The Logs of the TDFS Tindome
Chapter 99: We Got One!
Captain Finwë has indicated to Captain Fijhal that we are willing to take our scholars and leave. Bavör draws the Captain's attention with a well-placed nudge. "What about the elves?"
Ah. The elves. We discuss using papermancy to scout out the warehouse where the elves are (presumed to be) held captive. There are options and possibilities here. Our captain is reluctant to entertain the idea of a mass rescue. After all, the Tindomë is a prototype, and the Lady would like us all back, and elves are long-lived. Surely they could wait for another visit.
Aldamir is reproachful. "I spent I don't know how much time in a pirate's ship brig. Long life is no protection against starvation or repeated beatings."
Finwë is torn. Then Captain Jhejhaleen comes over and asks, "When we go to the Temple of the Scrolls, do you want to come with us?"
Our captain attempts to interrupt this question, but, because it comes through translation, he fails. Instead, he just ignores the question in favor of asking one of his own. "Would you know where Madame Fishilashi is being held?"
"Presumably in the Palace dungeons."
Our captain is thoughtful. The dwarves are thoughtful. "Ah. It would be very difficult to remove her from there, would it not?"
"Were you volunteering the use of your sappers?"
"Sappers?" Finwë looks blank.
"Us," explains Bavör, gesturing at Mandorak and himself. Mannie chimes in. "We are engineers, not sappers, miners, tunnelers. We spent quite some time on our previous visit explaining that we were not sappers." He looks pointedly at Finwë.
The dwarves stare at each other, thinking about the volcanic soil and rock, and the magical wall around the Palace. How long would the tunnel have to be?
Tala-a'zahd repeats the question. Now Finwë thinks about it. "We are here, but we need to be at the Tindomë – without being attacked again. We should not go to anyplace in the City."
Fijhal's lieutenant approaches us several minutes later. He announces that he will be escorting us back to our ship. Finwë gestures to his bloodstains, and suggests that we have a full escort of City Guards. The lieutenant murmurs that he will be a few minutes, bows, and disappears through a doorway.
Several minutes latter, he returns, explaining that he has a small squad. "Are you all here?" He looks around. "Our count of your number… varies."
"Why, yes, we are." Eïr is here, but we carefully do not look at her too pointedly. We are led back through the maze of rooms, and emerge on the Harbor side of the Gate. There are clusters of Harbor Guards all the way from the Gate to the docks.
We start walking. After some three blocks, the general level of crowds is quite thick. Mandorak does a Spot Hidden/Second Sight of the area, looking for armed people. There, on a roof, are men with longbows, and one man with a crossbow aimed right at us. Mannie mentions this. "There is someone aiming a crossbow at us from up there." He points.
Lt. Maara says, "That would explain the feeling of warning that I got."
From the crowd, we hear calls that Tala-a'zahd eventually translates as: "Spies!", "Foreigners!", and "They're letting them get away!"
"They're shouting about us?"
Tala-a'zahd says, "Yes. Should I tell the lieutenant? Oh, wait, he seems quite busy." He is re-shaping his guard into a lozenge shape around us.
Mannie takes matters into his own meta-hands. He dices the string of the crossbow so that it breaks. Very shortly thereafter, a crossbow bolt clatters at Aldamir's feet. The elf picks it up, and mildly remarks, "They're becoming impatient. They are throwing crossbow bolts at us."
Tala-a'zahd is able to convey this to the lieutenant immediately. He speeds up our cluster. Mannie converts the air in the quivers to ectoplasm. There is one bowman with an arrow, but he seems to be only gesturing angrily with it. We continue on, with the crowd pressing closer around us. We reach the Eagle without incident, and Lt. Maara peels off with her men. We reach our ship without incident.
Then a squad of Harbor Guards comes to guard the approach to (or is it "from"?) the Tindomë. The squad of the City Guards returns up the main street of the harbor.
We enter our quarters. Mandorak heads directly to the bathtub. Eric grabs Tala-a'zahd and settle in to write an apology to the Serpent Prince, because we will not be able to meet with him on this visit. The Captain calls for some spring wine. Teller comes up to the Captain, denies having seen the wine, and informs him that there is a suspicious lurker on the dock. Somone wearing a lot of clothes – in which could be hidden weapons. The two of them climb up to the observation deck. There are three people down on the dock: two men dressed as dockworkers, and one street urchin. Teller points to the urchin. Under the clothes, and shaggy hair, Captain Finwë spots a pair of pointy ears. "Well, well, well. That is a much more interesting… I wouldn't call that 'suspicious.' I would call it more 'interesting.' Look at his ears." He points.
He himself looks again. The shirt looks familiar. Yes. Only a few days ago, he had grabbed an urchin by the vest. He had kept the vest, but the urchin had slipped away, and it had been wearing a shirt like that.
The Captain calls into a tube, "Aldamir Oakley, are you available?"
A voice returns, "Yes."
"Please come to the observation deck?"
Aldamir arrives, and Finwë points out the urchin. "Look at the ears. What could an urchin like that be doing here?"
"Putting notes in pockets?" suggest Aldamir.
"Someone should bring that urchin on board." Finwë thinks. "Mr. Forothon, please report to the observation deck."
Bay arrives, and receives his instructions. He disarms himself, combs his hair, then goes down to the galley. We still have most of a box of 'hoptolis, a pastry like baklava. He takes two pieces; one piece stays in his left hand, and he nibbles on the other piece. He strolls off the gangway, and down the dock. As he reaches the urchin, he offers the 'hoptolis.
The urchin engages in a lengthy mental struggle, but eventually reaches out and takes the proffered pastry. After taking a bite, the urchin says, "I have a message." She (for the urchin is definitely pubescent) is speaking in Elvish. She reaches into a pocket deep inside her shirt, and pulls out a folded sheet of paper. She puts it in Bay's sticky hand.
"Thank you. Would you care to deliver it in person?"
She makes her decision. "Yes. Better."
Bay backs away and gestures towards the gangway of the Tindomë. She strides firmly on board our ship, followed by Bavör. Teller and Jacko retreat, and Bay leads the young elf to the galley. Bay calls the Captain to the galley.
Captain Finwë smiles at the urchin. "Welcome aboard the Tindomë. If I am not mistaken, I recognize you. If I am not mistaken, you handed me a note a few days ago." He spots the new note. "Is that for me? I am Finwë Ciryandil." He holds out his hand
"I am Silmir." They shake hands.
Finwë reads the note. "Guards have been doubled. All are confined. Rescue us or protect S. – N."
"Ah. You must be this 'S.'" He turns. "Teller, this is Silmir. Silmir, this is Teller. It appears that Silmir will be staying with us for… a while. Please find her a place to stay."
":Oh, yes," says Teller. "Move the stores out from the room where the other ladies stayed. Jacko is strong; he can move them. Yes, yes."
Finwë raises the net, and calls everyone into the galley. Mannie arrives, dripping, in a bathrobe. Everyone is introduced, and Eïr leads Silmir off to take a bath. Jacko returns to guard duty.
The Captain reads the note aloud to the rest of us. We are all thoughtful. Mannie reluctantly voices the opinion that we may have to settle for the second option of the note. Perhaps we can signal that we have taken charge of Silmir. Eric hands Finwë the apology for him to read. Jacko announces that the contingent from the Eagle has arrived. All we need now are those scholars. Mannie goes off to change.
Finwë reads the letter, adds a few filigrees, and hands it back for Eric to re-write.
Captain Alastar, Lt. Maara, and the honor guards arrive, and are welcomed by the Captain. Captain Alastar has not drawn back all his men to the Eagle yet.
"Have there been attacks made on your men?" asks Mandorak.
"No more than usual in a harbor town," assures Alastar. "We have taken in all the goods from our major transactions. We only have the most speculative ventures still in train."
"We should depart together. It would not be good for the crowds to find us gone. They might turn their anger on you," remarks Finwë. "Are you familiar with the large warehouse on Third Street? We think the merchant family which owns it is holding a large number of elves there."
"Yes, my quartermaster reported about that to me. He did some investigating after that attack on you."
"How many of your people speak the local language?" asks Mannie. "We need to learn it."
Finwë remarked, "I had assumed that the scholars would be teaching us."
Alastar assures us, "It is a difficult language. I will send you someone to help you with it."
"Thank you for your assistance and aid. We do appreciate it."
"Well, since the only people you have treated with have been the Sky Islands and Darkholme, it is to our advantage to treat you well." Captain Alastar smiles. "I'll send over some people who both speak the local language, and are conversant with your version of our tongue."
Soon, the people from the Eagle return to their own ship. Mandorak checks on the guest space for the sages. Everything seems in order.
"Ahoy the ship!"
We welcome the Eagle crewman aboard. "Jethar Telanora. I am the quartermaster of the Eagle."
"Ah, yes. We will be needing you to convey messages to and from your ship. You will also be helping us with the language here." Finwë directs him to the galley.
Here, Jethar Telanora delicately explains that the Sky Islanders have always assured the Darkholmers that their language is very difficult. "It can be advantageous to understand a language that people don't think you understand."
We decide not to tell Teller that. Eric introduces himself, "Eric from the Valleys of Chaos. What is the name of this language?"
"Well, in their own language, it is 'Speech.'" He begins our first lesson. "Throw an angry cat, a serpent, and a mongoose into a box, shake it, and listen." He has each of us say a few words in each of the languages we know. He is pleased with the Dwarven; it has similarities to its gutturals. He explains about the differences between the two "j"'s, three "k"'s and three "z"'s. Once that subtlety is explained, it turns out to be a fairly simple language.
Updated: Aug 29, 2008
©2002, 2008 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.