FaceTime

Much Is Happening

Who Will Attend?

 

The Do’s Series: Segment 32

 

© Grandpa Jim

 

 

 

“There have been developments.” Minnesinger HitBolt scans the fourpart facetime splitscreen, stopping at each face. “Much is happening.”

“Have DawnRunner and her StealthMouse moved into the East Ridge?” RhineHold’s voice is gruff but his eyes betray a lighthearted mood.

“They are decorating, DwarfLord of the GreenCountry . . . in anticipation of their move.” HitBolt tilts his head with a smile. “And I understand they are most appreciative of the new furniture you sent them.”

“The Missus and I were touched by the card of thanks the young people sent us. The dwarfcraftsman of the TallTrees were honored to perform the task, and the woodworkers and fabricmakers designed pieces of worthy elegance and welcome comfort.” The master of DwarfHome wrinkles his nose. “Much improved over those ugly sticks Sir Richard called furniture. The Dark Count had no sense of taste.”

“He had no sense of many things.” Queen Mother Mary Plantagenet Pickford extends a kindly nod toward the dwarf’s image. “You have been most gracious and most generous, masterdwarf, in rectifying one of the Count’s deficiencies and improving the appearance of the East Ridge. . . . And now, if I might change the subject, there is another matter, a more serious matter, which I would like to address to our company. If I may?”

The Minnesinger lifts his hand. “Please, proceed.”

“Thank you.” Queen Mary takes a stately breath and exhales slowly. “I am troubled. As you know, the Guppie Pirates and BlackFeather Marines fought bravely at The Battle of BarterBend Island. They were defeated, but their efforts in the Cavern of Doris delayed my DownTown Guppies. Because of that delay, my fleet did not reach the deepdocks of the East Ridge until after the Allied forces had taken the vathold and defeated Sir Richard. . . .”

“With the help of our girl.” RhineHold interrupts and sighs deeply.

“Aye,” DeepDelve echoes his cousin’s sad tone.

“We all miss her.” Queen Mary stares from her screen. The monarch’s eyes drift downward. “She was like a daughter to me. . . .”

“And she would want us to continue.” The Minnesinger addresses the faces in the screens. “She would want us to do what is right . . . for everyone. This is her way.” HitBolt bows to the image of the Guppie Queen. “Now what is your thought, Queen Mary?”

“A pardon. Captain LaFitte, BentNose ChurnTurner and their fighters are my prisoners. They fought bravely and . . . with honor. They have proved themselves to be worthy adversaries. I believe they will make worthy allies. Mercy should be extended.”

DeepDelve sets his jaw. “What guarantees do we have that these pirates and mercenaries will behave as allies?”

“I have talked with each commander, my worthy mountaindwarf. Captain LaFitte has agreed to coordinate and administer an independent commercial fleet of deepboats. These vessels will be based out of the deepdocks of the East Ridge to serve the ridge and all the peoples of the surrounding areas. . . .”

“What does the other offer?” RhineHold demands. “For the freedom of his BlackFeather fighters?”

“BentNose ChurnTurner and his BlackFeathers will return to their successful cheesmaking business. In addition, the CheeseMakers have agreed to function as longshoreman and port stewards for the East Ridge deepdocks. And, both LaFitte and BentNose have agreed to support the expansion of the deepdocks to handle the anticipated increase in traffic and trade.”

“DawnRunner and TidBit?” DeepDelve relaxes his jaw.

“The soon-to-be Lord and Lady of the East Ridge welcome the support of both Guppies and BlackFeathers and their anticipated contributions to the increased activities of the East Ridge.” Queen Mary smiles. “TruthSeekers of TidBit’s family from the Low Hills will farm the reclaimed lands of the East Desert and settle their families in the ridge near the Center Gate. From the BlindDesert, SandRunners of DawnRunner’s homeclan will establish residence within the West Gate. From there, the FreeOnes of the new EastRidge Clan will open a waystation on the flatpave and install transfer facilities in the upper turnabout to foster and promote commerce along the NorthSouth TradeWay and the deepdocks. The East Ridge is a large place. There is room to accommodate SandRunners, StealthSeekers and more. There is room for new friends, for Guppie sailors and BlackFeather workers.”

“It will be a city!” RhineHold states excitedly. “TruthSeekers, SandRunners, Guppies, BlackFeathers. . . .”

“And BrownRobes.” A satisfied smile brightens Queen Mary’s face. “Too long did the BrownRobes suffer in thrall to Sir Richard and too much were they forced to do what harmed others. The Great Mother seeks to repair the wrongs. She has asked that her BrownRobes also be pardoned, and she has proposed a trade pact between her peoples from beyond the Great Waste and Open Wild and the new and free peoples of the East Ridge. It is her wish to send a permanent resident delegation of BrownRobe traders and skilled workers to establish a depot for their caravans and assist in any repairs and improvements to the reclaimed lands, the ridge and the West Gate. TidBit and DawnRunner are excited by the Great Mother’s offer and would welcome BrownRobes to their new home.”

“It will be a new city.” DeepDelve speaks softly and wipes the corner of an eye. “For all peoples.”

“Indeed it will.” HitBolt nods his head in agreement. “A new domain of the New and Free Peoples. For that, are we all agreed that Guppies, BlackFeathers and BrownRobes should be pardoned and welcomed to join TruthSeekers and SandRunners?” He sees and hears the agreement from the screens. “Thank you. Queen Mary, will you convey the news?”

“I will convey the news to our new friends and allies. . . .”

“When is the wedding?” RhineHold interjects anxiously. “And where?”

Laughter and headshakes populate the screens.

“Yes, my headstrong forestdwarf.” The Minnesinger touches a piece of paper below the line of vision of the others. “That was the next item on the agenda.”

“Glue Days and New Bread?” Queen Mary asks.

“Repairs progress well.” HitBolt glances down. “My most recent report is that the Great Baker was first to raise his tent on Penny Lane. WhiteHands BakeMuch is fast at work creating sweettreats for the many expected to attend the ceremony and dance. It is not that long now before the festivities will commence. LongLeap StarBreak is already there and he says they have his SandRunners repairing the roundabout for the event. You may want to finalize your travel plans and make your way to the tradeways, underways and tunnelways — as your preference directs. Advance delegations from Schwangau have already departed. More will follow — I with them.”

“Will you attend, Mother Mary Plantagenet Pickford, Queen of all the Guppies?” DeepDelve leans forward with his question.

“Thank you, DwarfMaster of TopHouse at OverMountain, dear friend. Thank you for your efforts.” She glances to the other dwarf. “And yours, DwarfLord of DwarfHome in the GreenCountry of the TreeTalls.” She turns to the Minnesinger, “And yours, Chief Advisor, Royal Mentor and Knight of Schwangau. Thank you all for what you have done. It is because of your efforts that I can be now and again ‘Queen of all the Guppies.’” Queen Mary takes a deep breath. “Yes, I will attend. I will go to see our two children married and celebrate their happy union. But more, I will go because the Fair of Glue Days and New Bread is the heart and hope of this age, of this new world. I would be there with them at the Fair.”

“And I.” RhineHold HuffSpot’s eyes drift away in a sad smile. “I would be where they first met.”

“Aye.” DeepDelve heaves his great chest and straightens. “I would walk where our girl walked with her prince.”

A quiet hope haunts Queen Mary’s voice. “Will he be there, dear Minnesinger? Will Prince Lohengrin attend?”

The Minnesinger lowers his chin and pauses in thought. After some moments, the teacher lifts his head and sets his eyes upon the spitscreens. “Prince Lohengrin grieves for LoveJoy. He holds her close. Very close. Close to his very being.” HitBolt rests his hands over his heart and leans back. “Their friends are marrying. Their closest friends. The ones they loved most.” A light twinkles in the wizard’s eyes. “Would you not expect him to attend?”