Journey to New Europa
Chapter 42, Discussions with Morrolan
We left our heroes re-exploring the soft spot in the bedroom that leads to another dimension. They were doing this by way of Tom's clairvoyance. The viewpoint is drifting through a scene of prismatic clouds in a sky of sky-blue pink, over nothing. He tries calling out telepathically but there is no response. Feeling around, he gets a faint sensation of presence, possibly even human. It's one he's felt before in this place. Whoever it is searching or groping; the contact across this dimensional gate is lousy. Or maybe Tom is just perceiving a sort of echo or reflection of his own question presence.
Suddenly, Tom feels a very BAD presence. Pounce. He breaks off contact. He saw nothing, but is quite sure he'll recognize that, whatever It was, should they meet again.
Mithriel reports that the soft spot now looks softer... Tom asks if something is trying to come through and Mithriel says she thinks so. We decide to try again calling Morrolan on the magic mirror. After three tries, we get a glimpse of Morrolan at an odd angle and an imperative "Shh!" Then things go black again and we hear rustling noises. We wait. The noises resolve themselves in train chugging.
Finally, Morrolan reappears, viewed from something he's holding in his hand. He says, in carefully elliptical language, that his own crisis is now in a respite, sort of, but he's still being very cautious. He agrees to a telepathic contact, for the sake of its advertised security. Tom promises to go easy.
Tom gently contacts down to verbal level. Once Morrolan gets used to that, the data starts to flow more freely: Recently, Tom Olam was flying over the North Sea in a Bavarian aeroship. He spotted what he described as a "guided missile" diving into the sea near a Prussian steam ship. Soon thereafter, they encountered a zeppelin. Olam believes that the Prussians, probably backed by the Unseelie, are trying to accelerate their technology to counter the Bavarian aeroships.
Consequently, the Countess is off consulting an Italian rocketry expert and Olam himself is doing espionage in Paris. Morrolan is now traveling by train through France after an unsuccessful attempt to contact Olam.
Would any of this have any connection to us? Perhaps. Tom gives Morrolan a quick data-dump of the feel of the three presences so far encountered in the other dimensions -- one human(?), one fay, one monstrous.
Morrolan sees a common thread of alien intrusion -- in Olam's case, anamundistic technology. He remarks that Rhyme, the dwarvish engineer who invented the spellcasting engine, has recently invented a miniature Babbage engine (clockwork computer) that might be used to steer a rocket like the Prussian one. Rhyme is a loyal Bavarian, but if he can do it, so might a Prussian or their tenebreous backers.
Morrolan is temporarily at loose ends. We offer to meet him in Dover and take him back to our place to pool knowledge. Salimar, Dafnord, and Mithriel stay at home to guard the soft spot and the rest of the crew are off to London to take the night train from Paddinton to Dover.
When we try to go to sleep on the train, Katrina and Robby notice that Kate is having another of her nightmares again. They wake Tom, who breaks out the dream monitor and we watch:
We are looking up at a beautiful lady, who resolves into Daewen. She wears a gown of blue, silver, and white, and stares off into the distance. She holds onto a railing, looking pensive or careworn. The clothes are of rather medieval cut. She wears an elaborate hair-do and a light crown. She definitely looks older than we recall She is looking out into clouds and twilight.
Kate reports later a spell of vertigo. The image shifts, but we are still looking at Daewen at a railing. Different railing, though -- metal, not stone, and she grips it tightly. She is dressed in black leggings and tunic, gazing out at a clear black sky. Her hair is in a single braid, and there is gray at her temples. Her face does not look aged -- not even as aged as in the first scene -- but very intense. She looks at something -- a watch? -- on her wrist, then out to a boat in a harbor with water so clear, the boat seems to hover. The boat looks elvish-made, with folk in the rigging, all in blue. A second ship comes into view. The second ship is a zeppelin, and we now realize the first ship WAS floating in the air. There is no water, no ground. All is sky. There's another bout of vertigo for Kate here.
A spaceship of some sort comes on the scene, decelerating with grossly unnatural speed. It is beautiful, curvy and winged. We now see many vehicles out there, of many designs. Daewen looks down and we now see there really IS water, just further below. A real boat floats in it. There are wharves and docks, and reflected stars. The horizon seems very close and the sky is full of ships.
Looking back, Kate sees a fantastically built castle, all spindly, silver minarets, built on a foundation of native stone, which shoves out into the harbor to form the central pier.
Another spell of vertigo. We are back at the first scene. Daewen looks over a railing into a harbor, but it is a different railing, and apparently a different harbor -- twilight, not starry night, and the twilight reflected brighter in the water than it shows in the sky. There are clouds and mists about, and the castle, this time, is just made of fitted stone, nor is there a stony pier in the harbor.
Kate -- or rather the person or character whose viewpoint she sees -- looks down at her hands. They are small, as of a child of ten, but weathered and work-hardened. She -- or someone -- why such a great lady as this would ask her here. More vertigo, and Kate wakes.
Pondering it over in the train, on our way to Dover, Tom recognizes the blue and silver colors of Daewen's medieval dress as the colors she wears as a quasi-uniform for her place on the Silver Council -- a governing body of the Dreamtime, immediately predating the founding of Vinyagarond. There, she was their Lady of Love and War.
Well, not nightmares after all, but visions. Lacking anything better to do, we go to bed and wake up in Dover. We collect Morrolan, and turn around and catch the return train for Paddington and home.
Once home, we show the dream log to Mithriel and the soft spot to Morrolan. He remarks that the strands of magic are longer here, longer than the space they appear to occupy. It's rather as if what you saw in a crystal ball were real.
We show him the magic mirror we've been using to call him and ask if he could use it to call Olam. Capital idea! Who shall we call first, then, Olam or Auberon. Oh, Morrolan wouldn't recommend calling Auberon directly.
...Oh. (We've been doing just that.) Well, does he have a secretary? Yes, name of Robin Goodfellow. (How classic.) We call up Robin Goodfellow and surprise him at lunch. Since the mirror seems to connect with the nearest reflective surface, we find ourselves looking up at R.G. from his soup. He is naturally disconcerted, high elf or no. After we get over that, he asks us to call back in a hour's time, to arrange an appointment with Auberon. (Maybe we should have gone on calling direct.) We make sure that he understands we are not asking Auberon to talk to this particular bowl of soup, then ring off.
Olam is unreachable. Drat the fellow, this is turning into a habit.
We begin to wonder where the fays got this mirror, since so few of Auberon's court seem to be expecting it. Morrolan remarks that Rhyme has one, so we could ask him where he got it. We have Morrolan call the dwarf up. Rhyme is, he says, in the midst of delicate and dangerous experiments, so sod off. Before Morrolan sods off, though, we learn that Rhyme got his mirror from a cousin.
©1984, 1994, 2005 Earl Wajenberg. All Rights Reserved.