The Logs of the TDFS Tindome
Chapter 23: Fire and Water
Dive stations? Mannie heads for Engineering. He examines the bottom from
the lower port. "Captain?" Mannie gets on the tube. "Although the harbor
is deep enough to hold us, it does get more shallow as we approach the mouth
of the harbor."
Bay holds Eïr's patient steady, and the two of them maneuver the stiffened body into the nearest berth – Eïr's.
Teller examines the area with his Third Sight. He finds that the floor of the bay gets cooler as it gets deeper – except for that bit over there. It' s shimmery as if it were hot, but it doesn't really seem to be hot, as the Marginalis studies it more closely. She follows the captain as he dexterously slips into the lower bridge, and sets the telegraph to "Dive."
Mannie asks, "Captain? Did you hear what I said?"
The ship slants down. Then it starts a turn, and Mannie compensates for the banking motion that the combination imparts on their vessel. Eïr and Bay strap in their unconscious guest. Eric frantically seals all the portals. He then grabs hold of a railing, in anticipation of…
The second ship fires its cannon, and the cannonball passes right through the air where the Tindomë had just been. It strikes the water, and disturbs our ship slightly.
Eric spots Micah and one of the young women dashing out of the lower observation deck. He checks the room; it's empty. He seals it.
Teller informs the captain that that quivery splotch is a Door. The captain ignores him. He then mindspeaks to Mannie. "Go there. It's a door."
"I'm a dwarf. I know rocks." He looks very closely at what definitely appears to be rock formed by lava, and hasn't yet cooled down. He lobs some ectoplasticized water at the area. It splats like goo on a rock.
The ship continues to head, underwater, for the mouth of the harbor. Teller continues to want to examine that spot. "There! There!" He points and mutters as he paces back and forth. Eric and Sam try to herd people into rooms with solid walls, and things to hang onto.
With his second sight, Mannie continues to scan the underwater scene. "Captain," Bay arrives in Engineering.reports Mannie, "It's going to be tight, but I think we can make it through the mouth without exposing the ship." He spots another cannonball in our vicinity, shedding bubbles, but it's missed us. He can tell that we're leaving a slight wake up on the surface.
Teller tells him to make the water quiet. He can't, and he knows it. Teller tries to get him to "pattern" the water, but Mandorak still can't understand the idea. Teller's insistence, however, triggers his memory of Windkey. "You mean, like Windkey?"
Teller performs his own patterned windkey, and the wake disappears. "Smooth," says Teller. "The water sleeps. It doesn't know we're here."
The elven ship in fact speeds up a little. Mannie examines the underwater area for a chain blocking the mouth, but doesn't see one anywhere.
Eric feels a strong desire to go up. Instead, he goes down, and looks through the forward observation window. The ground is rising, but the ship isn't. He grabs a speaking tube, and informs the captain that we have to rise. The captain acts on the new information. The telegraph clangs, and the ship tilts up.
Mandorak moves his viewpoint aft of the ship's position. He can see that, although we are still entirely underwater, we do produce a raised mound of water over us. We need to be lower, and Bay sets us to skimming just over the glowing sand that floors the harbor. Another cannonball strikes the water just in front of us. The captain produces an elvish expletive.
Teller makes a waterspout behind us. It spins, and starts sucking water up into itself. The warm water fuels it nicely. He gives it a push in the direction of the ships tracking us, and the waterspout heads off across the harbor.
We rise partly out of the water at the crossing of the bar (despite the opinion of the head engineer), and then head back down the other side. No cannonball greets us. The telegraph from the captain signals us to slow down, and we obey.
We now have more people on board than we had ever planned on. People cautiously start moving about.
"Who are you?" Mandorak asks of the young man with the squirrel.
"I'm Aldamir. I'm from Tighmark." Mannie looks blank.
Bavör recognizes the name. "Tighmark? On the marches of Faerie?"
"Why, yes. Where are you from?"
"We're from Lanthil."
"Good. Ahhh… yes, good!"
"You've heard of Lanthil?"
"All my life. One of my godmothers was the ambassador from Lanthil."
We're impressed. We assume he means Daëwen.
Sam is there. She, on the other hand, had never heard of Lanthil.
Eïr has left Jacko to take care of her patient with the broken neck, and joins the others. She notices the squirrel on his shoulder. "Is that your squirrel?"
Yes," he says. He reaches up and scritches the squirrel just behind its ear. "This is Rillas. I've had him all my life."
"How'd you get here?"
"I was… trapped on Earth. I tried to get back to Tighmark on a ship that was… headed Out. There was a storm, and the ship was destroyed. I was picked up by pirates from the water. Are you going back to Lanthil?"
We have these other people on the ship, and we are still missing Sam and Micah's sister, so we don't think we are headed back home just yet.
Eïr focuses back on the squirrel. She explains how she came upon the squirrel, and how it let her to this bust. Aldamir recognizes the bust. "Does it talk?"
"I thought so. It must have been trying to get back to Lanthil."
"The Lady will know."
"Daëwen? She made my squirrel."
We explain that we can't return to Lanthil with these… ordinary people on board. We are also still missing one sibling. Prodded by this, Eric dowses over his maps for her, even though he doesn't have any object that belongs to her. He doesn't get any direction for her, but one of his maps feels better than any of his others. He sets it on top of the others, and we all peer at it. The writing on this map is arcane and inexplicable to most of us.
©2002, 2006 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.