Monday, August 8, 2016
The days are flying by. I can hardly believe how quickly time is passing, but vacation is such a whirlwind. With one exception, I have been having the time of my life.
I think the last thing I wrote about was the first place Oses and Betra took me: the ancient Temple of Life. From there, we went to the underground city of Snalor. This wasn’t just a marketplace, but an entire city. They were enjoying some annual festival they throw. There was a lot of exhibitions, performing theatrical arts, concerts, and partying. All day and all night, the city was full throttle. I understand it goes on for a full week (on Kalquor, that’s ten days). We enjoyed a day of that, but it was really not the atmosphere for a baby. It was pretty clear by some of the wild goings-on in the streets that Kalquor is no longer used to having small children around – the festival was definitely an adult-centric atmosphere. We stayed long enough to sample some local cuisine and a couple of Anrel-friendly shows. After dinner we retired to our suite. We could hear the beat of non-stop lemanthev through the walls all night.
Now we’re on the plains of Itegen, a hot, dry place about a hundred miles from Kalquor’s largest desert. It’s really wild out here, with a lot of exotic animals who live only in this one place. We did a shuttle tour to see the wildlife in their native habitat yesterday. We were able to get out and view the herbivores with nothing between us, but when it came to the predators, we had to remain inside the shuttle and watch them through the vid windows. We saw a pack of senilows take down a giant umtopel, which looks like a cross between a cow and a stegosaurus, if you can imagine. The senilows essentially look like fangs with long, skinny legs. Brutal creatures. I was glad to be inside the shuttle where they couldn’t get me.
I’d still rather see a senilow than who we ran into in the village this morning where we’re staying. Ugh, I thought I’d seen the last of Dramok Resan. But nooooo, the big-eyed jerk came out of a shop just as we were passing by.
He wore a exo-skeletal brace, obviously still recovering from the spinal injury he’d suffered during the Tragoom attack on the transport. He stopped short as he recognized us.
Oses and Betra bowed, the typical respectful greeting. Betra spoke, “Hello, Dramok. It’s good to see you on your feet. Are you able to enjoy your leave?”
Resan returned their bows with a nod of his head. “Very much, thank you Imdiko.” He looked at Betra, his gaze frankly curious before looking at me between my two sweeties. “Matara Shalia. You and your daughter look well.”
His tone was impersonally polite. At least I was spared the acid of our usual exchanges. I returned the favor. “Dramok Resan. I’m glad to see you recovering.” Yeah, right. He’d better recover after what I went through to keep him alive.
“A few more days and I will be able to get rid of the exo-brace,” he said in that same noncommittal tone. He turned his attention to Oses, and I was sure his voice warmed. “So you’ve found your way to my home village. How are you liking it?”
Oses looked around with appreciation, though I didn’t see much to get excited about. “It’s been a most interesting stop on our tour. The guided expedition of the plains was particularly enjoyable.”
“Did you see any senilows? I heard their numbers have increased lately. The hunters are getting ready to do a cull.”
Oses’ eyes brightened. “A hunt? That would be exciting.”
“It usually is. I’m sorry I won’t get to participate this time. I’ve always gone out when it was time to decrease their numbers.” Old Resan was a regular Chatty Cathy, wasn’t he?
“I didn’t realize you were from this area.”
“Yes. My grandparents and parents live here. I am staying with them during my leave.”
It was on the tip of my tongue to ask if I’d get to see his grandmother, may the great lady live forever, jogging around town in her best gown. I somehow managed to keep my mouth shut.
Resan turned to Betra again. “I don’t suppose you hunt, Imdiko?” The assessing look was on his face again, as if he was trying to find some evidence of Betra’s rampant heterosexuality. I fussed over Anrel to hide the smirk that crept out. Resan was going to keep barking up the wrong tree until Oses was forced to kick his ass.
After a few more minutes of Resan chatting them up and ignoring me, he excused himself. “I’m due at my grandparents’ for lunch. Enjoy the rest of your leave.” He hesitated as if wanting to say more. Then he gave me a quick nod before moving on.
Once I was sure he was out of earshot, I let myself snicker. “Could he have been any more obvious?”
The men glanced at me quizzically. “Obvious about what?” Betra asked.
I couldn’t help my grin. “Resan finds Oses interesting. Very interesting.”
They exchanged startled looks. “He does?” they chorused.
I laughed. Men can be so clueless.