose dreams were still haunted on occasion by the relentless pursuit of the Duolingo owl.

"You'll note it doesn't directly translate names," Calum pointed out.

"Nor should it." Eresh said. "Names are best left in their source language."

"Indeed," Runa'mei said. "For example, my name means 'Moon Sight', but that sounds far more awkward when said aloud than 'Runa'mei' does."

"How does it fare with idioms? Do they translate literally?" Jules asked.

"It's a beautiful name if I may be so bold." Robert said.

"They don't translate over too directly, and I have to check what they mean to make sure I'm using them right," Runa'mei said to Jules, then to Robert, "Thank you."

Eresh said, "It would be worse with Sanskrit names... sound beautiful in Sanskrit, but translate to things like "Summary", or "King of the Snakes". Better leave names as they are."

Runa'mei blinked. "King of the Snakes? What an odd title."

"It's a title of a god in one of the cultures on our world," Eresh answered.

"Ah," Runa'mei nodded in understanding.

"Many people there have religious names like that one." Eresh said.

Robert remembered a certain Mayan priestess whose name he misinterpreted. Escaped from certain execution that time...

"Aye, that is the case," Tiernan said. "My culture has many names tha' are religious in nature. Mine isn't, though." He chuckled softly again. "I, uh, my name means 'little king'. Well my full name does."

Calum quipped, "The less said about my birth name the better."

"I'm glad you're here to help us with interpretations, Runa'mei." Robert said. "We wouldn't want to cause a bad situation."

"I believe most everyone will be using the necklaces..." Runa'mei paused. "Except for maybe the town leader for Sara'fund. He's a bit stubborn about using the crystals as a crutch."

"Sara...fund?" Calum echoed, raising an eyebrow. "...What's Sara mean?"

Runa'mei blushedfaintly. "Do you really want me to answer that?"

"Well, I know what the 'fund' part means," Calum said.

She sighed. "Sand. It's sand."

"'Sand Over'?" Calum blinked. "Over Sand?"

"Don't tell me they built a town directly on a beach," Calum grimaced.

"They did!" Runa'mei sighed.

Eresh grimaced. "With those giant crabs around, that sounds like a bad idea."

Jules blinked. "That seems a bit of an ill-advised endeavour. For a number of reasons."

Tenny agreed, "Aye."

"You have no idea how many times I've had to rescue that town," Runa'mei grimaced.

"Do they have nowhere else to go? It seems so dangerous," Eresh frowned.

Jules had to ask: "... Did a town planner lose a bet, or..."

"The Town Leader insisted," Runa'mei said simply.

"...The same one who doesn't like the necklaces?" Calum asked.

"Yeeep," Runa'mei nodded in response to Calum.

"In our world, we call that 'Job Security' for you." Robert remarked.

"Does no one run away?" Eresh asked.

"Oh, believe me, the Priestesses have tried to convince him to move the settlement," Runa'mei said. "And tried to convince him of that before settling." She grumbled, "A perfect example of a rei'fund if ever there was one."

"Over Extender," Calum elaborated.

'If I bought property in a town on the beach, I'd ask for a rei'fund too,' thought Jules.

Eresh smiled. Tenny grinned quietly.

Robert whispered to Jules, "Let's not accept any invitations to stay there from this guy."

"Certainly thinking twice about the time share," Jules muttered. "But yes," he said louder again, "we're grateful that at least we won't have much in the way of a language barrier to overcome. Last thing we want is an unintended linguistic misunderstanding to throw a spanner in the works."

Sky, having been entranced by the visual presentation and the power of the crystals, now seemed to be forcibly holding her tongue. Finally, she asked, "Runa'mei, I was wondering - if the crystals respond to different tones, what do you do when it comes to music, or singing? Would it not become dangerous as the crystals react to the notes?"

"No more dangerous than speaking," Runa'mei says. "Spoken words themselves are harmonic, after all. The real danger comes from sustained notes." She glanced at Calum, who flushed, embarassed. "Such as this rei'fund here."

"Did you sing loudly here, Calum?" Eresh smiles.

"Hmm...I guess so." Sky mused. "I would be worried about humming a song while exploring, for example, and accidentally activating them!"

"No, he did something worse," Runa'mei said. "He held the activation note for a mental connection with crystals that are, in comparison to those here in Rei'schu, infants." She poked Calum in the arm, repeatedly with each following word. "For. Several. Minutes. Longer. Than. Was. Safe." Her eyes narrowed. "Repeatedly!"

Robert motioned to Tenny. " I don't know abut you, but I'm beginning to better understand what happened to Calum."

"So tha's what did it!" Tenny said. "Aye!"

"Science is nothing if not trial and error," Calum admitted, tiredly. "...But admittedly, my own trial and error to figure out what was going on made things worse."

"We did wonder what sent him a bit Space Cadet," Jules offered.

"The crystals here in Rei'schu have long established patterns for specific connections," Runa'mei assured sky. "And the specific activations often require directed intent pushed at them. Beyond that, the ones that house our ancestors are well aware of the propensity for people to hum and sing without intent to do a specific thing," Runa'mei continued. "They often intercede to prevent accidental activations from... otherwise enthusiastic crystals. Much as a parent would a child." She smiled, reassuringly. "At best, your singing is going to elicit a crystal singing along with you, rather than any specific mental connection forming."

Sky thought for a moment, and a smile began to form on her face. "I like that idea - singing with the crystals!"

Runa'mei smiled. "They also like singing with eachother, as well."

"Oh?" Sky asked.

"Perhaps Sky can gives us performance later," Robert smiled.

Sky elbowed Murry. "Shhh!"

"Yes, during the winter festivals, it can be a quite magical time, " Runa'mei explained. "Many crystals start singing with eachother, and those that are free-floating often dance as well."

Jules had a mental image of a trio of crystals accompanying him on the Major General song that he wisely chose to keep to himself.

"What causes the crystals to start singing? Is it the festival atmosphere?" Sky asked.

"For those housing our ancestors, yes," Runa'mei nodded. "For those that are less sentient... it's often suspected to be resonance with the ones that are already singing of their own accord."

"It does sound so magical, and somewhat spiritual, as well, with the spirits of your ancestors participating in the festivals with you. I am very curious to know more about your winter festivals," Sky then added, "all of your festivals, in fact."

Eresh wondered aloud, "I wonder if they would like any songs from our world. I remember some beautiful devotional songs, that work both as Goddess hymns and as love songs. I wonder whether the crystals would feel any kinship with those."

Runa'mei smiled. "Well, answering that would be a matter of the Priestesses as well..." She glances to Calum, who does a quick introduction. "Sky. Admittedly I'm not much of one who knows everything down to each detail."

"As for what I can say about the Winter Festivals..." She considered for a moment. "The winter festivals in general typically signify the end of one year and the start of the next."

"How many seasons do you have here?" Eresh asked.

"It's a bit tricky to state for sure," Runa'mei answered. "Before the cataclysm, we used to have four seasons, however, in the time after that, it's become a bit more... muddy?"

Runa'mei considered it for a long moment.

"Some parts of the world still have four seasons, but others are limited to one or two." She shrugged. "And in some areas, it seems like it switches between all four in a random pattern, day to day." She then said, "The Winter Festivals are mostly still called that out of respect to the end of the year."

"Tell us about this 'Cataclysm'. What's that about?" Robert finally asked the major question that had been lurking on many minds.

"In short? It's the end of the world as it was." Runa'mei sighed. "Again, that's a question for the Priestesses- or perhaps Chezahcen herself to answer in full. All I can really say about it is..." She stood up, and made to walk outside, and stood next to Carl, still gazing at the moons.

Runa'mei pointed up at the heavens, where the two moons could be seen- glowing green, and looking like cats eyes, with the many fissures spanning their surfaces.

"What you see of those moons is the visual end result of Chezahcen putting our world back together."

The others, now outside, looked briefly at the distant mountains, with their visuals of crystals spanning the massive rock faces being obvious even this far out.

"The Cataclysm that ended our world as it was nearly ended the world entirely," she said. "If not for Chezahcen's involvement, our world would not exist any more. The Crystals hold our world together, a visual remnant of her stitching the pieces back together."

"Holy..." Robert's voice trailed off in awe.

Calum visibly kept his mouth held shut, refraining from commenting.

"Cow?" prompted Sky, "or maybe mackerel?"

"Mo dia." Tenny breathed.

Calum remarked, "More Cat-Crow-Wolf Goddess."

"Do you know why it happened, Runa'mei? Or perhaps how it began?" Sky asked.

"Geologically speaking, that's almost impossible." Robert asked. "What caused the world to split apart? Collision with a large asteroid or internal magma eruption?"

Runa'mei considered her memories, and touches the crystal around her necklace for a long moment as she searches for the words to convey those memories...

"A knife," she settled on. "And the war over it. That's what caused the world to fracture. People fighting over a damned knife." She snorts. "Of course, who's to say it was actually a Knife?"

Tenny blinked. "Almos' sounds mythical, actually."

"Wow." Sky whispered.

"A knife is what is depicted in the arts, and in the stories." Runa'mei said, "And it is, mythical. The Knife belonged to the old God of the Hunt."

"A Kni.... Just how big was this 'Knife'? Robert asked, astounded.

"Knife sized compared to the beast himself," Runa'mei said. "Of course, if you go by the depictions of the art, he towered above the likes of even the tallest mountains."

"Hmm... an'... what did it look like?" Tenny asked.

"Something of a..." Runamei traced a zig-zag shape through the air.

"Ah, then not wh' I was thinkin' of, then." Tenny nodded.

Jules whispered, "Blimey..."

"And so the people who fought over this knife - what became of them?" Sky asked.

"Supposedly? My personal favorite interpretation is that their souls were rent from their bodies and sealed in their most prized possessions," Runa'mei answered sky. "Then, exiled into the space between worlds for all eternity." She smiled sadly, "Of course, the truth is a matter of debate even to today. Chezahcen gives conflicting answers."

Sky mused, "Exiled into the space between worlds?...seems fitting for almost destroying it."

"It is," Calum agreed.

"You can see why it's my favorite interpretation," Runa'mei said.

Sky noded, "Indeed, I can."

"Exiled? Into crystals?" Robert asked.

"There are others, of course," Runa'mei continued on. "Some say they were just slaughtered by the very cataclysm they created. Others believe they were forced to hold the age together as the crystals themselves, and were redeemed for it." Glancing at Robert, she said, "In my choice, I imagine their favored possessions as glimmering golden treasures. Vases, weapons, dishes, armor..." She seemed smug about it for a moment. "It's more fitting that they have their gleaming treasures for all time, in the void where none can be admired."

Jules agreed, "Definitely a certain irony to be had there."

Tenny nodded, with a rather dark smirk.

"So, if they were exiled, the people that are here now are descendants of..." Sky paused. "Not those people, I am assuming?"

"Yes," Runa'mei said. "The descendants of the survivors."

"Of course, that makes sense." Sky agreed.

"I'd wager that in truth some of those who caused the disaster did survive, and stay on our world, regretting what they did," Runa'mei said. "But it's more poetic to imagine all were forced to serve the same fate."

"There are always innocents caught between warring sides." Robert said.

"Indeed," Runa'mei nodded, then she sighed, "If you'll excuse me a moment, I need to center myself."

She stepped away, down the stone ramp down to the edge of the cliff, where she sat there, and gazed out to the sea for a bit.

As everyone filtered back inside to digest, Calum briefly glanced to Carl and asked, "Hey, Carl, are you alright?"

Carl just continued to stare on at the sky, unresponsive in the face of two giant cats eyes gleaming at him.
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Re: Rei'schu Ambassadorial Mission - Novelized Transcripts.

Post by Traveler263 »

REI'SCHU FIRST NEGOTIATIONS VOLUME 2: "An Introductory Tea Time."
(Transcribed by Tiernan Quinlan, Novelized by Calum Traveler)

A short time later, maybe about half an hour by anyone's guestimate, Kelsei linked in, sans Maintainer suit, looking a bit flustered. "Carl! Where's Carl?" She asked, clearly in a hurry.

"Outside, why?" Calum asked, motioning for the entryway.

"I just had a run-in with Benavud," Kelsei answered, marching for the exit. "He wants to speak with Carl about the Bahro. NOW."

Ereshkigal asked, "...What is going on?"

Tenny tilted his head. "Ben? Is he alright?"

"Everything ok, Kels?" Jules asked.

Kelsei just headed outside, and finds Carl, still staring up at the moons. It takes some hushed whispers before he's finally broken out of his shock.

"Ben? What's wrong with Ben?" Carl can be heard, and seen, frowning.

Catchen looked concerned, to say the least.

"I wonder why Ben's looking into Bahro stuff for?" Calum wondered.

"I was worried about something like this," Jules murmered. "He hasn't been in the best way since he found the truth about his lineage. If things aren't handled carefully we might end up with him going full Yeesha on us."

"I think he'd only need to look at how that worked out for her before deciding its a bad idea," Calum frowned.

"Excuse me," Runa'mei interjected, "but this Ben is... the man with amnesia?"

Calum nodded. "And full blooded D'ni, apparently, even if he grew up on the Surface."

"Someone without a connection to them much like me then," Runa'mei mused. "And he's asking about those... self-linkers you described? The 'Bahro'?"

Calum nodded once more. "Sounds like."

"Maybe he's trying to get more information about the Bahro to avoid walking the same path himself?" pondered Sky.

"One can hope," Calum said.

"That would be the ideal outcome", concluded Jules. "He's a good lad, the last thing he deserves is to get into his head that the weight of an entire civilization is his to carry."

Calum grumbled something about nonsense prophecies in response to Jules' remark.

"Prophecies are never a good thing, because they influence people to fulfill them," Sky said.

Surprising everyone, it's Runa'mei who gave an exhausted, "Yes, that they do."

Jules nodded, "Ah, self-fulfilling things of that nature have been known to do the rounds here I'm guessing?"

Runa'mei shook her head. "I'd rather not get into it."

"Reasonable", said Jules. "I've never put much stock in them, myself. The idea of being a character in someone's else story, scripted out in advance... never sat well with me. Plus the idea you can predict anyone's actions, least of all plot a linear cause and effect from them... people are FAR more complicated than that." Jules smiled. "Part of their appeal, I find."

Runa'mei gave Jules a grateful smile.

"Still, make for good stories." Jules said. "Reflections of the world around us and all that. I imagine yours must have some fantastic epics, especially with the way you get to tell them with those crystals of yours."

Finally, Carl said, loud enough to hear: "Ben is one of our priorities. I'd better go back. I'll come back as soon as I've handled this. Thanks for letting me know, Kelsei." After a few polite farewells to the group, Carl departed.

Kelsei stomped back inside, and motioned to Calum, "Please, keep a spot open for me until I get back. For now I need to make sure Ben isn't going off to do something foolish." She quickly Reltoed out before anyone can say anything else.

Sky turned to Jules. "This is worrisome. I wonder if we should perhaps postpone the continuation of our diplomatic mission here and return with Carl to take care of the issue with Ben. After all, it's best we represent ourselves in a good light, and if Ben is in trouble, we should maybe help him first?"

"It may not be that simple," Runa'mei remarked. "After all, didn't your friend say this Ben was asking for Carl specifically?"

"Yes, she did..." Sky replied,

Jules agreed, "The optics of the thing may likewise not play out well if we ask for a postponement, especially if we've got the main representatives of all these villages meeting us on our account..."

The situation rapidly shifted in escalation before any thoughts on that matter could progress, as someone new linked into the scene but a moment after Jules said this. It's an older woman in silken type robes stands there, her skin is dark, and slightly wrinkled, her hair is greying, but visibly still retaining its dark brown hues in places. Her eyes are a bright, shining green.

Runa'mei stood a bit straighter then, and says, "Priestess Karin'da!"

"Greetings to all," the Priestess said, smiling.

Jules followed Runa'mei's example and straightened his posture in a manner hoping to convey respect. He suddenly regreted not asking about any necessary customs or greetings specific to members of the Priesthood he should be aware of in these formal situations. He chose to raise his hand palm open in what he hopes passes as the universal sign of peaceful greeting.

Sky doesn't know how to react - she straightened up, clumsily placed her hands together as if to pray, and bowed to the woman.

"Greetings Priestess Karin'da." Robert tried to show a posture of respect.

"No need to be so formal, Chezwyrd Chen," the Priestess said, smiling warmly at Runa'mei- her words at a stark contrast to her use of the formal title. "As for the rest of you..." She looked very amused at the various upright postures. "Oh, do relax a bit. We're not officially starting the meeting Just yet!"

Runa'mei, notably, does not relax much at all. If anything, it's more obvious that she's slipped into a much more... tense state of being. Stiff posture, looking ready to deal with anything at a moment's notice.

Sky stood up again. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Priestess Karin'da."

Jules visibly relaxed once more, giving his spine a rest. "My thanks, Priestess. First impressions and whatnot. Pleasure to make your acquaintance."

"Well, it's a pleasure to meet you all," The Priestess said, and set about quickly gathering names for introductionary purposes. "I might as well lay down the basics for you, of the towns, leaders, and my fellow priestesses that you'll be talking with. You'll be meeting with the leaders of the villages Nara'sen, Sara'fund, Karin'nen- my home village- Sen'nen, and Nen'da."

Sky pulled out her notebook and scribbled a few lines. "I think this is something I may want to write down for later."

Karin'da continued: "Their leaders, respectively, are Amara'da- a well to do woman who leads one of our largest hunter villages. Haru'sara, the... Well. He's the man who insisted on building a village on a beach directly. Make of that what you will. Kura'quen is the woman who leads my village. She's young, new to the job, and recently gained the role after her predecessor and mentor stepped down. She's very eager to see how things transpire. Then there's Rein'da, and Hotou'runa. They're siblings who rule neighboring villages. They may argue and squawk like hatchling cranes, but somehow despite their arguments, they manage to hold a strong alliance."

Tiernan also made notes on his tablet as she spoke. Jules similarly scribbled down in his journal in his own personal flavour of shorthand.

Karin'da smiled. "Finally, there's the attending Priestesses, of whom I am one. The rest are... Cas'ka, the Herald who recently choose Chezahcen's latest champion. Jae'dhar, a plucky youngster who's had to make due dealing with Haru'sara's insanities. Then there's Sha'ri, a wise woman who helped guide many young priestesses through their trials. And finally, Nara'nen. She's... Nara'nen. Hard as a rock, and as inscrutable as a cliff."

"You'll have to forgive me for asking this, but how do we address you and the village leaders? What protocols should we follow?" Robert asked.

Karin'da nodded. "While we're serving as our official duties during this negotiations, for us Priestesses, our regular title is all that is appropriate. Priestess Karin'da, for me, for an example. As for the village leaders..." She sighed. "Amara'da will likely request you call her General. Haru'sara is... We will not denigrate ourselves with any of his requested titles, and neither should you despite his insistences. He's also refused the use of the translation necklaces."

A pause to consider the others follows. "As I said, Kura'quen is new to the title, and she finds herself embarassed by it. She will insist you do not use a title with her, but officially, it is Mayor. Finally, Rein'da and Hotou'runa..." Karin'da seems vaguely amused. "I believe they're currently in a personal competition between the two of them for the title of 'Grand Mayor' which is an utterly meaningless distinction, both will insist they go by it while the other does not." She decides, "Simply call them Mayors, as well."

Eresh finished writing this down in her notebook. Jules nodded, trying to get his head around the potential relationship interplays at work here. The spirit of local government was truly alive and well on this plane of existence, it seemed.

"As for any protocols, be blunt and honest," Karin'da said. "Only Haru'sara is demanding for any pomp and ceremony, and we find ourselves tired with it when dealing with him. If we can dislodge him from our future negotiations, we may hold more formal meetings, but as for now..." A quirk of a smile found its way to the older woman's face. "Well."

Runa'mei and Calum returned to the room about then. Runa'mei continued to be somewhat stiff in her stance, while Calum just smiles widly. "Karin'da! Good to see you again."

"Wayward Traveler," Karin'da greeted with a teasing smile of her own. "It's good to see you haven't gotten yourself lost."

Catchen had been standing awkwardly at the back of the group with her bag of mostly tea.

"Straight talking. Got it", said Jules. "I think that works out best for us as well. Thank you Priestess, this is tremendously useful." He reviews his notes. "Haru'sara... you say he's forsaken the use of the translation necklaces. Will the meaning of our words be conveyed to him, or does he have the expectation of ourselves speaking in your language?"

Karin'da shook her head. "Unfortunately for him, Jae'dhar will be having to translate for him."

Jules said, "Ah. Well, if any ambiguities require being explained further as a result, we'll be happy to clarify at any point."

"And I am grateful to Jae'dhar for helping with the translation!" Eresh said.

"Jules, Catchen, perhaps we could offer the Priestess a pot of tea? You know the kind I mean." Robert offered.

"Good idea!" Eresh said.

"Ah! Good shout, that man!" Jules pats down his pockets and withdraws a small velvet bag with a ribbon drawstring. "Priestess, I got the inkling from Cal that the Eton Mess I bought with me last time went down quite nicely. Before we kick off in earnest, can we tempt you with a cuppa?"

"Oh, of course," Karin'da smiled.

Eresh took out her ethanol burner, "Do you need it, Jules?"

Catchen realised now is the perfect time. "I've brought some different kinds of tea if people were interested..." she begins getting boxes out of the bag and laying them out.

"Lovely! We'll do the honours. Carry on all, I'll keep an ear open." Jules grinned. "Ah, yes please Eresh, just the ticket." He stepped back from the group and immediately began busying himself with the necessaries.
Eresh lit the burner and poured water from a bottle into a kettle, placing it on the little stove. "I have some biscuits as well; small snacks made with spices from our world. We eat them with tea, usually. Would you like to try them?"

"Oh, that sounds lovely, yes," Karin'da clapped her hands.

Eresh took a box of cuminseed tea biscuits from her bag, and opened the packaging. "Feel free to try, everyone!" She takes one herself, as well.
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Re: Rei'schu Ambassadorial Mission - Novelized Transcripts.

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As the group settles down for some tea and snacks, Runa'mei excuses herself to stand guard outside, keeping a stern eye on the skies for anything that might pose a threat... of which there is precisely zero in this area, for which the reason this area was chosen.

Robert sensed that any previous tensions had eased up as he noticed how Jules was now humming as he prepared the tea. He turned his attention back to Karin'da. "Priestess, what restrictions should we be aware of as we visit your world," Robert started. "We are explorers who are very curious about many aspects of your culture as well as your lamds."

Tenny settled in for a cuppa and a biscuit.

"People will think all we have on Earth is tea..." Eresh laughed. "Once we speak to the Mayors, we might be able to share some more. Such as the rice and lentils in this bag, both for eating and for growing."

After taking a long sip of tea, Karinda answered, "For this trip, we would request that you do not travel anywhere without a guide, or use any linking device not indicated by us first," Karin'da answered. "Our methods of traveling between settlements are either on foot, or by traveling to Chezahcen's realm as an intermediary- and it is quite easy to get lost if you do not know where you are going. To speak nothing of the wildlife who may see you as an easy snack, fancy suits or no. We also ask that you do not touch any crystals that are not first offered to you."
Karin'da paused for a moment, considering, "Other than that, please feel free to ask questions as they arise. But be aware there may be some things we will not answer immediately, feeling the relationship between our cultures needs deepening first."

Tiernan noted a few more things on his tablet and nodded.

"Thank you, Priestess!" Eresh said.

"We really appreciate your time." Catchen paused, getting a biscuit. "So what kind of wildlife can be found out here, aside from the... giant crab you mentioned earlier?"

"Giant cats as big as a giraffe," Calum remarked cheerfully. "Just for starters."

Karin'da smiled, "Our Traveler friend refers to the Fizh'ar Runarin he encountered on his last hunt with Chezwyrd Chen Runa'mei. A "Star stone Cat", to say it literally." She looked to Catchen, "Giant... crab?" She considered with her necklace for a moment. "Ah, you mean the Garunas- Watermoons."

Karin'da listed off a few other animals then, the previously mentioned by Runa'mei "Slaughter Crane" or "Shik'blumapa" in the local tongue goes by with a a scant mention. Various other bird types are mentioned, interestingly all carrying the "Pa" syllable in their names somewhere- likely the local word for "bird." She talks about various "Runarels"- recognizable as wolf type creatures once given an adequate description. And, almost as an after thought, she adds on a few varrieties of "Zyen" - or rodent type creatures, including the previously mentioned Haul Rats (Quarzen) and an unheard of cliff rat (Zyenen).

"There are other creatures, of course, but most are rare to the point of not being worth mentioning at this time." Karin'da concluded.

"Just... out of interest. The rodents, would they be of a... considerable size?" Jules asked.

"Haul-rats are Man sized," Calum chipped in helpfully. "Never seen the cliff rats?"

"The Zyenen are mostly a nuisance to the Miners Guild," Karin'da said. "They're... more child sized, I would say, on average. Though some have rarely been reported to grow as large as some of the Fizh'ar Runarin do. Fortunately we haven't had a report of one of those since before Runa'mei was born."

'Literal ROUS's,' thought Jules. 'I'm starting to see where Carl's concerns for our safety were coming from.'

Calum coughed politely, "I wasn't kidding when I said this age was home to mega fauna, back at that first town hall."

"No, indeed you weren't," said Jules. 'Douglas Sharper must NEVER be allowed to find out about this place.' He asked, "Priestess, if I may... what, in your opinion, is the prevailing sentiment amongst the leaders and other priestesses to what we're hoping to achieve with this sit-down? General optimism? Any specific reservations?"

Karin'da considered that question. "It depends on the person. Overall, long term, we're hoping to figure out what our best neighborly practices will be." She considered for a moment.

"Haru'sara has expressed repeatedly that he does not think that our peoples have anything to trade eachother- obviously false considering the foods you've brought as offerings and gifts." Karin'da sipped at her tea, pointedly. "But Haru'sara also built a town over sand, and he and his followers refused to see logic in why it was a bad idea. Amara'da is interested in your weapons and fortifications. However, she's well aware that any such innovations are far down the road and she's willing to play the long game on it."

"Any advice on how to talk with Haru'sara?" Robert asked.

"I wish." Karin'da snorted. "As for the other Mayors, they see the benefits of an alliance. Food diversity is something we need an influx of outside matter from. We have tried in the past to use other worlds for our harvesting needs, but the results have been either mixed successes, or downright failures."

She nodeed. "Yes, it's something they're wishing to not screw up. This is a chance for us to avert some of the calamities that will befall our world if the situation carries on without intervention."

She frowned. "As for my fellow Priestesses... Jae'dhar will mostly be focused on keeping Haru'sara from causing a fuss. Cas'ka is, for all that she is a priestess, also a huntress at heart. She regularly takes on Chezahcen's challenges to keep her skills sharp. She will likely insist that any deals made are sealed with some kind of test or challenge. She's one of the ones who has been pushing for Calum to establish a Challenge for your people to even visit our world."

With a slight shrug, "Sha'ri and Nara'nen, i am not too familiar with on an intimate level yet." Karin'da admitted. "They are younger than their towns current chief priestesses, and slated to take over those roles when their current priestesses retire or die. I believe they're going to back up their Mayors' stances."

She smiled coyly then, "As for myself... that would be telling, wouldn't it?"

"You're not going to make it easy for us, are you Priestess?" Robert asked.

Jules chuckled, taking a sip from his own mug. "Where would the fun be in that, Rob?"

Robert frowned in thought and looked over at Calum. "What kind of challenges, Calum?"

Calum sighed. "Easiest one is a navigation maze. Links between multiple worlds, distance traveled in one place is distance traveled in another." He added, "End goal is to visit four 'ends' and collect a fragment of a crystal wheel."

"Proof that you've completed the challenge set forth," Karin'da nodded.

Robert then asked, "Do we get to keep the crystal wheel?"

Karin'da hummed, a curious thought. "I would wager so, if it does what I suspect it will do, should it be set up properly."

Jules' mind was turning over the implications of all this. He had considered that there was a chance that the pursuit of some kind of military technological advantages may be on the agenda, and he was wary about what introducing such an element to the negotiations would mean for this society as a whole. The absolute last thing Jules wanted was for something they bought to the world to cause an upset in the balance of power currently at work in Rei'schu. It was for similar reasons that he remained grateful that the surface world of Earth was still largely unaware of their own activities in the Cavern.

Still, this was on the whole a solid foundation to base an initial negotiation on. No outward hostility to their presence, aside from Haru'sara, and his was very much a lone voice that lacked credibility outside of his own people. And expectations that felt grounded in a pragmatic consideration for improving the welfare of their society as a whole.

Yes, thought Jules as he took another sip from his tea. They could work with this.

Robert looked at her suspiciously. "Another challege?"

"Potentially," Karin'da answered Robert. "Or merely an extension of the first? Hard to say for sure."

"Challenge talk is all still super in the air." Calum said.

"Sounds like you've come across the right people for a challenge like that," smiled Jules. "One thing about us lot currently residing in D'ni, we do enjoy a good test of the mind or two. It's something that connects all of us, regardless of where from the surface we've all come from."

"So we've heard," Karin'da smiled.

"That's true." Robert said.

Jules glanced at Calum. "I imagine Cal has given you some idea of our community we've been building in D'ni. Is there anything further you'd like to know about us at this stage?"

"Nothing that shouldn't be saved for the actual meeting now," Karin'da smirked.

Jules nodded, "Ah, good shout."

"Speaking of the actual meeting," Calum stood. "I think we should all get suited up and head over to...?"

Karin'da supplied, "Nara'sen." She stood as well. "And yes, it's about time. Be a dear and fetch Runa'mei while I set up the Waru'nure?"

Tiernan has been quietly listening and taking notes. He nods occasionally and makes further notes, sipping his tea.

As Calum heads outside, Karin'da sets up a fairly ancient looking Linking Book onto one of the stone podiums in the back, having shoved aside some of the bedding lying there. She handles the book with extreme care- its cover creaks loudly and looks about like it's ready to collapse at any moment.

She gives the poor book a look of extreme sympathy, and gently massages at a corner. "Don't worry, little one. Your last use will be for a great cause."

She gently turns the pages until the Linking Panel is exposed. Despite the age of the book, the Linking Panel is sharp and clear, if only slightly frayed around the edges. There is no sign of warping to the actual gateway image.

Jules drained the last of his tea and reached for his helmet. "Well, regardless of what happens next, this has all been rather lovely. Thank you for sharing your insights with us, Priestess Karin'da. I hope we get to do this again at some point."

"Yes, thank you very much for being a wonderful host." Robert added, "And new friend."

Karin'da smiled to them, and nodded. "It is my pleasure. I do so enjoy getting the measure of people. Making friends is something I rarely get to do, given my role these days," she adds.

Sky managed to pull her helmet over her head and looks towards Karin'da, "I hope we will be seeing you at the meeting? I feel your calm presence and understanding may be very welcome..."

"Of course I will be there," Karin'da smirked. "My town's mayor is one of the attending mayors, after all."

"This preliminary meeting with you has been helpful as well as informative. It has definitely eased some tension and concern from our minds." Robert said.

Karin'da nodded. "As I hoped it would." She glanced outside. "Calum has done much the same during his previous visits, easing many minds. He speaks highly of your people."

At around this moment, Kelsei linked in, clad up in full Maintainer Suit- "I'm not late am I?"

"No, dear, you are not," Karin'da said. "Just in time, as a matter of fact."

Sky waved at Kelsei, drawing attention to the bright blue scrunchie on her wrist, "You made it, Kels!"

"Glad I did," Kelsei waved back- she's wearing a green-with-yellow-stripes band around her own wrist. "Had to make sure Carl had things in hand with Ben before I came over. Last I saw of them Carl was just diving into an old historical lecture and Ben was raptly paying attention. Taking notes, even!" She seems relieved. "Hopefully Ben won't just up and take off again in the middle of it if he hears something he doesn't like."

"Oh, that's good the hear. I was worried about Ben." Sky smiled.

Tenny collected his equipment and suit.

"Heh! Wish some of my first years had that level of attentiveness to their studies." Jules idly wondered if he should pass Ben an enrolment form to the RNU.

Robert remarked, "Well it should give Carl a diversion from worrying about us and this meeting. He is very concerned about all this and has expressed his opposition."

Kelsei nodded, and Karin'da chuckled.

Helmet re-attached, tea-making apparatus safely stowed and his personal effects to hand, Jules stood ready to take the next steps into what lay ahead. Calum returned, bringing Runa'mei with him. Kelsei gave her a short wave. Runa'mei nodded curtly, still in her tense state. Even Kelsei could see she's unsettled by something.

Robert put his hat away placed his helmet on. It clicked into place and sealed properly. "Everyone all set?"

The group approaches the Linking Book in queue, much to Karin'da's amusement. The linking panel shows a strange stone clearing in the middle of a forest. Pillars circle the edges, some visibly containing linking books.

Tenny shoulders his backpack and pulls on his helmet with a sigh.

Sky jumps around in place, both from excitement and nervousness. "Let's do this."

Linking Through, the group finds themselves in that clearing. The ground is a large stone-brick pattern, making a large circular shape. Stone podiums encircle the perimeter, each containing either Linking Books, or crystals that look vaguely like Bahro Stones to some degree. The trees tower overhead like giant california redwoods, with glowing mushrooms growing from their sides. And the sky is an utterly alien mismash of bright blue stars, and orange and blue nebulas.

"Welcome to Chezahcen's realm," Runa'mei said with the utmost respect. "We often use it for quick navigation between places in our world."

"Like the Nexus," Calum added for clarity.

"Oh...." Tiernan breathed. "Wha' I wouldn't give t' set up an observation station here..."

Karin'da is the last one through, and she heads over to a single podium with a linking book on it. "Here is our next destination," she says. "Head through when you are ready."

"Astonishing," breathed Jules, temporarily taken aback by the sight of the sky above.

"Aye..." Tenny agreed. "I could spend th' rest of me life jus' catalogin' those stars..." Tenny said, looking around.

Sky resisted the urge to lay on her back and just stare at the sky. Birds chirped, insects buzzed.... The distant sound of a large creature growling cut through the night-time atmosphere.

"Eep!" Sky jumped.

Runa'mei doesn't seem alarmed, however. "It's far enough out it won't bother us. Much too quiet for it to be nearby." She says. "They often leave these hubs alone, anyways."

"Chezahcen has a beautiful realm, Runa' mei," Tiernan said reverently.

Blinking to dislodge the feelings of awe overcoming him, Jules took a second to make a cursory yet respectful nod upwards on the offchance that Chezahcen was presently in attendance.

"Aye, she does," Runa'mei agreed. "I'm told it's far more peaceful now than it was before her ascension."

"Would it be too much t' ask if I took some photographs?" Tenny asked.

"It wouldn't," Karin'da shook her head. "Many first timers find ways to commemorate their visits."

Tenny nodded and raised his KI to snap some quick photos.

"My mom had a painting made, the first time she came here," Runa'mei said.

"Oh, what a wonderful idea!" Tenny said, taking several more and when his KI is full, switched to his iPhone. "Perfect, now I know wh' I'll be doin' when I get back." he chuckled softly. "I'd love t' present a paintin' t' you if I do any tha' are any good, Runa'mei. I'm a bit of an amateur, y'see."

Runa'mei smiled. "I would appreciate it."

Tenny nodded and gave a thumbsup, smiling under his helmet.

Robert examined one of the crystal stones carefully. "Jules, take a look at this. This looks like a bahro stone."

"Warum're Jaear," Karin'da intoned, regarding the stone Robert is looking at. "Our replacement for the Waru'nure as they become too old to use."

Jules observed the stone Robert pointed out, being careful to keep a respectful distance and not to touch.

"Most of our books come from long before we lost contact with D'ni," Runa'mei explained. "Usually, the caretaker family- my family's distant ancestors- replaced them when they were damaged or destroyed, but after my Grandmother came here, and we lost contact with D'ni..." Runa'mei trailed off, unsure of what else to say.

Karin'da chuckled, "Yes, well, we had to become creative to maintain our contact lines."

Tiernan checked some of his equipment, making further notes.

"Waru'nure... linking book?" Robert asked, " You mean to say this used to be a linking book?"

"This is a Waru'nure," Kain'da motions to the Linking Book she stands next to. "That," she points to the crystal, "is a Warum're Jaear"

"Linking Book but it's a Crystal," Calum clarified. "Different technology, same result. Same rules, too."

"Interestin'!" Tenny exclaimed, then explained, "So th' air appears fine here, but I'd most definitely like t' do some further research for th' future."

"We can arrange that in the future," Karin'da nodded.

Tenny wondered, "Calum, I wonder if there might be a way to provide them with replacement Books at some point? I'm not a Writer though, I've really no idea if tha's possible."

Calum nodded to Tenny. "I've thought on it. I've offered. The crystals are more sturdy than books, though, so it's been declined."

"Ah, well tha' makes sense." Tenny said.

"It's a remarkable take on The Art," said Jules. "There's been great interest in the study of other means of linking beyond what we know of the use of books. This... this is going to fascinate a number of us."

Calum noded to Jules, "Tell me about it. And here I thought my experiments with Vertigo Crystals was going to be a breakthrough. Turns out I was trying to reinvent the wheel these fine folks already figured out."

Tenny chuckled.

"How do you make the Warum're Jaer from the Waru'nure?" Robert asked incredulously.

"We don't," Krain'da answered Robert. "The Waru'nure are retired from use after their time passes."

"Ah..." Tenny nodded, understanding.
Last edited by Traveler263 on Fri Nov 04, 2022 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rei'schu Ambassadorial Mission - Novelized Transcripts.

Post by Traveler263 »

Calum's KI beeped and he glanced at it. "We really ought to keep going on. Meeting time's soon."

Calum headed to the book Karin'da stands by, and links through. Tenny nodded, and followed with the others. Sky rubbed her hands together to warm them up, and linked through.

'Once more unto the breach,' thought Jules as he linked through.

Approaching the book, one can see a stone room with a single podium in the center- a crystal rests on it. Linking through places one in the room, which is something of a library of old books and scrolls, none of which seem to be linking books, judging by the one a schollar is reading as everyone links in. There is a single set of stone doors leading outside. The crystal on the podium is a return Linking Crystal- heading back to the nexus area that had just been left.

"Facinatin'!" Tenny breathed. "Jus' amazin'."

Similarly, seeing the familiar looking visuals of a library immediately put Jules well at ease.

"Welcome to Nara'sen," Karin'da said as she arrived, and immediately headed to the doors to push them open.

Outside there was a large city made of massive stones, held together with brass-metalworks. The architectural style is far more advanced than anything else the age seems that it should have, and paradoxically, far far far more ancient.

'Nara'sen.' Tiernan noted in his tablet. 'Library.'

It is a fortress of a place, and a massive metal gear can be seen sticking out of one wall into a passing river, turning with the water as it flows beneath it.

"Jules, you and I could spend to rest of our lives, studying these texts alone." Robert joked.

"I could as well, Robert," Tiernan said, looking out at the city, and making further notes.

In one large courtyard to the left, several warriors in training can be seen working through various stances with precision. To the right is something of a foundry setup- blacksmiths hammering at weapons, tailors working on armor and clothing, woodsmiths creating shields...

Dead ahead is a large palace like structure- the figure of a massive beast of some kind seemed to have once been carved into its frontside- instead, it has been carved away, to reveal a figure beneath, a woman with cat and wolf ears, with matching tails, her arms outstretched and wings spreading behind her.

It is a visual representation of the Old God of the Hunt having been literally replaced with Chezahcen.

Tenny considers a moment, pulling out his phone. "I, uh, I'd like to take some further photographs, if it is acceptable, Runa'mei?"

"Of course," Runa'mei said. "This is Nara'sen," she began to narrate. "Home to the Hunters, and more than their fair share of Chezwyrd Chens over the centuries."

Tenny snapped several more photos with his phone.

"That's the fighting school." Runa'mei glanced over at the training yard, "I trained over there when I was chosen to be Champion." She motioned at the forges. "And over there's the armory foundry."

"What's with the giant gear water-wheel?" Kelsei asked.

Runa'mei chuckled. "Ask the ancients who built this place. They loved the aesthetic for some reason."

"Nara'sen is one of our oldest remaining intact fortresses," Karin'da said, stepping away to lead the group towards the palace. "It dates back far before even the disaster that shattered our world. You'll find similar ruins to this scattered across the world- the debris of their remnants left behind to rot and decay."


"I'd love to take a closer look at the smithing at some point," enthused Jules to the others. "Anglo-saxon-era armory and weapon-making is a fascination of mine. Has a bit of a chance to study the process on a previous jaunt, would love to see how they compare."

"Fortresses..." breathed Sky. "Wait. If you have fortresses, you were protected your people against an enemy. This was before the battle over the knife?"

"Our history of back then was very.... fractured," Runa'mei answered.

Motioning the cat figure to Sky, Robert whisperd, "Holy Feline,Batman! It's Catwoman!"

Sky laughs, but looks up at the sky, too.

"Marble goddess," Calum nodded towards the statue of Chezahcen respectfully. Runa'mei chuckled at Calum's remark, though Karin'da seemed baffled for a moment. Soon, the group is lead under the protective stance of the Chezahcen Statue and through a pair of open metal doors into a very large palace area.

Sky turned to Runa'mei. "So there was fighting before, and the final battle and resulting cataclysm was the result?"

As Karin'da navigated the group through a maze of hallways, Runa'mei answered with a nod. "Unfortunately, yes. Atleast, that's as best as I've been able to piece together."

Sky asked, "Do you not have any written history of those events?"

"A lot of it was lost to the cataclysm," Runa'mei answered. "I've gone exploring in ruins that were said to be vast libraries, only to find massive chunks of the structures ripped out into the unknown."

"Do you believe it was some sort of civil war?" Robert asked.

"A lot of what I've recovered has been brought here to Nara'sen," Runa'mei continued, and glanced to Robert. "Less a civil war, more the war of Nations." She looked nervous for a moment. "Our world was not one united place even before my ancestors became involved. There were many who fought with eachother, and when the victors had their spoils, turned on even more who had been left alone."

"I see." Robert frowned. "A world war."

"Yes, you could call it that," Runa'mei hummed.

Jules nodded grimly. He had been preparing himself for questions about Earth's own myriad bloody conflicts, dreading how such a fractured history of violence would be considered by the leaders and Priestesses. It gave him a small comfort that they may at least be able to empathise with it on a relatable level having dealt with similar conflicts in their own past, and hopefully look beyond this in their considerations.

Karin'da quickly held the group to a halt as a cross hallway was being utterly flooded by a group of marching scholars, each debating loudly in the local tongue. It's impossible to say what they're debating so fervently, even to those who understand the language. It was just too many overlapping conversations at once.

Karin'da sighed. "Lovely, it must be one of those days."

Catchen mused about how the people of this world, and the people of Earth, already have this common ground. "This" here relating to a world that was no stranger to conflict, and human vs human.

Soon, the flood of scholars passed, and Karin'da resumed leading the group through the facility. She said, "Nara'sen, while also being a chief training hub for hunters, is also an academy for the knowledge and the arts."

Jules asked, "Those days?"

Karin'da smiled painfully to Jules. "Presentation Days."

"That is to say," Runa'mei chipped in, very amused, "they're debating for who gets to run team assignments when they present their projects to the teachers today."

"Ah," Kelsei hums in her own amusement. "One of those days indeed."

Jules chuckled. He could all but relate. It was the same energy exhibited by several of his colleagues trying to outflank each other for dept grant funding. Catchen, meanwhile, reviewed some of her own memories of college.

Soon, the group arrived in a decently sized room whose primary feature is a large wooden table, round in shape, decorated with D'ni language carvings that spell phrases that are decidedly not D'ni words. There was a large window overlooking the training yard- the perspective seemed to imply that the group has navigated, somehow, upwards, and in a direction to the left that did not at all track with how they were actually walking.

'Delightfully Arthurian,' thought Jules, pleased by the contours of the table.

Kelsei looked out the window to her left, and sees the shapes of the chezahcen carving's torso that way. The window is nestled, somehow, beneath one of the wings. "Didn't we go down at one point?" She asked, alarmed.

Karin'da and Runa'mei just chuckle to themselves.

Soon, doors at the other end of the hall open, and in walk two bickering men- twins in appearance. Their skin tone was hued somewhere between Runa'mei's and Karin'da, leaning towards Karin'da's darker end, and both were shaved bald. Additionally, their eyes were a contrasting set of blue and orange.

Behind them entered two priestesses- much to the alarm of those who hadn't yet seen this fact in person, they seemed even more identical than the twins, and, infact, seemed eerily, impossibly related to Karin'da herself. They were younger than Karin'da, however, by several decades, but even so- the resemblence was uncanny and somewhat mystical. Dark brown hair, bright green eyes, impossibly identical faces.

These, it could be presumed, were the brothers, Rein'da and Hotou'runa, and their priestesses, Sha'ri and Nara'nen.

"And I'm telling you, I had the most tokens on the last game!" the one with blue eyes, Rein'da, said pointedly.

"No, no, no a thousand times no, I was the one with the most tokens!" The orange eyed brother, Hotou'runa, countered.

Sky whispered to Murry, "Oh boy - we'd better figure out how to tell these two apart - and fast!"

"Mayors!" Karin'da interceded with a clap of her hands and a smile on her face. "Welcome." She quickly made the introductions, "Everyone, this is Mayor-"

"HIGH Mayor Rein'da, at your service!" Rein'da interjected, his blue eyes gleaming.

"No, I'M the High Mayor, Hotou'runa," the orange eyed man replied,

"Whatever happens, we are NOT bringing Monopoly to this world", Jules whispered to Cal.

Calum whispered back, "I think these two would have already invented it by now."

As names were given to the Mayors, Runa'mei headed over to one of the Priestesses,the one wearing blue robes matching her mayor's eyes. "Hey, Sha'ri." Runa'mei greeted. "How're things back in Sen'nen?"

"Well, 'Mei," the priestess answered. "The recovery has gone well after you killed that Runarin."

"Glad to hear it," Runa'mei smiled.

The priestess in orange, Nara'nen, seemed a bit annoyed by the conversation. "Are we here to discuss trivial hunts, or discuss the weather, perhaps?" She snarks.

"Shoosh, Shacas'karel," Sha'ri quips in turn, "we are still waiting on the others to arrive."

'No time for what she considers trivialities, that one,' noted Jules.

"I would like to discuss the weather, actually," muttered Sky under her breath.

Robert whispered back to Sky, "Easy. Twiddle Dee and Tweddle Dum." He mentions from left to right. Sky giggled, and quickly changed to a serious face to avoid getting caught.

"Yes, actually," Hotou'runa grins. "I would like to discuss the weather! It's lovely weather we're having today, wouldn't you agree, Nara'nen?" The Priestess grumbled at her own Mayor's remark.

"Oh, yes, it's quite lovely!" Sha'ri agreed, clapping her hands. Suddenly, Jules felt right at home.

"I was impressed it wasn't raining," Runa'mei added.

"Does it rain often?" Sky asked.

"Frequently," Runa'mei nodded.

"And all year?" Sky asked.

"Ah, now That! That depends on the region," Hotou'runa said.

"Yes, Nara'sen often gets frequent rain storms," Rein'da added. "Makes it poor for crops. Too much rain, washes away the good nutrients."

"Ah! Tell me more, your Highnesses..." Sky said.

"Unlike Sen'nen," Hotou'runa quipped, "which is practically dry all year long."

"We live on one of the Moons. What else do expect?" Rein'da remarked, glancing at his brother.

"To settle in one of the wetter regions of the lunar surfaces?" Hotou'runa shrugged.

"Look, just because YOUR part of the moon gets more rainfall per year on average than MY part of the moon does doesn't mean...!" Rein'da cut himself short, and gripped his hands into fists, before taking a deep, stabilizing breath.

Sky pondered for a moment. "There may be ways to prevent the soil from eroding due to rain, or to reintroduce those lost nutrients back in. Either way, it is possible to amend even the poorest of soils to support some type of crop." She smiled tentatively.

Rein'da looked at Sky, eyes widening. "Really now? Tell me more! I'm- Wait, no. Best to save that for Amara'da." he shook his head. "This is her Town, after all."

'Mhm. Karin'da was right on the money. These two are somehow both an unstoppable force and an immoveable object each. Must be careful not to tilt the balance too far in one direction,' thought Jules.

"Gladly," Sky responded to Rein'da, "I look forward to studying each of your growing environments and helping determine how, and what, we can plant, to help enrich your diets and sustain your populations."

"That sounds lovely!" Rein'da said, eyeing his brother. "Don't you agree?"

"Yes, it really does sound great," Hotou'runa nodded.

There's no sense of sarcasm or tension between them all of a sudden

"Infact, here, one moment..." Hotou'runa began digging into a bag he carried. "I think I have some weather charts from the last year..."

"Oh, wait, I've got the soil sample charts for..." Rein'da dug in his own bag.

Sky looked on, very interested in the prospect of being able to help plants gardens.

Suddenly, like a well oiled machine, the two brothers were laying out papers and documents onto the round table, and nearly completing eachothers sentences as they hurriedly dart from one topic to another.

"But what about the tide charts?" "I've got them here. What about the-?" "The Garuna migration charts, right here!"

"Oh, you're going to have fun refereeing those two. Let me know if you need help," Robert whispered to Sky. He quietly chuckled.

Jules gave a thumbs up. Karin'da leaned over to Rober and Sky, and added, "Oh, yes. You're going to have your hands full indeed." She chuckles to herself.

"I look forward to the challenge, Priestess," Sky responded with a smile.

Soon, half the table is just about covered in documents and paperwork, and the brothers have emptied their bags. Both stand proud and excited, and then realize they both may have gone a bit overboard very quickly.

"Ah.... did we just info dump?" Hotou'runa asked.

"I think we did, yes," Rein'da nodded.

It is an incomprehensable amount of information covering the table. It's hard to make heads or tails of it, if only due to it all being written in the D'ni font.

Kelsei took a look at it, and clapped her hands. "Oh! I can translate this. I think!" She quickly got out several journals and started comparing information in one to everything on the table.

"She's a fast study," Sha'ri remarked.

"She's one of the best." Robert said.

Tiernan observed all of this goings-on quietly, making notes and chuckling softly to himself.

Jules nodded happily. As far as first impressions went, this was already showing the signs of a solid foundation indeed.

Robert quietly shuffled away from the flurry of flying papers.

Sky interjected, "Kelsei - this looks like a lot more info that we need to establish the climate zones of the various villages. I mean, migration patterns of giant crabs? Maybe not relevant...Any way you can figure out what's what before going through the trouble of translating it all from A to Z?"

"Oh! Yes, sure, that should... yes, of course." Kelsei nodded.
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Re: Rei'schu Ambassadorial Mission - Novelized Transcripts.

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As Kelsei and Sky work on the documentation provided by the brothers, conferring with them to ensure Kelsei is getting the order right before beginning translations, Town mayor Kura'quen enters the room, takes one look at the mess on the table, and then looks to Karin'da and asks, "They're info-dumping on the visitors already?"

Karin'da just noded sagely. "They are."

Sky looks up from the pile of documents. "We did ask for it."

Robert shruged. "Actually, I believed you dived in, head over heels."

"With great gusto", Jules added.

Kura'quen is young, and mousey looking. Her reddishbrown hair is a frizzy mess of tangled nonsense, and a pair of wire-rimmed glasses sits haphazardly perched on her nose. Her eyes are a pale green, and she seems to be only a bit darker in skin complexion than Runa'mei. There's a distant sort of family resemblance between them, if one squints. Likely cousins.

Runa'mei pays her no attention, however, and Kura'quen does the same to her.

Kura'quen just sighed, and adjusted her glasses. "Well. As long as you're all having fun." She went to sit down at the table and set out her own documents. "Don't mind me. Just going to set up."

"Mayor Kura'quen," Karin'da introduced, belatedly. "The mayor of my town, Karin'nen."

"Yes yes, Kura'quen present," the mayor in question replied, face deep in a bag as she ruffled around inside for something at the bottom. "Oh, where is it...?"

Jules noted the absence of the word Mayor in her self-address. 'Just as Karin'da had described. Will need to remember that when addressing her.' He likewise took his own bags to the table and neatly deposited them by a suitable chair opposite Rein'da and Hotou'runa's mess of papers before returning to the other explorers.

Kura'quen soon recovered a projection crystal, this one in a pale orange color, and sets it on the table, before digging into her bag again.

"Has anyone seen our remaining Mayors yet?" Rein'da asked, glancing at Sha'ri.

"General Amara'da and Priestess Cas'ka were dealing with something related to the school, last I checked," Sha'ri answered.

"Haru'sara's likely going to be late, as always," Nara'nen quipped.

Robert glanced at some the maps that Sky and Kelsei are studying.

"Look at all the fissures here," Kelsei whispered, pointing at one part of the map. "It's like everything radiates out from here, spokes of a wheel type."

Robert nodded. He really hoped to be exploring some to get some answers.

Hotou'runa nodded. "We think that's where one of the Old-Hunt-God's portals used to be."

Robert was intrigued, "Portals?"

"Supposedly, back before the D'ni came to our world," Rein'da explained, "the Old-Hunt-God used his knife to carve portals from his realm to ours."

"It's a matter of debate," Hotou'runa said, "personally I think the D'ni arrived earlier and the 'portals' were the ancients mistranslating the Waru'nure."

"Pen versus sword interpretations," Kelsei muttered.

"Regardless of the truth of it," Hotou'runa tapped at the spoke-wheel fissure point. "This is where we believe one of the first connections to what is now Chezahcen's realm was established."

"Obviously, the disaster that befell our world took it out in the process," Rein'da stated.

Robert asked, "I must have missed it earlier. Does this Old-Hunt-God have a name?"

"None that is remembered." Karin'da stated.

"Chezahcen consumed his very being to gain his powers, in some interpretations of the legends," Hotou'runa said. "Even his name was destroyed."

"Let's hope it wasn't Gehn." Robert joked.

"Consuming a name? That's about as definitive an end to an existence as you can get," said Jules.

Catchen looked over at Jules. "The name... merely rings a bell."

"Indeed, it is," Rein'da said.

"Others say that the name was intentionally forgotten to prevent his return," Rein'da added. "A perpetual un-existence."

Jules nodded. "That makes sense. There's a saying on our world, that a person is not truly dead while their name is still being spoken. It seems the sentiment is shared here."

"I've asked, by the way," Runa'mei chimed in. "Chezahcen refused to answer."

Tiernan nodded. "In my culture, a name is extremely important," he says quietly. "Loss of a name is the same as death."

"A part of me can't help but wonder if the loss of so much of our pre-cataclysmic history wasn't targeted at the Old-God specifically," Hotou'runa remarked.

"To be non-existenced so thoroughly at a time when the world was falling apart... perhaps it's best his name's fallen through the cracks, as it were," Rein'da quirked a smile at his own joke.

Tenny chuckled.

The sounds of a loud discussion fades into hearing alongside the sound of marching boots on stonework. It stops at some distance away, and sounds unimportant to the moment. Karin'da barely pays it any attention. Surely, this place is a marvelous hive of activity.

Robert looked out the window, staring at the long, huge crack in the distance; stitched together by a suture of glowing crystal stitches.

Calum joined Robert in looking out the window, and remarked, "Kind of terrifying, isn't it? That a world could become so close to tearing itself apart?"

"Yeh. But it's just as interesting that it could actually pull itself back together." Robert said.

"I think that all depends on who was doing the pulling," Calum mused, gazing upwards at the sky- the edge of one of the moons could barely be seen at this angle.

"Uh, Priestess Karin'da, I assume there isn't any designations in respect of the seating arrangements. Is this here fine?" asked Jules as he beckoned to his own personal effects where he had placed them beneath the table.

"Anywhere is fine, yes," Karin'da answered.

The twins chuckle to themselves, and the other Priestesses glance at eachother, smiling.

Kura'quen looked up from her bag, frowning, "Are we making fun of Haru'sara again?"

"Splendid, splendid," he said, and set about retrieving his journal for note-taking, along with removing several leather hardback volumes from his bag. "Hm? Oh, not at all! Forgive me... Kura'quen, right? I'm one of those types that always has to make sure he's in the right seat before taking it. It's a habit, I'm working on it."

Robert motioned to Calum toward the table. "I guess it's showtime."

"Oh, okay, good to know," Kura'quen finished setting her items out from her bag, and relaxes into her seat. She looked exhausted, to be quite honest.

"Aye," Calum chuckleed, and heads over to the table. "Though, I think we're still missing-"

Before he can finish his sentence the large doors the group entered with slam open, and a large, armored woman barked out something annoyed at a rather irrate looking scholar type, who snapped something back just as annoyed, and storms off.

Jules's spine immediately snapped taut in response to the loud exclaimation.

Meanwhile, Robert caught himself from standing to attention and saluting. He sat down next to Sky and whispered, "Now the fun starts."

Returning to his items, Jules finished piling up several more lavishly decorated tomes, leaving the rest of the items in his bag concealed for now.

The armored woman entered the room, surveys the group, and says, simply. "I'm General Amara'da, leader of Nara'sen."

She took off her helmet, revealing a lightly scared face, with one blank white right eye, and a gleaming purple left eye. Then, she stepped over to the table, grabbed a random empty chair, and sat down in it with a huff.

It's another moment before another priestess comes marching into the room- her priestly robes offset by the boots and gauntlets she wore. Priestess Cas'ka, by all measure of imagination. Her hair is tied back into a fancy ponytail, and dyed with multiple colors of various powders. Her hair looked like a rainbow of oranges and reds and golds.

"General, can you please not insult Professor Nur'meida like that?" She requested, green eyes narrowing.

"He was being a rei'fund and a da'ma at that," the General grouched. "I can insult him as much as he insults me."

"Everyone, this is General Amara'da, and Priestess Cas'ka," Karin'da introduced them.

Cas'ka took her seat to Amara'da's left. Once seated, she said, "It's a pleasure to meet you all."

"Preistess," Runa'mei greeted simply.

"Chezwyrd Chen," the Priestess returned just as simply.

"General, Priestess. It is a pleasure to meet you." Robert greeted.

"Likewise, General, Priestess" said Jules. Before taking a seat, he mutters to Karin'da "refreshments available on request, Priestess."

"We'll wait for Haru'sara," Karin'da replied, jovially. "He'll love it."

Jules nodded and took his seat, hopefully giving off the impression of someone who looked like he knew what he was doing.

Catchen unobtrusively taps Jules on the shoulder and gives him the thumbs up

As the group settled in, and made the introductions and such, a foul, salty stench suddenly became noticeable, as if blowing in from a breeze through the window. The Priestesses seem resigned, the Mayors all grimace.

"Brace yourselves," Nara'nen suddenly advised everyone. "It's Emotional Storm Haru'sara."

Sure enough, from the still open room doors, a figure comes marching in- in terms of physical appearance, he's the stereotype of the old grizzled fisherman with a grudge to grind against a white whale or a giant shark or something of the sort- short, wirey hair, an eyepatch over the right eye, a wooden pipe clutched between his teeth...

And then there's the man's clothes. Or rather, 'armor.'

It's plate coral. His entire uniform is plate coral, crudely strung together with seaweed and barnacle covered ropes. Atop his brow is a crown made entirely of dull, yellow crystal and coral fixtures. It's mostly coral, and looks like the coral has grown around the crystals. He wields a wooden scepter carved out of drift-wood, with a broken off metal chunk of gear atop it like a magical staff, afixed into place with yet more barnacle covered rope.

Behind him is a priestess, who looked just about ready to murder the man with her looks alone. She's clad in dark green robes, and her hair is cut short at shoulder length.

Everyone else that's local stared at the man, befuddled, as if this isn't a usual occurrence for him. Judging by the wiry grin the man starts to sport as he saw their reactions, that's entirely the intent he was going for.

Runa'mei, of all people, is the one to burst out laughing and ask what everyone's thinking: "By Chezahcen, what are you Wearing!?"

The new Priestess, Jae'dhar translated, and the man laughs in response, and says something that has him grinning. Jae'dhar translated: "Haru'sara refuses to give you an answer."

Runa'mei's eyes twitched. "Seriously?"

Jae'dhar nodded, grimacing. "He won't even tell me and he's been dressed like this all day. I don't know what he's trying to even do with this."

The oddly dressed man takes his seat at the table, grinning like someone playing 3d chess.

Karin'da emoted the universal standard of a facepalm.

Sky looked up from the pile of documents she has been pouring over, and covers her mouth with her hand to hide a giggle. She leaned over to Kelsei, "Was there a memo we missed about coming in costume?"

Rein'da flat out said what he's been thinking, "Did... did he hit his head or something?"

Kelsei shook her head in response to Sky's question, looking just as confused as everyone else is.

Jae'dhar just looked unimpressed and refused to translate those statements.

"I feel this is the type of person that we will get nowhere negotiating with, no matter the topic." Sky mused.

Eresh is unsure whether to be serious, as this strange dress could just be a cultural thing; but she noticed the reaction from the locals and smiled, herself.

Haru'sara just barks out a lengthy string of the local language, looking utterly amused the entire time. The other Mayors just... well... They looked like they've met Excaliber, to put it politely. Very disgruntled. Very unnerved.

Jae'dhar translated, "He's introduced himself as "High King of the Salty Seas, Haru'sara the Unimportant." And Yes. he did use Unimportant."

Eresh snorted. "Combined with 'High King'. Imaginative title!"

Sky tried, unsuccessfully, to hide her amusement at the High KIng's title.

"We are not calling him that," Rein'da said simply.

"Oh good. I don't think I could say it with a straight face!" exclaimed Sky.

Hotou'runa just nodded in agreement.

"Can... can I call him Low King instead?" Kura'quen asked.

"Maybe Low Tide," Nara'nen remarked.

Jae'dhar translated upon request of the so called high king and he just laughs even further.

"Apparently someone woke up on the weird side of the bed this morning," Calum grumbled.

"Calum, have you had dealings with this guy before? I mean, what's his deal?" Sky asked.

"I've not had the pleasure," Calum answered, eyeing the man's driftwood scepter warily. "This is a first."

Karin'da just remarked, "His deal is that he likes making us guess what his 'deal' even is." She then says something to the man directly- it's clear that Karin'da is NOT amused by this little stunt of Haru'sara's.

He replies back, very much amused.

Karin'da pointed towards the way he came in, barking an order that sounds like she's asking him to change.

Haru'sara just grins, and says, in what is clearly the universal standard tone of defiance, what can only be a "Make Me."

Karin'da's left eye twitched faintly.

Sky, who has been quietly shuffling and folding papers during this time, opened up what looks like a giant folded hat, and unceremoniously plopped it on her head. She continued to work.

Everyone glanced at Sky- but none more so the so called "High King" who looks afronted.

Then, he barks out a laugh.

Karin'da just sighed. "Fine. Whatever. We'll deal with it."

Sky looked up with a smile, feeling she has maybe found some common, albeit absurd, ground with the "High King". She keeps the hat on. He certainly seems happier than a clam, to say the least.

"Very well then, since we're all here," Amara'da said, grimacing at Haru'sara's direction. "I suppose we should properly begin."
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Re: Rei'schu Ambassadorial Mission - Novelized Transcripts.

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REI'SCHU FIRST NEGOTIATIONS VOLUME 3: "Pretty Fly for Rasputin."
(Transcribed by Tiernan Quinlan, Novelized by Calum Traveler)

Karin'da placed a pale purple crystal on the table, and hummed briefly. "Test: Sound Recording. Repeat test." She requested once the crystal began to glow a soft lavender.

"Sound Recording," the crystal echoeed back in Karin'da's voice- pulsing briefly with each syllable.

"Very well then," Karin'da then began, "Convening to Order the first official diplomacy session between the people of Rei'schu, and the people of D'ni. This is a... nonstandard session, with relaxed permissions. In attendance, D'ni: Robert Murry, Skyisblu, Ereshkigal, Jules Lavisham, Tiernan Quinlan, Catchen, Calum Traveler, Kelsei Taylor. Rei'schu: Village leaders, Amara'da, Haru'sara, Kura'quen, Rein'da, and Hotou'runa. Priestesses, Cas'ka, Jae'dhar, Karin'da, Sha'ri, and Nara'nen."

She then looked to Runa'mei, who sighed. "Attending Chezwyrd Chen, Runa'mei, present."

Karin'da nodded, and then smiled. "Now that we've called the meeting to order... I do believe some refreshments are first up? Let us begin with some Tea?"

Eresh laid out some cumin biscuits.

Sky pulled out a box from her pack, "I brought some homemade biscotti, dipped in chocolate. I figure you can never have too many cookies." She placed the box next to Eresh's cumin biscuits.

"Don't mind if I do...!" Hotou'runa reached out and snagged a biscotti from the box. He tasted it quickly, and while delight danced in his eyes, he glanced at his brother and said, "You wouldn't like it."

"Oh, I doubt that," Rein'da took one as well, and tried it, equally enjoying it.

"We can get you more cookies!" Eresh appeased.

Both brothers seemed very appreciative of that.

Robert is appreciative that Catchen brought some Earl Grey tea. He was going to need something strong for these interesting proceedings. Although, Sky's pirate hat reminded him of something. "Jules, will you please stop humming 'I Am A Major General'? " he whispered. "I'm having a hard enough time keeping a straight face as is."

Catchen had been trying not to stare at the High King, but wasn't sure she's succeeding. Jules's humming wasn't helping either.

"Alright," said Jules. "But I reserve the right to slip in at least one Pinafore reference before this day is out." Jules poured himself an Earl Grey and takes a biscotti.

"Agreed," Robert smirked, sipping his tea while grabbing another of Sky's chocolate-dipped biscotti.

Catchen forcibly turned her attention away from the High King and distracted herself with tea and a biscuit.

As the snacks are dolled out, Runa'mei tapped Calum on the shoulder politely and nodded over towards the window for a moment. Calum followed her over and they briefly talked in hushed whispers. Soon, Calum returned to the table, and Runa'mei slipped out, a concerned look on her face.

"Where's she going?" Kelsei asked in a hushed whisper.

"Er..." Calum blinked. "...Restroom?" He offered unconvincingly.

Notably, the smell of sea-air had not gone away, and was definitely coming through the window. It's not something Haru'sara had on him causing it, and the man seems bemused that Runa'mei has left at such a critical juncture.

Priestess Cas'ka did not notice Calum's unconvincing tone of voice, and seemed to take his words at face value. "She should have made her excuses for that before we began."

General Amara'da, on the other hand, just grunted, knowingly, and glanced first at Haru'sara, then back at Calum. Finally, she responded to Cas'ka, "One makes their excuses when they need to make them."

Robert looked at Calum and raises an inquisitive eyebrow. Calum shook his head with a 'don't ask me now' look in his eyes.

"Moving on from that digression," Karin'da decided to move the conversation along. "Now that we have our snacks and refreshments provided... I believe it is time to start on with the main proceedings?"

"Right," Calum nodded, and dug into his bag to fish out a purple covered journal. A stickynote on the cover reads "Rei'schu" in a fancy, almost runic type hand written font. "Gimme juuust a moment here..." he started leafing through pages... "Right," he finally finds a page, and began reading. "Per previous discussions with the Priestesses and Mayors through them, the Rei'schu delegation has requested four specific items in possible trade."

He chuckled. "We've already started with Item C: Food and Drink, as well as the world work required on the farming side of things." He motioned at the pile of documents the twins provided.

"Yes we did!" Hotou'runa grined.

"The only remaining point in this regard would be...." Calum frowned. "Animal imports."

"That's-" Kura'quen coughed politely, as if thinking she'd interjected out of turn. "That's my biggest request." She smiled to the twins. "As good as it will be to get more plant based varieties in place... animal life is the biggest other factor we can use to improve our standing here."

"The big concern I have over that is potentially introducing invasive wildlife..." Calum paused. "But considering how invasive the natural wildlife can already be given their size..." he looked towards the D'ni delegation. "Does anyone have any suggestions on this front?"

Sky looked up from a particularly confusing weather chart. "I, too, would be worried about the introduction of potentially invasive species. Regardless of how large and...umm...ferocious the native wildlife is. There are way too many examples of invasive species decimating local plant life or other animals for us to draw examples from, I would worry about causing similar scenarios here."

She thought for a moment, and then continued. "I think the only safe way for us to proceed might be to introduce animal farming, and not wild animals for hunting, as much as the population of Reis'chu would prefer the latter. We need to keep any introduced fauna isolated from the local animals, at least for now."

"Sky is right", said Jules. "There's a risk of any new element bought in from our side playing havoc with your world's ecosystems. Not to mention any bacteria they may carry, harmless to us, making its way through your own populaces and causing significant impact to health. We're looking for something reasonable small in stature, whose numbers can be managed and controlled accordingly, and whose presence can be observed for any negative effects and cleared of risk before escalating in numbers."

"One of our countries, Australia, had a devastating experience to their ecology when frogs and rabbits were introduced." Robert added.

"All that being said..." Jules removed a folder from his bag and opened it, revealing several pages of notes and photographs. "This may be a contender. Gallus gallus domesticus. The domestic chicken."

Sky nodded in agreement at Jules' example.

"There's a few reference shots there for height comparisons. Suffice it to say that it's... well, certainly not what you would consider a threat to your personal safety insofar as size is concerned." Jules concluded.

Kura'quen looked at the offered photos and her eyes widened. She looked towards Rein'da, and asked him quickly, "Hey, am I imagining it or-?"

Rein'da looked at the images and chuckled. "Well I'll be..."

Rein'da quickly showed the images of the chickens around. The others all look interested- and Haru'sara laughs once more. He then says a single word. "Nenpapal!"

Sky looked out from under her paper hat, questioningly.

"Nenpapal?" Robert asked.

"Cliff Bird Flying," Jae'dhar translated.

"They went extinct half a generation ago," Kura'quen said, awe in her eyes.

"A bad blight followed by some over zealous hunting by the local wildlife put an end to the poor birds," Karin'da elaborated.

Robert smiled at the new oppurtunity. "Well, we could offer these chickens as a way of bringing them back."

"That's-!" Kura'quen nodded. "I think that will do nicely!"

"I would try raising them domestically first, to prevent any unwanted hunting causing a second extinction right away," offered Sky.

"Of course," Kura'quen nodded.

"We'll want to keep them more protected this time for sure," Rein'da said.

"While these are very small," Hotou'runa began, "do they get larger? Are their versions that get bigger?"

"Fantastic," smiled Jules. "Good on two counts, as both their meat and the eggs they produce are equally delicious."

Kura'quen nodded eagerly.

"And they are superb for fertilizing gardens, too!" Sky exclaimed, perhaps a little too excitedly.

"Well, we do have ostriches..." Robert produced a photo.

"Excellent!" Rein'da grinned in response to Sky.

Hotou'runa looked at the picture of the ostrich. His eyes widened comically large. "Oh. Those are beauties, alright."

"They'd give a hatchling slaughter crane a run for their money, alright," Rein'da agreed.

"Wait until you see their eggs.", Robert smiled. And the provided pictures make the twins giddy with glee.

"Pack a hell of a punch if you get on the wrong side of them as well," Jules added.

Robert asked Sky and Jules in a whispered voice, "Should show them cows and pigs? How will they react to Bacon?"

"On our world, we believe brids like these descended from creatures we called Dinosaurs," Calum said to Hotou'runa. "They ranged in size, but some of them were very large indeed, back in the day. I could see whatever phenomenon makes animals grow large here making them get that big as well, over time."

The Mayor in question grinned. "Oh that is excellent news!"

Sky grined, "How does anyone respond to bacon?"

Rein'da said, "He's always wanted to try breeding a counter predator to the slaughter cranes." Then, he looked to Sky and Robert- "Pardon, 'Bacon'?"

"It's a cut of meat from the pig," Sky explained. "it can be smoked or salted first, then sliced and fried off to produce a salty, crispy result. It is an excellent addition to dishes to enhance the flavour and seasoning of them. In fact, bacon has become a little bit of an obsession where we are from. People try to use it in everything, even sweet dishes! But a little goes a long way, so it could be an excellent addition to your diet."

"Ah," Rein'da nodded. "Ba for cut, but... Con for pig?" he chuckled. "'Con' is 'tree' for us."

"He who controls the brown sauce, controls the universe", said Jules with utter sincerity.

"...Well, that's mildly amusing," Kelsei chuckled to herself.

"I imagine you could easily change the name to something more fitting from your vocabulary. Do you have an animal here that is similar to a boar or pig in shape?" Sky looked frantically to Jules and Murry for visual aids.

The twins looked at the pictures, confusion and awe respectively growing on their faces.

"And this is... a 'pig'?" Rein'da asked, looking astonished.

Jules hastily flicked through his paper file marked "Foodstuffs" and came across a picture he had found of an impressive looking sow. "You tend to get some more variations in sizes when it comes to pigs."

"Fascinating..." Hotou'runa gazed at the pictures.

Robert added, "There are many different cuts from pigs - baby back ribs, ham, bacon, Canadian bacon, pork chops, pork loin to name a few."

The twins were drooling with the listed possibilities.

"We don't have anything like that in our history here," Kura'quen said. "Atleast, not that survived into record."

Robert noticed their reaction. "Wait until you've had baby back ribs smothered in Bar-B-Que sauce. Yumm!" Robert thought the twins were about to faint.

"I don't know what that is," Rein'da said, "But that sounds amazing."

"Pigs could also be raised domestically and be relatively safe for the local fauna. I don't recall any significant instances of pigs becoming invasive in my research," Sky looks to Jules. "Have you read anything negative resulting from the introduction of pigs?"
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Re: Rei'schu Ambassadorial Mission - Novelized Transcripts.

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Jules nodded. "Only insofar as to what they can to the environment when allowed to roam free. Again, provided you keep them penned and their numbers regulated, risks of hat nature should be minimal."

Robert could see the hunger in the eyes of the leaders around the table. He pulled out a couple of racks of frozen ribs and Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce. "We could perhaps prepare a sample for you tonight?" One of the twins actually fainted.

Rein'da looked at Hotou'runa, then back at the ribs, and said, "I lay claim to his portion if he doesn't wake up."

"Let's get him up before we continue," Karin'da requested.

"Sure thing," Sha'ri knelt and went about gently slapping the poor mayor on the cheeks to wake him up.

"Duly witnessed," acknowleged Jules to Rein'da, starting to enjoy himself tremendously.

Calum looked to Robert, "Maybe put that away so it doesn't thaw out?" A pause. "Also, so that one doesn't faint again?"

"Agreed." Robert noticed everyone eyeing the meat as he repacked it.

As Sha'ri worked to rouse Hotou'runa, Nen'da meandered over to the window at the sound of several loudly arguing birds from outside. Whatever she sees has her shaking her head and heading back to the table.

Soon, Hotou'runa was back awake, and resting in his chair. "Sorry, I let my stomach get ahead of me there." He apologized.

"So, that's Pigs and Chickens for first import attempts?" Calum asked.

The Rei'schu negotiators nodded in agreement, even Haru'sara seems approving.

Calum looked to the D'ni group, "I'll... leave the logistics of figuring this out to you all. Do we feel comfortable to move onto another topic?"

Sky made some notes to research animal feed later and nods her head, "Yup, sounds good to me."

Robert nodded his head in agreement,

Jules flicked through his file. "Those were the best that I had prepared. Happy to progress onwards."

"Alright, so that's point C settled," Calum says once receiving confirmation from the others. "We've got three other points. A, Proof of Community. B, Examples of Musical Compositions. And D, Examples of Cultural Relaxation." he looks around the table. "Anyone want to pick one next, or should we go down the rest of the list alphabetical?"

"Musical compositions could be a go-er", volunteered Jules.

"Any objections to music?" Calum asked the group.

"I'm good with that!" replied Sky.

"I'm in the groove for it," Robert said.

Calum fishes out the MP3 player and the speaker set, and hooks it up. "Note, I've put this on shuffle, so it'll be a bit random as to what comes out first." He warns. "Also, since we've got a few tracks on here that are, well, part of whole albums that are very long, i've put them on a different folder," Calum adds. "So they'll be gotten to later." He looks to the locals, and said, "I may just leave this speaker and player here for you all to listen to in your own time."

Karin'da nodded. "That's acceptable. We priestesses will likely review the whole selection later on our own time. For now, just the highlights in shuffle?"

Calum started the player... Unsurprisingly, it's the Raider's March that starts first. John Williams' Indana Jones theme. "I think Robert provided this one? Among a lot of other John Williams stuff."

"Doing absolutely nothing to subvert expectations there, Rob" Jules chuckled.

Kura'quen seemed to be the most into it out of all the locals listening- bopping her head to the track as it progresses, with a wiry grin on her face. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Haru'sara seems unimpressed entirely.

General Amara'da seemed to be the next most into it, smirking as she taps a finger against her opposite arm. "A worthy hunting song, this one. You can feel the spirit of adventure within it."

The Priestesses seem to agree with that statement, nodding along.

Calum paused the track as it reaches the end, and looks to @Robert Murry , "Do you want to say anything about the composer, Robert?"

"John Williams is one of our most famous musical composers for our entertainment motion pictures soundtracks for the many decades." Robert explained. "He has captured human emotions so well in his music that it makes us cheer the hero, curse the villian, cry for the sad scenes, laugh at the comical ones, etc. His soundtracks have added to the stories greatly. His adventure scores such as this one can get your heart racing to feel as if you are part of the action."

The twins grinned at that.

Calum lets the MP3 player continue its shuffle play... Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd- "Brain Damage/Eclipse" Calum glanced over at Jules knowingly as Kelsei perks up- "Oh! Here's one Fil's covered before!"

"Fil?" Sha'ri asked.

"He's a musician who plays music covers in the cavern," Calum explained. "Many old tracks such as this one." He looked to Jules. "Jules could explain the original artists better."

"This is from a genre called Prog, short for Progressive Rock. Musicians several decades ago were experimenting with technology for their instruments to produce different sounds that tried new things in the way of poetry and free-flowing musical forms. This group, Pink Floyd, was one of the pioneers." Jules paused, thinking. "I think the best way I can describe how it makes you feel is when you let your spirit reach out from your body and embrace the vastness of the universe around you. When you just allow yourself to experience... well, everything."

The Priestesses nodded in understanding of that- seeming each to be the ones who get the song that's playing the most.

Haru'sara continues to look unimpressed, if more so because he can't understand the lyrics due to his own choice.

Jules smiled, "One to be listened to from the beginning of the album. For optimum experience, I recommend doing so in a place of relaxation or quiet contemplation. I must admit," Jules added, "after hearing of how your crystals react to different sounds, I would be particularly interested to see what they make of this one."

Jae'dhar remarked, "Oh, so would I." She looked positively giddy as she glanceed at Haru'sara, who continues to look unimpressed. "So. Would. I." She reiterates.

The next song shuffled up next without Calum realizing it- a version of "The Sound of Silence" covered by what the author data lists only as "Disturbed."

Needless to say, nobody said anything while the song played- caught up in the melody and the lyrics...

By the time it ended, Calum just pauses the track, and looks to Sky and says, "Well. That was a thing," practically shaken to the core himself.

Comments are hard to come by from the rest of the Rei'schu diplomats, stunned, and appreciating the music... Well, save for Haru'sara who, while not seeming Unimpressed, looks at the very least considering what he heard very seriously.

"I don't think I've ever heard that version before," Kelsei remarked. "Who covered that one?"


Robert motioned to Sky. "I believe you're up."

Sky cleared her throat. "It is a song originally done by 2 excellent song writers, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, who sound like angels when singing together, but actually hated each other in real life. This singer took the song to a whole other level by singing it much more powerfully and so much more emotion. You can really feel the power of the song through his performance."

There are many nods around.

"Brief pause?" Calum asked. "I think I need some water after that last track."

"Did come out swinging that one, didn't it," agreed Jules, suddenly conscious of the fact he hadn't inhaled once for the better part of the song's duration.
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