The Logs of the TDFS Tindome
Chapter 92: A Psilent Harbor
Should we wait for Tala-a'zahd, our translator? Well, even though there seem to be more people speaking something like Quenya, yes, we should wait. We have to wait an unexpectedly long time, but he does return to us from the palace.
He explains that everyone was very busy, so that he had to wait a long time to hand our message over to the appropriate person.
The Captain explains to him that we are now going to the Harbor Town. We head out. The busyness of the palace extends out to the Gate. We have to wait quite a while to show our papers. We eventually pass through, and head down the main road to the harbor.
We turn off onto the third street to sunward. Once we have turned in, Mandorak suggests (speaking in Dwarven) that we stop before reaching the target address, and check things out with second sight. Finwë agrees, and brings up the telepathic net. We discover that we are headed into a warehouse district, but we find a little shop to pause at. Eric helps guide Mannie's second sight. He aims it at a warehouse that covers nearly an entire block.
The sight passes close to the right area, then it becomes just the same as vision. Mannie recalls it, and sends it out again, move to the right, with his eyes closed. The second sight is 'funny' in some way. On the net, Eric points out to him that it's dark in his second sight. He pulls away from the warehouse, and his sight brightens.
He 'announces' the phenomenon over the net. "Oh, it must be a psi dampener; it's not a psi blocker," decides Bay. "Ah, I've heard of those," agrees the other dwarf. "Can they be blocked?" asks Finwë. "Well, there are psi openers," Bavör admits, "but I don't know how to make one."
They use regular vision to examine the signs in the vicinity. Yes, the symbol from the note is on the warehouse sign. We're here.
"Oh. What an interesting warehouse. What's in it?"
"How would I know?" replies Tala-a'zahd. "It is owned by a prominent merchant family. I don't know the Elvish word for it; it's something like a company, and something like a family."
"Ah. We might call it a mafia," explains the twenty-third century dwarf. The translator accepts this.
The building is large, square, made of stone, and has a flat roof with a chest-height crenellated parapet. In fact, there are men on the roof, acting as lookouts. There is a cluster of three men on the roof, looking off towards the harbor.
Mandorak turns on his second sight, and follows their direction of vision, to spot a group of more-well-armed-than-usual men, standing around and chatting, but with two of them always watching a pair of men across the street from them. Mannie turns his viewpoint on those men. They're playing a sort-of card game, and they're better armed that one would have thought. Knives under their vests, a weighted walking stick to hand, that sort of thing. This isn't our problem.
Mannie examines the building more closely. There is a small building on the roof. He decides that the building is probably lit by oil lamps, or by the same magic that lit the temples. Vibes shows that the area around the warehouse is psychically dead, practically to our feet.
Tala-a'zahd asks, "What are we waiting for?"
"I'm waiting for the game to end," replies Finwë mildly.
"Oh. Never mind. Well, I don't think we can see anything if we stay out here." Over the net, we asks, "Mr. Craggenhilt, how do we get into the building discreetly?" This is a puzzle; the building has real doors, both for people and for wagons, not just the beaded curtains we've seen elsewhere. We think about it. We do have a ship with goods, and this is a warehouse. We could just ask to buy an elven servant.
We then work out that, since being sold into slavery is frequently caused by arriving in Darkholme without papers, the person who would know who has been sold into slavery is the Harbor Master. We head for the Harbor building. We ask to see the Stewart of the Harbor, and are led in to another official. The man looks at us a little suspiciously, but he nods, and says, "Your people could wait over there." He gestures. We leave Finwë and Tala-a'zahd, and placidly sit down 'over there.' We still all networked together, after all.
Finwë and his translator are led into the presence of Steward 'Haltaan. The Captain explains that he is in Darkholme as something of an ambassador, and that he had heard that other elves might have arrived in Darkholme under less auspicious circumstances than his own.
The Steward acknowledges that single elves, and a few groups have arrived over the past, and even an entire ship's company of elves came some twelve cycles ago. Most diplomatically, Finwë brings up the possibility that such of these elves might have entered into local servitude, because it is the elvish custom to free other elves from their debts.
Steward 'Haltaan points out that only some elves might come to the attention of Harbor House. If they did not come in through the harbor, or did not have business at Harbor House, then there was no record of them here. Finwë pushes on, pointing out the superior record-keeping of Darkholme, as in the case of his youngest daughter. Eventually he manages to suggest that we would be interested in removing from Darkholme any such elves as have entered servitude here. The Steward agrees that we could have an interest in that, but assumes that we would not have anything to do with any elven criminals, and those of their ilk.
Finwë does not wish to commit to ignoring even criminal elves, and temporizes by claiming that he would have to study their crimes first. He suggests that tracking down all these elves would entail a great deal of work, and that we would have to pay for it. The Steward agrees; he explains that the payment is for unusual work, work outside one's ordinary duties (for which one is already paid). The Steward admits that he doesn't know what the price would be in Elvish currency, so Finwë tells him to just work it out in weight of plain gold. The Captain politely takes his leave of the Steward, and we return to our ship.
Updated: Jun 1, 2008
©2002, 2008 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.