Wednesday, August 05, 2009
I am having trouble with my right eye. The doctor says it's not an uncommon problem, and it will be like this for months --really annoying because I see a lot of lines and splots, and it's making it hard to work. And put me in a not-unreasonable bad mood. I've been getting my writing done, but not a whole lot else. That has to strop tomorrow. I need to get the newsletter finished. The real problem is working and not getting a headache.
So not much to say today. Just going to post this and get a bit of work done!
Here is a section from Draw the Line. I don't think I've posted this part yet! The Rafe is heading into the Market area on the station:
Even as he came through the human gate, he saw that business was starting to pick up along the haphazard aisles lined with booths made of everything from crates glued together to fine woven Ksa tents. The Norishi had several plain, black box-liked huts, with the wares laid out on tables at the door -- no one ever got inside the large huts which made him wonder why they went to all that trouble of putting them up... except, again, for show.
In all, the Ksa sector out did them all, though. They had some tents and some open-air stands, and all of them festooned with ribbons and flags -- and Rafael was beginning to think the colors and the symbols on the flags were far more than just decorative bits of ornament meant to draw attention. It all meant something to the Ksa.
The Click had no section of their own. They wouldn't sit still long enough to wait for trade to come. However, they did often wander in and out, trading one-on-one with some of the things they brought from their own enclave. Click artifacts fascinated everyone, and even the Norishi sometimes tried to lure them into their part of the market.
The click pets were less welcome. The little creatures got into everything, opening anything closed and sometimes making off with odd little things. They rarely got those things back, so people made certain nothing of importance sat out where little pet hands could get into them.
Rafael had come to like the little pests, though. He'd learned a few click sounds, and could clap his hand and click his tongue in an approximation of some simple, Click commands. He could sometimes get the pets to come to him, or to stop or sit.
He was working on a audio file dictionary and so far had five definite words and six maybe ones. It wasn't much, but it was a start. Even the Ksa admitted to having trouble understanding the Click, and they'd been in contact with them for over one hundred years.
Today, he moved through the human section, visiting with friends mostly, and trading a couple Ksa stones for a bag he could sling across his shoulder. A few booths later he added some bread to go in it, glad to see Gladys had gotten in supplies to bake again. She'd imported an oven with a small powercell and now she was the darling of just about everyone on the station, including the Ksa and -- because she was a woman -- the Norishi. Rafe suspected she was going to leave Xenation a very wealthy woman, and probably make the kind of money that the treasure hunters only dreamed about.
"The new shirts are done, Rafe," Orin said, waving him over. He pulled out two nice shirts, well-tailored and one blue, the other a shimmering silver. Rafe paid for them with some of his hoarded cred chits. His old shirts had started getting ratty and Neva was never going to allow him to draw on station personnel clothing. In some ways, he decided he didn't mind. It allowed him to be an individual, and wear things that didn't make him look like the others.
He touched the metal at the side of his face. Not that he would look like them anyway.
"Greetings and 'eace 'etween us, Rafael."
He turned, giving at automatic bow of greeting to the two Ksa men who had come up behind him. They wore dark suits today, the collars inlaid with green designs, and the long cloaks that meant they were on some official business. "Greeting and peace between us, Etinon and Saris. Is the market good today?"
Etinon patted the shoulder bag he carried made of some sort of alien leather and intricately detailed -- as was almost everything the Ksa did -- with gold and silver inlay. Rafael had come to think that each design held some significance, but he hadn't figured it out yet -- or even figured out if it was proper to ask the Ksa, who were open in many things, but not all. The Ksa had some strict rules of protocol. He tried very hard not to cross them, and basically let the Ksa take charge of most conversations.
"Market is fine," Etinon said. "Other 'atters are trou'ling, friend. Can you walk with us? You look unsteady."
He was the official business? He suspected that wouldn't be good, but he gave a quick nod of his head and placed the new shirts in his bag.
"Another round with the Displaced," he said, waving his hand back toward the work area. "I can walk with you. Thank you for the invitation."
Orin looked worried as he walked away with the two, and with good cause. If something bothered the Ksa enough to come to him, it meant real trouble out there somewhere.
Rafael asked nothing. There were protocols that must be observed with the Ksa. While the Norishi were all about show and drawing attention, the Ksa had rituals that were imperative to their species. They forgave others for not knowing the rituals, but they treated those who at least took the time to try to learn them with extra respect.
The Ksa stood taller than most humans, though not by much. Humanoid in shape, but slightly different -- longer fingers, a thinner, flatter face, and a mouth and lips that could not form the letters b, p, or m. Rafael knew a few Ksa words from the market, but they spoke fluent human basic -- at least the ones whom he had met. They didn't seem to think it important that he learn their own language, at least as long as he observed what rituals he knew. The words appeared to be less important, in some respects, than the actions.
They were walking back toward the Ksa market. He had been heading that way anyway.
The gateway to the Ksa section of the market was hung with ribbons of dark, rich colors. He had come to know that they were something of a message board, giving notice to other Ksa about matters within the Ksa realm. Today he saw far too much black hung in long streamers on both sides and frowned at the site.
Saris saw where he looked and nodded. "You are wise."
That sent a chill through him, but he gave a bow of his head as he neared the gateway and let the other two go ahead. He paused, clasping his hands together and bowing his head a little lower. "May I, a stranger, be accepted within your realm?"
"Co' within and 'e welco' to our 'lace," Saris said, bowing is head.
Some thing told him this was not where he really wanted to go today -- he had the feel of one disaster after another striking -- but he bowed his head, in return. "Thanks to all within for the welcome."
He stepped inside the gate, giving one last glance to the black ribbons.