In Tensor’s Flying Market, there
Are many wonders to be seen
Those dancing lights so high above the Faire
And motor-carpets flying through the air
Remarkable and labyrinthine
The winding stairs reveal the path
The constant breeze and metal sheen
The whirring of the Great Machine
“Well, enough of that rubbish. You didn’t think we talked like that all the time, did you? How the blessed crystal would we get anything done?”
The dour Goblin historian scratches their nose. “What? Goblins have itchy noses!” They clear their throat. “Look. You seem like the kind of being we need to help us out, or at least partly help us out anyway.” He sniffs. “The thing is, the Machine is malfunctioning, and it needs some outside help to get back up and running again. Our folk can’t do it because, well, they’re stubborn for one; and for two, they keep forgetting what has happened, and they won’t remember unless the same process repeats itself several times. Like history. Understand? No? You will.”
From beneath his voluminous robes, they produce, as if by magic, a flying carpet. “The Flying Market is a big place, and you’ll need a way to get around all sorts of places, so I’ve got a supply of flying carpets for questors to use on their journeys. You’ll also need a map, but you’ll have to get that from our cartographer over there: they’re twice as cantankerous as I am, and we haven’t spoken in years, so don’t expect them to have anything nice to say about me.” He pauses for a moment, scratches his nose again. “And what’s worse, the snake never stops staring at me!”
“Well, go on. Take your carpet, find the cartographer, and get moving. Not like it was in the old days… folks’d fall over themselves with happiness if you gave them a flying carpet, scamper off to do anything you wanted them to do….” Their grumbles peter off into meaningless noise, until they saw I was still standing there. “Do I have to threaten to blow you up?”
In all my travels in the Fairelands, that mystical and magical series of Realms that appears for a fortnight only and leaves behind nothing of itself except a growing cache of legends and tales, I had never seen such a place. The rumble of the engines and propellors beneath my feet, once I got used to them, created a kind of rhythm that made me want to dance as I made my way through the Realm, and there were several places that seemed perfect dancing spots. I shall have to return when I have found the perfect dancing partner, I thought. Great lightning rods stretched into the sky, and there were floating islands above. From what I could see, only the sea was beneath us, and there must have been some powerful magic behind these engines, for the surface never pitched nor shook as it might have on a mundane airship.
And this flying carpet! It was a wonder as well, a beautiful teal and gold carpet stretched upon a frame beneath which was strapped a crystal navigator and a propellor engine. I thought I might never want to walk again!
I realised then that they’d just threatened to blow me up. “Back there?” I gestured vaguely in the direction he’d indicated.
“Yes, yes; and be snappy about it: you don’t want the Market to fall into the sea, do you?” Their eyes narrowed.
I stuttered some kind of a denial, followed by an awkward apology, and then I turned to descend the staircase I’d been halfway up when I’d made their acquaintance.
Pacing back and forth on a platform exactly opposite the Historian was a very tense looking goblin. They seemed to be swearing at some symbols etched into a pillar, above which is a tree of rotating crystals.
“Oh, you’ll be another one of THEIR little questors on your little flying carpet, won’t you? Well, have a listen to this:
A little magic with a little math
Created this, our splendid apparatus
You only have to discover our footpath
To understand a prank’s harsh aftermath.
Now, if he’d only bothered to discuss
His vexy plans with anyone below,
Our little magic prankster, all this fuss,
Would not have worked to ends so treasonous.
“Do you get me? From your blank face, I’d say you don’t. Fine.” They begin pacing again.
“Every single one of them, completely oblivious to the power of the Rubai. There is more truth in poetry than in a thousand lines of common prose.”
Their sniff is strangely similar to the Historian’s. Might be best not to mention that.
“Right, look. Our Machine runs because of Crystals that come from the Sea Goblins. You don’t need to think about them right now. But we’ve got a mighty nasty alchemist up there in the Magician’s quarter, and they thought it would be right funny to tinker with one of our Craftsmen’s bits so that the crystals would turn some funny colour or sommat, but if they’d just bothered to find out anything ahead of time, they’d have known what he was doing was short circuiting the whole path from base to apex crystal, disrupting the aer fixus and thus corrupting the aether, which is our whole power-base!”
They stared at me, appearing furious. They scratched their nose, scowled. “What? Goblin noses get itchy! Listen: I say, go to the source of the problem before you try fixing anything, whippersnapper. That anti-Market Magician has their workshop up in the Magician’s Island: good thing they (he points across to the historian) gives our flying carpets out like jelly beans, hm? Because you’ll have to fly, and I’ll not say another word to you. They’re sure to send another one of you pesky supplicants at some point.”
With that, they turned away from me. They counted to five, audibly. “What’re you waiting for? You think cartographers just give out maps like sweets as well? Oh, fine, since you’re so insistent and won’t take no for an answer!” They shoved a map that looked like it might have been printed on a dot matrix printer in 1982 into my hand. “Go on. Get started. Move!”
…..to be continued
Once again, the Fairelands have risen out of the Multiverse Mists, and they are waiting for you to visit them! This year, I am privileged to be part of the Tensor’s Flying Market team. This is our story.
Tensor’s Flying Market is sponsored by Rivendale, The Nerdy Birdy, Dyisi, and Gwen Enchanted. Designed by Riven of Rivendale, scripting by Kitori of The Nerdy Birdy, set decoration and logistical whatsis by Dyisi, and pretty words and pretty pictures by me, Gwen Enchanted. The concept is from all of us, under the direction of the great and glorious Riven.
Tensor’s Flying Carpet will be available when you start the Tensor’s Flying Market quest, Like I say, I may never walk again!
Credits for this beautiful outfit will have to wait ’til I have a moment to do a Faire Fashion blog,