Who is Good Company? (A Dialogue)

“So, Jin, what do you think about hunting in the north?”

“I have no issue.”

“Really? I would have expected you to be against it.”

“Why?”

“Well, didn’t you grow up in the woods? Maybe you know some of the creatures that we hunt,” Salt was beginning to feel stupid but he continued, “as friends or something. Is that stupid to ask that?”

“I didn’t befriend any of the kinds of creatures you hunt.”

“Oh.”

“It is not stupid to ask if I have met the creatures of the woods. I did communicate with some of the others when I lived there.”

“But not the kind we eat?”

“You would know this if you lived in the wilderness. Prey does not generally make for good company. The most you can do with a bird or rabbit is to feed it. The do not have as high of a capacity for communicating.”

“Oh… I didn’t realize. But you said that you did make some friends with the creatures in the woods?”

“Yes. We N’Tariel are hunters. We need intelligence to catch our prey. The L’ynkos also hunters, thus, they also have intelligence.”

“L’ynkos? Wolf? Warg? You befriended a L’ynkos?”

“Not all of them, however, L’ynkos tended to be one of the better creatures for company.”

“Name! Tell me a name of your L’ynkos friends!”

“I cannot tell you a name; they do not address each other as we do. They instead know who is who by smell.”

“Well, how did you talk?”

“It took a lot of effort to create a way to communicate with another species. Similar to how you might try to talk to someone who speaks another language.”

“As we have in our travels! Now I understand why it’s so easy for you to get directions and information from foreigners. I’m guessing you figured it all out in the woods, of all places.”

“Pointing, either with the eyes or hands, as well as expressing emotion, are all fairly universal. You will find that with a L’ynkos, speech is extremely limited.”

“You must show me some time, how you talk with the L’ynkos.”

“Well… It is difficult if you are not a resident of the woods. They may even be less welcoming to me, I do not know their memory. And, also with more than one N’Tariel, threat of power comes into the meeting. A L’ynkos might run away.”

“Oh. Were there other intelligent predators you spoke, or rather, communicated with?”

“One of Däwngale’s, that is, Mother Nature’s spirits.”

“You spoke with a spirit?”

“Yes. A pond spirit. Only one was ever willing to speak to me. I assume it was because she was young. The rest returned to the water whenever I came around”

“Oh! You must have learned some amazing things from a spirit!”

“You must understand that even here there is a flaw.”

“But can’t a spirit talk, unlike a wolf?”

“Yes, a spirit can talk, but a spirit is,” Jin searched for the correct word, “lazy? No, perhaps, inexperienced? My L’ynkos friend and I could at least speak of hunting. Topics like, which prey tasted the best, or which made the stomach fullest. The pond spirit, the one I spoke to, had very limited experiences to speak on.”

“I thought that water spirits lived very long lives.”

“It is true, even this young one I encountered had lived many times my age, but still, she had not seen much. A pond is small and there is not a lot that happens near it. Water spirits also don’t have any habits or needs. She had nothing to draw from in conversation.”

“So your spirit friend could speak clearly, but not on many topics, and your L’ynkos friend could speak on interesting topics, but could not speak properly!”

“Yes, in so few words.”

“My! Was there no one you could talk to?”

“Well, once I exited the forest, and met you and the rest of the N’Tariel people…”

“So people are truly the best company?”

“Yes”

“Very well! I guess I can be satisfied just talking to neighbors, and those we meet outside the village.”

“Although…”

“Although?!”

“Well, a L’ynkos is far less likely to be deceitful. Even a spirit will tell you if they are withholding information.”

Salt laughed, “so there’s no good company for you?”

“Well, I would say that you are good company.”

“How kind!”

Daniel Triumph.

I’m struggling quite a bit with the whole dialogue thing in writing. I really like dialogue, but apparently good fiction doesn’t have a lot of it. In good fiction, it’s very to-the-point. I don’t know, I’ve always liked this natural feeling back and forth. Maybe it’s one of those things that is funner to write then to read?

I’d like to do an imitation of a Greek/Roman dialogue at some point, as Plato or Cicero have. That is, a big back and forth where characters speak on a topic in depth. Although, I’d need a topic with enough depth to handle it.

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