The Logs of the TDFS Tindome
Chapter 24: The Journey to Darkholme
Sam joins Eric in looking at the map. It is the map of a section of coastline, centered on the town of Darkholme. Many of the crew are not that familiar with the Roman alphabet, and must slowly sound out the name. Eïr lays out the Map of Here, and tries to match up a part of it with the bit of coast on the paper map. Eric succeeds in fitting the two together. Darkholme is a long ways away, and almost directly astern. We begin turning widdershins to make our new heading. After a prudent interval, we surface, and continue on our way to Darkholme.
Now we face the problem of housing our new population. Eïr has a pirate, a parrot and a patient in her berth. The strangers are asleep in their berths, and the captain declares that we will not disturb them. Yet. Aldamir Oakley is willing to sleep on deck, if we can provide him with cushioning, rather as we were able to make a boat out of water. Mandorak agrees to make him an air mattress. First, however, he will be availing himself of the plumbing and soap. (He bathes his squirrel as well.)
Mannie makes the first four of the eight or so mattresses we need before he becomes too tired to work. Eïr, in her role as our healer, notices that the stoical dwarf is still oozing blood. She lays him down, and coaxes some more health into him. He stands up, thanks her, tells Bavör, "You have the watch," and goes off to sleep the night away.
Bay covers Engineering until "morning."
In the quiet between watches, Eric dowses with his maps. Yes, Darkholme is the right direction to be going in.
Before dawn, Captain Ciryandil has the Tindomë lofted, so that we can travel more quickly.
Eïr checks on her patient with the broken neck. He is stable but… the neck looks crooked. She doesn't think she can deal with this. She goes to the captain and explains the situation to him. "We need a healer," he decides. He dismisses Tighmark as inaccessible, and is unwilling to return to Lanthil with that mysterious bust on board. Reluctantly, he decides to continue to Darkholme, with the hope that they can find a good healer there.
During the night we learn that the young patient is Charlie, the old man is Rikert, and the young women are Janine, Carlotta, and Wilhemina. The morning comes with a sliver of sun rising to starboard, and a coastline directly ahead of us.
The coastline is rugged and large, and there is the silhouette of mountains beyond it. There appears to be a city; those are light there. Mannie, now awake again, zooms the observation window in on it. It seems to be an Arabic city, made rather mundane by the volcano looming above it. Mandorak checks, and decides that it is an active volcano. There is a diverse variety of ships in the harbor, many of an Arabian sort. One of them looks like that ship with the flying booms that so looked like wings. Many of the ships have serpentine-looking figureheads, while others have various serpents on their banners.
The captain instructs Mannie to rig the ship for surface running. We continue to approach the interesting city. We can now see that the sails and some of the ships themselves are brightly painted. Beyond the ships, we can tell that the city is walled. There are a few figures tending the ships, and we can determine that those figures are humanoid. With no tails. The dwarf zooms in on one ship, and one person. He has a roman nose and a dusky skin tone. He is wearing a vest, a sash, and baggy pants. (This person reminds us of the supremely haughty crew of that winged ship.)
Mannie shifts focus to a ship with a large serpent-figure on its mainsail. It also has an Ouroborus twining around the edge of the sail. These sailors are lighter of skin, and dressed more like the seamen of Port Rouge. Except for their snake fetish, they seem about normal. We continue towards the harbor. Mannie breaks to fix us breakfast, using his Knack of Tools on Cook's tools.
Back on watch, Mandorak finally spots a spyglass-wielder aimed in his direction. He also notices smaller boats wending back and forth. Now that it is lighter, and closer, he can see that there is a goodly chunk of town outside the city walls. There are three major piers. He checks the Map of Here, and finds that it has labeled the city "Darkholme." There is an unlabelled river that wends through the city to the sea.
Eric dowses for Sarah, the sister of Sam and Micah, and confirms that she is still in front of us. He is bothered by the vagueness of the response; since we are so much closer now, he expected crisper definition.
We start passing among moored ships, so we must be in the official harbor. A lanteen-rigged boat swoops out in our direction. Mannie watches it draw closer. There are three figures near the steering oar. One is steering, one is just standing there, and one is standing firmly, looking authoritative. There are about a dozen armed men working here and there on the ship. They are definitely coming towards us.
Mandorak announces, "We have… a welcoming committee."
"Mr. Forothon, full halt, please," says the captain. He swoops down onto the deck to await the arrival of the boat.
©2002, 2006 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.