Starman part 2. (Part 1 here)
A lot can happen between adventures.
The next morning, Yaska came to Jan’s stone hut. Outside, he and the creature were talking.
“Look, Yaska, he fits okay in my clothes… sort of. A little tight in the arms and baggy everywhere else, but not a big issue,” Jan shrugged.
Yaska stared at the creature.
“It can talk now so I’m guessing it learns by imitation,” Jan said, “sort of like a kid who picks up really really fast. I think it figured out how to talk just from the stories last night!”
“He learned to talk,” Yaska replied.
The creature looked at them both, then said, ” ‘It’ is closer than ‘he,’ but considering me a man will make referring to me easier.”
“You know, he kind of talks like you,” Jan said.
“Hmm.” Yaska surveyed the creature. He seemed to have a strangely slim but broad build. She asked him, “what should we call you?”
“What would you call me if I was still in the sky?”
Yaska spoke tentatively, “a… star?”
“Okay. I am a star that looks like a man.”
Jan said, “I’m just going to call you the Starman.”
“Okay.” The Starman said.
“Okay.” Yaska said.
“Al right, Starman, what would you like to do?” Jan asked.
“Well, I would like to return to…” he pointed.
“The sky, but I do not have enough energy.”
Yaska looked around the desert. Her gaze passed the Solune wall to the east, and the mountains to the north. She said, “Do you think you could return from the top of the mountain?”
The Starman followed her gaze and said, “perhaps.”
Jan packed food and bloodskins, and looked for someone to hunt in his place. Mariça volunteered. Then they headed up the mountain.
For a Plainkind, climbing a mountain is less difficult and more tedious and the northern mountains are of unexceptional height. The small group managed to reach the summit with a little effort and in less than half the day.
“How is this?” Yaska asked.
The Starman gazed at the sky, and said, “I will see.”
He began to glow as he had when he had first landed, and Yaska expected him to morph back into a ball. Instead, he stopped and cooled off, returning to normal.
“What made you stop?” Yaska asked.
The Starman said, “Now that I have seen the top, I am certain that I do not have enough energy to return to the sky. I would rather not waste what I do have.”
Yaska put a hand in her hair, “I guess my idea was not that good after all.”
“I apologize. But, at least we will no longer have to wonder.”
“Okay, wow,” Jan said, “you guys are so stuffy. Listen, what did you say? That you don’t have enough energy?”
“Well, here. Eat. Drink.”
They found a flat rut in the mountain, and began eating. The average Plainkind meal is raw dinosaur meat, and blood. Other liquids are very difficult to find in the desert, so blood is the primary source of fluids.
When they had finished, Jan said, “So? Is that better? Do you have energy now?”
The Starman thought for a time, and then said, “no.”
He put the food down, “this is, I think, the wrong kind of energy.”
“What? So, the mountain didn’t help, and the food didn’t help? What are we supposed to do?”
Yaska stood, took the Starman’s food, then gave it to Jan. “Take this, and calm yourself. Stars probably eat a different sort of food than we do. Come, we should return now.”
They started down the mountain. The Starman’s face was impassive.
“What do stars eat?” Jan asked. “You should know, you’re a star, right?”
“I know what it is, but I cannot tell you.” The starman replied.
“What? Come on, we’re trying to help you!”
“I… do not have the words.”
Yaska nodded, “the word for his food probably is not in Plainkind vocabulary.”
“Vocabulary?” Jan asked.
Yaska said, “vocabulary is… it is all the words you have to choose from when you speak. I learned the term from Chloe.”
“Oh yes, Chloe, the outsider. She knows quite a bit, doesn’t she.”
“Yes she does,” Yaska agreed, “Chloe knows about history, and science, and… Oh Jan!”
“What?” Jan asked. The Starman, too, looked at her.
“We could ask Chloe to help!”
“Oh, great idea!”
“I will write her a letter when we return. We can send it by bird.”
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I apologize for the quality drop in this one. The next one is better.