Festival of the Bizarre, Year 621


The Festival of the Bizarre is an annual event that takes place on the isle of Thaecia on Talisandre 14-20. At the end of the week long festival, the exhibits are judged and prizes are awarded. Three of the more prestigious catogories are for “Most Absurd,” “Most Provocative,” and “Most Unique.” The winners of these categories are granted to 10,000 lumen purse. A grand prize of 100,000 lumens is awarded for “Most Bizarre.”

Eulalia, a Thaecian Diarist famed for her amusing anecdotes and entertaining memoirs, makes it a point to attend the Festival and descibe it for those who are unable to do so. Clicking on the links below will take you to a description of the exhibit and an interview with the winner.

I originally wrote this stuff because I was curious what other people were doing with the Festival of the Bizarre in their own campaigns. So I asked the friendly folks on the mailing list what they did. And at the same time, I figured I’d write these stories to inspire/shame others into posting their Festival stories and ideas. So far, no one’s fallen for it yet. :-)

See the entries for the year [ 621 | 620 ].

For the year 621, the following entries were chosen:

CategoryWinnerExcerpts
Most Absurd The Sursian Idol Idyls With Idols, Idle Chat
Most Provocative Yasmar Bey and the Extraordinary Echinodermal Pentapod Pentapod, Yasmar, Tan-Men, Grandiloque
Most Unique Hahana and Her Pet Mist Hahana Sings, Hahana Signs, Land of the Bodor
Most Bizarre Daccaan’s Theoscopic Orb 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th

In addition to the prize winners, there were also some writeups of some of the other experiences this year’s festival had to offer:


Missing Excerpts...

Eulalia’s festival writeups for the year 621 are in progress. Keep checking back here over the next few weeks as the entries appear. For those on the talislanta mailing list, you needn’t worry. I’ll post the entries there as well.


Hahana Sings

First, the summary. Hahana is a 12–year old Sawilan girl from the island of Fahn. She has an unusual pet: to wit, an intelligent cloud, with the unlikely name of “Mist”. She has taught it to perform various amusing antics. It is that simple. Do not miss a performance.

As a warning to those who are expecting a polished, commercial exhibit, you could not be farther from the truth. This is quite clearly an amateur production. Hahana is here, accompanied only by her aging grandfather, her lanky cousin, and Mist itself. None of them speak Thaecian, or even Talislan: they speak only Sawilan, except for Hahana who also knows some Sign. Their props, costumes, equipment, and other travel goods fit into a crate the size of one of my smaller travel trunks. They have no benches, chairs, or otherwise comfortable seating arrangements for the attendees: one either stands or sits on the lawn. They charge no admission fees! Only after the second day did they put out a donation bowl, and even then only after many of the festivalgoers insisted! This is not the calculated effort of ruthless mercenaries out to win a bag of lumens. This is an authentic effort by creative and inspired artists: in many ways a refreshing change from all too many of the Festival participants of recent years.

Another unusual feature of the show is that it has no fixed performance schedule. You arrive when you like, stay as long as you like, and leave when you get tired. Which performances you happen to catch is a matter of luck, all of it good.

What are Mist’s antecedents? Hahana herself has little to say on the subject: a cloud simply started following her around one sunny afternoon. Hahana, being a clever girl, noticed immediately that the cloud was both friendly and harmless. She convinced the village elders to let her keep the cloud and she began to teach it tricks. That was two years ago. Since then it has learned an amazing repertoire of tricks, and has even helped her village defend itself against marauding Mangar.

So what does a performance consist of? Well, first off, there are the various “pet tricks” that Hahana has thought of to demonstrate the capabilities of her cloud companion. By singing to it, she can get Mist to perform the gamut of standard meteorological impressions: big, fluffy pillow clouds, a fog bank, a light mist, a heavy mist, a vorl, and smoke. At her command, Mist will also hover, chase, caress, and otherwise interact (harmlessly!) with the audience. By floating laps around the crowd Mist can demonstrate its arithmetical abilities to count up to 7 or add up (very) small numbers. While the idea that a cloud might be sentient is by itself unexpected, it is still nonetheless astonishing to see all the feats a sentient cloud might be capable of.

Mist dances, too. One dance in particular you must experience Hahana called the “Feather Dance.” She stands quietly, holding a feather in each hand. Wilu and Hánu’u (grandfather and cousin, respectively) start playing the drums, and Hahana starts dancing. After a few moments it becomes clear that there are not just two feathers on stage, there are actually four. Hahana holds one in each hand, but behind her, Mist is able to levitate two similar feathers on its own in such a way as to suggest that Hahana is dancing with an invisible partner. The effect is stunning. The concept sounds simple, but Hahana’s dancing was so evocative that my heart was pounding wildly as she and Mist danced out the story of separated lovers, remembering their last dance together. Powerful. Poignant. Girl and cloud, dancing out a drama of timeless love and longing.

Hahana has also taught Mist to play musical instruments. How can a cloud that can barely hold two feathers aloft play a musical instrument? Simple: Mist simply floats like a gentle breeze over the instrument. Mist can easily play the wind chimes and jangle the chimes in harmony with Hahana’s songs. In addition, Hánu’u produced some large stones with holes of varying depths bored into them. Hahana called them “song stones.” This was clever. The holes were tuned so that as one blows across the mouth of a hole, that hole rings with a specific note, much like blowing across the mouth of a partially filled bottle. So, as part of their act, Hahana would sing a song and Mist would glide over the holes so as to provide melody, harmony, or even in some cases, counter–melody.

As if that wasn’t enough, the whole group also puts on skits as well. Hahana acts the female roles, dances, sings, and Signs the story. Wilu and Hánu’u play the male roles. Hánu’u also plays drums. Mist provides clever special effects — mist, smoke, magical clouds, zaratan breath, and the like. I happened to see “How Sala Saved Her Village From Mongo the Corsair” the first time I was there; Mist in this case playing a dual role as special effects as well as the animated cloud friend of the Sawila girl, Sala. The second time I dropped in on Hahana and Mist they were performing the Sawila folk tale “How The Zaratan Got Its Shell,” which was also very entertaining. My Virago friend Thetis says that her favorite sketch by far was “How Laliwila Fared on the Island of Lazy Men.” She claims that she hasn’t seen such amusing farce since she left Danuvia.

What more can be said of this show? Its creativity, cleverness, novelty, breadth of invention, and ocean of variety make this, not just a must–see event, but a must–see–many–times event!

[ Top | More Hahana ]


Idyls with Idols

Rajamo the Rahastran has provided us this year with an intriguing and amusing entry: The Sursian Idol. Inside an airy tent of pale yellow silkcloth stands the aforementioned idol. The idol itself is a humanoid of wind–blasted gray stone, standing atop a pedestal. Any artistic merit the statue might once have had has long since been lost to the vandalism of the winds. Its race is unguessable, its sex not in evidence, and of the rest of its features, only a gaping mouth remains recognizable.

The exhibit provides three modes of diversion. The primary mode is that of Querent. If one wishes, one may pass a question to Rajamo. Rajamo will then pose the question to the idol, all the while making arcane gestures with his left hand. When Rajamo is done, the idol answers the question in a surprisingly pleasant baritone. Apparently the idol is host to a minor deity or other televoyant spiritform that is willing to share its wisdom. This wisdom is not without price, however! To ask a question of the idol will cost the Querent 3 lumens.

The secondary mode of entertainment — highly recommended for students of human nature, those on a budget, or those with all the answers they require — is that of Witness. For half a lumen, one can sit or stand against the sides of the tent and observe the question and answer sessions. It is a huge amount of fun for those of us who are people–watchers to analyze the Querents by deportment and demeanor, and then see how closely one’s deductions match reality. This one is clearly an Aeriad housewife looking for advice to save a zestless relationship. That one, a shiftless rogue seeking to make a dishonest lumen. But the Green Man over there, what burning uncertanties could he have to resolve? Ah, he seeks to learn the condition and whereabouts of his brother, taken slave not six months ago. In such wise is the sentient condition illuminated and social insight honed.

The third mode is that of Poet. The idol’s answers are always given in rhyme. And even though the idol’s poetry is mediocre at best, his wide variety of metric forms and speed of composition is quite impressive. Budding poets take note!

In addition, most of the idol’s responses incorporate cheese references, regardless of the question’s putative subject matter. Rajamo declined to explain this particular quirk of the idol.

Here are some of the questions put to the idol while I was in the audience, along with its answers.


Querent Istan, a young man from Zanth: I’m in love with the most beautiful woman in the world, Trizolde of Aamahd. But I’m a Paradoxist and she’s an Orthodoxist. How can we make our love work?

Idol:
If in Zanth you wed your beauteous bloom,
The love you share will surely meet its doom.
Like sweet Aarello left out for an hour,
Your hearts will melt with love — and then turn sour.
But if Aamahd you both should call your home
Your love shall thrive, your hearts shall never roam.
Like Zoldi cultured from the finest whey,
Your love will keep its freshness all the day.


Querent Ra Ra–Oo, an Aeriad Scout: What about the Sub–Men Uprising? Should we just try to kill them all? How can we assure our victory in this case? Or would it be better to simply give them their land back? And what about the Tirshata?

Idol:
What if the Sub–Men got all that they wanted? Do
You think that they would just stop making war?
If they can manage to reclaim their homelands they
Won’t pause a heartbeat to try to take more.

Even if you should defeat all their armies, their
Sons and their daughters will work t’wards your grief.
Peace everlasting will only be yours once you
Get off your buttocks and buy off their chief!

Send the Tirshata a mountain of treasure, don’t
Chintz on the cheeses, don’t count up the cost.
Think of it all as a form of insurance for
Low’ring the risk of potential life lost.

Once you’ve befriended the Chief of the Submen, he’ll
Quash the Uprising to live a rich life.
Then if you hunger for clandestine vengeance it’s
Yours for the taking: just send him a wife!


Querent Fanda, a young Farad procurer: I wish to seek fortune and glory in the lost lands of Simbar. How best may I accomplish this?

Idol:
Set your sailboat on the seas.
Take some sailors three by threes.
Stuff your stowage as you please.
Lay your heading east by south
From Dead River’s mournful mouth.
When you leave yell “Hooka howth!”

Sail your ship in weather fine.
Count the days to forty–nine:
Waterspout will be your sign.
Heave your schooner to the west —
Hope your lookout is the best.
Shallows! Careful! “Hooka hest!”

Where the zaratan do swim,
Find the biggest, follow him:
Match his every playful whim.
When you’re fain to run aground
Sunken Simbar you have found.
Look out, it’s a Hooka hound!

Trade with Simbar’s wat’ry mages
For the lore of misty ages,
Long forgotten by the sages.
Also trade for Jabob cheese,
Made from sap from Jaabo trees.
Everyone shout “Hooka heeze!”

When you’re done, each treasure cased,
Sail for home with all due haste.
Savor Jabob’s wondrous taste.
Back at home to envious sighs
Show your friends your Simbar prize.
All will cheer you: “Hooka hize!”


While I cannot vouch for the accuracy or even the relevancy of the idol’s answers, I did find the experience quite entertaining nonetheless. Well worth the half–lumen entrance fee.

[ Top | More Rajamo ]


Idle Chat

I had a nice chat with Rajamo on the evening of the 16th in his tent after the exhibit had closed. Most of the crowds had left the festival to dine, leaving only the occasional laugh of passersby to penetrate the silken walls. In a corner, quiescent, stood the Sursian Idol. Rajamo himself was seated in a cushioned chair in front of a low table, shuffling his Zodar deck. He is not exactly handsome in the traditional mode, but he does have striking looks: a tasteful fringe of black beardlet around his mouth, dark, piercing eyes, and shaven head. He motioned me to take the empty seat opposite him.

Eulalia: Tell me about the Sursian Idol. Is it really from Sursia? Who is it an idol of?

Rajamo, shrugging: I really have no idea. The idol is clearly quite old. It is possible that it is of Sursian origin. It speaks of Sursia somewhat more frequently than any of the other realms of the Second Age. I have never heard any specific references to any First Age kingdoms. As far as its being an idol, well, perhaps I have taken a small amount of poetic liberty here. Few festival–goers would pay much to see an exhibit titled “Ancient Talking Statue”; but claim it to be an idol, oracle or other visionary and ticket prices may rise correspondingly. My magical analyses do not, however, preclude the possibility of it being an actual idol though.

E: Well, if it’s not an idol what is it?

R: A few possibilities spring to mind, but none are totally satisfactory. The most obvious ones are an idol, a bound spiritform, or an enchantment. A young girl the other day suggested a new possibility I thought quite amusing: she thought it was cheesewhisp.

E: Similar to a woodwhisp or waterwhisp, I imagine?

R: I imagine so. From the plane of elemental cheese. It is as good an explanation as any.

E: It would certainly explain its low sense of humor.

E: So how did you acquire the idol?

R: I came across two Marukan tomb robbers in the Wilderlands. Their luck, so they claimed, had been soured by one of their finds. Would I be interested in purchasing it? I was unenthusiastic about relieving the pair of their ill–aspected booty and would have passed by, but Fantan persuaded me otherwise.

E: Fantan?

He pauses for a moment and taps his Zodar deck with a languorous forefinger. He flips the top card to reveal... the Peddler. He smiles to himself and continues.

R: After some haggling, I purchased the idol from the Marukans, along with a cart and draybeast to carry it in. The next day, I was eating my lunch of bread and cheese —

E: Ahh!

R: Ahh, indeed! It was then that it spoke its first words to me: “Cheese, please”. Even then, always in rhyme, always the cheese reference. So I tossed a morsel of cheese into its mouth and that was that.

E: Excuse me, but when I was here yesterday, I’m sure there were a few of his answers that didn’t have any cheese references in them.

R: You have to listen quite closely sometimes. They are always there. Some are impossible to miss: a paean to the virtues of a specific cheese, for example. Others can be as subtle as describing a person as whey–faced, or well–cultured, perhaps. If you are of a more literal mind, I will admit that the idol seems not to make fine distinctions between cheeses and cheese–like substances. Answers will be sprinkled with references to real cheeses, such as Aarello and Erd cheddar, just as often as to non–cheeses, like Curdesy and D’Ofu.

E: Curdesy? D’Ofu?

R: Ah, Astarian Curdesy is a cheesy–tasting mushroom. Also known to the vulgar as Kasmiran Dirt Cheese, due to its frequent use as an inexpensive cheese substitute. D’Ofu is cultured D’Oko pollen. Both are cheesy in texture and flavor, but neither is technically a true cheese of cultured animal milk.

E: You certainly seem to know a lot about cheeses.

R: Well, most of this knowledge is of recent acquisition, I assure you. When I noticed the idol’s constant references to cheese, I sought out a noted scholar on the subject. He offered to teach me the fundaments of cheese lore if in turn I would note all the idol’s cheese references for him.

E: Does the idol have a favorite cheese?

Rajamo winces and without any prompting, the idol launches into song.

Idol, to the tune of “The Aabbess and the Charlatan”:
Sursian Gold! Sursian Gold!
The best cheese that’s out there, or so I’ve been told.
Makes plain women handsome and timid men bold!
Nothing tastes better than Sursian Gold!

When I was a young lad and knew nothing better
I glutted my gullet with sharpest Erd cheddar.
What now turns my stomach with unmanly dread? Er–
D cheese with that rancid sharp flavor of cheddar.

(repeat chorus)

In manhood I dined on Numenian Shantza:
I thought it would make me a heck of a dantza,
But it only left yellow stains on my pantza!
No more with that greasy Numenian Shantza.

(repeat chorus)

My wife, she preferred to eat creamy Aarello
But then she ran off with a Xambrian fello.
It makes me quite sad now when I smell the smell o’
The thinnest o’ slices o’ faithless Aarello!

(repeat chorus)

It is the Exemplar of Archaen Curdage!
It has reigned supreme since the dawn of the Third Age!
It’s Sursian Gold! And to coin my own wordage,
To eat other cheeses would be an absurdage!

Sursian Gold! Sursian Gold!
The best cheese that’s out there, or so I’ve been told.
Makes plain women handsome and timid men bold!
Nothing tastes better than Sursian Gold!
Delicious, delectable, Sur–si–an Go–o–o–old!

R: You had to ask!

E, laughing: I’m sorry, I didn’t realize he would talk on his own.

R: The arcane gestures I use during the day are mere showman’s flourishes to enhance the drama of the exhibit. The idol is a completely free–willed entity as far as I can tell. It is free to speak or not as it chooses. For Festival purposes, however, I have explained to it that we will get a much better review if I appear to invoke the answers.

E: Much is made clearer now! So, what do you — and the idol — intend to do after the Festival?

Rajamo frowns slightly and flips over Fantan’s next card to reveal... the Wanderer.

R: I have no immediate plans. I suspect that the idol and I will continue together for a short while at least, before going our separate ways.

E, to idol: And what of yourself? What are your plans?

I: Cheese, please!

E, laughing: Well, I think that sums things up quite nicely. Thank you for your time and good luck with the Festival.

Rajamo flips a final card... the Silver Moon. He cocks an eyebrow, shrugs his shoulders, and smiles.

R: Fantan seems to echo your wishes of good fortune. We thank you for them. Have a pleasant evening.

After I left his tent, but before I had decided how to thread my way back to my own pavilion, one last question occurred to me. I poked my head back into his tent. He was just wrapping Fantan up in a triangle of purple silkcloth.

E: Excuse me. One last question for my peace of mind. Sursia is a Second Age kingdom, but Sursian Gold only reigned supreme since the dawn of the Third Age?

R, shrugging his shoulders: I put it to you that the idol might happily trade off accuracy in its pronouncements for poetic convenience. Just as it might sacrifice both of these to satisfy its cheese obsessions.

E: All is made clear now. Thank you and good night again.

With my peace of mind restored, I left the Rahastran and returned home.

[ Top ]


Hahana Signs

I encountered Hahana wandering through the Festival with an armful of goods. I went up to her, introduced myself, and asked if she would mind talking to me on her way to wherever she was headed.

Hahana: That would be nice. I haven’t met anyone else here who speaks Sawilan and there aren’t that many people who can Sign. It’s nice to be able to talk to someone else. I’m just now heading back to our exhibit. If you like, you can help carry some of this.

Eulalia: Of course. What is all of this?

H: I have been shopping. The people here are so wealthy: already through their generosity we have acquired a sufficient number of lumens to pay our way back to Sawila and more besides! So I decided to take some of the extra money and buy gifts for everyone.

E: And what did you find in the bazaars here that so sparked your interest?

Hahana sits down on the lawn, in the shade of an exhibition tent, out of the festival walkway, and spreads her purchases out for me to examine.

H, pointing to a finely carved cane: This is a springstaff. I bought it from a nice Kasmiran gentleman. It is for my grandfather. He can use it as a walking stick, or [she gingerly presses a carved exomorph head and a wicked–looking red iron blade springs out, making us both jump] he can use it to attack corsairs if they attack our village again. He can also use the blade to cut up his fish into pieces that are easier for him to chew. [she slides the blade back into the staff]

H, caressing an obsidian knife: And this is a flensing knife from Oceania: it’s made from obsidian instead of metal, so it stays very sharp. It’s for my brother Wilu, who is named after my grandfather. He’s a fisherman and appreciates good tools.

E: And the spear?

H: A Sunra dragon hunting spear, still unblooded. It is for my other brother, Waili. He is a fisherman as well, but [giggling] he also fancies himself a great warrior.

H: The drums are for Hánu’u. They were made by Drukh submen, but they have an excellent timbre nonetheless.

H: And finally, for Imala, my older sister: a love charm. She is not married yet even though she has large breasts, on account of one of her eyes is crossed. A love charm like this one will win her the husband she wants.

E: Well, a Sarista love locket is of somewhat doubtful puissance; but in conjunction with large breasts, I’m sure it will prove effective.

H: Oh, I wouldn’t buy a love charm from a pickpocket!

E: ....!?

E: Oh, I understand the problem. This [sign for “Sarista”] is the sign for the Sarista, the colorful folk of the wagons who sell the love charms, and the gesture represents a hand reaching forth and grabbing luck from Dame Fortuna’s grabbag. This [sign for “pickpocket”] is the sign for a pickpocket. An unfortunate similarity in gestures.

E: But nothing for yourself here? Or your mist?

H, laughing: Mist doesn’t need anything. And as for me, it is enough to leave our island home for a few months to see exotic lands and foreign peoples. This whole trip is my present! Besides, I can’t wait for when we return home so that I can tell my relatives and friends all about our exciting trip.

Hahana gathers her purchases, stands up, and hands the springstaff and the dragon hunting spear to me.

E, standing up: Being a raconteuse is quite an honorable profession. And profitable, too, I might add.

I stow the weapons under one arm, and start walking with her back to her exhibition area.

E: Although surely your life was already somewhat exciting even before you came on this trip. No one else in the whole world has a pet mist. And what about the story of “How Sala Saved Her Village From Mongo the Corsair?” It’s really about you, isn’t it? If that isn’t exciting I don’t know what is.

H, blushing: No, that’s a Sala story!

E: A Sala story?

H: Yes. If you do something clever, or useful, it wouldn’t do to make a song or story about yourself. It would be bragging, and your head would swell up with pride. So if you’re a boy, then you sing about Olu doing the deed instead. If you’re a witch, you sing about Laliwila...

E: ...And if you’re a clever girl, then you sing about Sala?

H, blushing: Exactly. Then you can have Sala do and say all the really clever and witty things you should have said, but didn’t. So it’s fun and entertaining for everyone without telling lies, and your head doesn’t swell up. Like in the story of “How Sala Saved Her Village From Mongo the Corsair,” Sala ties up the corsairs with a rope while their heads are still stuck in Mist’s fog cloud. But when the corsairs really attacked our village and their heads were stuck in Mist’s fog cloud, I mostly just hid and let the village men attack the bad men. I also threw rocks at the raiders as they ran away, but I wasn’t being brave then, only scared. Waili was much braver than I during the battle, but because he didn’t have Mist as a pet he didn’t get a song at all.

E: This is the brother who fancies himself a warrior?

H: Yes. He wasn’t supposed to be fighting at all because he’s only a year older than me, but he really wanted to help out. So he sneaked away, and climbed a tree with his fishing spear, then waited for the corsairs to walk underneath. When they ran past, he leaped upon the last of them. But he missed the corsair with his spear and nearly impaled himself upon its shaft. However, as he crashed to the ground, he did knock the corsair down, and the corsair cracked his own head on a rock as he fell. That is how Waili made his first battle kill. [she laughs]

E: Your brother is indeed brave. Still, what you did to help your village was brave, and probably helped save many lives. And it makes for a good song.

We arrive at her enclosure. She stows her items in a crate, then mine.

H: Thank you for helping me.

E: It was my pleasure. Thank you for talking with me. But before I go, one final question. You have entered the Festival of the Bizarre. There is a chance you might win a prize here: 10,000 lumens, perhaps even 100,000 lumens. What will you do should you win?

H, laughing: Oh, I will not win, I am just an island girl with a cloud for a pet. That is foolish talk!

E: Then consider it foolish talk. We are in Thaecia, where many odd and foolish things are possible. What would you do if you won?

H, blushing: It will make my head swell up just to think about it!

E, laughing: Let it swell a little! What would you do if you won?

H: Well...

E: Yes...

H: ...if it wasn’t too expensive...

Her eyes gaze wistfully off into the distance, but she can see only her dreams.

E: ...yes...

H: ...I’d like to go to the Land of the Bodor to study music and singing with them. No one in our village has done that since my grandfather was a young boy. I have learned all the songs they can teach me, and I can songweave as well as anyone. Yet sometimes I feel like I’m attending a feast where music is being served like food; but no matter how much eat, I’m still hungry for more....

Hánu’u comes from around one of the stage props and says something to Hahana in Sawilan. She turns back to me, now all firmly grounded in the present.

H: But that is all foolish talk. [she smiles, but her eyes are bright] Hánu’u says it is time for our next performance in a few moments. I am afraid I must bid you farewell for the present.

E: Then farewell for present. Good luck with your show!

Hahana turns and is gone.

E, quietly: Good luck indeed, little Sala!

[ Top | Still More Hahana ]


Land of the Bodor

I was present at the awards ceremony when they announced that Hahana had won the prize for Most Unique for her pet Mist. Hahana looked confused: she had caught her name, and everyone had turned to stare at her, but clearly had no idea why. Finally someone must have translated the judges’ decree, for there was a piercing shriek such as only a 12–year old girl can emit as Hahana leaped to her feet. She ran lightly up aisle, smiling, crying, and blushing all at the same time.

When she reached the podium, the Judge Ineffable handed her a silver “Goblet of Uniqueness.” Hahana accepted the trophy, kissed the judge, and made a short acceptance speech in Sawilan, after which there was some polite applause from the audience. She started to leave the podium, then went back up and gave the speech a second time, only this time giving it in both Sawilan and Sign. There was significantly more applause — and more enthusiastic applause, at that — this time around. Ceremony satisfied, she returned to her seat by her beaming grandfather.

I had discovered that Hahana and her kin were scheduled to return to Fahn the next morning, so I made sure to be up early enough to see her off. I arrived there as Hahana, her relatives, her pet cloud, and various others were preparing for departure.

Eulalia: Congratulations! I was hoping you would win. I take it you’re sailing off for home soon?

Hahana: Thank you for your good wishes. But no, I’m not going home at all — I’m off to the Land of the Bodor!

E: How did this wondrous event come about?

H: This Bodor troupe [she gestures toward a group of about a dozen musicians, also making their farewells at the dock] approached Grandfather yesterday to broach the subject of taking the Choirmaster’s daughter, Calliope, back to Fahn with us so she could study singing and spellweaving. Their only problem was that they didn’t have many lumens to pay for such instruction. So I suggested to Grandfather that if they didn’t have lumens, perhaps they could pay in kind: that I would love to go study with the Bodor. Grandfather and the Choirmaster both agreed to the exchange, so Calliope will go back with Grandfather and Hánu’u to Fahn, and I will go off with the Bodor.

E: How wonderful for you! Well, good luck in your studies and be sure to drop in and visit me if ever you should return to Thaecia.

H: Thank you, indeed. I would look forward to such a visit.

At this point Hahana’s ship was ready to sail. Hahana and the Bodor raced up the gangplank, then the ship slowly sailed out of the harbor, trailed by a silvery sentient cloud. Grandfather Wilu, Hánu’u, Calliope, and I waved, then just stood and watched as first Hahana disappeared from view, then the ship, then Mist. Off to the Land of the Bodor, a magical, musical realm, as big as all the continent of Talislanta....

[ Top ]


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