I was disturbed from my slumber early in the morning by a familiar buzzing noise, followed by a clattering whumph. It sounded like Kzzz had landed close by to my hut. I decided to take a look outside and found Kzzz there, looking at the vegetableson the market stall. She looked confused, but not as much as the stallholder did, who was clearly torn between fear of an eight-foot high insect and protecting his produce. I said hello to Kzzz and explained to the stallholder that she was mostly harmless, adding that if he had any vegetation that was a little too far gone to sell, she would most likely lap it up.
To my surprise, Kzzz answered my hello and then, indicating the onions, asked “What is?” Since I had just woken up, I did not entirely feel up to mental communication, so I picked up one of the onions, peeled off the outer skin and bit into it, trying to convey the idea of food. As I did so, I realised that my taste buds had not atrophied so much that I could eat a chunk of raw onion, so tried to discreetly spit it out. Kzzz, so far as I could tell, was amused by this, and proceeded to inspect the other vegetables. Although I hadn’t established a full mental link, I understood that she was familiar with the concept of vegetables, just not familiar with ours.
Aoibheann turned up, looking exhausted as usual, but with eyes only for the vegetation. I did not know what reaction she would have to me, but kept it light-hearted, giving her good morning and explaining that we were having a little cultural exchange over vegetables. I was not entirely convinced she was awake properly, as she only absently greeted me in return, picking over the vegetables and naming them in Gaelic, or so I assumed. The words sounded Gaelic anyway. I asked if she had managed to get any sleep and offered her the use of my hut if she needed somewhere to rest, telling her I would not need it for a while. She insisted she was fine, as if I was likely to believe her, and then suddenly focussed on the idea of cabbage stew. That sounded pretty dull to me, but maybe that was a culinary treat where she came from. She gathered the things she needed, paid for them and headed towards the tavern.
I gave the stallholder a few words of reassurance and suggestions on trading with Kzzz before heading out of the castle. I could find no sign of Aerodine at the stone, nor any means of finding where she might have gone, so headed back to the castle for more rest. I just have to trust in her reaction to the spiders that she is not… dead, and hasn’t been chewed up to make a nest for something. I don’t know quite how else I can search, and I don’t intend to ask the sluagh.
* And what else could that be but Green Onions, by Booker T and the MGs