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"If you think with your emotions, slight glandular changes are sufficient to revise your entire outlook."

— Brian Aldiss

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Monday, November 7th, 2005

NaNoWriMo Update: I've only got about 4000 words so far; I should have around 10,000 at this point. I'll try to increase the minimum number of words I write each day. Meanwhile, here's another excerpt... In this section, Leiske has just arrived at Eio and is greeting her Eaiean friend, Gaieme, who will give Leiske a ride to Bune Station. The insults and self-deprecations in the dialogue are an informal mocking of an ancient formal style of speech which fell into disfavor long ago; echoes of this distaste became embedded in the Eaiean tongue.

    Gaieme stood two and a half meters tall, towering over Leiske. Her feet each had two great flattened toes, and her doglike shins looked broken - they had flexible resilient bones inside that enabled her to take enormous leaps, and which could fold back to provide greater surface for the soles of her feet. There was a thin waist with hips unhampered by the need to have a baby pass through the pelvis if Gaieme gave birth, she would do it via an outpouching of her womb that grew under the skin and eventually dropped free, forming an external egg.

    Gaieme's hairless head was the greatest point of trouble for humans who first met the Eaie nothing was where it should be, much was missing, and what counted as the face was a poor indicator of emotional status. A bulbous protrusion resembling a forehead was actually a respiratory chamber and not part of the skull proper. What a human might seize upon as being the eyes were in fact tiny audial channels with little in the way of earlobes. The Eaie had once had photonic vision and lost it during an underground period of their history they now 'saw' in higher levels of the electromagnetic spectrum via wide receptors that lay under the skin of their 'faces'.

    What Gaieme saw of Leiske was a filamentous ghost; racing sparkles that formed the shape of a brain, shifting patches of activity as Leiske's skin reacted to the wind and scratchy clothes, outlining parts of her body in brief sections, and overwhelming all else, a steady double bloom in the center of the chest; Leiske's heart. Gaieme saw a quick recentering of neural activity around the optical cortex, a flare to the legs, then everything loomed bright and subsided at Gaieme's chest level as Leiske hurled herself forwards and hugged her friend. It was slightly uncomfortable for Gaieme, overwhelmed by the glare of Leiske's activity, but she knew how important it was to Leiske and therefore allowed it. She felt Leiske's warmth, the sudden intensity of vibrations corresponding to the bright glare of the double beat, and she wrapped her arms around Leiske and stroked her hair, whistling and booming welcome through her respiratory chamber.

    «Dear small fragile thing, are you in need of anything from town?»

    Leiske stepped back, raised her hand to head level and fluttered it as she replied; a cheap way to mimic the diacritical bursts of electromagnetism that the Eaie used to punctuate intimate speech.

    «Great lumbering skystalk, I require little. The great star warms me, the clean air refreshes me, the rivers keep me moist, the ground feeds me and stops me from plummeting, and time keeps my actions consequential. Yet if I were to change anything, I would take up a small bag of foiune root and herbs, and a fresh implant for my climate maintenance unit.»

    «So tediously repetitive are your desires at each arrival that even such a dense stalk as myself is easily impressed. The items you seek are thrust carelessly into an old woven bag, somewhere under the mass of my belongings in the cargo area. I consign them to you with but a pale feeble hope of eventual compensation, realizing that your thoughts are as ephemeral as clouds and nearly as opaque.»

    «Easier may the sun penetrate a cloud than a thick slab of wood, but a rapid animal finds it a waste to tease the slow of movement and thought. I stumbled upon several bags of potting soil and seeds of interest to Eaiean exobotanists, and being so easily distractable I seized them and brought them hence, not knowing why. I shall doubtless lay them aside and forget all about them should a shiny object present itself to my vision, or if you should deliver yourself of an amusing observation.»

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