|Epera, Day 1
||[Mar. 23rd, 2006|03:21 pm]
So today I left Cho-sray. Nesthaa wasn't there either. I'm getting sick of this already and it's only been what, a hundred and fifty syzygies as of this one? I've spent longer than this pursuing advanced biology degrees before. It's probably just the loneliness that's getting to me - even before I met Nesthaa I didn't usually go many places alone. I always brought Sasrik or Hleran or my parents along, and even when I did go alone I went home to my family. At the time I thought it was selfish of Nesthaa's sisters and parents (and my brothers and parents) not to drop everything and start looking for her like Ewrel and I did, but now I think I see what the deal is - hopping from world to world every single solitary syzygy, on a strict schedule and no flexibility and this awful urgency is NOT FUN.|
Anyway, Epera seems kind of nice. But I could have sworn that Sasrik told me it had elves. He was here just about twenty-six thousand syzygies ago, give or take a few! That is not enough time to evolve wings - wings of three different kinds while apparently retaining crossfertility - on an elf species naturally. They don't even seem like they did evolve there. The rest of the body is hardly adapted all that well to flying - no hollow bones, for example. They mass, if anything, more than elves when you count the wings and the muscles used to move them. If the gravity were just a little bit stronger they'd never get off the ground. It seems like they also lay eggs. This I haven't seen personally, obviously, but the internal structures are not suited to live birth, and if that gland doesn't secrete eggshell material then I don't know why it's there.
So when I arrive here - already in elf form as per Sasrik's obviously faulty information; could he have misread the world's number on my schedule? - I had to do a partial-imitation of the entire torso as well as the wings of the closest female Eperan of about the same build, then modify them a little to look right. That was stressful, let me tell you - I'm lucky I appeared in an alley and not in the middle of a crowd of people or something like that. From now on I'm taking my invulnerable invisible form every time I hop, no matter what I've been told occupies my destination world. I would rather avoid risking alerting someone to my species by appearing as something totally inappropriate in front of them.
I was walking around, trying to get a handle on my surroundings, when a native with the butterfly sort of wings (a "fey") grabbed me and wanted to know if I were "part fey". It's times like that when I wish the tongues ability gave me a better handle on connotations. I mean, it tells me what "part fey" means - strictly speaking - but how was I supposed to know if she was asking because they were having a fey pride meeting, or because they were hunting down part-fey?
Turned out it was the latter, in a sense. Someone else is hunting down part-fey. She's apparently one of the good guys - the appearance of my elf form, plus the slightly-off-white wings that I copied, is all the right colors for an "angel", but it has straight hair, which is a "fey" characteristic, and some people are opposed to "mixed" individuals like I appear to be, including the official who was elected this morning. I do have excellent timing, don't I? She was talking about curling my hair or something. I wound up spilling the beans. She was obviously going to make it very difficult to just refuse her and go on my way, and I have never liked forming extended associations with natives without letting them know I'm not as I seem. Of course, since I'm leaving at the end of the syzygy, I suppose that's not really an "extended" association, but even so. I also summarized the entire deal with the cataclysms and why I'm here.
She took this as an invitation to drag me to her temple - she's apparently a priestess of a cult called the Aerukkah's Children - and show me to the high priestess, Lerikhen, (The fey's name, if it matters, is Zidda.) Before we even got into the temple we were greeted by a little mostly-fey angel, Kulary, who seems to be a member of the temple's chorus. I do not think I will ever understand the connection between religion and choruses, but it seems that a great many churches have them. We then went inside and met this Lerikhen person, a partly-angel "chiropti" (leathery wings), who was understandably skeptical about my abilities and required a demonstration.
At this point I was just acceding to the inevitable. These natives had the idea that I could be useful to them, and assumed benevolent intentions on my part (I'm not sure why - it seems like simply not turning into something spiky and firebreathing tells natives that I must like them personally and want to help them, instead of, for example, not wanting to attract attention and be pestered for favors). So I turned into an "Aerukkah's Messenger" on the basis of a verbal description. It's a very clunky form. The torso needs to be elongated significantly, and support two pairs of wings - I had to add several rows of ribs and get rid of a few vital organs that would be important if I couldn't consciously deal with their automatic functions to make room for the new musculature. I also had to get very creative with the legs - they need to have the lower pair of fey wings attached to them to make a complete set, and I assumed that these extra wings would also need to be able to move. Eventually I had to resort to a mechanical solution, a variation on the fan-wavers in Eshaasaaiah - it wasn't elegant, but it made the wings move and I could keep enough of my thigh muscles to be able to stand up. Then they told me I had to be able to fly in this form. That was just out of the question. The fey wings lacked enough power to do anything at all. The angel and the chiropti wings were both functional, but they overlapped each other significantly and either pair flapping quickly and flexibly enough to get this clunky body aloft would be ludicrous. Enter another mechanical solution, the handy little levitation device that I learned how to grow in Quiseqai.
At that point I returned to the angel form. Then Zidda brought up the question of whether or not I was actually willing to help them. That was somewhat appeasing, but it didn't seem to bring me any closer to Nestha. Believe it or not, though, she actually guessed by herself that I must have something like a tongues ability (misunderstand though she did how it worked - this rendered her suggestion unhelpful). Before I could express one way or the other my willingness or lack thereof to help them anyway, Lerikhen noticed that Kulary, the little girl from earlier, had walked into the room. She wanted help with some problem she'd had regarding the world's weird magic - it's a depleted nonreplenishable finite planet-dependent nongeographical involuntarily-released creativity-triggered random-effect magical system, a particular variant I haven't seen before (most creativity-triggered systems are voluntary-release, and very few of them are nonreplenishable if they're finite at all).
I eventually agreed to help them out. It's not like I have all that much else planned for my visit here.