Back to Middle Earth
Week 4, Giants & Spiders
We start with a correction: It was Sophie, not Pfusand, who goes out disguised as a giant this next time. Daewen casts the glamour on her and she steps out of the pantope, into the blighted forest. She catches up with the giants, pere et fils, and calls out, "Were you the ones fighting the spiders back there?"
The giants are surprised, but cautiously admit to this activity. Sophie asks if they ran across any wolf-sized packages. The father giant becomes evasive and says he didn't see any wolves. Sophie goes on to explain that she is looking for a pet of hers, a wolf about SO bit (holds out her illusory arms to Nate's size). The giant is impressed by the size and indelibility of this pet and reaches into the magic bag, producing what appears to be the right bundle. He then hands it to Sophie. (Back in the pantope, Chris levitates the bundle so the giant illusion can seem to hold it.) Sophie proceeds to unwrap it (Chris's job becomes more complicated) and, rather to her surprise, discovers a wolf inside. (Alag has cast some glamour of his own.) "Yes, that's him," she says brightly, and saunters off into the night. (If we can't beat the worldbenders, we could always hire on at Lucasfilms in the special effects department.)
As soon as she is out of sight, we allow the door to become faintly visible so she can re-enter the pantope. Then all the glamours drop and we see that the wolf IS Nate. It would have been embarrassing for it to be something else. We pop him onto the autodoc's bed and it gets to work straight away. After some time, it announces Nate's better; he's comatose. (Better?) He might stay that way for years.
Chris asks to see the chemical formula for the spider toxin, but as far as he can see, it should be inert. We thus learn that the natural laws in Middle Earth are slightly different than the ones in the pantope or back home.
The next morning, Nate is no better. We decide to disguise Tom as the next in line for this fictitious throne, so Tom goes through some plastic surgery and cosmetic mutation to look like he could be a relative of Nate's. Thus he now looks like an oriental (since that is what Nate looked like at the time) with a touch of elf-blood. Sophie makes Tom some good costumes in the same style as Nate's and Daewen casts a glamour on one of them, to produce a visible effect should we crown Tom. Tom gives the diadem detector to Chris.
It is now three days since Nate's attack for the pantope crew. We open the door on Middle Earth two days after the attack, back in the marsh, a day's walk from Celebanon. This time, we actually get there. The place is a tiny handful of buildings on the riverside. The first one we notice is round, about 70 feet across, with a thatched roof and no walls. Daewen identifies it as the trading hall.
As we approach, nine armed elves emerge from the woods and eye us curiously, since we're coming at off hours (near sundown). A big, old-looking elf comes out of another building and takes charge of these nine. Daewen makes herself inconspicuous. This elf greets us and gives his name as Camthalion. He is, so to speak, the local police chief. He is polite and directs us to the local inn, the Dindraug.
Going there, we find everyone present is an elf -- naturally enough. They are really whooping it up, for elves, i.e. murmuring softly and melodiously until they stop and look at us in surprise. We, however, behave like ordinary benighted travelers and ask for supper and rooms. We arrange the latter and eat the former. In the midst, three of the guardsman elves enter, followed by Camthalion.
After we have finished eating, Camthalion comes over and asks us about our travels. We reel off the whole story about looking for the famous lost crown of our dynasty and seeking it among the treasure given to King Thranduil after the Battle of Five Armies. We tell of our visit to the Lonely Mountain and our trip here. Camthalion warns us against the spiders and we mention having lost a member of the part to them. As we tell it, he is gravely ill and staying with friendly folk living near the Long Lake.
Camthalion is also very interested to hear of our sighting of the Grama. It seems these folk sometimes kidnap elves. He was concerned at first to here of them moving around so near Mirkwood, but relieved that they seemed to be hunting, not moving in war-parties or tribal migrations. He has the lutenist play something sad in honor of the kidnapped elves, then leaves. We pass the night uneventfully.
The next day, Chris and Sophie approach Camthalion and ask him for advice on protocol. He says Thranduil should be approached through the elven lords. In this case, we should apply to Ohtar, the lord of Celebanon. Camthalion arranges an appointment at noon.
We spend the morning shopping around the market. This is really quite busy, considering the small size and (by human standards) out-of-the-way location. We see a fair variety of elves and a lot of elvish goods. We buy some arrows, some lembas (elven hard-tack, but delicious), some silvery silk, and some hithlain rope. Daewen gets her banded armor re-strung.
We ask Daewen about her unusually retiring behavior. She tells us she knows Camthalion and Ohtar, from way, way back, and that they might be able to penetrate her disguise if their suspicions were aroused.
At noon, we present ourselves to three elven guards before Ohtar's hall. They wait a bit (either to make us cool our heels or to report on us telepathically), then admit us. Ohtar and Chris get off to a bad start, probably because Chris doesn't go through enough formal introductions. Tom and Sophie step in and seem to unprickle the elven lord somewhat. We tell our story and he says that an audience with Thranduil can be arranged. He recommends sending a gift to Thranduil. Tom accepts the recommendation and hints of a gift to the party who arranges the audience, i.e. Ohtar himself. We withdraw after making an appointment for next noon.
Now, what can WE provide in the way of a gift fit for a king? And an elven king at that? And what about Ohtar? We decide on a splendid oriental robe for Thranduil and one of our home-made magical bows for Ohtar. This requires a trip back to the pantope.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.