The Logs of the TDFS Tindome
Chapter 26: The Tough Go Shopping II
Those on the bureaucratic foray return to the ship, with the replacement
papers. We can send out two groups into the outer city. The women on our
ship have been warned that appropriate dress is required – and we don't know
what dress that is. Sam is miffed; she thinks she is fully dressed. The
little Marginalis volunteers to sew clothes for the women. Instead, the
captain decides that he, Teller, and the assistant engineer, plus a handful
or two of gold, will go shopping for the first pass of women's clothing.
Aldamir asks to join the group, and is accepted. Eric dowses for Sarah, but
can determine only that she is more towards the land than towards the sea,
so he comes too, in hopes of triangulating on her.
The assorted group heads out, while checking out the clothing of the women they pass. The fishwives do not look like good models to use. Then they see women who seem to be out shopping. They wear headscarves, and full-length skirts or dresses, so we think this should be a good first approximation. There are other women, dressed like canonical dancing girls, but they don't strike us as suitably dressed. Teller volunteers to buy the clothing. The captain accepts, "We have four – no, five women on board. I' d like to judge your color sense, so I'll give you a free hand with this. Mr. Forothon, please accompany him." Finwë hands Bay one of the passes.
Aldamir checks for psy traces here, and goes pale with the overwhelming response. He is very quiet for the next ten minutes. Eric dowses again, and is more certain of Sarah's direction. He points it out, but warns that there is a psychic force blocking it. "Or drowning it out," suggests Aldamir.
Teller dashes ahead of Bavör, looking for shops selling clothes or cloth. He finds some places that offer heavy, sturdy cloth in large quantities. They keep looking. Teller starts eying children.
The captain keeps his ears open for familiar words, but doesn't even recognize the accents from the docks of Harbortown in Lanthil. The three of them drift closer to Sarah's direction. It leads them in the direction of the city wall, and the parkland in front of it. It's an impressively high wall, over twenty feet, with guards. There are a lot of entryways through the wall, each with its own set of guards. The larger guards do seem to belong to a particular, and different ethnic group from everyone else.
Teller seems to be increasing erratic, by Bay's standards, so the dwarf takes the lead. He surreptitiously brushes against the skirt of a passing, well-dressed woman, and dowses for the clothing's origins. With that direction firmly in his mind, Bay grabs Teller, and drags him off – into the warehouse district. They go directly to a particular warehouse. Bavor heads in, while Teller hangs back (having made an anticipate). One of the men lolling on nearby barrel turns to look at them.
Bavör asks, "Can we make purchases inside?" The man's response is unintelligible. The little man performs a pantomime of feeling fabrics, fingering a coin, and making the I'm-looking gesture. This does not seem to make any sense to the man. Bavör heads into the warehouse. There, they are met by a man wearing a vest, bloused pants, and shoes, but nothing else. Again, Bay asks, "Can we make purchases inside?" Again, the response is unintelligible, so Bay again goes through his pantomime, but with a real coin this time. The fellow goes off and gets yet a third man. The new man tries three languages, but none of them are even close to comprehensible. Again, the dwarf does his pantomime. This man gives up on talk, and leads the two on, to an area filled with bales and crates. He opens a bale, and pulls out a bolt of felt, the color of camelhair. Bavör indicates that this is a semi-good result, but that he'd like a nicer fabric – more like what he is wearing. He shows us other colors… of heavy felt. This seems to be the best possibility. Bay offers his two silver coins, and gestures broadly at the fabric. The fellow indicates that this will buy only one bolt. The Brissingalf selects a red bolt, pays his money,and he and Teller go back to ship.
Back on board, Teller sketches out the dresses he saw on their little trip, and shows them to Sam and Eïr. Sam sadly contemplates the bulky, bright red felt. She goes up onto the dock to brood.
The main group eases closer and closer to the wall protecting the inner city. Eventually, Aldamir slips over to Eric and asks him, "Be straight with me: have I really been rescued?"
Well, he is out and walking around, so we like to think he is free.
They finish their examination of the area, and even give up looking for Bavör and Teller. Once back at the ship, the captain sees Sam. "Miss Krause! Good news. Mr. Wright has found the direction to your sister. Unfortunately, it's beyond that wall, and we need a separate pass for that." He bounds off to see the new fabric, and see what Teller has done with it. Meanwhile, Aldamir tries to suggest various clothing alternatives to her, but none of them strike her as successful alternatives.
Finwë talks with Teller, and soon brings up a cloak, cut out of the felt, and gives it to Sam. He dashes back down, and comes up with a scarf, but now Sam is gone. She in turn re-emerges, now wearing the bloody poet shirt, with a heavy belt around her waist, and with two pistols stuck boldly into it. Her T-shirt is now wrapped around her head as a sort of turban.
Eric tags them with paper, so that he can locate them from a distance.
Aldamir tries again to examine the Citadel. This time, he is more careful, and is able to examine the magic carefully. He doesn't recognize the type of magic, but he can tell that it is neither fay nor human, and that he does not like its feel at all. He thinks he can distinguish two types within the magic. One is strong but crude, and the other, while fainter, is more subtle. He is able to spot some anti-magic or warding magic closer, near the wall, probably guarding the inner city. He turns to Eric, and describes what he has learned, on the grounds that he is the closest magic user.
Eric pull out the Map of Here, to see what he can tell about the area. Mandorak joins him, then sends out his viewpoint to the wall. He can examine it closely, and look at the guards on the nearest gate. He starts to send his viewpoint through the gate, and then collapses. Eric grabs him before he can fall. He can't wake the dwarf up, so he goes off to find someone who can. He finds Bavör in Engineering. "Hi, Eric. What's up?"
"Uh, Mandorak just collapsed, up on the dock."
Bay brushes past him, and up to Mandorak's side. He can't wake him up either. Soon Teller joins them. The Marginalis tries to mind-speak with the unconscious dwarf, but gets only frantic gibberish. The small creature puts a sleep on the dwarf, to calm him down. With Aldamir's help, he starts to drag Mandorak back to the ship. "I'll do it!" protests Bay, who TKs his friend belowdecks and into his own bunk.
As they walk back up the dock, Sam asks Finwë, "Did you find any clothing stores?"
"Well, we were more looking for your sister. … No."
He continues. "This is a small harbor town. We should be able to locate someplace, sooner or later." Soon they do spot a shop with fabric in a window. They go inside, and are met by a short, rotund man. Finwë shows him the cloak, mimes "This is awful" and looks inquiring. The man indicates bewilderment. Sam finds a likely looking robe and presents it to the man. He isn't happy, but when Finwë gives him a gold coin, he becomes more complaisant. Sam puts it on, and persuades a scarf for her waist out of the man. The shopkeeper makes several gestures, which Finwë eventually interprets. "Sam, I think this is a men's shop." With several more coins, and some gestures, they get a scarf for her head, and (they hope) silence.
Finwë 'asks' about shoes, and gets some apparent directions down that way, some two units. They start out. After less than two blocks, Sam darts into a shop where she selects a six-foot long version of a walking stick. For another gold coin, she gets to take it away. Once outside, she twirls it through a few basic moves. This should serve her nicely as a defensive weapon.
At the end of the second block, they find a shop with shoes in the window. With gestures, and meaningless gibberish, Sam is eventually provided with a pair of thin slippers by a tall, lanky man. Finwë decides that he wants something too – something almost knee high. On the second try, he gets a pair of soft boots with thick, cushioned soles. Hers cost two gold pieces, and his three, less one small silver coin, received in change.
"Most striking, Miss Krause. I think we can return to the ship now. We do have to figure out how to get to the citadel."
"That's fine. You know, I think if I blouse this shirt out, I can actually conceal these pistols. I'm not very good with them, you know, I just brought them for show. But I could carry them for someone else."
"I understand. That stick should serve you nicely."
©2002, 2006 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.