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Kiuel Parkaeth-Alsarreh

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Epera, Day 10 [May. 6th, 2006|11:50 am]
Kiuel Parkaeth-Alsarreh
I finally thought of a way to see if Nesthaa was here. Since wherever she is she's planning on spending a long time there, she has no doubt polished up her form for long-term use, including ear modifications to be able to hear above and below the spectrum normally available to the natives. All I have to do is call for her in Gyafrulu subsonically and if she's there, she'll hear me and follow my voice.

Well, I didn't find Nesthaa - big surprise - but I did get heard by Kulary, the little angel girl who's with the temple; I wasn't very far below the audible spectrum so that alone wasn't terribly surprising; just a minor variation allowing her to hear a bit better than the average native here. The really astonishing thing was that Kulary could understand me - and I was speaking Gyafrulu. Doing the math, this little girl is somehow a dimension hopper.

She was skeptical at first, which led me to develop the hypothesis that she somehow had her memory erased by the cataclysm - it's a sure thing that she was very young when she got shunted into Epera, because only hoppers under thirty syzygies old copy nearby forms in the absence of their parents, and she had to have copied an existing child because she was raised as an Eperan by a woman who thought she was her real daughter, so this is probably an age-dependent thing. I've never heard of it happening before, but I also haven't ever met any hoppers who were under thirty syzygies old at the time of one of the cataclysms.

After I convinced her - had her pronounce "pfolyuwa", which is completely out of the question for any Eperan, and made some educated guesses about ways in which she'd have been different from the natives - she wanted a new form and a new name because her current ones were "stolen". I guess being raised as a native is going to do funny things to one's ethics, but I obliged with the new form anyway; she's now a small chiropti girl who goes by Arukin, which is the name she chose upon entering the temple.

Then I had to upset her all over again by rather sheepishly mentioning that the entire temple thing was based on a crock. She was angry at me for not telling her before and started going on about how natives have rights - well, of course they have, but if hoppers made a habit of informing them of the facts behind every stupid thing they believed in we'd also have to make a habit of escaping from people wishing to take us to mental institutions, or possibly angry torch-wielding mobs.

She seems like a charitable sort, and I'm betting that she's going to start using her newfound powers to feed the hungry or something, which considering her background is pretty understandable, and probably more productive than hunting down and slaying whoever killed her (adoptive? unknowingly adoptive? duped? foster? what exactly is the correct term here?) mother or something like that. To this end I've started to teach her about shapeshifting and some rudimentary hopper history so if anyone else happens across her she won't look like an ignorant moron, and so if anyone notices that seventy years from now she's still alive and healthy and probably looking like she's seventeen they won't be able to hurt her. She'll probably have to keep moving around - I wouldn't be too surprised if she were the focus of a lot of legends after a while, maybe even a religion in a few hundred years. Next time I meet up with a family member - I think Sasrik said he'd look in on me in five syzygies - I'll have to mention her and get someone to make sure she's doing okay.
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Epera, Day 6 [Apr. 13th, 2006|10:59 am]
Kiuel Parkaeth-Alsarreh
I've been hanging out in the room they lent me for the past several days, sort of moping. I'd likely be more comfortable being a tree in the forest nearby until they need me to show up at Merrika's inauguration but of course they won't hear of it - I need to stay indoors, as an angel, and they also insist upon providing me with food, even though I've explained to them that I can grow my own perfectly well. Since I don't really have any interest in attending services and none of my hobbies apply here - they're not exactly giving courses in biology at this temple, for example - I've been sitting around in my room doing approximately nothing.

Today, however, I turned into a bird, flew behind some cloud cover over the place where Merrika was delivering a nasty little speech - very eloquent, but nasty - and turned into a Messenger, complete with levitation device. Then I fluttered down - to Merrika's right when she was looking left, so she didn't notice I was there until I started talking, which was amusing. Delivered the entire analect, with appropriate angry-emissary-of-the-divine gestures and scowls. Merrika was so scared she flew away before I was even finished. I kind of got the impression from the crowd that they were likely to mob her and do her some violence if only they weren't packed too tightly to take off, so I did a little stern pacing before very, very slowly ascending above the clouds again. That delayed them enough that I think Merrika was able to get a good head start. Seeing as she's now so thoroughly discredited that she's not going to be able to do any damage I don't see any reason to allow people to hurt her. Once out of sight behind the clouds - what would I have done if there had been no clouds, I wonder? - I turned back into the cute little bird. I didn't go back to the temple right away; I was hungry and didn't feel like growing my own food, so I descended upon a small child who was feeding the birds and partook of some crumbs. Every now and then it's fun to do something like that.

When I flew back to the temple I dropped in on Lerikhen to let her know I'd been successful. She had her cousin visiting - a half-chiropti angel named Rikary. I thought the visit was oddly timed, but I suppose they might have had it scheduled before the old Overwing was assassinated and not changed their plans when Merrika was announced as the successor.

I need to think of a good way to look for Nesthaa. All of the worlds that I've checked before this one were worlds we'd visited together before, where she'd be hanging out waiting for me in a particular place. Here, I have to come up with some means of alerting her to my presence in a situation where I don't know where she would be, preferably unobtrusively.
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Day 2, Epera [Mar. 25th, 2006|11:36 pm]
Kiuel Parkaeth-Alsarreh
Lerikhen gave me a copy of their religion's holy text, the Eazenrukah, to read, so that I can read the seventh analect and recite it for the benefit of the populace in the guise of an Aerukkah's Messenger. I went ahead and read the rest of it out of curiosity. It seems pretty typical for holy texts of large, popular religions (the Aerukkah's Children share their holy text with the dominant faith of this country, but adhere to a more literal interpretation) - enough pretty messages about tolerance and love and happiness that everyone who practices it can feel very righteous, and enough screwed up commands and morally bankrupt protagonists in the parables that anyone who cares to look hard enough can find a passage somewhere to back up anything they might care to do. It's not my favorite holy book by any means. That would probably be the Tourkwaraua, that the Cauriemou in Aurautwouk followed - just "Don't be a jerk" in large letters, and that was the entire text. Pity that Cauriemoura was such an unpopular religion. The injunction was too hard, I guess - everybody wanted the easy and completely uninformative "an ye live as the Lady of Perpetuity hath dictated, ye shall be bathed in warmer waters of sweeter salts for all thy days" - while kindly neglecting to mention exactly what the Lady of Perpetuity had in mind for the reader. The Lady of Perpetuity was quite a character. I think she cared more about being a popular goddess than an effective one. But I digress.

The seventh analect of the Eazenrukah opens with the third version of the creation story - there's one in the first analect, and another one in the fourth analect, and then that one, and then one in the twelfth analect. I'm not sure why they need so many - the overlap is considerable, although each one seems to focus on a particular aspect (creation of the entire cosmos, creation of natural things on Epera specifically, creation of Eperans, and then a contradictory version of the creation of natural things, respectively). This serves to establish that everyone in Epera has traces of all three species in their ancestry - demonstrably false, as they'll discover if and when they begin serious forays into genetic research, but this is religion - and then the analect goes on to tell a nasty little parable about some upptiy angel who started to take pride in the fact that she was all angel as far as she could trace, and got "cast into the second world" - that starts going into their beliefs about the afterlife, on which I will not elaborate, but suffice it to say that the second world is extremely unpleasant.

When I finished reading the book I got a visit from Kulary, the little girl from yesterday. She was concerned about whether it was possible that my turning into an Aerukkah's Messenger and wowing a crowd with my ability to memorize the Eazenrukah might be sacrilegious. Well, it probably was, but I admit it - I copped out. I didn't want to have that conversation. I may have done some awful things in the past but I always had good reasons, and I just didn't think I had a good reason to politely inform a twelve-year-old girl that yes, it was sacrelige for me to adopt the form of an Aerukkah's Messenger, and it was deceitful for me to appear in front of a crowd and recite bits of their holy text, but it was okay, because the sacrelige was against a nonexistent deity and the deceit would be beneficial to her society. So I told her to go consult the priestesses instead of me. I felt bad about it, afterwards - it made me feel cowardly and dodgy and very, very much alone. It's truly awful to be in a world where you know something important and you simply cannot, ethically, divulge it to anyone there. It makes me want to go home to Viressaan and just stay with my family until Nesthaa is happened upon by some other hopper and asks it to bring her there. Ultimately, though, there are things I can't even share with my parents and my brothers - dear to me though they are - especially when my parents have each other and my brothers can be expected to find lifemates any syzygy now they're grown. I need my lifemate, my Nesthaa Gektrula-Eiba, and no one else will do in the long run.
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Epera, Day 1 [Mar. 23rd, 2006|03:21 pm]
Kiuel Parkaeth-Alsarreh
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.
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