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Log: The Welcome Wagon

Page history last edited by Issthok 14 years, 4 months ago
The forests around Crystal Fang Smile are surprisingly safe, even for non-Solars - most of the Stalkers living in them have been herded into areas where they won't attack travellers and have cows to eat, while most of the claw striders and other angry /animal/ reptiles have been herded into pens to be tamed at some point, or at least taught to stay away from things with two legs.
The trees are also surprisingly good about having nice, edible fruit. The groves of fruit trees are common, because if there's one thing a Raptok king likes, it's gardens. Issthok is approaching one of the groves - the new home of Philokrates and his ward - for a meeting with the new resident. Issthok likes meeting new Solars, even if he has been told they are slightly murderous.
Philokrates is gardening, when you find him. He is hanging by the knees from the rough branches, his skirt making an undignified display of his mammalian nature as he plucks fungal bolls from the tree branches, tossing them belowto Dreams of Elsewhere, who is pointedly ignoring his nakedness. The young girl with the long dark hair and the ink-stained eyes glances up at you and waves wordlessly, gathering up the fuel for the campfire. << Hello, >> she says, in Old Realm. << Are you a spirit? >> Up-side down, Philokrates turns his gaze to you, and flips down, landing on - he has no feet. Why doesn't he have feet, and how can he land on his pink, scar-tissue stumps like that without shattering his bones further?
<< No. >> Issthok responds in perfect, unaccented Old Realm - an easy tongue for him. It's practically his native tongue! << I am not a spirit, I am a Dragon King. >> The confusion is pretty easy to get, of course - there aren't that many talking lizards around that /aren't/ spirits, these days. Especially those who wear magic armor.
A pause, as Issthok notices the lack of feet. He doesn't seem all that perturbed by the essentially naked monkeyness - clothing was always a mammal thing. Armor, not so much, but clothing, sure. << ...ah, are you all right? Shouldn't that hurt? And...oh yes, I am being impolite. Greetings. I am Issthok Mostath Atlaaki, King of Crystal Fang Smile. >>
<< I am Philokrates of Great Forks - truth-teller, long-messenger, lie-scourger, world-circler, arrow-master, wisdom-teacher, >> replies Philokrates, bowing in the strange way one bows when lacking feet. << Your mute friend told me of you. Thank you for letting us remain here - our journies have been strange, beset by ill-omen. I have promised to protect my ward, Dreams of Elsewhere, who has brought forth prophecy unbidden. >>
Philokrates 's voice is deep and resonant, reminding you vaguely of an anklok's deep bass.
Dreams of Elsewhere says, << Stop telling everyone about that... It's private. There haven't been any demons for weeks. >>
<< I would not turn you away - unless you were an enemy of the Sun or myself. Hospitality is very important. >> Issthok, despite having realized that he is living by archaic standards, has never really tried to change his standards. After all, just because the world sucks doesn't mean you can have bad manners.
The King pauses...and then nods. <<If this prophecy is a private matter, I will not ask. >>
Philokrates seems hesitant not to offer full disclosure - but between your polite non-inquiry, and Dreams' withering teenage stare, he manages to resist the urge to blab. << Joyous Cacophony has been bringing me the books of your people to read. They're very interesting - he told me that you and he are embarking on a literacy-encouraging campaign through your city. >>
<< Oh, he has? Yes - I am very proud of our libraries. They will be the foundation on which we will build. >> Metaphors are okay, right? Issthok is very proud of his work with the books, and has a tendency to give impromptu speeches. << The manuals we have been translating and copying will prove very useful, and the novels are, of course, always welcome. But the literacy is the most important part - there is just so much that cannot be done if people are not /educated/. With the knowledge we hope to give, and what we hope to build, it is imperative that the people must read. >>
Dreams looks to Philokrates, who looks back to her. She smirks. << Philokrates is a good teacher for honest students, >> she says. << He learned a special teaching charm just for me. >> The Solar looks sheepish. << It is true, >> he says. << If you're willing to... risk my presence among your students, I can bring my power to bear in a tutorial capacity. I can teach them letters in a week, and numbers in another week. >> Meaning, literacy and advanced arithmetic.
<< Hm...a teacher with the power of Charms would be very helpul...but the students must, yes, be honest. >> Issthok closes his eyes, thinking. The risk and the reward must be balanced...and more importantly, the people must be made to feel safe. << I believe that you may teach...but. You will do so /here/, that you do not hear any lies in walking through the streets. Second, it will be made clear what you do to those who lie. Third, if you /do/ kill my people while they study under you...well, it will not be treated as murder, because murder carries a very stiff penalty here. But it /will/ be a crime - and you will be made to pay the families of the victims. I must ensure they feel protected. >> Issthok opens his eyes again. << Do you believe this sounds acceptable? >>
Philokrates lifts his feet. << I let my feet be severed for my previous crimes, and I have spurned all offers to repair them. I would do no less for you. >> He pauses. << Perhaps it is best if they do not speak at all. I have no objection to them knowing my man-killer nature, >> says Philokrates. << I am embarrased, but not ashamed. >>
<< Hm. I may be able to develop a plant that can remove the power of speech for a time. That may help. I will try to make it clear to my people the dangers of deception around you. >> Issthok taps his claws together thoughtfully. << It may help. I appreciate your forthrightness in this matter. And...do you desire any payment for this? >>
<< All I desire is a place where I can exist, and think, and labor for the people, >> says Philokrates. And it's true. Marvelous and impossible, but it is true.
<< That...that, I can give you. >> Issthok smiles, though on a fanged mouth like his, this is not necessarily friendly-looking. He's trying, at least! And, of course, no normal mortal would be able to tell that it looks frightening, so it's only an issue around Exalts. << This grove will be yours, as long as you need it. If you need a house grown or built, I will provide that, though I would not deprive you of the joys of gardening it for yourself. >>
Philokrates shakes his head. << Nothing of the like is nec->> <<PLEASE make us a house!>> shouts Dreams. <<Please please, I'm so tired of sleeping on earth1>>
<< A house is simple, for me - well, a small one is. Two rooms, perhaps... >> ISsthok closes his eyes once more. He begins to sing, in the ancient tongue of Dragon Kings, the High Holy Speech. The songs of red and the songs of green, animal and plant, mix in his voice, as Essence circle around him. Charms of the Exalted look easy, to bystanders. This is not such a Charm. Issthok moves in a careful dance, as precise as any martial art, his tail weaving and swaying as he plants his feet in prescribed motions.
The green and red Essence flow around him, spiraling and focusing on his claws. He reaches out, touching trees, his voice rising to command them. One by one, they bend down, waving together in a great spiral - a simple hut, but made of living trees of the grove, woven together by the power of the song.
Dreams laughs in delight. << That was amazing! >> she squeals, running in to the house with astonishment, in and out, poking her head out the door. Philokrates looks no less impressed, though more zen about it. << You're a generous host indeed, >> he murmurs.

Issthok bows, smiling. << You have asked to live here, in my kingdom. I provide my subjects with homes - in or out of the walls. >> The grass around his feet seems to bow with him, moving in accordance with his subconscious will. Issthok is /very/ good with plants. << I hope you will find it useful. >> 

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