The town of Cetus is a bustling place, with Ostrons going about their business and hawking their wares to offworlders and to each other. Their overlapping shouts and chatter compose the aural atmosphere of Cetus. Commonly repeated phrases are reproduced below, grouped in categories of speakers.
The message that greets offworlders who arrive in Cetus is as follows:
Swazdo-lah, Tenno! Welcome to Cetus, unique among the stars! Explore the bustling market for all your practical needs! If you're looking for adventure on the Plains of Eidolon, speak to Konzu. Stay a while, and come back anytime on your journeys across the Rails.
"Powders and dyes! Newly arrived at great risk from the Eurasian zone! Display your love with a streak of vermilion! Highlight those eyes with a dash of rare cerulean! Powders and dyes!"
"Swazdo-lah! Lok heb! Look here: wine! Imbued with the etheric signature of a person you wish to be rid of! Spouse? Enemy? Ah, you drink them in the evening, and expel them by morning, eh? Guaranteed results!"
"Finest masks, created by third-generation maskers! Herald your line and protect your bellows from gilding! Pride and health for the cost of a single purchase!"
"Doctor Tanak's cerebral nutrients! Available in Cetus for the first time! The product of more than ten years' study! The venerable doctor now brings his range of livers, ales, humours, tinctures and unguents to you!"
"Doh-ga, doh-ga! Temple flesh, rendered this morning! A small quantity of Temple Kuva, available for the right client! For fascia, for oils, for matters of integumentary and subcutaneous! Available to all for the right price! Gold for blood, good people, gold for blood!"
"Eight casks, old man. Five forty-weights of flesh."
"Ah, traveller. This morning by her grace, the Temple offered of herself a particularly rich find of cellular proto-essence just below the stratum germinativum."
"The blanket piece is ready for hoisting, old man!"
"Dah-dup. Lift her gently now. Flensers make ready. Airing board ready to receive her fascia."
"Hand off your scrubs to the retrievers. Know that you see and are seen."
"She gives, we live."
"You see and are seen."
"Swazdo-lah, surah. If you will, inspect the quality of this black skin. See how it comes away beneath the fingernail? How succulent would this be on your tongue? Succulent-utz."
"Abyssal snail spawn! As served on the tables of Corpus royalty! One thousand platinum per dropper, yes?"
"Toilet bags! Handy for those on the go! Bodily waste converted to odourless crystals. Easy to dispose! Also, I have jewellery available in two colours!"
"Fresh fish to feed the family, with eyes or without! Black fish, gulper, mesopelagic, bathypelagic, from shallows and river."
"Need to stay awake? Chew some vandal bark! We also have dried ponda milk, and a wide range of charpi! Legal in several jurisdictions, reasonable prices!"
"Harpu! Melted Vobi butter and freshly brewed Chimurr. Salt and balb flour extra! Harpu! Hot Harpu!"
"I have seen the inside of the Temple, and she has taught me much. Know your future. One cut, and your path lays itself out! Your future laid bare in a drop of blood!"
"The bailer, if you would, doh-ga. Ten ampules ready for the crucible."
"Those are fine boots, but they won't last. You want leather, wooden-pegged. Her oil will rot that rubber within a week."
"Utz! You must be watchful of some offworlders."
"You see and are seen!"
Male Child Ostron
"Be superior to nothing but your former self. Be well, surah!"
"My father was lost at sea, surah. I now live by the lander pads. Can you spare a coin or two?"
"I can't stop to talk, Mama needs Vobi butter before the Harpu congeals!"
"Mother says I shouldn't hate them for what they did. She says that things only grow when watered. But I want to hate them."
"Find me, find me, find me! You'll never find me! [laughs]"
Female Child Ostron
"My father is no longer in that line of business, surah. You'll have to find another canoe to peddle."
"I have a pet Kavat. She is black and white. Her name is Wunakt. It means 'day and night'. Do you have a pet?"
"(sing-song) Leaving on the inside, tempting fate
Sitting on the outside, dead men wait!
Don't go, don't go, the wives all cry
Ha-ha-ha, ho-ho-ho, the men wave goodbye!
Well met, well met, the dead come home
Avanti, avanti, kingdom of bone!
The gate goes clack, the sun rolls back
Nothing to be done for them, a graveyard plaque!"
"You'll never find me! [laughs] Find me, find me, find me!"