The Logs of the TDFS Tindome
Chapter 15: The Squirrel Said "Yar"
Did I mention that it's called Port Rouge because, from time to time, the
bay glows red?
The captain, Eric, and Mannie return to the pier, slip into their little ectoplastic boat, and paddle back to the Tindomë. Mannie tells Bay that he' s ordered knives for them both, so they won't have to keep using the carpentry chisels. Eric informs Sam that her brother Peter is on one of the ships in the harbor. He points in the approximate direction.
We suggest that Jacko should sew the captain's uniform first, and troop belowstairs to interrupt him at his prayers. (Eïr has set him to practicing them.) Jacko, as becomes painfully obvious, knows how to make sails and shrouds. Nevertheless, Captain Finwë insists upon bestowing his vision for the Tindomë uniform on the poor man. When Jacko speaks of getting a smaller awl to attempt his first ever pair of pants, the captain gives up, and takes back his bolt of fabric. He hides it in his room, vowing never to let Jacko get his clumsy, ignorant hands on it.
Meanwhile, the others (Mannie, Eric, Eïr, and Cook) dive for the ship's boat and paddle to the beach nearest the town as quickly as possible. The red sand is surprising warm. Mandorak feels it, and finds it very warm, and very coarse, as well as sparkly. It stays warm in his hand longer than he expected it to. He examines it closely, and finds it very angular and sharp, not at all rounded or worn. It is more like ground glass than like sand. He drops the sand, and walks on.
No one knows where to find a licensed realtor, so they decide to head for a decent-sized tavern. They find one with a gold-leaf rooster on the outside, which is not actively rowdy on the inside. They enter warily. There is one largish group around a table near the back. Eric is sure someone is staring at his back; he cautiously checks behind him: The street is emptier than he would have thought; there is only a dog in the dust and a squirrel in a tree. They seat themselves at the bar. The bartender wipes down the area in front of them with a damp, dirty rag, and takes their order. Eïr orders the best ale, and gets four flagons of a very dark ale. The small woman explains that we are looking for a small inn or rooming house. The bartender suggests "Old Ned's place" which is more of a tavern than a boarding house, but it does have several rooms. Eïr explains that we have a talented cook, and two young ladies who would be… keeping the rooms up to spec. He suggests they contact Cap'n 'Arry Jones, who more or less acquired Ned's place upon Ned's demise.
Captain Jones' ship is the Raven, with the black sails. The barkeep suggests that our captain be the one to talk to him. He points out that Captain Jones has no real interest in owning land-type property. Eïr decides this could be what we're looking for, and hints that we could use a guard. The barkeep agrees that this would be a good idea, and mentions Barney Cutter, who did some half-hearted work for Old Ned. He gives directions to Old Ned's. It is on the main street, but on the wrong side of the road (in terms of sewage and popularity). The locale is not great, but the property is available, and, in the future, more desirable places may come on the market. Barney Cutter also has a brother, Little Cutter, who does odd jobs, and would work for room and board. He gives us other good advice, and finishes by suggesting that we come back at six bells to meet Captain 'Arry Jones.
Not one to miss an opportunity, Eric asks if anyone has been shipwrecked nearby in the past month or two. The barman explains that it is rare for anyone to come ashore near this bay, but he hasn't heard of anyone showing up anywhere recently. Eric pays for the drinks, and we head out for Ned's.
We find a darkened tavern in the correct location, and decide it must be Ned 's. Mannie peers in through a window. Eric hesitates about stopping him. A face suddenly appears on the other side of the glass. "Are you one of the Cutters?" he asks of the face. The fellow ignores him and limps to the door. At the door, the dwarf asks again, "Are you one of the Cutters?" "Nauah. I'm Willy."
We manage to ascertain that Willy works for Captain Jones. Our tavern keeper is called Tarryton, it turns out. We ask to look at the kitchen. After managing, with difficulty, to allay his suspicions, we head for the back. Cook examines the kitchen, while Mannie checks out the stable from the doorway. Willy watches them both out of his good eye. Cook reports back that the basic equipage is good, although its upkeep has been third-rate. Cook asks Willy, "So. What do we have for rooms?" "Well, thar be the tavern rooms out front. In the back here, there's living space for three." There was a room for Barney, Old Ned and his family, and something for Little Cutter. "There be six rooms upstairs, three t'each side. Then there's the attics and the cellars. Ye got yer wine cellar, yer root cellar, and yer general storage." We take the tour. It continues to look feasible, although the wine cellar is a sore disappointment. (We examine the still-tacky red stain near the bar, in the midst of the broken tables and chairs. We are relieved that Old Ned is not still on the premises.)
Eric spots a squirrel watching them through a window. He says nothing.
Eïr surreptitiously heals Willy's banged-up left side as we leave, covered by patting him on the shoulder, and saying "Hope you're feeling better." Willy seems to notice. "Why, yes. I think I might be. I hopes ye remember Willy Winky."
We return to the ship to get the captain before six bells.
©2002, 2006 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.