Can you believe that man? I’d only just woken up from the week long slumber, which was basically an artificial coma induced by Blackie. A dragon-induced coma, would you believe it? Anyways, I’d only just woken up and he wanted to interrogate that zlurp straight away? Yeah, that was not going to happen. There was something else I needed to care of first. *Sound of ripping fabric*
[Music in background]
This is Nadec, my adventure. Written down in a better way than I can tell it.
[Music louder and solo]
Nadec, episode 12, clothes
Nadec stared at Wyny, no sound but that of dripping water, and the combined purring of cat and dragon. She’d only just awoken from a week-long recovery slumber, and he wanted to get into the serious stuff straight away; wake the zlurp? She wasn’t certain if she could handle it. Her face remained neutral; there was no need to show uncertainty. Ever. He’d already seen enough of her in a weak state. Besides, she had to take care of something else first.
‘Where did you get these clothes?’
‘I can show you that later,’ he said, hesitating. ‘It is hardly important at this moment.’
‘Were there more?’ A faint cramp in the belly reminded her of the urgency. ‘Were there more clothes? Show me.’ She managed to put a sense of command in her voice, but cursed inwardly at the pleading undertone. Had he noticed?
He regarded her with a slight frown, almost seemed to study her, then narrowed his eyes, coming to a conclusion.
‘I suppose we can wait until tomorrow. In any case, Blackie can keep him unconscious as long as we want.’
At the mention of her name, the dragon lifted her head and blinked a few times in their direction. When she saw there wasn’t anything going on, the head went back down. The black scales of the large animal moved with an intake of breath, reflecting the blue of the cave’s illumination in rippling, scattered iridescent tones. The sigh drooped with contentment for being curled up with Kitty in the middle. Nadec vaguely wondered why the black had seemed all-consuming before, outside of the cave.
‘You do not enjoy the clothes I gave you?’
Gave me? GAVE me? Those words made her blood boil. He hadn’t given them to her as they hadn’t been his in the first place! Ignoring the embarrassment she felt at knowing that he’d dressed her while she’d been passed out, she began giving him a piece of her mind.
‘Bloody heavens dude, you really have some nerve, claiming you—’ the tirade slowed down when she looked at his amused face. Why was he amused? Had that been a joke? She wanted to think that uncharacteristic of him, but then realised she didn’t yet know him that well. She cursed again as she understood what that meant. He must have guessed she’d have a more profound reason to want to check the clothes. That man was too good at reading her.
‘What is a dude?’
Nadec couldn’t help the amused snort before explaining that a dude is a synonym of man. He didn’t appear to know what a synonym was so she told him synonyms are different words with the same meaning. They stood up and started walking toward another of the side tunnels.
‘I understand.’ He nodded. ‘What is a synonym’—he pronounced this in an odd way—’of a woman then? Wodude?’
The way he asked it—delivered in such a sincere and serious tone—made her break out in a loud and belly-deep laugh.
‘You, sir, have made me laugh more often and more genuine than ever in the past three years. Thank you for that.’ She glanced at him from the corner of her eyes while they walked through the bio luminescent-lit corridors of the cave. The strange light—produced by a combination of some sort of moss or algae and worms, she saw now—made his facial features look regal. She wondered if she thought that because she knew he was a ruler, or because he did look it. The stubble he had when they first met had turned into a scruffy beard. At least that validated his claim about her week-long slumber.
‘Now that we’re exchanging… knowledge, let me ask you a question. You obviously know something about cleanliness and hygiene, as you knew what to use the waterfall in the little room for.’ She scraped her throat roughly, surprised at how much of a taboo this felt like.
‘You mentioned garderobes in your castle before. They were like a bathroom, right?’ She didn’t give him a chance to reply, rushing on before shame took over. ‘So how do you wipe your butt? We use toilet paper, and some use water, but I’d be surprised if you have easy access to water in all of your rooms. I always wondered about that, but I’ve never thought about googling it. On the internet.’
He stopped in bafflement, his face scrunched up in confusion.
‘Bathroom? Googling? Internet? Toilet… paper? Why would you use paper? It is incredibly rare, not to mention rough. I do not see that working very well. Never you mind. If you need to know, we have strips of linen to take care of our business. And, as far as I am aware, commoners, outside of the castle, use leftover leaves from food they have prepared. I assume they have other ways as well, but I can not say for certain what they are. I do not mingle often with people on the street, I am afraid. It is fairly smelly. Here, this is it.’
His hand pointed toward a smaller opening in the end of the cave’s tunnel. Smaller was a matter of perspective, as the tunnel was still large enough to fit herself at least three times in height and multiple times in width. She marveled again at the sight of the natural irregularities in the dark rock’s surface. The uneven illumination worked to bathe it all in a magical, and even mysterious, glow. She decided she liked this place, a lot.
When she entered the room, the change in atmosphere was palpable. The air was much drier. Nadec barely registered it. She could only gape at the huge pile of clothes in front of her. The size reminded her of a tv-show she once saw, not too long ago, where the tv-people—had it been called the war on waste?—wanted to illustrate what the amount of clothes people threw out on an average ten minutes looked like. That pile had been about six thousand kilos of clothes. After seeing that, she’d changed her attitude towards clothes and commissioned her sustainable fighting suits.
Hence why she again felt anger rising towards the zlurp for destroying them. None of the clothes she saw here were damaged much, they all seemed fine. All of a sudden, she was very much looking forward to the morning. That creature would answer her questions, and if not, she’d gladly toss him around the room!
‘Do you need help with anything?’
The concerned look on Wyny’s face replaced the anger with tears forming in her eyes. He did care, she was sure of that. Despite that, she shooed him off. This was something she had to do by herself.
She tried to pick out the most shabby looking pieces of garment, ripping them in large strips. A woman’s period doesn’t wait on anything, not even being in the Other Realm, away from civilisation. The cramps were getting worse. Nothing she could do about those. She counted herself lucky to have such a massive stock of fabric. It would make things easier.
They weren’t going to budge from this cave for the next days, of that she was sure.
Thank you for listening to Nadec, episode 12, clothes. Narrated by myself, Nadec. Adventure by and lived through by Nadec. Written in a better way than I can tell it, by Astrid Jef.
Don’t go just yet, we’ve got bloopers coming up. Before we get to those, [music on background] we just want to say that if you head over to astridjef.com, you can find transcripts and full chapters of this podcast. Even more, you can find the unedited draft of Nadec at least up to 15 chapters further than the podcast goes. So if you’re keen to know how the story continues, you have the option to go and read. Find us on Twitter @astridjef and @nadecandkitty.
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