We Need To Get Better Locks
I Wish We Had More Time To Pack
We have spent several hours with the various Nephilite leaders on the Tellemetaru planning the logistics for their exodus from Yazatlan. The duties that would fall to Tom as pantope driver would be particularly heavy, so the rest of the party encourages Tom to rest and pushes him into the tent to sleep.
We then (quietly) return to the problem of what has to happen after we have successfully gotten the Nephilim Remnant to New Hierow: finding out how to get to the Plains of Penance, which the Nephilim must go through to get to the cities in the Kaf mountains.
Some time ago, we had spoken with Attalais, the ambassador from the cities of Kaf to Elvencrown, about the passage. Attalais was unwilling or unable to speak with any of the Nephilim Remnant directly and the Remnant was forbidden to set foot in Faerie, so a Messenger would be needed to convey information. Attalais told Robbie, because of his mazzik body, that he would be an ideal messenger.
Daphne, having a great respect for the leaders among the Remnant, suggested that we try to arrange a face-to-face meeting between Attalais and the Remnant. She pointed out that when pixies talk with pixies they do not use humans as messengers and it would be inappropriate for one of us to act as an intermediary for something so important to all of the Nephilim. She suggests going to Vinyagarond and borrowing the mirror linked to the ranch on Hellene and taking it to Elvencrown to have the two parties talk through the window provided by the mirrors.
Dafnord points out that there is no single leader or spokesperson hat could speak for all of the Nephilim and the mirror is only so big. We briefly consider opening the mirror as a door to let as many through as necessary but Kate, among others, doesn't think that would be a good idea. We also have a brief conversation with Desmond, on board the Tellemetaru, who confirms that not all of the Nephilim will want to go to the Plains of Penance.
Robbie suggests talking to Daewen for her advice on both using the mirror and the politics involved. As Tom is having a well- deserved rest, Kate gets to use her skills to steer the pantope doors. We decide to go to the ranch and then use the mirror to Vinyagarond. Not only is it simpler but also the ranch is easier to get to.
We get a view of the front yard and it does look a little better than the last time we saw it. It is dusk so it takes a moment for Robbie and Markel to spot something moving in a shadowy crack near one of the rock outcroppings. Not sensing any particular danger, Robbie steps out and calls out a hello before anyone can stop him. Something that sounds like a steam valve comes from the rock. Robbie sends an eye out and sees an agitated dwarf near the crack, waving at him to come to him. It's Drumthortle, who we had left behind to work repairs on the ranch.
Robbie goes over but Drumthortle pulls him into a small cave and closes a door made of rock. (No doubt a door made to look exactly like the face of a mountain.) The steam valve noise was his attempt to quiet Robbie down. Robbie tries to find out what is going on but Drumthortle is clearly frightened and is barely audible and we can only get out something about a "Marshall" and that he is (or maybe isn't) from Faerie.
With that assessment, the dwarf all but pushes Robbie deeper into the tunnels beneath the rock. (Leaving a dwarf behind to repair the ranch probably explains the new sub-basements here thirty years from now.) As they walk down the stairs, the dwarf "Lumitar...." Robbie is still confused at this point and the half-sentences aren't helping. He tries to think of who it might be and suggests Cantrel. Drumthortle sputters and says it isn't Cantrel, of course, but another tidbit rolls down the face of the cliff: "He's got another! In the house!"
Robbie gives up on getting a coherent sentence out of Drumthortle and tries to contact the house systems. He gets a weak connection and passes an identification challenge, but learns that there has been an "incursion"--two people are inside the library. The house doesn't know how they got in, they simply "arrived in the "library" fifteen minutes ago. He asks for a picture and is annoyed when he gets a burst of white noise in his head. Robbie thinks a minute then mutters about how he liked his old body better.
Kate has been following Robbie with the pantope door in window mode. The rest of us notice Robbie shaking his head and the waving, apparently trying to catch our attention. We open the door and Robbie asks for Gannar. Gannar comes forward but Robbie suddenly realizes he can use his phone and dials up the house and looks at the image of the intruders.
In Robbie's phone, relayed to the rest of us over the telepathy net, we see the two people in the library. We also notice that the door has been repaired in the library, although it isn't the one that Mourniesel will destroy thirty years from now here. Not a good sign, we think.
One of the intruders is tall, slender, sharp-featured, has long dark hair and is wearing gray and black clothing. He appears to be just watching the area, looking out perhaps. We will call him "Dark." The other is smaller and lighter featured than the other and is dressed in white and light colors. We will call him "Light." Light has some kind of glowing bulbous object in his hand and seems to be spraying something on the mirror!
This is not good. Dafnord tells Kate to start preparing to move the door to the library so we can jump in on them. Robbie tells the house to announce our arrival to the intruders then steps back in the pantope, leaving behind Drumthortle. (Some of us want to see their reaction as we are announced.) Gannar and Robbie warm up their gun platforms and Dafnord pulls out Umbra, and takes the point position at the door.
Kate skillfully maneuvers the door to the library and we see Light continuing to spray the mirror with his gadget. Dark seems unconcerned but suddenly looks our way. At the same moment, we see an expanding circle and then the body of one of the household robots moving through our viewpoint, to announce our arrival. Dark seems to dismiss the robot but clearly seems to see our window and gestures at us.
Kate opens up the door and Dafnord comes out, sword raised, demanding who the intruders are and what they are doing. Light stops for a moment as several angry householders step into the library from the pantope, confronting the intruders. Dark doesn't seem very concerned at our arrival or the display of force and simply tries to confirm our identities as we walk in, ignoring our questions.
After several shouted questions from our end and quieter ones from Dark, Robbie gives in and identifies himself. Dark reaches into a pocket and pulls out a scroll, telling us that this is for us. Robbie unrolls it and can't read a thing. Handing it to Kate, she manages to puzzle out that it is in Elvish and that the signature might be A....L....something. (Alvirin?) Robbie tells Dark to translate this because we can't read it. Dark says that translations in several other languages are on the way and that it would be difficult to capture the subtle details of the Royal decree in the coarse language that we speak.
We insist so Dark reluctantly explains that the essential point of the document is that commerce with the Summerlands is banned from this and other mortal points by Royal decree. (This confirms our suspicions that the signature is Lord Alvirin's.) We attempt to elicit an explanation by pointing out that we haven't sold anything in the Summerlands but Dark changes his words to clarify that travel is what is now forbidden. Robbie asks whether or not Daewen was informed of this. Dark replies that he gave her the same decree and that she, of course, is obeying it.
Salimar again asks whom we are speaking with and, probably because he has done what he came for, he answers. He identifies himself as "Lumitar" and his colleague as "Eldemonium". The names mean nothing to us and do little to change our mood from severe annoyance. Dafnord, for one, has not lowered Umbra, moved from in front of Lumitar, or stopped demanding to know what these intruders are doing in the ranch.
Further interrogation of Dark reveals that he spoke with Daewen sometime after her announced plans to move from Vinyagarond to Lanthil. (He refers to Vinyagarond as "her home...no, her former home".) He also finally answers what he and his colleague are doing here: implementing the embargo. This seems to refer to Eldemonium's spraying of the mirror in the library. Dafnord dryly points out how powerful Alvirin must be to have his power extending out to our home-in another continuum. Lumitar seems to notice that comment but Salimar attempting to get close to the mirror distracts us.
Both Lumitar and Eldemonium watch with concern as Salimar moves close to the mirror. She extends one hand to it and it seems to burn cold. She persists and feels her hand go dead. ("I hate when that happens," she mutters to Eldemonium's clear surprise.) She attempts a retrocognition at this point and is rewarded with a wave of vertigo. Something temporally odd is happening here.
Pulling out the Map of Here confirms the oddness: in this room, the map would normally be crowded with pushpins, dots, flags, and spikes with a three panel color-coded foldout summarizing the many travelers through this room. Instead, the mirror itself is in a grayish zone that is identified as "temporal discontinuity". (The Map probably thinks we're being mean to it again.) Clearly, some kind of fence is being put around the mirror.
Lumitar gestures at Eldemonium to continue his work as the rest of us have a frenzied discussion over the telepathy net. We briefly consider whether Daewen would have approved these two coming here and touching the mirror at our end but Dafnord points out that the house reported their arrival as an "incursion", meaning that Daewen did not inform the house of this event. They quickly agree to drop back a few hours and go to Vinyagarond to consult with Daewen about this issue. Dafnord, Markel, Daphne, and Salimar stay behind as the rest drop back in the pantope. Robbie tells Lumitar, "We'll be back in a moment!"
As the pantope door closes, Dafnord tells Lumitar to have Eldemonium stop what he is doing. Lumitar doesn't, saying that first that the "sealing" isn't done and then that it would be dangerous. A demand to explain what would happen is dismissed by Lumitar as too difficult to explain. Daphne flies up and points out that she speaks Sindarin and that he could tell her. Lumitar looks at the pixie with a raised eyebrow and says, "It's technical."
That's the last straw for Dafnord. His still-raised sword arm snaps toward Lumitar as he intends to strike him backhanded for the insult. Salimar, having anticipated something bad would happen, attempts to stop Dafnord.
Several things then happen almost at once.
On the Metaphor, Kate closes the door to the library and resets it to the back garden in Vinyagarond that we know well from our last few visits during the Councils. Normally, the garden is rather quiet but instead through the window we see several Enorathi helpers scurrying about carrying bundles and packages. This was even more activity than during the height of the council meetings which we correctly assume is because Daewen is leaving for Lanthil.
Brunalf, Kate and Robbie step out of the door and one of the Enorathi stops and exclaims, "Oh, you're here to help!" Actually, we're really here to speak to Daewen, we explain. The young helper doesn't know where she is but she hands her bundle to another Enorathi running by and quick-marches Robbie and Kate through the homestead looking for Daewen. Brunalf wanders off in search of faerie cream.
The search ends in the music room. Daewen looks frantic. She is very relieved to see Kate and Robbie, telling us that we have such good timing, and asks where Tom is. We tell her he's asleep at which her face drops for a moment. Robbie quickly explains that they've come from the ranch and shows her the scroll from Alvirin. Oh, yes, of course she knows about it. Robbie mentions that Dafnord was getting irate about it and that they had left him and a few others there with Lumitar so they could come here and talk with you.
Daewen expresses concern over Dafnord's possible reactions but Robbie tells her that they planned to be back in "just a moment". Daewen then starts explaining that Lumitar is a Lord Marshall and he's "implementing the embargo", then confesses that it was probably all her fault. She looks around and muses that she had hoped she would have had more time to pack--she hasn't slept much in the last few weeks.
Robbie asks again about the reason for the "embargo". Daewen sits down and takes some time to explain--and more importantly to rest. She reminds us that there was a ratified agreement at the Second Council that the New Lands (i.e., Lanthil) wouldn't increase the connections between the Summerlands and the Mortal lands. Unfortunately, several events happened shortly after that decision.
First, Alvirin's guard finally caught the sixth dragon spy that we had lost track of during the reception before the Second Council. Then, one of the Nine Kings of Patala arrived to protest the treatment of his Ambassador's staff--the objectionable treatment being, in some twisted draconian diplomatic logic, confronting the Ambassador with the fact that he had several spies traveling with him which forced the Ambassador to kill several of his own staff, thus preserving the secrecy of the operation. Got that?
Third, Alvirin apparently found out about the attack at the ranch by Ms. Yanova and more importantly who was behind that attack. (Robbie almost blurts out Lilith's name but not before Daewen pointedly offers him a cracker.) After that, Alvirin's guard determined that the sixth spy was in fact making a rendezvous with She Who Must Not Be Named, which caused Lord Alvirin to send out his guard to inspect the Marches, the path to Lanthil, and the waterway used by the Patalans.
Fortunately, Daewen adds, Mourniesil had an uncharacteristic fit of filial devotion and warned her about the searches and what was discovered, giving Daewen a little warning of what was to come.
Daewen believes that Alvirin wants to, first, enforce our agreement at the Second Council that commerce won't increase between here and the Mortal Lands and, second, to avoid going to war with Patala over all of these incidents and issues. Therefore, he is ordering the Marcher path between here and Lanthil severed and has interdicted several mirrors from Vinyagarond.
(Kate mutters something about how Alvirin's tactics in keeping the Patalans far away won't necessarily lead to a Chamberlin-like "peace in our time".)
Robbie asks about what is being done with the mirrors and Daewen explains that Eldemonium is very good at the art of time differential--the same art that makes time in fairy hills pass differently, such as the one we found on Destine. His job is the isolation of the mirrors by setting up a sharp time differential around them, which makes them hard to move. Daewen does say that she is trying to rescue one of them and get it to Lanthil.
Daewen also mentions a hidden doorway to Lanthil that was found in one of the bedrooms with Tom's signature all over it. (Tom's magic probably hid the fact that Runyana originally set it up as we discovered a few weeks back.) Apparently Daewen was somewhat embarrassed when Eldemonium found it and deactivated it. [Later, it will occur to some of us that the move from Vinyagarond is probably the end-time boundary of the time-traveling scavenger hunt that we've always suspected Daewen's descendants have been playing in decades to come.]
Daewen finishes with a relieved sigh and says that she was hoping that we would arrive to open a pantope door and help her move everything out! Robbie replies that we were only here to find out what was going on before Dafnord does something stupid. But Kate adds that they can help move things too, if she could get Daewen's help in steering the pantope to the right place in Lanthil.
Everyone boards the Emerald Metaphor. Kate opens the other door (on the second try) to a good time and place on Lanthil. Daewen is confident that the timing--about a year ahead of our early adventures in Lanthil--would be perfect for arranging to have everything picked up when she leaves Vinyagarond for good. She adjusts a locator to these coordinates and then has Kate move the Vinyagarond door to the music room before coming out to inform the Enorathi of the new moving instructions.
A carpet is laid down between the two doors on board the pantope and Enorathi quickly move back and forth with the various delicate instruments. After those are moved, the Vinyagarond door is moved back outside the house and a baggage train goes through with laden pack animals, carts and more Enorathi with packages, bundles, boxes and bags in a hurried stream. On the Lanthil side, some of the helpers are erecting large tents and setting up camp.
And sooner than one would think, the majority of the portable goods from Vinyagarond are moved into a field in Lanthil. We gather in the conservatory as the last of the helpers report their progress to Daewen. She seems very pleased and relieved that so much has been done and she has time to turn her attention to rescuing one of the mirrors. We suggest taking down the entire wall but Daewen says that Eldemonium's work is subtler than that and it will take her concentration. But this reminds her that we must have wanted to use the mirrors for an entirely different reason.
Oh, yes, we remember: we had wanted to ask Daewen about the right approach in having Attalais and the Remnant meet to discuss getting to the Plains of Penance. Of course, that plan can't happen with Alvirin's new decree. "The Mountains of Kaf," Daewen exclaims. "I was going to look that up in the library." "Except", she says looking around, "it's all packed now and I don't know in which box to look!" Robbie mentions that Attalais had referred to him as a "suitable messenger." Daewen asks Robbie to recall exactly what Attalais said.
He thinks back and remembers that Attalais said that Robbie would be a suitable messenger from the Nephilite Remnant to Attalais. Daewen sighs and points out that the other way would be better. Robbie mentions Daphne's plan to use the mirror or perhaps now using the pantope to open a window into Attalais' chamber. Daewen doesn't think that is a good idea at all and thinks that Robbie acting as the Messenger would still be best.
We then discuss how Robbie could now come into Faerie with the new restrictions. Lanthil doesn't seem to be a way because the Marcher path will be severed. Daewen says that Alvirin has not revoked the lease on Vinyagarond, although much of it will be shut down and left to volunteer caretakers. This means that as long as there isn't a permanent connection--like a mirror--that Vinyagarond could be used as a point to open a door or use some other way of getting into Faerie. Daewen does warn that there might be some temporal disjointedness but it would be politically correct all around and therefore the best possible plan.
(Daewen remembers to have the party thank Tom for the "cover story" on setting up an embassy from Lanthil in Elvencrown. She doesn't think they would have been able to move to Lanthil as early without his help. We just nod, puzzled, because we thought that we were being up front about setting up a Lanthil embassy. What has happened in Elvencrown on that issue?)
Daewen continues talking about how parts of Vinyagarond will be sealed and that we still need to move the mirror and then we all realize that we haven't seen Brunalf in some time. (Did he get put into a box?) A quick telepathic ping discovers that the cat has been staring at some of the doors that have been sealed, enjoying the pretty colors of the magic used to protect the house. Daewen directs the cat to the library.
Robbie suggests asking Desmond to help as he has his nephilite temporal abilities. Daewen agrees and a few more pantope doors are opened and closed and introductions are made as they go into the library to look at the fully sealed mirror there. The two of them try to combine their efforts towards moving the mirror into the pantope. (Brunalf sits awestruck by the odd trails and weird grayness that happens as the mirror moves. How nice of Daewen to make sure he didn't miss this!)
Desmond stumbles a bit and Daewen offers to continue alone. Desmond lets her, asking if he could observe her technique. She agrees and he quickly learns what he did wrong and helps her again as the move the mirror through the pantope and into Lanthil.
On the Lanthil side, many more tents have been set up and doznes of Enorathi are waiting for the signal to move the contents of the library. Desmond thanks Daewen for the experience while the boxes start moving out. Daewen calls for dinner to be set up and soon a trestle table and several side tables laden with food appear inside the Emerald Metaphor. We decide to close the doors and let time stop while we eat and rest.
Robbie shows Daewen Daphne's chocolate fruit tree. Skeptical, she looks for where the milk would be and then examines the fruit closely, thinking that it is like a lychee. But, no, she finds, it's not hollow inside but solid and, Mmmm, quite tasty and, as she licks her fingers, messy. Clearly, she loves it! She summons champagne--you should always have champagne with chocolate-and very carefully wraps the seeds up for planting in Lanthil.
(Hmmm. Daphne got the tree from Mourniesil who no doubt got it from...ouch...several of the diners munch a mental cracker and stop thinking about it.)
Robbie asks whether or not the fruit bowls inside the tent could be trained to produce this fruit, relaying Daphne's experiments. Daewen doesn't think so. She reminds him that she spent quite a lot of time using the tent and never saw the bowls change. Robbie nods and says that at least they have the ever-full box of chocolates. Daewen's eyes widen: an ever-full box of chocolates? Robbie pulls out the box from the tent and shows Daewen the delightful selection of truffles. Daphne found it, he explains.
Daewen looks at Robbie and says, sadly, "We had an ever-full box of chocolates all this time and I didn't know it! I'm heartbroken!"
Daewen also inspects the changes in the Emerald Metaphor from when she last saw it while they eat. Robbie and others recount the several adventures that left scars and scratches on the floor. Daewen looks over at the tent where Tom is still sleeping with an unreadable expression. After they finish, Robbie asks Daewen if she could take a moment and come to the ranch to help explain things. And, maybe, a few others mutter, rescue Dafnord.
She is happy to, of course, and they make plans to open up a window, with time stopped, a minute or so after they had left. That shouldn't be too long. What could have happened?
Through the window, those on the Metaphor look at the scene in the library. Eldemonium is in mid-spray. Daphne hovers in the air, looking annoyed. Markel has started to expand his staff. Salimar is gesturing at Dafnord. Dafnord is scowling and his arm seems to be swinging at mid-air. Lumitar has dropped to a squat beneath Dafnord's arm and appears to be looking up with contempt. There also seems to be some temporal effect as we can see multiple images of Dafnord's arm through its swing.
Daewen becomes worried. Desmond says that there seems to be some kind of temporal effect going on here. Daewen explains that Lumitar means "Lord of Time" and that he is quite skilled in temporal effects. She also thinks that Dafnord is in serious trouble.
Desmond says that he can help this and starts to give directions but then stops and apologizes to us. Perhaps some of the wisdom that Daphne has been dispensing to nephilite rulers has been sinking in as he admits that he has a bad habit of taking charge. Robbie acknowledges the apology but adds that we can use all the help we can get right now.
Desmond explains that he's going to use his own skills to speed up and chat with Lumitar before he does something permanent to Dafnord. Kate offers to assist by using telepathy to contact him and tell him to stop what he is doing. Desmond agrees and then goes over to the control panel. (Others offer to help but Desmond says he could only speed up one more person.) Putting a hand on Kate's shoulder he reaches for the button to open the door and--
Kate and Desmond come through the door as Lumitar is starting to gesture up at the frozen images of Dafnord. Kate immediately tries to send telepathic reassurances to Dafnord. Desmond addresses Lumitar: "SIR!" Lumitar turns suddenly, somewhat surprised to see someone, some two, operating at his speed. Lumitar gestures again, which appears to completely stop time in the area, and looks around.
Desmond asks him to stay his hand and join us for a discussion, indicating the pantope door. Lumitar asks what that is, pointing at the pantope. "It is our place," Desmond says matter-of-factly. Lumitar nods and agrees to go inside.
--then moves away from the button and takes his hand from Kate's shoulder. Lumitar has also suddenly appeared in the Metaphor. Lumitar looks around but then his eyes meet Daewen's, who has stepped forward, bowing slightly.
"I believe you were in my residence," she begins. "I was implementing the embargo." "There is no need. You see, the other end has been moved." Daewen gestures at the window to Lanthil.
Lumitar looks at the window, and the mirror beyond, gestures a few times and makes an assessment. He grudgingly agrees to unseal the window in the ranch. Lumitar then looks through the window to the ranch and suggests that someone should catch Dafnord as he is about to strike empty air. Kate suggests that he goes back to take it like a man but Lumitar ignores her. Instead he looks at Desmond and suggests that the two of them return.
Desmond agrees and they both turn back to the door to the library. He reaches out for the button--
Lumitar steps through and moves to a wall nearby and leans against it. Desmond, who is not as strong as some of the Nephilim, braces himself and then places his hand on the back of Dafnord's to try and stop it when time starts again. He nods to Lumitar and--
Dafnord's swing pushes against Desmond's arm, nearly knocking the Nephilim over. Markel's staff snaps to full length and Salimar has a semi-liquid moment, confused by what happened to her spell. Dafnord looks around quickly while Desmond tries to restrain him. He manages one step toward where Lumitar is standing and demands that he apologize to Daphne.
Behind Dafnord, Kate and Daewen step out and join Desmond in trying to get Dafnord to stop. Lumitar seems unmoved by all this emotion and gestures to Eldemonium. Daewen continues to urge Dafnord to come into the Metaphor. Markel starts to move toward Lumitar but stops, seeing Daewen's expression.
Dafnord continues to insist on an apology, his eyes not leaving Lumitar, but after a few tense minutes he steps into the Metaphor with her. Inside, Daewen tries to explain Lumitar's position and power to the still-fuming Acroi. She explains that Lumitar's presence alone is politically difficult because he is a fey that Should Not be in the mortal realm at all and his discovery here would be very troublesome for everyone. When this doesn't seem to calm Dafnord down, Daewen finally admits that Lumitar scares her, the one who has saved universes. Dafnord takes a breath then asks Daewen to make him go away. She says she will and goes back into the library.
In the library, Markel, Daphne, and Salimar are all watching as Desmond and Lumitar are glaring white-hot at each other from across the room. It is clear that both of them have come to realize who the other is and both the consequences and legendary hatreds are going through their minds. (One can imagine their right hands being held just an inch from holstered pistols.)
Eldemonium is rather quickly wiping the mirror with a cloth, apparently removing the seal he had almost completed. As Daewen steps back in, she tries to break up the staring contest but fails. She calls Brunalf in so that they can inspect the mirror together.
Brunalf walks over to the mirror and bumps into it. "It's solid," he says, then falls against it--then through it. Daewen quickly snatches the cloth from Eldemonium's hand. "You missed a spot," she says quickly then gives it back to him. (Eldemonium looks a little put out by the abruptness.) She steps through the mirror after him and shivers at the cold caused by the differential in time.
She finds the cat paws up on the grass with an "I meant to do that" look on its face. She looks down and tells him he's in Lanthil. "Hi Lanthil," the cat manages. Daewen then explains what happened and points out that they're about a year off and should get back to the Metaphor. Brunalf rolls over and shakes, then goes to the door.
As Brunalf and Daewen make their way back through the doors, Salimar has bi-located in the library and is standing next to both Desmond and Lumitar. "This doesn't have to be solved now," she tells them. Eldemonium also announces that the seal has been removed. Which statement actually convinces Lumitar to move is unclear but he has Eldemonium stand beside him then takes his hand and does a quick dance step, nods to Desmond, nods a little more politely to Daewen, then disappears. (Salimar's third-sight sees a little flash of darkness behind Lumitar that he then stepped into.)
Desmond suggests they all return to the Metaphor and leave the library so it can catch up with itself.
Robbie confesses to Daphne that he took a fruit from her tree and gave it to Daewen. Daphne is pleased and is glad she saved the seeds. She then offers to help Daewen move the orangerie and the conservatory, possibly bringing some plants to the Metaphor as well. The trestle table would make a nice potting bench, she adds, and then says that she is "sure Tom wouldn't mind a few more trees in here!"
Daewen thanks Daphne for the offer then goes to Dafnord to talk to him some more. She tells him that she admires his gallantry and courage and apologizes if she put him out. Dafnord tells her that he is not unhappy from her intervention but more from Lumitar's arrogance. She explains to him, and everyone, that while Alvirin has managed to rule for millennia by being kind, generous, and good, like any benevolent leader he needs people who can enforce his rule and get things done. Alvirin has about a dozen of these, Daewen says, and Lumitar is a specialist in time matters--not gentility.
As to Dafnord's comment about arrogance, Daewen confesses that she knows that she's been headstrong and stubborn before. (Oh, no, we all protest, in politeness.) It is true, she says, that the Old Blood tends not to get that well rounded. "I understand him but I don't like him," she adds. Then she says that she is quite tired and would gladly rest here if we wouldn't mind.
We don't and she takes a few chocolate fruits, the ever full box of truffles and a magnum of champagne in hand to go to sleep. A few seconds after going in the tent she asks for the door to Vinyagarond to be opened again. She steps back there then returns quickly wearing her revolvers, explaining that after dealing with "that man", she won't feel comfortable sleeping without them. She disappears into the tent, finds her favorite pillow and falls asleep.
Shortly afterward, Tom wakes up rested and sits up to see Daewen sleeping nearby, armed with both of her revolvers and with the ever-full box of chocolate and an empty magnum of champagne nearby.
©1984, 1994, 2005 Earl Wajenberg. All Rights Reserved.