The Logs of the TDFS Tindome
Chapter 108: Elements and Alchemy
Aldamir wends his way back to the castle. He spots some oak trees, and starts scanning for acorns. Soon, he has two pockets full of acorns. He takes them back to his room, and starts "befriending" them.
Mandorak heads down to the harbor, to continue chatting with Fallataal's crew. According to their charts, Captain Noman seems to have operated more to starboard than the Tindomë.
In the morning, Aldamir goes down to the docks in search of a job. He explains to a man at a drafting table that he is looking for a week's worth of work, and that he is good with wood, but not with woodworking tools. He is directed to an odd-looking fellow, a human. "I'm looking for work. I have some skill in wood magic. Perhaps in joining."
"That's as may be. There's a difficulty here…"
"I know you don't use money."
"Ah. That's good. It'll still catch you up from time to time." There is work available, shaping a ship's boat, and the planking is going to be oak! Aldamir demonstrates his talent for warping wood (and for having the wood stay warped). There are several boats to be made, so it looks like he'll have enough basic work to keep him busy for the whole week. He will also get to learn to use a lathe.
The two engineers head for the Tindomë at the New Dawn Shipyards; there's a lot of modifications to be made. The people working on the Tindomë's sister ships make a beeline for the dwarves; they want to know what we've learned from our proving runs. We share that, and what we've learned from the Sky Islanders. Mannie resumes his experiments on the behavior of Sky Silver when affected by electricity.
The reports on these matters (sharp water, batteries, the Sky metal) find their way back to Certain People at the castle. Kate Carter reads the description of the sky metals, and matches it to an old, nagging memory from her time in the late Victorian era. "Professor… Carver, Caver, Cavor!" Holding the report, she climbs up to Tom Noon's lab, shows him the report, and tells him what she remembers about Prof. Cavor's work. Tom confirms that this is something of interest to him, and heads for the New Dawn Shipyards.
Tom Noon promptly has Mandorak explain everything he knows about the sky metal, its origins, its response to electrical current. Tom tries Tempering on a piece of one of the sky metal samples. Hmmm, it doesn't seem to be made of atoms, even though it responds to electricity by floating. He returns to his office, and carefully reads the early reports from the Tindomë. He now thinks about the actual situation: We are near Chaos, and all the apparatus has been made from local materials. Back to New Dawn.
He looks over the set-ups, examines everything psionically, and considers. He decides that these materials are evincing a dual nature, one of an alchemical nature and one of the more familiar, atomic, quantum mechanical nature. He asks Mannie more about the Sky Islands. Now he learns that islands have started to fall, and that our theory (aided by Chekhov) is that shifts in the shape of magical space over the Open Sea (triggered by Alvarin's closing of the Summerlands) have caused this.
Tom decides on a drastic move. After warning Mannie and Bay that he will become very vague for a while, he induces amnesia in himself. He now re-examines everything with his mind cleared of all preconceptions. He then proceeds into experiments, and soon has a compass that points to the Sky Islands. Of course, it is really a spoon on a string. He sends reports to all the techie members of the Family.
Daëwen appears at Tom's side, holding his report in her hand. She gestures, causing a complete silence to fall, then opens a portal to the shipyards. She and Tom step through them. There, in Mannie's lab, she gestures another silence into being, and opens another portal. She invites Mannie, Bay, and Tom through it. They step into a twilit grey cave, only the size of a cottage. Even so, it has all the amenities: beds, desks, lab benches, full weapons lockers…
Daëwen addresses the others. "I think I have to invent a whole new level of security for this. That island is as secret as anything ever is." Well, yes. We knew that.
"Well, I can forget this at any time, and help anyone else forget it too," Tom offers.
She nods. "It's probably no harm for you to know, but I need for you to re-call all the reports before anyone reads them." Tom nods, and sets up a metaphysical portal. He reaches through it, and snatches the report off the desks of everyone – except Daëwen. He hands them to her.
"I'll want you to do work on this from time to time, but no one else should know."
"That will be easy enough. Come to me and say, 'Let's go do some homework.' Then take me back to here. When I have finished, return me to the time and point at which I left." She agrees, and returns him to his lab.
Daëwen then lectures Mannie and Bay on 'message discipline' and returns them to their little lab at New Dawn. "As long as you send the reports solely to me, you may keep working on testing the effects of electricity on Sky Silver." Before she leaves, she sets up a small silver box. If Mannie puts a report or small sample in the box and closes it, it will be delivered to Daëwen. There is no similar return path.
After some more work and discussion, Mannie decides that we should ask Tama what he understands about the alchemical (?) nature of these metals. We return to the castle. Tama can't tell us a lot about Sky Silver and Sky Gold. He does explain that, while most materials partake somewhat of the nature of Earth, Water, Air, and/or Fire, the Sky Metals partake only of their own nature. The Sky Islanders are still trying to reconcile the greater density of regular gold with its greater Fire component, relative to silver. Tama doesn't understand all the Alchemical Mathematics, but he would love to improve his people's understanding of the realm, and so he is interested in our work.
Updated: Jan 4, 2009
©2002, 2006 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.