Rilanya: “You're not like the others, are you?”
Darin: “What do you mean?”
Rilanya: “I ... do you know why I first fell in love with you?”
Darin: “For my good looks?”
Rilanya: “My whole life I've felt so alone. The people around me ... they just seemed to be going through the motions. Like they were asleep, or drugged, even when they worked, or played, or got drunk, or made love. They all think the same things in the same way. Each day the same. Repetitive. Like they're only shadows of people.”
Darin: “Everyone feels that way sometimes, Rilanya.”
Rilanya: “But you're not like them. You say new things. I don't always understand them, especially your jokes, but they're new, and that's the important thing. Darin, can I ask you a question?”
I looked at the screen for a few moments. Rilanya's rendered graphic was looking at my point-of-view with a pleading expression. Plot point, I thought to myself, and typed: “Anything, Rilanya.”
Rilanya's figure took a deep breath and leaned close to my point-of-view. Her animated lips moved and her voice issued from my headphones: “What's an NPC?”
“What?” I said, out loud. Then I started laughing.
Rilanya went on talking. “In the tower of Ashel, when you rescued me from the prison chamber ... the guards were dead outside my door. I'd never seen blood before. And you said ... I remember your exact words ... ‘Don't worry, babe, they were only NPCs.’ And then that time in the tavern, when that man only wanted to talk about the Plaited Road, you said ... ‘Guess the NPCs here aren't programmed for deep conversation, huh?’ You use that word ... the same times when I get that feeling, that all the people around me are only shadows.”
13 September 2007
Eliezer Yudkowsky has a story for us.