A New World: Artle

First: A New World

Kael allowed herself a small smile, even as she tried to puzzle that one out.  Hospital?  Hospes?  Something about guests.  

“Oh, that can’t be true, they wouldn’t open the place and have it be dangerous!”

So a hospital was somewhere for  – people who had been hurt?  Perhaps a place to rest after people had been taken by a sleeping potion.  There had been quite a few sleeping potion traps in those lower levels.

“This tower has always been dangerous,” Kael informed them, in her best Heroes, save me from heroes voice.  “The very nature of being a seeker here means that one has taken one’s life into one’s hand – at least, classically.  In the times before this city was here -”

“The city’s always been here,” protested the mother.

“No it hasn’t, Brenner.  For one, we haven’t always been here.  For another, the city was only incorporated a hundred and fifty years ago.”

“But it was here before that.  I  mean, there were buildings here when our people got here!  Weren’t there?”  Now she looked uncertain.  Kael found she liked that far better than stubborn certainty.

“Okay, yeah, but you can’t call that a city.”

“And before those buildings,” Kael slid in, “there was a tower, and a wide river that no bridge could cross, a deep valley and a land full of creatures that would rip the skin from your face.”

“Now we call that Artle,” the husband quipped.

“Oh, Jens,” the wife scoffed.  “My brother lives in Artle.”

“I know.  So does his wife.  Sorry, ma’am.”  The man smiled at Kael.  “Just making a bad joke.”

“I have never been amiss to humor, whatever the chronicles might say of me.”  She bowed a small little obeisance, the sort that in her days suggested nothing but manners and perhaps a slight bit of condescension, and looked back at her potion.  “This is nearly done, if you would like to see it bottled.”

“Is it safe?” asked the mother, who so recently had insisted there was nothing dangerous here.  “Besides, did you really mean Artle was full of monsters?”

“It is safe so long as you do not touch the potion.”  Not because it would hurt them, but because she didn’t want to explain why they could suddenly read any language they happened to come across. She was fairly certain everything here was supposed to be a fake, a sham.  She did not want to lost her position pretending to be herself until she better understood the world she had ended up in.  “And as for Artle, is that to the west, down a deep cliff and over a wild river?”

“Well, there’s a bridge, of course, but that’s the direction of Artle.  Never really thought of it as a cliff…”

“That’s because they bulldozed half of it and dynamited half the rest when they put in that bridge,” put in the father.

Kael froze in the act of lifting up the cauldron. “They did what?”

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7 thoughts on “A New World: Artle

  1. Pingback: A New World: Tourists – Alder's Grove Fiction

  2. If anyone in the family is paying attention, Kael has just given herself away. The making of that bridge would’ve likely been big news when it was going in, and the modern terrain at least moderately familiar to anyone living there now. While she’s going to need an explanation of both “bulldozed” and “dynamited”, but those two instances of “half” will provide enough destructive context to get the point across.

    Now: will anyone pick up on her error?

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