The Logs of the TDFS Tindome
Chapter 107: Dinner and Post-Prandial Activities
Jane (the current Wendy) and Curly Joe (the head Lost Boy) join Sam in sitting near Black Wolf. Bavor decides to set with a group of elves from Over the Rainbow, a wooded section of Lanthil across the River from the Castle. Aldamir finds a group of Silver Service and Coast Guard personnel, whom he hopes will bring him up-to-date on the history and current events of Lanthil. Eïr sits near the three Darkholmians, Mirian, Jethar, Aelvenstar, and Black Wolf. Eric sits with Toma and the Islands ambassador. Mandorak sits with Fallataal and his crew, while our Captain Finwë consorts with the other captains. Silmir makes a beeline for the elves of the Last Homely House.
Eïr breaks the ice by asking Black Wolf about medicines of the Americas. It turns out that he does speak some of the local language. Sam adds in that she thought that Silver Elk's people had customs similar to those of Jakar Toka. He agrees, that, from the viewpoint of the elves, the two sets of customs might seem similar. Sam admits that she does not know much of the customs of her adopted people. This comment pleases him for some reason.
Aldamir asks his tablemates, "Are the waters peaceful? Have there been disturbances in Harbortown?" The harbor area itself has been peaceful, but there was some trouble with sirens, widdershins from there. "Nothing happening on the Chaos Shore?" No, it is only that the Shores themselves have moved farther away. It makes trouble only for the mapmakers. It is impossible to tell if Chaos is withdrawing from us because the Summerlands have, or because Chaos is retreating before us. "To be perfectly honest," adds one of the Guard, "something is stirring up the Darklings from the Back of Beyond." He further explains that the Back of Beyond is the far side of Lanthil, near the Bight, which divides the Endless Ocean from the Open Sea. The Oakley asks if the darklings have encountered anything like the Lilim. "Yes." Various Coast Guarders volunteer that we are now detecting more traffic on the Open Sea, moving in our direction.
Mannie learns much the same information from his position. He asks about the "building program." He is assured that it is progressing well, but that it is not to be spoken of with foreigners present. Eyes flick toward the Darkholmians and the Sky Islanders. In return, the dwarf describes our adventures at Skull Island. Reminded of the grapes that we gave to the Skullers, he asks if there is a vinyard nearby. There are three areas. One near the Last Homely House, one at Over the Rainbow, and one (producing a rather coarse vintage) out in the Prairielands.
Mannie considers aloud whether the Skullers would prefer table grapes. Aldamir joins the conversation, since he is the only person to actually speak with them. Pressed, he admits that many of them seemed middle-aged, although the Scarlet Cockerel seemed more of a teenager. He volunteers to discuss the possibilities with the grapes.
Then the Coast Guards mention Captain No Man, a prince, and self-appointed privateer, who feels entitled to make war upon intruders into his ocean. The prince travels by a sub-marine ship. Rather like ours – oops, we shouldn't mention that. Aldamir points out that Skull Island once was home to a giant, who was bested by a pirate-like mariner, who was a king on his own island. The two may be related.
Eïr asks Black Wolf if any of his people's healers came with him. (Aelvenstar translates.) No. Two of his warriors were from families of medicine men, but none who were properly trained. She asks about herbs, and learns that they have been able to find only a few of the herbs they were familiar with. They have enjoyed hunting the new, really large animals, but have learned to be cautious of the deer, some of which can speak. They have learned not to hunt the spirit animals.
Black Wolf mentions that the White Eyes in his own world have no respect for the living things there. "They will kill a tree only because it blocks their view." Eïr talks of her own lands, and of the dragons there. She shows him her little picture book of herbs and their uses, and suggests that the warriors with medicine backgrounds might use such books.
The dinner draws to a close. Daëwen and the Ambassador draw away from the others, speaking quietly.
Mannie spots Jethar out in the gardens, and joins him. "Good evening, Jethar. Did you pick up anything interesting from the Darkholmians?" "No, actually. They were being very guarded." "Could they suspect that people understand their language?" "Possibly, but it seemed that they were bothered by the large number of foreigners.' They don't like foreigners."
Between dinner and supper, Aldamir goes out looking at the trees. Aelvenstar encounters him, and drags him off to show him this grove of giant trees. They are huge, larger than sequoia, and Aelvenstar explains that they are older than Lanthil itself. He leads Aldamir into a magical lift, to the top of the butte. He shows the Oakley various apartments in the trees, a community that he has been building for fifteen years. Aldamir is envious. This is bigger and finer than the Dower Grove at home (although this one may not be older). Aelvenstar leads him to his apartment in his favorite tree, and offers him some of the winter wine.
Among the trees are some mallorn. (!!!) Aelvenstar suggests that some of the saplings might follow Aldamir home. Oh, he would like that so very much. Aldamir converses with the tree. It is ancient and very slow. It is a tree coaxed out of Chaos by the desperate hopes of the Marginalia, and Aldamir is honored to exchange greeting with it – however long it takes.
Out in the gardens, Samantha indulges her exuberance. She stretches her legs, then runs, then performs tumbling stunts over the banisters of the Knossos part of the building. She is joined in this by Mithriel, an equally exuberant elf. "Are you enjoying yourself, dear?" asks Mandorak. That is enough. She tumbles over, and taps him before he can dodge. "You're it." She bounds away. Mannie is three stories up, and has no intention of following her in this aerial environment, so he tags Bavor. The Brissingalf leaps eagerly after the lovely young ladies.
Updated: Jan 4, 2009
©2002, 2006 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.