The Logs of the TDFS Tindome
Chapter 72: Having a Ball
Daëwen pulls out a length of elven rope, and links us all together. Eric activates his directional paper dart. The lady starts walking toward one of the crystal walls. As she seems about to walk into it, the wall (and the entire cave) dims, and she walks into a dimly lit grey mist. Each of us follows the person in front, and soon we are all walking in the glowing mist. We can feel the mist as we push through it. To Mandorak, this place feels as 'vibey' as home – but this is a different feel entirely. To Bavör, this feels comfortably like Manufacturing at Eldacur Tech, but more intense.
We follow the glowing rope and Daëwen. After many minutes, we find that the fog is offering resistance to our passage. We slog on. The more fey among us start to see a yellow color in the fog, while the rope glows a faint bluish. Eric, immediately behind Daëwen, suddenly perceives that something sudden, sharp, and cold has happened. Finwë also notes the feeling and, as network hub, he forewarns everyone else of the change.
As each person makes the change, the yellow tinge disappears, and the undifferentiated glow has turned into shapes, mostly black. We are on Spire Island, on the [bottom] side with the short spire. It is as dimly lit as ever, and appears unchanged from when we were here. We stop in front of, or dodge around various trees. We are walking away from the spire. Daëwen signals for us to stop.
Eric gestures, and before him is now a podium, holding a map he made, and the Map of Here. He begins to study the two of them. He finds that we are very close to where we docked the ship, and worked to repair it. "Ah, you've kept it," observes Daëwen, upon spotting the Map of Here.
"We're just widdershins of where we repaired the ship. And here's the Grandfather Tree." He points to the point on the map.
"How did we get here?" asks Mannie.
Daëwen explains, "Once you have achieved mastery of glamour, you can begin to exercise second-order glamour. It is glamour so… convincing that the universe accepts it as real. Once you have mastered that, you can work on third-order glamour. With that, you can persuade the universe to change."
"So… basically… you willed us here."
Daëwen admits that, as the result of centuries of study, yes. She then suggests that we walk over to Grandfather Tree, and introduce ourselves to him. She asks Aldamir to guide us, and he leads us on. Daëwen unties each of us from the rope as we pass, and stows her rope, salvaging bits of magic off the rope.
Aldamir addresses Grandfather Tree, thanking it again for allowing us here, and expressing the party's desire to refrain from doing any harm. He explains that the tree's assistance made it possible for us to return home. Daëwen also gives a few words of thanks.
We turn away from the gnarled inhabitant of the island, and seek a place to make camp. Mandorak suggests that we settle down near the shore, where things seemed more comfortable. We walk towards the shore.
Daëwen hands a silver ring to Eric. "I'd like to be alone, to think about… things. Mr. Wright can locate me through my ring. Any one of you can mindspeak me if you need me." She heads off into the woods. Fallataal stares after her, then unloads his backpack next to hers. He divests himself of just about everything except his bow, quiver, and a small pistol, and re-enters the wood after the lady.
Mannie and Bay pick up the dropped backpacks, and we all walk to the edge of the trees. There, at the water's edge, we can see the markings and detritus of our previous visit. We put down our things, and start to set up a camp. It's slow work; we've never done this together.
After an hour, the two elves come back out of the woods. "Bavör," asks Daëwen, "you used to work in Manufacturing, didn't you?"
"So… which of the Helenes are you familiar with?"
"Only Main Line Helene, m'lady."
"Do you have anything from there?" He nods. "Could I borrow it?"
Bay hands her his belt. She holds it a minute, then returns it, remarking, "This place is not part of the Main Line."
She turns to Finwë. "You are an Enorathi? From the Worldbender construct?" It is his turn to nod. He hands her his bow. She holds it. "This is a different place from that."
Aldamir offers up books from three different Earths. Before she returns them, Mannie asks her, "What are you looking for?"
"This place has physical laws that are quite similar to those of the main continua, the Home Line, called the Main Line, and the Literary Line, called the Classical Line. It isn't either one of them. This book," she points to the one from the line that Aldamir schooled in, "feels closest to this place."
Mannie looks doubtful. "You're talking about those round places, aren't you?"
"Yes. Helene is one of those round things, a planet. You have a telescope. Look out there." She points out in the blackness.
He aims his telescope at one of the specks. "It's an island."
"We're in an… odd pocket. Not a pocket universe. There's something like a giant gate or portal or boundary, running under our feet."
"Oh. The interface that Chekhov mentioned."
"Yes. Think of water meeting air. Where they meet is the interface. There is something like that beneath us. Like a giant portal to… somewhere else."
"Yes, it takes us to the other island, the one with the taller spire."
"No. Those other islands you can see have a top and bottom. This island does too. All you did was go down, through the interface, then down to the other side of the island, where you flipped, because the gravity was then above you."
Mannie tries to wrap his mind around this information, but fails. Soon, he decides that he should dig down to the other side of the island, and promptly begins. The others continue to set up camp, and prepare supper. During the digging, Daëwen enters the hole from time to time. On the third visit, she warns him that he's only a few inches from the middle. He digs some more, then stops. Things are wrong. There are a few grains of sand hovering in the middle of the hole. Daëwen joins him, illuminates the area with a handfire, and says, "You've reached it." There is the plane of gravity. She pokes it with her dagger. "Dig some more; I'd like to look at this. Don't make it too big. Make it a cubit across, and half a cubit deep."
He does that. She examines the open area. "This is not a portal. But the gravity has to be coming from somewhere."
He points out that this area is near the Floating Islands, which are on the Open Sea. Daëwen gropes to explain. "The Open Sea is one of the most real places in Chaos. It's been around for thousands of years. The only thing older than it is Lanthil."
"I though Lanthil was only a few years old."
"Lanthil is a million years old. The Marginalia kept it a secret for all that time. No one lived there. But what they keep as a secret, is very much a secret. It remained a secret until Memory gave me Lanthil."
Mannie goes back to digging his hole. (It's at a steep angle, with steps and crisp edges, and is more like a mine tunnel than any mere hole.) This time, as he hauls the dirt up to the surface, he realizes that his weight decreases as he climbs up out of his tunnel. The two of them decide that a pool of water should be put into the tunnel, in the middle, to reduce people's disorientation as they cross the interface. "But before we do that, I want to see the sky metal."
They break while everyone, including Mandorak, finally eats. Then we all set out to the spire, with Finwë leading them. When they arrive, the lady steps up and puts her hand on the spire.
"That's one of the most real things I've ever encountered."
"Are you okay?" asks Finwë.
She asks Mannie, "Can you shape this?"
"With ectoplastics? I can try."
She warns him, "You will find it much more difficult than shaping ordinary metal."
Mannie has never shaped metal, but he puts his hands on the spire, and shapes a large piece of the sky metal into a sphere. He hands it to the lady. "Well! Sometimes you actually do get to teach Grandmother how to suck eggs," she remarks, looking at the nearly impossible object. "I think you've just invented a new art. One that is of extreme value to me, by the way."
She tries to pull the sphere toward her, but fails. "May I borrow your sphere?" He nods, and hands her the metal ball.
Updated: Aug 25, 2007
©2002, 2006 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.