The Logs of the TDFS Tindome
Chapter 48: Waiting
We return to Madame Fishilashi's, feeling some sense of accomplishment, and
ready for lunch. Bavör is a little uneasy, but everyone else feels that
everything is fine, just fine. After another delicious lunch, we head out
to the Tindomë so that Eïr can check on her patient, so Eric can work on his
copying, and so that the engineers can do engineering things below decks.
Charlie, the patient, is doing better; he can move his toes. Eïr starts teaching Jocko how to administer physiotherapy. Eric settles into work in the scriptorium (actually the upper observatory). Mandorak and Bavör check all the planking on the ship, and find that everything is still [air]ship-shape.
Aldamir remarks that the names we have encountered seem Persian to him. He then has to explain that Persia is an old name for Iran, which is part of the land area on Earth between India and the Mediterranean. Bavör has some idea where this is, but Mandorak has never gotten the hang of round worlds. Aldamir remarks that, to the galactic north of Earth are the connections to Djinnistan and Peristan. The rest of us had been unaware of that. It may be useful to tap into an Earth-educated elf.
We had dinner, sleep (except for Finwë, who is fretting), and breakfast. We return to the ship in the morning, where Charlie has improved further. Eïr also urges Jocko to take some exercise, advice he does not welcome. Mandorak again watches the eels swimming around the ship, and again does not tell Eïr, who is coaching her parrot into attacking a bit of rope.
We return to the boarding house. There, finally, is Lt. Jhejhaleen. Our captain is overjoyed, so he grabs the pass and dashes off to get Khajad. "Lt. Jhejhaleen has come back! It must be good news! I will be reunited with my daughters! We shall return to Lanthil, and tell everyone of the delights and wonders of Darkholme!" He practically drags the translator back with him. He offers him lunch. Khajad declines the chance to eat again.
Khajad speaks with Jhejhaleen, and explains. "There is a great deal of negotiating going on. Fortunately, your offer has been well received. Other interested parties have been making considerable efforts, but so far, they have not provided any political advantage which exceeds yours."
"Eric has finished copying his book," volunteers Finwë. "Would it be acceptable for us to deliver it? Oh, but we're in the middle of business…"
"Ah, the book has been promised, so it may be delivered. We can go after you eat."
Aldamir urges the keyed-up captain to eat something; it will help with his thinking. He has some bread, some honey, and some goat's milk (which is high in tryptophan). Although he does not calm down, he does actually start thinking again. Again, he decides that all of us should visit the palace for the presentation of the book.
As we walk down that broad avenue again, we notice that guards are stepping out of various houses as we pass them. Some of the guards are those who seemed favorably inclined towards us, and some are those others. There is tension in the air. The Vibes are different too, with more active psi off in the background. We pretend to ignore all this, keep walking, and arrive at the palace gates.
We are allowed in, turn left, and follow the lesser road to the temple we were at the previous day. The robed priest at the door asks why we are there. Finwë explains that we have the second half of the book for the High Priest, and that we wish to see his daughter(s). The priest seems dubious. He has us wait while he goes inside. The captain is quite impatient by the time he returns. We are invited inside to wait there, in the room at the top of the stairs. The middle-aged matron appears.
Eïr sweetly inquires via Khajad about the condition of the young lady slugged by Sarah, and offers her own healing skills, should they be acceptable or desirable. She asks Khajad to make her offer as flowery as possible. He complies.
The matron admits that Sarah's actions were a great surprise, and affected poor Jhazhneen strongly. Soon, Eïr is being escorted down a corridor and through some beaded curtains to a small room with one figure on a pallet-bed, and another young woman on a short stool.
"Jhazhneen?" she asks, touching her gently on the shoulder. The figure whines a little. Eïr, with great effort, manages to do some first aid magical healing. Struggling with her lack of vocabulary, she grabs a cloth, goes to a jug, which appears to have water in it, soaks and wrings out the cloth, and puts it on the woman's side. Once the cloth starts to warm up, she re-wets and applies it again. She tries more healing, although there is no indication that it worked. She re-applies the compress, and tries to show the matron and the companion what she is doing. They may understand her.
The matron leads Eïr off into another small room. Here are Sam and Sarah. "How's it going?" asks Sam.
"We're still waiting, but it looks good. Have you explained to Sarah?"
"About the captain?" the little healer presses.
"You're both well?" she asks cautiously.
"As well as you can be, locked in a room," interrupts Sarah. "I don't know who these people are. You can't do things like this nowadays. I know my rights." She folds her arms, and plumps down on her cushion.
"Yes," agrees Eïr. "They're even surprised that I'm a priest."
"You're a priest?" asks Sarah in surprise.
Eïr turns to Sam. "We'll have to explain this to Sarah later. Like she's not where she thinks she is, and that she can't get back to where she was before."
Soon, Eïr, who doesn't understand the dubious connectivity of the elven and human realms, is trying to explain this to a thirteen-year old girl who is decidedly from twenty-first century Earth. The conversation rambles, with Eïr trying to assure Sarah of rescue without actually being able to promise anything. There is talk of dragons, the Hindenburg, and the Arabian Nights. Sarah really doesn't want to be there any more. Sam asks to walk with Eïr back down the corridor.
"That was better than I expected," she says once they are out of earshot of Sarah. "When I realized that she wouldn't be rescued… This is way too much for her. And he would have to be an elf or fairy or whatever…"
"Only an elf can be that scatty," claims Eïr.
"I know she saw the sea serpent, but I don't think she remembers the sea serpent. And our parents…"
"Could they still be alive?"
"No. Well, at most, one," Sam says wistfully.
Hey arrive back in our waiting room. "Let's talk to… your father." She then turns to Khajad, and asks him to explain to the matron about cold compresses and tea with an infusion of willow bark. She explains the entire course of treatment to him, and volunteers to return and do more healing herself. Khajad explains that, since the injured woman is a Sister of the Temple, she cannot be attended by a male physician. Our little healer understands, and offers to consult with the senior healer, and transfer his instructions herself.
Mannie asks Sam if there's anything on the ship she'd like. She admits that there's nothing there that she'd want that she'd be allowed to have. She urges us to work quickly, because if this goes on much longer, "it will end badly." She is led back by the matron.
Eventually, a new fellow, in elegant robes, enters our room, and addresses our captain. Finwë smiles. He explains that he has come to receive the second half of the book. Finwë's smile disappears. He explains to the rest of us, "The High Priest is very busy today, so we will not be able to present his gift to him today." We are doubtful of going away without leaving the book. Finwë asks Khajad what to do, and he explains that to not leave the gift would imply that the gift was contingent upon the success of our petition. Finwë apologizes for his clumsiness of speech, and assures the translator that of course we will be leaving the book, but we are worried about intruding at this busy time. Khajad explains that it is acceptable to leave the book with the elder Brother here, and that our aid to the Sister of the Temple has also been well received.
We present the book to the elder Brother, who takes the book away. We too leave.
©2002, 2006 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.