Chapter 5: Enarw - Part Thirteen
“You have a temperate world,” said Grif, “with great polar regions where food cannot grow. But there are other worlds that are warm and have plenty of sunshine and the crops grow everywhere.”
“Yes,” said Vialon, “and this colder climate of yours probably explains your past as an industrial center.”
“Industrial?” asked Reidhi.
“Uh,” began Vialon as he tried to think of the right words, “I mean you had factories that built things.”
“I think I get your meaning, yes,” nodded Reidhi. “More meat, gentlemen?”
Vialon and the soldiers gladly accepted more lunch from the servant as she brought a platter to the men. After they had taken their fill, she walked the tray over to the priest, and when he was done, she took what was left and offered it to Jendi and Sevenser and Enisaw. They each took what they thought was a polite amount of meat, while the servant looked at them with disapproval. Not knowing what they were doing that was wrong, they put the utensils back on the tray and attended to their lunch quietly.
Watching this take place, Reidhi turned back to Vialon.
“These maidens are not your servants, are they?”
Vialon shook his head. “In our culture, women are not only allowed to be what they want, they are in charge.”
The servant dropped a spoon she was holding by the soup bowl she was now offering the priest, and Reidhi had a sharp intake of breath.
“This is not allowed here,” he said quietly. “It is forbidden by our texts.”
“We understand,” said Vialon, “and we are not here to tell you how to live your lives. We merely wish to trade with your people so that both can benefit.”
“What can we offer you?” asked the priest.