The Logs of the TDFS Tindome
Chapter 1: The Adventure Begins
The Thomist Father Gareth is surrounded by a small troop of helpers. Some of them are intended to be dispatched on missions. One is a rider on a pale horse, whose mission is to protect the good father. He is One-Eyed Jack, also known as Crory the Killer, Jacma Crory, and the Stranger. Two of them, Eric and Eär, have been told that their duties are to scout around, and map Chaos, with the goal of finding paths through it. They will also go with Father Gareth to the Second Convocation.
When their travel preparations have been completed, the three of them travel all the way to Harborton. "We've been asked to meet with some people there," he explains. On a particular street there, they are greeted by a large, heavy-set woman with a dark complexion and darker brown hair. She leads them into an empty, private dining hall. There, with a few words of apology and a wave of her hand, she reveals herself as the lady Daëwen, tall, thin, and ethereally beautifully in raven black and silver. She orders food, and the servitors disappear to do her bidding.
"I have asked Father Gareth for two people to work for me as explorers. My mission for you is broader than that of … the Thomists." Her hesitation is due to her difficulties in dealing with the mere existence of the Thomists. To her, Tom Noon is a pleasant, determined young man, singularly lacking in the saintly prerequisite of being dead. The time-twisting evident in the Thomists disturbs her at a visceral level. "Our first goal in exploring the Chaos Marches is to keep out our enemies. Our second one is to find paths through them that cannot be found out or used by the Lilim."
She formally offers them the job of explorers. They accept. Eric warns her that although he has no fear of water per se, he has a talent for papermancy, and water is inimical to his materials and his art. Eär does not mention any weakness or preference. With an awkward explanation about her grandson and his fondness for machines, Daëwen presents Eric with a Map of Here, which she and her grandson made together. She also gives him a special book to work from.
The food arrives, and they eat. All the food disappears, although some of it goes into cloak pockets. Daëwen changes back into the large, dark woman, and leaves.
Finwë Ciryandil is one of the rescued Enorathi. He is, as his name suggests, good with ships. He was offered the opportunity to join the TDF, and was happy to accept it and to serve his new home. He was one of the first people on the Isle of the New Dawn, where he was also one of the first to snicker at the stone ship of the dwarves. The leader of his branch is Fallatal. In due course, Finwë is told that one of the experimental ships is looking promising, and is to be sent out on a mission. Fallatal, looking at him a bit sideways, informs him that the ship requires a small but flexible crew, including him.
The ship is the most versatile of the Coast Guard ships, being capable of sailing through the air with its gasbag, and entirely enclosed, so that it can travel underwater as well as on the surface. Finwë is enraptured with the vessal, the Tindomë, and he has been selected to be its pilot. The first test sails, flights, and submergences are successful. Mre voyages, with cadets, boffins, and mechanics, take place. Months pass.
The clerics recruited by Daëwen arrive. She summons them, Finwë, Bavör Forothon, and Mandorak Craggenhilt for a meeting. Solemnly, she announces, "You have been called upon to man the first independent voyage of the Tindomë, to explore the boundaries of Chaos, and to find ways through it into the mundane realms. There is another risk you will face: the natural laws may change as you explore. This is why I have selected our two best engineers," she nodded at Bay and Mandorak, "to take part in this."
Fallatal took over the discussion. "Your duties are many. First, you must accurately map the area around Lanthil, takng up where Tom left off. Second, you must find ways to and from other realms, ways that are unknown to the Serpent Folk, and perhaps ways which are permanently barred to them. Third, you must not chart the movements of the Serpent Folk. That is for others to do. Fourth, your most secret mission is to find a location which we can use as a secret base, a headquarters, separate from Lanthil. It must connect to Lanthil, and to the mundane realms near Tighmark, such as Earth. This will be the home of the Twilight Defense Force. I repeat, this must all be kept secret." He rolled a milky globe across the table. "This token will light n that mundane realm. You must also keep this hidden."
The two elves recommend that they begin by traveling on the Open Sea to Sunwards. There are known to be islands in that direction, which have sent merchants to Lanthil. There are also, they warn dryly, pirates. Daëwen advises that those who travel the ridges of the Chaos Marches may have something to contribute. The clerics automatically think of One-Eyed Jack. In addition to the Map of Here, and a notebook, Daëwen gives Eric the logbook of the Lucky Lady. This boat was sailed from the Bahamas or Bermuda by a young couple. They were engulfed by a huge storm. When it ended, there were in a place without day. The man was taken by a sea monster, but his widow was able to sail the ship onward. She passed an enormous, exceptionally tall ship with wing booms. The sailors on it shouted something to her, but she couldn't understand them. Eventually, her boat was overtaken by a sleek sailboat manned by Fallatal, who rescued her and brought her to Lanthil.
Daewen looked at her crew with a keen eye. "More than anything else," she assured them, "you will need your creativity." The crew looked thoughtful.
©2002, 2006 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.