Airships. Magnificent are they not? Oh, how the marvels of technology and ingenuity of the mind has led us to conquer the skies themselves! That in many ways summarizes the inventors of the past who built the first airships made of wood and cloth designed to fly solely by gases. As our world changed so did the airship. Gone are the days of seeing it as a marvel unsuitable for true conflict. Now we live in a world where the airship can change the tide of any battle, nay even the entire war! The nation that rules the sky shall hold claim over everything beneath it. Every nation we see this day still alive and prospering has acknowledged this truth and have built larger and stronger airships. Wooden walls? Now metal walls. Cloth bags of gas and nothing else? Supported by engines and magic. Catapults and bows? Cannons and machine guns! The world we live in is lit not just by the sun, but by the fires of death that the behemoths bring with them as they travel to battle.
-Mathematician, Inventor, Genius, Sir Fredrick Buckelham of Antoil,
Inventions that Shaped Coronam
The rays of sunlight pierced through the veil of clouds to glitter across the fresh snow. Climbing out from the cave entrance, Bryce shielded his eyes with his hand as he tried to look upon the glistening white laid out before him. Movement caught his attention, high in the sky he spotted a long-feathered heron gliding with the wind toward a distant spot further down the mountain. A strip of purple ran along the edges of the heron’s wingspan, the color distorting as it caught the rays of sun.
Liarie walked up the rocky steps to stop beside Bryce. “Did you sleep well, Bryce?”
“Yes, I’m fine.” He looked to her, admiring her orange locks that drifted in the light breeze of the cold morning air. “Can you see anything?”
“Plenty, but nothing of note.” Liarie turned to look up the slope of the mountainside.
“When are we going to talk about those shadows?”
Liarie’s face remained focused on the slope, only the slight twitch of her ears giving away any emotion. “I’d rather not talk about such nightmares.”
“Nightmares? Was it all magic?”
“Then?” Bryce took a step closer.
“It’d be wise if we speak of such matters at a later date.”
“The others are still inside; we can talk now.”
“Later,” Liarie insisted.
“What about Guidance?”
“Bryce, I said later.” She stepped away with her back turned to him, her long tail curled slightly around her legs.
Bryce reached up to the charm hidden in his jacket. What were those things that they have her so shaken up?
With a deep breath, she spoke again, “We’d be wise to move soon lest we take a chance of a Luncal patrol catching us.”
“Of course, we’ve been lucky so far.” Bryce looked back to the landscape to admire it for a few more moments, taking in the rolling hills of snow broken by the occasional tree that poked above the snow with thin naked branches. The Bosakil mountains rose above it all, though the peaks were growing shorter as they traveled. “Shouldn’t be much longer before we’re back” he muttered to himself. Back to dealing with other companies.
He lowered his head as he went through the entrance of the cave before coming into the small space within, lit by the blue rod of Liarie’s hanging from a hook punched into the ceiling. Vonna and Zel were busy tying up their gear for travel. Murn sat hunched over in a corner, unmoving in his metal armor, Liarie joining him by his side to ease him with a touch of her magic.
“You know, I’ve been thinking,” Zel said as he finished strapping his sleeping bag to the top of his pack.
“That isn’t good.” Vonna did the same and pulled a ration bar from a side pouch to munch on.
Shooting her a scowl, Zel returned to his work before getting a drink from his canteen. “That it’d be disappointing if we don’t end up fighting any of those feathered creeps before we leave these mountains.”
“Of course, you’d want to fight Luncal.” Vonna replied.
“It’s not that I want to fight them, it just seems like the right thing to happen after all this running around them.”
“We won’t be fighting them,” Bryce interrupted before heading to his own pack, which was waiting in a corner by itself. He reached into a side pouch for a ration to eat, the hearty nutrient bar with a jam-like substance within. Each bite was both satisfying and refreshing as he settled down on the hard floor to enjoy the rest for a little longer before they began another day of traveling.
“You say that, but I bet you that we’re going to get stuck fighting and when that happens…” Zel raised his hands as if he was holding a pistol, turning slowly in search of a target before kicking back with imaginary recoil. “Bang! We’ll wipe the floor with them.”
“I think you’re being overly confident of your skills.” Vonna finished her bar and began to get up with her gear.
“Not one bit.”
Vonna shook her head. “I’m going outside. This room has gotten stuffy with this fool’s ego.”
Bryce watched her head out before turning back to his meal. “Zel finish packing up, we’re waiting on you.”
“Sorry, I’ll get right on that!” He busied himself with his gear, placing a couple of magazines on a front pouch for easier access, then shifting other gear around to balance out the pack.
“It amazes me how you mess up the order of your pack every day,” Liarie observed. She shifted onto her heels to eye Zel with curious green eyes. “Surely you can better your system?”
“My system?” Zel looked back at her with a raise eyebrow before going back to his work. “I have to reach into it each day, it’s sorta hard not to move things around. What else am I supposed to do?”