CONTEXT/RATIONALE: Another light-hearted short story for a Tuesday evening, resolving the previous episode’s cliff-hanger and maintaining it’s comic, whimsical tone (a bit of relief from the rather grim Dragonfall storyline and the serious Troll Thing plotline).
Bors of Ganis watches as the fish that swallowed Fergus Ironsides swims away. He crosses Tower Bridge into Surluse at the right time to catch the changing of the guards as the Unseelie night shift retires, to be replaced by a Seelie day shift. He’s in luck, because the Seelie sentries are animated carousel horses who admit him to the realm with no questions. He explores Rotherhithe and admires the chimerical landscape. He stops at a faerie coffee stall for directions and is advised to seek out Cap’n ‘Seadog’ Moodie in Greenwich. He buys a cup of ‘the Dark’, an espresso coffee made from beans grown on the inside of Mount Vesuvius. Wired with Glamour, he crosses the Wasteland and reaches Greenwich. In the Gypsy Moth pub he finds Cap’n Seadog and persuades the chimerical seaman to go hunting the big fish, Bertha.
Back in Bedegraine, Dodinel the Savage has slipped out of Queen Morgause’s boudoir to look for his friends. He finds Korrigan who scolds him for choosing Morgause over her. Sensing a story, she agrees to help him find his friends and have some fun at his expense. Upstairs, in Catford, she summons a chimerical speedway car, fits Dodinel out with rollerskates and handcuffs him to the back. She speeds off up Lewisham High Street with Dodinel skating behind, battered and burned by the experience. She identifies the chimerical flying machine commandeered by Fergus and Bors and locates it in the Thames.
In the belly of the fish, Fergus encounters three other prisoners there: Morgause’s dwarf, a human rocker named Damon and Pelleas, a Mad Hermit. Fergus tries attacking the fish’s belly with his knife, but this only prompts Bertha to swallow water, nearly drowning them all.
Cap’n ‘Seadog’ Moodie and Bors board the Cutty Sark and Bors is able to wake the chimerical ship by flirting with its figurehead of the seawitch Nannie Dee. They set sail up the Thames, but are intercepted by Korrigan, who has converted her racing car into a submarine. Dodinel bites through his handcuffs and is rescued by the Cutty Sark. The Cutty Sark now races against Korrigan to find Bertha the Fish.
Inside the fish, Fergus, Damon and the Dwarf have survived but there’s no sign of the Hermit. Fergus has slipped into his Unseelie Legacy but Damon snaps him out of it; he is unable to appeal to the Dwarf’s better nature. Fergus and Damon dive back into the water to find the old man, but he’s trapped under debris and dying. He bequeaths his treasure, the Grail of Regret to Damon before he dies. Damon sings Don’t Look Back In Anger as his requiem.
Bors swims under the ship and locates Bertha the Fish. When Korrigan attacks the beast it breaks the surface and Dodinel is able to skewer it with a harpoon. Bors starts to winch the fish towards the ship, but it’s too large and strong and it starts to capsize the vessel, forcing him to give it more slack. While it’s close enough, Dodinel leaps onto the fish’s side and starts biting through the scales. Alarmed, Bertha submerges and heads to the bottom.
Dodinel eats his way into the fish’s belly and rescues Fergus, but they are deep under the Thames and passing into the Near Dreaming through a watery Trod. Here in the cold depths are the wrecks of sunken boats and the souls of drowned sailors, tormented by carnivorous mermaids. Dodinel appeals to the Thames itself for a boon, citing the service he performed for its mightiest servant the dragon Temys. He is able to rescue Damon as well then bites through the taut harpoon cable. The line snaps them back to the surface.
The chimerical Cutty Sark continues to sail the Thames. Cap’n ‘Seadog’ Moodie vows to sail until Banality claims them or they earn enough Glamour to sail to China one last time. Dodinel and Korrigan exchange taunts, but Dodinel ruefully reflects that he has underestimated women. Fergus vows to protect Damon from Banality until he can find his lord and relieve himself of the cursed grail.