The Logs of the TDFS Tindome
Chapter 55: Oh No, Not Again!
Captain Finwë carefully examines the elves on the flying ship through the viewing port. He directs Mandorak to break out the signal flags (from the port rear hold). Sam steps up out of the ladderway to let Mannie go by, but does not relinquish her grip on the rope banister.
The dwarf soon returns with a pair of signal flags. The captain hands them to Teller, who heads out onto the other side of the ship from Eïr. (No one has yet realized that she has been, and is still, signaling.) Teller holds out the two flags in one hand, and uses Windkey to flutter them.
The captain goes to maximum magnification, and examines the figures on the lead flying ship. There is a tall, determined woman. There is a young girl up on the bowsprit waving a banner. Two crewmen are heading towards her. Finwë asks that our ship cease climbing, and the Tindomë levels out.
The young woman spots the sailors coming towards her, and edges farther out onto the bowsprit. Finwë calls, "Mr. Forothon, please come to the bridge." Mannie trades places with Bavör, so that there is still someone in the Engine Room.
Meanwhile, the sailors have stopped chasing the girl farther out.
Finwë has our ship halted relative to the mini-armada. "Sam, where are Sarah and Micah?"
"They're still in our room, I think."
"Would you please check on them?"
Sam trots back down the ladder, then notices that a hatch has been left open. She pokes her head out, and spots Eïr, still waving her makeshift flag. They wave at each other, and Sam returns to her quarters.
The flying ships get closer. We can tell that various crewmen are now starting to carry longarms. "How bulletproof is this thing?" asks Aldamir.
"Mr. Forothon? Is this window solid?"
"Well, it's air." This comforts no one. Even so, no weapons are currently being aimed in our direction. Their ships glide closer.
Finwë asks Eric if he can send one of his paper airplanes to the nearest ship. Bavör looks on in mild astonishment; he can direct the paper wherever he likes. Aldamir writes a note ("Greetings, this is the Tindomë out of Lanthil, on a voyage of exploration. We seek friendship."), first in Quenya, and then in Sindarin, and hands it to Eric to fold up.
Meanwhile, Jacko has poked his head up the ladder. He volunteers to help. The captain asks if he know how to use signal flags. "Oh, aye."
"Could you go out, and signal 'Friend' to the other ship?"
"I should be glad to. The code of the Brotherhood do have a signal for that."
"Uh. That would be the Brotherhood of pirates, wouldn't it?" Jacko nods. "I think that is not the right sort of communication to use with people who've just shot at us."
"Ye may have the right of it."
"Where is Eïr?"
"Ah. She be waving a towel or summut, out on the port bow. She'll yelling, 'Hello.'" (When he had first heard that, Teller had begun calling 'hello' in as many languages as he could think of.)
We can hear various cries coming from the other ship, interspersed with calls of "Sofa."
Bavör takes the folded message outside, and TKs it over to the girl on the bowsprit. She grabs it, and loses her balance enough for her to drop her flag. Bay TKs her so that she doesn't slip off. The girl (Sofa? Sopha?) works her way off the bow, waving the paper over her head. Her mother heads firmly towards her, holding out her hand for the paper. The girl dodges around her, and dashes for the captain. She hands the note to him.
He takes a long time to read it, and only then hands it to the woman. She grabs it brusquely, and reads it. She turns and gazes up and over at our ship. The captain calls out. Their ship starts to rise and turn.
We watch with some trepidation as the vessel turns broadside to us. Any gunhatches remain un-opened.
The young girl suddenly spins away from the adults, and is over the edge of their ship in a twinkling. She slips into a rowboat-shaped object, and unties it from its parent ship. It drops, to our terror. Then it steadies, and Sofa unfolds a small sail, which promptly fills with a wind we cannot feel. The little vessel heads for the Tindomë.
Teller suggests that he can protect our ship by setting wards. Captain Finwë is adamant, however, that we do nothing that could be construed as aggressive or negative. "There will be no casting of wards!"
Bay offers to TK a line over to the lifeboat, and is also metaphorically stomped on by our Elvish captain.
The lifeboat sails through the air, closer and closer.
©2002, 2006 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.