Week 47: First Council Concluded, and Second Council's Eve
We left our heroes in Vinyagarond, the night before the First Council of
Lanthil. The timing is awkward, since, for them, it is mid-morning.
But, when you have a time machine, you can often dodge time lags like
this. We've got the pantope parked in an upstairs bedroom, so most of us
pile into it and fast-forward to the next day, early morning, to be more
or less in synch.
Robbie and Brunalf stay behind, though. They'll spend the night perusing the household library, seeking background information. First, they seek stuff on the nephilim remnant. They find it, but it's hard to be sure if it's fact or fiction. I mean, yeah, they're fairy tales, and so?
There is certainly nothing you could call demographic, or about great movements of peoples. There's nothing about Tethycles, either, a nephil slightly known to the party.
While they're at it, they try finding anything on Trisarin, the alien member of the family, currently in the house. Nothing.
Looking for information on the Mountains of Kaf, they find "Tales of Kaf," but it seems to be children's stories in an Arabian Nights vein. Possibly more factual than you'd suppose, but there's still nothing in them about 49 cities set aside for nephilim.
On the subject of Patala, Robbie finds a picaresque novel (or travelogue), "The Road to Patala," by Celebore Iarandir ("Silverheart Abyss-Farer"). He never actually got to Patala, but he went looking for it out in the Chaos Marches. These Marches were more mountainous than the bits we've seen, and included some very strange chunks of forest -- like old climax forest, dim and solemn, but with drifting banks of animated fog and snarled-up geometry. Fauna was equally weird, and Celebore had the impression they included fays returning from the dead who had decided it wasn't worth while coming all the way back, or at least were in no hurry. A lot was heard but never seen. Creep City. After a lot of feeling hunted, he fled down a river, into more ordered realms. Years later, after the first edition, he tried to go back, but everything had changed.
Elsewhile, the rest of the crew drop off Desmond, who doesn't feel he has any more to gain from hanging around Faerie in dubious diplomatic status, and come to rest in the early morning. We then re-convene with Robbie, Brunalf, and the household.
After a breakfast that is a brunch for us, Daewen suggests we all adjourn to the big drawing room, and there we have the First Council.
Someone asks, "So why are we getting the bum's rush out of Faerie, anyway?"
Daewen replies, "It's not really like that. Several of us felt we were stretching our welcome here, with all the new population showing up. Neither the Transworld agreement nor Alvirin's permission really seemed to cover the new needs. So I've felt we should get our own place. And Lord Alvirin did encourage the idea...
"Now Dafnord and Tom and their friends have found us such a place. The Marginalia even seem to have been holding it for us, thanks to a timetwist. Of course, we also have the Marginalia to consider, now, so that's an additional reason for leaving."
Tom asks, "What exactly are we here to decide?"
Daewen: "Plans for settlement. Plans for exploration. Alvirin requires that our new home not introduce any new gateways into the mundane realms from Faerie. So it most not be adjacent to Faerie, or it must be on the far side of Faerie from the main accesses. Lanthil looks promising, but we're not sure."
"What are the risks?" someone asks.
Daewen: "The road to Lanthil goes from the southern Chaos Marches of Faerie, past the Dream Time, on to Lanthil itself, and then beyond further yet. It might lead to some mundane access. (Though Lanthil itself wouldn't add to that problem.) Then there's this sea, stretching from a coast on Lanthil, out indefinitely, as far as we know."
"The Open Sea," someone mildly quips, and those of us who have been to Lanthil of thirty years in the future can hear the name slotting permanently into place.
"Yes," Daewen goes on. "It might really go on indefinitely. It might lead to a mundane access. We need to discuss that."
Robbie: "Does discussion help? Doesn't someone need to go look?"
Tom: "Don't we need to set a limit on how far to explore? You can't survey true infinity, after all, if it is infinite. And we should ask the Marginalia about it."
Nick: "Well, no one's found any boundaries to it so far."
Daewen: "The other big issue is what kind of homes we want." At this point, our heroes shut up en masse, because we've seen the homes they end up deciding on. We watch silently as they sketch out the first drafts of the plans for a seaside village, tree-houses for the elves, woodlands set aside for the Marginalia, the castle, and so on. The original plans for the castle looked more Minoan; the final result, we know, will look more medieval. Making a seaport, the others reflect, isn't exactly a violation of Alvirin's no-access rule; it just takes advantage of any violation that may be out there. Fays appreciate loopholes as much as anyone. Maybe even more.
There are logistic questions. We need buildings at Lanthil to receive our newly-acquired Ennorathi elves. We need game in the forests for everyone to live off of. And we need to act quickly, since the valley in the Marches where the Ennorathi are staying is "fading" into the general chaos. On the short term, we can move them in with the Marginalia, who have the power to stabilize the valley they're in.
In the end, Alag volunteers to go acquire game in various places and eras. (Tom offers to help with transport -- in an unspecified way, since, for most folk here, his pantope hasn't been created yet.) Jonathan says he'll head the city-planning effort. Tom quickly polls the telepathy net and volunteers himself and his immediate companions to do the exploring. For a start, they can circumnavigate Lanthil, which no one has done yet.
Having paved the way for as much trouble as we might want to get into later, we sit back quietly and let the others thrash out details. Eventually, we adjourn. The First Council is over. The Second promises to be much more dramatic, what with dignitaries from all the adjacent arcane realms attending, along with spies who might be working for or against the Patalan Ambassador, and two (count them, two) wars in the basement, not to mention the debacle in the dining room. And Alvirin hadn't even got there yet. Just the crack security troops who precede him.
But Alvirin will be there very soon. In the intervening time, Daewen has sent us word that he's arriving in unexpectedly short order, and she wants us. At least it's nice to here she wants us; after two battles in her basement, we weren't sure. We enter the pantope, disconnect from the First Council, and re-connect to the Second, using the coordinates Tom got from Nick.
(In between, we go home to the ranch on Hellene, have dinner, and catch a night's sleep. We consult with Mirien, who returns to our custody a young elven maid who traipsed over from Vinyagarond through the pantope, when Tom carelessly left it open in the garden, while chasing two bogies. Mirien hasn't found the bogies yet. We drop the elf-girl off back on the evening of the First Council. Also, in light of recent events on the pantope, Robbie puts in a mail-order for a radiation meter.)
On to the Eve of the Second Council.
We arrive in the garden again, this time near a lily bush. (Yes, normally lilies don't grow on bushes. These are fay night-lilies. Daewen used one as a token to guide us to the right point in time.) Tom hides the pantope door, this time, and we all start to head in, meaning to go up to our rooms. But Daewen meets us at the door. She's very glad we made it; she was getting worried when the mirror stopped working.
We didn't know the mirror had stopped working. It worked fine when we threw a stray bogie through it. "Oh, was that you?" she asks with a little sigh. It appears that, in our efforts to prevent interdimensional contamination, we caused yet another diplomatic incident:
Since we left, the King's Own Goblins have shown up. These are his personal secret-service types. They look like a classic "Grey" alien with insectile overtones, e.g. compound eyes. And they were feeling hyper-vigilant, since they were scouting the area of Alvirin himself. Imagine what their captain thought when he found the miscellaneous dragon-corpses left by the Patalan Ambassador and not yet tidied away by our over-worked staff. Imagine how he felt when he learned that the Ambassador had returned to Patala, taking his river with him, and then came back without so much as a by-your-leave. Imagine how the account of the First and Second Battles of the Basement set with him.
Then we chucked a bogey through the mirror, and the dwarf guard putted it away with his halberd. Very unfortunately, the goblin captain walked through the library door just then, and got the bogey full in the face.
The dwarf wound up with several broken bones and had to be heavily sedated, so Daewen never got a clear story out of him. After all the interrogation was done, she had to send a dozen elves off to Lanthil just for the sake of their nerves. The library -- the room containing the mirror -- is now off limits. And Daewen is due to meet Alvirin in a couple of hours.
We commiserate. Robbie invites Daewen to rest up in our pantope. Pantope? So we did it? When she last saw us, she knew we were planning to make one, but didn't know we did so. Tom beams, and we explain about using it to attend the First Council -- yesterday for us, last month for her.
Tom asks her how he got that lily to Hellene if the mirror was broken. (They suspect it was a reaction to traffic by time-twisted people. It's probably all right now, since we are, strange to say, back in sequence.) Daewen explains that she once read of a spell a magician put on his bag, whereby, if it got separated from him, people would absent-mindedly pick it up and put it down again, if they were going in the right direction, with the net effect of getting it back to him. She tried something similar and cast the lily into the Marches, where there was plenty of randomness to work with. So she has no idea how it finally got to us. She started by shoving it out on a floating tray from the ranch. (Which explains the tray's temporary absence, noted by the house computer a few logs ago.)
We are now back in the Emerald Metaphor. Tom puts Faerie on freeze-frame. Daewen can now rest up for her audience with Alvirin. We have the tent here, with all its accessories. She tells us more details and developments: The Djinnistan Ambassador is here. The Patalan Ambassador brought back two more ships with him, which really torqued out the goblin captain. Said goblin was still arguing with the Patalans when Alvirin himself showed up, earlier this evening. (Alvirin is ensconced in the best tree-house, and Daewen has rather lost track of events since his arrival.)
Markel asks if the last dragon spy was ever caught. She doesn't know. She gathers there's some rift between the goblin, pixie, gnomish, and dwarven guards, probably because of the treatment of that dwarf guard that got beat up and, it turns out, arrested. He's now in detention, and it turns out to be Nordri, a local dwarf and a personal acquaintance of Tom's. Tom is distraught and offers to explain, but Daewen thinks the affair of the Basement Wars has left us with enough to explain.
We tell Daewen about our discoveries involving nephilim and ask her if she has ever heard of 49 cities for them in the Kaf. She does recall mention of them in a novel (in the library, now off-limits) entitled "The Return of Rodimir." It involved a half-elven member of the fay remnant on Earth, who grew up knowing nothing of his mother's people (the fay) and went off to discover them. He ended up settling in Avalon, not Faerie -- Daewen thinks the book was intended to be a tad seditious -- but there was a passage in which a were-fox woman told him he could return to his mother's people via some ceremony involving repentance and foreswearing Earth; she spoke of the "Plains of Penance," which chimes with something Desmond remembered. Rodimir didn't like the sound of this and settled with his father's people instead, who were Avalonian.
Robbie points out that the four refugee children we dropped off were from Destine and thus, we suppose, members of the fay remnant.
Daewen thinks and says they are probably okay here under the Transworld agreement. (This started with Alvirin's permission to Mirien's family to stay here; it was a birthday present, delivered at her cradle in the Classic Manner. Chris then re-negotiated this into a general permission for members of Transworld to take up temporary residence as needed. "Transworld" includes all the veterans of the pantope campaign and the Silver Council of Dream Time and their households. This is in return for the Silver Council giving the Dream Time to Alvirin.)
We ask if we shouldn't just shut up about the nephilim until the dust settles. No, Daewen thinks that working out that one may be sticky but necessary. How sticky? Well, in two and a half hours (external time), we will have a meeting of:
Tom points out that "Yazatlan" and "Atlantis" sound very similar and both are ruled by dragons or semi-dragons. Daewen sleepily agrees there must be a connection, then retires.
©1984, 1994, 2005 Earl Wajenberg. All Rights Reserved.