The continuation of the journal of Nei, a Paladin in the service of House Organo.
The Giff’s hut sat in the middle of a large peaceful clearing. There was a quaint little lake just at the back.
Inside the hut, the Giff bumbled around; slightly too large for his surroundings he knocked a pile of books off the shelf as he walked by. ‘Dearie me!’ he laughed to himself. ‘Tea was it?’ He asked us.
‘Yes, Oolong if you have it!’ Alicath replied. Ubi offered us all some bright purple bourbons.
‘Delicious!’ I couldn’t help but cry out.
‘Yes… delicious,’ said Ricktar, eying the remaining bourbons on the shelf with a suspicious longing look in his eye. The hippo-oid came back shortly after with oolong for everyone and joined us next to the crackling fire.
‘Let’s get down to business’ he said addressing our group. He told us about magic and machines and how he had served alongside the princess’s father in the Ascension War. Taking out the letter, he inspected the seal. ‘This letter is from King Organo himself, and imbued with magic,’ he announced, ‘Watch this…’ He picked up some tongs by the fire and, clasping the letter, delivered it into the flames. The letter burned away and just as something metallic dropped into the grate, the flames took on a life of their own, dancing around violently.
In the flames an image started to form of the King. His booming voice emanated from the fireplace, although more hollow, and with a tinge of desperation. ‘Ubi, my old friend,’ he said. ‘The Giff Empire has resurrected your airship. The resistance will have no chance if it remains in the enemy’s possession. You know it’s power; continents *will* be destroyed. Help us defeat it. You are our only hope.’
The flames died down and Ubi retrieved something from the fireplace. Turning it over in his hands, light bounced off the sigil of House Organo.
‘This is grave news indeed,’ Ubi said, breaking the silence. ‘We must go at once to Alder and speak to the King, but first,’ he said standing up, ‘there are some things I think you will do well to take,’
He led us into his storage room and dug out a box full of sword hilts. Eddie had a quizzical look at this development and Ricktar asks gruffly what use a box of hilts is. Ubi guffawed and said that these were not mere hilts. He passed one to Eddie and told him to press a small button on the side. Eddie was unfortunately unsure what a button was. But I knew what these were; sunswords!
I took a hilt, pressed the button and instantly a long flame burst out of the end. Overzealously I flourished it around enthusiastically but ended up badly burning myself and singed Alicath in the process. Ubi handed out more hilts to the party, and various complaints, and some fixes later, including the manufacture of a sungun and a sunstaff, Ubi then gave Ricktar and myself two metal canisters. ‘Be extremely cautious to keep your flaming swords away from these if you want to live,’ he smirked.
‘What use are these?’ Ricktar grumbled. Ubi led us outside and threw one of the canisters at the distant trees. A blinding light and one enormous explosion later, several trees were flattened and we were slightly dazed even at that distance. Ubi turned around and said,
‘Now you know why there’s a clearing here. Keep your flames away.’
We headed back inside briefly to gather our belongings. By the shelf Ricktar was stuffing an ungodly amount of bourbons under his armour.
A short time after, we set off into the jungle towards Port Isley.
The journey went undisturbed and it was midday by the time we arrived at the outskirts of town. The port below us was bustling with a diverse variety of people. At the sea was a pier with airships above and seaships below. The largest ship, an Empire ship, appeared to have cannons on it!
Ubi is disapproved of our outlandish outfits and sensibly handed us each a cloak from his bag. We agreed to head into town and for Ubi to stay behind on this hill. On the way towards the port however we disagreed on how to proceed. Ricktar and myself wanted to take the big Empire ship, but Alicath and Eddie wanted to take a smaller ship and go for a more subtle approach.
The team had a dispute and decided to split up!
I found a group of airship crew and persuaded them to join me in crewing a ship as “we are on a mission from God[unspecific]”. The crew eagerly agreed and I said I would give them direction later.
Ricktar meanwhile headed to a nearby tavern where, it turned out, Eddie and Alicath were currently playing a song on stage. Ricktar shook his head at the display and ordered himself a stiff drink from the bar…
Written by Chloe Wakefield
Artwork by Jess Butcher – www.friendlyurchin.com
Edited by Aaron Surnaym