It’s not often I run into people from the fertility tribe. As a rule, I try to avoid them. Too much chance they might recognize me. But now I see a group of fertility tribe people exiting a carriage on their way in, a few adults and a young girl. One of the adults sees me and offers a wave, coming to talk to me. Seems like he thinks I’m part of the Artisans. “Hey,” he greets, “I don’t think I’ve met you before? We’re you out the last few times we came by?”
He looks like an artist’s rendition of what a man from the fertility tribe is like. Almost delicate, he’s obviously never done hard labor before, and a strict diet’s kept him healthy so he can continue to produce kids. He’s clean shaven and his hair has the look of having been recently cut, its shorter than most wear it and a little too even to have grown like that. Overall there’s no way I could pick him out of a crowd, he’s the kind of man that comes to mind when you think “normal.” With him is a man that seems military, wiry and tough, with the kind of build that comes from constant activity rather than more controlled training. He doesn’t say anything, and from the look on his face I don’t think he’s got anything he wants to say to me. The girl looks to be around 10-12, and now that I get a good look she’s the spitting image of the new girl in the artisan’s tribe.
Ah, so that’s what this is.
“I’m just a trader, came to sell some supplies here, next I’m off to Dead Horse Bay to buy some salvage. Heard there’s some stuff the miner’s might want.” I hope that they won’t suspect who I am if I offer that information up. I don’t recognize the man, but there’s always a chance that they figure out who I am. The smart thing to do would be to keep moving, get out of here before they have a chance to recognize me. I almost do just that.
But instead I turn to the girl. “Hey there,” I say, “You wouldn’t happen to be Maisy’s sister? You look just like her.” The girls face lights up at the mention of her sister, and nods happily, though she seems nervous around me. I can’t say I’m surprised. Life in the fertility tribe is extremely isolated for kids. She probably doesn’t meet new people often. “Well, I think I have something you and Maisy might enjoy.” I rifle through my bags until I find an animal compendium. I can see the fertility tribe man nod approvingly as I give it to her. She’s too young to know why it matters, but I’m sure she and her sister will enjoy reading it regardless.
I don’t want to hold them up any longer, and I definitely don’t want to be held up if they realize who I am, so I say my goodbye’s and begin to leave. The man seems excited to show the girl to her sister, so he’s quick to accept the goodbye and move on. Maybe he realizes what a terrible thing his tribe’s done to the girl. That doesn’t make things better though.