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Posted by Anke 
Random Intermission story
June 26, 2012 04:48PM
"I wouldn't mind, at least." She was grinning.
Random Intermission story
June 26, 2012 04:56PM
Sebastian grinned back. "That's fine." So it went, then.

But later, they did get out of bed and got dressed, him now in his new clothes, beige and khaki, he pecked her on the cheek on the way out the door.

Breakfast, then, was a matter of black bread with cheese and eggs and vegetables with tea. As it happened, Sebastian had insisted on Sylvie finding them a table while he fetched the breakfast and put it on the table. Then he sat down, feeling strange in new clothes and a new colour. A life, too. He eyed the egg on his plate with suspicion, but ate it anyway.

"I've been meaning to ask," Sebastian-Sammeh said between bites in Interworld, "how... well, we know we're going home, but how do you think I should act?"

He had more questions, but they could wait.
Random Intermission story
June 26, 2012 05:35PM
Sylvie looked up, surprised at the jump ahead. While trying to think of her hometown from the perspective of a new arrival, she fished for clarification of what he was asking exactly. "Once we're there? I thought you were tired of acts?"

She shifted in her seat, crossing her ankles under her chair. Switching languages when surrounded by strangers made her a little nervous; some people might only just tolerate someone who looked foreign, but got hostile if they sounded too foreign, too.
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June 26, 2012 06:12PM
"I was more after what is taboo," he explained, picking at the cheese. "Politeness. I won't pretend to not being an outlander."
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June 26, 2012 07:28PM
Peeling a hardboiled egg gave her hands something to do while she looked for a starting point - knowing the rules and spelling them out were two different things. "Politeness..." What had she run in trouble with in different places? "Don't say 'yes' or 'maybe' or 'I'll see what I can do' if you mean 'no'. It's more polite with a 'sorry' in there, but a blunt but honest 'no' is better than leading someone on. Particularly with friends. That might shade into taboo." She gave a half-shrug and a wry smile, continuing for the sake of completeness rather than because she thought it would come up. "In a wider sense, don't betray a trust. And the outermost circle of that I guess is: don't spy for a foreign power." Her smile twisted as she wondered if that included the Ladies Land and Luck.
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June 26, 2012 08:29PM
He didn't touch his food, but tried to drink it in. "You mean... blunt honesty is politeness, most else is being rude or suspicious? Compare: I tell someone to fuck off as opposed to I say to someone, go away, I'd rather not talk to you?"
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June 26, 2012 08:52PM
"No, usually 'go away' is better than 'go jump off a cliff'. The main thread I mean is, making or letting someone believe they have your support in a matter when you're planning to stay out of it, or that you're going to do something they asked of you when you're not, that's a problem.

It just crossed my mind because I have been in a place where declining a request turned out to be rude no matter how much you apologised along with it. They used lines like 'I'll get it done as soon as I have time' instead. That was confusing."
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June 26, 2012 09:27PM
He finally had a bite of bread and digested what Sylvie had said. "Well," Sebastian began after chewing and swallowing, "for once I'm being forewarned. I'll tell you, a good percentage of the hijinks I ended up in were because I was still learning the language and culture. For example, once I ended up on a world where women ruled and males had to crawl up the social ladder through nepotism." He had a go at the egg. "Suffice to say, I landed in a prison within a week."
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June 26, 2012 09:56PM
She winced in sympathy. "Well, I think most people in Yrn give foreigners the benefit of the doubt, if they seem to make an effort."
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June 26, 2012 10:06PM
"I hope so," he said, examining the yolk of the egg before looking back at Sylvie. "Will you mind if I pretend I don't know even the slightest bit of the language? It's just that... well, I like being cautious, as much as possible, and..."
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June 26, 2012 10:11PM
There was a pause while Sylvie tried to make sense of that. It did not work. "And...?"
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June 26, 2012 10:18PM
Sebastian poked at a piece of eggshell, eyes still focussed on Sylvie. "I'm worried, and when I'm worried, I keep my cards close to my chest. I don't ever want to end up in a cell again, but then again, I'd rather not lie and cheat and act like I'm dumber than I am, so... I'm afraid I'll either get into trouble or make you angry by putting on a show."

He glanced at his plate again, appetite all gone. "I'm free to live with you now, but I'm confused. I don't want to offend you by using my acting skills in Yrn. One thing keeps coming back to me, though. I might have to lie. And I don't want to, not anymore."
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June 26, 2012 10:31PM
"The idea of starting there with a pretense worries me because of the effect it might have if one of us slips up, or the truth gets out in some other way eventually." They had seen it in the Old Ivy family, after all.
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June 26, 2012 10:36PM
"Exactly," he said, pushing his plate toward her. "But I can't just bloody well tell them I'm a servant of two differing gods, semi-retired and come to find peace when Eodea has no religion, can I? I'll have to lie or stay quiet about things. I'll have to keep quiet and just say, I saw this gorgeous woman and she stole my heart for good. And when they ask me what my profession is, that's..."

Sebastian sighed and leaned back in his chair, adjusting the hood of his cloak. He looked at her. "Make no mistake, though. I'm coming with. I just want you to help me, so I can stay with."
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June 26, 2012 11:01PM
The compliment drew a smile, uncomfortable as the surrounding topic was. "Oh, yes. Gods is... awkward. We could always translate clergies as orders, but gods might be mistaken for demons." That was the rub that kept her from adding proper records of the events in Canyet to her diary. She had obtained some loose paper and drafted notes before she forgot details, but nothing written in the book.

"As to profession, you can get away with something like 'all sorts of things' and mentioning a few more incongruous ones you might practise in Yrn. People will assume you're a few hundred years old, anyway, unless you want to keep your hair dyed."
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June 26, 2012 11:07PM
He sipped his tea, squinting at Sylvie, lost in thought. "Orders. All right. You'll have to tell me about them in more detail, but if you think it works, no complaints here," Sebastian said, before assailing the matter of profession -- almost shyly, and after a pause.

"You know. I can do about anything. I'm average at most things aside from survival and skills related to illegality, but... well, if one's supposedly..." Another pause. "They'll assume I'm a few hundred years old," Sebastian said, as though the thought hadn't occurred to him.
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June 26, 2012 11:17PM
"Probably. Going by looks alone you could pass for someone from Eodea with an elven parent or grandparent, and otherwise human ancestors, which would make you long-lived enough that for your hair to turn grey..."
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June 26, 2012 11:20PM
A sip of tea, a series of blinks. "Well. That's... fortunate." That last word came out a bit bitterly. Sebastian hedged a bit. "...what about the ears? I've noticed it varies on different worlds."
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June 26, 2012 11:23PM
"Yes? I was taking those into account."
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June 26, 2012 11:37PM
It took some consideration. He wasn't the expert on Eodea, but... Sebastian had seen patterns on many worlds, most suggesting that worldgates had disseminated similar bipedal lifeforms in various environs, how cultures had come to be what they were, how... many things diverged and yet held the some basic patterns.

The half-elf finished his tea and refrained from saying something about having a guide to a world he hadn't been to was rare for him. His mind was buzzing with questions and ideas, but instead Sammeh said: "Good. I won't be keeping this colour, though, but good. Now... a purely selfish question. How will you introduce me to any familiar faces?"

He was grinning as he reached out a hand and softly touched the tip of her fingers.
Random Intermission story
June 26, 2012 11:48PM
Smiling back and intertwining her fingers with his she answered, "Something like 'This is Sammeh, and we're together for good' should do for most."
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June 26, 2012 11:54PM
That elicited a reaction. He fought back the laughter, but couldn't keep the smile off his face. Sammeh cleared his throat and squeezed her hand. "I like the sound of that. Quite a lot. Just don't tell them you saved me from a harem."
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June 27, 2012 11:47AM
"Wouldn't have crossed my mind. It sounds rather unlikely," she answered, chuckling.
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June 27, 2012 11:49AM
He smirked, then shook his head. "But you did save me from something, at least."
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June 27, 2012 12:22PM
She wanted to automatically deflect that - it had been mostly a matter of being in a certain place at a certain time - but stopped herself. After a moment she said quietly, "If you mean from going crazy with loneliness, I think we're still working on mending that."
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June 27, 2012 12:39PM
"Exactly that," Sebastian said, smiling only the slightest now but with undertones of affection. His grip on Sylvie's hand remained steadily light as he examined their fingers. Then he looked up and grinned. "How about we tell them you helped me get unemployed?"
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June 27, 2012 12:51PM
"You know what?" Her eyes were nearly closed, and twinkling with amusement. "As soon as you're comfortable enough to talk to people, tell them what you want. Preferably when I'm in earshot; I wouldn't want to miss that."
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June 27, 2012 01:03PM
"Oh, it's a deal," he said, still grinning, then glanced at his food. "But in any case, to get to that point, we need to get moving, don't we?"
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June 27, 2012 01:26PM
"Yes. Are we going to pass through Hilyet, or take a longer way around?" She couldn't help being curious what had happened there in consequence of events in Canyet, but wasn't sure if actually going there would be too risky.
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June 27, 2012 05:12PM
"Personally? I'm torn. News travels fast, faster than we do, but I suspect we may find out from inns around Hilyet as much as we could in the city. Plus, I do not want to get caught." Sebastian bit his lip. "As much as those two said we will arrive at our destination, I would prefer to rely on skill and caution rather than pushing our..." he went silent, not wanting to speak of luck. He shrugged.
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