The Logs of the TDFS Tindome
Chapter 80: In Which There Are Swirly Bits
Meanwhile, Eric and Eïr need to go back to the Abbey. It's been a while since Daewen has been there, but she's got to do council and ambassador things. So E & E can get a shortcut to the castle, which is closer, and there we find that Angel is available. He showed up with Jeffy, who's the leader of all the Marginalia in Lanthil. So Eïr goes to ask them if they can give us a shortcut; Angel can. So Eïr, Eric, Jocko, and Angel head off to the Abbey.
We reach the Abbey in only a few hours. Angel is rather good at short paths. We encounter Father Garath, who sent us on our mission. He debriefs us on our trip. Eïr answers that we (and the crew) Rescued a shipwrecked girl, Freed a plantation of slaves, Rescued three ladies and Converted a pirate there, Rescued the girl's brother and several others from pirates, Rescued the girl's sister from some awful people who were going to sell her to be married.
And the mapping, he asks? Eric answers that it's gone well, but the lands we saw were possibly affected by Alverin's severing the fae lands from all others. Garath is pleased that Eric has learned this, getting a better understanding of the geography of chaos. We have both fulfilled several aspects of our mission very well. Eric has a log of our journey. He excuses himself to work on making another copy, which he does very quickly. Garath is again pleased, "Your papermancy has improved! We must all grow in this life."
And the other aspect, the discovery of paths that the ... enemies... do not know? Eric replies that most of our travels were on the open seas, and Eïr adds that there were some things that the Lady Daewen was interested in that she wanted kept quiet.
Eïr adds the information about Darkholme and the healer and the snakes. Father Garath is cautious about the ways of those who follow the false and tricky snake, and he is reassured that the healing methods weren't evil or unclean.
Is there anything else? No... "tell me," he asks, "how long have you been gone from your perspective?" Eric answers that it was no more than a few weeks from our perspective, but the coast guard seems to thing it was about a year. From Garath's perspective, it's about 9 months. So there is temporal drift across wide portions of chaos. Hmmmmm. "just a few weeks for you... did you journey across any particular discontunities?" Yes, there were a few hops. Eric fills him in on these, and the sea of stars... "Sea of stars..." Garath ponders. "Interesting, between the open sea and Lanthil you encountered the sea of stars? That's a change in the geography."
Eïr adds that there were two, that Checkov had gone through one to get to the stars, and one to get to Lanthil from there. "THE Checkov?" Yes, Eïr admits, she acquired him in an antique shop. Eric fills him in on the long walk. Yes, Eïr agrees, and someone else, an Alag, was also walking back. "And the Lady is talking about going to get him." "Alag, yes... a grandson of hers. A longtime companion of Thomas. If anything is needed to help in the search for Alag, as Thomists you should not hesitate to assist and if there is anything we at the Abbey can do to assist make sure word gets to us."
What else? Eïr ponders, "aside from the pirate, then the parrot... " The parrot? Yes, and she tells about getting the maps for a piece of jewelery and by *taking* the parrot. OH...
And while we're here, can Brother Albert teach Jocko that *long* prayer? Of course!!! Anything else? Eïr would like to learn a little more about herbs, either at the castle or the Abbey, or perhaps from Lorilei at the castle... ? The father says, "I'm told that those that grow here in the valley are quite unlike those in Lanthil or other lands. So studying here is not of great assistance. However, Sr. Elizabeth was quite an experienced herbalist before coming to the abbey..." "and could tell me what these are that I got in Darkholme?" yes she could.
And Eïr finds Sr Elizabeth in the refectory, behind which is a rather large garden. And a discussion of herbs ensues. But her garden is affected by the Chaos. Eïr shows her Barfoot's Guide, and notes that she was going to study with him or perhaps Lorilei, because she didn't know Elizabeth was there and knew herbs, and perhaps they could both go study at the castle in that garden. OH YES. Elizabeth notes she's been remiss in going to the castle and so on and with very little ado she transfers the gardens temporarily to another Brother and makes arrangements. And so we set out back to the castle with Angel, oh, and Jocko and a written copy of the prayer he will be learning! which the new readers will read, making all the swirly bits make sense.
And so we study, all together, at the Castle. Eïr learns a bit of pharmacy skill from the herbalists and healers, while Eric learns trigger so he can ultimately learn pattern. And Jocko learns that prayer.
While Manny is working on the ship during the day, he's been playing with ectoplastic TK with the skymetal, and has made two spoons. Divining spoons, he says. With holes to hang them, in the handles.
And now FINALLY we get to deport! To the SKY!
Through the open sea.
Past the lions... Li??? No.
and we encounter (drumroll) yet again.... a Storm. "It was a dark and stormy ... dusk." It stretches from horizon to horizon. There is no way around. Finwe notes that the uniform is Not That Bad for the storm, and a good stiff wind flutters the capelet and lofts his hair. He stands, with a steady, grim yet kind, expression, upon the deck. WAIT!!! We are inside. But his hair fluffs!!! And the capelet flutters! Captain, we need ALL THE POWER FOR THE ENGINES! turn the AC down!
And into the storm we fly. It a heavy gloming. It is, Checkov says, conceivable that we can rise above it. Captain Fluff asks, "You think so?" Why yes. So we lift, loft, rise! We gain altitude. We rise above the dark and stormy clouds. The ambient lighting sneaks in on little cat feet. But the cat is still grey. Dark grey. It is very clear moonlight here, much to Finwe's appreciation. His excellent night-adapted Elven eyes recognize that he is seeing by moonlight, which is here for no discernable reason. And in an Elven sort of way, it is much easier to see in moonlight. There is condensation on the window. And rising ahead of us, Finwe sees a series of mountains. Not ones he knows.
Consulting instruments, have we turned? Do we face the same course? Yes, we are on course. "Mr Checkov, can you speak to the presence of any dimensional anomolies?" "There are being some, yes. Ve seem to ave risen out of zeem. Eet might have not been ze best suggestion as ve seem to be somevere zat ees substantially deeeferent." Zee captain... ponders. hm hm hm. "Mr Wright, can you come to the flying bridge?" "I am here." "So quiet! So you have overheard Checkov? You may wish to begin taking notes.... The direction we go will lead to the largest mountains." Checkov notes "not quite to the largest but..."
So we continue on course for a couple of hours. The clouds then begin to thin out. There is sea below us, but we suspect it is not the open sea. It is not the right color, it is reflecting a bright starlit night sky. Which is not overhead. It is below. So Eric consults the maps. And is there a moon? The mountains now look deep black, crisply shadowed, with a slatey grey sky finish.
Finwe calls to Teller, "Can you tell me what you see?" "Grey skies." hm. No moon. Finwe and Eric consult the maps. They are set out. They do not yet match our locale. The sea of stars is inconclusive. The Map of Here clearly depicts a range of mountains up ahead. Yes. And leading up to the mountains, what looks like a sea of stars. Black with sparkles.
"Checkov? are we on the edges of this anomoly or are we fully in this location." "Zere ees high probabilty zat eef ve go down ve go back into ze storm... ahead zere ees a grrreat peculiarity zat I am not familiar vith." While the captain ponders Checkov reports that the direction of the sky isles is not immediately obvious. So we have no choice but to go on, the Captain decides. Into unknown lands. Away from all known points. Of course! (Besides, we passed the giant TWTTA Arrow.)
Finwe was just about to nip out for supper and a bit of spring wine when Checkov notes that there is no storm below now. We might change continua if we descend, but there is no storm. Below... still the sea that reflects the stars we don't see. Ahead, mountains. So we very gradually descend.
As we approach the blackened sea, Checkov says, "Captain, from zis altitude it eeees clear there ees a very clear dimensional anomoly below us vere ze surface of ze ocean ees." and he cannot tell the sky island site from here. Below, it is a clear sparkling sea, which reflects the Tindome. A lovely clear sea.
"Mr. Kragenhildt, prepare for water landing." As we are just about to do so, Checkov starts counting off the height as an approach to the dimensional anomoly at the surface. And so we land on the sea. But our descent is not hampered. No splash. Teller calls out from the lower observation deck, "It Changed! It Changed!" Eïr holds on. The Captiain is holding the wheel. Below the sea it is very dark and characterless. As though it is fog. Ropey fog. Icky fog. Without much reaction Finwe realizes that the fog briefly became the image of a skeletal rider on a skeletal horse. Then it vanishes away and there is simply fog. We are still passing through this anomoly. The captain calls for us to RISE NOW!
Manny blows up the balloon. A lovely apparition appears, looking like a ghost... appropriate woooooo sounds... birdlike winglike arms... the face gets large as the ship goes through it as we rise up out of it and below, poor Teller has freaked out a bit. When Eric goes to look, Teller has found that the seats around the walls are atop hollow boxes, whence the whimpering comes. These are Very Bad Swirly Bits!
We rise. And we find ourselves before the mountains, moon behind, stars above. Stars? Moon? Checkov is thinking we are not where we came from because his internal navigation says the sky islands are aft of us, and he did not know this before and besides, there are being stars.
Teller quiets upon knowing there are now stars and we are not in that spot. But he does not emerge.
And the Map of Here now shows something Finwe recognizes. It looks like if you turn the sea of stars map sideways it now overlaps with the Map of Here. And lines on the SoS map kind of form a hub with the tallest mountain at the center. Well, we are now Somewhere! With a mountain range coming from nothing, so we are going to go look of course. Finwe announces supper, as it will take an hour to get there. As we're ending dinner there is a bingbing bingbing from the bridge. Taking a bbq wiggly bit with him, the captain goes to the bridge and he hears a bingbing coming from the direction of Checkov. He has summoned the captain because he recognizes the signature of place up ahead. "It's signed?" no... the parameters, the limits... he cannot say precisely but this place has features known as the djinnastani parameters. It is one of the djinnistans "Djinnistan! How wonderful! How marvelous!" Finwe is estatic. Manny asks, "more than one?" Yes, there are more than one. Djinnistan is a very old place, with very powerful people. We are mice in comparison. As we discuss whether to approach, Checkov bings three times. And tells us there is a fleet of 7 ships between us and the mountains. Finwe slowly brings us about. No we do not want to go there right now. But we do know where they are. Finwe says, "The Lady will be interested to know were are dimensionally close to Djinnistan. From whence we might be able to reach other places!" Manny says, "that describes the Open Sea." Finwe and Manny discuss this matter, then Manny asks Checkov whether the Mtns of Kapf stay in one place? Yes, but what is adjacent to them is not always the same.
Eïr suggests that Manny creates an ectoplastic thing from the air here and Eric can put a tracer on it. Manny creates one from the air before thinking he should get air from outside. Eric has made a tracer from the third try. The second exploded, making the Captain very nervous. Eïr acquires the first object, shaping it into a .... something like a head on a blob body... and vanishes to the kitchen. She returns later.
A bit later the Captain heads to his cabin to write his log. He notices a bottle on a shelf. Containing a ... shape. Corked tightly. A ... he ponders. Gummy djinn. At moments like this he knows his crew loves him.
He begins his log, dated, his full name, then: Good Hair day! And he begins with his day then realizes, TELLER. Still gone. He goes to retrieve the marginalia, tempting him out with tea and cakes, and they discuss over little buns with red swirly bits.
Updated: Sep 1, 2007
© 2007 Louise Aitel. All Rights Reserved.