Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Grand Opening of Cooger and Dark's The Chamber of Horrors

And to continue with the announcement of events to come, you should not miss the Grand Opening of Cooger and Dark's The Chamber of Horrors , located in the Wax Museum in Babbage Square, right across the City Hall and not far from the train station.
This will take place on Friday, September 20th and the awesome Sinji Itokawa will be DJing for the occasion, from 2pm to 4pm SLT.

(Jimmy Branagh is the artist behind all the wax figures/mesh displays, OOCly, and you absolutely need to come and check by yourself how talented he is.)

(Poster by Jimmy Branagh)

Even if you can't make the Grand Opening, you should still come and visit anytime !

You can reach the Chamber of Horrors by walking all the way through the Wax Museum and turn left at the bar, to enter the cobwebs-laced tunnel that will lead you to the Chamber. At the opposite corner of the Chamber, you can find the store and get your own mesh statuette (there are also freebies for people in the Steampunks of New Babbage group!).

Escapades Third Anniversary

This week-end, starting on Friday 12pm SLT with the traditional Goony Adventure, will be the Third Anniversary of Escapades island, which used to be Goony Island.

Find below the list of events scheduled for the occasion :

Friday 6th September
• 12pm SLT - Goonies Adventure - The Search for Tepic
• 2pm SLT - Founders Tea party - Special invite only

Saturday 7th September
• 11 am SLT - Airship Brawl Trophy Competition - Teams of two battle it out to be the last ones flying.
• 1pm SLT - Pirate Party - Hosted by Gemini Enfield - Possible tavern Brawls.
• 3pm SLT - Special RP Event - Rise of the Cubes.

Sunday 8th September
• 12pm SLT - The Extreme Whale Trophy Race - A race around the island.
• 1pm SLT - Goonies Beach Party
• 3pm SLT - The Final Mega Brawl - Loki throws everything he's got in his inventory at the goonies testing their resolve and the SL Platforms stability.

Do come and join us to celebrate, it's lots of fun!!!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Above the clouds still shines the sun

- I don't remember much about my early childhood, Fly started. From what I've been told, I was found in the Vernian Sea, clung to a piece of broken wood, as a child of about seven years old. Apparently I had been involved in some kind of accident and that may have caused my memory loss.
- You really don't remember anything at all? I asked.
- Just a few things, with no connection one to another. As if my brain was a unicolor chess game. I remember living in New Babbage and flying in the sky, and I remember having a younger sister and playing in a park with her, but I don't recall her name or even mine.
- I thought your name was Fly, I intervened.
- Not my birth one I'm afraid. The sea pirates who found me called me like that because I was so fascinated with everything flying.
- So the pirates picked you up and kept you as a prisoner? Did they want to ask for a ransom or something like that?
The boy's face relaxed in a smile while the gaze of his green eyes softened.
- No, I became one of them. Their Captain's daughter was feeling very lonely on board and she begged her father to adopt me to have a little companion to play with. Granted she was already seventeen at the time, but she immediately took a liking to me and would have given hell to her father if he hadn't complied with her demand. And this is how I became Captain Copperfield's adoptive son.
- Oooh, so you’re a pirate! I concluded.
- That I am, nodded Fly. But I’ve only been one for eight years. Still, that’s my life now.
- I’ve been an orphan for eight years too, I informed him, tilting my head pensively. But I was living on the streets of New Babbage, not on the seas.
The boy glanced at me sharply :
- You must know the City quite well then?
I pulled a face, raising my eyebrows :
- I used to, I sighed, but I’ve been away for so long. It must have changed a bit.
- It can’t have changed that much, Fly assured. It’s a City after all, the streets and buildings won’t move around on their own.
- Well, there’s a high rate of demolition over there, I explained. So new buildings appear every week.
- I see, replied the pirate boy in a perplexed tone. You might still be able to help me find my way around there though, if you agree?
- Of course! You helped me, I’ll help you. What are you looking for, there? I asked, glancing at him.
- Ah, I’ll tell you the rest of my story, and you’ll understand.
I moved slightly, sand sliding softly beneath me, to settle down into a new sitting position and focused back on the boy across the fire.
- So I had been adopted by the pirates' Captain, and that was quite a nice life I must say, Fly continued. I was like a kind of mascot for them I think, and they taught me how to become a true little pirate. One was teaching me how to tie sailor knots, another how to juggle with a flick knife, and someone did show me how to whistle loudly using my fingers. I quickly became able to climb up the mast and was staying in the look-out for hours, watching the seagulls around me, wishing I could fly like them. I was happy, even if I didn't remember everything from before my accident. But my happiest moments were spent with Amnelys, Captain Copperfield's daughter.
- She's the friend you were talking about? I asked while snuggling Flynn, installed on my lap.
- Yes, he confirmed. She is the one. She's a very pretty girl and she was spoiled by her father. She was used to get everything she wanted and would never take "no" for an answer. I can't blame her for that since I think I owe her my life. Without her insistence, I would have never been taken care of like that and they'd have killed me, or left me to the sharks.
Fly paused, gazing absent-mindedly into the fire, and I did not dare speaking up to ask for the rest of the story. After one or two minutes, he sighed and looked at me :
- She's stubborn, you see.
I nodded to encourage him and he went on :
- Almost one year ago, we moored the ship in Port Babbage undercover and we spent a few days in the City for some business my father had to deal with.
Fly shook his head with a sad expression on his face :
- That was a very bad idea. Amnelys and I went for a walk in the streets, looking at everything in amazement. That was the first time we were allowed to run freely in such a big city and it was all new for us. At some point, we managed to escape the attention of the pirates our father designated to look after us and we got lost in a narrow alley behind a big brick building. We were about to walk back to where we came from when a man stepped in and stood in front of us, blocking the alley. I could see in a glance that he was not the nice kind, in spite of his elegant costume and pleasant face. There was something fake about him. But Amnelys thought otherwise and she returned his smile when he grinned at her. I placed myself between them and frowned at the man, asking him to let us pass, but my sister put her hands on my shoulders and giggled, telling the man to pay no attention to me, that I was just a child. And then the newcomer grinned again, in that fake charming way, and he started smooth talking her, saying how beautiful her shiny eyes looked under the dim light and all that kind of nonsense. I was waiting for Amnelys to tell him off and grab me by the arm to go back to the ship, but instead, I saw her blushing and acting all smitten-like. Next thing I knew, he was taking her "for a stroll" and she told me to go back to the ship.
- You should have punched him, I stated knowingly.
- I would have! Fly protested. But she didn't let me... She just shooed me off like a cumbrous insect and wouldn't hear anything from me. What could I do...?
The boy's shoulders slumped and his voice lowered :
- I ran back to the main street, somehow found my way to the Port and went to warn our father. He immediately came with me and a few of his men to bring his daughter back, but we looked everywhere and could see no sign of her. The night was getting darker and so we went back to the ship. We were supposed to leave in the morrow, but the Captain delayed our departure until we would find Amnelys. The day after, we searched again the streets of the City, with no luck. We were starting to lose hope, and my father was becoming moody, with fits of anger directed against me for having failed to protect his daughter.
- But that was not your fault! I interjected.
- I don't know, Fly whispered. Maybe I should have insisted for her to come back to the ship with me.
- She didn't let you, I retorted. She wanted that.
- Either way, for my father, I was guilty. Although she did come back, after two days.
- Did she? I raised my eyebrows, relieved.
- Yes but only to tell her dad that she wouldn't come back to live on the ship. That she was staying with that man in New Babbage, that she loved this guy and that nothing could make her change her mind.
I glanced at the cabin boy, astonished :
- What did he do, then?
- We left her behind, Fly announced, gloomily.
- You what?
- I told you she was stubborn, the boy explained in a blank voice, looking up at me. Even her father had to surrender. We left, and all the blame fell on me once again. The Captain has never been the same after that. He became cranky, nasty, locked himself up in his cabin for hours and beat me on a regular basis. We went back to New Babbage a few months ago, again for his business affair, and he sent his best men around to find her. Which they did.
I glanced at him in expectation, uncertain about the way his story would unfold.
- So they brought her back this time, I suggested doubtfully.
Fly shook his head :
- No, they did not. They came back to their Captain and explained with great caution how she had started working for that New Babbage man as a whore and how she had refused to go back to the ship, saying she didn't want to see her father anymore as he wouldn't understand.
I held my breath, observing him with concern.
- So the Captain shot dead one of his messengers and shouted orders to leave the Port at once. He had always been the short-tempered sort, but he was becoming downright mad since Amnelys' departure. And she wasn't there anymore to control him.
Fly's gaze wandered over the sea.
- I hope Davy Jones won't have too much trouble dealing with him, he concluded humorlessly.
I turned my eyes towards the sea as well and watched in silence the glittering of the stars' reflection on that dark moving mirror.
After a few minutes, I turned back my head towards him and asked softly :
- So that is why you want to go back to New Babbage? To find her?
Fly nodded slowly.
- I'll help you, I affirmed. We'll rescue her.
I smiled at him cheerfully and he smiled back faintly.

We then decided it was time to sleep as we would have a lot to do the day after, starting with finding a way to leave that island.

In the morning, we gathered every piece of wood we could find, all the barrels and crates coming from the sunken ships that had been washed ashore, and we started assembling them into a raft.
Satisfied with our work, we had a bit of breakfast with apples and clear water we were lucky enough to find in the remnants of the wreck, and then we hopped on our homemade vessel to start our journey back to New Babbage. We had made up a paddle with a pole and a piece of plank and were taking turns to maneuver it.
Neither of us had a compass of course, so we agreed on finding our way through the position of the sun in the sky. It did go well for most of the day and we were progressing swiftly, but the sun disappeared behind a curtain of thick clouds on the way down from its zenith.
We waited for about half an hour, looking worryingly up, but the cloud layer was getting darker if anything. I put the paddle down and sat on a crate, letting the raft drift away, rocked by the waves.

- How will we find our way when the sky is that cloudy? I lamented.
Fly wrinkled his brow, glancing at me helplessly.
Suddenly, something fell onto my foot and I yelped in surprise.
- Flynn! I exclaimed, identifying the cause of that mischief.
I stretched down to pick my squirrel up with one hand, grabbing the stone he had pushed outside my small belt bag with the other hand.
- You're a naughty critter, I scolded him softly. That hurt you know!
- What is it? enquired Fly, eyeing the stone with interest.
- That was part of the cargo of the airship I sneaked on in Steelhead, I shrugged. I think it's called a sunstone, they got a lot of those over there.
- Show me? he asked, stepping closer to the crate I was sitting on and laying his hand in front of him, palm upwards.
I raised the stone up to his hand and suspended my move abruptly.
- Wha... started Fly.
- Wait! I interrupted him incisively.
I raised my hand higher to make sure that what I had a glimpse of was real and gasped :
- The sun!
- The sun? echoed the pirate boy, arching an eyebrow.
- The sun, I repeated with excitation, glancing at him. I can see it! Here, through the stone!
I handed over the polished piece of rock to him and watched, as he lifted it up against the cloudy sky, realization painting itself on his face.
- I wonder how it works, I asked myself aloud.
- Who cares! Fly whooped, starting a little dance. We can see the sun! We're saved!
I giggled at his dance though holding firmly the sides of the crate as the raft was swaying dangerously.

Thanks to the stone, we managed to follow the sun's course in the sky and stop sailing in circles. I could feel we were getting closer and closer.
I inhalated the invigorating marine air and thrilled at the subtle change in smell that was growing more and more sooty. The clear line where the sky meets the sea was beginning to blur and a grey cloudy smudge suddenly appeared, bristling with needles of steel and brass.

- New Babbage! I exclaimed, overcome by emotions at the sight of the familiar clocktowers and airships silhouettes standing out against the setting sun-tinted smog.
I started paddling faster, along the rythm of my heartbeats.
Finally, I was back.

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Great Escape

I had time to think during all those months in the sky. To think about a great escape plan of course.
While living among the pirates, I could observe them and make for myself a pretty good idea of their qualities and flaws.

For example, they enjoyed drinking. A lot. Alcohol I mean, no water, it would make them rust, as Davy-Three-Ears was saying. But I could not use that to my advantage because most of them could stand it and keep drinking all night long without getting into this blurry phase where pink twin air krakens would be flying all around the ship.

Another point was their greediness. The more they stole, the more they wanted, and sharing was always a tense moment, when everyone was eying their neighbour to make sure they wouldn't get a bigger portion of the plunder than themselves. This, maybe, could be used against them.

Stemming from that, lots of them were very short-tempered and quick to draw a pistol or a sword as an argument against their opponent in a verbal fight. And usually, that was resulting in a death or two as they were all quite good shots. You would think it meant that the crew was slowly getting thinner, but some new recruits were regularly acquired during the raids, and even though they were not as skilled as their predecessors, they would soon be going through a sped-up training to keep the high standard.

I was also considered as a new recruit, eighteen months ago, but the Captain had big plans for me. I was the smallest on board and had proven my ability to sneak around unseen (well almost), and this made him think I would be more useful during special raids on highly protected buildings into which one could enter only through spyholes of some sort or tiny sewer plugs.
I did go on a few raids like that, and my role was to get in, disengage the security system and unlock the main door to let the others in, without getting caught. I would also do the look-out on other missions, hidden in a bush nearby.

I know what you think, that I could have escaped a thousand times while being left alone during those raids. But what you don't know is that the Captain was a clever brigand. He may have spared my life, but he was no fool and knew I would take the first occasion to run away. He had noticed Flynn perking from my pocket and understood how much I cared about him. He had taken him as a hostage on the grounds that he would be happier to stay in his cabin with his own falcon pet, assuring he would make sure they did not fight.

I was tied up, could not leave Flynn behind even if I had a chance to get off the ship.
 That complicated the matter a bit, but I was not giving up hopes yet. I would need to craft my plan more carefully and maybe count on Chance to give me a little help.

That help came a few days later under the shape of a sea pirates' ship.

Sir Hawker (the Captain made us call him "Sir", even though he definitely did not deserve that title) enjoyed nothing more than coming upon sea pirates ships to cast fear and terror on the unsuspecting crew. He believed that the huge shadow drawn by his airship onto its sea-bound counterpart was a last sight every sailor would be happy to die with. He also claimed that it was their duty somehow, to assist natural evolution by destroying the less adapted pirates, for the air riders were the ultimate step in piracy.
Thus, after hearing reports of a pirates ship cruising beneath us, he got naturally overjoyed and started shouting orders to prepare for the fight. All the men jumped on their feet straight away and ran merrily towards their post, as they loved their Captain and were happy when he was.

Soon enough, the airship was diving down onto the floating vessel, canons loaded and ready to fire. For the occasion, the Captain had even offered me a beautifully carved dagger "to finish off the wounded" he said with a toothy grin. I noted, though, that he did not entrust me with a firing weapon. I guess that is how he became a Captain. By flattering his men, giving them an important role, but cautiously enough not to give them too much power. That is what I would do anyway! Others would say he became a Captain by killing all of those who disagreed with him. Well, that was probably the case too...

Anyway, thanks to Sir Hawker's glorious mood, I now owned a blade, and to top it all, I had learnt that we were actually flying above the Vernian Sea, New Babbage strong as ever waiting for me to cross the water between us. Thousands of ideas began to take shape in my mind as to how I could use this weapon to cut open a road to freedom, but I had the time to develop none of them for a loud "bang" resonated suddenly, followed by a dangerous swaying of the airship.
Everyone was sent rolling onto the deck, and I could hear the Captain cursing harshly. The ship down there had shot their cannons right at us, even before we could do it ourselves.
For the first time in his life, Sir Hawker was being challenged with fierce resistance from one of his preys.

Another "bang", and the airship was sent quickly sinking right onto its opponent without anything we could do to stop it. I could see pirates sliding down the deck and falling over board, screaming, or being rolled over by cannons that were not tied up correctly and were giving a hand to gravity by gathering at the bow of the ship.
I did slide too, but could find a pole to cling to and I managed to climb on it, tightening my grip in foresight of the shock that would shake the ship when we would reach the sea.

The shock did happen and was a violent one. The bow of the airship cut deep into the seaship, creating huge splinters all around, and  drilling a hole in the other side, through which water came flooding in. Our ship then broke in the middle, its bow still pinned up to the other one, and its stern falling backwards on the sea pirates' ship's own stern in a mess of flying pieces of wood and metal.
I was on the stern part and could see Sir Hawker sliding down the bow part to land smoothly onto the deck of the other ship, a pistol in each hand, ready to meet the sea pirates who were approaching. Nobody was paying attention to me, they were all too busy fighting, and I took the chance.

I ran in direction of the Captain's cabin, which luckily was located on the stern, and slammed the door open. Scanning quickly the room, I spotted Flynn, curled up against the bars of a little cage secured by a chain hanging from the ceiling, Sir Hawker's falcon standing right outside the opposite edge of the cage and eying him with interest.
I hurried towards the chest of drawers they were installed on and waved my dagger in front of me to scare off the bird of prey. He stared at me, his golden eye challenging me, but backed off a little when I cut the air right before him. Flynn was now jumping up and down in his cage, chattering excitedly, while I tried to open the lock with the tip of my knife. It did not resist long to my recently achieved skills and I could soon cuddle my little squirrel under the disapproving glance of the Captain's falcon.

When I got out of the cabin, Flynn hiding in the little bag hanging from my belt, there were flames everywhere. I could hear screaming and gunshots on the deck below us, but all of it was smothered by the roaring noise of the progressing fire.
I darted back inside to pick up a piece of fabric that I held in front of my nose and mouth before running through the smoke,  my left hand clutching my dagger. I jumped over the bodies and barrels, eyes blinking from fire-induced tears, trying to find my way in the middle of the chaos.
My idea was to find a raft of some sort and jump into the sea before getting killed by the fire or a pirate. I eventually managed to reach the bottom ship, slaloming around the obstacles, avoiding the fights, but my run was suddenly interrupted. Two of the masts had fallen either side of me, gigantic flames engulfing them, and in front of me, the deck was taken into a storm of whirling brands, making it impossible for me to go on. The spot was becoming very dangerous to stay in and I was wondering how to find a way around it.

- This way! A voice called from behind me.
I turned abruptly to notice a lean silhouette beckoning me over through the suffocating smoke. I did not really have time to think twice and I started into that direction, hoping I was not heading right into another trap.
The silhouette revealed to be a cabin boy, just a few years older than me, certainly coming from the sea pirates ship. We did not have the time to talk as everything was crumbling down around us, and I followed him through a maze of burning crates and ropes hanging across our way until we reached the ship's rail. He grabbed a barrel, miraculously spared by the flames, and threw it overboard before jumping after it. I climbed up the rail and looked down. The sea was not as far as I had thought, the ship having sunk quite a bit already, but I was dreading the maritime depths and it took the cry of warning the teen gave me to glance above my shoulder and dive before a scruffy pirate could catch me.

Upon entering into contact with the water, I closed my eyes, pinching my nose, and then paddled hard to come back to the surface and take a deep breath, spitting to get rid of  the strong salty taste on my tongue. Still kicking to stay afloat, I reached swiftly for the little bag on my side and released a coughing Flynn to perch him on my shoulder.
- Here, the pirate boy said, holding onto one side of the barrel he had thrown into the sea.
I wrapped my arms around the opposite side of it, right in time for a big wave to take birth from the sinking ship and carry us with speed far away from the disaster, before leaving us bopping on top of calmer wavelets.

- Well, that one wasn't my fault... I muttered, clinging to the floating barrel while both ships were disappearing into the blaze, painting dusk into warm tones of scarlet and brass.
- What did you say? Asked the boy, tearing himself from the contemplation of the wreck to look at me.
- Oh, nothing important, I replied. What's important is, what are we gonna do now? I underscored, looking at the water surrounding us.

- There is a small island we just passed by with the ship, he informed me, his eyes scanning the sealine behind me. It must not be very far from where we are. Let's just swim into that direction and hopefully we'll find it.
- Which direction? I asked, raising my eyebrows.
- Oh, there it is! He exclaimed. I can see it. Look!
I turned my head and squinted but it was hard to distinguish anything in the growing darkness.
- I'll take your word on it, I declared, glancing back at him.

After a few dozen of minutes that seemed to last hours, paddling with our legs, the barrel held in front of us like a buoy, we finally reached the shore of the small island.
 The beach was of sand, and we both stayed laying there for a while, exhausted, the waves coming to die at our feet.
Suddenly, a loud explosion noise made us jerk up from our rest to see the blazing sky and sea speckled with flying pieces of ships. The fire had certainly reached the cannon powder storeroom. It was even surprising that it did not happen earlier. Startled, Flynn had jumped on my shoulder and was now hiding in my hair, curled up against my neck. His fur was wet and it made me realize that I was frozen stiff.
- I'll look for wood, the teen said, getting up on his feet. We can light a fire then.
I nodded, bracing myself while the cold air on my humid skin was sending shivers down my spine.
It did not take long until the young cabin's boy came back from the edge of the forest lining the beach with a few logs rested on his forearms. Just long enough for me to wander around and collect some dry-looking high herbs covering a dune nearby.
He crouched on the sand and installed the logs in a pile, spreading my herbs beneath it, before taking a look around. I reached for the little bag hung on the side of my belt and brought a small metal box out.

- You're looking for that? I suggested, handing him over the box.
He glanced at me, perplexed.
- You've got matches in there?
- Yep! I affirmed. That's a special box, they shouldn't be damp inside.
The boy's face lightened up and he took the box.
- That's pretty handy!
I smiled, watching him open the box and picking up a match from inside :
- Yes, it's proven quite useful of late.
He lit up the match and approached it carefully to the dry herbs he had placed beneath the logs, protecting the flame against the wind with his other cup-shaped hand. The fire grew quickly and soon the logs were burning, producing a much appreciated wave of heat in the surrounding area. I sat close to it, Flynn perched on my shoulder, and glanced at my companion.
I could see him better now, in the light of the fire. He was a tall and rather skinny teen, about fifteen years old, and was wearing a big tricorn hat on top of his messy brown hair. His eyes were of a deep green, and freckles were sprinkled about his straight nose and pale cheeks.

- So, what's your name anyway? He enquired, looking at me.
- I'm Myrtil, and that one is Flynn, I introduced my squirrel and I.
The boy grinned :
- He's called Flynn? Well I'm called Fly. Well met critter!
Flynn answered with a serie of clicking sounds while enthusiastically waving his bushy tail.
- He likes you, I observed, slightly surprised.
- Of course, he does, Fly bragged. I'm very likeable.
He glanced at me :
- I remember having a sibling somewhere, who would be 'bout your age I gather. But she was a girl.
- So am I, I replied calmly.
I was used to being mistaken with a boy and did not always bother correcting my interlocutor's assertion, but this time, for some reason, I felt like it.
- Are you?
The lad looked puzzled.
- You should comb that hair of yours and wear a dress if you don't want people to think you're a boy.
- I don't really care what people think, I shrugged.
- Alright, Fly grinned. Though you'd get more luck at begging if people think you are a girl. Blond curls are also an advantage, and blue eyes of course, but you've got none of those.
He leaned backwards and squinted, as if he wanted to take a wider glance at me.
- Yeh, he concluded with a serious face. You look like some kind of small wild animal. I wonder how you managed to survive on the streets all those years.
- Well I did, I replied between gritted teeth, anger slowly rising from within. I've got lots of friends and we all look out for each other. You don't have many friends, do you?
Fly chuckled :
- Calm down, fierce girl, I was just kidding. I do have a friend, but only the one.
I looked up at him, ashamed to have let myself getting upset by what he was saying.
- You've got two now, I stated with a smile.
The boy smiled back to me.
- I've got a friend who is just like that, I admitted after thinking a bit about what he had said. Long blond hair and blue eyes. All the ladies of New Babbage swoon when he passes by.
Fly laughed again.
- It can be a blessing or a curse. You know, you're right not to let people know you're a girl. Most of the time it's far from being a good thing in this world.
I glanced at him, unsure of what he meant. His mood had seemed to darken and his gaze was lost in thoughts.
- That friend of mine I told you about, he started in a soft tone, she is a proper girl. A grown woman even now. She does have the blue eyes and curly hair, but I'd rather have her ugly and happy than pretty and...
He paused and clenched his fists.
- I hate what she's become. Even though she didn't really have the choice.
- You always have the choice, I replied instinctively. A good friend of mine told me that once...
- I wish you were right, Fly muttered, turning towards me, but you don't know what you're talking about.
I tilted my head, observing him in silence while he was brooding, eyes fixed upon the fire, light and shadow fighting gracefully about his face.
- Will you tell me, then? I eventually asked, my patience having reached its limits.
Fly broke from his contemplation of the dancing flames and looked up at me hesitantly.
- Why not... he shrugged. You might as well know. But I'll have to start the story a while back for you to understand it fully.
I looked up at the starry night sky and then beyond the fire, towards the dark sea, across which New Babbage was still standing after escaping once more one of those horrible fates that seemed to rain on her every so often.
- I am in no hurry, I assured. I've been away for more than a year, a few more hours won't make any difference. We'll have time in the morning to figure out a way to sail back to the City.
The boy nodded thoughtfully.
- Very well then, he sighed. Here's my story.