Volume Three . . . Number Four
From the Gronicus Press Publishing Fantasy for over 30 years

January 27, 2000 Copyright  c Robert J. White

Time Enough For All: Part Three
Featuring Louis as Bobiotto and introducing Tomas as Samot
The Tunnels within the Clock: Mr. Balonie, Electra and Raven:

At about the time when the Raggies were trucking north aboard an 18 wheeler, Mr. Balonie and the two girls were searching a few of the endless number of tunnels of the grandfather clock for an escape route. "I use to know this place well," said Mr. Balonie, "but somehow now its different . . ."

"Then what do we do now?" asked Raven, "I don't like it here. It's too dark and smelly."

"Don't worry," replied, Electra, "Mr. Balonie will get us out."

"I sure hope so dearies," replied Mr. Balonie, "Come on, let's go down this tunnel and see where it leads."

The slope of the tunnel did not change and later Electra complained, "We keep going deeper into this stupid clock? When are we going to go back up?"

"Well, I thought this was the right way," replied the troll.

"What is this creepy place here?" asked Raven..

Suddenly, as if in answer to her words, a clutching hand reached out of the darkness.

Raven screamed in surprise.

Then, a face, that of a small boy, moved out of the shadow.

"It's only a little kid!" said Electra.

"Hey Mister!" asked the little boy, "Can you help me get home?"

"Oh! How long have you been lost?" asked Electra.

The boy shrugged, "I don't know," he answered, and burst into tears.

"Oh no! Now what do we do?" asked Mr. Balonie.

A new shadow moved from out of the shadows directly toward the boy. "Watch out! said Electra.

"Oh oh! Now what?" asked Raven.

"Don't worry, I'll handle him," said a young girl as she came out of the darkness and moved to the crying boy. She put her arm around the child's shoulder and hugged him. "It's okay," she said. "These folks will help us, I'm sure."

"Mister Balonie, we will help them, won't we?" asked Raven.

"Yeah . . .  yeah, sure!" groaned the troll, "Just two more lost children, more or less, won't make much difference."

"Take me!" cried a voice from the shadows.

"Me too!" came another small voice.

"I wanna go home!" bawled a third. Then there was a chorus of voices, as strangely dressed children by the dozen seemed to ooze out of the walls, perhaps two dozen and more all moving slowly toward Mister Balonie and the girls. "I don't like this," said Raven.

"And I don't think I can  handle this," said Mister Balonie as he grabbed Electra's hand with his right fist and Raven's hand with the other. They raced off down the tunnel with children in pursuit. It didn't take too long for the mob of kids to tangle in each others arms and legs and end up as a pile of frustrated children, all sobbing and whining to go home.

After Mister Balonie and the girls had rounded a few more corners they slowed, then stopped to take a break. The troll listened for the sounds of running feet and, hearing none, he sighed in relief. It was only then that he noticed that both Electra and Raven had one kid apiece in their spare hands. He looked at the girls and frowned. "I can't take them all along," he said.

"Just these two then?" pleaded Raven..

"Hmmph! All right," he replied, "And as soon as we get out of here we'll send somebody back for the rest of them. Okay?"

Electra smiled, "That's fine," she said.

"So! What are you kids called," asked the troll?

"Jocko, that's me," said the boy, "actually it's Giacometti, but everybody calls me Jocko.".

"I'm Heather," added the girl.

"So, welcome to our merry band then," replied Mr. Balonie.

"What I want to know," said Electra to Heather, "is why all the kids, most of them anyway are dressed in costumes? It's not Halloween, is it?"

Heather nodded, "Down here its always Halloween. That's how she gets us, the witch I mean; she sends out goblins, who can only come out on Halloween, to catch us while we're going trick or treat. The goblins put us in sacks and carry bring us here."

"But don't the parents, I mean your parents, didn't they come looking for you?"

Heather shook here head, "No," she continued, "The witch makes copies of us, Changlings they're called, and replaces us so our family doesn't even know we're missing."

"And the Changlings look and sound just like you?"

Heather shrugged, "I gues so," she said, "cause nobody's come looking for us yet, I think . . . "

"What does the witch want children for?" asked Raven.

"I know that one," replied Mister Balonie, "With Margrek's magic so weak everybody, I mean all her slaves and minions that is, are leaving. She can't control them anymore. So she needs replacements for her empire. She can train these kids to be anything she wants them to be."

"Mister Balonie," said Electra, "We need to stop this witch's plan. What can we do?"

Mister Balonie rubbed his chin and thought, "Well," he said, "If we kept her from growing changelings she couldn't pull her switches on unsuspecting parents, that's for sure."

"So, where does she grow them, the changelings?" asked Jocko.

"I think she probably gets them from Yuggdrazil, the tree of life," replied the troll, "That's one of the only places left where magic still thrives."

"Where is it, Yuggie . . . I can't say that word . . .  whatever, where is it?" asked Raven.

"It's a long ways off, but I believe we can find the place, if you really want to," replied Mister Balonie.

Electra looked at Mister Balone and was doubtful that he could get them there. She pondered the problem for a moment, then asked him directly,"Mister Baloney," she said, "I know you mean well, but if you can't even get us out of this tunnel, then how are we going to find that tree of life . . .  I don't know if  . . . "

"Stop! That's true," replied Mister Baloney, "I haven't done too well at that, but if you'll give me a chance I'll prove myself, just trust me, that's all I ask."

Electra called the group to her; Raven, Heather, Jocko and herself formed a huddle to discuss the situation. Mister Baloney stood to one side, listening to the mumbles coming from the group. Finally they broke up and turned to him. "Well," said Electra, "Mister Baloney! We do have faith in you. Lead the way!"

"Okay!" said the smiling troll, jumping to his feet, "We're on our way to Yuggdrazil!"

"Hooray!" cried Jocko, "Hooray!" yelled Raven and the other two girls, Electra and Heather, just stood there and laughed for a few moments. Then together they all joined hands and marched off down the tunnel. "Let me teach you this song," said Mister Baloney, "It's called 'We All Live in A Yellow Submarine. . . "

Jared the Piper Sails Toward Home

Meanwhile, as the girls were trying to discover the way to Yuggdrazil -- many miles away, Jared the boy-piper was a passenger onboard a small sailing sloop which was headed back up the coast; the boy was returning to his home by the sea. He walked slowly around the deck of the ship, playing his bagpipes, his music flowing across the water, inviting the porpoises to come up and follow him home. They answered his song and raced along with the boat, seeming to dance to his music. Jared called to them with his songs, inviting his friends to join in his joy at going back to The Cape.

Through his tunes Jared told the porpoises of the joy he felt to be back on the sea, with salt spray in his face and the endless horizon, with clouds scudding overhead, his music told of his fellowship with the porpoises and the other sea creatures too. To his tune the porpoises added their own music, their high pitched squeals and squeeks soon made the boy laugh within himself for they were precisely on key with his music.

Travelling North With the Raggies

Now -- in yet another direction, the Raggie family stayed overnight in the garage, where there was little fear of a coyote attack. Yet, all through the night they could hear the howls of those pitiful creatures far off in the hills. Earlier in the evening Damion and Criton raided a local henhouse to get eggs for their supper while Mother and Father Raggie dug for roots and herbs.

Father Raggie built a wood fire in the woods close by the garage where they cooked the eggs along with the roots and herbs gathered from the woods. "Don't forget to drink your dandelion tea," said Mother Raggie, "It'll keep you boys from getting constipated you know."

"Yes Trollmom," said Criton with a grin on his face.

They sat by the fire, enjoying the clearness of the evening sky, the coolness of the winter air and they were happy just to be at rest, if only for a little while. "Trolldad," said Damion, "Tell us a story about the homeland -- please."

Father Raggie grunted and put down his plate, which was really a flat rock. He wiped his mouth with the sleeve of his coat, but stopped quickly when he saw the "evil eye" he was getting from Mother Raggie. "Okay! okay!" he said in apology. Then, as the embers of their fire glowed warm and bright he began. "You boys keep alert for that pack of coyotes," he said, "And I'll spin you a tale."

Criton and Damion moved around so their backs were against one another which allowed them to see in both directions. Father continued. "As you know, we're not pure blooded trolls, but a mixture of trolls, elves, gnomes, perhaps a dryad thrown in for good measure and . . . "

"Don't forget," added Mother, "Don't forget the leprechaun part."

A Little Troll and Elf History

"Oh yes, that too," he added, "And more too . . .  Well, one branch of our elf ancestors, those little folks, who were much smaller than we are now, dwelt in the uplands of Norway where they'd lived for generations. Now, Olaf the troll, was king of Enchantment at that time and he ruled over all the magical creatures in Norway. Olaf was disturbed, as were the other creatures of Enchantment, because their magic was growing weaker with each generation. "Before long," said Olaf, "we'll be just like the humans, weak, with no special powers at all." His council of seven all agreed with him.

"Time is critical," continued Olaf, "We need to find out what's wrong with the magnetic field and strengthen the magic field -- and strengthen it,  now."

"But how?" asked one of the council.

"Harumph!" replied Olaf, as was his usual kingly reply when he was stalling for time to find an answer. "I guess . . .  well, I guess we'll have to find a wizard or . . .  maybe a witch. We need some technical advice."

The council all nodded in approval and each of them was given an order by Olaf to go in search of a wizard. But there was not a single wizard to be found in all the land. Though there were a lot of witches and each of them had a different opinion about the problem. Some of the witches were brought to trollcourt where Olaf listened and then dismissed each of them in their turn. "Nonesense," said Olaf, "all they want to do is sell me their lizard water or snake cream."

"But what will we do now?" asked a counciltroll.

"Harumph!" continued Olaf, "Send a message to that conceited Miriam, the Fairy Princess, that I want a meeting with her."

So Miriam the fairest of fairies was summoned. Her enchanted-barge pulled by moonbeams should have drifted down in front of the full moon to make a royal arrival. But instead she came in a creaky, 4-wheeled coach pulled by four stringy lizards.

"Miriam! It's so good to see you again," said the king, "We need your help . . .  But I see . . .  from your mounts . . ." He pointed at the lizards, "that you have a shortage of magic too."

"Very observant Kingly one," replied Miriam, "So you've finally recognized that the magic is drying up."

Olaf shrugged in resignation, "Then you think there's nothing to do about it?" he asked.

Miriam smiled, "Maybe no and maybe yes," she said, "I've sent my scouts both north and south to measure the strength of the magical field."

"And what? You found what?"

Miriam lifted her hand, "The strength decreases to almost nothing toward the equator and is strongest at the poles. So the poles are the centers of our magic."

"Harumph -- I see," grunted Olaf, "Then all we have to do is move to the north pole to keep from becoming humans?"

"Perhaps," replied Miriam, "but first we need to send an expedition of explorers there to see what can be found."

"But what good will that do?"

Miriam shrugged, "Perhaps nothing," she replied, "but I don't think we have much choice. We have to find out, don't we?"

"Yes, you're right," replied Olaf, "Who do you think we should send?"

Miriam paused in thought for a moment, then replied, "I think the Elf brigade will come up with some volunteers," she said, We'll need a mapmaker of course as well as a pathfinder."

"Done," said Olaf, "I'll send a message to the brigade right now."

Within the hour a message was sent by runner to Elf brigade which was deep within Storm Mountain. Then, shortly before dawn the following morning four elves showed up at the door of Olaf's castle. Olaf was awakened by one of his minions and he sent for Miriam who was staying in the best guest room.

Together they went down to meet the "volunteers."

"Welcome!" said Olaf to the four elves who stood before him. He whispered aside to Miriam who stood next to him, "Not a very impressive group," as he looked at the old elf and the 3 younger elves, two males and one young girl.

Miriam smiled, "They'll do just fine," she said, "Now who do we have here?"

The elder troll stepped forward and bowed with a sweeping gesture. "Greetings your highness from the Elf Bridage -- Elving the mapmaker at your service and my apprentice Fodderwing, my daughter Gwendolin and her suitor Rolfling, our elf at arms.

A breakfast was set before the elves, the mission was discussed by all and plans were made. Provisions were hurridly put together so that the elves could get on with the mission as quickly as possible.

At sunset the representatives of the Elf Brigade began their quest.. They went out to the landing field to board their flight which consisted of several ganders and some geese. Each of the birds lumbered down the runway with an elf on its back and several others took off with the provisions. In the sky they joined in formation to fly north toward the arctic circle.

Olaf and Miriam stood below with the councilfolks and waved their farewell. Miriam lifted her magic wand and said, "Good luck, good wind, good journey to all."

As the birds flew out of the valley they could hear from down below the music of a piper, brought in specially by the elves, to clear the way of evil spirits and assure a good journey to the northland.

The piper's song was true and the bird's flight through the cold, northern air was strong and direct. But there came a moment when even the strength of the birds gave out. And so they circled once and landed on the icy shelf of that northern continent of Greenland. Once on the frozen snow the elves unloaded their goose transports, fed the creatures some grain, which had been brought along for that purpose, and prepared themselves for their artic adventure.

"How far do you think we have to travel?" asked Fodderwing.

Elving shrugged, "I don't know. As far as sit takes." He handed  helper Fodderwing his package. "Check these out, make sure the pens work and the parchment doesn't freeze up. Wear it next to you."

"Brrr! This is a cold land," said Rolfling.

The geese recovered their strengths quickly and made ready for the trip back. Without a load to carry they could lift from the ground more easily. They circled once overhead and flew in formation out across the open sea.

"What's the plan for getting back?" asked Rolfling.

Elving shook his head. "The birds will be back here in a month. If we're here they'll take us back. If not then we're on our own. Now, Gwendolin you check the color of the chamelion."

Gwendolin pulled the green chamelion from a bag that she carried against her side. "He's the same color as when we left, perhaps a little lighter." she said.

Elving continued, "Make sure to check him often and make notes that I can add to the map when we stop."

Rolfling turned to Fodderwing, "How does that work?" he asked, pointing to the chamelion.

"Well," said Fodderwing, "As we get closer to the magical field the chamelion will turn lighter until he becomes yellow which means we're getting close. If he turns red then we've hit paydirt."

"Let's go! Time's a wastin!" said Elving. The elves loaded their sled and headed inland toward tall, snow-covered mountains that appeared to be a long way off. "Take a good look at that mountain range," said Elving, "You might not see them again for a while, since sunny days around here are pretty rare."

They took turns, two of them pulling the sled while the third one rested and Elving, too old to do much pulling, guided the sled across the snowy plains. When they were tired they stopped and set up a tent where they could rest and eat. Then back to the trail again. Each day was a new and different adventure.

Once, crossing a great lake, a crack seemed to open beneath them and the lead crew of Fodderwing and Rolfling went over the edge, to hang suspended in midair. They were saved only by the straps which bound them to the sled. It was almost the end of the adventure for the group, since, if the sled had not caught on the edge of the crevice, they all would have perished in the gaping hole down below.

It took great effort for Gwendolin and Elving to help the elfmen climb out of the crevice, up the sled and onto the plain. Then all five pulled the sled up. "Time to stop for a rest," said Fodderwing.

"No, not here," replied Elving, "I don't like that crack in the ice. Another hour will take us to the end of the lake. Come on. Let's get to it."

Later they camped at the foothills of the mountains. "What's the chamelion's color now?" asked Elving.

Miriam checked and replied, "Not much difference. Actually none at all."

"Could be these mountains," said Fodderwing, "It there's iron in them they could block the magic field."

"He's right," replied, Elving, "But we've got to find a pass to get through. They're too high to go over the top."

"If our magic was strong enough we could fly over them," said Gwendolin.

"Sure: If! If!," spouted Elving, "That's the whole problem. We're here because our magic won't do that anymore. Now, get some rest and we'll start in a few hours."

While the others slept, Elving climbed a nearby hill and studied the mountainscape, looking for the most likely path to take. He considered several routes over lesser peaks but realized they weren't outfitted for such climbs. As he sat, looking toward the towering mountains Elving thought about the old days when the magic of his people was strong.

Back then, his ancestors needed only to concentrate their thoughts to change their shape into that of a hawk and as such to fly over the mountains. Later generations, though not able to shape-change, could send their minds out of their bodies to join with hawks, eagles and gulls who became their willing hosts on similar journeys.

Now there was little magic left and though he could sense the presence of others, here in the north country, there were no trees or grass nor creatures to converse with. There was no one or nothing to plead the cause of the elf king or to ask for help in the name of the mission. Yet, he could feel something, far distant, a mind, not unlike his own, that might offer some help, if he could only discover where the thoughts he was feeling came from.

Elving sat in concentration, letting his mind drift out among the ice and snow. He searched to the north and south and east and west. He searched the sky and then beneath the snow. It was stronger there, below; something was down under the ice. Not one but many minds, some like his own, others different. Yet, he wondered, how could he reach them, discover if they were friends or foes?

When the others awoke Elving had still not figured out a plan but he knew now that there was a way. They only needed to stay alert, and watch for signs -- for crevices -- caverns -- tunnels leading down into the ice world below, something would show up. Of course it would help too if the piper's tune brought them luck.

Several days of travel, always on an upward slant, with trees gradually growing shorter, brought them to the base of the mountains, and still there was no clue as to the route through them. Elving consulted the old map that they had brought with them but over time the snow and ice had changed the shape of the land. "Here!" said the frustrated Elving, "There should be a narrow gorge, but its just a wall of ice. We can't go through that!"

"Can't we go around it?" asked Gwendolin.

"It's too far and would take too long," replied Elving. "There's got to be a way through it. Anyway, if not, then we have to go over the top, and I don't like that idea very much."

A base camp was set up and both Gwendolin, Godderwing and Rolfling were sent out as scouts to look for a pathway through or over the mountain. Gwendolin went east and Rolfling west and Fodderwing went up. They were to meet back at the base camp in two days. Gwendolin trudged along a narrow valley they eventually turned into a dead end so she had to go back and start again. Rolfling found a weak spot in the ice shelf he was travelling and almost was lost in the crevice. It took him most of the day to climb back out and by then he was exhausted and so set up his tent to rest and get his strength back.

Fodderwing went up, and up, and up, but it seemed that the higher he climbed, the higher still were the mountain peaks. He could see snow blowing from the peaks of a mountain range in the distance. Though it was cold, with the wind blowing icy gusts at him, Fodderwing loved being on the mountainside. He felt a freedom up here that was lost down in the valleys.

For a moment, as he looked down, Fodderwing thought that he could fly and a small voice inside himself told him to spread his wings and sail over the edge. But he shook his head to clear those fuzzy thoughts and he stood, for a moment, breathing deeply. Elving had told him to beware of oxygen starvation at the high altitudes. "Be careful Wing," said Elving. That's what he called his apprentice. "Makes you dizzy," were Elving's words, "and gives you strange thoughts, makes you feel you can do things you know you can't do."

Got to be careful of that, thought "Wing." Then he came to a place, a ridge where he could see the blue of an inland sea below. There was a narrow ice bridge that crossed over from where he stood to another ridge. A good shortcut, perhaps. But it didn't look as sturdy as it might be. Oh well, he thought, it should be okay and so what if it breaks, I'll just fly across the the ridge. Wing walked out on the bridge and was almost halfway over when he heard the sound. Turning, he saw the figure standing where he had started. "Notsaguta!" said the little man, "Notsaguta ida!"

What was the guy saying. Wing didn't recognize the words, though it sounded much like his own elf language, but somehow different. Well, the fellow didn't look like he was threatening so Wing turned back and walked slowly to stand a short distance away. "Badida!" said the fellow, who Wing could see was not a troll, but probably a native of the land, not a troll, not an elf, not an eskimo. Wing thumped his own chest and said, "Wing!  Wing!"

The fellow nodded and thumped his own chest, "Bobiotto!" he replied. "Bobiotto!" he said again. Wing smiled and thumped his chest, "Wing," then pointed at the guy and said, "Bobiotto." Bobiotto smiled and repeated the phrase first thumping himself and then pointing at Wing. Then he pointed at the ice bridge and repeated, "Badida!" while shaking his head "no." Wing used his arms, waving them like wings. "I can fly," he said. Bobiotto shook his head no; he patted his own shoulders and said, "Nofly -- nowings."

Wing reached to his own shoulder and felt there. He's right, he thought, I have no wings. He looked at the thin snow bridge that he had started across and realized that Bobiotto had probably saved his life. Of course! he thought, its still the oxygen, I'm not getting enough and  imagining I can fly when  . . .  He looked down again at the ice and water far below. "Thank you Bobiotto," he said. Bobiotto smiled and motioned for Wing to come with him.

They walked along, Wing following Bobiotto, in the cold wind. Bobiotto turned around occasionally and smiled as they went over ridges that Wing thought might not be safe but Bobiotto only went across them with an occasional, "Onesfe," and gradually Wing learned how to interpret the language which was not really much different than his own. "Onesaf," he said and Bobiotto smiled. "Yes," mumbled Wing, "This one is safe: "Onesaf!" Now I got it. Thanks Bobi!"

They hiked for another hour and finally came to a "bald spot" on one high plateau. Wing looked out at what looked like dirty mountains. "Herwe!" said Bobi. "Oh," replied Wing, "We here. I mean we're here. Where's that?"

Bobi pointed to an opening in the cliff wall. "Aaah! a cave!" smiled Wing. "That's where you live?" Bobi smiled and they followed the trail toward the cave mouth.

As they got closer to the cave mouth Wing felt warmer, then he was actually too warm in his jacket. "What's this?" he said, "It's almost like summer here?"

Bobi laughed and he too began to undo his jacket. When they entered the cave mouth the air was like a warm summer day. "This is great!" said Wing. "Is it a volcano?" Bobi nodded his head up and down. "Yep, yep!" he said . . .

 Once inside the cavern Bobi took off his jacket and Wing could see that his "friend" was a boy. "Bobi!" he said, "You're a human."

Bobi shook his head up and down and sideways too as he placed the coat behind a rock. "Hafway," he replied.

"Hmmm!" replied Wing, "You mean halfway, half human and half what?

Bobi laughed, "Kumze," he said.

By now Wing could freely translate the boy's words and "Come see," was an easy translation. From then on he heard the boy's words as if they were speaking the same language, which actually they were, but the boy's language was an ancient version of the elf's words.

"Come on," said Bobi. Wing smiled, now that his mind was translating the words right. "Okay," he said, "I'm right behind you." As they travelled in a downward tunnel Wing felt the temperature rise and he could see small red pools of liquid which he realized were made of molten magna.

Bobi led the way down a narrow, twisting tunnel that often branched off in several directions at once. Wing wondered how the boy knew where he was going but realized from the way the boy travelled that this was home to him and he knew every inch of the way.

 Gradually the tunnel widened and they passed by holes, that looked like doors, in the walls. "What's in those?" asked Wing.

"Some just like you, others different," replied Bobi, "You meet some soon for sure."

As they rounded a corner something small and pink jumped out from behind a rock. "Watch out!" yelled Wing, reaching for his knife.

"Oh no! Don't worry. Is only Boopa," laughed Bobi."

"Oh well, I'm glad of that," said Wing, "Now who is Boopa?"

"This my fren, Boopa. Boopa, say hello to Wing."

A small, very bluish troll looked up at Bobi and then at Wing. "Who he?" asked the blue troll.

"Nother fren name is name Wing," said Bobi. "You two both frens too now."

Wing nodded that he was agreeable though Boopa still looked dubious. But when Bobi frowned at him, suddenly Boopa's face burst into a big smile and he wiggled his nose, which was a troll equivalent to shaking hands. Wing did the same and the two were friends, sort of.

"Bobi," said Wing, "I need to talk to your chief. Can you take me to him?"

"Why you want chief?" asked Bobi.

"I need his help, me and my friends outside" replied Wing.

Bobi shook his head, "Good for you, good for me," he said, "we takem to Biglump."

"Yup! yup!" said Boopa, "take em Biglump."

"We go!" said Bobi and he and Boopa started off at a trot down the tunnel. Wing kept up as best he could for these two could scamper over rocks and craigs like they were mountain goats. Wing saw many interesting sights as they made the journey to Biglump. "What's this place?" asked Wing as they came into a chamber that held statues and mummy cases. Bobi thumped his own chest, "many grandfathers," he said.

"Are they all dead?" asked Wing.

Bobi shook his head, no. "Only sleep," he replied, "we go quiet or they angry."

So, gently on tip toes, the three moved through the sleeping chamber, out the back way, and, once they were past the portal they took off running at top speed again, hollering and laughing and careening down the tunnel to the next chamber. Wing could hardly keep with the scampering pair. Finally, when the two came to a stop Wing was puffing and almost gasping for air. "Who! You two, slow down a little, will you?"

"Okay! okay!" said Bobi.

"How much further is this place?" asked Wing.

"We here!" replied Bobi, "There live Biglump."

"Hey Bobi and Boopa!" said Biglump, a squat yellow mound of a troll, "Who you got wid you?"

"My fren Wing," said Bobi, "Him wants talk wid you, bout somethn."

Biglump rolled his eyes, "I god sum time," he replied, "Com on in.".

Wing followed Bobi and Boopa into the cave and stood before the yellow guy. "Your highness," said Wing.

Biglump laughed, "Nod highness," he said, "jus Biglump -- zay Biglump."

"Okay Biglump," continued Wing, "King Olaf sent us to . . . "

Biglump laughed again, "Olaf, he big turkey," he replied and laughed again.

"Well, you could be right," said Wing, "but anyways he and Miriam sent us . . . "

Biglump smiled, "Hmmm! Miriam, now dere's a dish -- tel Biglump more."

"Ahem!" said Wing, "Well, Miriam and the King sent us to map the magic fields here in the north."

"Ah! Boudt time too," said Biglump, "Magic geddin weaker all de dime."

"Here too?" queried Wing.

"Everyplace all over," replied Biglump.

"Do you know why?"

Biglump shrugged, "bridge broken maybe."

"Bridge, what bridge?"

"You know nodding," smiled Biglump, "De bridge -- brings magic Down from Up -- sky all mezzed up -- up dere, big hole in sky so's magik not come down."

"Rainbow bridge is most gone," added Bobi, "nothin come over in long time."

"Can't it be fixed?" asked Wing.

Biglump shrugged, "Big job. Need lotsa trolls -- takes magik -- fix magik. No got."

"We need to make a map of the magic field," said Wing, "Can you help us get to the pole?"

"Dats no problem," said Biglump, "Lots a work, lots a travel, but can do?"

"I can help?" asked Bobi.

"Okay dokay," said Biglump, "Bobi and Boopa take Wing. Is good ya?"

"Is good," smiled Wing, "Thank you."

"Bobi! Boopa!" said "Take zum guys wid you."

Bobi smiled, "Take lil brozer Samot too and zum ozer guys, okay."

"Who goes?" asked Boopa.

"Well, let me see," said Bobi, "How about Zappa, Zee, Zie, and Zo?"

Boopa considered the names, "Boopa like," he said.

"Done!" said Biglump, "Backbring your frens to here. Start from here."

"Okay, that's great," replied Wing. Later in the day he and Bobi put on their heavy clothes and went out into the cold to climb down the mountain to find the rest of the elf party. "We were worried about you," said Fodderwing, "Thought you got lost or something." Wing introduced his friend Bobi and told the group what he'd learned and the plans for their expedition. They pulled down their tents, packed and headed back up the mountain.

When they were back inside the caverns Bobi and his brother Samot took some time to show Wing and the others what fun could be had from swimming in the volcanic springs. Zappa, Zee, Zi, and Zo stood with Boopa on the rocks and cheered the boys on in their swim. "Come in, zwim wif us Wing!" yelled Samot.

"Yeah! swim!" echoed Bobi.

After much coaxing Bobi joined the pair in their water frolicking. He was amazed at how warm the water was here in the frozen north and realized that the water was probably heated by the heat from a volcano down below. Anyway, it felt good. Seeing all the Gwendolin and Rolfling joined in the merriment and soon a whole troop of folks was splashing and laughing away. Even Fodderwing, after much coaxing, shucked off his clothes and jumped in to join the ongoing waterfight.

Later, they started to think of what they would take on their trek to the pole. Little brother Samot was excited by thoughts of the trip since he'd never been far away from home. Bobi shook his head, "Dis be long trip, hard one too," he said  . . .

-- Go to: Time Enough For All: Chapter 4

.SandCastle Lands Magazine is a product of the LeBlancWorks Inc, a non-profit philanthropic society dedicated to the understanding of Time, Space and the creatures who populate those spaces and those who write about it.
rwhite@wesleyan.edu The LeBlanc Works <http://www.wesleyan.edu/av/gronican.htm>

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Comments to author: RJ Le Blanc Last Revised: July 14, 2000
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