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The Logs of the TDFS Tindome

Chapter 56: The Divane Miss Sofa

by Ann Broomhead

New Blood Logs:

Tom Noon's Tale


In Chaos

Voyages of the Nones



Mother Goose Chase

Ancient Oz


Adventures of the Munch

Lanthil & Beyond

"Mr. Forothon, please bring me my bow from my stateroom," says the captain. "We have enough refugees on board."

Eïr and Aldamir object to his apparent course of action. "Do you think it will help things to shoot that little girl in front of her mother?"

Bavör returns with the bow, but no arrows. Finwë snatches the bow with poor grace. He studies the youngling as she comes closer in her boat, rising to their level at a fair rate. She will be alongside in a few minutes. The captain uses his psychic link to direct Bay back to the Sea Bridge (the upper bridge). He observes, "Only Teller is there now, Mr. Forothon. I rely on you." (Teller left the flags waving themselves, and returned inside.)

The other three flying ships rearrange themselves into a flattened wedge behind the lead ship. The boat approaches at an unusually high speed, given the winds. Finwë continues to examine its occupant. Is she Elvish or not? She has pale skin, brown hair, and rather ordinary ears. She calls out, "Hellooo, the ship."

"Hail to the vessel. Who are you and how are you called?" calls Finwë in Quenya.

"I'm Sofa, and this is the Geer."

"What is your business, Sofa... of the Geer?"

"I'm not in business yet."

"Why have you come to my ship?"

"... Your ship is strange, and you were waving."

"Do you represent the people behind you?"

She pulls out a book and waves it. "Yes. Sometimes."

"So you represent them now? Or are you trying to escape?"

"... No and no."

Meanwhile, Eric is trying to remotely read the book she is holding. It seems to be very sparsely written. He concentrates on the first page: "The Gyrefalcon in full flight." He catches isolated phrases and an occasional sentence. It's very disjointed. She slips the book back into her pocket.

The captain continues his remote interrogation. "You appear to not have permission to be here."

"I know. That's I < gobbledy-gook>!"

Teller prompts him to ask, "Are you in any danger?"

"I hope not." She sighs, "?"

We look blankly at her.

"May. I. Have. The. Captain's. Permission. To. Come. Aboard. ?"

"You may." The captain instructs Teller to prepare the lines for docking. The little boat comes up to the port railing.

"Are you the captain, then?"

"I am Finwë Nuüru ho Fanyarë Ciryandil."

"Yes, he's the captain," Aldamir adds helpfully.

"And you are Sofa of the Geer," the captain notes kindly. Teller tosses her a line, which hovers in the air for her to take.

"I am Sofa Leah Nethra Ai Ah of the Gyrefalcon."

"And you may call me Finwë."

"Oh, good. Thank you." She looks, speculatively at the railing, and the rope. She grabs the rope and winds it onto a cleat.

The ship that had been broadside to us completes its "S" turn. The ship that had been above it is now down to its level, and slightly behind it.

After looking dubiously at our deck, which looks more like a porch, she puts her foot up on the gunwale, and stays there, holding onto the line. She is significantly shorter than Finwë and Aldamir, somewhat shorter than Eric, and taller than Eïr and Teller.

"Welcome aboard," says the captain.

"Finwë. Captain Finwë where does the Tindomë from?"

"Lanthil. It gleeps from Lanthil."

She looks up at the ship. "Lanthil!" she says in some surprise.

Aldamir says "Lightfall" in Sindarin.

Sofa knits her brows. "Which Lanthil?"

"The one that is a new kingdom," suggests Aldamir.

"A whole kingdom in a lanthil. It sounds lovely."

"I've never been there," admits Aldamir.

She looks at him oddly. The captain introduces him and the others, "This is Mr. Wright, Eïr, Mr. Teller, and Aldamir, the Oakley."

She bobs a bit, which might be a curtsy, "Pleased to meet you."

"Is there any reason why you will not leave your ship?" asks Finwë mildly.

"Well, my..." she pauses. "There are quite a few of you, and it might make some people nervous." She looks at the ship she'd left. We look too, and observe the stern-looking woman glaring in our direction. Among the activity on board, there are still musketeers and sailors looking at us.

"Belated caution," mutters Aldamir, suggesting a sensible motivation for Sofa.

"Perhaps it would be best if you took a message back from us to the other ships," offers Finwë."

"Oh, what a lovely idea."

"What is this place called?" asks Aldamir, gesturing to include both islands, and any others that might be nearby.

"We are usually called the Isle of the Sky." Eric nods; this was on his map.

"We have sent one written message already. I gather you received it," mentions Finwë.


Finwë is confused, but firm. "We sent you a paper airplane, and you caught it. You gave it to the captain."

"Oh, that was the strange little paper arrow."

"We are on a voyage of discovery, and come in friendship. We would like to meet the dignitaries and officials of your island. Do you live on the island?"


"Mr. Wright, could you please give Aldamir a piece of your paper, and a writing instrument." Eric hands the oak elf a sheet of paper, but Aldamir produces his own pen. Finwë starts to dictate a message. "We send greeting to the ships of the Isle of the Sky. We request permission to land on your lovely island. We are on a voyage of exploration and diplomacy on behalf of our new land, Lanthil."

Meanwhile, Eïr asks Teller to ask Sofa if there is anything we can do to mitigate the amount of trouble she will be in. Teller translates between the two short females.

"Well, if I knew more about this lanthil..."

"Do you know of Lanthil already?" asks Teller. "Which one do you know about?"

"Perhaps I don't understand. Your speaking is very strange. There are many lanthils even on our own island."

"You have a lightfall? That's my home," interjects Teller on his own.

Eïr describes it. "There is light coming down like a large waterfall, and it is the only light we have, so we live in a twilight."

"Oh, I misunderstood. Until I heard 'lanthir' and 'lanthil' I thought you meant 'waterfall.'"

"No. Lightfall."

Aldamir adds another tidbit of information. "I'm told it's near the edge of Chaos."

"I'm from there," explains Teller.

"Oh, that's good. Perhaps you'll be able to tell us something of ."

We look confused. "Could you re-phrase that?" asks Aldamir.

"I keep thinking that we're speaking the same language, and we're not," says Sofa apologetically. "I don't know how to say it in small words."

"Can someone speak in your mind?" asks Teller, ready to volunteer.

"No, I don't think so. We are having troubles around here. Since you're from near Chaos, maybe you've heard of our problems. They're a little chaotic."

The captain hands her the completed message and urges her to take it to her ship. She agrees, and tucks the message away in the pocket with her book.

Our captain wishes her, "Fair breezes."

She waves our message at us, and offers, "Clear water."

She puts the paper away again, twiddles her line and the rudder, then her boat drops quickly away from the Tindomë.

"I want one of those," observes the captain.

They all head back to the Sea Bridge. The captain asks, "Teller, what did you do with the flags?"

"I left them waving."

"Could you please bring them in? We were using them to reassure the ships that we were friendly, and now we're using more exact means to convey that now."

"I will do that, captain. Do you think they will be nice to us?"

"Either they will respond favorably to our note, or... it's been nice having you on board."

Teller, who does not understand irony or cynicism, becomes angry at this impugning of his skills. He stalks away from the captain.

Sam observes this pantomime, and asks Eïr about it. Eïr assures the human girl that the two were just having an argument. Sam reports that her brother and sister are still well, then asks what happened while she was belowdecks. Eïr explains about Sofa, and the ships, and their possible problems with Chaos.

Sam sighs philosophically. "It seem like this isn't the same ocean we set sail on. I know it seems silly to say that this isn't the Atlantic, but the Atlantic doesn't have floating islands, either."

"I know what you mean," agrees Eïr. "I shouldn't have tangled with that dragon..."

"Dragon? Then I guess it's pointless to say anything about the Bermuda Triangle. You won't know what Bermuda is."

"I do," interjects Aldamir.

"Really? I thought you were an elf. What would you know of Earth?"

"I'm doing graduate work. I'm also a tourist. Roughly speaking, I got here when I left university in England. How I get home is a bit... unconventional. There are ships that only people like me can take."

"I would think that you would stick out in England."

"Oh,no, not at university. I just mix in with the Indians, and the West Indians, and the androids, and the semi-folk..."

"That doesn't sound like England to me."

"What do you know about England?"

"Well, I've never been there. Tea and crumpets. The Union Jack. The queen."

"Queen. Which queen?"


"Which Elizabeth?"

"The second."

"Oooooh." Aldamir now realizes that there is a gap of several hundred years between then, and not just an ocean or two. "Ah. I was visiting Britain in the twenty-sixth century, and it sounds like you're from the twentieth century."

"The twenty-first, actually. But you still don't look British. You're really very tall."

"Tall runs in the family, as does being dicotyledonous," admits Aldamir placidly.

"Your eyes and ears don't look right," Sam protests.

"Oh." Aldamir realizes that his appearance has probably drifted away from human norms. He sweeps his hands over his face, and his face now looks more mundane.

"So, what do you know about the Bermuda Triangle? Do they still talk about it in the twenty-sixth century?"

Aldamir has lapped up every folklore course he could find. He nods and smiles. "The problem is not just in the Triangle."


"There are all kinds of ways of vanishing, even when you don't mean to..."

Eïr rejoins the conversation. "That's what happened to me. It was a green dragon, but it was a small one. I'd know its mother, but we weren't on the best of terms. She did something. I deflected it. Then... things happened, and I was here. It was better than what she had planned for me."

"Real dragons? With fire?"

"No, no fire. But with poison."

"You know how one ocean turns into another, and how this one could have been the Atlantic?" She looks from one to the other, hoping for a real answer.

"There used to be these large gates in the Atlantic," explains the elf. "They'd lead to Atlantis. I usually take a ship that is just for our kind. Things went very wrong; there was a large storm. Perhaps it was the same storm you encountered."

"Not five centuries apart. Ummm, does this have anything to do with chaos?"

"Oh, yes. My country borders on Chaos."

"It's a place?"

"Yes. Actually, Chaos is where places end. In my country, if you go in a particular direction, the mountains just get higher and higher, and then gravity seems to curve, and locality breaks down. Then the mist creeps in, but it's not mist because it bubbles too much, and then you're in the Chaos Marches. It's not full-fledged Chaos, of course. But some skilled... beings can shape Chaos. It takes a very powerful wizard, or some sort of metaphysical being to make a rift between the worlds. I'm not one of them, of course, but lesser beings can use these rifts. ..."

Sam is looking glazed over. Aldamir has been enjoying himself enormously; he never gets to talk to mundane people about things like this. He now notices her disorientation, and suggests, "Let's get you a cup of tea."

Updated: 8-Dec-06
©2002, 2006 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.

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