Closed The Depth of Information[Caspian]

Moritz and Caspian meet at the Outpost

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Herein lies Xyna's Outpost, and her gift to Mizahar's people. It is a magical place full of potential and possibility where all can gather and exchange ideas and commerce.

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The Depth of Information[Caspian]

Postby Moritz Craven on November 22nd, 2020, 10:11 pm

35 Fall 520


Heading to the building once more, Moritz entered into the dovecote. Once more he found himself inside of a building quite different from the outside, an oddity in Moritz mind which he puzzled at. Was the building inside the same as the one outside, if it led to another place when exited? Or was the outside one thing, and the inside shared across the Dovecotes, in truth only the inside of the one at the Outpost itself? Moritz was unsure, and though he enjoyed the mental challenge of puzzling over it he was unsure how to test it or to figure out which was the truth of things.

Shutting the door Moritz waited a bit, and then taking a deep breath opened it to find... Yet again another place. Further proof that last time was not just a fluke. He had not thought as such, that it was a place he could only visit once, but it was still good to have additional confirmation. Moritz stepped outside to feel the oppressive heat of the Outpost, at least when compared to the relatively cooler weather of the mountain top city of Lhavit.

Inside the Outpost, or more true outside while inside of the Outpost since it was not a singular building but a place or city with many open air spots, Moritz looked about. Last time he had come there he had met a man named Paul, one who had spoken true, had given him good information, and who had even given him a map of the outpost. He had admitted this was in a greater desire for increased trade, but still Moritz was thankful for it. The help, the assistance, and for being a friendly face upon entering the city.

He was a bit of an older human, at least in Moritz mind as compared to Moritz who was not even two years old the man was ancient. But ancient in a good way, speaking of intelligence and gained wisdom.

As a human he was not that old, not young but not old as he was in his early forties. It did not take long looking about to find Paul, standing off to the side. Mortiz made haste to approach him, getting his attention by raising a hand.

"Paul. My name is Moritz. We met a few days ago, and talked. I wanted to thank you for your aid, it was quite useful in helping me work out this place."

Paul smiled in turn, nodding his head.

"Yes, Moritz, I remember you. A smart young fellow. Sharp of mind, wit, and tongue, if I recall. You stand out from my memory enough that I remember you. In a good way, mind you. What brings you back."

Gladdened that the man remember him, Moritz smiled back. He felt that while he did not trust many people easily, this man was trustworthy. Someone he could expect to give it to him straight, not try to cheat him, and to make sure everyone came out ahead after a deal was struck. He was not sure why exactly this was the case based on how little the two had interacted, but that impression came off the man strongly for Moritz from what he had seen. Almost as if he had an aura of honesty and competence emanating from him that Mortiz could tangibly feel.

"Well, last time I was here I asked you about why you gave the information away. Why you helped. You explained what you got out of it, but... that seemed somewhat secondary, helping the outpost, not you. So I wanted to see if there was something I could do for you to make things square."

Smiling still Paul shook his head, but not in a way that indicated he was disagreeing.

"Fair enough. I think I can answer both your question and what you can do at the same time. Well, I am a priest of Xyna. Do you know what that means? I have been given three marks from my Goddess, Xyna, making me hers. I will not have another divine being mark me, not now that I have been thrice marked by her. Until a third mark someone can be marked by another god, but that third one stops that from happening again. And so my act of helping you, which helps accommodate trade, is in and of itself an act of my devotion to Xyna my Goddess. Does that answer your question. And so, if you want to do something for me, let me tell you of my Goddess Xyna. Will that make us even."

Moritz considered the mans words, nodding in agreement. Three marks made one a priest of a divine being, and meant no other divine being could mark you.... Something he had not known before. And this man was so marked. And so the seemingly un-self interested action was in and of itself an action of devotion to his divine being.

"Yes. And if that is what you wish, I would be happy to hear more of Xyna."

Paul nodded again, before beginning his explanation.

"So Xyna, as I said before I believe, she is the Goddess of money, commerce, and trade. Every single act of trade, happening here in the Outpost or anywhere else, every action of Commerce, is showing worship to her. Every such act is within her influence, from and of her. It is from her that we get money, and is the direct source of the Miza. Her blessing is laid upon each Miza that is minted, and a bit of her divine power marks it for what it is. each such coin is just a token, a representative thing which has an agree upon value. It is through our faith in her, and the value of the money, that such trade is possible. Otherwise each time you wanted to buy a pair of shoes, you'd need to bring a sack of carrots or something the shoemaker wanted, assuming they wanted that, and trade for it. That's barter. But with the Miza and other such money with an agreed upon value, such things are not needed. Such facilitation of civilization, of trade, of commerce, is what her divine influence allows."

Moritz nodded along as the man spoke, understanding what he meant. If there was no money people would need to trade something of value for something else of value, thing for thing, rather than for a common token or currency that had an agree upon value. Looking at it that way Moritz could see the logic behind it, the easing of commerce it allowed. He had not considered this before when trading coins for thing, but understood it now.

"I understand, thank you. I have learned many things I will need to think on."

"I am glad you were wiling to take the time to listen and... Ah, Moritz, thank you for listening, but I am afraid duty calls. I see another new soul to the outpost who needs welcoming."

Moritz nodded and watched as Paul left to approach a new person, checking to see who he was talking to. He would stay nearby, within earshot, watching the interaction to see Paul ply his trade so to speak once more.

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The Depth of Information[Caspian]

Postby Caspian on November 24th, 2020, 1:59 am

Image
    Caspian is not having the worst day.

    It’s not necessarily that things are going right, more that – and he only notices this well into the morning – that they are going not-wrong.

    Taalviel isn’t beside him when wakes, and while not seeing her is certainly a good omen, the first and palpable sign the universe throws him that perhaps today is going to be less dreary than all the ones that came before is Akvin’s painting, which seems to have fallen over and unfurled halfway upon the floor.

    For the most part Caspian has avoided looking at it. Throughout the long voyage over land and sea that took him to Zeltiva, he kept it tightly rolled and stowed in his bag. The magical painting, in reflecting his own moods, had turned near black following the events of the summer, and it’s not like he needs informing of his own heart, but he certainly doesn’t need reminding.

    Curiously, though –

    Today the magical oil paints had shifted instead to gray, some parts of the depicted sky lightening to such a degree that one might deem it a foggy blue.

    Something in him is certainly lighter, at least for now. It buoys him into lining his eyes with kohl and gold, the first time in a long time – and something invisible yet potent still compels him to pull on his magical suit, yet another artifact of his not so distant past that up until now, he hadn’t found the fortitude to revisit.

    The painting always knows; and his magical suit, it knows even better. There’s a mirror up in his loft room in Shiress’ parents’ home, and it’s not ideal because it’s rather small and dingy and he has to sort of crouch down if he wants to see all of himself – but the reflection that greets him has him stunned. On him, it’s transformed into a billowing linen suit in shades of teal, stamped with gold foil filigree running along its borders and up his sleeves. The pants are of the same material, but gathered curiously at the ankles, and he twists round sharply to see himself at all angles in the mirror.

    The totality – the suddenness of his impromptu masquerade is almost too much for him, and he finds himself sitting on the edge of the bed, staring numbly at the brilliant stranger in the mirror.

    There was a time, not so long ago, where he always dressed this way.

    There was a time he had reason to; there was a time he didn’t need a reason to –

    “You’re in a better mood.”

    Caspian scowls at Taalviel’s dark visage crowding his reflection and pops to his feet. “Don’t get used to it,” he snips. “I’ll be back to my doom and gloom soon enough.”

    Before she can interrogate him on what he plans to do today – which, magical suit or not, was always going to be plenty and away from here, he hastily descends from the loft, down the next staircase, and slips past Shiress and Ian in the garden without a backward glance.

    --

    “I know it was you.”

    Caspian sets down his pipe, which he had unconsciously pulled out of his pocket and considered lighting out of – habit, he supposes. Something about dressing the way he used to must have sparked his former patterns into reemerging.

    He’d met Lee at a tavern over the summer. Lee’s friend Mindy suspected her husband was cheating on her, and being, perhaps, of use and value to someone after all, Caspian had set off on an investigation. The funny part was that it had been Lee all along –

    “I’m talking to you,” Lee hisses.

    She’s clutching a lacy cream parasol that goes rather nicely with her cream tulle skirts, though given her tone he’s not sure he’s of the mood to express such an appreciation.

    Caspian sighs. “I’m a private investigator, not a mediator, if that’s why you’re here. And I’m also not particularly sorry, though if it would make your day considerably easier I suppose I can go through the motions.”

    “I know what you are, you – trumped up little popinjay.” And she then has the gall to sit beside him.

    The architecture of the University Quarter is charming, maybe, if only for its municipal regularity. Caspian crosses his legs at a jaunty angle and fondly admires the magical suit’s choosing to give him deep sapphire shoes artfully curled up at the toes. Against the gray and beige backdrop he feels like a storm, like the sea. “Being flayed in public isn’t really my thing, if you get my drift. So if you’ve something to say to me, I suggest you make it quick. And, ideally, as temperately as possible.”

    Lee takes a deep breath, exhales loudly, and with a great deal of effort grinds out, “I need your help.”

    Caspian snorts. “I told you, whatever’s going on with you and Mindy and her husband isn’t my area – “

    “No, nothing to do with them!” Lee snaps. “…it’s my niece. She’s engaged, and a few nights ago she ran off. We’ve searched everywhere we could think of in the city – we’ve talked to all her friends, her former classmates, the shops where she’d been employed. Even her ex-boyfriends. And she’s just disappeared.”

    “Cold feet, hm?” Caspian replies. “What’s wrong with the groom-to-be?”

    “Nothing! Which is why the match was set.”

    “Bit barbaric, isn’t it? An arranged marriage?”

    Lee rolls her eyes and waves him off. “So was mine.”

    “Right. Which I’m sure is going awfully well.”

    She ignores his derision and continues, “We found this, in her room.” From her purse, she produces a pendant made of blown glass, swirled with sapphire and lavender lines. In Caspian’s hands, against the deep marine tones of his suit and shoes, it’s as if that’s precisely where it belongs.

    Magic, apparently, really does know best.

    “There are more of them,” Lee says. “So many more. Dozens, all tucked away in a box under her bed. As if we wouldn’t find them! Why hide something away unless she was feeling guilty?”

    Caspian turns the pendant over in his palm, and, making up his mind, tucks it into his pocket. “Alright. When’s the ceremony?”

    Lee hesitates. “…in three days.”

    He rubs at his temples, gets to his feet. “Fine. I’ll see what I can do.”

    --
    The first order of business is putting distance between Lee and himself. Admittedly, though they got off on the wrong foot and aren’t likely to find the right one, he doesn’t mind having someone to talk to who isn’t someone he already lives with. But she’s rather in a mood, and today is that odd day where he isn’t in one, and he’d rather ride this feeling as far as it wants to take him.

    The pendant seems to weigh heavier than it ought to in his pocket. The fabric of his suit is unusually airy, and in comparison the pendant’s like a stone. From what he can remember about Zeltiva’s storefronts –

    He frowns. The problem is he hasn’t been here very long, hasn’t become as acquainted with the establishments here as he’d like to be. There’s a curious etching on the backside of the pendant, the grooves of which he can feel distinctly as he runs his thumb across. A maker’s mark, maybe? A sort of artist’s signature? It looks too deliberate not to be; and were it simply a design element, wouldn’t it be on the front and not tucked away on the back?

    In his meanderings, he finds himself on West Street.

    The first thing he notices are the birds.

    As a rule of thumb, when one’s sister is a Raven, and an irascibly ominous one at that, one rather has birds on the brain. But the flock here appears to be made up of doves, and Taalviel would surely stand out like a splotch of ink, a veritable blight with her feathers of black.

    It seems a peaceful place. And to begin with, it’s a place he doesn’t know. Curiosity propels him into the dovecote. He shuts the door behind him, looks up at the skylight and morning sun filtering softly down. The birds coo softly above and around him. He really ought to bring Taalviel here sometime; she could stand to learn a thing or two.

    When he exits the dovecote, however, he finds himself in a place that is decidedly not West Street, or even remotely Zeltiva.

    The air’s much drier here, heat billowing up from his feet. For the past few years, he’s lived in cities prized for climate control, and here the sunlight beaming down borders on a harshness he isn’t ready for.

    Except he sort of… is?

    The suit’s present manifestation is airy and light on his limbs, and once his eyes adjust past the glare, he finds that he’s rather comfortable after all.

    A man who’s perhaps in his forties is waving at him a few yards away.

    Caspian blinks uncertainly, throws a quick look over his shoulder, but no one’s there. Before he can shuffle off – it’s all well and good that his suit seems to be precisely where it wants to be, but the suddenness is admittedly a bit overwhelming and he’d like to gain his bearings in peace – the man crosses over to him with a suspiciously welcoming smile.

    “Hello, my young fellow. My name is Paul. Is this your first time at the Outpost?”

    For a moment he considers responding in his patchy Shiber, feigning a lack of understanding, and using that as an excuse to go his own way.

    “I'm Caspian. And… yes, I suppose it might be,” he replies begrudgingly anyway.

    “That’s alright, m’lad. There’s always a first. Forgive me for saying so, but – you seem rather overwhelmed.”

    What are the odds this is a terrible game? A prank set on by a pack of Zeltivan university students? He’s seen the nonsense they get up to in their spare time.

    “This isn’t… Zeltiva, is it?” Caspian frowns and stares hard at the man. If this is a joke, it isn’t a very good one. Even then, he already knows the answer, that he’s truly been transported – the air and the heat, how his nose is already dry and stinging – those things would be impossible to fake.

    Unless, in reality, he is in fact still in Zeltiva but abominably high

    The man laughs and shakes his head. “I told you, m’lad. This is the Outpost, ruled over by the Goddess Xyna, in the service of industry and coin. You are quite welcome to explore. And if there’s anything you’re looking for in particular…?”

    The pendant leans heavy against his leg, but still uncertain of where he is and his position here, he makes no mention of it.

    Blessedly, Paul doesn’t interrogate further. He’s holding a bundle of maps, and Caspian quickly plucks one without inspecting it too closely.

    “Yes, um – thank you – “ He flashes an uncertain smile, and feeling uneasy by virtue of being helped by someone who – very weirdly didn’t appear to want anything in return, he swiftly pivots and heads further away, the dovecote at his back.

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    The Depth of Information[Caspian]

    Postby Moritz Craven on November 24th, 2020, 3:24 am

    As Moritz watched Paul approached a man, a bit short for an adult human. Or at least, so Moritz felt. He was not yet full grown but was tall for his age. This man though seemed short to Moritz when compared to other men he had seen. Looking closer at the man he also noticed he was dressed quite... Oddly. Or at least odd in his experience. What was that there supposed to be? Was it clothing, or some other weird thing?

    Fashion was a somewhat foreign concept to Moritz, for him clothing was about covering ones body. At least, to the degree he understood clothing. In truth if he had his way he would walk about nude, but due to other people he was not allowed to. His mother and others seemed to have an obsession with wearing clothes all the time, something he did not by any means understand. He did understand the base logic of some clothing. Shoes to protect ones feet. In a fight coverings made sense to protect ones body. And if it was cold putting on clothes warmed one up. Plus a few other things, like climbing rocks, or other activities that meant more protection was needed. Other than that though, wearing clothing for other reasons just... Did not make any logical sense to the young kelvic. And either no one had taken the time to explain it to him, or they just did not have a good explanation.

    Moritz listened as the man spoke to Paul, pondering on his words. The man to Moritz ears was quite withholding. Like he was playing some hidden game with unstated rules that he had to make a conversation while answering and saying as little as possible. Moritz considered this for a moment, but doubted that was the reason for his tight lipped speech. Something else then...

    Maybe the man was just shy, and not used to talking to people? Perhaps then he would want someone else to broach a subject and get the conversation going? Perhaps...

    As Paul had mentioned the man did seem to be confused, his first question being to confirm that they were not in another place entirely. Had he walked through by accident then, rather than on purpose like Moritz had?

    After that the man had little more to say, simply taking one of the offered maps and ending the conversation there before walking off quickly.

    Moritz pondered for a moment returning to Paul, but he saw the man had turned to talk to someone else, likely helping another new person. He was a bit intrigued by the mans short speech, or shortness of speech, when going about and talking to Paul. Moritz was not one to quietly stalk someone, which meant he would either forget the man or confront him. With nothing else to do, he decided which path to take easily enough.

    Taking a few quick steps so that he was trailing along parallel to the man, Moritz began speaking. If the man kept walking Moritz would walk as he talked, otherwise if the man stopped he would stop and talk that way. His square Okomo eyes, quite clearly not human to anyone who gave them more than a passing glance, while not as capable in his human form were still quite good at seeing on the peripheral and watching out for obstacles when walking.

    "Hey, you were talking to Paul, your new here aren't you? I've only been here a few times, but I had a lot more questions for Paul when I first came here. How come you barely talked to him at all? Seemed a bit rude, just kind of ignoring him like that. Do you already know about this place? Or do you just not like asking questions. Seems kind of silly, its such an easy way to learn stuff. Seems pretty simple to ask questions if people are offering to answer. I mean you didn't even properly ask what this place is. "

    Moritz if nothing else was inquisitive, and had a habit of interrogating people by simply harassing them with an untold number of questions until they finally decided to answer one in hopes of slowing him down. Oddly enough, though not to Moritz mind for whom it seemed a simple and logical means of asking questions, it worked more often than not.

    "So what are you here for? Anything interesting? He told me about the laws here last time I was here, they have a few weird ones. Like that one... Yeah best watch out, I wouldn't have known to watch out, but I suppose I wouldn't have broken it anyway... But not many really, only a few rules. What kind of clothes is that your wearing? Seems kind of weird looking. I don't really get what its for, I mean does it do anything? Its too hot here to wear it to be warm, so whats the point? I'm Moritz by the way, whats your name?"

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    The Depth of Information[Caspian]

    Postby Caspian on November 24th, 2020, 5:05 pm

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      Though Caspian had unfurled the map and, for lack of anything better to do with his hands, had begun peering down at it as he walked, it meant very little to him. As panic continued to rise in his heart, the markings and symbols remained abstract and fathomless.

      Then someone began practically skipping alongside him.

      A young boy who was all joints and limbs and a very self-assured wobble seemed to have decided, for whatever reason, that Caspian was worth his avid enthusiasm.

      Caspian paused and glanced over his shoulder, but – no. The boy was talking very much to him, and him alone.

      “Hey, kid. Is someone, I don’t know, looking for you?” Caspian asked with an uncertain frown. “Because as you and dearest Paul can very much tell, I’m new in town, and I’d rather not get saddled with a kidnapping charge if I can avoid it.”

      There were other people emerging from the dovecote, all just as immediately attended to by Paul, and many others still heading the same direction they were, towards rows upon rows of what looked like an open bazaar. Yet none of them seemed to lay claim to the child now in his orbit.

      By now he’d gotten a good look at Moritz, at the unusual shape and spacing of his eyes. Coupled with the lack of adult supervision as well as an apparent absence of self-preservation, he hazarded to guess that he was being toddled after not by a pre-adolescent human, but a Kelvic.

      This sat much better with him than the idea of being interrogated by a grown man with an armful of old parchment and, by his count, too many smiles.

      “Well, Moritz,” Caspian replied, rolling the R and sizzling the Z, “my name is Caspian, and I have a thing about strangers. For the most part I daresay I like them more than my own friends. But I admit I wasn’t expecting all this, or being sprung at before I’ve got my bearings. I’ve learned the hard way that if things seem too good to be true, they likely are. I mean – don’t you think it’s odd? That an ambassador of commerce and exchange gives out anything for free? Where I’m from, there’s always an angle. I just don’t know if I have the fortitude today to find out.”

      Moritz had continued to ask a flurry of questions and kept up with Caspian as he continued walking.

      “I’m from Zeltiva,” he replied. “Well. I should say I came from Zeltiva, as I haven’t been there very long. To be honest, I’m not sure that I like it. Before that it was Ravok, and before that, Sunberth.” He almost mentioned Avanthal, but the many Vantha bounty posters he’d seen over the years had him withholding that detail. “I’m curious to know if those places mean anything to you.” He considered the rest of the questions. “I suppose the most interesting thing about those places is that, unlike here, they all had a good deal of water. Zeltiva’s a port city; Ravok floats on an enormous lake, and the city itself’s run through with a wonderful mess of canals. On Sunberth’s east side you had the Baroque Bay.” He raised a hand over his brow, shielding his eyes from the sun, and peered out at the dusty lanes lined with palm trees, the sand kicking up with the winds. For perhaps the first time in his life, there was no water in sight.

      The question about his clothes didn’t bother him. More than a few people had derided his fashion sense over the years, but Moritz didn’t necessarily seem to be one of them. It was a fairly paradigmatic Kelvic thing to ask. “Does it do anything?” he repeated. “It’s only linen,” he replied, and it was a shame that it was likely lost on Morris, how extraordinary it had been for the magical properties to render the threads akin to gossamer. “A suit, though admittedly in a looser sense of the word. Depending on the day, I guess you could say clothes are either for concealing, or confirming. And sometimes one just needs a little… lift.”

      There was something about Moritz he found that he liked, even if he felt a touch exhausted just from watching him bound about. True guilelessness was so hard to come by, and Moritz reminded him of another Kelvic he knew back in Ravok, a Sloth named Itt. Not for the first time that week, he felt a pang for the life that was no longer his. “What do I need with Paul when I’ve got you, hmm?” he said, playing along. But Moritz did seem very much at ease here, and definitely knew more about the Outpost than he did.

      They had reached the edge of the first row of the bazaar – which, now that they were closer, seemed to stretch on further than the eye could see, tucked between great buildings of sand and stone decorated with mosaic tiles.

      He fished out the pendant from his pocket and held it out to Moritz, pointing out the engraving on the back. “I don’t suppose you’ve seen anything like this before? Or – if there’s even the remotest rhyme or reason here, maybe you know where all the artisans are who work with glass?”


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      The Depth of Information[Caspian]

      Postby Moritz Craven on November 25th, 2020, 12:08 am

      While Moritz was sometimes excitable, energetic, uncompromising, and more than anything else unrelenting, he also tended to keep a rather neutral demeanor in his speech. More akin to someone discussing the weather or such casual topics, even when covering something more serious. Admittedly quite confident speech about the weather, with a general air of rightness, but little else. He more showed anger by movement than by facial tics or expressions, and while his volume sometimes changed his pitch tended to stay the same throughout his delivery. Whether that was a single query, or more likely a endless torrent of them.

      In some ways this made him harder to read. In others it made it more clear. In truth he simply was not overly moved by most things, and tended to take any new information in his own stride as he analyzed and dissected whatever had been said. Whether that was asking about someones shoes in one question only to then continue onward by querying them on a murder the person had just committed that Moritz had seen. Which in and of itself could be off putting to some people, his sudden shift in tact from one thing to another and back again with little deviation in seeming importance or focus.

      At the mans question on Moritz the boy became a bit confused, not sure what he meant.

      "No, no one is looking for me. Least not that I know of. At least not right now, at this moment. Eventually people would look for me, if I didn't return, but not right away. And who are you supposed to be kidnapping? Whats that got to do with talking to me? Or wait... Do you mean me? Wait, didn't you just ask me to tell you if I was with anyone, or if anyone was looking for me? Maybe if you don't want to sound like a kidnapper, don't start off by asking someone if anyone would notice if you vanished. That seems a bit suspicious to me. Like something a kidnapper would ask someone before they... Well kidnapped them."

      Keeping his nonchalant manner as he spoke on the possibility that the man was planning to kidnap him, Moritz continued on with his talking.

      "To be honest though, you'd have to be pretty dumb to try to kidnap me. I doubt that would go well for you. But hey, if your really into that, feel free to try. Just know I'd probably end up sitting on you and you would probably end up with something broken. So I'd advise against it. I'm pretty sure kidnapping is illegal here... Yeah, probably under the rule Paul told me, about enslaving people who are free and here. I imagine kidnapping would fall under that."

      Moritz was as usual being honest, quite bluntly so, but also talking as if the other person had much more information than they did. Perhaps if the other person actually did have the knowledge Moritz had his words would make more sense to others. Particularly when he, a small child, noted that he would be able to overpower an adult and actually believe it was true.

      When the man did reply Moritz frowned in concentration, trying to dig into what he had just said and done. He was no master of noticing peoples emotions and ways, but even he could note the large shift in tone the man had just performed. Going from being quite curt and somewhat harsh, like when he was speaking to Paul, to quite suddenly being overly friendly. The insincerity was like a too sweet bite of fruit, and made Moritz pull away. The man apparently named Caspian.

      "I don't think that's how my name is pronounced. You might need to work on that. And if you like strangers better than your friends... Maybe you need to get some better friends? I mean, I don't suppose I really have any, not counting people at class, or that I'm related to, but still. Seems a bit odd to like strangers more. And besides, wasn't Paul a stranger? But you didn't seem to like him. We both approached you, both tried to talk to you. So what makes me a different stranger than him?"

      Moritz spent a few moments trying to roll the thought around in his head, to reason out the logic of the sentence Caspian had spoken, but the train of thought was lost on him.

      "Regardless, Paul has a very logical reason for what he does, though he doesn't say it unless you dig. I asked him before, since I thought it was odd. But once he explained it, it made sense. Because your right, he talks about this place being a place of trade, of exchange, but then goes giving away information and a map for free. So I reasoned the same thing, he had to have a reason for doing what he did. And its kind of funny really."

      Clearly building up to, what Moritz felt, was a big reveal or long story, Moritz took a moment to catch his breath before launching into the next part.

      "See, this entire place is run by a Goddess. Xyna. She's all about trade and... What was the word he used... Ah,, commerce! Yeah, trade and commerce. Apparently its her who makes Mizas. Or no, its her power that lets Mizas be made, yeah that's it. I hadn't heard of Mizas before, we use another currency where I'm from. Anyways, since she's all about trade and commerce, any act of those types. Buying something, selling something, using money. Any instance of that is a action of worship to Xyna. And this guy Paul, he's... What did he say... Owned by Xyna, or something. Not as in he's her property but as in... He's got some kind of amount of marks from her so no other gods can get near him or something. Or mark him or whatever. So he's really into her I guess. That was new to me as well, didn't know you could get lots of mark things from a god, and that once you got so many no other god could do that."

      "Where was I... Ah right, so this guy Paul, he's so marked, and so wants to work for his Goddess Xyna. So what he does is indirect worship. He facilitates her worship, as an act of worship. Or something like that. See he gives away information, maps, and things, so that people can trade and do things easier here at the Outpost. And when he does that, its more likely people will do just that, go around buying and selling things. And remember, doing those things is an act of worship to his Goddess. So he puts in some effort up front to make things easier for new people, so that they'll do more of what he wants, the purpose of this whole place. Which causes people to do more acts of worship to his Goddess, and so on and so forth. Kind of I guess like planting a seed, you put in a bit of effort to get more later. Anyways, thats why he does what he does. Pretty logical isn't it, now that you know? I had to ask a bunch of questions before to work all that out, but I got him to explain it to me more or less after awhile."

      Pausing again Moritz seemed a bit lost in thought, before a moment later he began speaking again.

      "Anyways, once you know why he does it the whole thing makes sense. Not so odd is it? Its not that its too good to be true, its just you don't understand why what they do is also in their own interest."

      Moritz listened in his own turn as Caspian spoke of places he had not heard of. Caspian was from Zeltiva. Not not from, but in. And before that some other place called Ravok, and Sunberth. Mortiz assumed those were cities, but they did not sound familiar.

      "Never heard of any of those places. I'm from Lhavit. I've heard of some other places... Uh my mom talks about Alvadas some times... Can't recall anywhere else. I've only been to Lhavit, so not really sure what any other place is like. As for water.... I think there's some over there. A fountain or something isn't it? Not that far. Its not totally dry here, I mean look at all the plants. They seem to have water where they need it at least. I know I saw some over there, and i think I can hear some water if I listen close... Kind of hard to hear though, with all the noise. But its there."

      Moritz of course was pointing to a rather large and foliage covered area near the center of the large open plaza the dovecote exited into. It even had a pool of water near the center. There was also a much larger fountain on the north side of that same plaza, but that was not what Moritz was referencing incorrectly as a fountain which in fact was a small pool of water in among the other plants and trees.

      As with other answers the man gave Moritz was somewhat confused by his words on his clothing. Linen? And clothes... Confirmed?

      "Linen? Wait, you use clothes to... Conceal? Like to hide behind? And what do you mean clothing to confirm? Why would you need to confirm to someone you have clothes on? Wait... Are you saying you wear clothes to fly? I mean I've seen some with feathers, but I don't see how that'd let you fly. I sure don't think I could fly, no matter how many feathers I had on."

      Here Moritz had misunderstood the context in which Caspian was intending a few of the words, and another he had simply taken too literally. An odd situation seeing as both were speaking the same language, and yet something that happened to Moritz several times a season.

      When Caspian held out a small item for Moritz to view, Moritz took his time in checking it over. What was it made of? At first he thought glass as it was kind of shiny, but maybe not... Moritz had no idea what it was, let alone where it came from, though from his later question he was fairly certain his assumption it was made of glass had been correct. But beyond that he was clueless.

      "Nope, never seen anything like it before. Not even sure what it is. Any idea what its meant for? Anyways, I don't know where glass work is, but Paul told me before that you can ask the Keiss and they know where most anything is in the bazaar. They'll even give directions. So why not just ask one of them? They might not know where that item came from, but chances are they'll know where that type of item can be found. At least based on what I was told before. The Keiss are the guard here, well among other things. What did Paul say... Administrator and guard, all in one. I mean they do worship Xyna, who is all about trade, so makes sense they wouldn't just be a guard. So they also facilitate trade, which means helping people find stuff."

      Looking about Moritz noticed a pair of people walking near the edge of the square where it met the bazaar, moving from one place to the other. They both seemed to be walking together, and had a weapon at their side.

      "Maybe those two? Can't hurt to ask if their Keiss, and if they are getting directions. I mean there isn't really any other way to find what you want, is there? The place is too big."

      Moritz considered offering to ask for Caspian, but then decided against it. After all the man had just spoken on his reluctance to do just that, so it would be good for his growth to make him do so. No, Moritz reasoned, better to get him to do it.

      If Caspian did find out where to go Moritz would follow along, joining Caspian on his journey to find... A glass thing? Or more of one he already had. Though for what reason Moritz was unsure.

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      The Depth of Information[Caspian]

      Postby Caspian on November 25th, 2020, 4:28 pm

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        The velocity with which Moritz propelled through his own train of thought was rather remarkable, and Caspian burst out laughing. He’d grown even flimsier over the past season, apparently enough so that even the young Kelvic could tell that he practically welted if you so much as looked at him the wrong way. When his laughter subsided, a graver expression crossed his face as he replied, “No, Moritz. I can’t say that I stomach slavery in the slightest. I suppose that’s the benefit to living in Zeltiva now. There’s none of that there.” The matter of kidnapping, though, wasn’t necessarily off the docket today – Lee had made it expressly clear that Caspian was to find her runaway niece, and truth be told he hadn’t yet envisioned what he would do should they meet. He supposed – well, hoped – that giving Lee the girl’s location so that the relevant parties could storm the gates would be a job done well enough. The idea of dragging someone kicking and screaming wasn’t something he relished.

        Moritz’s explanation of Xyna was surprisingly cogent. He didn’t think he could explain Rhysol half as well, though perhaps that was to be expected when dealing with the manifest God of vicissitudes. “You’re right, Moritz, it does all track when you give it another look,” he said, feeling he’d gotten rather lucky after all in stumbling upon the little stranger. “Mizas make the world go round. Though I wonder what Xyna has to say about thieves.” Or if she had any opinion on the matter of subjective value, favors and flux – but Moritz seemed to have enough on his mind without Caspian continuing to stir the pot.

        It was for that same reason that Caspian only hummed in response to Moritz’s further line of questioning about his clothes.

        When it came to bit of glass, Caspian replied, “It’s a pendant. Bit of jewelry to hang around your neck. Would make more sense if it had a piece of ribbon looped through, or a chain, I think. Anyway – it was a gift from someone to a young woman I’m trying to find. Whoever the suitor is apparently gave her a few dozen of these, which I think is a bit overkill but – well, that’s beside the point. This mark on the back, I’m guessing, is the artist’s signature. As of right now, the plan is to find that artist and very courteously demand they give up the name of their favorite customer. We find the customer, and if Xyna or any other God I’ve inadvertently slighted in the past week alone gives a rat’s ass about me, we then find the girl.”

        Even if Caspian hadn’t woken up in an unusually good mood today, being in the midst of the bazaar, in its delightful buzz and mash of hawkers, customers, and colorful wares, would have lifted his spirits considerably. Zeltiva and everything that chipped away at him was lifetimes away. One couldn’t put a price tag on novelty – then again, perhaps Xyna might.

        Caspian followed Moritz’s eye. What he saw of the Keiss, he couldn’t say he liked – but Moritz had a point, and while he would like nothing more than to wander the bazaar until dusk, idling wouldn’t help him with the job at hand.

        “Right again, Moritz,” he conceded with a sigh. “I just have a thing about authority.” He stared pointedly at Moritz; Moritz stared back.

        Fair enough.

        Steeling himself, he approached one of the Keiss, who was holding a spear taller than he was. “Excuse me. I imagine you’ve got other things you’d rather be doing than giving tourists directions, but – I don’t suppose you know where I might find something like… this?” He held up the pendant, which shimmered in the light. “I mean, ideally something exactly like this.”

        The guardsman was apparently used to fielding this sort of question, and took it in stride. “I’m not sure about anything that specific, but…” He held out his hand and Caspian passed him the map. He pointed out a section of the bazaar to the northeast. “You’ll find the glassmakers there. Once you get to that district I’m sure someone will be able to help you further.”

        This close, if Caspian disregarded his occupation – a personal affront to Caspian and the rogues who had raised him – the guardsman wasn’t bad-looking. No, not bad at all. Cooking up a line about needing a capable escort for the journey, Caspian flashed him a grin with his thanks – but it went wholly unappreciated, so he didn’t bother with the pick-up.

        “Alright, Moritz,” Caspian said as he returned to the young Kelvic, pronouncing his name with an exaggerated emphasis on its correction, “the lead goes on.” He showed Moritz the spot on the map the guard had indicated, then proceeded down the aisles.

        The timing was perhaps a bit on the nose – they were passing a row of furriers – as Caspian genially ventured, “You’re a Kelvic, aren’t you? What kind, if you don’t mind my asking? My mother was one, actually. A Sand Fox. And my half-sister’s a Raven. Meanwhile, I’m a poor mixed-blood sod in shiny shoes.” Kharis was of course fully matured when she’d had Caspian, but she still tended to be flighty and erratic, alternating between mirth, fear, and even flashes of hostility, all to him without discernable cause. As a Raven, Taalviel was more of the looming-and-brooding sort, but just like all Kelvics, her grasp of semiotics and, frankly, basic etiquette were something that had to be latently learned. From this, he’d grown to understand and accept people in their multitudes – and so he didn’t mind Moritz’s leagues of chatter, nor took any real offense at the vectors of his blunt observations.

        After Mortiz’s response, he added, “To answer your other question, about why I don’t mind you as opposed to Paul. You remind me very much of a good friend of mine, who I haven’t seen in a while. I guess I’m just nostalgic.”

        What he doesn't add - given the whirlwind Moritz had thrown at him following his offhanded remark about kidnapping - was that if it came down to an altercation, his odds against a child were a lot better than against a wiry older man.

        Catastrophizing, as he liked to call it, the Sunberthian way.

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        The Depth of Information[Caspian]

        Postby Moritz Craven on November 25th, 2020, 10:39 pm

        Moritz puzzled at Caspian's reaction, unsure what was funny. Was he making fun of him? Finding something funny in what Moritz said or did? Or was there something else at play he did not know of? Moritz was unsure, and left trying to work out what or who the man was finding so funny.

        "Yeah, I don't suppose we have any slaves here either. Not that I know of anyways. Though who knows, just because something isn't legal doesn't mean no one does it. So there could be some. But then, I guess some people have a different idea of what is or isn't a slave. Is owning a dog a slave? I suppose some people might consider it as such. Though personally, I think it depends on their level. A dog isn't really... What do you call it... Aware, or something like that? But a person is, so most people call them slaves if their owned. Clearly they don't have a problem with it here. Though from what Paul said about that rule, you can't make a non-slave a slave here, but you can do slave things with a slave once their here if they came here one already."

        The idea of being a slave seemed odd to Moritz. Wrong, but also odd. He did not really see the reasoning behind it, and could not see what the logic might be? Did the people truly see others as property, as lesser, and so not have an issue with making them a slave? Or did they know they were not lesser, not unaware, but did it anyways?

        Turning to more positive matter Moritz was satisfied to hear Caspian understood and seemingly agreed with his train of logic regarding Xyna and Paul. It was he felt quite logical, once the process was fully explained. His other word or phrasing though did confuse him again.

        "Miza's make the world go round what?"

        At his other word, more of an offhand comment perhaps, Moritz thought a bit more deeply. What would Xyna feel about thieves? One of the rules was no stealing, but then there was also a rule of no enslaving. The act could not be performed here, at the outpost, but was fine to bring the result of those actions here to be sold or traded. Which seemed to indicate to Moritz that Xyna did not care about the action itself, or where the goods came from, she just did not want it happening here at the outpost. Also, Moritz reasoned, in some ways stealing could still make trade. If someone stole something, as long as they did not keep it forever they would need to sell it. Which would still count as an act of trade in her purview. So then... She did not care?

        "Thieves, stealing, I think its the same as making slaves. One of the other rules is no stealing. But there's no rule about selling stolen stuff. So if you steal it somewhere else, then bring it here to trade, you could do so without any issue. Or so I would think from what I was told, and how slaves works. And in the end, even if you stole it, if in the end you still sell it, that is still under her isn't it? So seems she feels the same about slaves and stealing, its fine as long as it doesn't happen here in her place, but once its done its done and can be traded or sold or whatever just fine. In fact, I suppose if someone sells it, then someone steals it, it could get sold again, which would be twice the selling."

        Moritz nodded at his own reasoning, believing his train of logic was sound. Or at least he saw no issue with it and felt it was sound.

        When it came to less theoretical topics and to more physical goods and things, Moritz was once more confused. A pendant was what the glass thing was, apparently a thing you wore around your neck. But the why of it, its purpose, that was lost on him. why was it worn around the neck? It didn't seem to do anything, so the reason for doing so was missing from that statement.

        He was however interested to hear the story of why Caspian was there, and the reason he was trying to track down the maker of the glass pendant thing. He was trying to find a woman who had been given the pendant, or another like it, and so he hoped to find the girl by finding the person who gave it to her. And if the person had given it to her...

        "Ah... You think that if the person bought a lot, the seller would know who bought it. Which could lead you to the buyer, and therefore the person it was gifted to. Or I suppose maybe it wasn't bought, but the person was a glass maker? I mean if your a glass maker, it seems it might make sense to make something and give that to someone, right? Seems logical to me. Or the buying thing you said as well. Either way, if their the buyer or the supplier, the person selling it might now if we can find them. Or maybe the person gave them to the woman to sell, not as a gift, and thats why there is so many? You wouldn't give someone one of something to sell, would you? Not sure. So why are you trying to find this woman? I don't think you said."

        When Caspian finally walked off to ask one of the Keiss Moritz let a smile come to his lips, satisfied he had not given in and had gotten the man to do what Moritz had wanted him to do and what Caspian had not wanted to do.

        Once he returned with the next lead Moritz looked at the point on the map he had been shown, considered where it was in comparison to where they had started and where they were now. They started there, and move up this way, which meant they were now here... And needed to go this way here... Following along after Caspian Moritz felt they were going in the right general direction, at least from his limited understanding of their orientation and the way they needed to navigate. But better he felt to double check and each look for the route to check against each other, than to just blindly follow Caspian.

        He was concentrating on the mental image of the map in his head and where they were moving to and from when Caspian asked him a question. He absentmindedly heard it, before considering it more fully. Tucking the mental image into the side of his mind for later, or attempting to do so, Moritz considered what he had said and asked a bit more deeply. Caspian wasn't a kelvic, that much Moritz had figured, but he suspected Moritz was one and was born from a kelvic. A kelvic child giving birth to a non-kelvic child. And a sibling which was also a kelvic.

        "Kind of the reverse of myself. My mother isn't a kelvic, but I am. And my twin sister, she's one as well. But we don't really look alike. And well she's a girl where I'm a boy. She even has a different kelvic form. My dad is a kelvic though. Not sure how that works exactly. So then a kelvic can have a kid that isn't a kelvic? Or you said only kelvic on the one side, whats the other side then? But yeah, sounds like that is the same as me. One side of the parent kelvic, one not, but you ended up being not a kelvic while I am one. Wonder how that works..."

        Seeming to recall his train of thought and one of the questions asked Moritz focused again.

        "I'm an Okomo Kelvic. Which is kind of funny I suppose, since Okomo are native to Lhavit, which is where I was born. Wonder what the odds are of that. Or maybe something happened to make it work out that way. I mean, my mother did have a meeting with Death the day I was born. I can't recall what exactly happened, just heard it before from someone... Said she met Death the day I was born... Or the day before? Or was it at night... Lady Death? I suppose Death is a woman. Hmmm... Wait have you ever noticed how different all the Gods and Goddesses are? The thing they cover or are known for? I wonder what that is... Must be a reason for it, if they are so different."

        Once more Moritz trailed off in thought, before continuing his explanation.

        "Right, what was I saying? Right, I'm an Okomo Kelvic. Or wait, your not from Lhavit, so you wouldn't know what that is would you? Anyone in Lhavit would know. Tell you what, you buy me something to eat, and I'll show you if you want later. But for now, well... How to describe it. I guess you would start with a goat, and take an antelope, and combine them. And then make it the size of a horse. And give it giant horns, mine are still growing, along with hooves and bones, all three made out of an indestructible glass. Skyglass. Its what a good bit of the city is made out of, they use it for buildings and things. And then have a rainbow get sick and explode on them. Oh and I guess the horns and stuff glows too, when its dark. That would get you pretty close. I'm more or less done growing in my Okomo form, I'm just kind of... Fleshing out. But my horns still need more time to grow all the way. Anyways, that's a general idea."

        Shrugging Moritz finished his explanation, turning back to what they had been talking about before nonchalantly.

        "Whats nostalgic mean?"

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        The Depth of Information[Caspian]

        Postby Caspian on November 26th, 2020, 7:56 pm

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          On the subject of thieves and Xyna, one had to wonder what use principles were, if they were so conditional. But he supposed this what theology was for, and he was far from the first person to wade into the interstices of faith. It was a welcome conversation to share with Moritz, and at first glance he would not have assumed having it, at least to not such a plausible conclusion. When he was 10 years old, his most sophisticated question about Morwen, if he thought of her at all, was why she insisted on making so much of it – it, in this instance, being snow, and if she was so awfully fond of it, why she didn’t make it last.

          To this day he couldn’t say he knew the answer.

          “I’m trying to find this woman,” Caspian said, artfully sidestepping a man balancing a pole across his shoulders with two buckets on either end, and ducking through a parting in a rack of beaded curtains and sequined scarves, “because I’ve been asked to. I make my living as a private investigator, which became my lot in life because, to the great disappointment of all, I never did quite develop the grip strength to swing a claymore, and in general I should be let nowhere near an anvil and hammer.” This was a severe understatement, as based on how particular he was about his appearance and the frequency with which flounces could be found on his wrist, one might recommend he not be let outside at all. “To be frank,” he said with more seriousness, “she is someone’s young niece, with an allegedly secure future ahead of her. Not so young as you, though. She’s meant to marry someone her family have found for her in Zeltiva, and instead she’s decided to run off with – well, maybe someone here. So the plan today is to find her, if I can, and talk some sense into her.”

          They passed a rack of obsidian-black axes and two-handed swords, the circumferences of some of the handles exceeding that of Caspian’s wrists, driving his previous point home.

          “The other side?” How honest could he be? “Nothing special,” he decided to say, and fortunately Moritz had already moved on.

          Caspian had never heard of an Okomo before, or Lhavit. It was entirely possible he in fact had – one of his great loves in Ravok was swanning between the intellectual salons in the Noble District – but had not been in any state of mind to retain the information. Piercing together everything Moritz had supplied, it sounded not too far from a caribou, maybe, or a reindeer.

          At the mentioning of his terms, Caspian grinned. A disciple of Xyna after all. “You drive a hard bargain. Point out anything you want, and it’s yours. …within reason, though, yeah?” His suit might be a priceless work of art, but it was only magic, and he’d never seen it transform into the same ensemble twice. To assume it meant anything grand about his wallet would be a mistake. “And nostalgia…” There was the abstract patter in which he liked to weave, but it wouldn’t do Moritz any good. A serious question did deserve a serious answer. “It’s when you remember something, usually fondly. But maybe to a fault. Nostalgic people tend to get stuck in the memory – they cling to the parts that were good, conveniently forget the ones that weren’t, chase the feelings that were left. I’m not against reflection, but if you’re constantly looking over your shoulder at something that’s already ended – “ A pair of young boys Moritz’s age went barreling past, one clutching a ball and the other giving chase. Caspian reared back and held Moritz lightly by the shoulder, preventing a collision. “ – you miss the here and now.”


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          The Depth of Information[Caspian]

          Postby Moritz Craven on November 26th, 2020, 9:22 pm

          Moritz found that one thing that was odd about people, most people he met anyways, was that most did not listen very well. Or perhaps, Moritz admitted, he just listened much better than others. Or perhaps even more so, Moritz more begrudgingly admitted, people were just not as good as him at tracking multiple topics and missed the smaller ones when he dropped them in when they came up among other things.

          Not truly a problem per say, but a bit of an annoyance to the kelvic who did his best to not ignore any questions he was given but to instead give a complete answer to each. It was perhaps in that attempt at completeness that he often got lost among secondary topics and that was what confused people or evaded their attention.

          And then there was the other type of evasion, not out of ignorance but more purposeful. More was used to getting no answer, but he had soon begun to notice that when people ignored something specifically, or did not give a full answer, they were trying to at times distract from that topic. Perhaps as a means of distracting or changing the subject, but regardless it seemed to be as a method of concealment. Of course this was rather pointless when that very tactic did nothing but bring more attention to that very topic. Something he would have forgotten and moved on from when given a full answer peeked his interest and made him dig in further when given a shifty half answer meant to divert ones attention. Perhaps that was in part due to his nature as an Okomo, being rather hard headed, uncompromising, and unwilling to give in to things. Okomo could be quite stubborn when it struck them to be so, and Moritz was no different in that respect.

          Of course it was also possible the man was just confused by Moritz train of logic and looping and cascading thought paths, and just did not realize fully what the young kelvic was saying rather than outright trying to be deceitful.

          Moritz vaguely understood what a private investigator was, the name being somewhat self explanatory, though did not believe he had met one before. It seemed to entail trying to find things out, though from Caspian's description of it Moritz was left to assume it tended to not be a very physically demanding task. More going around asking people questions, not trusting those answers if the mans earlier behavior was anything to go by, and trying to find out said information people did not want known or that was not easily available on a casual question.

          Moritz followed along after Caspian, doing his best to track where they were and where they were going while keeping a mental copy of the map he had seen in his head. It was a bit tricky, and he had to refer back to the map of a few times, but he was slowly remembering it better and better. The bazaar was quite crowded and tricky to move about it if one was not paying attention, something Moritz was quickly coming to realize. Under this persons outstretched arm, around this person, look out for that cart someone was moving, and what was that there oh never mind not important.

          "I'm learning how to fight, my instructor Kyra is quite good. I'm still learning, but she says I'm catching on fast. But I still have a lot to learn. But learning how to fight, isn't it just like anything else? You take the time to get better and you will. I mean you can't expect to be taking on masters on your first day, the same as you wouldn't take on a master level... Uh... Investigation... Right when you start."

          "So your trying to find a girl, because her family wants to make her do something she doesn't want to do. If she doesn't want to do it, is it right her family would make her? My family has a business of sorts, and they, well my mom, want me to get involved and follow that track. But if I don't, would it be right that they would make me just because we are family? I mean you said yourself you aren't a fighter, and I don't think dragging her off would be a good idea. So what are you going to do if she doesn't want to go?"

          His answer about his other half somewhat caught him off guard, as he had half forgotten about that question among the dozen other ones. At least that was until Caspian gave a outright shifty answer in response that wasn't an answer at all. Nothing special? Nothing special by who's opinion? Who was to decide what race was special? And if it was no big deal, why didn't he just say it? Odd to say the least. And enough to pull his attention.

          "Wait, nothing special about what? If its nothing special... Oh right, I had forgotten about that one, I was asking what your other half was, if your half kelvic but not a kelvic, and half something else. If its nothing special, then why not just say it? Seems kind of odd, to do that. So what is it then?"

          His mentioning of a bargain seemed a bit odd, till he realized how Caspian had taken his earlier meaning. He had meant it more as a direct relationship between the two, since shifting needed him to eat if he was to do it often.

          "Ah no, I meant more, well shifting makes me hungry. I need to eat if I'm to do it a lot. And if I'm going to shift and shift back just to show you, well then I need some food to make up for that. Otherwise I might get stuck one way or the other. Nothing fancy, just something to fill my belly and give me something to feed my next change. I could even eat something in my Okomo form, and then shit back. Though it'd make talking rather impossible till I shift back. And not sure if I could get home without being human. Door handles and such. Though if I'm to shift I'll also need to undress so I don't ruin my stuff, and I'd need to find a open spot with a good bit of room so I don't knock anything over. People and stuff is very breakable, especially when your big and strong. I've got to be careful when I'm an Okomo so I don't break anything, and that means being clear of things when I change if I can."

          The explanation he was given on what nostalgia was left Moritz somewhat confused, finding the concept odd. Of course, he reminded himself, he wasn't that old so perhaps he just had not lived long enough and things had not changed enough to leave him wishing for the past. But apparently it was a thing others followed, so perhaps then it would be something he would need to watch out for if not for himself then for others.

          "I guess, though it seems a bit weird to me."

          Looking about as the two boys passed, Moritz compared their position again to the map in his head and worked on their route... If they were here, and had gone here, then they needed to go...

          "I think the glass area of the place is just on the next row, isn't it? I think we are close. Are we just gonna show the thing to a random person working there and see what they say? Or do you have some other plan?"


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          Moritz Craven
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          The Depth of Information[Caspian]

          Postby Caspian on November 27th, 2020, 2:06 pm

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            “Learning how to fight?” Caspian gave Moritz another look up and down. But he really shouldn’t be surprised; even though he was young, he could tell Moritz had the beginnings of a sturdy frame. And if he was anything like caribou and reindeer, Moritz could well have the potential for a good bit of battering and ramming, would grow into the kind of man Caspian’s stepfather would have found far more worth his time. It was an incredibly valuable thing, to be the means of your own self-defense, and seemed far simpler than Caspian’s ways of survival, which were various forms of avoidance.

            Then again, there was the matter of his spiral Obfuscate dagger, pressed against his heart and concealed by the many airy folds of his suit.

            “With a weapon?” he asked, the dagger’s cold coils a welcome contrast against the heat emanating from the bazaar. “In any case, yes, train. One day you could very well need it. It depends on what you want to do for a living – what kind of business does your mother run? Though, if you don’t mind my saying – I think the best thing you can do in a tricky situation is angle yourself, if you can, into never having to actually draw that weapon in the first place.”

            To Moritz’s question about the girl, Caspian paused before answering. It was always a tricky thing, explaining himself to people he didn’t know very well, and he was unsure about how honest to be about his own perspectives on what was right and wrong and where he slotted himself into the mix. “I don’t know about rightness,” he replied. “Let’s say Kendra – that’s the girl’s name – and I sat down for a pint, and Kendra told me about her parents’ and evil Aunt Lee’s nefarious plans to bind her for life to someone she hardly knows. Or maybe she does know them? I didn’t ask. In any case she has no interest in the other party, said party who for all we know also has no interest in her, yet their families tug them along like marionettes. In that case I would say – no, Kendra, that’s entirely awful, you ought to have a say in who you do or don’t wed. Depending on how emotionally invested I was, and if I didn’t have anything better to do, I might even help her run away. But that’s not how I was brought into this – I’m not Kendra’s peer or confidant. I’m the stranger who’s being paid to find out a bit of information about Kendra, and my employer’s going to use that information as they see fit. I’ve done a lot worse for a lot less. I’m in a better position these days – minimal bloodletting, none if I do my job right. And have a little faith in me, Moritz,” he scoffed. “I like to think I wouldn’t be bested in a brawl by a socialite who’s just turned 19. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, hmm? For now, the preferred approach is an entirely touchless conversation.”

            Something wet trickled from his left nostril down to his lip. Startled, Caspian wiped his nose with the back of his hand, and blinked in confusion at the new scarlet smear. “Oh – hang it all. Hold a minute, will you?” With his unstained hand, he fished into his pockets for his handkerchief, the gold embroidery shimmering beneath the desert sun. Said desert sun would be the culprit for his current epistaxis. From a glance, one would assume he was Benshiran, so much more did he take after his mother than his Vantha father. It occurred to him that this was potentially quite amusing to anyone looking on – a Benshiran who couldn’t handle the heat, fumbling with a bloody nose.

            “Just to give you some perspective, my stepfather’s a mercenary,” he said, voice muffled with the handkerchief over his nose and his head tilted back, “and he spends far less time examining right and wrong while he’s bashing someone’s head to the floor.”

            The subject of his parentage was something Moritz was apparently keen on – or perhaps he just hadn’t diverted him well enough. It wasn’t that Caspian assumed the Kelvic’s response to learning he was half Vantha would be to drag him off and claim the nearest bounty; it was possible that Moritz wouldn’t have much of a perspective on it at all. What he didn’t want to bet on, however, was whether Moritz would keep that information to himself. The Kelvic didn’t seem one for withholding, and Caspian could readily picture him enthusiastically sharing that fatal information with the next person they met.

            “It was my roundabout, rueful little way of saying half-human,” he lied instead.

            He checked the handkerchief, with its new regrettable stains. Though his nose still stung as he inhaled, at least the bleeding seemed to have stopped.

            Without having to consult the map, Caspian knew they’d found the row of glass artisans when he noticed that the windows in the buildings they were passing had taken on a more sophisticated and artful tack. Many were stained-glass, in a rainbow of panels and grids, and some depicted whole landscapes of hills and arbors, knights and stars. They passed a table of glass pipes, hookahs as tall as him and Moritz, even glass knives that he wasn’t sure were functional or simply for show, but he yearned for regardless.

            “Right once more,” he replied, when Moritz outlined the very plan he had in mind. As he scanned the stalls and tables ahead, he sensed the return of his nosebleed. It was with his handkerchief yet clamped over his nose that he approached the nearest vendor selling jewelry.

            They sold pendants, but the backs of them had a distinctly different engraving than the one Lee had given him. One down, and from the seemingly endless rows, a thousand to go.

            Caspian held out the pendant to the vendor, who took in his appearance and bloody nose with precisely the amount of bemusement he was afraid it would garner. “Excuse me. Would you happen to know where I can find another one of these? Exactly like this one.”

            “What’s wrong with mine?” she asked, raising an eyebrow.

            If it weren’t for the bloody nose, the fact that he had a precocious child in tow, and his earlier hit-and-miss with that Keiss guard, he might have tried to flirt. Instead, he replied, “It’s all very lovely, but it’s my mother-in-law’s birthday, and she’s terribly particular.”

            “Mother-in-law? Then where’s your ring?” The vendor stared pointedly at his hand.

            “I’m on vacation and I’m trying to cheat on my wife. It’s so much easier without it.”

            The vendor burst out laughing, and Caspian grinned from behind his handkerchief. Bantering was his default, and as much as he liked careening along with Moritz’ many trains of thought, it was a lot easier with another human.

            “It’s pretty,” the vendor conceded, turning the pendant over and running her thumb against the mark on the back. “And I do think I’ve seen something like this before. Try Adelaide.” She turned around and pointed at a storefront about twenty yards away, which had a pair of enormous vases decorated with bits of stained glass flanking the door.

            “It’s like, if I bring back a present and keep the mother-in-law happy, it keeps the wife off my tail – “

            “Right, got it,” the vendor said, rolling her eyes and not believing him for a second.

            As they neared the storefront, Caspian turned to Moritz and said, “Wait out here, will you? Just… keep an eye out. Holler if something goes wrong.”

            This was the veritable bridge; here was the imminent crossing. He wasn’t sure what he’d find inside, and subsequently he wasn’t sure how he’d react. Hard to say how Moritz would feel should things turn sour.


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