Upon seeing Emiliana sitting there on the edge of her bed, the stranger stopped. He said something in a language she didn’t understand. After a beat, he said something else in what sounded like another language she didn’t understand.
She merely tilted her head at him.
“Mohssian, perhaps?” he said.
She perked up. “Y-yes, hello.”
“Ah, there we are. My apologies, cedo. I could have sworn that this was my room.”
Emiliana wasn’t sure how to respond.
“Alas, I do not recognize you,” he went on. “Have you been here long?”
“Only a few days.” She shifted slightly as she wondered if she should even be talking to this person.
“I see. Well, it is lovely to meet you, cedo. My name is Germal. Would you grant me the honor of knowing yours?”
She hesitated but said, “Emiliana.”
“Ah. A name with its roots in the old Arman language, if I am not mistaken.”
Perhaps it was time to ask some questions of her own. “How many languages do you know?”
The horned man paused pensively. “Eight, if I am trying to impress. Three and five-quarters, if I am not.”
She merely tilted her head at him again.
Germal took a step farther into the room, but he left the door open. His attire looked like something a casual school teacher might wear, but the way he spoke seemed far from casual to her ears. Perhaps it was just his accent, though. She couldn’t place it.
“Forgive me if I am mistaken,” he said, “but you seem quite young, cedo, and those horns on your face--has anyone explained their significance to you?”
“What do you mean?”
He motioned to his own horn. “As a first experience with mutation, these are extremely common. Nearly universal, in fact. But few people know that the number of initial horns can be very enlightening.”