|| Previous | Pantope Logs | New Blood Logs | Up | Next ||


The Logs of the TDFS Tindome

Chapter 57: An Aerial Landing

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

Sofa is pulled back onto her ship, and her little craft is stowed away. Sofa walks past her mother, and hands our note to the captain. The captain hands it to Sofa's mother. She reads it, hands it back to the captain, and the two of them talk.

Captain Finwë observes, "This is doing well, isn't it?"

Bavör tentatively agrees.

Meanwhile, a series of horns and whistles break out on the ship in front of us. The other three ships sail towards us, one above and two under. They maneuver until we're at the center of a tetrahedron. The lead ship aims away from us. A seaman on the stern waves a pair of flags at us, gesturing towards their bow. We follow. These ships do not seem to be aiming at the floating island. In fact, we circle the large island, and head for a small island in its lee. The flagman waves vigorously at the small island, at a large dock in the middle of the island. (The equator of the small island is at the same level as that of the large island.) We aim for it, and the ship in front of us glides toward a pier more to port.

The captain heads for an open area on the dock, with cleats and lines along the edge. A man emerges from a tall building like a lighthouse, and strides in our direction. We put Teller and Bavör to work warping our ship into docking position, and we are soon secured. Captain Finwë selects Eïr to accompany him (She may come even if he doesn't.) and leaves the Tindomë.

Only now does the striding fellow arrive. He is dark-haired, noticeably tall, and wearing dark slacks and loose white shirt. He is accompanied by two other men, who stand just behind him.

Bavör addresses him, and waves towards the oncoming elf. "This is my captain arriving now. This is Captain Finwe Nuüru ho Fanyarë Ciryandil."

Finwë nods and smiles. "Hello. We are here to visit your lovely land. Are there any details we should know about?"

The man introduces himself as Inspector Lieutenant Nestoris. "This is Port Carillon. Welcome."

"How nice to meet you," says Finwë. "Is there one here?"

He receives only a blank look.

"Oh, I'm sorry. 'Carillon' probably doesn't mean the same thing here. Where I come from, a carillon is a large musical instrument, housed in a large tower."

"My tower is used for signaling, replies Nestoris, somewhat apologetically.

Finwë natters on. "Does your title indicate law enforcement or port safety?"

"I am responsible for the customs function, I am the keeper of the signal tower, and I am the leader of this community. The Eagle signaled your arrival, but with little explanation. ... We could wait for their people."

Our captain agrees, "Yes, that seems wise."

There is the drum of footsteps hurrying along the dock. It's Sofa, running towards us. To stop herself, she grabs Nestoris, and swings around him. "Uncle, uncle! You've met the newcomers."

"This is my niece, Sofa."

"We've met. She delivered our letter to the Eagle."

She produces a letter and hands it to the Inspector Lieutenant. He tries to hand it back to her. "I don't believe this is addressed to me."

It is our letter. "Its contents are not secret," Finwë assures him. At the same time, Sofa protests, "They were through with it."

He then reads it through. He looks back up at us. "Lanthil, you say." He turns to his niece. "Give it back to your mother." Sofa takes the letter and actually leaves.

"Lanthil," he says again. "How does light fall?"

"From the sky. It is said that it comes from one of the seventeen heavens."

By now, various members of our crew have made their way off our ship. Nestoris asks, "Is it a fay land or mixed?" He eyes our motley-ness.

"Our people come from many places, but it is a fay land, and we are all the New Blood," declares the elf.

"Let us meet the others at my office," Nestoris suggests. He leads the captain, Teller, and Eïr towards the land. We are led into his office in the building, where he sits behind his desk. At his gesture, we sit too. In a moment, the door opens again, and Sofa leads in her mother, and the captain of the Eagle. Nestoris rises to his feet.

"Nethi, have you met Captain Finwë?" He makes further introductions, "Captain, this is Nethora, the owner of the Eagle, and its captain, Alastarn."

Sofa comes over and asks, "Is it Captain Finwë or Captain Ciryandil?"

"Captain Finwë would be best here." She nods.

Nethora nods a small bow. "Thank you for your courtesy to my daughter. She was perhaps a little... forward."

Finwë responds graciously. "Despite that, it gave us a wonderful opportunity to present ourselves to you." He then goes into the Standard Explanation of our travels. During the Explanation, Nethora walks over to Nestoris, and signals him to sit again. Her captain takes a chair in the corner. Teller and Eïr signal a certain Need, staring right at our captain. Smoothly, he connects to them telepathically.

"Chaos, hmm. You would be close to the Summerlands?"

"We are closer than you might think, but we are not connected to them."

"How is this?"

"In the past, we were connected to the Summerlands, but sometimes they are closed. This may be for reasons specious, or for reasons prosaic, or both."

"Since you know that, you might be of some assistance to us."

"We would provide assistance to you cheerfully, but our chief business is exploration. We have seen many interesting things, but none as surprising as your islands."

"We appreciate them very much ourselves, but they are not without their problems, especially now." Nestoris shifts the focus back to us. "You were not very specific about your purpose. Is it trade?"

"Knowledge is our primary goal, which can lead to trade. On our travels, we have found many items we would be interested in trading for. Although we are a new and poor land, we do have some things that other lands are interested in." A thought comes to our elf. "We have no military interests, I should tell you."

Nestoris admits, "Our land has had some two or three difficulties. Not all powers have proven friendly of late, and your ship is unusual."

"Yes," Finwë nods in understanding. "Its method of propulsion is very impressive to many. What method do your ships use?"

"Oh, ours fly by... native technology." The Inspector is clearly uncomfortable. He continues, "We have a certain instability, which has been growing for the past several years."

"How does this manifest itself?" Finwë blithely ignores the words he doesn't understand.

Nestoris looks around at his sister and her captain. They don't keep him from explaining. "We lost one of our islands."

Their problem is indeed serious. "Did it disappear or fall?" asks Finwë.

"It fell, after many tremors. We were able to evacuate all the people, but we lost some of the livestock. ... We are also being interfered with by the less friendly nearby powers."

"Do they have flying ships?"

"No. Yours is the only flying ship we've seen, but there are legends..." He explains that their vessels are sometimes attacked by pirates when they go sailing on the surface. (Surface sailing is the only way to enter other ports, and leaving ports makes them vulnerable, since lofting is a slow process.) The most common problem, however, were the unfriendly powers seeking to take over their islands. The Islanders had thought to seek help from the Summerlands, but found that the way to them was blocked.

Finwë suggests that, if we could learn how the islands floated, we might be able to understand about the < gobbledy-gook> failing. "Did you discover these islands, or have you always lived here, or did you construct them?"

"We found them. Our origins are lost, although there are many stories. ... I ... there are more things that could be said about this, but there are national security issues, and I must refrain."

"Could it be that whatever keeps these islands afloat is a resource that is now being depleted?"

No, they know it is not. "I'm no great physicist, but there is a more profound reason that keeps the islands here than that which makes our ships fly."

Finwë makes an astute observation. "If you didn't have to worry about your islands dropping, then incursions by people who can barely float a balloon at you would bother you less."

"That is true. But ... I apologize. It may be a problem communicating across our two different dialects. These unfriendly powers should not be referred to as 'people.'"

"Oh?" Finwë is noncommittal, but we too are faced with non-friendly "powers" which are more dragonish than peole-like.

Nestoris continues, "We had hoped to get to the Summerlands, who have been opposed to these unfriendly powers, and enlist their aid. What is the story of your land?"

Oh, it is really quite prosaic. We were seeking a new land. Our people had lived as guests in the Summerlands, but we were becoming less welcome there. There was politics involved. We undertook a diaspora, and entered a newly forming land. As our land became more well-defined, we found we had shores upon both the Open Sea and the Endless Sea. We were visited by traders from other lands. Since then, we've been open to many races. I should mention the Marginalia, rather our native race," he nods towards Teller, "who create Order out of Chaos. They are opposed by... ones I will not name. We have battled against them."

"These ones you cannot name..." Nestoris lets his voice trail off suggestively.

Finwë corrects him. "We can name them; I just choose not to." He makes an admission, and watches the reactions carefully. "They work with the dragon kin."

The Islanders seem more relieved than surprised. "Ah. There are the Patalans, and there are Others. The Patalans have links to the Summerlands. We can tell that our unfriendly powers seem to be dragonkin, so we sought to learn more of them from the Summerlands. Because we have failed to contact those more knowledgeable in the subtleties of the many kinds of dragons, we don't yet know who are behind these attacks. They did show up at around the same time as the instabilities."

Finwë leans over and talks with Eïr, adding words to the telepathy they had been using. He first explains that there is a term he hasn't been getting. They don't want to tell us how their islands and their ships work. They'd really like us to help them make contact with the Summerlands, but since those are closed against us, we can't do that. The two of them look at Teller speculatively.

Finwë warns Nethora that, although he can appreciate their reluctance to reveal the secrets of their island, we do need to learn about it before we can help them find a solution. "We have a Marginalis, and excellent engineers, and so may be able to help you. But we are not a warship."

Nethora nods. "I am but a single voice on the Council. I can make no agreements now."

"Please consult with the Council. We are also looking for trade, and would wish to establish diplomatic ties with these islands. You have lost livestock, you say, and we have an overabundance of livestock, aurochs, budgies, wolves... You could mention this to your Council."

"Yes, I shall consult with them. I shall let my brother perform his duties as head of Customs. This will be the first time we have ever received a ship that is not one of our own." She rises, and her captain rises with her. Sofa announces that she will stay here, to help. Her mother gives her a stare, but does not disagree. The two leave.

"Shall we invent the procedures for the Customs of the Sky Islands?" Nestoris asks.

Updated: 15-Dec-06
©2002, 2006 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.

|| Previous | Pantope Logs | New Blood Logs | Up | Next ||