The Logs of the TDFS Tindome
Chapter 87: It's Been over a Year; Surely They've Forgotten Us by Now
The Captain is now mostly upright, and it is time to troupe back to pick up our passes. (Yes, there's the bell.) We head out, leaving the Captain behind, to keep things simple.
We arrive back at the Prefecture of the Harbor, to meet with the Steward. Mannie mentions that we are there to see Hahltahn. There is the usual flourish of activity, and we are lead off -- to a different room -- by a brown-robed fellow. There is someone other than Hahltahn here, but this is the person who hands us our papers. Mannie asks about the Steward: "Hahltahn?" After a bit of back and forth, we are led (by yet another person) into Hahltahn's office.
"Yes?" Hahltahn asks.
"Excuse me for being a barbarian, and not understanding your ways, but are we done here?" asks the dwarf.
"You have your papers?" asks the steward.
"Then we are done."
"Then may I present you with this gift from the people of Lanthil." If we're done, we can give him a present.
"Are you leaving Darkholme now?"
"Then, no." He waves the wrapped package away. So we still don't understand these people.
Mandorak manages to salvage one item from this meeting. "Others have recommended that we visit the Temple of the Scrolls. Where is that?" Hahltahn does not look sanguine. "It is in the City, I take it?"
"Yes." Of course. We take our leave.
We return to the ship, and report our results and information to Captain Finwë. So we need to get permission to visit the city again. We head back up towards the city gate. It appears that it is market day. There are carts parked around, with merchants hawking assorted wares from them. Mannie checks the carts for interesting geegaws, but sees nothing special. Eïr, more practical, watches for people following us. She doesn't see anyone doing that, but she does spot an apparent pickpocket suspiciously close to Finwë. She grabs the urchin by the scruff of its neck. By the time Finwë turns around, she is only holding a wretched vest, and the urchin is fleeing down the road.
Eïr insists that the Captain check his pockets. Nothing is missing from any of them, but there is an additional piece of parchment in his pouch. He unfolds it, and deciphers the lettering produced by the spluttering pen. "Fellow[/countryman], Please help. Many of us are being held at this sign. [Picture of a scroll with a peculiar, geometric design.]" The signature is a fancy N with meaningless diacriticals. He folds the piece up again, and puts it in a different pocket.
Mannie makes an inquiring noise. "Later," replies the Captain.
We arrive at the Prefecture, where a guard hisses something at us. Captain Finwë shows him our papers. We are allowed to enter. Before any of the brown-robed clerks can reach us, a scurrying green-robed clerk comes up to us. The Captain explains, "We are visitors here, and we need to receive permission to pass through the Gate. We are here to meet the scholars who will be returning with us to Lanthil." He insists that we also need a clerk to perform translations for us.
There is a language struggle again, but we are soon led to a familiar door. We hand a Level One gift to the green-robed man, and smile and nod. Inside, we meet with the Prefect. We give him a Level Three gift; he was really nice to us last year. Soon, the green-robed man returns. He is to be our clerk. He translates for the Prefect. Finwë explains that we have returned here to complete our obligations. We are here to meet with the scholar who shall return with us to Lanthil.
The clerk asks, "Gate, City, and Palace?"
Yes, we will need permits to visit all three, since the temple where we are to get our scholar was on the palace grounds. A brown-robed clerk heads over to the filing area on the far side of the room, and starts selecting documents. We have the meaning of each document explained to us. Mannie asks our clerk, "Do you know how long we will have to stay here to complete our mission?"
"I have not been told." He checks the documents. "The permission depends on events, not the passage of time. No... time... limit. Ah. There is no time limit."
We also decide to acquire a merchant's permissions. Although we have not brought massive amount of things for trade, we do have a few things. This gets added in. Our clerk explains how to say thank you, which Finwë cannot even imagine pronouncing, and how to leave the Prefect's presense. Finwë makes his thanks in Elvish, which our clerk translates into that gutteral series of glottal stops. We bow our way out, without turning our back on the Prefect.
We examine our new translator. "What is your name?" we ask.
"I am Tala-a'zahd." He leads us up the stairs to the Gates of the City. We are led in a side door, and wait for our papers to be processed. We have a view of the city, its many temples, its volcano, and its serpent-decorated wall surrounding the palace. A man in rich armor, carrying his helmet, enters the room. "A captain," warns the clerk in an undertone. We recognize him as the man who recommended his aunt's lodgings to us last time. "Level Three gift," demands Finwë, his hand out to Eric. He hands the gift to the captain.
He introduces himself to us, "Captain of the City, Tejuhman Vijhad."
Captain Finwë explains the purpose of our visit, managing to mention that we do not expect to remain long. Captain Vijhad mentions "Madame Fishalashi's accomadations" as a gentle reminder, then hands us an initial, three-day pass and supporting documents, and leaves. Mandorak explains that we have been advised to visit the Temple of the Scrolls, and asks our clerk where it is. It is not near Madame Fishalashi's -- but he advises us to stay there again if we stay in the City at all -- but we are allowed on the main boulevards, and this temple is just half a block off the main street.
We decide that we should visit the Palace, to learn how long it will be before we receive our scholar, and we'll pop into the Temple of Scrolls on our way back. We will have to visit Grandfather Healer as well. As we head down the boulevard, the clerk asks if we had any difficulties on our last visit. Finwë explains the potential conflict we had avoided in very diplomatic terms. The clerk points out the blue-clad guardsmen coming towards us, and looking very business-like, and suggests that we visit Madame Fishalashi's. We look at the grim men in blue, and agree. We turn aside at the next street, and take the familiar route to the boarding house.
Finwë asks about changes in the political climate, and learns that there are now conflicts between the Temples and the Palace, and between our Captain [of the Temple Guard] Jeujaleen and the Captain of the Palace Guard. We arrive at Madame Fishalashi's, and the lady herself appears, smiling broadly, and chattering a mile a minute. Finwë makes a gracious request for lodging, and the lady keeps talking. We can hear the troop of soldiers approaching, and edge our way inside before they quite arrive. Most of the troop marches on past, and turns back in the direction of the barracks at the corner. One lieutenant remains behind.
Madame Fishalashi looks out at him, and makes little tsk-tsk noises. She turns back to us and, via our clerk, asks us if any young ladies will be staying with us. Finwë explains that his daughters have returned safely to Lanthil and are staying there. The old lady is disappointed. To assuage her loss, Finwë explains that Grandfather Healer may be visiting us again. This pleases her. She then leads us to a different part of her house than last time, and offers us a four-room suite. We are very pleased, and say so, just as our clerk suggested.
Updated: Mar 14, 2008
©2002, 2007 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.