Chapitre 6. Carnival in Galadrona: Overture - printable version

Near the beginning of 1838 (according to the calendrier du Shiré), two younger members of the highest Annuminasian society, Viscount Réginard de Pérégrin and Baron Arafrantz d'Imrahil, found themselves in Mina Tiretta. They had agreed to spend Carnival in Lottaloria; for the exhibitions made by the Signora Galadriella were said to be unparalleled in the Lands of the Ouest. Since, however, they had a few days free before Carnival, Arafrantz decided to test the rumor that Monte Fato was inhabited by real contrebandiers, some of whom were even, reportedly, Fantômes of the Ring. He consequently hired a crew of homesick Orcs, and set sail for the fabled isle where Sauron had once kept his wine-cellars. (Réginard, meanwhile, dallied in the casinos of Edoras.) To stave off the ennui that is inevitable in long voyages, the captain told Arafrantz terrible stories about how the Fantômes of the Ring skinned the body, including floquerins, off their victims and left them all cold on the other side of the gondola. Had Arafrantz heard these stories before leaving, he might have headed for a destination slightly less off the beaten track, like the Forest of Fangornes. But to turn back now seemed cowardice. For Arafrantz was a man of calm will, who regarded danger as an adversary in a duel, calculating its movements, studying its force, breaking only long enough to regain breath or speak a word of Command, not long enough to appear a coward who would fly like a fool; who, understanding at once all his advantages not excluding the fire of anor that issued forth from his blondrebousse slew with one blow.

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