To Fly on Metal Wings

To Whom it May Concern

(Carried in the pack of one Coleman Caine, wandering tradesman, tucked safely in between a small case of Amatsuran rice-wine and a bright new copper pot, is a letter. It has been secured with twine and an unmarked blot of grey sealing wax. Written on the reverse side in a small, tidy hand, is the name “John Weston, Jr.”)

29 Noctis 900

John Jr.,

This letter comes from the desk of one you used to know well. A fellow under whom you served, and I would like to think came to hold in a fond and avuncular esteem. I write it without much hope of response. The abdication of my post five years back was not an act I took lightly at the time, nor one that has let me rest untroubled with too great frequency. But if you’ve read this far without tossing the paper in to your stove, perhaps you will forgive a poor attempt at bridging that rift I dug between us. I should have done it years ago. At least made the attempt. As you know, I did not. I could easily say that I did not want to risk endangering you or yours by any further connection with me. It could even be true. The fact of the matter, though, chiefly, is that I was a coward. I ran, and was too weak ever to risk looking back. But, as tends to happen, the windy vagaries of chance have taken me where I least expected; the difference being, this time, that I — and I v. well might be a fool to suppose it — think I can sense the faintest thread of a purpose to my wanderings. I’m back on Trebarre.

But, first things ought certainly to come first. I hope your folks are doing well, Junior, and that the work I did around their farm has managed to hold up through the years. Some of those irrigation control panels were tricky for your father to handle, with the shape his knees were in, but I’m sure you’ve been lending a responsible hand. Mr. Bradley? George Hagan? They’re well, I do hope. I’d heard that eight-ninety-nine was an especially dry year for Trebarre. If I can offer any consolation on that front, it’s to let you know that Chukos was, for a certainty, dryer.

(A few lines of text have been scratched out in apparent frustration.)

I swear, I just spent an hour and a quarter trying to write a joke, here. Convivial pleasantry seems to elude me. Which is probably not all that shocking to you, when I think about it.

Things have been hard on Trebarre for some time, now, I’ve come to learn. Both through second-hand report and my own engagement with certain factions, both from within Trebarre and without, I am aware of the forces that trouble the island’s people. My current companions and I are stationed at a northeasterly redoubt of the Knighthood which I’ve no doubt you know by reputation: Fort Rochelle. Our ongoing assignment is, in short, the defense of the Fortress, esp. as a means of defending its doorway to the island as a whole. And being in this position, I offer myself to you: if there is anything that I, or those stationed with me, can do for you or for Drydock’s people, I hope that you will send word immediately. Send a letter by any means, or come yourself or with any who are troubled by the lawless elements scattered across the isle, and I will do my best to put the situation to right. I’m in a unique position, here, and if I can use it in any way to make some small amends for the way in which I left Drydock, I fully intend to do so.

I have a final topic for you, John. I don’t feel at all thrilled by the prospect of asking you any boon, but… I’ve got no other recourse for it. So: the gnome who attacked us, (The ink here is blotted.) Did she survive? Octavia. If you could tell me, John, what became of her, perhaps even where she might have gone after her hopeful recuperation, it would be a kindness. Granted, one that I know I don’t necessarily deserve.

I remain — if you will accept the assurance of a few clumsy words where I know that deeds have failed you — your friend,

Ashley Galliford

Reality sinks in...

They might never let me fly again.

Incident Report: 23 Noctis 900

Post to Hart’s Falls Post to Mariador
Attn: Captain Sir Akienne, CPS Rebeckah

Incident Report: Bandit Contact West-by-North of Fort Rochelle

After delegating the tasks of Strengthening our weakyned Defenses (Mr. Bragg), Foraging for verry necessary Provisions (Md. Alder), and Repairring the Town Proper (Mr. Chang), I Myself led a sortie out into the surrounding wilderness in the hope of Confronting, Recruiting, or Dispatching some number of the most troublesome Bandits and Raiders plaguing the countryside. The effort was met with minor success: the Bandit Leaders Darwin Oldfang, an ursine lycanthrope, Susan LaCroix, a mere slip of a girl, Angela Bradley, expert with the long rifle, and a fourth unrevealed Resonator, agreed to Withdraw Southward. A temporary arrangement, to be sure, but for the moment banditry in the East can only be attributed to the desperate and disorganized. Such efforts will surely be dissuaded in the coming weeks by our Relentless repairs and patrols.

I shall continue to watch for these particular Exemplars of Scull-Duggery in the future. Ms. LaCroix has deprived Md. Cole of an eye. Whilst I believe that Mr. Galliford’s prior relationship to Ms. Bradley, though tenuous, may prove an anchor towards her Recruitment, I am most assuredly going to allow Md. Cole to pay her debt in kind, likely with interest.

No further matters of Import to Discuss or Report.

~E. Jacob Riley, Captain of CITADEL

That ol' shiny tin star...
  • breastplate, mightily dented and scratched — honestly had no idea it could actually be scratched — [geriatric werebear’s claw, backroads NW of Ft. Rochelle, 23 Noctis]; don’t stand in front of a g.d. werebear (ha)
  • duster, hole ripped in it the size of my arm [bullet from a rifleman twice as good as I am, Ibid.]; wonder if any of the knights has a background in tailoring
  • arm, hole ripped in it the size of the hole in my coat [bullet, Ibid.]; Dr. Fortescue’s timely ministrations and continued p.t. to thank for my having any chance of a future in chosen career of soldier-of-fortune

(Here, Ashley has drawn a large five-pointed star. Something was written across its center, but has been rubbed out.)

Little Ms. Angela Bradley. Postmaster’s daughter, tomboy, late-bloomer, whip-smart, killer. Am so v. glad to see that my time in Drydock had such a positive effect on its people. So v. glad that I could just drink until these holes in my arm/side/gut stop stinging quite so bad.

Look after the herb garden first, though. Wouldn’t want to pass out on top of it. It’s sorry-looking enough as is.

Captain's Private Log, 19 Noctis 900

19 Noctis 900

I guess arriving at Fort Rochelle could never have been easy, but I never expected this. I must be crazy. I guess I’ve had my reckless days, but those were unique circumstances, not to mention a long time ago. I was supposed to lead my crack team of hardened soldiers and mercenarys to the rescue and drive off a godsdamned Pirate Lord.
Somehow it worked out. Still not sure how that happened.
Didn’t do terribly great with the “defending the survivors” bit. Feel kinda bad about it, but the tactics were there, I ain’t as dense as I seem sometimes. Had to get the Red Revenge damned far away.
They’ve given me command of the Fort, which is to say “dumped me with rebuilding”. None of the deathbrained Knights seem interested in the job, just keep waiting for their Commander to return. It’s a mess here. Need food and shelter, and the defenses are a wreck. If the locals come calling we ain’t gonna have much choice but to entertain guests.
Dame Tourmaline’s beau gave his life defending a princess. I’ll see to it a song gets sung to remember him. John told me the man was a legend in these parts. I can’t help but think Nicolette has another reason to cut my throat next we meet.

…I thought I was special. I thought I didn’t have anyone screaming my name as they died, hoping some divine being would whisk them somewhere safe. Must’ve been centuries ago. Shaan, for sure, fighting Victor’s soldiers. Has this gone on forever? Mischa and Ji-Lin, they led troops in my name, chanted a list of things I’m supposed to be or do, I don’t know… He cut down a ‘dyne with a sword! A thin sheet of metal, and he took down a Republican ’dyne with it, alone.
And she prayed. I could almost hear her. Like a melody in the back of my head, where the Resonance sounds —no, that’s not right, inside of there like the yolk of an egg.
Turns out there might be some more Gift in there than I thought.
I wish G were here. She was gettin’ to know her cult. Could use some commiserating.

Bit of a rough landing.

18 Noctis.

Alright. What do you get when you enlist an Omoeian monk, a greenhorn Guildling, a musclebound airman, an Amatsuran tactical florist, a middle-aged knight, and a comms officer, and form them in to a gunnery crew?

A g.d. headache and a sore throat. Apart from Bragg. And the Sheppard boy at least has spirit. Not denigrating their expertise in var. other fields, obv., but I’d rather swallow sand than serve w/ them again in that spec. capacity. Practically a miracle that we managed to beat back Corbleu and her 7×7 times damned “Red Revenge”. Though to hear tell of the Cap’s encounter with Renata topside of the tower, maybe our terrifying display of martial prowess wasn’t exactly what ended the fight.

(A few rough sketches of a large, fanged, slope-shouldered, exceedingly long-limbed humanoid with an almost demonic expression; as well as a polearm with a cross-guard in the design of many twisted, grasping tentacles.)

The less said about that thing, the better. Not to mention the unit’s sudden and v. much unwelcome disappearance. Sam and the Cap tried to babble something at me about a vision of The Past, in their various manners. Was not, and am not, esp. interested. Just looking for some g.d. backup. At least resonant-dampening carbine passes the field test w/ flying colors.

The Keep was brutal. The towers were our best chance, though. Seemed like, at least.

I need some sleep.

Furthyr Adventuyrs of Myn
(For the Book)


I write to you, finally, in comfort and relaxation. It has been some weeks since my last post, which I trust was received to you on time. I look forward to a response now that there is a place of receipt that I shall be proximate to for at least a reasonable duration. Terribly sorry about the hopping about before, but it is, as they say, part of the business.

Currently, my erstwhile new companions are off curtailing common banditry in the wilds beyond the sturdy walls of this Fort; for the past several days I have busied myself in assisting with its repair, as upon our arrival we found it the unwitting and unwelcome host to a pack of air-pirates. Do send word on to my brother that the Red Woman’s activities seem to be concentrated around this area for the time being, information that I’m sure His Majesty’s intelligence could use- if he doesn’t already know, that is. Maybe one of these days he’ll warn me of trouble ahead of time instead of letting me stumble upon it myself, but therein lies our primary difference.

On a side note, ever been blind? I’ve spent most of the last two days as such- just broke a nasty little curse yesterday. It’s an eye-opening experience, if you’ll pardon my pun. Though hazardous, the vast amount of resonant energies I have been exposed to (both of my own and others) have truly set a new host of gears spinning in my ever-churning brain. I believe by week’s end I will have increased my resonant power by some 25%…to think such a rapid gain from one once scorned by the professors of the Collegium as “unteachable”. I must say, I’m rather impressed with myself, and it comes at a time where greater magics will be sorely needed. Yet I worry…my grandfather was ever watchful of my magical inquiries and experiments, lest I delve too deeply into powers that are not necessarily beyond my understanding…but rather beyond my control.

Ah, listen to me worry like a housemum whose brats are ten minutes late from school. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve a host of phantom servitors to direct (they’re ever so much more effective than Charles), and it came to me last night as I lay abed how to lift massive objects with only the slightest effort of my mind. Then it’s off to the parapets for some sun and the wine cellars for some drink. I certainly hope my companions are back soon from whatever dull border patrols the Knights have set them too- they mustn’t have been too eventful methinks. Mores the pity that they- and you- cannot join me here on this lovely day.

Your Ever Fathyful Frynd,

Samuel T.

Captain's Private Log, 12 Noctis 900

12 Noctis 900

It seems our payday has been a boon for the technomantik merchants here in Faros. Ashley’s toting a new pair of carbines, one of which is deadly against mages… I’m doing my best to not feel threatened on that account. Have a new toy of my own in the making, should be done in the next week or so. On account of so many powerful folk wanting me dead my usual tactic of being only moderately harmless has taken a turn for the useless. This gizmo should give me a boost to the odds of not dying any more.
Reconnected with some acquaintances while in town. Ms. “Scarlett” was quite happy to see my return, though my warmest welcome most certainly came from Ms. “Aurora”.
The Director made it clear that this mission would require resources a little different from the Rebeckah, and Sir Akienne was kind enough to let me “borrow” some of his crew—

  • Sir John Rand was an obvious choice, as we’ll be staying in a Knighthood fortress while going about…whatever it is we’re going to get to doing. He’s a likeable enough fellow, good with the ladies, I’m sure he has allies at Rochelle that will come in handy.
  • Chang Fei Li is an Omoeian, and the Abbot suggested he get out and see the world for a bit. Should be useful in esoteric matters, and I’ll feel better having a religious scholar around the next time I panic and need KoS or SG info. I remember something about relics, though I can’t say why.
  • Motochika Sanshin, the Sha Amatsuran with a flair for the dramatic. If his tactical mind is all that he says it is, he should be invaluable once we make our move.
  • Midshipwoman Ketra Alder has proven herself to be level headed and skilled. Don’t know that I’ve earned any terrible amount of loyalty from her, or any other Guild member, but she seems to like me well enough.
  • Mr. Candor Bragg — what can I say, I like the guy. Ashley suggested that having someone with obvious muscle might be useful at times, plus his penchant for large armament and explosions. I’m inclined to agree.
  • Ensign Talian Sheppard seemed pretty intent on coming along regardless of what I said. Boy wants to see the world? Can’t say I’m against the idea. Those were the best years of my life.

I took a short sojourn to the monastery. Didn’t tell anyone I was leaving, hope that didn’t cause any concerns. They’ve built a structure on the mountain! G would like the building, very elegant but natural. Made sure to bring some kaffe, wine, and spirits for the poor studying lads. I slept in my old chambers for the first time in years. I feel cleaner now.
I spoke to Sher’ah about everything that’s happened. About losing J and G. About the mission. About dying. I told Llewellyn all about the Dragonfly, and my attmepts at captaining. I left flowers and a bowl of milk, so that cats would come and drive off the gremlins.
It was still there, so I took it. I’ll find someone to make another, it ain’t right to use his, but it was damn handy. I’ll send it back via courier. It’d be good to feel like he’s got my back again.

Answers and Questions.

(At the top of this page are a few rough sketches of the Crystal Palace, drawn from memory after the fact. A few emplacement guns, the inner foyer, the main gates, and a head-on view of the building are all represented in Ashley’s unornamented, precise style.)

CITADEL surely seems to have their ducks in a row. Wish I had any idea what they were actually planning. Wish I’d had a chance to meet Straeth. So it goes.

10 Noctis, by the way. While since I had any inc. to write. Going through motions. Hardly anything to occupy my time. Even my sorry excuse for a shipboard garden barely clinging to life; hates the Chukosian weather almost as much as I do. Am not entirely sure how I managed to spend a year on this rock. Happy to be leaving with all speed.

Well. “Happy” is… a word. Am feeling more up to the relativistic linguistic gymnastics required to use it than searching for more accurate one to describe feelings these days. Felix. That was…

(The next line of text is heavily blotted, and scratched out to the point of tearing the page.)

Commissioned a pair of new carbines from a local gunsmith and arcanist. They seem to work well as can be expected. Hoorah for that, I suppose.

  • AAPHC, tossed in storage [ratio of encumbrance-to-offensive-efficacy deemed inadequate]; new carbine should accomplish the same task more effectively, regardless
  • phosphorshot sidearm, sold for scrap [arcantrik residue build-up, flashfire plate starting to smell like smoke, fitting strap on the damn goggles keeps coming loose]; if we do happen to run in to anyone – or anything – cloaking itself in that fashion, hopefully Sam will have something up his sleeve
  • remainder of active combat equipment, thoroughly cleaned and repaired to spec [plenty of downtime this past month]; ample opp. to get it all jammed/windblown on Trebarre soon enough

Trebarre. V. nearly the biggest shock of this assignment so far. What could CITADEL poss. want there? Has to be more than an interest in the one Fort. Doesn’t it? Unclear. But what isn’t? Don’t even have a name for my target — though not a bad chance that he’d answer to “Hand” — much less a motive for flight. No idea what Cataphract is/was. Or whether Octavia’s still alive. Nor Jack, for that matter. Off the radar. What I do know for a certainty? Hand doesn’t believe me. Doesn’t care enough even to entertain the thought of doing so.

So. Why should I believe that he’ll hold up his side of the bargain? Bears consideration.

Captain's Log, 28 Lokital 900

28 Lokital 900

Turns out this job started and ended with the same fellow, a blondie named Daniel of Armacaia. Took me to speak with Sir Akienne, who took away the Rebeckah and the Sherra. Handed me quite the paycheck before putting us on a steam rail to Satyeva…. I stopped by an old ally’s haunt looking for supplies, but they were still out and about. Best not try back there again till it’s changed stewards a time or two. Managed to upset the Count Satyeva. Again. Sir Helm has more pebbles in his boot than I remember. Guess the stress is getting to him, pressure must be building with the political tension everyone keeps mentioning. Pompus Ass! Just because he’s foolishly assumed risk and responsibility he thinks he can lecture me about being a godsdamned hero!
We made good time to the Crystal Palace, where CITADEL has dug in deep. Some Dragon mercs were on patrol, don’t know if they’re hired or allies yet. Haven’t been back there in this life, don’t mean a thing to me now. Grand place, the Crystal Palace, never fails to inspire the weepy poets. Still, it’s a bit less grand with all the barricades, chain guns, and artillery. Bad sign? I think I may have just signed on to have armies attack me. Great. On the bright side, they seem well funded, despite a lack of ships. Being able to keep a mercenary army on hand is one thing, but they, excuse me, WE, have all sorts of technomantic research going on. A rather excitable lass by the name of Mulaney was working on some sort of lightning cannon, though she wasn’t shy about wanting to post to the Rebeckah. Talented folk all over, actually. A strange Sha Amatsuran man with a bleedin’ fan was courting favor. Or flirting, I’m not quite sure if so or who with. Tactician, as I understand it, to fill in for Stannis until I find him.
The Abbot was there.
The Director’s one of the Sighted, but not a Chandler. Didn’t know it came in different bloodlines, don’t know what the implications for that are about. Seemed rather uncertain about the danger looming over us, and didn’t have anything to say about my “angry brother angels” comments. Briefly met the two other “candidates” who have accepted official Captain status in the group. Didn’t quite know I was on parole, so to speak. Cael Adda and Adrienne St. Cyr, if I remember correctly. Sir Akienne will be taking the Rebeckah between our jobs, so I’m grounded for a while. Out of Fort Rochelle, Trebarre. Md. Cole knows the area, so that should be an advantage while hunting pirates.


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