Chapter 13: The Potter's Cupcakes
We start with a quick flashback: Robbie spent the day working on the wooden propellers that Gannar started a few logs back. These are an integral part of the power system for our air-boat, circulating the magical water inside the barrels, from which we get the motive power. Robbie is actually good at wood-carving, and finishes by putting triggered levitation on the propellers. The elven shipwright then finishes the magical patterning.
That evening, after supper, Daphne goes and visits the boggart that bravely tried to rescue Markel from the wolf (unless it was a warg, if there's a difference). She finds the fellow is now conscious. She asks him if he would like to hear some of the stories she's been telling him while he lay out cold, now that he actually has a choice in the matter. He says yes, so she does.
After dinner, Gannar asked around for anyone who could tell him the history of Lanthil. (It's only two years old, after all.) Daewen has been here for all of it, and at the center of things, so she offers to tell him if he'll come back with her to her cottage tomorrow.
The night passes peacefully. After breakfast, Daewen heads upstream with Gannar, Robbie finishes his work on the propellers, and the boggarts start to work, finishing the boat.
Salimar spends part of the day in a frustrated attempt to locate Tom clairvoyantly, or at least estimate his distance. No go. The very idea of "distance" breaks down, not too far from here.
Dafnord goes on long, meaningful walks with Findriel.
Daphne goes to Cook, to ask her for a gift for Norbo the Potter, who will make the plant pots for her to grow the olive trees to make the wood to build the mosque to pay back Mr. Kaya for the cheese that lay in the house that Jack built-- No, wait...
Daphne suggests a cake made after the recipe used by the Dittany Vesper for her pancreas-rattling chocolate cake. Cook blanches slightly on hearing the recipe, but suggests she could adapt it to the current lack of chocolate and, um, make it smaller. ("Oh, yes!" chirps Daphne. "I talked with them about that! You could make it as a little ball on a stick and dip it in chocolate frosting.") Right, right. Cook was thinking more of cupcakes. Or petite-fours. Or something small enough to blow away accidentally.
Now Daphne ought to repay Cook. She offers to give the kitchen garden a boost, growth-wise. Cooks is very happy with this an directs the pixie to the proper courtyard. Daphne gives a rousing pep-talk to the greenery, then falls asleep under the now-burgeoning strawberries.
She waks around 2 P.M. and finds Cook has made half a dozen small cakes to the Vesper recipe, though more on a maple-syrup theme than on chocolate. Cook herself is having her own lunch. Daphne gossips with her for a bit, then heads down to the town with her goods.
Norbo the Potter is a halfling. He's never met Daphne and is therefore surprised when a pixie -- one of the few people about shorter than him -- shows up at his door with a plateful of cakes. Daphne introduces herself and says, "I've heard of you." "I assumed that, unless it's Special Mathom Day," he replies, referring to a hobbit custom of giving each other gifts that are mostly meant to be passed on again.
He invites her in to tea, though he takes the trade cakes to his own kitchen, whence they do not reappear. He's startled when Daphne adds that she's also promised an olive-tree seedling to Mr. Kalikanzeros. "A tree for Kalikanzeros!? A tree? Well, if it's just an olive tree, for his own use, I suppose it's all right..."
Daphne remarks that Kalikanzeros was able to call on the services of the elusive Lost Boys. Norbo remarks that they are said to live out in the woods, as Kalikanzeros himself is said to do. "But I thought he didn't like trees," Daphne says. "It's more complicated than that," Norbo replies. He says it's funny to find Kalikanzeros here at all, this being a pretty orderly place.
Rather than probe on this, Daphne tells Norbo her own tale -- how her friend Markel was attacked by a warg and helped by a boggart, and how she called on the trees to come to the rescue. None of this does anything to raise Norbo's low opinion of The Wild.
They finally get around to discussing price and Norbo gently hints at the question of whether half a dozen cakes are sufficient for a dozen pots, two of them decorative. (He hasn't tasted these cakes, yet.) Well, would he like some nuts? Nuts are nice. Wonder when the nuts grow here? This turns the conversation to the fact that Lanthil has no seasons, and Norbo misses them. Daphne offers to train a tree in Norbo's garden to turn fall colors. That sounds nice.
He promises to have the pots ready by tomorrow evening. That will give Daphne time to grow the olive seedlings at least a few inches before we leave.
Meanwhile, if you cast your mind back, Markel was attacked while on his way to the knifemaker's cousin, to get tools to equip the ship. Kate now goes on this mission for him. She negotiates with the dwarvish toolsmith, offering to pay him in dragonskin from the dragon's last molt. They decide on an inventory of tools, which will include lanterns.
He says he'll try to get to this quickly, but he has another project. At this point, we discover that the toolsmith is also the clockmaker, Namburang, that Gannar met with.
The ship is due to depart in two days.
©1984, 1994, 2005 Earl Wajenberg. All Rights Reserved.