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 Post subject: [Barrens], Northern Port of Gadria, Day 7
PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 5:58 pm 
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OOC:

Note for latecomers: You should by all means feel welcome to jump into the action even if you weren't there for the beginning of it.

The descriptions here are based on the work of Nero Shade.


The flight was long, and Steven had his hands full not only navigating in times when they couldn’t see the rest of the fleet but also helping the crew with the in-flight refueling process. His bomber was one of the largest Kingfishers ever manufactured and it had been fitted so that almost its entire cargo area was one large fuel tank. About every other day they spent most of the hours refueling other planes with a large arm. Most of the large cargo planes, and almost all of the Kingfishers, had been fitted this way. With speed being essential, the only blimps were the large barges that transported people.

The entire fleet had several hundred planes, but to keep the Hidden Fleet from noticing them they had to spread thin at times. Some planes would scout around and call in sightings, and the rest of the Order's fleet would change their flight patterns to keep from drawing the Hidden Fleet into a large scale attack. There were some small skirmishes though, but only once did the Bull Runner need to fire its guns at an enemy.

The time passed slowly, with the days fading into one another. Their arrival to the Barrens was almost unnoticed, with only the change to warmer temperature and less clouds. All that changed when they caught sight of the first Skyland.

Or more precisely...the Skyland.

Steven thought it was just a strange looking cloud, then it had the look of a storm made of sand. He had never seen anything like it because none of the skylands of Skytopia were large enough to experience sand storms. The entire edge of the skyland was one giant flowing curtain of sand, circling from the bottom, around the edge and onto the top. The entire crew was awed by the sight, but quickly had to work together to keep the plane from coming apart in the sudden changes in turbulence.

As the storm quelled, those gathered in the great barges suddenly caught sight of a great expanse of land before them. The people of Skytopia had long since grown used to the idea of land floating in the air, yet what stretched in front of them seemed like nothing they had ever imagined before. Just as the ocean and sky stretched out in a seemingly limitless manner, so too did the Barrens seem to stretch outwards. Its tumbling surface was occasionally punctuated by a spot of blue (a hole in the land perhaps?), but the majority of it was a great expanse of blinding white sand that seemed to disappear into the horizon.

"Ah...Gadria."

Steven's mouth snapped shut and he turned to face Reverend Standfast. The old goat was looking out across the land, his eyes glistening with sentiment, "We arrive on the northern most settlement of the Barrens. Tis this place where we set off to Skytopia so long ago."

The Reverend's cane pointed towards a grayish speck on the sand that was circled with dots of slight green. The city looked to be quite small, no bigger than the gardens of Jordan.

"We shall refuel and find information there. Alcuin's Citadel is roughly a day's flight from here."

Quote:
OOC: You can take a moment for characters to react/interact with one another before the barges land at Gadria.


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 Post subject: Re: [Barrens], Northern Port of Gadria, Day 7
PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 2:23 pm 
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The Wee Beastie, an ironically named Kingfisher painted in blues and golds, lurched as it hit the turbulence. Grim Riley swore as the control stick bucked in her hands, her black-furred muzzle twisted into a snarl. She was uncharacteristically somber for a lynx, but now she fought with fangs bared to keep the plane aloft.

A golden paw grasped the console next to her. "By the Shattering! What is this mess?"

"Dean!" Grim had only just gotten used to calling her boss that when he'd taken up at the Earthen Sanctuary, and she wasn't going to start in on another fancy-shmancy title. "Some kinda storm. We're high over the grit, but we're still gettin' hit by the wash!"

"So I see," the grizzled old lynx said. He peered through a side window, then sneezed.

The intercom crackled to life. Not-So-Sneaky yelled, "What in Hades are you doing up there? We've got major dust in the filters, they're like to jam up the works!"

"Achoo! Altitude, now!" the Chancellor said. He dug out a handkerchief and held it over his nose, offered another to Grim who ignored it, busy pulling the Wee Beastie's nose up. "Josephine! Tell the fleet, move up higher. We can't see it, but there's got to be dust mixed in with the wind."


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 Post subject: Re: [Barrens], Northern Port of Gadria, Day 7
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:55 am 
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OOC: what, no reactions to the world's BIGGEST SKYLAND? Academicians could be furiously theorycrafting to figure out how it stays together, the religiously inclined might be praying fervently, the hardbitten air veterans could be going 'Yeah, yeah, that's a lot of land, stay together, is there an air patrol' :)


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 Post subject: Re: [Barrens], Northern Port of Gadria, Day 7
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:46 pm 
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Lynx Adorienne wrote:
OOC: what, no reactions to the world's BIGGEST SKYLAND? Academicians could be furiously theorycrafting to figure out how it stays together, the religiously inclined might be praying fervently, the hardbitten air veterans could be going 'Yeah, yeah, that's a lot of land, stay together, is there an air patrol' :)


((Its almost too awesome - I am trying to compose myself before responding))

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 Post subject: Re: [Barrens], Northern Port of Gadria, Day 7
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:12 pm 
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Turbo had spent most of the trip out of his pilot's seat- alternating time amongst the various large barges and circulating with the impressive subset of Skytopia that had braved the journey. He was dining at the airborne mess hall with some young students when a huge stretch of turbulence shook the entire barge. The Cardinal was ashamed to note that his first instinct was to assume sabotage on the part of their guests from another faction. Old prejudices die hard.

Gathering his wits, the Cardinal joined a throng of students peering through the dust toward the most confusing sight he could have imagined. Turbo was not sure what he had expected to see, but this was beyond imagination. Not multiple skylands in proximity, not some loose archipelago, simply a mass of land as far as the eye could see.

He overheard one student make a profound -if heterodoxical- exclamation.
"Deity or not, if Magnus was governor of this place he has converted me to his fold"

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Governor of Earthbreach, Olio, and Luz


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 Post subject: Re: [Barrens], Northern Port of Gadria, Day 7
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 7:07 pm 

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From the hidden corner of the barge that Athrawes had made his home over the past few days, the storm was felt as a great vibration in the ship's hull, so great that the ferret jumped to his feet in surprise, ready to move at any hint of danger. Thankfully the skilled pilots of the ship were able to bring their charge under control, and soon Athrawes was on his way into the crowds of Skytopians viewing a strange new land and citizens of the Barrens gazing upon their home.

Despite his rank, the colonel was young enough to be impressed by the vast waste in front of him, and the fact that it was a desert, an idea he was not entirely comfortable enough in the first place, affected him even more strongly. Surely such a land deserved more of a reaction than stunned silence, and yet that was all he could summon.

For a few moments at least. After that, Athrawes was radioing to his crew and infantry to prepare for landing. Soon he would return to the ship and issue directives about the approach to the port, and their activities while there, but for now he had only two major concerns. First, that all hands on watch prepare for battle. Second, that one of the fighters load up with a certain crew and continue flying on to a set of coordinates just past Gadria. This was a revolutionary time, and he was not going to leave anything to chance.

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 Post subject: Re: [Barrens], Northern Port of Gadria, Day 7
PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 10:16 pm 

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Ben looked out over the railing of the carrier holding his humanitarian aid group into the thick mists. There were loads of people, many devout members of the Order, but also the various guests and fellow workers who mostly only held curious interest after word that the Barrens would be in sight soon spread. At least it was better than the familiar interiors of the ship after all that time.

Ben shivered a bit as the wind blew over his sharpened, polished antlers, now complete with 14 points, something he had to admit he'd grown vain about as the velvet had peeled away. He wrapped his scarf tighter around his neck and tightened his jacket, his blue eyes searching for something besides clouds and sea.

Then all at once it seemed the mists parted before them, revealing the large expanse of land. The crowd grew with a buzz of curious exchanges and even a few calls of praise in several tongues amongst the especially extroverted devout. As for Ben, he was silent. Never before had he seen one stretch of land so vast, and despite reading so many books and listening so intently to the accounts of the original pilgrims, nothing could prepare him for the real thing.

And yet...there was still a fleeting feeling for familiarity to it. Yes, this was the seat and heart of so many stories that come shape his heart and soul. He imagined the creation of the Citadel of Alcuin, the early tribes spreading their message of hope across those white sands, of Alcuin, a beleagured man, brought to his breaking point by both the heat of the sun and the wars of those around him, heard the call that spurred him to rise up and begin the Order that would reach him as a young man on a distant skyland called Luz so many years later.

Beside him was Grace, his long suffering mechanic and study partner at Alcuin University. She stood there, her mouth gaping open for several minutes, until she finally turned to speak to him. "It's incredible...Ben I..." She stared at him. "You're crying..."

He dried his eyes, smiling, and nodded. "I guess I am. Caught up in the moment I guess." He gathered himself a bit. "Let's not forget, there's a lot of work to do down there."


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 Post subject: Re: [Barrens], Northern Port of Gadria, Day 7
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:23 pm 

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OOC: I was also wondering if the line about no blimps but the barges means I should retcon Ath's Bismarck out of the story? Or should that just be a small oversight?

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 Post subject: Re: [Barrens], Northern Port of Gadria, Day 7
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 4:59 pm 
Flight Master

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OOC:

I'd say it's more a case of very few of the professional transport grade blimps. I.e., giant ships bigger than leviathans. 'Smaller' blimps get a pass.

All right folks. Landing and first meeting with the Barreners tomorrow!


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 Post subject: Re: [Barrens], Northern Port of Gadria, Day 7
PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 4:40 am 

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OOC: looks like i came back just in time :worry:


The Thaumaturge, a barracuda carrying supplies and foodstuffs, followed the fleet through the clouds, Earthen banners flowing in the sandy wind. The great tan landmass appeared in the view port and the crew went silent with a gasp, the sounds of the fleet and radio chatter made an awkward feeling in the now dead quiet airship.

Eeptog pushed up his glasses and crossed his arms, staring intently at the long lost land, he kept a stern face and his back straight hoping his crew wouldn't notice how shaken he really was, as if they were even looking at him.

"We-" his voice cracked suddenly, taking a quick gulp he started over "We have arrived..." He turned on his heel to face the crew behind him, "Everyone be ready, Magnus knows what it will be like groundside, and I don't trust this terrain, it's..." He looked back over his shoulder at the barrens "...It's just too big."

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The character is the same, the name is whats changed.


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 Post subject: Re: [Barrens], Northern Port of Gadria, Day 7
PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 1:22 pm 
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"No, Professor, I'm afraid we don't have the luxury of sending an expedition down to the edge of the skyland to survey it and obtain photographs of the edge. Yes, I realize the immense value to our Geology department. But if you haven't noticed, there's a permanent storm around the edge, and the amount of dust it's kicking up will make mincemeat of most engines."

The Chancellor paused, listening to the tinny speaker making the professor's voice even shriller and ear-grating. His eye-roll fortunately did not communicate over the radio. Finally he pressed the transmit button and spoke again. "I'll tell you what - prepare some plans for how you'd conduct a safe investigation and if it looks good on peer review, we'll give it a try on the return trip. Understood? Clear skies, Professor."

Valentine Sokolov, his trader and long-time friend, grinned. "Does he remember we're going to a war?"

"He's an otter. Very easily distracted," Lynx said. "So, what's in those sealed boxes you had brought on board as your 'discretionary cargo'?"

"You'll see when the time's right!"

The old lynx eyed his trader suspiciously, but decided to let it go for now, switching to check in with Athrawes on the general fleet band. "Battle stations and sending a scout on ahead? Could be wise, we don't know what kind of a welcome we'll be getting. If things have gone really badly and the Hidden Fleet's mopping up the Barrens, we should set a rendezvous point, in case we have to regroup. Turbo, can you check with the Rev. and see if he knows of a likely spot?"


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 Post subject: Re: [Barrens], Northern Port of Gadria, Day 7
PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:32 pm 

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Athrawes smiled. It was good to be working with professionals who actually noticed what was going on around them. The more scatterbrained of the group could always be ignored, and those in control seemed competent, so perhaps this was not a totally doomed mission. They might even make a bit of a dent in the Fleet.

With that he replied to the Chancellor. "Aff, I would prefer not to be taken unawares. As for the scouts, I was hoping to get some inteligence on the other side of things, rather than just finding out what the locals will tell us tourists. My operatives have brought our best approximation of Barrens dress, they will ask a few questions and try to get the lay of the land. Anything they ought to try and learn about?"

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 Post subject: Re: [Barrens], Northern Port of Gadria, Day 7
PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:55 pm 
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The Cardinal is able to quickly track down the old goat in a hallway by the sound of his cane on the deck.

"Honored Reverend Standfast. Understandably the anticipation has created some eager and nervous passengers. The leaders seem well prepared, but we could use your guidance as somebody familiar with this place. Do you have some trusted contacts that our scouts can reach out to on the ground? Have you distributed emergency plans to pilots in case we are surprised by the Hidden Fleet?"

Turbo pauses to catch his breath.

"I guess the excitement has gotten to me as well. I should let you answer questions before pelting you with more. Basically we have one big question. What now?"

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 Post subject: Re: [Barrens], Northern Port of Gadria, Day 7
PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 3:15 pm 
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Athrawes wrote:
... My operatives have brought our best approximation of Barrens dress, they will ask a few questions and try to get the lay of the land. Anything they ought to try and learn about?"


"Hmmm." The old lynx gave that some thought. "Where did the Hidden Fleet come from?"

"If you think about it, the Hidden Fleet are a lot more prepared than the Earthen Order was when they sent their mission. They sent stealth platforms, then scouting fleets, and finally a mess of carriers. The Matriarch didn't have anything nearly as fancy. Maybe the Hidden Fleet are from here and they just have a lot of resources and people to burn, but I think we're looking at someone who's done this before - expansion by force to other clusters of skylands."

"If we can get a vector from here and one from back home, we might be able to figure out where they live."


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 Post subject: Re: [Barrens], Northern Port of Gadria, Day 7
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 4:54 pm 

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Turbo Lance wrote:
"Honored Reverend Standfast. Understandably the anticipation has created some eager and nervous passengers. The leaders seem well prepared, but we could use your guidance as somebody familiar with this place. Do you have some trusted contacts that our scouts can reach out to on the ground? Have you distributed emergency plans to pilots in case we are surprised by the Hidden Fleet?"


Standfast nodded, "Aye, being the northern most point of the Barrens, Gadria has several communication channels we may tap into. There is a standing order to the current guard, we should be able to quickly respond to any attacks...but as of yet we've seen none."

Quote:
"I guess the excitement has gotten to me as well. I should let you answer questions before pelting you with more. Basically we have one big question. What now?"


"Our first order of business will be to speak with a representative of Gadria. They should apprise us of the latest news."


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 Post subject: Re: [Barrens], Northern Port of Gadria, Day 7
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 5:06 pm 

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Standfast tuned the barge's radio and spoke clearly into it, "Gadria, may the prophet's words forever guide you. This be Reverend Standfast of the Order. We have heard the call and are returning."

The radio popped and then an unsteady voice replied, "Standfast? Is that really you?"

Standfast growled, "You would do well to mark my words, young Radiomaster! Yes, tis I. Skytopia has come to defend Alcuin and the Order. What news is there?"

"Magnus' blessings! Forgive my doubt, but it has been ages since we've heard from you all. The news is not good. The Hidden Fleet began their assault fairly recently, but have been continuously raising their forces. They have been attacking our supply lines and water sources, isolating our individual colonies and then taking them out. The Citadel has managed to blockade itself in, but has so far been unable to offer substantial aid to we on the borderlands."

The reverend was quiet as his mind raced, "Have ye no planes? No methods of reaching out the other outposts?"

"Negative, Standfast. Any planes we've sent out have not returned, and we've gotten no word that they've reached their destination. The Citadel is about the only place we've been able to communicate with, but even that's started to become spotty lately."

"Very well...stand by Gadria, I must discuss the matter with my colleagues."


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 Post subject: Re: [Barrens], Northern Port of Gadria, Day 7
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 5:11 pm 

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Returning to the assembled members of the Skytopian Order, Standfast relayed the information he had been provided.

"Gadria is one of the closest outposts to the Citadel. I'd estimate it's roughly two days worth of travel from where we currently are. However, something is clearly attacking any travelers between the outposts. The Fleet looks to be doing what they tried to do in Skytopia, isolating a group and cutting them off from the rest of the world."

The reverend sketched a drawing on a piece of available paper.

"See, Gadria is here, and the Citadel is two days or so south east of us. To the east of Gadria, about a half day is Lorna, another outpost that Gadria has lost contact with."

"We have a number of potential paths here. We can try to proceed straight on to the Citadel, we can try a few scouting operations in that direction, camp here for a day and attempt to bolster Gadria, investigate Lorna, or some other potential plan."

He looked around him, "The Barrens is a difficult land, my children. It is a tough and unforgiving one, but it is home to many good people and the birthplace of our faith. Now, we must save it."


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 Post subject: Re: [Barrens], Northern Port of Gadria, Day 7
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:23 pm 
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On hearing the situation described over the radio, the headmaster of the Earthen Sanctuary colleges promptly responded, "On the face of it, they must have sentries - we've already seen evidence of their stealth platforms - deployed around their newest conquests. Perhaps they used these to track Gadria's envoys, then dispatched overwhelming forces to encircle and destroy them. They must also have radio jamming of some kind that they can switch on, to prevent scouts from warning others of their fate. No doubt these jammers are in effect at the Citadel and Lorna."

"I can't commit students to a heads-on conflict, sirs and madams, so I suggest that we station them in Gadria to bolster their defenses. I do have some notions as to how we can get a signal through, but pray allow me some time to percolate them into a full blown idea."


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 Post subject: Re: [Barrens], Northern Port of Gadria, Day 7
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:44 pm 
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OOC addenda: how far approximately (in kilometers) are Lorna and the Citadel?


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 Post subject: Re: [Barrens], Northern Port of Gadria, Day 7
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:08 pm 
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OOC: The current speeds talked about are somewhere between a Nomad or a Junker moving at half speed (due to the weather conditions here). As such, the Citadel is about 4800 km away, and Lorna is 1200 km.


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