Katsura is ~~ startled ~~ to zlin a renSime in early need approaching the shack she's sharing with Nick. The poor man zlins quite stressed, and his tentacles are sore from wearing retainers for far too long.
Royben makes his way towards the house where the local channel is living. He wonders at the lack of insulation: if he can zlin this much nager through retainers through the wall, it must be completely nonexistent.
Royben signals at the door.
Katsura opens it, careful not to step out of Sime Territory. She gestures at the sign.
Katsura: Come in, Tuib. Take off your retainers and I'll work on your tentacles.
Katsura is rather short of work these days.
Royben: Thank you, Hajene.
Royben enters, not quite ~~ daring ~~ to believe the strength of this channel's nager.
Katsura gestures the man to sit on the crude bench next to the rickety table.
Katsura: I'm Katsura Farris ambrov Sat'htine.
Royben's jaw drops.
Royben: I'm Royben. I was joking, you know.
Royben: My boss said he had good news, and I asked if he'd found me a Farris channel.
Royben fumbles with his retainers.
Katsura smiles and helps him.
Royben: So what's a lady like you doing out here at the back end of nowhere?
Katsura: Oh, it's a very long story. There were rumors of Distect activity around here, so the Tecton sent another channel and Donor, and the conditions he found led to inviting my Companion, who once worked here, to get involved in negotiations for better conditions for the miners. It's rather complicated. But what's a renSime doing here?
Royben: Distect activity?
Royben finds this ~~ alarming ~~, as Distect Gens are rumored to eat renSimes like him for breakfast -- and Gens have large appetites.
Katsura: It appears to have been just a rumor, or perhaps a misunderstanding.
Royben: Oh. ~~ relief ~~ That's all right, then. As for me, I'm here with the revival meeting.
Katsura: Revival meeting? What's that?
Royben: A meeting to inspire religious fervor.
Katsura: I hope your role isn't as a focus for hostility! ~~ horror, disbelief, sympathy ~~
Royben: Er, no. I'm more of a lie detector.
Katsura is ~~ confused ~~.
Royben: Reverend Craig believes Simes exist to challenge Gens to tell the truth. This in turn is necessary for salvation. I know, it's a bit weird, but he pays pretty well for what's really light work, although the travel is hard.
Katsura shakes her head and smiles. You never know what a Wild Gen will come up with next.
Katsura: How is the reverend's message usually received?
Royben: A few like it, but most people end up confused. Fortunately the reverend is independently wealthy or something. I'd hate to be left high and dry out here if the show went under.
Katsura: I can certainly understand that. You're due transfer in what, early morning, five days from now?
Royben: Yeah. You'll be here still, won't you?
Royben couldn't bear the thought of being left with a lesser channel, after getting a good zlin of this one.
Katsura: Yes, almost certainly. My colleague here, Hajene Seruffin, is also a First.
Royben: Isn't that an embarrassment of riches for a place like this?
Katsura: Indeed. There isn't enough work for us at all. Some miners and their families have donated, but many have used the money to pay off their debts and then left. So we have fewer people who are willing to come to us for healing or donation now. I'm lucky to have a Companion who has experience with underworked Farris channels!
Katsura gestures to Royben to let her examine his sore tentacles.
Katsura: I'll be glad to work on you a bit if you like.
Royben is ~~ happy ~~ to oblige.
Katsura takes one of Royben's arms in both hands and zlins his laterals and lateral nodes.
Royben: Well, the show might be able to help you with that. Reverend Craig believes that it is necessary to interact with Simes to get the full benefit of his message. When he tells folks it's their duty to donate, at least some of the usually do.
Katsura: That would be helpful.
Katsura goes into healing mode and soothes the Sime's laterals with a projection of ~~ ample and increasing selyn supply ~~.
Royben frankly ~~ wallows ~~ in ~~ relief ~~.
Royben: Where have you been all these months, since I joined the show?
Katsura: It feels like I've been all over New Washington Territory this past year.
Royben: It's amazing how different things are out here, isn't it?
Katsura: Indeed. At first I found it rather frightening, and I don't think I'll ever be as relaxed out here as I am back in Nivet. And of course Wild Gens can be much more difficult to work with for a channel.
Royben is ~~ curious ~~; as a renSime, he mingles as little as possible.
Royben: Aren't the ones who seek you out in the first place inclined to cooperate?
Katsura: Yes, but they seldom have a clue how. They have no idea how to control their nagers. They really don't understand what zlinning is. And even the most willing regard kills by berserkers as just a fact of life, so their [Genlan] gut reaction, [Simelan] as they call it, is pretty powerful even if they are determined to donate.
Royben: How can you stand it?
Katsura: I've gotten better at dealing with these people with experience. But channels, especially higher order channels, often work with the seriously ill and badly injured, so we learn to cope. Of course, having a good Companion to help is essential.
Royben: I expect, being a Farris and all, they'd give you a good one, right?
Katsura: My House makes sure of it.
Royben: I look forward to meeting her.
Katsura: Him. Sosu Nick, formerly notorious Nick Debree, as they know him around here.
Royben: Debree... isn't there a song about a guy named that?
Royben hums a few bars, surprisingly close to being on key.
Katsura: Oh, dear. I thought it was just around here they sang it.
Royben: I've heard it a couple of places. Mostly bars or coffee shops. Especially in poor areas, where people don't like their bosses.
Katsura switches to Royben's other arm.
Royben: There's nothing in the song about him being a Donor, though.
Katsura: He wasn't, at the time. He left here and moved back to Nivet, where he was born and raised, and found his vocation as a Donor. He pledged to Sat'htine last winter.
Katsura doesn't intend to bring the tale of Notorious Nick Reckage, the Rogue Donor of the Last Audnes Rebellion, to Royben's attention.
Royben never had much interest in current events, so he missed a lot of the fuss surrounding the Snake River Dam.
Katsura: This arm seems less affected by your retainers. When you get back to Nivet, see if you can get the other one adjusted to fit better.
Royben: When I get back to Nivet, I'm going to throw the shenned things in the garbage.
Katsura ~~ sympathizes deeply ~~. She rummages in the box of medical supplies she and Nick brought with them.
Katsura: Here's a jar of ointment for the abrasions. I'd recommend you wash your retainers and arms with hot water and soap at least daily, and don't put them back on until your arms and the retainers both are completely dry. If you find you're sweating uncomfortably inside the retainers, try powdering your arms with cornstarch before you put them on.
Royben: I'll do my best. Will that really make my arms less red?
Katsura: It should help, but the best thing would be to expose your arms and tentacles to fresh air and sunlight as much as you can. I realize that may not often be possible.
Royben: Not out here. I've no wish to be shot by a nervous Wild Gen.
Katsura: I can certainly understand that, but do what you can. It isn't healthy for skin to be closed in like that, no air and high humidity, so any minor injury can easily get infected. And tentacles, especially laterals, belong in their sheaths when you aren't using them.
Royben: I see. It's too bad it isn't winter.
Katsura: Winter can be worse -- that metal draws the heat right out of you, and frostbite could be disastrous. If you're still out here in winter, wear something with thick, insulating sleeves that will cover the retainers.
Royben: I should have negotiated a higher rate of hazard pay.
Katsura: You're doing well for a renSime who's been out here for months. Do you have some sympathetic Nivet Gens with you?
Royben: My wife. And some of the [Genlan] roadies aren't too bad.
Katsura: Oh, that's good. Having a Gen close by who really cares about you must be a great help.
Royben: It is. She's even stayed high field so she can shield me better.
Katsura: Well, come by around dawn on your transfer day and I'll be pleased to serve you. And if you or any of the others you're travelling with can use a channel's services, we're here to help.
Royben: Thank you, Hajene. I'm looking forward to it. I haven't zlinned a First in far too long.
Katsura: You'll enjoy zlinning my Companion as well. He has a really delightful nager.
Royben puts his retainers back on, not wincing quite as much as when he took them off.
Royben: I'm sure I will. I haven't met a song hero before.
Katsura: Well, he finds the song a bit embarrassing. It's not too accurate, historically, he says.
Royben: What song is?
Katsura: Well, you're right there, I suppose.
Royben: It does have a catchy tune, though.
Katsura: It does.
Katsura doesn't remark on the lyrics, which are pretty awful, and don't even scan.
Royben: I'll see you in a few days, Hajene.
Katsura: Sure. Nice meeting you. Regards to your wife.
Royben is feeling ~~ almost optimistic ~~ despite being in need.
Royben: And to your Donor.
Katsura gets up and shows her guest to the door, careful not to step beyond the threshold, staying safely in Sime Territory.