You point to the small structure at the bottom of the map labelled 'Portals'. Reltskan raises his eyebrows at your choice but then starts swimming straight down. Obviously, you're right above the Portals.
Hey halfbreed! Who's the Outsider?
You look around. A male SKAN is swimming towards you quite fast and you hesitate, not sure of his intentions.
Nobody you'd be interested in, Kashander, Reltskan says. You notice a tinge of banter in his voice though, and think that they're just having a laugh. They're here to see if they can't give a home to one of the Salrinds.
Kashander, swimming somewhere in between you and Reltskan, pauses.
'Salrinds'? Why'd you call them that?
Most of 'em in Gold Tower were pretty incensed when they found out how close they were to the Portals, and vice versa. They started a mass evacuation, then open battles broke out.
Battles! you think, horrified. Kashander glances over at you.
This was a long time ago for you. About fifty or sixty years. They've learned since then. Now they get on okay-but apparently, the original name stuck until any non-SKAN or non-halfbreed wouldn't know what it meant. Speaking of which, have you seen anything of Pindra lately...?
The conversation drifts off into SKAN and you switch out until you suddenly notice that Lapis is becoming distinctly...something. You can't quite find a word for it, although if he was a human and you were walking down a street, Lapis would about now be lifting his nose in the air and treading delicately so as not to soil his feet with something obscene.
The Portals is where the other Salrinds live, Reltskan tells you. Ones without any definite colouration that aren't allowed to live in any of the major cities. They take charge of the Portals and help any Salrind on its way.
That's all they do? you think, slightly horrified at the thought of any creature working beneath others.
Actually, it's not as bad as you seem to think, Kashander says. If one earns the right to leave the Portals-which is seldom-they get the very best home, and most of the other Salrinds respect them in their own right. Except the golds, of course, they'll always be standoffish.
Visitors? This far from the maintowns?
Hey, I bet they've come to offer homes to the Salrinds! You look at the female Salrind addressing you and understand what Reltskan means by a Salrind 'without any definite colouration'.
My name is Ashelenda, and this, she says, indicating the Dragon floating beside her, this is Prism. She's from Downloadable Dragons and keeps us company down here-I guess you could say she's kind of an oddball herself, the Salrind laughs, her voice oddly musical. Welcome to the Portals. I'm always pleased to have visitors; I get so very few down here. Are you here to give a Salrind a home?
You nod hesitantly and rock one hand in a seesaw movement, indicating that you might be interested but you'd like to know more.
A Salrind travels around as far as possible, Ashelenda explains to you, and visits different homes. If they find a home, they just don't bother coming back again. If they don't, well, they return to where they came from and start again later.
You nod understanding, although you're not too sure you like the idea of a Salrind suddenly turning up in your fish pond or swimming pool without warning. Kashander grins, obviously understanding your thoughts.
Don't worry, Ashelenda adds reassuringly, they have a list of homes in here. They'll only visit the ones that have been offered to them. The Portals will eventually link to all the homes so a Salrind can go back and forth quickly without having to swim but so far, such a scheme hasn't been established. She sighs, then brightens up. Never mind. If you'd like to offer a home it would be much appreciated. Just sign here to register.
You nod and Reltskan digs out the map again.
Gold Tower-The gold and highest ranking Salrinds
Reef Castle-More impressive than Gold Tower, Reef Castle is home to the second highest ranking Salrinds, the silvers.
Coral Caves-Home to the third highest rank, the black Salrinds.
Ganir Town-The living area of red Salrinds and fourth rankings
Lapisville-Home of the blue Salrinds
Terrville-Living area of brown Salrinds-second lowest in rank.
Perdorit Village-Home of the green Salrinds, lowest ranking.