To Fly on Metal Wings

Taljika Guild Base, 30 Freijal

I should have known what a mess this would become.

Thinking back on the past 2 days, I am shocked to the think of how I forgot myself in moments of anger or agitation. The way I spoke… years of heavily drilled procedure and decorum wiped away by a few moments of crisis. It is bitter medicine, but perhaps LV was right. Perhaps I am not made of the right stuff to be a soldier. And the rank and procedure that felt so solid and natural to me when I was at the academy has become more convoluted the closer I look.

I’m not sure who I should tell what, anymore.

Mr. Galliford knows a lot more about me now; perhaps more than he realizes. I confess to liking that, for all that it’s likely to be nothing but trouble. Not entirely unlike my current assignment: “Goad a respected captain, a hero of the fleet, into challenging you to a duel.” As I mentioned before, a mess. A tangle of sodden, fraying rope. Truly rotten.

And plenty of time to deal with it tomorrow.

27 Fre

[[The following notes are a hodgepodge on a crumpled and charred piece of paper in Mariah’s pocket. Smudges of dirt and blood cover most of the page.]]

Lock – multi-b, tm, rep?

L. Aphinius pers. code, retrieve/copy docs doubleT

Capt: “Covenant of Lilies”

Note location – needs reg. monitoring

Smoke, crumbling, unscathed…

Vapor trap – mech. + arc components, spec.

“Wrong words.”
Gods help me.

Review Articles I-XX for pass.s in Adm. Law

Captain's Private Log, 27 Freijal 900

27th Freijal 900

Rattlebones. The Shard Haseth.
I do not know whether they created the storm, or just used it as cover. Undead. The only thing worse than undead are Grey Men. You can’t fight smart and you can’t fight safe with undead. Can’t mess with them, worm into their fears, like men—they don’t care, don’t know, just come after you with death in their eyes. Can’t hit them where it hurts, either. Just have to keep shooting until they stop moving—than once more, to be certain. And still, those things got the jump on us.
She was big, bigger than any ship I’ve seen flying, and yet Mariah tell’s me she trained on ships even larger. Grabbed the Rebeckah with a monstrous claw, hooked us in tight. Waves came aboard. I know we fought them off, bravery, valor, all the rest. Bardsong. I don’t yet know how many we lost.
Piers got burned holding the bridge. Acid. Damn thing that did it looked like a snake, only massive, armored in bone. Powerful magicks, nearly ended us all. Took me down, all too easy, disgusting. Not Ashley. Damned gnome just shrugged it off. Tough sonuvabitch, I’ll give him that.
I couldn’t move after it hit me. This sickening green ray had me flat on my back, convulsing like a kaffe addict. My veins were afire and my vision—I couldn’t see. I couldn’t see. I could not see. It wasn’t until they’d killed the damn thing that I started to feel it. A cold creep at the edge of me, crawling inside bit by bit. And then I could move again. But something’s different now. Gods, I could use her help right now.
Stannis is gone. Right disappeared. It’s like he was there; Resonance still flowed around something—just no Pennecoste. I’m going to find him, he’s the only damned one of them that’s given me a chance, made me think I might be able to succeed on this fool’s quest as “Captain”.
I can’t stop thinking about that Dragonfly ship. I turned over the unique technomantik marvel of a Small Goddess to an undead pirate lord. For what? A cage of underfed slaves and safe passage for the Sherra. I saved lives. My people’s lives. Acheron called it a child—he might try his hand at hunting me, again. God’s know I don’t want his mistress on my ass.
Had to protect my people, no other choice.
Did I kill her child?

Sketched beneath is a starburst of seven points, similar to the one that often appears on the Captain’s coat.

A long day.

(At the upper right corner of this page are several reddish-brown partial fingerprints. The writer has apparently tried, unsuccessfully, to rub them away.)

Well. That was a day. Exhausted. All notes refer to Freijal 26.

  • scattergun, breach-hinge still sticking [standard w&t(?) / dropped it too hard(?), Rebeckah’s bridge]; oiling, component clean & reassembly req.
  • duster, torn & slightly charred [serpent construct, bite and electrical discharge, Rebeckah’s aft]; sew up in the morning
  • carbine, under-barrel delaying roughly eighth-second [receiver poss. singed, electrical discharge, Ibid.]; full component clean & reassembly req.
  • breastplate, left shoulder-strap torn and pauldron dented [armored revenant, Rebeckah’s deck]; sew and hammer out in morning
  • repeater, minor dent in ammo wheel [armored revenant, Ibid., shouldn’t have let the damned thing in so close]; hammer out gently, may need to dispose
  • repeater, prec. ammo stores running low [standard use / non-standard use w.r.t. repelling godsdamned undead pirate lord’s boarding parties]; visit quartermaster
  • handaxe, blade slightly dul

Godsdammit. Pointless. Kid had dead eyes. More hurt won’t break eyes like that. Won’t make them see anything but what they justifiably expect anyway. He didn’t flinch, barely made a sound, and now he’s down two fingers and I’m up an angry bright boy with every reason to despise me and, likely enough, try to kill me in my sleep. Brilliantly reasoned, Professor Galliford.

(An unfinished pencil-sketch of one of the Dragonfly’s wings.)

Whatever that thing is, it was beautiful. Wonder if I’ll have the chance to see it again.

Ship’s bells. And now it’s Freijal 27. And now between the running and the fighting and the writing and the boy I’m about as beat as I’ve been in a year. And now I’m going to sleep.




More soon.


To: The Offyce of Samuel Marlowe, Detektive

The cursive script flows unsteadily across the page- the writer has clearly been drinking.


Writing from the most lovely bar! Really, the stuff they got here is Quite Fantastick. Met a couple of nice young ladies who have just now excused themselves to the powder room-if you ever decide that this whole marriage thing isn’t your bag, I’m bringing you here on holiday post-haste!

It’s been two weeks since my unexpected departure, and I apologize for not writing sooner; I’m sorry to say it seems that this little excursion is wandering further afield than anticipated. This mission labors under the triple misfortune of poor planning, poor weather, and poor leadership. My own attempts to propose a cohesive strategy were rebuffed by the miles of red tape they have miraculously stowed aboard the two vessels we have been traveling in. It’s a mixed lot to be sure- the Guild suits are running pell-mell about the ship, looking for the closest superior officer so they can lick their boots and get a good report. A group our own boys in uniform are aboard, with the King’s blessing…makes me think that Melvin probably knew about this, no logistical detail no matter how small escapes the microscope that is his attention; perhaps I will have to consult him about this affair at some later date.

Haven’t had a chance to speak to Mr. G as of yet, he seems to be aboard the other ship with most of the soldiers. The Knights are about (couldn’t be less surprised, if there’s business to stick a nose in, they’re first in line for a sniff), though the CO is certainly not one of them. The enigmatic Captain Riley has made few appearances; I’ve scarcely spoken to him twice since coming aboard, though I’ve seen him sneak out to the taverns at night, and leave with pleasant company about his waist.

My orders are profoundly boring- once the higher ups realized that we merely need to monitor the flow of the illegal goods to discern their source, they sent me out to “pound the pavement”, as they referred to it. I put on a serious face, said my “yes, sirs!”, and have had a quite enjoyable four days getting pissed at every pub I can find and examining the local…finery. I used the Usual Method, and it was, as always, successful. I found the ship they want- the “Marvel of Calliope”- yesterday, though if my calculations are correct it should take the Tac.O., a Lt. Pettycoats or somesuch, till later today to figure it out from the port’s records for the last annum. I doubt they’ll agree to pay me if they knew- I’ll have to make up some cock and bull story for them, say that I’ve been spending my time greasing up the local riff raff to see who’s been getting extra coin. Who knows, maybe I’ll even let him think he figured it out himself- poor lad’s been awful tense, the Captain really seems to grate his nerves, he could use a win.

Do hope that holding down the Offyce on your own is not too much of a burden for you, again apologies for delaying your holiday with the girl. If Charles is breaking things, feel free to lock him up under the cupboard for a few days- for a manservant, he causes far more problems than he’s worth.

I think we shall be setting sail again in the morn, do not know when I will be able to write again- Margarete and Elena (Ellen? Esther?) are back from the powder room now. Here’s a glass of brandy to you and your impending nuptials!

As always, in Trust and Confidence,

Your Fryend,


Captain's Log, 15 Freijal 900

15th Freijal 900

Hired the “Detektive”. Might be the only sonuvabitch drunker than me right now. Seems off, somehow. Claims he could’ve been a wizard, wondering just how strong his resonant connection is. Could use someone with a bite, Ashley has long teeth, but better safe than dead. Manner seems strange, but not like J’s. J’s was odd, kind of pathetic yet entertaining. Sam’s is… he’s always watching. Noting. It’s like he notices everything. Makes me nervous. He’s smart, smarter than I could …. I don’t even know. It’s like we speak different languages.

Pennecoste suggested we set down and track ships and cargo. I’ve had us set down at Attermaine, let the crew have some leave while Sam and tactical do whatever it is they do. It’d be good to restock. I forgot how limiting life on the air can be. It was easier on the Scorpion, I had F and L, and B.

Gods, would she be disappointed? I’m trying to do my best, or at least I’m trying to try. I can hardly remember her these days. I try to remember, think how she, or Llewellyn, would handle this. It’s starting to seem so long ago.

Crew - Rebecka

[The following list appears on the next page of Mariah’s journal, scrawled rather than written.]

Lt. Pennecoste – taking up the slack. seems competent enough. what is he doing here?

Lt. Sheriden – skilled pilot, no aptitude for command. old for an LT. obvious discomfort. E. Mat. Fleet rec. for lashes. notorious duelist. just what an uneasy crew needs. goad him or appease him? yet to decide.

Sgt. McClintock – little contact w/ marines as yet. should approach re: combat training participation.

Mr. Cabler – little contact as yet.

Mr. Galliford – in spite of usual feelings re: mercenaries, seems decent fellow. experience +. lived on trebarre +. talks very little +. concurs with gen. feelings re: captain. takes issue with unclear nature of mission/orders.

Yet to be approached by LV’s friend. Thought they were already aboard, but maybe she was mistaken?

Captain's Log, 8 Freijal 900

8 Freijal 900

Preparing to launch from Faros in the morning—had to delay a day, Pennecoste’s special acquisition failed to arrive on time. He called them “Barnstomers”, some sort of slow, tough shot for the forward guns. Don’t really see the point, our 10lbers pack more punch. I best have Ashley take a look, though. Want one of my own to understand these things. The Lt. won’t be manning the guns in a firefight, he just tells me when to shot. I think.
Enoch’s a bit unhappy. Damned things’re heavy, and I gather he didn’t know about the added weight.

Copilot seems bored. Not just bored. Anxious. Keeps staring at me, waiting. Unsettling. Half the time I can’t understand what the hell she’s saying, either. Seems to speak every language I recognize and half again one’s I don’t. ‘Sfar as I can tell, Mariah’s Trebarrine, but that’s all I can tell. Haven’t made up for that “interview”, yet. Gods, sometimes I wonder if her madness stuck around…

Thinkin’ of throwin’ the crew a celebration when we finally lift off, something to stop ’em from all looking at me like the undead. Maybe hold a marksmanship contest…would love to see what these folk can do.

Will stop by the Candlewerk Club again, they seem to’ve taken a liking to me there. Makes sense, most other patrons are a bit stiff ‘n stuffy. Better have ’em deliver the goods directly, what, 15 barrels to either boat? I’ll retrieve a case or two of the Desert Sun vintage for the officers, too, plus some more of the Greenwood brandy.
It’s only sundown. I think I’ll find some pleasant company first.


Reported to CPS Rebecka promptly at 0700 on this, the 7th of Freijal, as per my orders. Was relieved to see that she’s a good solid ship, not some 50/50 the Guild is looking to replace. Well-equipped and well-crewed. Will need to take my time getting to know the other officers and marines, as well as the more experienced among the enlisted.

Went to present my orders to the Captain, who it seems was not expecting me. During the course of my interview with him he was odd. Ill-tempered, I can manage. Difficult, distant, friendly, lascivious, all manageable. But for him to be so changeable in the course of half an hour puts me ill at ease. At times he seemed to forget that I was in the room. He also asked about my creed and whether or not it might interfere in my orders. What an insane question! As if any Guild-trained officer recognizes a power above that of the admiralty. Aboard a ship, the Regs are our creed, and our captain is as close a thing to god as any of us need. This Captain Riley has probably never read the Regs; probably doesn’t realize what failure to follow orders really means to a Guild com.

Tried to learn something of the ship and her captain during my time in Faros, and was told that no one knew anything of this Captain Riley, and that no deeds of note had been reported in connection to his name. Other Guild officers tell me that being posted to CITADEL is like being on leave – easy flying, little danger, and no missions of any clear importance.

In essence, I am in exile. Doomed to serve under a mad, unknown non-com, doing gods know what that no one will ever read about. The Captain seemed to know I was being punished with this assignment, but did not know why or seem very curious in that regard. The sooner we leave port the better – hopefully the rumors won’t have time to reach us.

All I can do is hope that we chance on some excitement. Without the opportunity to distinguish myself, my career is over before it’s really begun. Though that’s my own fault, isn’t it? I cannot help but miss the Relentless and her crew, but I risked what I did knowingly. LV had some unconventional opinions with regards to CITADEL, and if I’m lucky then she was will be right. I might yet recover from my youthful missteps.


I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.