Chapter 26: Shopper's Paradise
We left our heroes shopping in the bazaars of, well, Heaven. The Eleventh Paradise, to be exact, in the City of the Seventeen Spires.
Tom, however, was in conference with Hasan, a sage of the Library of the Pearl, about Robbie. Robbie, Hasan explained, should not realize how unphysical he has become, and he should go to Djinnistan as soon as possible, there to re-embody. Tom duly suppresses the memory of Robbie's forbidden thoughts, only remembering about getting to Djinnistan.
How does one get to Djinnistan quickly? Well, Hasan points out, Robbie could probably get there very quickly by sheer willpower. (Yes, but, assuming he re-embodied as per plan, he'd then need rescuing.) Getting all of us there, including the mortals, us harder. There are rivers that run from Faerie into Patala and Djinnistan, and Lanthil is near Faerie. (Yes, but we're currently under attack and somewhat beseiged.)
Other paths are usually found in various half-worlds, at the tops of high peaks or in waste places. The trader we were trying to trace is probably from such a half-world. Unfortunately, such wilderness gates are also in places frequented by the Lilim.
There are also gates to Djinnistan from the celestial realm, but they are dangerous to mortals; they tend to weaken the mortals' connection to mortal realms. Of course, this may not be a consideration for folk who are citizens of a fay realm like Lanthil.
Meanwhile, the shopping goes on. Daphne buys some celestial spices, including something called "phoenix breath." But how to pay? She offers to stimulate the spice merchants garden and is met with polite indifference. How about some seeds from Oz, then? She digs out and speed-grows a Lady Slipper bush. This is an Oz shrub, not a temperate-zone orchid, and produces ... slippers for ladies, shoe-shaped flowers that grow through a steady range of sizes before going out of style and then wilting. Sold.
Gannar seeks out a jewelry booth. He asks for some small piece of jewelry with a symbol for happiness on it. (Gannar feels that his emotional education has had plenty on fear and a bit on anger but not much on happiness lately.) What kind of happiness symbol would he like? For representing it, conveying it, or inducing it? Gannar hadn't considered these options, but picks out a heavy gold ring bearing a an Arabic calligraph reading "God is Great," inducing a feeling of mild exhaltation.
Daphne turns her attention to flower shopping. They have lots. Real Bird of Paradise. Orchids. Poppies. Asphodel. Archangel's Trousers. Jasmine. She picks some Peri Bells growing on a bed of air-moss. These look like miniature, multicolor Lily of the Valley.
She also buys some Tears of Mikha'il -- vines producing large drupes of semi-transparent, pale blue, tear-drop-shaped blossoms. Plus some jasmine and desert rose for Mr. Kaya, back in Lanthil.
She pays with a bit of silverwood, which she reanimates and makes to sprout. What will Daewen think when she learns that the tree species she invented is now growing in Heaven?
Back at the jewelry booth, Robbie suggests that we get some gifts for Daewen and Cook and Tethycles. He drags Kate in to help choose, because she's Elizabethan and they know from gaudy. Daewen gets a fillet ornamented with moonstone. Cook gets carnelian earrings and hair combs, and a Very Special mortar and pestle. Tethycles gets a heavy silver ring with malachite and aquamarine. We pay with emerald chips from the deck of the Metaphor -- created from Chaos and imbued with the influence of Djinnistan.
Where we have to go. Soon.
©1984, 1994, 2005 Earl Wajenberg. All Rights Reserved.