Mother Goose Chase
Dafnord decides to escort the "Tellamataru" to New Hierow, dimensionally
adjacent to Olam Nephilim, so that he can say good-bye to his crew on
the way. Before he leaves, Tom whips up a green calling card, labeled
"To Tom, From Dafnord," for him to rip in two either when it is time to
disembark across universes, or when the ship is under attack. Dafnord
expresses the hope that the "Emerald Metaphor" will be repaired soon,
and leaves. Tom is not hopeful.
The rest of us wait, knowing that the signal from Dafnord means a raging headache for Tom. Even so, Tom becomes antsy, and dowses for the big guy. This is successful (except for the headache) and results in us opening a pantope door on a surprised Dafnord. What surprised him was that he was about to tear the card. Others may think that Dafnord is unflapped, as he thriftily tucks the calling card back into one of his many pockets, but Tom can tell that he is unnerved, by the extreme stillness of his torso.
The pantope makes the connection between New Hierow and Olam Nephilin, and Dafnord announces their arrival, "Children of Destine! You have reached your new home!" The nephilim disembark. And disembark. And disembark. During a lull, most of the fay disembark; any who failed to disembark are now Morniesul's problem.
The elderly lady, Machwena, passes, and we wave. She comes over to us, and thanks us for our hospitality. "It has been long since... I walked among mortals. ... You spoke of 'Lanthil.' Might I visit there sometime?" Tom offers to take her there with us, or to give her tokens whereby she, as a witchwalker, can find her own way there. He forebears from asking her why, but she explains anyway. She needs to find the fay of the Golden Blood, and it seems to her that Lanthil would be a good place to start from. We understand, and smile at her as she leaves.
More nephilim pass by, including the remaining members of the Council. We wave. Our especial friends, Braeta, Desmond, and Greywolf, disembark last. Braeta hands Tom an old, worn (but still heavy) gold coin, as a token of her thanks, "should you ever need it."
We are now nephil-free.
Tom plucks his calling card from Dafnord's pocket, changes its script to "To Tom, From Morniesul," and hands it to the elf, with a quick explanation of how it works. In return, Morniesul gives a Terraform Reach telephone card to Tom, which Tom can use ... whenever he's in the neighborhood. Morniesil then disembarks for the chocolate plantation, and we're down to the basic pantope crew. Tom picks his favorite (for now) bookmark, and we totter off the pantope at the ranch (in sequence), to sleep, bathe, eat, sleep, unpack, eat, whatever.
We settle in. Dafnord orders a dress dummy to hold his Destino uniform, and leans back to enjoy "Amazon Kendo Queens VII," which arrived in our absence. Brunalf races off with the new "Nekodo" video. Kate's teeth are clean. Dafnord orders an instructional system, "How to Build a Log Cabin." Tom fusses with the pantope.
At dinner, after a week of these indulgences, Tom opines that the pantope might be easier to fix if it were connected to Lanthil. He also confesses that he had promised to scout out the borders of Lanthil, and check on its other folks, at the First Council of Lanthil, and that he should really do that. We agree. Robbie helpfully points out that it might help the repair process if Tom has a Marginalia or two on board. We all decide that we would be happy to go to Lanthil, to see its progress from Moving Day to ... Later. We note that we can always come back, even if the pantope is elsewhere, via the mirror.
That evening we pack, and get a good night's sleep. In the morning, we eat, then step into the pantope, and connect to a stretch of beach on Lanthil, about a year after Moving Day. Our window shows us that the docks, the town, and the castle have all been built up startlingly. In fact, we're not actually on the beach, but on a newish dirt road that had been part of the beach. Nearby are elvish cottages. We shift to the far end of the beach, open a door, and exit.
Tom, Ganner, Robbie, Kate, Katherine, Markel and his dragon, Daphne, Brunalf in his egg, a gargoyle, and Dafnord holding a high-tech bucket, sniff the salt air of our land.
We walk closer to the growing town. It's a classic fishing village, if your taste in fishing villages is eclectic. Some of it is Victorian gingerbread village, some of it is Greek stucco village, and some of it is straight out of Snow White, right down, or up, to the sod roofs.
It's a short walk, and we enjoy the cloudless sky, and the scenery lit by the Lightfall. There are a couple of docks, and some small boats are being built. Tom doesn't see a special place to park the pantope, so he leaves it where it is. As we stroll along, we're recognized (We are a distinctive group.) and many people wave. We wave back.
Soon, half a dozen Silver Service guards from the castle come to greet us. They and their mounts are not as well matched as before, but they are definitely recognizable. They greet us politely, and offer us the use of their horses for the trip up to the castle, where Daewen, Chris, and Nick are now living. We look up and up at the castle. It's going to be very classic, we can tell; it has a very fay cast to it. For now, though, it also has a lot of scaffolding and dwarves.
We accept the invitation, some four of us on horseback, and start to wend our way up the gentle road. The elf captain gallops on ahead, to give some warning of our arrival. We pass the World's Largest Inn, which strongly resembles the house in Vinyagarond. It's on the edge of the large, open area that is going to become the Great Square in the downtown area. Telepathically, Tom assures a fretting Dafnord that we're in sequence, probably.
There are Ennorathi and Marginalia working by the road; they wave as we go by. We walk east along a canal or river, and watch six elves pole an enormous barge down stream. They've got to be using magic; that barge is too big and heavy to be moved just by those poles and the river.
Our road does several switchbacks to get up to the castle at an easy incline, and we come to the first. We cross the river by going up and up a bridge (It's been designed for future use, when the water traffic is bigger.), and now travel to the west. When we get to the cliffs there, we switch to the east and so on, climbing back and forth. There are dwarves here, energetically (of course) building in stone. Out to the east, we can see a lot of cultivated land, and some large cattle.
Markel and his dragon fly up and circle around. They spot various kind of game, including giant deer with enormous horns. Using them as a measure, Markel realizes that the cattle are really, really big. (Irish elk and ? Our guide, Fallataal, explains that Lady Mithriel and her friends go out and get them from "a safe place." Have they been raiding the San Diego Zoo?)
After an hour or two of easy riding, we reach the outskirts of the castle, with thatched huts, and stone huts with oversized square doors that have to be dwarven work. There are people everywhere, and we realize that this is a full-sized town. That makes the castle absolutely huge.
We hear the clatter of shod hooves, and find that two Silver Service guards (One of them is the captain who rode up ahead of us.), Daewen, and Aelvenstar have ridden down to greet us.
"We're back," says Tom. He explains that we came by pantope, but that it needs fixing, so we'll be here for a while.
Daewen rushes to apologize for the giant castle; the dwarves took over. We nod understandingly, and explain about the ranch. She says that there is a Minoan section and that we're welcome to stay there and use that. Tom asks where her rooms are. Apologetically, she points to the very tall tower with the pointy golden roof. It's at the top of that. For herself, she explains that she moves among her tower, her Minoan suite, and the treehouse by using the paths in their respective closets. There are people living in hovels of twigs, and they insisted on making her these...
"Could Father Padraic help?" asks Tom. Daewen smiles much too brightly, and responds "Maybe you can see him. Later." Eventually we round a corner, and see the "Minoan section" of the castle. Traditionally, you get six or seven levels of palace built into a hillside. Here, there are thirteen or fourteen such levels. Dwarves again. Dafnord is reminded, "Is Tethykles here?" "No, he's either down in the harbor, or out on the seas in his boat." This is the answer Dafnord wanted; Tethykles is no longer cursed to remain on land.
We dismount, more or less stiffly. People pop out of the castle to take the horses, and, if we aren't firm, our luggage. There are Ennorathi, Marginalia, and, uh, other, uh, folk. A kaleidoscope of people greet us; we smile and shake hands.
Daewen leads us towards suitable quarters. We will be staying for a while, so we each should actually think about where we want to settle in. Daewen assures us that we should all visit the First Homely House sometime. Sure. We start putting things away. Tom does get around to mentioning that we were able to help his friend Braeta.
Luncheon is served. We all, including a few members of the Silver Service, sit down to a lovely spread, with nice, dry crackers readily available. Tom nibbles a series of crackers, and briefly describes what we've been doing. In sum: A planetful of demi-gods owes us a big one. We've ticked off a bunch of dragons. (Again.) They bent the "Metaphor." Tom moves into the after-dinner slide show, imaging several dragons, including the Bronze King. Daewen remarks that some of them look Patalan, but that others look, hmm, like aliens. Tom displays images of several varieties of the ships we saw, many at far too close a range. He finishes with a picture of the Great Sucking Noise from Destine.
Tom now shifts to more general discussion. He expects to be charting the borders of Lanthil. Daewen admits that they need to be charted. Fallataal remarks that some places are dangerous, and goes off to get what maps they have. We ask if the giant deer are really Irish elk. They are; Mithriel has been getting them from Ice Age Earth. And the large cattle are aurochs, but they are not domesticated cattle. Their numbers are kept in check by smilodons and tigers and really big bears. To keep them in check, there are these giant hervibores that frequently stand erect, which have these massive claws. And there are the hunters.
Dafnord raises an eyebrow. "Have Others arrived?"
Not really, is the answer. Daewen explains that Egge's husband is from early Western America (A cowboy!), and he described longhorn cattle, herding, and rustling. It gave Mithriel these ideas. Unfortunately, when they, ah, brought a herd of longhorns into the upper meadows, they also got some Indians, and perhaps cowboys, too, and these men are not tractable. They're going to decide what to do about them next week. Meanwhile, they have ten thousand people to feed, every day. It has not helped that Jonathan has gone walkabout. What were Tom's plans, again?
Tom plans to settle in, repair his pantope, and then help by doing the boundaries.
Daewen thinks he should do them by going widdershins, except that the Endless Sea is deasil from here. Still, she adds brightly, the Back of Beyond is widdershins.
Tom needs workshop space as well as a few rooms to live in. Daewen explains that his stuff from Vinyagerond is in the tower with the pointy, copper top, near hers, and that his living space is just below it. He looks up at his workspace, and decides that Daewen's use of closets would make sense for him too. At least the kitchens are at the bottom of his tower.
It's time to move the pantope into Tom's workshop. Tom flys up to his tower, and Robbie flys down to the "Metaphor" to be in it when Tom whistles it up, and to check it out. After all, we did leave the door open. Tom pings Robbie, and Robbie reports that the interior, especially the tent, looks a little "rumpled." Robbie loudly announces that he's going to fold up the tent. Suddenly a mole-like shape burrows under a series of pillows, and a child-shape runs out of the tent and the pantope.
Robbie signals the all-clear, and the pantope lurches into its new home. There is an "eep" from behind some emerald rubble in the back. Robbie reaches to pick it/him/her up, and it flees out the door, where Robbie halts it with Qui levitation. Tom grabs it and pulls it into the room, and discovers that he's holding some sort of street urchin. This provokes Kate into lofting up into the tower. The kid hides in the cluttered workshop, but is quickly found with presence telepathy. So this is Terian. Tom leaves him with Kate, and steps into his pantope to check it out. Kate chats with Terian about the exhilaration and terror of flying, and takes him down to the kitchens. They eat. Fallataal explains that Terian is a beach rat, and an orphan rescued in some exodus or other. Kate finds out that he is not an adventurous sort, and that he felt he was doing well where he was. So, with a little effort, we rustle him up some sturdy clothes, some more food, and Kate flys him back to his particular stretch of beach. Kate wonders vaguely if she should have weighed and tagged him before releasing him.
Over the next week, our heroes pick out their rooms, and train. Kate quickly settles in with her drapes. Tom really doesn't want to live in a tower; rooms in the Minoan section near his friends seem much more attractive, so he does that. Markel really wants a tower with a flat roof for a dragon's landing platform. A little consultation gets him temporary quarters in an unfinished tower, and they'll modify another new tower as his actual apartments, but it will take a few months. Dafnord stalks through entire stretches of landscape, looking for just the right place for a log cabin.
Nicholas knocks on Kate's door. He says that he's come to ask for her help with this problem he has. She invites him in, and he explains. He has been trying to get allies for Lanthil, and he believes he's found one.
Tighmark is a place like Lanthil, except that it's a buffer between Faerie and Earth, with stable connections to both. Nick had first made contact with them via their embassy at Elvencrown. He and their ambassador have worked out a Treaty of Acknowledgement, which binds neither land to any obligations, but it is a first step. He has two copies, which have already been signed by Daewen, et al., and which need to be taken to Tighmark, to be signed by their Prince Marshal and Princess Marshaline. They would keep one set, and the other set would return here.
What Nick wants is for Kate, and perhaps a few others, to take the treaty to Tighmark. All she has to do is take a coach across Faerie to Elvencrown, and then take the road to Tighmark. Naturally, it would be best to do this within the context of an Occasion, and Nick has one in mind. There will soon come the birth of a high elven baby, the child of the Lord and Lady of Oakley at Aikenyard. We'll go, we'll pay our respects, and we'll bring a present, which Nick has already decided on. We'll do diplomatic things, and have a good time.
It sounds simple enough, and, with the promise of a comfortable coach, Kate agrees.
What could possibly go wrong?
©2002,2005 Ann Broomhead and Earl Wajenberg. All Rights Reserved.