Chapter 23: What do you give the Djinn who has everything?
We've returned to Lanthil from the DreamWorld with Robbie, who had slipped out of Lanthil and found himself caught in a nightmare cycle.
The first thing we do is put Tom to bed. He's still recovering from the ordeal the marooned him in the back of beyond.
Once that's done, the crew changes into fresh (not singed) clothing, eats and rests.
While the others relax, Salimar pokes at Robbie's glamour body. When she tries to contact it telepathically, she finds that there's no mind there. This is not surprising, since that's what we just rescued from the DreamWorld. Then she tries to retrocog on it. Fortunately, she warns the others beforehand, and they hurriedly drop all telepathic connections to her. Frustratingly, she gets a retrocog of Robbie doing something earlier, not when his mind was ripped from his body.
Over dinner, the conversation turns to what to do now.
We came to Lanthil to:
We can't go back to Hellene, since the warrant servers (or whoever was looking for us) are still there. And Allied Epoch agents have been showing up at the portals to all the fay realms, which has been giving them fits. So we're not welcome there, either.
There are "gray ninjas" stealthing in against Lanthil, but others are dealing with that problem and don't appear to need our help.
There is that trader who was killed. He appears to have had a connection to Djinnistan. The Djinn may be able to help us get Robbie back into his body. After all, it was the Djinnish ambassador who ripped him out of the last one (which is still wandering around on Hellene somewhere). And opening up a trade route with Djinnistan across the Endless Sea would be very helpful. Perhaps we can retrace his route.
After dinner, we go up to Daewen's cottage to discuss it with her. Mirien elects to stay at the castle, since she doesn't want to see her mother just now. She really doesn't want Daewen to know that she's been to the DreamWorld before.
We arrive at the cottage without incident, and Daewen lets us in. Dafnord relates his idea, "I've come up with a wonderful idea." Daewen cringes. "Since we have a Djinnish eidolon, perhaps we should consult with the Djinn."
"So you've gotten him back?" Oops. We hadn't stopped by on our way back from the foot of the lightfall. Our bad.
"Yes, I'm right here," Robbie replies.
Daewen looks in the direction the voice had come from and sees the person-shaped distortion that is Robbie's form now. "Oh, sorry, I didn't see you!" Dafnord continues, "Remember the trader who we found who had been murdered by the gray ninjas? There were traces of Djinnish magic on his goods. So if we trace back his route across the Endless Sea, perhaps we can find a way to Djinnistan. It would be voyage of exploration. He was traveling alone in a small boat. He could not have come from very far."
"But how will you find your way back across the Endless Sea? There are no stars to guide you."
"One of the things that Kate was given by the Oakleys in Tighmark was a compass that always points where you came from, so we believe that we'll be able to get back." Kate presents the compass for Daewen to examine. Tokens may not work well, since Lanthil is not very well connected to anywhere else. Though now that we've been here a while, it's been getting more connected.
Salimar suggests a backup strategy. Before the party left for the DreamWorld, Daewen tied a thread to a number of them. Salimar suggests that perhaps we should try this again.
Daewen agrees to think about our proposal, and we return to the castle. As we walk, we discuss what we can take for trade goods. What does Lanthil trade with people who come here? Rare woods and other raw material. Repairs to their ships. Lanthil is a young community (but growing!) and mostly exports raw materiels.
Bottled water from the Lightfall? Not a good idea, though we'll need some to run the Pudgy Budgie, but we won't share it. The trader was carrying cloth, tools, oils. We could take herbs & spices. How about Chocolate Fruit? We don't have enough. Kate suggests wood items. Redwood would be good. The redwoods in Lanthil are easily 30 feet in diameter. Cut stones, carved wood would be ideal. They're small in size and high in value. Dwarvish carved stone and gems would be especially good. The gems partake of the magic of the Lightfall.
As we approach the castle, we agree to go to Main Street in town and see what we can pick up.
On the way to town, we make a detour to Aelvenstar's compound. The elves have been building treehouses; houses built inside the trees. In fact, the houses are bigger than the trees they're built into, but we won't go into that. Aelvenstar himself isn't available, but his lieutenant recommends that we take two redwood samples; a length of redwood heartwood (which is hard as stone) and a sample from the outer edge of the tree (the curvature of the rings, or lack of it, demonstrates the size of the tree). We thank him for his help, and continue on our way.
Arriving in town, Dafnord stops in The Silver Key. Grumbletor, the dwarf he met last time he was here says that the dwarves will supply samples of gems and metals.
Next to the Key is a leatherworker's shop. We wander in and discuss our needs with Conner O'Connel, a tanner and the shop's proprietor. He shows us samples of leather and worked leather. Then he pulls out an auroch skin, commenting that it was amazing how large a boat you could make with this size of piece of leather. While we're admiring a particularly large set of auroch horns, Conner asks "Are you looking only for sample goods, or items to trade on our trip? I have a very large cat skin from a sabertooth (smilodon) which preys on the aurochs. It's important to not imply that there's a good supply of these, since they're being hunted to extinction, but it would make an impressive gift. This cat killed one of the guards at the First Homely House." We agree. He also has Woolie skins. Some people call them humpbacks (American bison)
Dafnord asks if Conner can arrange for a selection of his goods to be delivered to the Pudgy Budgie at the quay. The tanner agrees, and we bid him a good evening.
While no price has been mentioned, we do have to pay for all this stuff. Dafnord returns to the castle and retrieves the knives that the Trader had. He selects a number of them to exchange with the Tanner, Aelvenstar's lieutenant, and the dwarves, etc.
Meanwhile Daphne goes to visit Mr. Kaya in the spice shop for a late night snack, and gifts him with the story of our trip to the DreamWorld. And she tells him about our trip across the Endless Sea. Is there anything he could supply for us to trade? Throwing up his hands theatrically Mr Kaya exclaims," This place (Lanthil) is bereft of spices! Pinecones give very little spice. But, perhaps you would be so good to take these two pots of honey. The honey here is quite fine. Those who you will be visiting might value it quite highly."
Daphne thanks him, and promises to bring him bark from some of the spice trees, which she can probably use to grow a tree from. Daphne then goes and visits the potter and asks him for suggestions for trade goods. And she checks on his tree (which changes colors every so often to provide him with seasons) The potter greets her warmly. "It's been years since I had a good fall! The best you could tell me is what would be needed." Daphne promises to go shopping in the bazaar and see what's available. "Oh, and by the way. One of the boys from the kitchen has recently come and told me about a deposit of fine clay he found by the cataract bank. This clay will allow me to make fine dishes and other items. And it appears to be imbued with attributes of the lightfall." Won't those make interesting trade goods?
©1984, 1994, 2005 Earl Wajenberg. All Rights Reserved.