How to Sense Motives and Influence People
Glig scurried back into the coals. He could tell from the long, insulated handles on the cookware around him that the people here didn’t like getting too close to heat, and he could use that to his advantage. It was a big hearth, and Glig pushed himself all the way in, taking cover behind a boiling cauldron.
“Hey, wait! It’s okay, it’s okay!”
Through floating embers Glig saw the young woman trying to feed a snake back into the snake basket. She was speaking the trade language of his home, in a heavy accent, halting occasionally to find the right word, or struggle with the disobedient snake.
“Can you hear me?” she said, pausing again, finally getting the basket tied shut, wiping sweat from her forehead. “I mean, can you understand me?”
Glig hesitated. Nothing he had pilfered from the corpse of The Summoner, none of the magic items, or name books, or coins were as valuable as just sharing a language with someone in this strange land. But it was also dangerous. If Glig responded, if he gave one small nod, this stranger could figure out where he was from, what he was, and everything else she needed to kill him, butcher him, cook him into spell components, put him into jars, and sell him alongside the hang-bat and centipede oil.
Glig heard another yell from out on the street. People were gathering around the house.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” she said, setting down the basket of vipers, “I just want, to like, figure this out.” She wiped her hands on her leather apron. They were stained all the way past the elbows with dyes, soot, inks, extracts, and other multi-coloured things that don’t come off with soap.
“You know,” she motioned towards the street, “before someone else does?” The yells were growing into a monstrous, unified tumult. She took another step forward. “Can you understand me, friend?”
Thinking of his family, Glig moved his head in a slow, deliberate nod.
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