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 Post subject: Vignettes of the Legacy
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:52 pm 
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The story events described in this thread occurred at the end of the last round, shortly before news of the storm became well known.


Last edited by Lord Gilbert on Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:52 pm 
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-Echo, the Leo Conservatory-

Lord Gilbert stood behind a podium, gazing out across a field of students dressed all in the golden (although some would call them yellow) robes of Echo Flight School. The old badger's eyes wrinkled with good humor.

"To this year's class of students, I offer my heartiest congratulations."

"Often, a teacher's greatest joy is when their students surprise them. Allow me to assure all of you that you have succeeded in that respect. In recent times, Flight School has shown itself as a force to be reckoned with. I have received high words of praise from members of the Armada, Hand, and League."

"However, such things can not always last. You have given much of your lives to the school, and I personally hope that we have managed to provide some small amount of compensation for your time and efforts."

"You all have taken the Golden flag of Flight School to places where we never even dreamed it might fly. For this, all of you are to be commended and honored, and from this day forward, Echo's steeple will forever fly the banner of your class."

"When I originally came to Flight School, it was because I felt that this place stood for all the things I most truly believed in. Choice. The ability to direct your path and to select what air space you dare to fly in. You all stand ready now to guide the very history and path of Skytopia."

"Each of you have been granted your diplomas and the Echo hangars are ready and cleared for your take off. Go wherever the winds and your hearts guide you."

"Congratulations and may the skies keep you all."


Last edited by Lord Gilbert on Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:52 pm 
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-Lhasa, The Monument-

Matriarch Clara stood at the loading dock of her people's colonization vessel. The enormous barge of blimps and storage boxes had gradually been cannibalized over the last few months. Its timber and supplies had been used to construct a rough settlement on the Skyland.

Whereas once the barge had teemed with the voices, dreams, and ambitions of its colonists, now it stood quietly empty. Its settlers, now distributed across Skytopia, were spreading the word of the Earthen Order. Clara placed a hand tenderly on the barge's side, "You have served, and served well. I thank you."

Some of the Order's settlers had chosen to remain on Lhasa, and Clara looked out at the flurry of activity surrounding the Monument. It had stood unfinished for quite some time now, a symbol of Skytopia's disharmony. Yet now, great clouds of sand, sawdust, and smoke rose up from the rapidly thrown together construction pits around it.

Clara bowed her head and offered a quiet prayer to Magnus. Her people's arrival in Skytopia had proceeded well. She knew of many other such missions that had ended in utter rejection and sometimes violence, yet she could not let such thoughts distract her. Skytopia had accepted the Order, and now the Order had to ensure that trust was well-placed.

"Matriarch..." a voice said behind her, "It's almost time."

She turned and saw the small face of Acolyte Webster, a Skytopian who had chosen to join the Order. Clara nodded her head, "Of course. Thank you for reminding me."

Clara walked away from the loading dock, followed by Webster. She weaved their way through the crowd, occasionally pausing to smile or exchange pleasantries with a citizen she recognized. Wherever she walked, the crowds seemed to quiet and grow still, watching the path of this small female dressed in brown robes. Eventually, she came to a stage near the monument (hastily constructed the previous night).

By this point, the activity had stopped, all eyes focused on the stage. As Clara ascended one side, a group of Skytopians ascended the other.

The two looked at one another, and then as if by some signal, bowed in unison to one another. The leader of the group called out, "Greetings, Matriarch of the Earthen Order."

Clara responded in kind, "Greetings, Learned Scholars of the Echo Flight School."

The leader turned to the crowd and said, "While on Echo, we had the opportunity to learn and bring great knowledge to our people. Yet there is only so much one can accomplish within the confines of a school such as that. We greatly value all that Echo gave us, but there is still so much to be done, not just for ourselves, but for all of Skytopia. As scholars and as people we must strive to be ever learning, and yet our knowledge must not be merely for its own sake but for the betterment of Skytopia."

Clara nodded and said, "As Alcuin teaches, if one comes to you naked and lacking in food, if you say to him, 'Go in peace, keep warm, eat well,' and yet you do not provide, what good is that? For faith without good done, is dead."

The scholar smiled, and said, "We have joined together to complete the Lhasan Monument. This place shall no longer be a symbol of Skytopia's darkest times, it shall be the home of the Earthen Order and a place of safety for all of Skytopia."

Clara looked out across the crowd with pleasure, "Already, a great library is being built here, stocked with the books our two groups bring with us. This shall be a place of learning and reflection. Together, under the banner of the Earthen Order, we will work to understand this life better, and from that understanding bring safety, harmony, and grace to all of Skytopia. This, shall be the Earthen Sanctuary."

A great cheer erupted through the crowd, the air for a moment filled with dust, as the people applauded and stamped their feet with approval.

-Lhasa, The Eastern cliffside-

High above the proceedings at the monument, an elderly goat and a small throng of followers watched the speech. As the goat listened, his jaw tightened and his mouth began to contort into a grimace.

As the crowd began to cheer, he spat onto the grass next to him.

"Reverend Standfast?" a voice said beside him, "Is something wrong?"

Standfast pointed down at the stage with a wiry finger, "Look down there, boy. Tell me what ye see."

The young acolyte peered down, "The Lhasans are celebrating the union between the Order and the Flight School Scho-."

A stick emerged from under the brown robe, clenched in a white knuckled grip. It descended on the acolyte's knee, causing him to fall to the ground yowling in pain.

"What ye see," the goat growled out, "is a farce. A fantasy and a fallacy. An elaborate sugar spun web of dreams and idle hopes that shall melt away and vanish before e'er a warm breath."

Standfast shuffled closer to the cliff edge, fixing the speakers with a penetrating gaze, "They speak of grace, and peace, and trust, whilst ignoring that we come unto a world of locusts glutted upon the untended fields of their Maker!"

The last word was spat out angrily into the wind.

When the Reverend spoke again, it was a low growl, "Clara may think that the path of good citizenship is a life lead by example. With a hand extended gently and kindly to ye're fellow."

"But we know different...for we know what Magnus meant. He called us to become good citizens because we were filled with wickedness and filth. So repugnant are we that the very good land did spit us upwards and curse us to ne'er grace the earth with our feet. Yet here, we find a land so tainted with vanity and hubris that they cannot even feel the waves of Magnus' judgement lapping at their toes to drag them screaming into their drown'ed punishment."

Standfast shook his head and turned back to his followers, "Let them build their 'Sanctuary' and let them 'bring grace to the land.' Yet that will do naught to save their cursed souls from the Deep."

He turned back, and gazed again at the cheering crowds, "Oh no my children. Tis not grace that will save them. Tis fear of Magnus' wrath, and we shall deliver it unto them."


Last edited by Lord Gilbert on Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:52 pm 
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-Getty, the Hall of Records -

The air within the Hall was dank with the dusty scent of history. Hundreds of books, papers, and scrolls lined the walls, giving some legitimacy to the fear of an informational avalanche. The mustiness of the air was pierced only by the metallic tang of ozone, the sole sign that any advanced technology existed somewhere in this otherwise archaic chamber.

A table stood within the center of the room, dwarfed by the monolithic shelves around it. Beside it stood a large cat, his rotund body clothed in luxurious green robes. His gaze traced the contours of the room, pupils dilating occasionally when studying something of interest.

A door opened on one side of the room, and from it emerged an elderly bear. As he walked towards the table, the cat studied him - noting the grey of his fur, the high quality of his robes, and the expression of great concern on his face. The cat smiled and bowed, almost touching the floor with his forehead, "Loremaster Braudel. You honor the Jade Hand with your summons."

Braudel nodded and walked towards the table. "The Keepers of Getty thank the Hand for agreeing to meet with us. You must forgive me, however, as we have not been introduced."

Waving a tawny paw in the air, the cat said, "I am Minister Eduart, Chancellor of Northern Business Operations for the Jade Hand. But please do not let titles overwhelm you. I am but a simple tradesman wishing to know how the Hand may best serve your esteemed fellowship."

The Loremaster said nothing for a moment, and then cleared his throat, "You understand that we do not enter into this lightly. The Keepers have long since kept their neutrality, and we must ensure that the other Factions are not aware of this."

Eduart smiled, touching a single finger to his lips, "None shall be the wiser."

Braudel turned away from Eduart, and began to walk towards the great shelves surrounding them, "Very well. Permit me to fetch something." As he turned his back, Eduart's smile faded, and his eyes began to watch the Loremaster's actions with all the intensity of a hawk about to strike.

"Please, honored Loremaster, take your time."

Braudel began looking through one of the shelves and said, "Roughly one week ago, we received a shipment of flotsam and jetsam that had been recovered from the north. Immediately we went to work cataloguing, identifying, and marking all that we had found. There was the usual stray bits of metal and wood, all readily identifiable to areas around Skytopia."

As Braudel pored over the collected artifacts, Eduart silently walked up behind him, the bulk of the portly cat moving as silently as slight breeze. His eyes remained fixed on the items that passed through the Loremaster's hands as he rooted through the shelves.

"However, we came across what appeared to be a kind of radio. Not quite similar to what is most popularly used nowadays, and yet not completely alien. It was assigned to one of our younger brothers to perhaps discover the engineer who had created it and what differences it ma- ah, here it is."

Picking up a small wooden box from a lower shelf, the Loremaster turned. He walked back towards the table, which Eduart was leaning against casually. Bringing it there, Braudel opened a small hatch on one side.

"The brother was working on it, when it began to emit static."

Eduart chuckled, "A most uncommon event, I'm sure, for a piece of waterlogged technology."

"Oh yes," Braudel agreed, "Most uncommon. The brother however was able to grab ahold of his senses and begin recording what it broadcast."

From a pocket of his robe, Braudel took out a metal cylinder that reflected distorted bits of light around the Hall. Wiping it clean with the sleeve of his robe, heinserted it into the box.

The sound of static filled the room, and Eduart's ears flicked slightly with irritation. The sounds soon quieted, except for a single high pitched note that seemed to bore into the Minister's brain.

And then a voice began to speak, but it was unlike any that Eduart had ever heard before. It was old and ancient and hollow. There was a sadness there, but also some other emotion that caused the fur on Eduart's back to prickle with unease.

The voice was angry.

"*kkkkkkzzzzzzhhh*...direct us...*kzt* we are here and they are the-*krik*there...we are stored and-*kz*-and-*kz*-and must perform our pu-*kzzzzzzzzzzzh*sssss...they watch us and would change usssss*kzzzh*we will NOT be changed *KZZZZH* they will NOT *KZH* we cannot...we must not forg*kzzzzzzzzzzzh*..."

The silence flooded the room again, leaving both listeners watching the device with sudden apprehension.

Eduart cleared his throat and ran a hand over his head, smoothing the fur that had puffed up as he listened to the recording, "A most..ha...curious recording, Loremaster."

Removing the cylinder from the box, Braudel shook his head, "That was all it gave before the radio seemed to short out and die completely."

"This has been most interesting," Eduart began, "and the Jade Hand thanks Getty for sharing it with us...but to what cause? Very seldomly is something given for nothing."

Here, Braudel's face lightened ever so slightly as he began to smile, "Ah, but you are a businessman, Minister Eduart. Surely you know the usefulness of the free sample."

"...go on."

"After all, give a man a fish and he eats for a day, but sell him a map to the fishing hole..."

A grin creeped back onto the Minister's face, "You mean to say, you were able to discover where the message was broadcast from?"

Braudel nodded, "And we are prepared to offer this information to the Hand...for a price."

Eduart chuckled and clapped his paws together with sudden relish, "Very well then! Let us bargain!"

***

As Minister Eduart emerged from the Hall, he paused to let his eyes readjust to the outside light. Coughing, he patted at his robes, and then coughed again as clouds of dust plumed from them.

"Eduart."

Looking up, he saw a figure dressed in the common clothing of Getty, but with an all too familiar face. He bowed, "Guildmistress."

Guildmistress Eltsina smiled kindly at him, "Walk a while with me. I trust your meeting with Braudel went well."

The pair of them walked down a path that lead towards the bustling activity of the Getty marketplace, "Most well. The information has been procured for a nominal fee..."

Sensing some hesitation, Eltsina raised an eyebrow. Eduart shrugged his shoulder slightly and said, "Truthfully, I believe he would have given us the information gratis had it come to it. The prices we negotiated were but a pretense to make this seem like a legitimate transaction."

Eltsina's lips pursed slightly, as they began to weave their way through a crowd of citizens, "In the past, the Keepers have shown themselves to possess an...altruistic streak. We have able to take advantage of this quality in the past for both Skytopia and our own benefit. This may very well better us all. Dispatch missives to the rest of the Hand about the information procured. I shall recommend that we seize upon this opportunity within the week. Good-bye Chancellor."

Eduart turned, but found that he had lost sight of Eltsina in the crowd. As he made his way back to the skyland's hangar, he only then recalled that Eltsina had never even asked what the information was.

When finally secluded within the cockpit of his Bismarck, he broadcast a message to the Jade Hand. Coded several times over, the message simply stated, "Onwards to Profit."


Last edited by Lord Gilbert on Thu Apr 09, 2009 8:56 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:52 pm 
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-Jordan, Oriana Station~

Admiral Fuseli stepped down the platform leading down to one of the ancient train stations of Jordan. He looked behind him, at the imposing mass of his warship The Scarlet Blade. It was adorned with the Banners of Conquest and Peace, their crimson fabric whipping about in the winds.

The Admiral, while still bearing the scars of older battles, had taken to no longer walking with his cane and pronounced lip. His subordinates noted that there seemed to be a new vitality to him, a strength and clarity of vision that had until recently seemed lost.

Assembled at the station were members of Fuseli’s elite personal guard, the most highly trained and loyal of the Crimson Armada. Fuseli took a moment to grace them all with a beatific smile, and then strode down to meet them.

As his feet touched the end of the gangplank, the assembled all sharply saluted in unison.

“At ease,” the Admiral said, a note of pride and pleasure in his voice, “Today is a most excellent day for Skytopia, for we have managed to bring peace and order once again to this skyland. I believe that the best thing a soldier can accomplish is their duty, and permit me to congratulate you all on performing your duty with dignity, courage, and resolve.”

He strode out along the lip of one of the railways that arced across Jordan, pointing out into the great expanse of sky before him, “Yet our task is not complete. Not in Skytopia, and not even here. The threat of chaos, disorder, and war looms ever within the skies. We have done what we can to fight the menace of pirates and brigands who see fit to raid our people, but still they fly and still do they prey upon the weak and innocent of our airs. Already reports fly to my ears about how the outskirts of Skytopia are under attack via a strange fleet of seemingly invisible planes that defy our existing technology and protections.”

Fuseli turned around, his cloak sweeping out before him, his hand open and gesturing to the soldiers before him, “Is our duty complete?”

“Sir, NO Sir!”

The Admiral smiled, “It is not.”

He gestured to a large male boar before him, “Captain Stoatmeier, status report on Jordan.”

The Captain stepped forward proudly, “Yes Sir. The populace of Jordan began to rebel following attacks by the Phantom Fleet. The people here felt unprotected and fell upon their own government. The Factions all sent soldiers and emissaries here to assist, with the Crimson Armada and Echo Flight School becoming the most powerful on the field of battle and in the halls of the Jordanian Senate. The Armada won a decisive battle in the air and in the Senate and the people of Jordan gave their support to us-”

Fuseli interrupted, “As ever, our skill in the air is unmatched. How were we able to maneuver in the Senate?”

Stoatmeier continued, “It is our belief that word was already being spread about the dissolution of Echo Flight School as a legitimate governing Faction. Additionally, the people of Jordan have always shown an appreciation for the arts, and one of the Armada, N. Shade, won a competition here with his sculpture of Arcadia.”

Fuseli nodded, “Make a note to send him my commendations. I may be looking for an artist to patronize. Is that all Captain?”

The boar smiled, a devious twinkle in his eye, “That is all for the report, Sir. However, during the evacuation of Flight School operatives, we were able to capture one of their flags to do with as we may.”

The Admiral looked at Stoatmeier in silence, then said, “…do with it as we may? Is there something in particular you have in mind, Captain?”

A note of frost had entered Fuseli’s voice, and a bead of sweat began to pool on Stoatmeier’s forehead, “Well…ah, Sir. It is a trophy of war that shows that we-“

Fuseli cut him off, “What would you have us do, Captain? Burn it? Mount it on the Scarlet Blade?”

Stoatmeier said nothing, a sudden look of glazed fear entering his eyes.

“You have stated that the Echo Flight School is being dissolved as a Faction,” Fuseli continued, “So do you seek to perhaps take a group who very nearly won the battle here, a group who is soon to be directionless and looking for a new group to stand with, and systematically insult, mock, and isolate them? Is that part of your strategy, Captain?”

The boar sputtered, “I apologize for my foolishness, Sir. I will have the flag returned to them immediately.”

The Admiral blinked, and then a somewhat wicked smile crossed his face, “Return it? My goodness Captain, we must respect our enemies but we must still beat them. Keep the Flag within the Blade. They will know we have it, but it is only there for its own safekeeping. Do we know where most of the Flight Schoolers are heading to following their dissolution?”

A female cat spoke up, “Our spies state that many seem to be gravitating towards the Earthen Order.”

Fuseli glanced at her, then thought for a second before saying, “Contact the sculpture artist who won the contest here. See how he would feel presenting his sculpture to them as a gesture of goodwill.”

He turned to a female giraffe, “Technology report, Captain Vizzareal.”

As Stoatmeier stepped awkwardly back into line, Vizzareal stepped forward, “Yes Sir. Our researchers believe they have managed to create smaller versions of the Alpha Platforms. We should be able to use the technology to establish a series of low maintenance fueling skylets throughout Skytopia. These should make it more difficult for pirates to wantonly assault the more distant skylands.”


The Admiral smiled with approval, “Excellent. Start production immediately. I want Skytopia guarded from the Phantom Fleet.”

Vizzareal continued, “Additionally, per your orders, the engineer responsible for the recent Bismarck improvements has been…made redundant. We are looking at this time to work with the manufacturers to begin improving the armament of the blimps. Also, a new manufacturer named Iron Crescent is debuting a new plane named the Barashiki. Its designer is a Flight Schooler named T. Chong who has shown some promise. We are investigating the plane for potentially bolstering our fleets with it. That is all, Sir.”

Fuseli nodded at her as she took her place back in line, “Great things are in store for the Crimson Armada, but our work is not complete. Vizzareal, you are tasked with taking our flag to the Senate offices and hoisting it skywards. I want all of Skytopia to see our victory. Dismissed.”

The soldiers all saluted, and Vizzareal left with a great smile on her face for the honor afforded her.

The Admiral stood on the railway, watching as the Red and Gold colors of the Armada were raised over Jordan. If he squinted his eyes in the sunlight, it seemed as though that flag was the only thing that filled the sky.


Last edited by Lord Gilbert on Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:36 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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-Islo, Dock

Emir Dalhoum stood on a pile of boxes that formed a crude podium. He stood on the main docking area of the skyland of Islo, the wind causing his long scarf to trail behind him like a tail. His piercing blue eyes looked out at the small crowd assembled before him. Some were citizens, some researchers, and a select few were pilots. Most of the other pilots would be in the air right now, but he noted that many there were holding radios, ensuring that his words would be broadcast to all Azure Leaguers throughout Skytopia.

When he spoke, his voice was hoarse, with a breathy quality to it that made it seem both heavy and light, “It has been some time now since Lawrence Islo was lost to us.”

Those gathered there paused and looked at the goggles that hung over the signpost of the tavern.

“We will continue the search for him to honor his memory and what he has done for us.”

A brief period of silence, uninterrupted by any listener. In the cock pits of those pilots listening in over the radio, even they shared in this solemn moment.

“Yet to stagnate is to die. In the mind, in the body, and in the soul.”

“As the wind, we are always restless, always searching and striving, pushing the bounds of all the walls that may limit us.”

“It has become clear that our knowledge is limited. Voyagers from beyond Skytopia come to us, and yet we have not the technology to move past our own small and huddled quarters.”
Dalhoum’s eyes flared with intensity, “We must break free this, and we will. Already our scientists are working endlessly through the night to craft a vessel that will enable us to stretch the bounds of the world as we know it. No longer will we need to depend upon the small lanes of travel long since worn into the ground, but instead we shall be treading new ground and spreading the cause of freedom and independence!”

A cheer broke out and a fleet of hats were thrown into the air.

Dalhoum laughed as a few hats landed near him, “Friends, in the coming months, we will finish planning and construction of a vessel that shall be christened the Azure Horizon. But this shall not be some warship intended to shadow the people of Skytopia, but instead a beacon of hope and learning to all who feel crushed under the yoke of cruel governance.”

More cheers. Slightly less hats as some had blown away.

“But for now, the Phantom Fleet threatens to move into Skytopian airspace and I have received word that a great storm approaches from the North. I believe we should move out, attacking the Fleet where we can and aiding the populace to prepare for the storm. I shall head out shortly and I hope that others of you do the same.”

Even before he had finished speaking, he saw the few pilots donning their goggles and turning towards their planes.

“To Freedom, to Life, and to Lawrence Islo!”

Many more hats were lost to the wind.

-Skies Above Islo-

The Fleet attacked at dawn, huge clouds of X-37’s and floating platforms had appeared around Islo and had begun to fire on anything that approached them.
Dalhoum’s plane zipped through the throngs of them, peppering their surfaces with bullets as he avoided the massive cannon fire of the platforms. Out of the corner of his vision he saw an X-37 trying to get him in its firing arc. Predicting its erratic shuddering flight pattern, he sideslipped away from it, pulled his plane in a wide arc that brought him into the X-37’s 5 o’clock, and then fired all he had it.

The enemy appeared to try and shudder out of the way, its shaky unreal motion still disturbing Dalhoum’s senses. He grunted with satisfaction as it exploded into a cloud of fire and metal.

His vision refocusing, he swore an oath as a platform blinked into visibility in front of him. In the instant that it had been visible, he realized he was looking into the barrel of one of its cannons. He threw his plane into a wild dive as the platform unleashed the full force of its cannons. Dalhoum’s plane shook as the salvo of fire passed narrowly over him, but by this point he was trying to pull the plane back up from its dive without blacking out in the process. Biting down hard on his lower lip until the taste of the blood awoke his senses, he shrieked a warcry as he maneuvered his plane in an arc underneath the bulk of the platform, eventually rocketing upwards on the opposite side.

Jamming a hand roughly down on a button on his control panel, he looked behind him watching a cloud of grey sphere falling in the air.

“Enjoy a taste of your own medicine…”

The mines detonated as they touched the invisible platform, fires and smoke suddenly appearing as the platform heaved and clunked its way to total visibility. A smile crossed Dalhoum’s face as he watched it explode.

He caught a glimpse of it as it flickered into existence, judged where a clear space was, and afterburnered his plane towards it.

His radio burst into life, “Emir, this is Islo control tower. The Fleet appears to be retreating.”

Dalhoum replied, “It is well, Control. Pass word to the Conclave that the mines worked incredibly well.”

Dalhoum shook his head, still trying to clear it from the high-Gs he had been pulling. The radio crackled again, “Also Emir, we have word of a distressing nature from Uurwerk.”

The Emir’s brow furrowed slightly, “Go on.”

“Word was passed to us that there were some radio signatures similar to those we’d read off of that captured platform from within Uurwerk. We sent a team of Leaguers out there to study it. Word is that the current leader of Uurwerk, Governor Hare of the Armada heard about this and wasn’t too happy about it. He’s called for a boycott on all League goods, a tax on our fliers, and has put the skyland on high defense.”

Dalhoum swore, “He’s done everything except openly declare war on us.”

There was silence from the other end of the radio, and then, “As of today, he has declared martial law due to the thread of the Phantom Fleet. He has declared it treasonous to offer missions to the League, and has threatened to execute anyone helping us. The rest of the Armada aren’t condoning his actions, but they sure aren’t condemning them.”

Emir Dalhoum said nothing, his eyes narrowed and the blue of them looked out on the horizon. Unconsciously he had turned his plane in the direction of Uurwerk.

“If the citizens of Uurwerk are to be punished for helping us, then we must help them instead.”
Rocketing forward, Dalhoum felt the blood rushing to the back of his skull, yet his vision remained clear.


Last edited by Lord Gilbert on Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:46 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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-Arcadia, the base of the Great Tree

Shining One sat quietly at the base of the Arcadian tree. Behind the mask, their eyes were closed as the senses of smell and touch were used to commune with the great skyland.

“Artist?” a voice asked.

Eyes opening, Shining One looked out serenely at one of the Skytopians who had recently come to study with the Court. Behind him, a group of other Skytopians watched reticiently. With a voice like liquid silver, Shining One said, “You are heard, Roberto of Arcadia.”

Roberto, a young male bear bowed his head respectfully, “Uh, we hear that some of the skylands out there are being attacked by pirates.”

Roberto paused, waiting for a response. When none came, he coughed and continued, “And we were wondering if we should…you know…do something.”

Shining One’s head tilted ever so slightly, in a gesture that Roberto and the others had grown to see as a sign of the One’s amusement.

“One should always endeavor to do, even if the doing is nothing.”

A voice from the crowd behind Roberto seemed to speak for all of them, “What?”

Behind the mask there was laughter, gentle and not unkind, “You state that you wonder. This is as it should be, as a life should be filled with wonder and statement. You should do something, I should wonder. Surely,” – the last ‘S’ pronounced with pleasure, as though quietly enjoying the momentary alliteration.

The eyes behind the mask closed once more, “The path of perfection must be wondered. It is a box of secrets that will draw forth anxieties and imperfection when the touch is wrong and the path is muddled. But it is the nature of paths to be muddled until they are seen.”

“One must know what to look for, what is there, what is not, and what a path is.”

Roberto spoke again, this time trying to bring a level of calm to his voice, attempting to match the languid nature of Shining One’s speech, “And once the path is discovered?”

Shining One smiles, “Then it is revealed that within the box is but another box. And another. Endless until they stop.”

The same voice within the crowd that had exclaimed earlier seemed ready to do so again, but was quickly hushed.

“Seek you out your paths as you may. Observe the box, touch it, sing to it, destroy it, and if necessary, open it.”


Last edited by Lord Gilbert on Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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-Uurwerk, Horloge Court

TICK

The collosal gears of Uurwerk continued turning their endless revolutions. Regularly, great ticks and tocks would shake the very foundation of the skyland, like some giant creature breathing in and out. The Uurwerkians had grown used to them, and were actually comforted by the endless heartbeat of their home. Some even had superstitions, notions about how a life’s fortune could be told based on whether it began on a tick or a tock. Ticks were fortunate and spoke of new life and new beginning. Tocks didn’t.

TOCK

Horloge Court stood relatively close to the hangar, such that its large open windows could look out at the skies to watch new planes coming to and fro. The sky was empty, with thick grey clouds obscuring all vision. The courthouse, a great squat structure built of steel girders and granite arches was on a street normally densely populated with traders, pilots, and citizens all interacting with one another. Currently, all that was there was an old giraffe ambling up the street with a thick roll of papers under one arm and a hammer in hand. As he passed each building, he paused a moment to unroll one of the papers and nail it to the wall.

The paper was covered in words. Words like ‘embargo,’ ‘safety,’ and ‘treason,’ but all of these were dwarfed by large words, colored red and standing out starkly from the mottled grey of Uurwerk: ‘Martial Law Declared.’

TICK

Within the court, rows of seats were arranged for an audience that was absent. The empty chairs bore witness to the sight of a young male fox standing before an aged judge. The fox was dressed in the green and brown robes of a Cartographer’s Guild apprentice, with his hands tied behind him. Great bags drooped under the judge’s eyes, and his vision seemed milky and distant. Behind him, an officer of the Governor’s Guard stood with their arms crossed.

The judge cleared his throat and then spoke, “Allister Park, it is the opinion of the court that you have endangered the public safety by giving aid to potential threats to Uurwerk.”

The fox’s eyes widened and he opened his mouth to speak, but the upraised hand of the judge silenced him, “For the charge leveled against you, we find you guilty, and by the power vested in me, I sentence you death. The sentence will be carried out tomorrow at dawn.”

Allister’s mouth fell open. He turned, looking for somewhere, someone to appeal to, but found only the empty seats and a pair of Guards coming in to escort him to the jail.

As he was escorted from the court, the judge hazarded a glance at the guard behind him, then looked sadly back at the receding form of Allister Park.

“May the skies keep you.”

TOCK

Gloria Winston looked about her with shock. The streets, once empty after martial law was declared, were now teeming with people—angry people marching. She had heard the noise from within her home and had gone out to see the commotion. Seeing a face she recognized, she inched her way through the crowd to tug upon their sleeve.

“Jonas, Jonas!”

The male cat looked at her and suddenly smiled, “Gloria! Come to join us?”

“Join you? What’s going on?”

The two of them ducked out of the way of the main crowd to find refuge in an abandoned stall. Jonas spoke quickly, “The Governor has seen fit to start arresting people, and word has it that one has even been sentenced to death.”

Gloria blinked, “Well, I had heard about some people who were being tried for-“

Jonas scoffed, “Shams, the lot of them. The judges are all stooges doing whatever the Governor says. Now we know there may very well be some who are a threat to safety, but we need honest and public trials before juries of their fellow Uurwerkians. So? What do you think? Are you coming or not?”

Gloria swallowed nervously and said, “Well, I’m sure the Governor will agree with you all and it’ll all be fine, but all the same I thi-“

Before she had finished speaking, Jonas had shook his head sadly and moved back to join the crowd.

TICK

Emir Dalhoum stood within the ramshackle base that had been constructed deep within the bowels of Lower Uurwerk. His fingers traced across diagrams of Uurwerk, tracking paths that lead to and from the various parts of the great skyland.

A young skyrate ran up to him and nodded her head, “Emir, we’ve got word that the rest of the Phantom Wing will be arriving well before dawn. The cloud cover and the darkness should ensure they’re unseen.”

Dalhoum smiled, his eyes flashing dangerously, “Most excellent. Their arrival will give us the manpower to raid the prison and liberate those unjustly held.”

He glanced up at a clock on the wall, “But before that, we need to ensure that we have the people behind us. We need to start spreading word to the populace that they are not alone. They do not have to accept a cruel governor just because he flies a scarlet flag.”

A voice, low and sweet purred from a dark recess of the room, “In this, I believe you will have an ally, Dalhoum.”

Emir whirled to face the corner, a dagger held in his hand pointing towards the darkness. A low chuckle preceded the appearance of a plump male cat, expensive green robes glittering in the scant light, “Permit me to introduce myself. I am Minister Eduart of the Jade Hand.”

Dalhoum said nothing, the dagger unwavering.

Eduart shrugged theatrically and said, “I come with a message of peace and support from the Hand.”

The dagger lowered slightly, “The Hand will ally with the League?”

Eduart nodded, “For this juncture.”

Dalhoum looked at the young skyrate whose eyes were flashing between Dalhoum and Eduart, “Give us a moment please.”

As she quickly exited, Dalhoum gazed into the amber honey that was the Minister’s eyes, seeing softness and laziness, but beyond that a cold and unyielding steel.

The Emir’s grip loosened slightly on the dagger, but still it pointed at Eduart’s throat, “And what does the Hand seek in return for their support?”

Eduart shook his head, “I could play a game of barter and bargain with you for hours Emir, you know I could. Suffice to say the Hand is benefitted by seeing the current power structure of Uurwerk shifted. Uurwerk is a valuable location, and the current unfortunateness here has caused unexpected pressures on the markets that we control.”

Eduart’s easy smile vanished, and his voice became suddenly quite serious, “But such matters are not why I came to you with such speed. The Hand has come across information that we believe you should have.”

“Speak, Minister.”

“Allister Park,” Eduart said, “was killed in his cell about half an hour ago.”

Dalhoum’s arm dropped as he stared at Eduart, “Why?”

Shaking his head, the cat said, “It will be labeled a suicide, but we observed the Governor’s forces having a hand in the matter.”

With a growl, Dalhoum stabbed the dagger into a nearby table. He turned towards Eduart and hissed out, “How long will it take your people to spread word of the League?”

Eduart took a slight step back from Dalhoum, before quickly calming himself, “The seeds will be spread within the next hour. We will also have operatives sabotaging the Governor’s information network. The Armada has not thrown their full support behind him yet, let’s ensure they don’t.”

Dalhoum nodded, staring at the map of Uurwerk, “Good. Together we will avenge the lost, and give the people of Uurwerk the strength and opportunity to lead themselves.”

TOCK

The streets were blazing with fire. Great crowds of citizens, bolstered with members of the League who had infiltrated the city, stormed the compounds of the Governor. Liberating who they could, and imprisoning those who had previously been the ‘law.’

Along the streets, pamphlets blew about like dry leaves. Each was covered with words that spoke of liberty and freedom from tyranny. The Uurwerkians read scholarly descriptions of the factions, written by a Leaguer and signed ‘FD’. They heard about how the League had received word of the Earthen Order and the Court of Violets and had shared that information with the world rather than keep it to themselves. The people were shown a vision of freedom of thought, information, and life.

And then they heard word about an event that had happened at the prison—a terrible event that taken one of their people from them.

Gloria Winston was one of the first to join the new mob that raided the Governor’s residence. Jonas remembered seeing her throwing a brick through one of the windows as the fire illuminated her green and brown robes.

TICK


Last edited by Lord Gilbert on Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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-Eltsina, Guildmistress' Quarters-

Guildmistress Eltsina steepled her fingers together, and allowed her mind to wander as the perpetual hum of the Jade Fan’s engines filled the air with the sweet scent of unobtanium. She ran a hand down the long trail of her robe, touching the beads sewn into the lining. Each was a unique treasure, colored and patterned to symbolize one branch of the Guild. There were hundreds of them.

The room was poorly lit with a single lamp on the desk in front of Eltsina. It managed a meager illumination across the assembled papers and artifacts that littered the desk. The Guildmistress herself was largely shadowed, except for her nimble hands and the slight glint of her eyes in the darkness.

On the other side of the desk, the fat form of Chancellor Eduart stood. He chuckled lightly, “Mistress, with this kind of light you’re surely straining your eyes.”

Eduart sensed a slight movement across the face in what he hoped was a smile, “I assure you Eduart, I will be fine.”

The Chancellor coughed and said, “The operation in Uurwerk proceeds well. The governor has been overthrown and the League feels they owe us a great favor for the aid we provided.”

“And our forces are...?”

“Rested and ready to move, Guildmistress.”

The hands unsteepled, resting gently on a paper in front of Eltsina. Eduart felt his eyes trying to turn upside down in their sockets as he tried to read the page but found that, alas, it was too dark. The Guildmistress said, “Excellent. Mobilize as many as we can without arousing too much suspicion from the League. The Blues will be busy securing Uurwerk, let them believe that we are patrolling the area for potential attacks.”

Eduart chuckled deeply, “A half-truth, eh Mistress? The patrol will then fly to the coordinates provided to us by Loremaster Braudel.”

“Indeed Chancellor. The patrol’s leaders have already formulated a plan to my liking. They will investigate and deal with whatever they find and radio back information to the Hand. The Jade Fan will rendezvous with them tomorrow to collect and secret away anything considered valuable.”

The Chancellor rubbed his paws together and grinned toothily, “Here is hoping that today turns out to be very profitable Mistress.”

“For us and all of Skytopia, Eduart.”

A hand moved from its place on the desk to retrieve an envelope from a drawer. Eltsina held the paper out towards Eduart and said, “Now if you would do me one last thing Eduart, take it, and spread the message to your Storymasters such that they spread word of it throughout Skytopia.”

Chancellor Eduart stepped forward tentatively and reached for the envelope, “What is it, Guildmistress?”

“Hmm? Oh, only a small matter that needed addressing. I have decided to pardon Guildmaster Verron Kadath.”

Eduart’s step faltered, and he swallowed, suddenly nervous. As he took the paper from the Guildmistress’ hand, this time, he was sure she was smiling.


Last edited by Lord Gilbert on Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:53 pm 
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-Far North of Uurwerk-

As the Jade Hand patrol approached the coordinates in Northern Skytopian airspace, the sky grew murkier and dark with clouds. Weather surveyors had predicted a great storm would be coming to Skytopia from the north, and it appeared that the Hand had found it.

The planes’ radios were silent. As each pilot flew into the cloying darkness, they felt the heavy silence, but secrecy and discretion had been greatly stressed upon them, and they would gladly endure the feeling of solitude to ensure the success of the mission.

As they neared the target zone, their instruments all began misbehaving. Dials spun wildly, compasses changed direction every few seconds. Everything seemed to go haywire...except for the radios. Using their last set of good information, the patrol continued into the storm.

A pair of Lokis scouted the way ahead, sending messages behind them by way of floating lanterns released into the wind. As the wind picked up, the patrol flew in tighter formation ensuring that none of them would become lost in the darkness.

A lightning flash erupted near them, sending great thick drums of thunder rocketing through the suddenly fragile seeming planes. In that moment, a great Platform became visible near them. The Lokis immediately dropped to either side to flank it, the other planes scattering to surround the monolith to fire upon it. Bullets shrieked through the sky and a few seconds passed before the patrol leader radioed for them all to stop and fall back in formation.

After a few incredulous messages, the group complied. In the sudden silence that followed, the patrol realized the Platform wasn’t moving...instead it floated lazily in the sky occasionally flickering in and out of visibility.

The Lokis again went forward to scout around it, getting a rare chance to gaze uninterrupted at the massive construct. Great gears and cyclopean machinery covered it, with the large and deadly cannons etched with an impossibly complex series of lines and dashes.

The remainder of the patrol used the Platform as a makeshift landmark while the Lokis continued on ahead. What followed was a seemingly immeasurable length of time while the rest of the patrol waited for their comrades to return.

Eventually, one Loki emerged from the clouds, radioing that the other pilot’s plane had been clipped by another inactive Platform that had appeared from nowhere. The pilot had to evacuate the plane, parachuting downwards where she had sighted something astounding.

The patrol pulled away from the Platform, dropping down through the skies below the cloud layer until they emerged into clear air. Looking down, the leader saw the faint glimmer of one of the signal lanterns on the surface of the sea, held by what must be the downed pilot.

The bare speck of the pilot gradually seemed to grow larger as the patrol approached, until it became strangely clear that she wasn’t floating in the water but standing on something.

The planes equipped for water landing did so, the rest continuing the scout the area. The patrol’s comrade stood proudly on a small island jutting from the sea. The island could not be any larger than a small cottage, and the Loki pilot held onto it for dear life.

The rest of the team deployed a small raft and tied it to the island. The Loki pilot ushered them forward where she lead them to a small area of the rock that she pointed to excitedly. The leader stepped forward cautiously and slowly ran his hand across the surface. Suddenly gasping, he choked out, “It’s a door.”

Cleaning the surface off revealed what very much was a constructed door on the surface of the island. While it initially refused to open, a few shots from a pistol managed to coax it. Descending down was a narrow stairway that spiraled into shadows. Grabbing a few lanterns, the patrol moved downwards into the musty air, while the drip of water and the sound of the waves around them gradually grew silent.

After what must have been half an hour, the group came to where the stairway ended and extended outwards into a long hallway of corroded metal. The group followed, none of them saying a word, as though speaking was somehow wrong here. One word continued to echo in all of their minds.

Pre-Upheaval.

They eventually came to a large door that seemed to be free of corrosion. Some language was scrawled across it that none of them could identify, and they paused a moment to trace the symbols for future study.

In the center of the door was a large disc of brassy metal. The center had a hand print that was much larger than any of the hands of the patrol members gathered there. Tentatively, the leader approached, and with a smile and a wry, “For the Jade Hand, eh?” placed his palm on the indentation.

From deep below them, a great groaning of ancient unyielding metal was heard, followed by a torturous grinding that assaulted their ears. Finally, the great door in front of them slowly began to slide open.

As suddenly as it started, the noise stopped, and the door ceased its movement; the entire place falling again into an unsettling silence.

Not moving for a few moments, one pilot finally said, “I think there’s enough room to squeeze through. If you’re small and flexible.”

All eyes suddenly turned towards one of their party, a diminuitive male ferret who suddenly noticed all eyes upon him. Rolling his eyes, he took the lantern and squeezed through the slight crack left by the door and held the lantern out to see what was out there.

Great pillars of metal and wiring were all about him. Some he could see in the distance, others had crashed and fallen around him, mostly obscuring the way forward. He picked his way carefully though the assorted chaos of machinery, his nose picking up the scent of oil and stale air. He treaded his way carefully around one pillar, and then tried his best to scramble his way up the smooth metal surface of a fallen pillar. Eventually he found a place where the paneling had been torn away, exposing the loose wire, and used that to climb. As he reached the top, his radio began to crackle with life. He tried to radio that he was all right, but before he could a series of noises bleeped out.

“dit, dit, dit, dahb, dahb, dahb, dit, dit, dit...”

After a few seconds, the pattern would repeat.

The ferret listened, his eyes wide. He turned the radio this way and that, trying to find the strongest direction where he could get a signal. As he turned one way, the radio crackled again, this time broadcasting the voice of the patrol leader, “Report? Report? Do you copy?” His foot lost purchase on the smooth metal of the pillar, and he fell, careening down the side, landing amidst a pile of wiring and rubble and crushing the lantern in the process.

He winced, and reached for the radio in the darkness and picked it up, finding it had been the main lump that had broken his fall. Cursing, he was about to throw it when he heard the, “dit, dit, dit, dahb, dahb, dahb, dit, dit, dit” again. He looked down at the shattered radio he held and then started wildly around him, searching the darkness.

Beneath the wreckage of one of the pillars, covered in wire, the scent of oil strong and heady in the air, he saw a pale yellow light flickering in the scant darkness.

Crawling forward, he found himself looking at a metallic box of smooth burnished copper. Two windows were affixed to the front, one of them shattered and broken, the other being the source of the light. A small speaker beneath crackled forth the message, the one lighted window flickering again.

“dit, dit, dit, dahb, dahb, dahb, dit, dit, dit...”

The ferret’s cocked his head, “What on earth are you?”

The light suddenly burned brighter and the speaker suddenly piped clearly, “Wat ohn earth arr uuuuuuuuu.”

===================================================================

The patrol was attempting to pull the door open using materials they had retrieved from their planes. A makeshift lever looked on the verge of cracking when they heard the voice of the ferret calling through the darkness. I’m okay! I’m all right.”

The leader breathed a sigh of relief and called out, “Get out of there now, we’re going to have to evacuate soon. The storm is about to get really nasty.”

The group moved back to give the ferret room to squeeze through the crack, and then looked at him perplexedly as he reached back through the crack and began to pull something through.

What emerged was a strange and tangled mess of metal rods and boxes, all made of the same burnished copper. As the ferret finally squeezed it all through the door, he turned and faced his patrol. Smiling he said, “I found something.”

The leader stepped backwards, shocked, as the metal box with a single working light on it turned towards him, and crackled out, “Wat arr uuuu. I found. I sometinnnng. I all r-r-rightttt.”


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:41 pm 
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That should be all we need. Feel free to reply to the thread with any discussion.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:43 pm 
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So much reserved space :shock:

That Rev. Standfast seems like bad news. I can't wait for more.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:49 pm 
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Yay for creepy, plotting secondary characters :D.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:19 pm 
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I already like Reverend Standfast. Both because it's what I've expected from Brown all along and because he reminds me of Rorschach for some reason.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 10:36 pm 
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Hee.

I can't wait for the rest to be up.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:39 pm 

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Prince Harris wrote:
That Rev. Standfast seems like bad news. I can't wait for more.


Nothing like a good firebrand preacher to get things going, eh? :razz:

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:26 am 

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Zealotry! Internal conflict! Rogue elements! The Earthen Order just got THAT much more interesting.

*patiently waits for more lore, despite the Jade Hand being the last in line*

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:25 am 
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Lore! My favorite! :remytasty:


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:10 am 
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Josiah wrote:
*patiently waits for more lore, despite the Jade Hand being the last in line*


Heh, the Hand may be last in line but the Armada isn't even mentioned in the line. >.>

Excellent stuff so far, Gil ! We all look forward to more.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:17 am 
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Josiah wrote:
Zealotry! Internal conflict! Rogue elements! The Earthen Order just got THAT much more interesting.

*patiently waits for more lore, despite the Jade Hand being the last in line*


Getty will be a Jade Hand vignette.

Sadistica wrote:
Josiah wrote:
*patiently waits for more lore, despite the Jade Hand being the last in line*


Heh, the Hand may be last in line but the Armada isn't even mentioned in the line. >.>


Jordan and Uurwerk will involve the Armada.


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