The Book of Fawla
“Will your animal carry both of our weights?” Kreelan asked.
Kate frowned. Kate was certain that Trippy could carry her on the journey, but two were probably beyond his capacity. “We will build a wagon for her to pull. It won’t be the most comfortable, but it will get us there faster than we could walk.”
Sensing that the fireworks were over, the crowd starting to disperse. “Hey, not so fast, you guys. I’m going to need a cooper and a carpenter.”
Building the wagon was the easy part. The elves of Fawla weren’t completely without technology and had wagons of their own, if not for riding. But without any harness animals of their own, it took Kate and the tanner several attempts to build something that Trippy would wear and could be attached to the wagon. At least the big cat seemed more agreeable to direction than Trippy had been as a Bengal.
Of course, the wagon wasn’t their only problem.
“You’ll be able to travel quickly, Kate, but how will we get word to you if you need to return?” Regkor had scrolls spread over every inch of Kreelan’s study. He’d been obsessed with Kate’s description of a telephone and was trying to teach himself everything the elves knew of electricity in hopes of building his own. “We know so little compared to the humans of your world. It will take me years to build a prototype.”
“I don’t know. Is there a magic solution?”
Kreelan snorted at the suggestions. “Regkor knows as much about magic as he does about your telephones.”
She elbowed him. “You’re not helping.”
“I’m sorry, Kate, but he’s right. There is so little magic left among our people. Other races have some of their own but I’m afraid the elves are in something akin do the Dark Ages you told me your own people went through. The Riders may know something, but they are even further away.”
“Well, we will think of something. Always stay positive.” She patted him on the back.
Kate thought about the problem in bed that night. There was so much technology that she had always taken for granted while escaping into her fantasy stories. Maybe if she had paid more attention to the world around her, she could help now that she was in her own fantasy world. Communications, medicine, gunpowder. The list went on.
Quantum mechanics flitted into her head as she thought of the list of items from her own world that the elves didn’t have. She dismissed it. Theoretical physics wasn’t going to help them.
The thought struck her so suddenly she momentarily forgot to breathe. She jumped out and struggled to light her candle, her hands were shaking so hard the matches kept blowing out.
Succeeding to light the candle, she ran out of Kreelan’s house to the gardens. Kate didn’t read much science-fiction, but she couldn’t escape Asimov’s famous quote about advanced technology appearing to be magic. Maybe the opposite could be true.
Kreelan shook her awake. “What are you doing out here?”
Kate rubbed her eyes and squinted at the morning sun. Her back ached as she pushed herself from the dirt. Dew covered her and made her gown cling to her skin. She blushed as she realized how much of the shape of her body was exposed to him.
Regkor came out with a towel which Kreelan wrapped her with. “What are you doing out here?” He repeated.
“I had an idea.” She looked around at the litter of cup-shaped leaves looking for the one she had worked on before she fell asleep. She knelt back to the ground, her aches and the chill forgotten. A few were crushed from her body and she hoped it wasn’t one of those.
“Here, it is.” She plucked the red one that had fallen by the shrubbery. She held it out to Regkor. “Hold this up to your ear.”
He did as he was told, and she pulled the rose out of her hair and whispered into it.
“I heard you,” he shouted. He dropped the rose and bent down to retrieve it.
“Of course you heard here, she is right here. I heard her to.” Kreelan shook his head.
“No, I heard her in this.” Regkor held out the leaf. He turned to Kate. “You made a telephone.”
“Well sort of. More like a walkie-talkie. But I’m not sure of the range. It may turn out to be completely useless. But if it works over the distance between the two villages, it solves our communication problem.”
“How does it work?”
Kate blinked. She’s expected the question from Regkor, but Kreelan was usually uninterested in the how or why of things. “Well, I’m not sure. I mean, it’s my magic, I guess. But I was trying to do something called quantum entanglement. Spooky action at a distance. This leaf is now linked to my flower so what happens to one, happens to the other. I talk to one and the other one vibrates.”
“So you can go anywhere in the world and we can still talk to you. Kate that is genius.” He hugged her. She felt decidedly less cold than a moment ago.
He seemed to realize what he was doing and stepped away. Kate felt her cheeks grow warm. His ear tips were rather pink as well. The elves didn’t blush easily, but Kate thought it was kind of cute.
Regkor smiled at them. “Shut up,” Kreelan told him and marched off. “Pack your stuff. We leave tomorrow.”
Regkor kept grinning. Kate blushed harder. “Stop that. Help me get this mess picked up and pack your stuff.” She crouched down and started pushing her mess into a pile.
The smile fell. “Me? But I should stay here to listen for your call over the leaf.”
“We can get anyone to do that. You said you wanted to see the world, but you’ve never been out of Zanor. This is your chance. You are coming with us.” She smiled herself. “Besides, it will be a lot less awkward with you there.”