More Necro.... I really hate interdimensional colons.
Tyrrae bowed her thanks, and made her way carefully across the bridge. This one was much narrower, only a foot wide, but had thick ropes to hold onto for balance. She realized that this platform was closer to the center of the clearing. It made sense. It would be harder to escape from such a location if she needed to, and easier to mark as a target. She saw a thin balcony around the outside of the platform, and would have stepped onto it, but the wolf whined.
She looked at the wolf. When she pulled back from the balcony, he wagged his tail. “So I’m not to go onto the balcony yet, am I? Very well.” The wolf’s tail wagged.
She permitted a sigh. She turned and went in the doorway. Unlike the other two very open platforms, this one seems to have been divided by curtains into rooms. This area was furnished with couches and low tables. The round-eared man was waiting here. “She didn’t come in with you?” He sounded disappointed. The wolf growled very softly.
“You mean Tira?” Tyrrae asked. “No.” She unshouldered her pack.
“Damn,” he said. He sat down.
Another female entered the room, from one of the partitioned areas. “If you please, miss,” she indicated, “won’t you bring your things in here?”
Tyrrae did as she was bid and placed the pack on a low table. There was a dresser and a large bed and a couple of chairs. Tyrrae’s room at home wasn’t as well appointed. She also suddenly realized that this room was the size of the whole platform as it looked from outside. Come to think of it, the other two platforms also looked larger from on top than below. She thought it wiser not to comment on it.
“I’m Dawn. If you have need of anything, I’m to help you. The dresser is for your things. You can even press your thumb here in this spot if you want to seal it to you alone. Merely press your thumb here again to unlock it.”
Tyrrae smiled. “That is a lovely spell. I’d love to know how to do it.” She knew of at least 3 spells that had similar effects, but she did not feel casting them here would be appropriate. One of them at least involved sacrificing a small rat and covering the dresser with the blood. Everything here seemed too clean.
“I can see if it is permitted to grant you a copy. Whether or not you can cast it is of course a separate issue. If you are what they are calling you, I find this unlikely.”
Tyrrae unpacked her clothing and placed it all in the dresser. “What are they calling me?”
“They say you are a necromancer… that your magic has to do with the dead.”
Tyrrae nodded. “That’s a fair enough word for it.” She thought of the servants and the sacrifices.
Dawn remained calm. “Then our magic is opposite yours. Our magic is based on the living. We cast the spell before the tree dies. I think you could not cast it on the dresser after it is assembled.”
“Very interesting,” Tyrrae nodded. “I only know a spell that would work on stone or bone, and not this tree thing.” She laid a hand on one of the supporting branches, and for the first time noticed its innate warmth. It was alive. She felt stupid for thinking it inanimate before. She pulled her blankets out of her pack and spread them on the bed.
“What is this material?” Dawn asked. She touched it lightly.
“Silk, like most of my garb. One uses the material one has available. I have one veil of cotton, but I inherited it. I shall wear it when I wed.”
Dawn smiled. “I’m dressed entirely in cotton. It’s common nearby. I’ve only heard of silk coming from far distant places, but I have never seen it. It’s very soft.”
“That was the gift of the spiders on my journey here. A blessing from them, I feel.”
Dawn snatched her hand away. “Spiders?”
Tyrrae smiled. “Who else can spin silk?”
“I… I heard of worms…” Dawn managed.
Tyrrae shook her head gently. “There were stories of worms long ago who spun silk, but they gave their life into the silk, and unwinding it killed the worms. Spiders may spin silk all day and every day without endangering themselves. They are generous to us.”
“I am afraid of spiders,” Dawn confessed.
“Then it would be rude of me to discuss them further or press the issue.” Tyrrae tucked the rest of her pack into the bottom drawer of the dresser, and used her thumb as instructed.
Dawn managed to collect herself. “If you come into the great room and wait, I will fetch you a lunch.”
“That would be lovely,” she replied.
The wolf coughed. Tyrrae didn’t know a wolf could cough.
Both women turned to look. He nudged the ceramic pot under the table.
“Oh!” exclaimed Dawn. “No, I didn’t explain that. Um, have you heard of chamber pots?”
“Um, no. We usually put the ceramics on the table.”
Dawn had the grace to blush. “Um, when you eat, food goes in your mouth, and eventually stuff comes out the other end, right?” She was trying not to be too graphic, yet literal enough to be understood.
“Well, you are supposed to balance yourself on the pot and do it there.”
“Under the table?” It was a rather low table. She would not fit.
“No, it’s just stored under the table. You have to pull it out and put it back when you are done. It um cleans itself so nobody has to.”
Needing to empty the pot had not occurred to Tyrrae, but surely if something went in, something would need to come out, or this lovely spacious room would smell rather… “I see,” she said.
“What do your people do?” Dawn could not help but ask.
“Every building has at least one very deep pit over which there is a stone seat with an appropriate hole. If it begins to smell too much or nears full, we just build a new one. Sometimes the mushroom farmers collect the soil for feeding the mushrooms.”
“How sensible! I think this goes to fertilize the trees, but I haven’t asked particulars. One just doesn’t ask too much of such things.”
Tyrrae smiled. “Everybody poops,” she said. “Better to know where one ought to go. Thank you.”
“Um, I’ll go fetch you a meal.”
The wolf followed Dawn out, presumably so that Tyrrae could attempt to try the device. She decided that it worked rather well. One really needed a fine dexterity to cope with this environment, but she was holding her own. She walked back into the main room.