Writer’s Note: So happy I waited to write this particular passage. I really was at a loss as to how Cael was going to get his own line of credit. I had always planned on him having one (for other reasons you’ll see in later posts) but the means by which he would get it didn’t come to me until just this last Friday. And now it seems so obvious!
Cael found himself back in the dim lobby. He gave cursory glance at the sleeping mass in the corner that was Alberich as he headed for the empty bar.
Cael then sat down just as he remembered he had no access to credit, and therefore could not buy himself a drink. He quietly gripped the edge of the bar and took a deep breath. What a night. The bartender’s newspaper was now spread out on the counter, catching water that ran off the glasses he was cleaning and setting out to dry. Cael moved a couple of tumblers and carefully flipped over the page in front of him. The bartender glanced his way but didn’t seem to mind.
As he skimmed over the articles, Cael’s eyes caught the odd word or name, “rebellion,” “sabotage,” “the people,” “Moungren” and “Novafolk,” the latter usually followed by “bastard” and maybe “the oppressors,” and many quotes from an “Edgard Dessal.” The surrounding words were similar enough to the ancient Romance languages that Cael should have been able to decipher the articles easily. However, he decided he was just too tired and it was too dark to focus on the blurry typesetting, or he was not drunk enough to let his brain work on its own. He scratched at his arm and remembered he was still wearing the laveli pad. He perked up as he peeled the pad off his forearm and laid it over the page. The translucent pad softly glowed at his touch. He could have used it to magnify the text, but instead took the easier route and had the pad translate each line as he dragged a finger over it.
Those who were able to attend the open conference yesterday were treated to another rousing speech by Edgard Dessal. The message is one of hope and endurance in these uncertain times.
“We must work together as brothers and sisters to find the strength in ourselves. We have for so long, worked to steal from the oppressors that little bit that was ours. But now to steal that little bit is to steal from ourselves. The Novafolk bastards have tried to overwhelm us with the Tasty Hinges, to dilute our power with waves of fresh blood, to replace us once they’ve used us up. But we are the descendents of self-liberators and we will honor those ancestors….”
Cael blinked and reread the passage. Yep, it definitely said Tasty Hinges. Was that just a glitch in translation? He tried to think of a similar metaphor or a colloquialism but his mind was blank. After a fruitless minute or two of racking his brain, Cael was interrupted by a glowing pulse along the bottom edge of the levali pad. He sighed and tapped the edge to see an incoming message, the pad’s translucent skin clouded to an opaque gray.
Hi! Can we speak for a moment? – Sieffre
No – Cael
Cael tapped the bottom edge and tried to pick back up with the article again. The pad clouded on its own and Sieffre’s text forced its way up to the surface.
Hi! Can we speak for a moment? – Sieffre
Little bastard’s gotten clever. Cael rested an elbow on the damp bar and rubbed his head irritably before sighing in defeat.
Only if you answer a question first. – Cael
Sure! – Sieffre
What the hell are Tasty Hinges? – Cael
Ah yes! I can answer that! I was curious myself when I reading through the archives. It seems the Manana Corporation brought in a massive wave of new workers who call themselves Gongou, which to them means something like dog pack, or roughly, commune or community of dogs. I am sure it has very proud inferences for them. However, in the Moungren language, their name directly translates to Hinges Taste. Interestingly enough, it would appear as though this influx of new workers was the catalyst for the uprising here. – Sieffre
Is she really sick? – Cael
Well, that is sort of complicated. – Sieffre
I do not appreciate being messed with. If she’s not dying, you can’t tell me she’s dying. Did you say that just to get me here? – Cael
If there is one thing you two have in common, its that you will only respond to a little melodrama. There is something wrong with her, Cael,…
There was a pause in the text, but Sieffre wasn’t done; implying he was struggling for the right words. Cael found that concerning.
… and she’s getting worse. It’s hard to explain. I can only use what she feels from my vantage point. She’s been slowing down little by little for the last few years. The changes have been tiny each time, but for that very reason it has been impossible to convince HER there’s something wrong. – Sieffre
Ilya said she saw Mari faint back during the escape from the jail. Is that a part of it? – Cael
Another concerning pause.
… is has been a recent development. I always seem to be distracted with other things when it happens. She won’t admit it’s a new problem. Always, she blames it on “the excitement” or “being tired” or “hungry.” – Sieffre
What do you expect me to do? – Cael
I felt her heart race when she realized you were here. You two play it cool with each other, but there’s a chance you are the only person she may actually listen to. – Sieffre
So you want me to tell her to go see a doctor? That’s it? – Cael
She may also have been making some poor decisions recently. – Sieffre
That seems about per usual for her. – Cael
She’s taken on a few too many risks at once, this time. In her current condition, I’m not certain how easily she’ll be able to get us out of it. – Sieffre
What KIND of risks? – Cael
It is a rather long story. How about I buy you a drink? – Sieffre
Cael’s levali pad pulsed along the left edge this time and after tapping it, he saw a message from the Flore Bank (formerly the Manana Bank) with a sizable credit amount listed underneath.
Are you trying to bribe me? – Cael
Is it working? – Sieffre
Cael cocked his head in a shrug.
I’m still not sure what you want from me. – Cael
For now, I just need you to look after Mari and get her safely back to the ship. Once we’re on the ship, we can deal with other issues. Together I am confident we can can get her the help she needs. – Sieffre
I already have two tag-alongs to look after. – Cael
Bring them along! I really like Ilya, anyway! And once we get back to the ship, we can take them wherever they need to go. – Sieffre
Cael rubbed at the stubble on his cheek in contemplation.
Deal. – Cael
“Bartender! A drink!”