Chapter 42: The W Word
We find our heroes on the pantope, exiting a tea with the Djinnish
Ambassador and Leila, a scout for the Djinnistani authorities. Leila is
coming with us, after a conversation that showed she was somehow on the
outs with the Ambassador or her principals. As we leave the pantope
and patter down the stairs of the lab tower (where we parked it), we
explain to Leila that one of the current masters of the house has a
name that sounds like "Solomon," but it's really "Suliamon," and
nothing at all to do with bottling djinn.
We take her down to the dining room to meet people, but find them still setting up, so we retreat to a library. All except Daphne, who goes to the kitchen to arrange for some hors d'ouvres. Soon, she is leading a kitchen boy, laden with a tray, up to the library.
We answer the knock at the library door, expecting to be summoned to dinner. No, it's the snack tray. Tom explains to Leila that, although there is a food shortage here, they don't let us see it in the castle. Out in the country, it's different. Tom mentions the program for imprting big game from past eras, and this leads Markel to mention his unhappy encounter with a dire-wolf, or "warg," in the forest. We wonder if the boggart who stopped to help him is out of the infirmary yet. How long has it been, anyway? Gannar checks the Lanthil clock signal and announces, "Three weeks, two days, thirteen hours since we first embarked in the Pudgie Budgie."
There's another knock at the door. Dinner? No, Runyana. She runs her eye over the company, realizes she has miscalculated badly, and apologetically ducks out again. Tom briefly explains to Leila about being out of sequence and all.
Another knock. Dinner? No, Suliamon and Moranna. Robbie performs introductions and explains about our discovery of the City of Brass and how Djinnistan is positively gleeful to know about it. Tom then invites Leila to explain her desire to come and help. She does. There are several reasons:
A fourth knock. This time, it is dinner. On the way down, we acquire as escort a couple of Silver Service guards, one of whom is Fallataal. They are there because Suliamon and Moranna were under the impression our Djinnistani visitor was the Ambassador again. They aren't really needed for this less official guest, but are invited to come down to dinner anyway.
At table, we learn Leila doesn't really have any plans, she just puts herself at our disposal. That should be useful, once we evolve some plans of our own. Perhaps she could help with the game-acquistion project? Very possibly.
Robbie asks if she could teach him to teleport, since they're both of them sort of djinnish and teleporting is one of the things djinn do. He describes to her his efforts to teleport by trying to "let go of the world" when he was being captured in the City of Brass. She tells him that's quite the wrong way to go about it, suitably only for when he was disembodied. Djinn, contrary to what you might think, are embodied mortals. Fine. Robbie is willing to start over.
©1984, 1994, 2005 Earl Wajenberg. All Rights Reserved.