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The Logs of the TDFS Tindome

Chapter 58: Customs Inspection

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

Captain Finwë, Eïr, and Nestoris wander back down to the dock, talking about, and struggling with things we don't have, like a cargo manifest. Nestoris explains that ships that have not yet cleared Customs remained segregated in a separate section of the harbor. Our captain is understanding.

The Inspector gets down to business. "Do you have anything that would enable you to engage in speculation?"

"Well, I don't know," replies Finwë. "It sounds too philosophical to be a problem."

"Don't you understand about ?" asks Nestoris, confused.


"Uhhh... At base, I am talking about methods of payment. Coin. Now, we use paper instead of coins. Do you have anything like that?"

In fact, we don't. Lanthil is a barter and gift economy. Our captain, however, is always willing to be helpful. "Our Mr. Wright, Eric Wright, is quite skilled at papermancy. He can make anything out of paper. Well, almost anything," he modifies, remembering the unfortunate situation with the travel permit at Darkholme.

He misses entirely that Nestoris blanches at his information

"Do you engage in coin speculation?" Finwë looks blank. "Admittedly, with gold coins, there isn't much sense in speculating, you know their purity and their weight..."

"Wonderful!" interrupts our captain. "Then there's no problem. We know their weight." Before Nestoris can comment, he explains, "I'm certain the coins we have are gold of high purity, and you should have tests..."

The Islander asks, "Do you have money that isn't coins... paper money?"

"Unfortunately, we don't have any of this...paper money, you said?"

Eïr protests, "It could burn!"

Nestoris explains, "We tend to use fabric fibers, or thin animal skins." He broods awhile, then declares, "We may have identified the first form of contraband... your Mr. Wright."

"Oh? You object to humans?"

"No, it's his ability. It would seem that he can duplicate paper money. Things that can make fraudulent copies of money are contraband, and your Mr. Wright can make fraudulent copies of money."

Eïr protests about this logic to our captain. "But, any warrior is capable of murdering any passer-by in the street, but no one restricts people on that basis."

"That is true. We restrict weaponry from criminals, and..."

"Wait!" Finwë has done some fast thinking. "You said you make your paper money from special fabric and skins?"

"Yes, but we make it into paper..."

"Then it's not a problem. Mr. Wright does not have a supply of this paper, so there can be no problem."

Nestoris halts, possibly because they have reached the gangway to the Tindomë. Finwë trots across it onto the ship. Nestoris crosses onto the gently bobbing ship with much greater trepidation. The Chief Engineer meets them on deck. "This is Mister Craggenhilt, our engineer," Finwë makes that and other introductions, then leads the Lt. Inspector down into the holds.

Finwë begins by proudly showing off our bolts of fabric. "These are nearly the color of the uniforms for the Silver Service. We got them in Darkholme." Nestoris tries to imagine a hollowware service dressed in any sort of clothing.

"This was given to us by the Lady, for our uniforms. ..."

Nestoris interrupts him, and asks about the stacks of barrels around them, "Is this the ?"

Our captain tries to power through the communications failure. "These barrels contain water, and those over there have Lanthilo water. In this next hold here, we have beer and wine...."

The Lt. Inspector spots a gnawed edge to a sack of nutmeats. "Would this have been done by vermin, or contraband?"

Finwë eyes the traces of rodent footprints in the corners. "Ah. A squirrel."

"A what?" asks Nestoris. Finwë describes a squirrel. The Islander recognizes it as a flivelrat. The captain resolves to have a discussion with Aldamir Oakley very soon.

The inspection belowdecks soon ends. Captain Finwë leads the way up on deck to meet the other crew members, the refugees, etc.

Nestoris brightly asks, "So, the Dark Gang is here?" He gestures to the people rescued from the pirates.

"Oh, no, these are those refugees we mentioned."

"Oh, yes." Nestoris explains what he meant by "Black Gang." Finwë leads him into Engineering, where they meet Bavör. The dwarf lets the two of them explore engineering. Finwë then points down to the air bridge and up to the sea bridge, and explains their functions.

Nestoris is confused that he is pointing up another level to the sea bridge. It is too far up. "I... but, that's the crow's nest. Isn't it?"

The captain cheerfully explains about engineering. He assumes that his explanation is understood, and leads the way up to the sea bridge. Here, Nestoris is bothered by the window. Finwë fixes the zoom feature back to normal.

"Ah! I must show this to my sister and her captain. They'll be fascinated."

Finwë points aft to the crew's quarters, and, lead the way again up beyond the Sea Bridge to the Conservatory, completely encased in solidified air. "All glassed in!"

"Well, it's not glass," (Our captain is scrupulous.) "which is made from molten sand. It's air." Finwë admires the space, then decides the ship needs to have a wheel here, because the view is great.

Nestoris has actually been examining everything closely, however gobsmacked he has been feeling. He regretfully explains, "Introduction of your craftsmanship (or craftsmen) onto our island would be very disruptive to our economy."

The captain quickly reassures him. "Oh, we can easily make an agreement about that. We are really just planning on selling... stuff. Oh, and our Mr. Wright is not to reproduce any local paper." Mentally, Finwë summons Eric, and Eric appears.

Nestoris explains what he is not to do. "Yeah, sure."

"There is very little my inspection shows needs to be of concern.. Your ship is very clean... and very spacious. It looks to be quite profitable to both of us."

"Well, we hope for more in the way of friendship and allies, than of profit."

"Our people are very mercenary." (This is a bit confusing to most of the Lanthilos. Bavör starts to explain about a trading economy to Mandorak.)

"Well, this has been very educational, and it looks like we have gotten off on two good feet."

Finwë informs Nestoris, "I am giving you a gift now, so I guess you will have to declare it to yourself when you leave this ship." He hands the Islander a bottle of elvish spring wine. "Don't worry. It won't make you bigger on the inside than on the outside."

Nestoris is actually a little bit relieved. He stands in the doorway, and looks at the curve of the ship on the inside, and on the outside, and on the inside again. It takes some getting used to.

Updated: 19-Jan-07
©2002, 2006 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.

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