90

In this new place, these folk extended a cordial welcome, as Soleil had noted in her particular introduction to them in dream state. It was possible to doubt something no one else had seen, until she found herself undeniably surrounded. Despite this besieged captivity, it was a sudden relief to be out from under a different weight of watchfulness. These people were strangers or enemies, which was easier to understand than the mixed motives of those she trusted.

They who called themselves Vedani taught her some rudimentary basics. How to read a map and transport herself around this dwelling vessel, the shape of it, and where to get food. They had food she could eat, similar enough to be from home, and called by similar names. They ate it too, though not very much, almost recreationally. She wondered how many humans they had dined with already besides the one she was sure that they knew, who was now missing an arm, awaiting the verdict they would deliver to a long-hated enemy of state. It seemed no one was interested in taking care of her, nor were they trying to hurt her, though everyone knew who she was.

A few knew her language. She imparted hers and gained some of theirs, unusual though it was to speak. She could learn no more if she didn’t start with this much. By the way they smirked she knew she was missing some common critical element, but they responded to her efforts with comprehension, even adjusting her human approximations. The skill came more easily under urgency. Soleil was pleased to be allowed a child’s grasp of their means.

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