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De Exilio
Chapter 1 — The Huuk
Hilur stepped boldly forward and in a deep voice sang a short melody, while staring directly at Mythlos. He smiled, and all the crowd of Iulutiuns began chuckling. Lelchik, trying not to smile herself, translated. "He says, 'My friend, I ate some caribou meat last night that made my stomach sick. I thought of you.'"

   "Your sled has more life than you do," said Mythlos.

   "You forgot to sing," whispered Ilthian, but Lelchik already began translating.

   The crowd did not seem to respond well. Hilur's smile grew larger. This time, he turned and faced the crowd and sang a similar tune to them while pointing at Mythlos. "'My friend here has a temper so bad,'" Lelchik translated, "'that it makes dragons cower in their caves.'"

   This time Mythlos sang, and he matched the tone and style exceptionally well, but the crowd did not seem impressed with his improvised lyrics: "Indeed I do. Do you wish to be next?"

   "'My friend,'" sang Hilur through Lelchik, while staring at Mythlos again, "'your breath smells worse than year-old seal blubber.'" The crowd roared with laughter.

   Mythlos seemed stunned. He answered and sang, "If you hadn't lost your sense of smell, it would have."

   Lelchik translated this, but then she whispered to him, "You sing our song very well, but your insults are too defensive."

   Hilur's next insult was, "My friend, your skin has the fair texture of tirichik stew."

   "What is a tirichik?" asked Szordrin.

   "Better than the texture of a dire rat carcass!" sang Mythlos.

   Lelchik did not even translate this one. "Rats do not live on the Great Glacier," she warned. "Quick, something else!"

   "I'd rather crawl than rent one of your sled dogs," sang Mythlos. Lelchik hesitated but then translated. The crowd moaned and murmured.

   Hilur looked exceedingly angry. He paced around quickly, thinking. Then he faced Mythlos and sang. The crowd erupted in hysterical laughter, and Hilur began doing what appeared to be a victory dance.

   Lelchik said, "He says, 'My friend, I found moldy, hard bread bits in the bottom of my sack this morning that looked like teeth. Are you sure you did not lose any?'"

   The villagers began to disperse again.

   "I think that means we lost," said Ilthian.

   Lelchik nodded.

   "What does that mean for us?" asked Szordrin.

   "It might be for the best," said Lelchik. "Hilur is appeased. Some of the older villagers may now consider you dishonorable, but most are not likely to treat you any differently, although do not be surprised if your performance is not forgotten...."


That night, shortly after dark, there was a great commotion in the tiny village. Hunters were rushing around, gathering up their bows and spears. Only Belvin knew this, because the rest of his companions were toasty warm inside Chamuk's snowhouse. Typical of Belvin, he simply observed.

   Perhaps an hour later, the hunters returned, bearing a massive, muskox-like creature among them on a sled. The creature had a humped back and snow-white fur. Belvin watched with curiosity as they butchered the animal and began to divide up the meat among themselves.

   Then, he noticed something else in the distance, in the fog, beyond the hunters, to which they seemed oblivious — two faint, glowing circles of blue, green, and yellow light. The lights were hovering and shifting about and changing colors. They looked somewhat like lanterns in the darkness, yet their movements were not like that of a person holding one.

   Belvin carefully crawled into the snowhouse and silently summoned Leokas out of trance. The two elves returned outside together.

   "I don't recognize these things," said Leokas. He approached one of the men who carried a large chunk of freshly cut meat and pointed at the lights. The man shrugged.

   "If he is not worried, nor am I," said Leokas. Belvin nodded. Then the two went back to resting for the night.


In the morning, Chamuk brought them seal blubber for breakfast. They did not find this particularly appetizing, but they tried not to offend her and chewed on it until she left.

   When they exited the snowhouse, they located Lelchik and requested her aid as a translator once again. Leokas asked her about the strange lights the night before.

   "The aurora polaris?" she suggested. When Leokas answered in the negative, she did not know what else to suggest.

   With Lelchik's help, they traded the dragon head for several dozen pounds of meat and some arrows. Then she introduced them to Wariik. He agreed to guide them to the sukkiruchit in Gotokok on the next day, since they were going there anyhow.

   While arranging this, a young Iulutiun woman came up to Lelchik and delivered a message to her. A serious expression crossed her face.

   "What is it?" asked Szordrin.

   "I was wrong about Hilur," she said. "He still was not satisfied with his victory in the huuk last night. He has apparently now requested yijikak. That is, he is asking permission of the elders to murder Mythlos for insulting his dogs during the huuk. Now, do not fear; the elders typically take at least a month before making a decision on the matter. Even so, it may be in your best interest to leave Koyoss sooner rather than later."

   When this was suggested to Wariik, he agreed to leave a day early, and soon he and his two sons were helping the party to load their newly purchased sleds. Each of the three sleds required a single pilot, standing in the back. Leokas, Belvin, and Cassiera were chosen, as they had the best skill in handling animals. One sled would bear a miniaturized Kamil, another would bear Mythlos and Szordrin, and the third Hakam and Ilthian.

   While Wariik, through Lelchik, explained how to steer the dogs, the youngest of Wariik's sons walked up to Ilthian. "Hitlak uyung'a," he said, among other things they could not understand, while pointing at himself.

   "Ilthian uyung'a," Ilthian replied.

   Hakam looked shocked. "Have you understood their language all this time and did not tell us?"

   "No," she said, "but uyung'a is clearly how they say, 'my name is....' I am a quick learner."

   Hitlak handed something to her, and then exposed his large teeth to Ilthian with a giant smile.

   It was a necklace of smooth black stones. "It is pretty," she said. She immediately placed it over her neck and smiled back at him. "Thank you!"

   "Laali," he replied. He turned to go.

   "Wait!" she said. He stopped. Then she pulled a small wooden bracelet from her wrist. "Here, this is something I made from some scraps from Erol's shop. I do not see much wood around here; would you like it?"

   The man smiled even bigger and took her gift. "Quana! Quana! Nakurmiik!" he said. Then he hurried off.

   Szordrin and Hakam took Lelchik aside and asked her about the exchange, fearing that Ilthian may have agreed to something unknowingly. Indeed, she had.

   "If she gave him a gift in return, that is a sign that they are now engaged to be married. I know that Hitlak has been seeking a wife...."

   "How long is an engagement?" asked Szordrin. "What happens next?"

   "Both must receive the permission of their parents," explained Lelchik, "at which point the marriage is complete."

   "Then we do not have anything to worry about," said Hakam. "Her father and mother are thousands and thousands of miles away."
Session: 63rd Game Session - Friday, Dec 11 2015 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
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