Chapter 32: Tea with Daewen
We now have Robbie and the pantope both back, and, on returning to
Lanthil, had quite an involved conversation with Runyanna about her
theory that her mother Daewen is planning secret bases. We decide the
next thing to do is debrief to Daewen and let Runyanna come along in
hiding, to see how her mother reacts. (She has to hide; she hasn't been
So we all climb in the Pudgie Budgie and drift off to Daewen's cottage. A real budgie comes and settles on our prow, but nothing ominous comes of it; when we read the cottage, the bird just looks out over the mountains, sighs, and flies away.
We have the owl announce us and are soon inside with Daewen, being given tea and mead. We give her the coif and silks we got in the Eleventh Paradise, without telling her their provenance, and then start in on our story.
She takes the news about trade goods from Heaven pretty calmly, only remarking that, when we were all at Vinyagaerond, it was part of her duties to find and direct fays coming in from the Chaos Marches as they returned from the dead, and some of them gave confused reports of this place (which is what the Prefect and the Sage also told us).
She thinks that it would upset Alvirin to know that the Lightfall comes from the Eleventh Paradise, through the Dreamworld, to fall out of our sky. Lanthil wasn't supposed to open any new paths to Faerie.
We remark that the blessed spirits in Paradise seemed markedly uninterested in contact with us; the Dreaming is more of a worry, Tom says. Dafnord points out that Lanthil wouldn't exist at all without this connection to the Dreamworld and beyond. Are we to refrain from exploring the Endless Sea, too, for fear of making connections?
Daewen replies that the Endless is a pretty chaotic place, so connections won't be consistent. It is true, though, that the Lightfall has presumably been there for ages, not bothering Faerie. (It is not true, as some people have thought, that the Marginalia created it.) Actually, she reflects, the oddest thing may be the consistent flow of the Lightfall through the Dreaming. The dream realm is not noted for consistency or permanence of feature. Perhaps, suggests Dafnord, it's kept in place by divine fiat.
Tom asks if we should explore up the Lightfall sometime. Probably, yes. Daewen wants us to be secretive about that, for fear that it, too, would upset Faerie, or even our enemies. She does want to have us explore before others do it, but probably not as things stand right now.
Should we then go offer our services in the battles across the strait, or go on looking for the dead trader's homeland? She declines to give us advice. We decide to go on looking for the trader's land, after doing some repair on the pantope, especially on the magic tent, which will be sorely missed otherwise.
We go on to describe our trip to Djinnistan, our meeting with the Doctor of Form, our return to the pantope, Robbie's cure ... and how the Djinnish Amabassador is coming over for tea next week. Who do we invite to this tea party? The Silver Council? Yes, says Daewen. The guest list should run something like: Daewen, Moranna, Suliamon, and probably Aelvenstar. Other folk will be hard to contact or schedule.
Tom asks if we should tell Moranna and Suliamon about the sources of the Lightfall. Daewen leaves it up to us, but recommends keeping it generally quiet, on a need-to-know basis, until after any exploring we do upward.
Daewen reflects on the benefits of secrecy. Our enemies have done their best to isolate us, but that works both ways and gives us some enviable privacy in which to do as we please. So it might be a good idea to not open any new doors right now, so as not to diminish that privacy.
For instance, one reason Daewen herself has retreated to this cottage is to have privacy in which to "run some errands." In particular, she would rather not bring the coming war here. To prevent that, it would be good to have a base of operations elsewhere. Very far away. (This matches nicely with Runyanna's theories.)
And we need to accumulate some more allies. Or so she feels, but not everyone on the Silver Council agrees with her. It's a pity that we've settled the nephilim after our isolation period ends, but they could still count, since they're off in another continuum and "after" is somewhat arbitrary under the circumstances.
Going back to bases of operation, she asks us to keep an eye out for good locations for one, while we're out scouting.
Robbie mentions the Margin, in the Terraform Reach -- habitable stretches of hyperspace dimensionally adjacent to far-away planets. Daewen admits that has possibilities. Markel offers his people as possible allies ... if we ever locate them.
We finish lunch and leave. Back in the Pudgie Budgie, Runyanna is please about the confirmation of her theories. We return to Tom's tower at the castle and leave her in the pantope, to rest.
We then locate Suliamon and tell him about the trip to Djinnistan, Robbie's remanifestation, and the Djinnish Ambassador coming to tea. (We don't tell him about the sources of the Lightfall.) Suliamon finds it all satisfactory and agrees to come to tea with the Ambassador.
Tom, meanwhile, has stayed back in his tower, which is where the remaining omniport is tethered. This is the omniport that now acts as a sort of mirror, returning you toward yourself reflection-wise. After working on it a while, Tom is able to unstick the two ends of it and put one end back in the pantope. While this is being done, when both ends are hanging in front of him, a whirlwind starts building up from air current feedback. He recalls similar effects back on the Dance of Hours, the first pantope we ever saw.
Once things are back in place, he enters the pantope and finds Runyanna there, trying to untangle the tent. Between that, cracks in the deck, and general rubble and wreckage, we still have a lot to do.
©1984, 1994, 2005 Earl Wajenberg. All Rights Reserved.