The Ai-Naidari Guidebook, Part 2: Packing, and Accommodations

The Ai-Naidari Guidebook
Part 2

      Kherishdar is a lighter gravity world. I’m no scientist, so I don’t have the exact numbers… but you’ll notice it. Some people find it a relief, others distracting or unsettling. It’s not so big a difference that you’ll be floating with every step; just enough that you’ll feel… well, different. Additionally, the air feels thin to a lot of people. If you’re sensitive to that, you may want to prepare as if traveling to a high altitude location.
      You will almost invariably be visiting the capital. From a climate perspective, the weather in the capital is mild and dry, with temperatures ranging from the low 40s (Fahrenheit) in winter to the low 80s in summer. It doesn’t snow and rarely storms. Some of this is location, but some part of it is, I suspect, an effect of the World Gate, which is tall enough to cut into the atmosphere and which emits a cold wind along its entire height. (Or at least, cold to my southern skin; thicker-blooded readers might find it cool.) Whatever the case, pack for mild weather.
      Ai-Naidari streets are paved, and you’ll be doing a lot of walking. There’s not a lot of detritus to cut yourself on, but you’ll be on your feet most of the day. Wear comfortable shoes. There are benches and places to sit scattered all over the city, if you get tired, and it’s not impolite to ask if you can rest. The average Ai-Naidari is going to be in better condition than many modern humans for all-day walks, but even they take breaks.
      If you are prone to allergies, bring whatever you use to medicate them. Ai-Naidari cities are full of flowering plants… and when the wind isn’t blowing the smell of them into the air, they’re carrying incense smoke. The Ai-Naidar are far more critical of smells and take more effort to scent things. While I wouldn’t go so far as to call most of the things they use “perfume,” it’s going to be a rare place you don’t go that’s not going to smell distinctly like something.
      I should also note that on the human side, you’ll be vaccinated, more from habit than anything else. We haven’t found any diseases yet that cross the human/Ai-Naidari line—it’s a little like humans and animals that way—but just like there are exceptions here, we might run into exceptions there.

      During your stay you will be a guest of the Noble or Regal Household sponsoring you. The Ai-Naidari who secured your permit will be your guide, and will either accompany you personally everywhere, or assign a close family-member (also a Noble or Regal) to show you around. In addition to this guide, you’ll have a Guardian escort. Two to four are typical; it’s polite to acknowledge them once and then ignore them. Your questions, comments and conversation should be addressed to the guide. I don’t recommend trying to talk to anyone else; first, because it’s unlikely they’ll understand you unless you’re speaking Ai-Naidari, and second, because it may put them in an awkward position. Because you are human and outside their caste system, they won’t have a polite way to talk to you, which is a rather painful thing for an Ai-Naidari.
      Your Noble or Regal sponsor will be accustomed to dealing with humans. It’s best to let them translate any questions you might have, if you have them. For instance, if you want to compliment a shop-keeper, or ask them a question about something they’re selling, tell your guide that you’d like to ask about it and let them put the question to the shopkeeper (or educate you directly, if they already know something about it). This creates a layer between you and the rest of society that the Ai-Naidar will find comforting… or at least, as comforting as they can find anything involving aunera.

      In terms of accommodations, you will be issued a private chamber at the home of your Noble or Regal sponsor. Noble and Regal Households should not be considered personal homes, precisely, as much as administrative centers that happen to employ and house a large, extended family (“nepotism” is a concept I have failed to explain to Ai-Naidar). These Houses will be large buildings, and have plenty of private spaces for visiting Ai-Naidar who are bringing staffs of their own.
      Beds are going to be tall, compared to our own. Even their low beds are high to us! You can request a stepstool to get onto them; I have. Likewise, most furniture is scaled for people who average seven feet tall or more; cabinets are very high. It was historical custom to sit on the floor for social activities, but this doesn’t seem so much the case anymore. You’ll more likely find yourself sitting on divans and chairs, if tall, light-framed ones.
      When at all possible, make sure you are sitting on furniture designed to keep your head level with the heads of your Ai-Naidari hosts, even if you’re too short for it to actually serve that purpose. While it’s true that there are Ai-Naidar who sit or kneel on the floor while others are sitting, this is generally a sign either of a close relationship, or the act of a caste-lesser, neither of which should apply to you. (If it does, you will have to tell me the story. And I will be jealous!)


Questions? Comments? I will use them to incorporate more material into this as we go. And a tip button, because several of you poked me rather much last time!

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