The Logs of the TDFS Tindome
Chapter 35: Purchases and Inquiries
The dwarves put their heads together, and decide that we could use some rope, and some fresh foodstuffs. Khazad leads us to a chandlery. While Mandorak and Bavör examine the warping lines, Eïr decides that some of the bitter ends are snakes, and starts beating the rope with her mace. She hisses audibly, and over the net we hear, "Snakes, snakes!" Mannie goes over to her, and stops her. It's just rope. We buy a lot of rope, and slink out.
In the food markets, we buy eggs, cheese, leafy green things…
In the stone markets, we get some pumice, and ask to look at the obsidian. We buy some samples of that, and of the finer-grained granite. Much against our better judgment, we check out Darkholme Depot, but there are no tools or gadgets that we don't already have. We go by a smithy. Eïr makes an incredible clatter over in one corner. Mannie takes her in hand, and takes her back to the ship, carefully walking in the middle of the street the entire way. Mannie says, "There are no snakes here." He stows the rope. She calls out Squawk, who somehow does not find any snakes here either. "Stop waving that mace around," the dwarf warns.
Aldamir has stayed behind. He resolves to take one of the psi batteries, and charge up the ancient marble bust. Unfortunately, he has no skill for this sort of thing, and has to wait for the others to return. "Could you help me? I'm trying to feed a batter into this bust."
Mannie is apologetic. "I'm not fully recovered from… yesterday." He thinks about it. "Well, let's give it a try." The dwarf dumps a full, 100-point psi battery in Chekov.
"Hello. Can you hear me?"
"You said you were 'bound to go to Lanthil.' Does that mean you are fated to go?"
"Or have you been ordered to go?"
"Yes." Aldamir's further questions continue to meet with evasions. Chekov' s captain seems to have ordered him to Lanthil, to do something there – but it's all "sensitive."
Instead of beating his head against this metaphorical wall, the young elf analyzes the bust now that it is 'running.' He discovers an elaborate web of psi, glamour, and other things he doesn't recognize. In this apparent lull, Mandorak uses his Knack of Tools to attempt to coax the bust into self-repair. He immediately perceives that this is a very old machine. It was made by only one person, and uses the psionic-physical skill set that has only been feasible for a few centuries. The bust has an aging set of matrices, which will require a very deft set of patterning commands. Aldamir asks it what it will take to repair the self-repair function. Alas, the self-repair function itself is defective, so…
Finwë asks about spices, cloth, pottery, and artwork. Khazad points in two different directions. The captain heads off to look at the fabrics. In one shop, he spots a bolt of the light blue of the Silver Service. Upon closer inspection, while the color is solid blue, there is a swirly, abstract jacquard pattern. This would be just right for Daëwen, in a relaxed mood. Farther in back, Bavör spots some plainweave cloth-of-gold and gravitates toward it. He calls Sam over. "Samantha, what do you think of this fabric?" She admires it, but cannot quite imagine herself wearing it. Bay confides that this is the fabric that Brisingalf brides wear. Sam explains that most women in her society wear white. Bay shows her a white silk cloth-of-gold.
Finwë asks her about her ideas vis-à-vis marriage, and his new daughter explains that she was not yet thinking in terms of marriage, and that she expects to have to wait a long time to find the right someone. "Someone who is always there for you," notes Bay, standing tall and looking directly at her. Finwë nods at her, and says that his grandfather has to wait over 700 years to find the right person. Sam is nonplused.
Eric mentions the word "shopkeeper," and immediately a member of the breed appears. Khazad translates, and we negotiate the purchase of the bolt of baby blue silk, and span-widths of several cloths-of-gold. The merchant learns that we, meaning Lanthilos, do hope to return to buy more at some future date. The amount she names makes even Finwë blanch. She goes into a long, but vague, description of the travel the silks have had to undergo to reach her shop. The captain tries an elvish version of bargaining. Khazad remarks, "I had wondered if your people understood the art of grahphnuck." Surprisingly, he actually manages to get the price down. It's by less than ten percent, but it is lower.
We pay for our purchases, send the bolt of silk back to the ship with a boy, and tuck the cloth-of-gold samples into a pocket.
It's about time for our appointment.
©2002, 2006 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.