The first chord rang out and echoed off the arboretum’s domed ceiling. The guitar slowly picked up the volume and tempo and Quinas began to move. She wore a light sarong of red and navy fabric with gold tassels and trim. Bone and copper bracelets adorned her wrists and bells hung from leather straps attached to her ankles. To complete the display, her hair was brought up in a tight bun held together by two slim daggers. Altogether, her costume was cheap, yet effective.
The few original onlookers watched with hushed intensity. Other park goers wandered by and joined the growing crowd around strange foreigners, forgetting what they were doing or where they were going. Soon, the only sounds in the whole arboretum were the strumming of the guitar, the jingling of Quin’s jewelry, and the thumping of her feet on the wooden patio.
This particular dance was one of the first she had ever witnessed, growing up in the nursery on Caldun, although she had altered it in her own way quite a bit since then. It was a solo dance that depicts the journey Teriah, of one of the great Farisah maidens of legend. As the legend goes, Teriah, under orders of her king, traveled across the Desert of Blades to the Crystal Forest where she defeated the terrible usurper Faras and restored the true line of Thogrhi leaders. After completing her task, she set back out into the Desert of Blades and was never seen again.
As Quinas reached the part of the dance corresponding to the battle with Faras, her pace increased until it was over double the cadence of the beginning. Two bars before they reached the fastest tempo, she pulled out the daggers from the hair, which mysteriously lengthened into full length rapiers as they were drawn out. Her hair fell down past her butt as the music stopped. She stood perfectly still, posed in a guard stance.
Then, as one, Quinas and the guitar continued the dance, just as fast as before. Her swords whirling around at lighting speed, cutting at an unseen enemy. Her hair trailing behind her as she dashed around the makeshift stage. Finally she leapt into the air, brining both swords down slaying the phantom usurper. The blades traveled over three centimeters into the hard wood of the stage from this final blow.
The final section of the dance was slow and solemn; the heroin leaving for her exile in the sand. Quin loosened her sarong and unfurled it between the audience and herself. Then spun around, re-wrapping it, only this time covering her head. As the guitar played it’s last, sad notes she gracefully turned he back to the audience and collapsed to the floor, letting the cloth completely cover her, symbolizing Feriah being taken by the desert.
Applause filled their corner of the park. Sweating and breathing heavily, Quinas gathered the sarong around her again as she stood up and turned back to the crowd. She grasped Kēluma’s hand and they both took a deep bow. Akilah and Ari, Quin’s daughter, were walking together through the crowd, selling little trinkets they had made.
Quin raised her hand to forestall the applause. “Now, if you would be so kind, our friend Darik would like to entertain you with some feats of skill I am sure you will all enjoy.” She proclaimed to the crowd, stepping back and waving Abore to the stage. He drew the swords out of the wood and tossed them back to Quin and cleared his throat, then began to explain to the crowd the nature of his first act. Darik was his cover name. None of them, except Ari, could use their true names for fear they could be traced back to the events on Caldun, of which they were all fugitives from.
She returned behind the screen, where they stored their props and instruments, to change. The sweat soaked sarong was draped over a nearby branch and she removed her jewelry, then paced around the staging area for a few minuets to cool down. She could hear the crowd outside oohing and ahhing to Abore’s juggling act. After fully cooling down, she sat down on the dry grass, then collapsed backwards, finally able to relax. From this angle, she could see the planet below, around which this station orbited. Her time of tranquillity, however, was cut short by she voice of her daughter.
“Mommy, Mommy!” said Ari, bouncing into view.
“Hey sweetie.” said Quin. She propped herself up on one elbow and wrapped her other arm around her daughter, who curled up next to Quin and rested her head on her mother’s shoulder. “Shouldn’t you be still out there with aunt Akilah?”
“I, I was, but there were some weird men asking questions about us. You t-told me not to tell anyone about your past. B-but he kept asking. I didn’t know what to do, so I s-said I was hungry and left.” said the girl. Quin could feel her daughter starting to shake in her arms. Perhaps it was still too early to let Ari work the crowd with Akilah. She was barely ten years old after all, and had never spent more than a month at a time in the same system. A transient lifestyle like theirs can be very difficult to such an young and unweaned child.
“Shhhh, Shhhh. Don’t you worry. Aunt Aki can handle them.” said Quinas reassuringly. “Are you hungry? It’ll be a while before my next dance.” Ari remained silent, but after a few seconds shook her head and tightened her grip around her mothers neck. “We can just stay like this for a few minutes if that’s alright with you.”
A muffled “Uh Huh,” was the only response from the girl, her face buried in Quin’s collar. They stayed like that throughout all of Abore’s show. Her daughter fell asleep before the final applause, signaling the end of the act. Quin rose and gently set the sleeping child down on the large pillow that was her favorite place to sleep when not with her mother. She donned the tight fitting blue costume for her next dance. It was barely more than jewelry with a few bits of cloth thrown in as an afterthought, but that was what the show called for. Akilah had told her that it was very similar to the ordinary everyday fashion of Shoegrad, the place where the dance originated, which is very hot and tropical year round.
Abore returned behind the curtain along with Keluma. “Ready?” asked Abore. “Aki’s keeping the crowd busy while Kel n’ I change. Where’s Ari?” he asked while he changed into his own costume for their dance.
“She’s sleeping on her favorite pillow. Say, Kel. Would you mind her sitting next to you for this number?” asked Quin. “I don’t want her going back into the crowd again today or left alone back here.”
“It’s, it’s not her condition is it?” asked Keluma, with a sudden panic in her voice.
“No...well...it might be partly. She was approached by some unusually inquisitive folk today and kinda panicked. I think it’d be best for her to just relax and enjoy the rest of her family’s show.” Quin picked up her daughter and stroked her short red hair. “Be strong, my angel. I promise we will be through this trial soon enough and you can have the normal life you so deserve.” she whispered in Ari’s ear then kissed her on the forehead and handed her to Keluma, who headed out ahead of Quin and Abore with the child to set up her instruments.
Abore finished dressing and gathered their props. For Quin, a long wooden staff with a ribbon attached to one end, and for him, a similar staff but this with a spear point instead of a ribbon. His costume was even sparser than hers, it was nothing more than a loincloth, bracelets, and anklets. He handed her the staff and asked “People asking questions? Think it’s ‘bout time we jumped system?” he let out a short sigh. “Damn! I wish Sherden was here today. He’d know what to do.”
Quin grasped the staff in both hands, with thumbs down. “Don’t worry, he’ll be back tomorrow. And for all we know they could just be curious fans.” said Quin. Keluma had already started the music, just a slow drumbeat to start. The two dancers lined stood at opposite ends of the screen, ready step out simultaneously on cue. This dance was a duet. A fairly romantic spin on the tale of Tora and Torin, the two principal gods of many religions in the empire. Although the dance was slow, it was very physically demanding. Requiring precise movements in seemingly impossible positions. At a few points, a single limb would be supporting the weight of both dancers. It was a style she had first learned fifteen years ago. In fact, she thought, it was the very same day she met Caeji. The day things started to spiral out of control.
Their entrance was approaching. The two looked at each other. Abore grinned at Quin and she returned it with a wink and a smile of her own. Then they stepped out around the screen in unison.
The duet went off without a hitch. Ari slept through the whole thing, despite the pounding of the drum beside her. The crowd had gained some more members during Abore’s magic and juggling show, even more during their dance duet. If people kept arriving at this rate, their little corner of the arboretum would fill up before the end of the next act.
When they had finished changing out of their costumes behind the screen, Abore cleared his throat and spoke to Quinas tentatively, “I’m no longer needed here. Maybe I should go look for Sherden, tell him what happened. You can handle the lifting if the pot’s too low during the instrumentals. Haesh, Your’s probably better at it than I am now.”
“Perhaps I would be if I didn’t stand out so much.” said Quin. “And I think that’s not a bad idea. We could really use Sherden’s guidance right now.”
Quin waved him off, then set out her dress for the last dance of the show, even though she didn’t need it for a quarter hour. The dress was a long red multi-layered gown. Dark embroidery covered the bodice and shoulders, as well swirling around the full length skirt in the knotted patterns native to Caldun. It was a relic of the ancient style Zarathi and Reltori women wore millennia before the Empire. A style now seen only in the traditional dances of their castes and in the annals of the Gobrinii.
Instead of casing the crowd for easy picks during Keluma’s and Akilah’s music, she decided to just sit it out behind the curtain and tune Keluma’s guitar. Judging from the size of the crowd earlier, their hats would be full enough of tips and she wouldn’t need to pick anyone’s pocket today. It was probably best rouse as little suspicion as possible right now.
When the quarter hour had passed, and the music had died down, she put on her dress and gathered her jewelry. Keluma poked her head behind the curtain to if she was ready. Quin gave her a positive sign and walked out, handing a startled Keluma the already tunned guitar.
“Where’d Abore go?” asked Keluma under her breath.
“Went looking for Sherden.” responded Quin. Keluma nodded and took her place to the left.
The crowd had indeed filled the whole clearing, some people had even illegally climbed the trees to get a better look. Ari had awoken and was sitting on her pillow between Keluma and Akilah, anxious eyes watching her mother get into position. Quin gave a nod to Keluma who, after rechecking the tuning, tapped twice on the box of her guitar to set the rhythm. Akilah began with a muted drumbeat, joined soon by Keluma. Quin began the slow dance a bar later.
This dance was often a favorite of the audience. It was an old Caldun dance, as old as the style she now wore, performed to this day by the women of the lower castes on the eve of the winter solstice. It’s movements were graceful and precise, involving the entire body. She found it a very soothing dance, both to watch and perform. For a short time, her troubles would leave her heart. She was alone in the universe, nothing existed except her body and the dance it followed. The pressure of the ground on here bare feet and the music in her ears was the only contact from the world outside she needed.
As the dance continued and her mind began to relax, she felt the touch other minds tickle the back of her senses. First a young girl, her daughter. Then two more, Akilah and Keluma. For a time, they were alone. Then she felt the presence of another mind, someone in the crowd. Then another, and another. Soon she could feel the presence of everyone in the audience. When a mind began to wander, she would coax it back into the show. Those with doubts or worries, found their troubles forgotten for a time. Those with addled hearts, found a renewed passion.
She tried to touch every mind with her newly found sense of awareness. Some subtly, some more overt. She continued like this until she came to a very unusual mind. It was completely blank, emptier than the void. She tried to push, shine a light on the darkness, but she found nothing. She tried again, pushing harder. This time she ran into a wall. It was as if this person had completely sealed their mind form the outside, letting no thoughts in or out.
Before she could do more, the song had finished. She held the final pose for a few seconds longer than usual, he senses reverting back to normal. The audience was silent. All she could her heart thumping in her chest, and the deep breaths of the crowd. They were all breathing as one, their bodies and their minds synchronizing to the beat of the dance. One. Two. Three heartbeats they were silent. On the fourth beat they all began to clap, at first together, then staggered as the moment of union began to fade. Those that were sitting stood in ovation.
Quinas faced forward, and gave a deep bow. A lone drop of sweat fell from her nose, splashing on the wood stage. She starred at it a while, marveling in its reflections. She stepped to the side and gestured to Akilah and Keluma. The two musicians stepped forward and bowed. As they turned around, Akilah gave Quin a, “what the hell just happened? You better explain later!” look. She returned it with a, “I’m not sure, but don’t worry, we’ll talk.” smile.
After they took a final bow together, Quinas motioned for the audience to be quiet. They complied unusually fast, considering their feverish applause seconds earlier. Her mindlink must still be influencing the crowd.
“Thank you all for being here and watching us today. I hope you enjoyed your time here and that this day shall live on in your hearts. If you would like to show your appreciation we will be standing at the exits to the clearing, passing our hats, in which you can drop a cred or few.” projected Quin. She stretched her arms wide, taking in the entire stage. “This is our life, it is all we do. It is through the gifts of audiences like you that we can continue to perform our craft, and allow you to share in the enjoyment. We will be here through tomorrow, perhaps longer if things go well.” projected Quin.
After her little speech, Akilah and Keluma headed out to the right and left paths. Quin walked over and knelt beside her daughter, who was practically bouncing, and handed the child her tip hat. “You were really beautiful mommy. When’ll I be old enough to dance like that?” asked Ari hopefully, clutching the basket with both arms.
“Well, honey, you still have a lot of growing to do. We’ll have enough creds soon and I can start teaching you as soon as you’re well again. Who knows? If you try real hard, you may even surpass you mother some day.” said Quin encouragingly. She took the flower from her own hair and placed it behind her daughter’s left hear. She then reached out and picked up the child with both arms. After a few moments spent rearranging themselves, they headed off together towards the back of the clearing, through the middle of the crowd. Ari had shifted the basket into one hand and used the other to hang on to her mother’s neck, freeing Quin’s right hand.
“Wow, aren’t you getting big? Pretty soon you’ll break 100 centimeters.” said Quin to her daughter, who giggled in response. They made their way through the crowd. Occasionally pausing when someone dropped in a tip. One man they passed by took out a very large denomination coin and flipped it into their basket, leaving his pocket open as he thanked them for the performance and walked on. The crowd was very dense and he was bumped by another audience member and stumbled into her as he passed by. From instincts built during the last 15 years on the move, she reached into his open pocket with lightning speed and pulled out a few of what felt like more coins. She quickly deposited them in one of the many pockets hidden in the folds of her dress. He didn’t seem to notice the lift, nor did he try to do anything similar himself.
They finally reached the back of the clearing and stood there for the next twenty minutes, as people streamed out past them. Some would linger for a while trying to strike up a conversation until they were nudged by those behind, and move on. Most of the people were leaving along Quin’s path, she having been the center of the last act. Akilah’s and Keluma’s paths had emptied and the two had started putting the instruments away and tearing down the stage.
When she was finally able to excuse herself from the last remaining stragglers, the two other women had finished with the stage and were behind the screen cleaning up. Quin joined them and set Ari down on her pillow. “Want to go swimming after this? There’s a public pool here we could use.” she asked the girl. A swim would do both of them good. It would give her daughter a chance to exercise without injuring her weak bones. For Quin, it offered a good chance to wash off the post performance stink.
“Ok!” said Ari, who looked excited by the idea. She had been cooped up in inside for most of the past year. Due to their limited funds and fugitive status, they could only travel in cramped steerage bunks–or worse–of small, slow vessels. Quin had grown up living under similar conditions, but she had been a healthy child and there was ample medical care when needed. “What about you too?” she asked Akilah and Keluma.
“I would love to. It has been years since I last swam.” said Akilah.
“No thanks Quin, I’ll pass. Not very fond of water. Someone needs to watch our stuff too.” said Keluma. A second later she added, “Do you think it’s wise? Shouldn’t we keep a low profile? Just in case.”
“Yes, I know, we should. But if we do need to jump system, this’ll probably be the last chance for something like this we’ll get for over a year.” said Quinas. Trying to convince herself more than Keluma. “Heash! The amenities are so nice here, it’d be suspicious if we didn’t take advantage of them. I’ll keep an eye out for trouble.”
Keluma sighed. “Very well, I can’t stop you, and I looks like you’ve already made up your mind anyway.” They continued cleaning up in silence. Ari, anxious to help, sorted the jewelry into the proper boxes. All their equipment and costumes eventually fit neatly into just over one cubic meter of cases. After they finished, Quin, Akilah, and Ari walked off into the park while Keluma stayed behind, whittling on a new piece of wood.
Akilah leaned over to Quin and whispered in her ear, “You are not getting out of telling me what happened during the dance back there. I will just have ask you later. You have only delayed the inevitable.
The aquatic center was split into four separate pools: one for wading, one for laps, one for diving, and one all-purpose. They entered the women’s locker room. Quin carrying Ari; Akilah carrying their duffles. The room was empty except for the three of them. Four aisles of benches and chest high lockers filled the room. The hiss of the showers mixed with the sound of children playing in the water filtered in through the opposite doorway. Akilah set their bags down on the closest bench and found two vacant lockers.
“Damn!” cursed Quinas, looking into her bag and seeing her swimsuit. It was her old suit from Caldun when she had worked at the royal palace. The seal of the royal family overlain by the Zarathii crest was emblazoned across the front and back. She hadn’t worn that suit for 15 years. Her newer, unmarked suit had worn out a year ago and she had since recycled it. “I forgot about that.”
“Hmmm... oh that old thing. Don’t you have another one?” asked Akilah, leaning over to see what Quin was cursing over.
“No, I recycled it. Some time ago actually. While the Zarathii crest may not be very well known, I guarantee your families seal will be recognized.” replied Quin.
“Well this one sure looks better than that last one you had. You looked like my grandmother in that thing, covered from neck to ankle. Why don’t you just wear your old one?” Akilah held up a hand in response to the angry look Quinas gave her. “Hold on, Hold on. I have a plan. Why do not just make it a two piece? Show off that lovely waste you have. No need to sew anything, it is made out of self seaming fabric.” Akilah held up scissors which she had somehow materialized from her bag. She gave Quinas a fiendish grin made cutting motions in the air with the scissors.
“What in haesh are you doing with those here?” asked Quin rolling her eyes. Although it would solve the problem for now. “Alright, fine. We’ll do it. While I’m sure I’ll regret this, I’ll leave the cutting up to you while I get Ari in her suit. Just try and not go overboard. Keep it modest, okay?”
“Yes ma’am!” said Akilah. She then gave a mock salute with the scissors and grabbed the suit from Quin’s hand. By the time Quinas had gotten Ari into her suit Akilah had already changed into her own suit and finished snipping Quin’s old racing suit which was now less than half of it’s former self, cut down to a racer back top and bikini bottom. Only the very top of the now unrecognizable crest was visible. Akilah bowed and handed Quin the finished product. “As asked, I deliver. Now if you do not mind, I will go ahead and enjoy myself. See if there are any hot chicks I can pick up.” she said jokingly. I hope. Then walked out the door to the showers. Well she’s sure cheered up. Coming here was a good idea.
She put on her “new” suit, stowed their bags in a locker, and headed to the wading pool with Ari. The wading pool was moderately full. Most of its occupants were the same as her and Ari, parents with young children. They drew many stares when they exited the locker room. Tettos were rare in this system, and most of her’s were showing now thanks to Akilah’s ad hoc alterations. Quin was also the youngest parent present. Probably by several centuries, she estimated.
She entered the pool first and, kneeling, held her arms out for her daughter. “Come on honey, the water’s nice.” she coaxed. After first testing the water several times with her toe, Ari hopped into her mother’s waiting arms.
The two wadded around the pool casually. After a while, Quin started teaching Ari some swimming basics. She still kept at least one hand under her daughter at all times, just in case. Ari’s heart and lungs couldn’t take too much exertion and the pool was nearly a meter deep in parts. Quin had to stop and pick the girl up several times when she was getting too tired. After half an hour of this she decided they had both had enough swimming for now and carried Ari out to one of the many beach style chairs surrounding the pool where they could relax.
The pool area of the park complex was kept warmer than the rest, trying to imitate the tropical regions of the planet it orbited. The dome overhead let in more light than usual and the internal climate control kept the humidity at around 75%. I was economically cheaper to provide all these amenities on station rather than transport people down to the planet and back up again. The two relaxed on the reclining chair, drying off. Ari sat in her mother’s lap and looking intently at her surroundings. Quin tried to look as relaxed as possible, feigning a nap while she was actually keeping careful watch through her mirrored sunglasses for any suspicious people. Several times she would see someone staring at her and say something to a nearby swimmer. Sometimes someone she recognized as being at the performance would interject something and the questioner would nod acceptance. Pretty soon the word had spread around the water park that she was a traveling performer and the amount of starring sharply declined.
Ari was getting hungry, so they returned to the locker room where Quin fed her then had a quick snack herself on a protein bar from her bag. Akilah was waiting for them at their chair when they returned.
“Why don’t you go for a little swim on your own? I can keep Ari company.” suggested Akilah.
“Don’t you want to swim some more?” asked Quin. It was rather unlike Akilah to be so helpful out of the blue.
“Nah, I am all tired out. Go ahead.” replied Akilah. She didn’t look tired at all however. Quin decided against pressing further. She didn’t really want to know why Akilah no longer wished to swim. It would probably be embarrassing.
“Thank you. Honey, would you mind spending some time with auntie Aki?” Quin asked her daughter. The girl had already started to doze off from the meal but still managed an affirmative nod before closing her eyes. She gave Ari to Akilah’s outstretched arms and kissed her daughter’s forehead then headed for the pool. Because of the non-standard modifications to her suit, she probably should refrain from diving for fear of it ripping or coming off entirely. She will just have to stick with laps for today.
She decided to only do thirty six laps, still a little rusty at swimming after a year out of the water. People were starring at her again when she came out of the water and walked back to her friend and daughter.
“You were the one who did not want to draw too much attention. Why did you go and do that?” Akilah asked.
“What’d I do?” asked Quin.
“That was the fastest I have ever seen anyone swim. Fastest by far in fact.”
“But it didn’t feel like I was going very fast. In fact I was pacing myself because I’m so rusty. I must have lost count at some point.” Quin cursed herself. How could she loose control like that?
“Rusty!? You did thirty six laps in under six minutes! The pool is imperial regulation too, it is longer than Calimshite regulation!” said Akilah, almost shouting. Fortunately they had been talking in their local language reducing the chance of eavesdropping. Even if someone knew the language, they would have a hard time understanding the peculiar mix of Zarathii and Reltorii dialects.
“What? How’s that possible? The only people I know of who could possibly do that are PKs like at PsiCal. Zarathi can’t do that, right?” asked Quin. “Anyway I think we’ve overstayed our welcome, so to speak, let’s get out of here.”
“I agree. And to answer your question. No, there has never been an operant Zarathi to the best of my knowledge, except in myth. In fact, there has not been an operant psychokinetic Calimshite for over five millennia. Now we really need to have that talk.” said Akilah, giving Quin the sleeping Ari then grabbing their towels.
They left for the showers right away. Quin roused Ari so she could clean and change the girl. When Quin pulled out the dress she had been wearing earlier she hear a clanging sound. The coins she had picked from the man after the show had come out the concealed pockets and fallen tot the ground. She had forgotten that they were even there until now.
She reached down to pick them up and noticed that one of the coins seemed odd. It was larger than the rest and appeared to have no denomination noted. The only distinguishable features were the small circuit patter on one side and the circular crystal on the opposite side. It was a standard holo disk. It had enough memory to display up to an hour of holographic video and just enough power to last that long. Curious, she squeezed the disk to activate it.
No video appeared. Instead, small letters coalesced a few inches above the disk. She had to squint to read them. “Nice lift today. I have a proposal for you, Quinas. I’ll find you again soon so we can discuss it.” the holo read. Her heart sank to the bottom of her stomach when she read those words. Someone knew who she was and was able to plant the disk so she would snatch it.
“Akilah.” said Quin shakingly.
“Get dressed as fast as possible. We need to leave now!”
Akilah, looked worried and confused at Quin’s sudden outburst of fear. Nevertheless, she listened to the older woman and threw her hairbrush into her bag, leaving her hair half combed, and continued dressing, faster than before. They finished dressing and left the place at once. Quin carrying Ari and Akilah carrying their bags, just as before.
They nearly ran into a short man in a white suit standing just outside the exit to the water park. “Oh excuse me.” said Quinas, looking at the man’s face. It was the same man who she had picked the holo disk from. The man gave an crooked smile when he saw the three of them and spoke.
“Hello Quinas, I am glad I caught you. From the look on your face I assume you received my message. Hmm? Perhaps you could join me for a stroll through the park? I have some pressing matters I would very much like to discuss with you.”
Hmm... Well all the spots where it says "Comment" out of the blue used to be little scripts which would display a comment I had written. They worked in the preview. Bah!
As you can see, I have had time to proofread about half of this. Unfortunately I hav yet to edit anything.
It's nicely interesting...but my god, man, you really need a better grip on the English Language. I saw so many typos in there. I mean, c'mon, 'Waste'?
Anyway, very nice. It seems odd to me, though, that you would use their dialect to be so formal. I would imagine them to speak much more loosely, and fairly accented. Of course, I know nothing about their languages, so this may make more sense than I understand it to be.
Another thing to note: I know Quin didn't get her tattoos all at once, but at this point in her life, does she have them all? I imagine not, since she only has one child at this point, but noting how much of her is tattooed would be nice.
Note again: At some point, give a brief explanation about PKs and such. How common are they? What kinds of PK do they have? Are most PKs limited to just telepathy, or do they all have abilities like Quin?
Quin has almost all her tattoos at this point; she got most of them when she was still on Caldun. The Mark of the Firebird is there but there are only 5 other marks at this time. Gus does not yet have the Mark and Ari is too young. All the other bearers she has not yet met, or are not yet born.
I am still deciding exactly how I want to portray their speach. Akilah would definitely speak in a very formal manner and have better control of her accent than the rest. Right now, I am only differentiating the two by the use of proper contractions with the Zarathi and "King's Speech" with Akilah. I am not a big fan of improper contractions and heavy slang and thus am very reticent about using them. Also, because I am not writing this in their naive language, I need to define English analogies for the differences between the Zarathii and Thogrhii dialects. Not to mention that when they speak to the crowd they are probably speaking in either the local language or the standard High Imperial tongue. Perhaps I should use a technique used in comics and use a different font or quotation symbol to represent other languages.
And about the typos, I know there are lots. As I said, this is the rough, unedited version. I am about half way through with the editing of this chapter, however there are several sections I need to re-order, expand, and/or change in some way more than just fixing typos. This is why it is taking so long to release the first edited version. Some of the ambiguity around character languages is being cleared up in the edit.
I have not created too much about PKs because I believe that these decisions should be Jose’s not mine. I do know that they are very rare while telepaths are more common. The numbers I have been using so far are: a naturally operant telepath is probably about 1 in a million while of these natural telepaths, about one in a thousand is a PK. This frequency is average throughout the empire. Some populations may be higher, while others lower. Caldun has almost no operant telapaths (and thus even fewer PKs). In fact, no known Zarath has shown telepathic ability in recent history. Later, I will post one of my brainstormings about psionics as well as the Calimshite creation myth which may clear up some questions about the castes of Caldun.