"I understand your trouble, Pyrite, but as you know we in Rackarn do not share your religious views. Your lives are not considered worthless to us! The opposite, in fact. If you cannot return to Krakold, we would welcome you here! If you could make your wonderful pottery here, then Rackarn pots would become as prized as those from Krakold. We might displace Krakold as the elite source of ceramic containers."
A crowd of curious villagers had grown, bunching up to the sides of the five and behind Apatite. None had assembled behind the twins. That would have implied a threat and therefore contrary to good manners. Their murmurings reflected the same optimism their greeter so quickly embraced.
"No! We are grateful for your welcome, Apatite, and your compliments. But, though our family has abandoned us, we have not abandoned them. We will not go into competition against them. They will have enough difficulty as it is to continue without us. We lost the wagon and the animal. They will not even be able to make deliveries for months, perhaps. We will not take advantage of their misfortune."
Then despite his sincerity, his considerations swerved to the practical aspects of his avocation.
"Besides, you have no kiln, no shop, no delivery wagon, and Amethyst and I could not do all the work sufficiently to produce what you have in mind."
"But those things can be built. And we have several youngsters that might be very interested in learning the trade. We even have an excellent clay bank only a short walk upriver."
Pyrite felt his interest and hopes arise; he pushed them down. "It does not matter. We will not work to take food from our family's mouths. Besides, we are still in debt to these two men. We can do nothing not in accordance with their wishes."
"That is good to hear!" proclaimed Feldspar without hesitation. "Our wishes are that the two of you stay here, where you are welcome. Do your best to fit in and work with your new neighbors."
Gypsum had been listening closely as well. He had an idea. "Pyrite, your family will not be able to produce enough to support themselves, especially without a delivery system. You and Amethyst are in the same condition. Even if you get assistance after the building of shop and kiln your helpers will have a period of training before they are good enough."
He stopped talking. His fangs had begun to chafe his lips. He had found it necessary to talk so much more since they picked up these two. Feldspar likewise.
But Apatite had picked up the thread of the idea and continued it. The twins had noticed immediately that his fangs were worn thinner than normal at their bases. A sure sign that he spoke overmuch.
"Of course! Between you two here and the rest of your family there you will be able to supply the demand. They will produce more, we can supply the wagon for deliveries, and the proceeds will be split equitably. You can even expand your territory of sales after a while."
He spread his arms in an expansive gesture and managed to show his teeth in what passes for a smile among Riotori males. "It is a win for everyone!"
Feldspar, always suspicious, inquired. "And how would all that benefit you? Your enthusiasm is very great for someone else's fortune."
Apatite was unabashed. "But it will be our good fortune too! Some of our young people will learn a trade. More wealth will come into our village, which will enrich everyone indirectly. Our relations with the citizens of Krakold will grow closer, offering better mating opportunities for our young men and women.
"Which reminds me: I assume both of you young men have undertaken the journey to find mates. Perhaps you will find them here."
"I think not, Sir," replied Gypsum. "We intend to travel farther and see more of Kylrock and meet many more young women before we make so permanent a decision."
"Hmm! Well, that is your choice. But it comes with a hazard. There may well be problems while you are here."
The twins exchanged glances. What was going to go wrong this time?