Back to Middle Earth
Week5, Gift for an Elven King
We left our heroes figuring out how to come up with a gift fit for a king -- and an elven king at that. We decide on a pair of oriental robes, with a silverwood bow thrown is as a gift for Ohtar, the elven lord who will, we hope, arrange the audience.
The next day, we see Ohtar again and tell him we are off to fetch the king's gift that he advised us to produce. Then we head off onto the plains, as if returning to Laketown. However, we are just wandering, killing time for four more days, until Victoria shows up at the rendezvous in the marsh.
Victoria shows up on schedule and we board the pantope. There, Sophie spends several days looking through records of oriental robes from the Cultural History Museum, for inspiration. She gets well-inspired and designs two very good robes. She hands the designs over to the Wardrobe robot, which surpasses itself in executing them. So we have our basic gift.
But Chris and Tom have been up to something as well. Tom crafts a round silver frame with a handle and a piece of round glass. Chris then places the glass in the frame. It leaves a couple of millimeters gap all around, but this is intentional. Chris then fixes it in place with Bound Levitation, casts a Bound Alchemy on the silver frame to discourage tarnishing, and finishes off with a hellacious cast of Bound Dicing to the glass itself. The glass is now a mirror from one side and transparent from the other; Chris has driven his Dicing talent to the verge of Glamour. He then wraps the whole thing in a Bound Shield. To arcane perceptions, it is obviously magical but the particular nature of the magic is not obvious at all.
We then present this to Daewen and as here if it would be a nice accessory to give an elven king. She says it's pretty neat. It doesn't strike her as very elven, but then we're supposed to be foreign, oriental elves, so that will probably make it all right. She then offers to make it feel more elven and Middle-Earthly. Accordingly, Chris takes off his enchantments and puts them all on again while Daewen sifts subtle Glamours into the whole process. Alag helps, doing an excellent Glamour on the frame. In the end, it registers as an odd, subtle, elven piece of magic. With a final twist, Daewen makes the mirror image slightly brighter than it really has a right to be.
The elves sleep off all this spell-casting, then Daewen and Alag go to work on their own project. They get some silver and some water and proceed to MIX the two, magically, to produce liquid silver. With this they start watering a tree Daewen plants in the pantope gardens. We take a week out while it grows.
Daewen wants Tom to use the silverwood to make a nice, woodwork carrying case for the magic mirror. Tom, as it happens, has no great carpentry ability, but he has his Knack of Tools. We rummage through the pantope, but none of the carpentry tools we find were owned by a good enough carpenter. Daewen therefore recommends that Tom buy some used tools from a master woodworker she knows in Dale. Being disguised, she can't very well introduce Tom herself, but she writes him a letter of introduction and we open the pantope on Dale by the Long Lake, the day after we left Mirkwood. (Always do things in chronological order whenever possible.) Tom looks up the woodworker and finds that he is out, gathering wood. How natural and inconvenient. Tom looks over a cabinet maker, but his stuff doesn't look nearly as good as the woodworker's, so he returns to the pantope to report. He suggests dropping in on the woodworker later. Or, of course, earlier, if that would be more convenient.
This gives Daewen a idea. How about 5000 years earlier? How about doing a little shopping back in the Second Age of Middle Earth? She has in mind the land of Lorien, in the year 1400 SA, 25 years after it was founded (and back when it was called "Laurelindorinan"). Sounds good to the rest of us. So we set the ol' Wayback Machine for Early Lothlorien.
Only the elvish folk go out -- Daewen, Alag, Chris, and Sophie. The locals are very friendly and polite, and the travelers are careful to be so too. They ask for the best woodcutter and are referred to one Taurgil. They go to his house and are met by his apprentice. They tell the apprentice they wish to trade Taurgil for some tools, old ones. (No one uses money in the Second Age.) The apprentice thinks this a little odd but goes to fetch his master. To Taurgil, Daewen spins a yarn about being on a quest and charged with collecting used tools from the Master Woodworker of the Golden Wood. It is important that they should have been USED by the master. Taurgil digs quests and that sort of thing, so he is willing to trade. Daewen gives him one of her silverwood bows, a beautiful thing and of her own making. Alag throws in some of his hand-made, superb, armor-piercing arrows, so Taurgil responds by adding a carved walking stick. He then invites them to stay for dinner.
Their mission done, the elves go off to do a little souvenir shopping. Chris trades an opal for some cloaks. These are not the magic, all-weather camouflage cloaks of Lord of the Rings, but they are very nice quality and Chris is a rather dressy fellow. Alag and Daewen trade arrows and a second silverwood bow for two bows which, though less exotic and pretty, have more firepower, equivalent to Daewen's old bow of tassarang ("willow-iron").
As they leave, Daewen expresses her relief that they didn't get timelocked for introducing new technology -- the silverwood bows and Alag's armor-piercing arrows, which as it happens DO become a new standard in Lorien artillery.
Tom picks them up in the pantope. Drawing on the talent in the tools, he finds that Taurgil was about as good as possible. As a result, Tom makes an exceedingly nifty box for the mirror. Daewen dusts it and the robes with a final coat of Glamour and we're ready.
We open the pantope on the marsh, six days after we left Celebanon. We take the usual day-long march into the village, meet the nine elven forest-warriors and their leader Camthalion. Camthalion tells Ohtar we're in town again, and the next day we have an audience with him. Ohtar tells us that he will arrange the audience with King Thranduil, which should be within three days or so.
As it happens, that very evening we learn that we have an audience three days from now, on our seventh day out from the pantope. Fast work. We are well-pleased and present Ohtar with yet another of our silverwood bows. Ohtar is very pleased and remarks that he has heard of the beautiful silver bows of the East, but only in ancient legends as gifts passed down from one master archer to another. It is a good gift and speaks well for our veracity. We smile a little weakly, having just created this ancient legend yesterday afternoon.
On the appointed day, Camthalion and three elves come to the inn in dress uniform. We don our best clothes (Alag and Daewen shine up their Glamour and Pfusand turns bear) and follow them. We are led along the river, to a little park or courtyard beyond which stand the magical doors of Thranduil's court, in the side of a hill.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.