Posted by: lordkyler | May 16, 2015

Radiance Part XI: In the Air

In our last installment, trouble had finally caught up with our heroes. Lured into a trap, they found themselves in the middle of a three-way war between the Blades, the Mongrels, and the Seven Sisters. However, the battle was interrupted by the appearance of Agent Gray, who dispersed the gangs and captured our intrepid team. Fortunately, the group was rescued at the last minute by Drake’s group, Arcaneum. They are now on a boat with Arcaneum’s leader, Brutus Salk, preparing to flee the area and investigate their mysterious leads.

Under the cover of evening, the boat sailed on until it reached a small cove, and then dropped anchor and waited.

“They should be here any moment,” Brutus said. “The ship is the Odessa, captained by Caleb Loxely and his wife Iris. Iris’s sister is a member of Arcaneum, and while they are not technically members, they are magically gifted and have proven strong allies in the past.”

They stood in silence for a moment, and gradually began to hear a noise separate itself from the night breeze, a low rushing noise that would have been easy to miss if they hadn’t been listening for it. A moment later, a silhouette rose against the full moon.

Those that knew about airships would identify the Odessa as a hybrid craft, using two forms of lift. The center of the ship was a zeppelin, with decks above and below the long cylinder than comprised the body, but on either side, huge rotors spun in a lazy circle, providing further lift and steering capability.

It descended gently, like some giant moth, eventually hovering twenty feet above the deck of the ship. A platform from the bottom deck descended with a whirring of gears, and soon came to rest with a thump on the deck.

Standing atop the platform was a woman, dark-haired and dark eyed, in a flowing dress that fluttered dreamlike in the breeze. Her face was kind, and wise, and bore a faint scar across its length.

The woman smiled serenely. My name is Iris, said a voice inside their heads. It is wonderful to meet you.

“And to see you again, Iris,” Brutus said, bowing slightly. “May I introduce Iris Loxely? She is mute, but a very skilled telepath and a remarkable lady.”

Salk, you are a charmer, Iris said, shaking her head. How is my sister?

“She is doing well. Right now she is on a very important mission, but I will find a way to send her your regards,”

Thank you. Now, whom do I have the pleasure of meeting today? she asked the group.

They quickly introduced themselves. Drake was the last to speak, and when he did, he did so telepathically.

Another telepath? Iris asked, sounding pleased. Excellent. If you will, I could teach you a few things about our gift. Drake nodded eagerly. Iris suddenly cocked her head, listening to something, and then said, I apologize Brutus, we must be going. Caleb is eager to be underway.

“I understand. Hopefully we shall meet again soon.”

Iris smiled again and gestured the group onto the platform. Gears began to whir again, and they ascended into the belly of the airship, leaving Brutus and Republic Island behind them.

I will introduce you to the captain and show you your bunkers, Iris said. I am sure you are all eager to rest after this day.

The bottom section was sparsely filled, with only a few crates of supplies stacked neatly against the walls. Iris led them to a spiral staircase. This led up, and to the surprise of some, passed straight through the center of the balloon. Long glass panels allowed them to see the spacious interior of the zeppelin section, but also kept the hydrogen within from affecting them. It was a long staircase that took a few minutes to climb, following Iris’s stately pace.

Then they reached the top, It felt like a tiny island in the night sky, with nothing but stars visible on all sides. It was fairly small, especially for a balloon craft, but it was large enough to hold quite a few people, should the need arise. There was a center bunker in the middle of the main deck, and raised decks with ramps to the fore and aft. A mounted gun was bolted to each of those decks, loaded with concussion ordinance, as Ian noted.

On the aft deck, a man that had to be Caleb stood at a control console, surrounded by levers and dials. When he saw them, he set a few switches and stepped down to meet them.

“Well well well, ‘nother bunch of vagabonds aboard, eh?” he said, in the upbeat but refined accent of one from northern Fate.

“Of the worst sort, I’m afraid,” said Aria, instinctually mirroring the accent.

“You’re from Fate too?” Caleb asked. “That would explain things.”

“Oh, I’m not,” Aria said hurriedly, in her normal voice. “I just like the way they talk.”

Well, you’re in luck, Iris said teasingly, stepping beside her husband. He likes to talk a lot.

“All part of the business, love,” Caleb continued, not missing a beat. “Here on the Odessa, we specialize in the discreet transportation of valuable and time-sensitive materials. Usually secretive or secrets themselves. Paradoxically, this requires a glib tongue and so I must hone my craft at all times. You see-”

They’re tired, dear.

“As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, you see that it is very important to listen to one’s wife and always allow tired guests to get some sleep. I’ll give you a proper tour in the morning.”

Iris rolled her eyes and showed the crew to their rooms in the central bunker. The gear was quickly put away, pets were stored in cages (Caleb had a strict policy of no loose animals ever since an unfortunate incident involving an ambassador’s beagles, it was explained,) and they promptly fell asleep, comforted by the soft drone of the propellers.


The next morning, a brief breakfast was provided while Caleb gave a walking tour of the ship, explaining the basics of airship design and the Odessa’s design in particular. The Odessa was a hybrid craft, using both buoyancy and powered lift to fly. While both the balloon and the propellers were required to rise and move, only one was needed to stay aloft. This meant that if either system was compromised, they would be able to slowly descended to safety.

Ian, being the most knowledgable about airships, asked many question about the design, which he had not encountered before. From the captain’s responses, it was clear that the Odessa was designed especially to be quiet and stealthy above all, which made sense for a smuggler’s craft. If needed, the Odessa could deactivate its propellors and move using the slower but nearly noiseless screw drive in the back.

Quiet was not a concern for the time being, and the ship made steady progress. There was little wind, and the Odessa carried on smoothly, flying at about a thousand feet. Below, farming communities could be seen, large patchwork fields of green and yellow organized in orderly patterns. They ate a light lunch as they watched the landscape pass, and when they had finished, Iris announced that she had something she wanted to teach Drake.

The group gathered on top of the bunker, where the flat space made for a good sparring platform. Drake and Iris stood in the center, while the rest of the crew sat down and watched. Caleb slipped off to check on his dials and course settings.

Most fighters tend to ignore the psychic arts, Iris said, addressing the group. They will use morphology to boost their strength or to heal themselves. They will use telekinesis to deflect a blow or cause a man to stumble. They might use evocation to electrically paralyze or burn their foe. And even those that do use psychic powers tend to focus on controlling another’s body.

Iris paused, then tapped the side of her head knowingly. But telepathy should not be underestimated. If you can conquer the mind, you have conquered the man. The technique I will teach your friend Drake today is but the smallest part of what may be accomplished by a skilled telepath.

Iris scanned the assembled warriors and settled on Connor. Could you join me? she asked. Connor grunted and obliged. Now watch carefully, Drake. Connor, I want you to block my attack.

Connor settled into a fighting pose, confident and prepared. Iris stepped forward, skirt flowing around her, and stepped in close. Connor threw up his arms in front of his face, as if anticipating a blow to the head, but instead Iris ducked low, legs weaving around Connor’s own, and with a smooth motion, twisted and toppled him.

Connor immediately rolled and recovered his feet, but his confusion was apparent on his face. It is called a psychic feint, Iris explained, stepping back to signal the end of the fight. Using telepathy, you implant an image – fleeting, subtle – into the opponent’s mind, and then strike elsewhere. Interestingly enough, this is actually more efficient on more highly trained fighters, who are trained to react instinctively. So long as you use this skill with wisely and with subtlety, your enemies will either freeze in confusion or make the wrong move, and you can then attack them.

Drake nodded, and Iris explained some of the finer points of the technique. It would not work on those with magical protection, and other telepaths would likely not fall for the trick, but it was still very useful against most enemies.

Drake spent the next hour practicing one on one with each of the other members of the team. The first few attempts were poor, but as the day wore on, he began to get the hang of it.

This will not make you invincible, or allow you to conquer someone who is much more skilled than you, Iris warned, but it can help give you the advantage in a close fight, or provide an opening at the right time against a more powerful foe. 

Caleb returned from his inspections and showed off some of his amateur telekinetic skills using Drake’s silver wire. He could make it move in incredibly lifelike and eye-boggling ways. He also showed Drake a useful shape that would coil half the wire around his arm safely and allow him to use the other half as a sort of tentacle or hook.

That evening, during the dinner meal, Caleb spotted something at Ian’s waist.

“Is that an electric gun?” he asked.

Ian nodded and drew the weapon. “Picked it up in a raid just a few days ago,” he explained.

“That’s cutting-edge stuff,” Caleb said, taking the weapon reverently. “Very useful. However, it’s not terribly inconspicuous, now is it?” He tapped on the glass chamber that held the gem-like bluestone, the source of the weapon’s power. A tendril of electricity sparked out to touch his finger.

“Weapon like that catches the eye. If you’re not careful, you might just catch the wrong ones,” Caleb continued, handing it back.

“What, are you offering to buy it?” Ian asked suspiciously.

“Quite the contrary, my good sir. I’ve worked with this stuff before, see. If you like, I can take the crystal and use it an a much more… discreet pair of gloves. It won’t be quite a strong a shock as the gun, and it won’t shoot, but it’s much easier to hide. And thus all the better for a surprise attack, I think you’ll find.”

Ian appeared to consider the offer, looking at the blue crystal and the luminous lines that sparked into life around it. “I only do in quality work,” Caleb said. “Ask Josh Bell of the Hammer Clan. He’ll tell you. Pair of my gloves saved his life once.”

Ian appeared to make up his mind. “All right. Just one condition. I want to watch you work.”

“Of course,” Caleb said, extending a hand to shake. “It’s all brand-new science, but it’s the way of the future, I tell ya. Now, the curious thing about bluestone, see, is the output pattern…” He carried on as he carried the weapon off to his workstation, Ian following close behind. By the time the sun set, he and Ian had ground the crystals to powder and hooked together the basic circuitry. Ian had just started taking measurements when Iris’s voice interrupted them.

You’d better get up to the deck, love, the message came. You’ll want to see this.

Caleb instantly shut the lid on his workspace and hurried up to the deck. “It’s when she sound calmest that you know something is up,” he remarked. Everyone else on the ship joined him up top, where Iris was waiting with a telescope. She handed it wordlessly to Caleb and pointed over the bow of the ship.

Over two day’s travel, they had managed to cross the plains, woods, and valleys that lay south of Republic island, and could now see the Guardian Mountains rising up on the horizon, sharp and snowpeaked. Caleb snapped the telescope open and swept over the view until he spotted what Iris was pointing at.

He drew a sharp intake of breath, then snapped the telescope shut. Looking as though he was barely keeping himself in check, he turned to the assembled crew. “How do you fellows feel about a job?” he asked. “That,” he said, stabbing a finger wildly toward the mountains, “is the Lioness, also known as the Flyin’ Lion.”

Lilly chuckled slightly. “I’s also known as the vessel of one of the worst dodgers I’ve ever had the misfortune to cross, George Makepiece. Man’s a card cheat, a liar, and a smuggler.”

“Don’t you do all those things?” Aria asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Well, yeah, but he does it all backwards. I’ve seen him hit serving girls, betray his friends for a laugh, and one time I saw him draw a mustache on a poster of an opera singer. My point is, he’s a nasty fellow, and I’ld be willing to forgo your travel fees in exchange for taking him down a peg or six. What do you think?”

The crew mused over the prospect for a moment. “What about his crew?” Drake asked.

“Some bloody birds, same bloody feathers,” Caleb said darkly. “They’re dangerous lads, but I would feel more guilt for swatting a moth than dustin’ one of them off.”

Everybody looked around at one another and reached a conclusion. “All right,” Connor said. “What’s our objective?”

“Easy enough. I’ll glide in all quiet-like, you lot can take a line down, and then wreak whatever havoc your hearts desire. Don’t actually kill George – that would bring a whole heap of angry compatriots on top of us – but anything else you can steal, wreck, or burn is alright by me.”

“Sounds like my kind of job,” Connor said. “Let’s do it.”

“I think I’ll stay out of this,” Qeni said, but the rest of the group agreed.

I’ll show you the lines while Caleb gets in position, Iris said. Caleb sprinted for the steering console and began to make his adjustments. As the crew descended to the under-deck, they could hear the pitch of the propellers change, and slowly the Odessa began to pivot upwards, climbing toward the night clouds.

We’ll probably have an hour before we catch up, Iris said. Fortunately the lines aren’t terribly complicated. So long as you keep your head, you should be fine. 

Iris demonstrated the boarding gear. Connor and Ian had some experience with the gear and practices of sky-jacking, but it was all new to the rest of the crew. The Odessa had only the most basic equipment, lines, harness, and winches. Iris showed them how to strap themselves in to the harness and explained the purpose of the different clips.

You have two lines, she said. The main line is anchored to the Odessa and clips to you. We have automatic winches that can reel you back in quickly. That line will take you to the Lioness. She tapped a smaller winch that was a part of the harness itself. This is your secondary line. Once you get to the ship, you can switch over using one of their anchor points. This will allow you greater freedom moving around their ship. It has a winch, but it’s not as strong as your main line. It’s mostly intended to pull the line in, or as a help pulling yourself up. Got it?

When everybody nodded, she continued. Now, you may notice that there is a wire attached to your second line. This attaches to a release pin. You can use the anchor points on the Lioness to set up a system where both lines are attached to the same anchor point. If you pull this latch, the release pin will come loose, and your second line will detach from the Lioness’s anchor while staying connected to the main line. That way if things go poorly, you can get out quick.

She showed them how to work the release pin and gave a small demonstration. Those are the basics, she said, undoing her own harness. We still have some time, so I’ll teach you a few knots and safety tips.

It wasn’t long before Caleb signaled that they were in position. Iris doused the lights and led them to hatches hidden in the curve of the Odessa’s underbelly. The night wind was cold, but couldn’t chill their adrenaline. Except for Lilly, who took one look at the infinite black expanse and pulled back.

“Nope,” she said simply. “Not doing that. Not at night.” Before anyone could say anything further, she had begun to shuck off her harness, muttering to herself about not being brave but not stupid. Drake appeared to be having second thoughts as well, but a look at the determined faces of the more experienced crew seemed to steel his resolve.

Drake, Connor, Ian and Aria attached their primary lines, each tethered to a separate winch. Even now, they were descending slowly through the clouds, like some great bird of prey. The silence was eerie. As they breached the dark mists, they could see glimpses of the ground far below, a silver world clouded by dark shadows and punctuated by fragile yellow lights where homesteads were clustered.

And then they saw their quarry, the Lioness. It was a more traditional zeppelin-style craft, one large cylindrical balloon with diesel engines and side extensions. At first glance, it looked like a derelict, held aloft by little more than spotty welds and evil rituals, but a trained eye could see that the grimy, decrepit exterior was deceptive. This lioness might be mangy, but it was a hard-bitten and ruthless survivor. And she had teeth, heavy guns mounted underneath that could shred the Odessa like kindling.

Connor spent a moment surveying the ship, quietly whispering key points to the other members of the team. The side extensions, two short hallway-type structures, would provide the easiest entry point, but there were guards posted, barely visible through the filthy windows. They would have to go first. That was as much planning as they could do, so they waited in silence for a minute as they got within reach of the lines.

Connor, having done this once or twice before, took the lead. He perched on the edge of the hatch, then threw himself into the void, his whirring line the only evidence that he had ever existed. One by one, the rest followed, and four lines sang in unison.

The wind wasn’t terribly strong, but it was enough to make things interesting. Ian angled toward the tail of the Lioness, coming to rest on one of the ailerons, and Connor and Aria landed on the side, just above the side extensions. Drake was not so experienced, but managed to land safely atop the main balloon. Everyone took a moment to find a nearby anchor point and switch over their lines, except Drake, who began to climb down the side of the balloon to the port flank, where Connor and Aria were.

Connor carefully rappelled down the side of the ship and took a quick peek to confirm the guard’s location. Ian was climbing around the side, but he wouldn’t be able to get inside without being seen. Connor opted to make a surprise attack. He climbed back up a few feet, then threw himself over the side. His leap carried him down over the edge of the roof, and then the line caught him, and he swung back in toward the grimy windows.

His heavy boots crashed into the window frame, but surprisingly the glass did not break. Instead, the window burst open, and Connor carried through to tackle the guard. The two of them tumbled to the ground in a tangle of limbs, but Connor pulled out his quickblade and delivered a series of quick, immobilizing strikes.

Ian, seeing Connor’s attack, hurried inside to offer help if needed, and burst through the window to find Connor holding a disembodied head by the hair. His eyes grew wide, but Connor simply rotated the head to reveal that the guard was actually a mannequin.

“Seems like our friend is a bit short-staffed,” Connor said.

“Or lazy,” Ian agreed. Aria slipped in through the window, followed a few moments later by Drake. Both looked at the mannequin quizzically.

“Something weird is going on here,” Drake said.

“I’ve seen it before,” Ian said. “Just be sure not to mistake a real crewman for a fake one.”

They examined the room. It was a simple hallway, with a few cabinets and empty bunks. In the floor was a hatch that would lead to the main body of the ship. Ian tried to open it, but it was locked from the inside. When a few solid kicks failed to dislodge it,  Aria stepped in.

“I’ve got this,” she said. She reached into her pouch and pulled out two of her basilisk scales.

“I’ll go around the outside,” Connor said. “If I can break in, we’ll catch them on two fronts, and if not, it will be a distraction.”

“I’ll come too,” Drake volunteered. The two of them jumped out the window and began to descend.

“How are you going to hold on to that strong enough to cut the metal?” Ian asked.

Aria grinned. “I’ve been known to dabble in telekinesis,” she said slyly. She grasped one scale in each hand and drove them into the steel. Assisted by the power of telekinesis, she scored four lines in the metal, making a square. The action made a sound that was half-musical and half-ungodly, but the work was done within seconds.

Ian delivered a powerful stomp to the center of the plate, and the weakened metal gave way, revealing a ladder. Aria discarded the dulled scales and scurried down toward the main part of the ship.

Meanwhile, Connor turned himself upside down and began to crawl downward. Drake found this too disorienting, so he hung back, following slowly. The front of the main ship was the location of the bridge, and the whole bow was lined with windows. Connor crept down toward the windows and saw a bridge completely full of mannequins. There was an artificial captain talking to false mates, a couple of drunken statues in the corner, and a huddle of dummies gathered around a table heaped with gold and other valuables.

“Drake,” Connor called. “Contact Aria and Iris. Something is wrong here.”

Aria and Ian were at the bottom of the ladder when they heard Drake’s voice in their heads. Everyone on the bridge is a mannequin, he said, relaying Connor’s words. He thinks this is a trap of some kind. We should get out of here.

Aria reached the bridge and saw Connor dangling outside the window, which she opened. “We’re just going to do a quick check and then get out of here,” she said.

“Well, hurry,” Connor said. “I don’t like this at all.”

Ian returned from investigating the other rooms in the ship. “Nothing in any of them, but no traps I can detect.”

Aria wandered over to the table and helped herself to a handful of the gold, as did Ian. A clicking noise began. Aria looked at Ian, and then at Connor. Then she ran.

Connor kicked off and began to climb, scrambling up the side of the ship as fast as he could. He explained the situation to Drake, with instructions to relay it to Iris and Caleb. Aria and Ian quickly climbed back up the ladder and reached the side extension. Drake, who had not tethered his line to the Lioness, began to rise quickly, hauled back to the Odessa by her powerful winches.

Suddenly, the Lioness was illuminated by spotlights coming from the mountains. The harsh light nearly blinded them. Drake, quickly rising above the Lioness, spun on his line to try and find the source of the light. “What the…”

Smaller flashes flickered across the mountain slopes, and a second later, the explosions started. With a deafening boom, concussive anti-aircraft fire exploded frighteningly close to the Odessa. Caleb dropped and swerved to one side, but since the Odessa was still tethered to the Lioness, his maneuvering room was limited.

You’d better hurry, Iris said tersely.

Ian and Aria made it back up the ladder and dashed back to their anchor lines. However, a second round of anti-aircraft fire forced the Odessa to dive to the side again. This time, the Lioness was jerked violently to one side. Drake was sent spinning, triggering his motion sickness, and he had to struggle not to be sick. Connor and Ian managed to hold on, but Aria, who was just about to climb out the window of the side extension, was thrown free of the craft.

Ian managed to reach his line. While he could have activated his quick-release mechanism, an actual attachment to the main line would be stronger, and given the circumstances, that was a good thing.

Connor also managed to climb up and attach his line, though he had some trouble with the knots. He immediately grabbed Aria’s main line and leapt off the side of the ship again to bring it to her. He managed to reach her, and despite the difficulty of the scenario, safely attached her line. Connor signaled to the Odessa, and they began to rise.

A third round of explosions struck. Whoever was firing seemed to be trying not to hit the Lioness, which offered the Odessa some protection, but the guns were homing in. One shot struck the Lioness, blasting a hole in its balloon. but another explosion managed to score a partial hit on the Odessa’s starboard propeller.

The propeller ground to a halt, engulfed in smoke and ripples of flame. The Odessa listed to one side as Caleb desperately tried to compensate for the loss of the propeller. The would-be sky-jackers, dangling on lines below, found themselves being pulled sideways. It was at this time that Aria noticed that Connor had failed to detach her secondary line from the Lioness.

She swore and drew a knife to slash at the rope, but the line was metal-reinforced and rapidly running out of slack. Drake, who had used his telekinesis to steady himself, saw Aria’s predicament and telekinetically launched a throwing knife like a bullet. It struck home right where Aria had weakened the line, and managed to cut the line of the rest of the way. It came free just in time, and the Lioness fell away into the night.

Finally free of the Lioness, but unable to climb out of range of the guns, Caleb decided to dive low, where they would be harder to target. There was a long moment of silence, while they ascended their lines, and then they heard the sound of an approaching aircraft, coming in fast.

Drake reached the Odessa and quickly unclipped himself. There was no sign of Iris or Lilly, who he guessed were trying to fight the fire or boost the other propeller. Caleb had tilted the ship at a sharp angle to help the other propeller compensate, so climbing the staircase was difficult, but manageable. The rest of the group reached the Odessa in relatively short order, although they were delayed when Aria had to help Connor and Ian, whose lines had become entangled.

Thus, Drake was the first to reach the main deck, just in time to see the plane approach. It was a diesel-powered craft with a jet-intake engine, looking beat-up despite the relative newness of the technology. It was fast, however, and positively bristled with weaponry.

Drake thought fast and drew out one of his freezing vials and quickly attached it to a special bolt for his pistol crossbow. He aimed and fired in short succession, but the plane was faster than he had expected, and sailed harmlessly past the windshield. The plane passed by, surveying its target, and Drake could hear the machine guns revving up as it circled around for a second pass. Caleb began making evasive maneuvers as best he could

Not knowing how to man the guns, Drake drew out his fire vial and prepared to throw it using telekinesis. Meanwhile, Aria managed to reach the top of the stairs, and instantly assessed the situation. She scrambled to man the forward gun, although the tilt of the ship made it awkward to use. Like the large anti-aircraft guns that had been firing at them, the mounted guns fired concussive rounds. The gun had eight barrels, fired in pairs, so she would have four shots before reloading, and probably only one shot per pass. She swiveled the gun to face the oncoming plane and flicked the safety off.

The plane came in low and fast. Drake launched his fire vial, but the pilot saw it coming and slipped to the side. Aria also fired, but the shots went wide. The plane opened fire, shredding the deck and tearing through the central bunker. Aria’s pet squealed loudly, though Aria could not tell whether it was hurt or merely frightened. The plane began to circle around for another run.

“Hey, kid,” Caleb called. “If you’re done wasting vials, maybe you can help me with these levers. I’ve only got two hands.”

Drake hurried over and did as directed, using his silver wire to reach two widely-spaced levers. Unfortunately, flustered as he was, he accidentally mixed up the directions. The ship began to pivot in the other direction, throwing off Ian and Connor, who had just arrived at the top of the stairs.

Ian immediately hurried over to the second gun, and swiveled to sight the oncoming craft. Connor made his way across the swaying deck to grab a fire hose and help with the damage to the starboard propellor.

The ship steadied again just as the plane came past. Aria shot, but missed once again. Ian, although hurried, managed to score a glancing shot, damaging one of the plane’s wing engines. The plane carried past without firing, wing trailing a thin line of smoke. Ian fired again, nearly scoring a direct hit. The pilot spooked and dove, clearly fleeing the fight.

Several of the crew let out a ragged cheer, though they didn’t have much time to celebrate. Caleb immediately began directing people in damage control, but was interrupted when a telepathic voice –not Iris’s – sounded in their minds. The voice was very business-like, and sounded as though it was coming from some distance away.

Identify yourselves.

We are the Odessa, Iris’s thoughts replied. We are a civilian craft. What is the meaning of this attack?

Our apologies, the mysterious voice replied, sounding only barely contrite. It was not our intention to fire on a private vessel. We captured the Lioness a few days ago, and hoped to use its disreputable reputation in order to lure in government craft. We had not considered that the ship might attract former enemies. 

Iris paused for a moment, likely conversing with Caleb. Are you with the Anarchists?

…yes. Please do not allow this unfortunate incident to color your perception of our noble cause. 

That may be somewhat difficult, given the circumstances, Iris said.

Both of us have damaged each other. If you will agree to call it even, I can guarantee that you will have safe passage across the mountains.

Another moment of consideration. Agreed.

Excellent. I will send an image to you of a place you may land and make repairs. We will make certain you are protected for a day or two.

Very well, Iris said, and like that, the conversation was over, the battle concluded. Aria immediately rushed to check on her pet, while the rest of the crew helped to secure things and get them to the safe landing zone.

Some of the beams in the central section had buckled, and a few minor possessions had been damaged, but on the whole, everything was okay, including Aria’s and Lilly’s pets.

By dawn, things were largely under control, and the captain invited the crew members to get some sleep while he carried on. They found Aria and Ian sifting through the loot they had taken from the Lioness.

“I suppose we should split this up evenly among us,” Aria said tiredly. “It’s mostly coins and a few trinkets. There’s a few good things, though.”

Aria claimed a folding fan for herself. It was embossed with gold, and would be useful in deflecting magical attacks. Connor gained small disc of a rare mineral that would enhance his electrical evocation, and Ian claimed a clip of five sniper-caliber bullets that appeared to be made of gold. Mage-killing rounds.

“Better be nice to me, eh boy?” Ian asked Drake, grinning. Drake rolled his eyes but seemed leery of the bullets anyway.

Drake was given the cash, since he didn’t have as much as the others did. SInce Lilly hadn’t participated, she wasn’t given anything, but she didn’t seem to think she had missed out on much.

They fell asleep almost immediately after.


And so a new chapter begins. This session went fairly well overall. Unfortunately, one of our players decided to leave the game in this session, and so the group will be getting a little smaller in the near future. I won’t say who it is for now, but I will find an interesting way to remove the character from the game soon enough. You’ll just have to wait until then, I’m afraid.

In any case, that’s not the only thing that will be changing pretty soon, but those changes will have to wait for a later installment as well.

Extra Content:

I made a rough Sketchup model to show what the Odessa looks like, and I also have an image stolen from the internet to serve as a reference for the Lioness. I’ll include the images here so you can have a better idea what was involved in the session.

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