Friday, December 29, 2017

Off the Coast of Osidenc

Odwin Vraduna drew a heavy breath through his nostrils. The salt of the sea palpable in the air. The Windjammer Flame of Trele had cleared the last water-lock and made it to coastal waters. Odwin could see a few lights from the port city of Prieteberg. The sun had set an hour ago, and the captain had ordered quarter sail. Come morning, they would set full sails towards Gilhal. Odwin thought of his comfortable office back at the capital.

Odwin cleared his throat before turning to walk below deck. In the fore cargo hold Odwin found two of his trusted marines standing watch. They nodded and let him in without a word. Captain Pitman had cleared the hold for Odwin to use. It was spacious compared to usual ship quarters, which outsized his quarters by a order of magnitude or two. Lantern light illuminated the hold, swaying with the motion of the ship. A woman with auburn hair clad in a green dress was taking notes by one of the many tables in the hold. She was Odwin’s chief scholar.

“Good evening, Sibil,” Odwin said, hanging his coat by the door.

“Sir,” she turned as soon as she heard him.

“How goes the studies?” he asked as he approached one of the tables. On top of it rested a set of artefacts that looked like medallions. Beyond the table stood a metallic chair that changed appearance each time he looked at it. Its surface was dark but mottled with opalescent colors. Patterns would form, then fade, only to shift into something else.

“More magical properties,” Sibil said with her Angesian accent. “This… ‘mirror’, for lack of a better word, seems to store information.”

Odwin frowned. “Supernatural,” he said. “Magic is word for the superstitious folk.”

“Well, this supernatural object seems to store information in it,” Sibil said. “Seems like astronomical data - but the sheer amount is staggering.”

“Something for the astronomers,” Odwin said. “What have you found about the chair?”

Sibil responded with silence, before walking over to where the chair stood. The chair seemed to light up, with distinct lines of light tracing along the armrests and the backrest. Odwin gasped. The last time he had gasped was when Sibil had opened a portal to the Paraworld Aethyr.

“That is highly responsive supernatural technology,” Odwin said.

“Indeed,” Sibil said. “I…” she hesitated. “I can feel it call on me. I can also tell that it is reaching into the hull of the ship.”

Odwin stepped closer to the chair. The chair made no response. For all his experience, Odwin had never been able to work supernatural forces. Sibil, however, had immense potential. As he stood there, he noticed the chair pulsed with distinct patterns. Sigils of some unknown origin faded in and out at the armrests. He realized he would have to study them for decades to even glean at their true meaning.

“What about the other artifacts?” Odwin said and turned to a new table. Upon it lay a four-fingered gauntlet. Sibil made no reply. Odwin turned to the chair again and saw Sibil sitting in it. Her chest heaved with heavy breaths. The chair pulsed with light. She closed her eyes. Odwin noticed lines of light pulsing into the deck of the ship.

“I can feel the ship,” Sibil said. “I feel the water against my, no the ship’s body. The wind.”

Odwin took a step back, gasping. The whole ship began to tremble. “Sibil…”

“This chair…” Sibil began. “I am sitting in a helm. I can command the ship. I am the ship.”

“Odwin, go above deck,” She said.

The ship trembled. Lanterns danced. Odwin stumbled towards the door, opened it and ordered the marines to guard it with their lives. He staggered up the stairs to the top deck. The crew were shouting, scrambling up ropes or clinging to the railings. A droning sound deafened over the desperate shouts of the sailors. The sails were still - no wind touched them.

Odwin walked over to the railing. Below him he saw the water, only it was not brushing against the hull. He realized the vessel was flying.

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