Adventure in the North 2 The Arrival - RPLOG
This voyage is better than a day and a half underway and it has been smooth sailing so far! Most of those who struggled with air sickness have gotten their 'sea legs' and the passenger's lounge is bustling with activity as traditional Thera'Doran food is served and all sorts of games and entertainments are available.
In one part of the room, an enthusiastic Snowmark puma is teaching a folk dance of some kind, elsewhere an ermine in LongTech employee garb is showing off some odd little dolls. Almost a full quarter of the room is taken up by an odd game involving throwing a wooden bat at carefully arranged stacks of blocks. Heinrich, the polar bear has even set up a small table and is challenging all comers to an arm wrestling contest! And of course, there is all sorts of food available!
Brutus is, quite unsurprisingly, still at the table, a banquet of Thera'Doran delicacies spread before him. Between genteel bites and paced chewing, he is trying to engage Anton in discussion of local politics and pick his brain. "Well now, dissent is the price of freedom, and everyplace has its factions. But the Creators, in their wisdom, blessed us with the ability to disagree and yet work together and move forward. What seems to trouble you, then?"
Hartford is intently slurping on his soup, clattering his spoon and chatting eagerly with the pair of Corgis. "...and to this day, you can still see her old bloomers on that big tree in the courtyard!" he announces a bit too loud, drawing laughter from the pair, a weary glance from Brutus, and stares from some other occupants.
Samira seems to have coped quite well with the airship trip, although for the moment she's holed up in the interior of the ship. She had tried sitting on the airship's deck and staring down at the snow-capped peaks, but even with her luxurious coat of fur she felt as if she might end up a solid block of ice! A bowl of stewed vegetables rests neatly on her lap as she reclines in one of the seats, far enough from the ruckus to be able to eat in peace but close enough to see what's going on.
Happy to have an excuse to stretch her legs, Natska mills about in the passenger's lounge, taking in the sights of the little in-flight event. She is arm-in-arm with Cassidy, and her tail is slowly swishing back and forth as she looks from one cluster of people to another, having trouble deciding which is the most interesting. Eventually she gives Cass' arm a little pat, then starts moving towards the Snowmark puma playing the game with the stick.
Technetium coughs lightly into the crook of her arm, clearing her throat from various dust particles and other floating things that had collected there. She had been doing quite well throughout the trip, although had nearly gotten yelled at for being a bit curious about various things to do with the ship itself. In terms of dress, things seem to have still changed little, excluding the cloak thickness has increased significantly, and the shirt and pants seem more padded. She sits quietly away from the brunt of the action, watching and waiting for things to happen.
Cassidy smiles a little as she gives Natska's arm a little squeeze. "So! What do you think? Is this the first time you've taken such a long trip on an airship? It can get a little... Claustrophobic, yeah?" She was wearing her usual slacks and dress shirt, but in lieu of her tailcoat was a thick, black leather longcoat trimmed with maneback fur. "Hmm. I wonder what looks fun," she ponders quietly before reaching out to help herself to some of the food.
"I'm not sure what you mean, Lord Blackback," Anton says, sipping serenely at some kind of hot beverage, "I only warn you that the council here is not like the King's advisors or the church council in Shralesta." The reindeer smiles at the abundant skunk. "They will not be impressed with long speeches," he says, "Or clever rhetoric. And it will not be a private setting. Just be ready for a rowdy, loud meeting."
Asher chuckles at Hartford's story, leaning back and enjoying the feeling of being full to the brim with rich, hearty Thera'Doran cuisine. His brother Tobin, on the other hand, is laughing like he has never heard anything so funny in his life. The bigger canine seems to have been availing himself rather freely of the wet bar. "Wha- wha- What happened to the gardner after?" he wheezes between great, stupid guffaws.
The puma with his game perks up as Natska and Cassidy come near. "Hello lovely ladies!" he says with a grin, "You will try Erik's game?" He waves a flat wooden bat toward where five wooden cylinders are set up lying in a pattern inside a painted white square. "Rules are very simple!" he says, "You only throw the bat at the Gorodki and try to knock them from the square! Easy!"
A look of worry crosses Brutus's chubby face. Rhetoric and long-winded species were his specialty! "So...this is some sort of public forum?" he asks, a hint of disdain at the notion of direct democracy. "But you spoke of how hard it is to keep a single Snowmark in line--so what lines are they...ah...out of?" he asks, a wheedling grin creasing his chubby cheeks.
Hartford looks dumbfounded for a moment. "The gardener? Oh, no, those belong to Missus Blackback!" he's barely able to say before cracking up once again and giving Tobin a hearty thump on the back with his great big paw!
"That seems easy enough," Natska replies, "I'll give it a try, Erik!" She rubs her gloved fingers together for a moment as she steps away from Cassidy. "And there was that trip to Cliffside last month, Cass, but I don't think it was quite this long. And I never even rode in an airship before we met! It's been a fun adventure, and we're only at the start!"
Samira finishes her bowl and, curious at how the other members of the trip are doing, starts to plod over to where Cassidy and Natska stand together. The petite skunkette tries to avoid disturbing though, standing off to the side as she patiently watches them engage in... some kind of game? It certainly seems to be, although she somewhat doubts that she'll have much skill in it. While Natska plays she offers Cassidy a friendly wave.
A soft rumble leaves Flora's muzzle as the feline makes her way through the hall and towards Brutus and Anton with a flick of her ears, a soft purr rolling from her lips.
Soon enough, she's taken a seat at the table as well, silently watching the two for the time being, although she's listened in to the ongoing conversation beforehand, of course.
Cassidy chuckles softly and nods at Flora, following her over. "I'll play, too! - As soon as I finish this," she says, digging into her food with gusto. "I'm glad you've been having fun, though, Natska! I'm glad I was able to help bring some more adventure into your life! I like airships. I kind of wish I had one of my own!"
"Yes, Lord Blackback," Anton says with amusement, "All meetings of the council are public, and the public are known to chime in very often." The reindeer thinks a moment then continues. "The floor is yours as long as you can hold it," he explains, "You have to hold the council's attention either by being especially interesting, or by force of will. If you get the ear of the loudest council members, you will find it easier to keep the floor, though you are better off saying what needs saying quickly, then allowing the council to work things out themselves."
Tobin's loud guffaws carry all around the hold, the glasses on the table rattling as he pounds it in his bouts of ongoing hilarity. Even Asher seems to be having trouble retaining his composure as he watches his brother.
Erik hands the light wooden bat to Natska. "Be just a little careful," he says, "Is usually game for out of doors."
"Hmm," the rotund Skunk ponders, sipping at his lager. Mmm, nice, dark, ice-cold and malty...with a bit of sweetness to it. These fellows knew how to brew. He nearly drops his mug, though, as Hartford and Tobin bang on the table and each other, and lays a hand on Hartford's shoulder, hissing "you're causing a scene!" into his flopping ear. The Buck looks hurt at the scolding, and Brutus stammers. "I'm sorry, Hartford, but it was loud, and everyone was staring at--" Brutus stops dead in his tracks, then turns to Anton. "Everyone has a voice, and the louder voices are better heard? ... Is it against protocol to bring in a...er...mouthpiece to help you plead your case?
Samira flicks her ears lightly as she awaits a reply, but sadly it looks like she's far too preocupied at the moment. Shrugging and turning to leave, she hurries over to the table where Flora and Brutus are sat, finding no chairs to sit at and so deciding to stand nearby, tail flicking lightly. "How have you been?" she calls to Flora, sidling over to stand next to the feline.
Natska's ear flicks, attention momentarily stolen by the outburst; she giggles and shakes her head, then accepts the wooden bat, tests its weight, and flips it in her hand a couple of times to get a feel for how it will fly. "Of course, dearest," she tells Cassidy, grinning widely at the fennec. "I love doing things like this with you! It's a lot of fun." She turns to the square then, lines up her toss, and - carefully - throws the baton. "Hello, Samira! Are you enjoying the trip?"
A small nod, a slight smile on Flora's lips. "Flora would suggest making the points clear, concise, and detailing the advantages of our suggestion. And remember, friend Brutus. We are here to make a suggestion, not to insist upon implementing our ideas by force... And if possible, Flora would like to look into setting up a LongTech Industries Outlet within Thera'Dor as well... Flora could imagine it to be exceptionally useful to know exactly how cold it is, after all."
Cassidy quickly gobbles down the rest of her food and sets her dish aside, wiping her lips with a thumb. "Alright! After you, then," she says to Natska as she takes up a position behind the jaguar to give the game a try after she has finished with it.
Anton grins at Brutus. "You begin to see, I think," the stately reindeer says, sipping at his drink. "Anyone is free to speak at a council meeting," he continues, "Local or foreign, noble or common, for as long as they can hold the floor." Meanwhile, Hartford and Tobin have reduced their loud laughter to small snorts and sniggers of merriment. After a moment, the two of them come to some agreement and rise to go join in the line of contestants facing off with Heinrich, leaving an open spot for Samira to sit beside Brutus.
Natska's throw is apparently TOO careful as it strikes too lightly to do more than break appart the careful arrangement of rounded blocks. "Is okay!" Erik says with a smile, lining up the blocks again into their pattern, "You can always try again! Now it is the Lady fox's turn!" He hands the bat off the Cassidy.
Cassidy's throw is more successful than Natska's managing to send three of the five pins rolling out of the square. "Excellent!" Erik cheers, handing the bat over to Natska and rearranging the pins, "One more round! The most Gorodki knocked aside after two rounds is winner!"
A wide grin suffuses Brutus's fat face at Anton's approval. Yes! No need to be too surprised, though--the Blackbacks are born politicians! He turns to Flora, the smile still pasted on. "With all due respect, my lady Longtail, I defer to Anton's advice on persuading Thera'Dorans," he replies with the prickly propriety. "But if we can look as one unit and speak with one voice, I feel we may be better heard." His piece being said to the boss, he turns to Hartford. "I do apologize for before...let me make it up to you. How would you like to help me with business?" His voice suggests that he knows exactly how Hartford would like it, and he's not wrong. "...R-really, Mister Brutus? Oh, I can't believe it! I'd love to!" he cries happily, wrapping Brutus in a hug that would be bone-cracking if the skunk wasn't so squishy. But...I'm not good at talking smart..."
Natska cheers at Cassidy's throw and claps her hands, then accepts the baton from Erik for the second round. "Nice job, Cass, I think you have it won." She lines up her throw, then gives the baton a flick towards the pins, tail swishing. "Sounds like they are having some excitement over there too, huh?"
Samira hmmphs quietly to herself. Even Flora is too busy with speak of politics and speeches to chat with her! Leaning away from the table the skunkette grabs a small snack to sustain herself with as she wanders further around the table, her gaze on the curious little game she spotted earlier. It seems that both the current players are done, so she heads over to the puma running the event and speaks up. "Would it be okay if I have a go, sir?"
A small rumble, a slight nod. "Flora was... Basing her advice upon that of Sir Anton, of course," the feline notes, before smiling towards the Thera'Dorian. Her tails sway gently behind her. "But if Flora's input on this matter is not appreciated?" the feline notes with a raise of her eyebrow, suggesting that confirming the question is a non-option for Brutus."
"Now then... Sir Anton, are there any other things we would need to account for in our preparations?"
Cassidy gives a warm smile to Samira and a polite nod. "Ah, hello there. How're you enjoying the trip miss Samira?" She asks as she takes up the bat again. "You're doing just -fine- Natska! And yes, lots of fun games about today, it seems... Good! I like seeing people having fun. Makes me happy," she says as she takes another throw.
"He is not wrong, Highlady," Anton says, "The council will not be swayed by fancy speaking, and I fear that no one truly cares exactly how cold it is. Once you reach the point where trees shatter from the cold, a measurement is no longer necessary." The reindeer smiles serenely, setting aside his empty cup. "For now," he says, "I fear that I must go speak with our captain about landing arrangements."
Erik cheers and applauds for each lady, as Natska's throw manages to dislodge one pin from the arrangement and Cassidy manages to dislodge two pins, bringing her total to five. After setting up the pins again he smiles at Samira. "Of course, Lady Dunepaw," he says, passing her the bat, "Throw when you are ready!"
Hartford seems like he can barely contain his excitement. "I'll do my best, Mister Blackback! But I'm gonna play a game now, okay?" he shouts over to Brutus, bringing a grin to the Skunk's face. That boy's got a set of lungs on 'im! "As you wish, my lady," he replies almost automatically, sliding his chair back as he takes a moment to collect himself before rocking back and forth to leverage himself back onto his feet.
Not quite paying attention, Hartford bumps into Samira. "Oh! Sorry miss!" He tilts his head curiously, narrowly avoiding poking someone else with his rack. "You're...you're..." he taps his chin absently. "Samira, aren't you? Mister Brutus talks about you quite a bit!"
Natska claps her hands again and cheers for Cass. "Well done." She gives the fennec a congratulatory hug, then looks over at Hartford as the deer approaches; she moves out of the way of Samira and Hartford, smiling as she looks around and watches the room.
Samira eeks, bouncing off of Hartford but managing to steady herself in time. "It's fine!" she calls, standing up and giving her fur a light brush. "And that I am, it's nice to meet you!" she churrs, turning to Cass next. "Mhmm! The view is just wonderful... I should have brought some drawing materials with me. Perhaps on the way back I'll get a chance. What about you?" As she talks she picks up the bat, focussing on the rings for a moment as she lobs the bat underarm, watching it sail through the air...
"What Flora means to say... A bit of cold could make the difference between surviving an hour, and surviving a day, yes? It would be... Useful to know such, Flora would figure," the she-cat rumbles, before looking back to sir Anton. "And Flora was not... Suggesting using fancy words. However, if the stage can only be held so long, it would be... Useful to have a clear and concise pitch to present, yes?" she offers after a moment, before nodding and allowing Anton to leave the table.
Cassidy claps her hands together and returns the hug, leaning against Natska. "I'm doing pretty well, Samira. Glad to be taking a little trip! We've got so many wonderful side-errands and stuff planned. This is practically a vacation for us! Disguised as a business trip."
Anton smiles and bows low to Flora. "Of course, Highlady," he says, "I am only teasing. If you will excuse me." The reindeer turns and walks sedately to the door leading above decks. Those with a feel for this sort of thing will notice that the ship has begun to slow and descend. It won't be long until it docks at Hilrock!
Erik cheers and applauds as Samira takes her first shot, even though it clatters off to the side of the target. "Is good, lady!" he says, "You will throw again!" The loud puma looks up at Hartford, "You will try too, big man?" he asks.
Hartford perks up at being summons. "Oh! Is she done? Yeah, it looks like fun!" As he's handed a bat, he tosses it in his hand, almost unaware he's doing it, and chucks it mightily at the targets!
The grand nobleskunk wants to indulge in these diversions, and makes his wide rolling way over to the arm-wrestler, taking a slow, creaky seat, and prepares to put his...er...momentum to good use.
Samira whines a little in a way that suggests light frustration rather than any true upset, stepping back and giving Hartford a wide smile. "Well, you can't do any worse than I did!" she churrs, turning to Cass. "That's great! I'm not sure if I'll be stolen for buisness the whole time or not, but I'd really like to go down to the market and see what kind of wares they sell! I think I have enough for a few little trinkets."
Natska smiles at Samira and nods her head. "Yes! We definitely need a souvenier to bring home with us, if we don't find anything out exploring." She leans into Cass' side and puts her arm around her, then looks around again; her attention is on Brutus, although her ears perk as she feels the ship changing altitude. "Do you feel that?" she asks. "Should we go up on deck?"
Flora simply smiles and flicks her ears, before nodding towards both other nobles, idly working down a bite of food and watching the going-ons. She's perfectly content just watching and waiting, for now...
Cassidy nods happily at Samira. "Maybe we should, Natska... And yes, Samira! We planned to go visit the Dacha in their lands, if we're able, and to explore the countryside! There are things we wish to see! And find. And perhaps purchase, too," she says with a little wink.
Erik laughs and claps Hartford on the back as the big deer's shot strikes one pin and sends it spinning out of the painted square. "Is good throw, Skunk Deer!" he says, "Care to try one more?"
On the other side of the room, Heinrich gives a predatory grin to Brutus. "You are sure you will challenge me, Lord Blackback?" the massive polar bear chuckles and locks hands with the plus sized mephit. "Ready?" he asks, "GO!"
From above deck come the sounds of activity sound. "Hilrock! Dead ahead!" comes a faint shout.
"Hooray!" the Skunkdeer cheers as he manages to score a point. He pats Samira on the back heartily. "Aww, good try! Don't you get another throw? I'm sure you'll do better this time!" he declares, unironically. Following her second shot, he stares down the pins...winds up...and hurls the bat with all his strength."
"Do not be deceived by my noble appearance and refined manner, good sir," Brutus blusters at Heinrich, planting his elbow and wrapping his hand around the Bear's great furry mitt. "I am a veteran of many successful excursions with the Sweetwater militia, and I pride myself on my defense of my homeland!" Well...it's technically true...
Samira smiles and shrugs. "Perhaps, but I think we'll be landing soon. No point wasting time on games when there are sights to be seen!" she churrs with much enthusiasm. "Then again... I guess it can't hurt." Taking the bat in hand she tosses it at the rings, redoubling her efforts!
Natska quietly grins, tail switching back and forth, then gives Cassidy a small pull on her arm. "Yes! I want to see Hilrock from the air! You should come too, Samira!" She grins wider as she watches the skunk toss the baton, then quickly moves to check the portholes; finding them lacking, she begins heading for the top deck.
Flora smiles and flicks her ears, before standing up and moving to the upper deck as well, although she does halt long enough to watch Brutus and Heinrich's armwrestling to conclusion, no matter what happens...
Cassidy flashes a little smile and nods. "Yes. I was just waiting to see what the results of the game was. I think I scored highest!" She says happily before she turns to follow Natska up towards the top deck.
Heinrich's smirk of superiority slips as Brutus suddenly throws his considerable weight into the task at hand. After all the other arm wrestling matches he has already been in today, it is just too much for the Conglomerate polar bear to handle and he stares dumbfounded at his hand, slammed against the table on his side. "You are joking!" he cries, then laughs a deep belly laugh. "Is very good, friend Blackback!" he roars, scooping Brutus into a bone-crushing hug, "Come! We will look on mt homeland together!" The brawny bear drags the skunk along above decks as the ship descends.
Samira's second toss is much more successful than the first, sending one of the thick wooden pegs rolling out of the square. Hartford, on the other hand, completely misses, his hearty throw bouncing off the back wall. "That makes one point each!" Erik calls out. "Looks like best score for today goes to Cassidy Solacious, I think."
Natska waits for Cassidy, althoug the jaguar is -almost- bouncing on her heels with excitement; as soon as her beloved fennec joins her, she takes Cass' arm and heads up onto the deck. She laughs and leans over one of the airship's railings, looking down at the city before. "Lord Heinrich! Will you point out the sights to us? What are we looking at?" she calls.
Brutus puts his full weight into it, and unsurprisingly, it takes a lot out of him, as he huffs and puffs and strains in his effort, eyes bulging, arm shaking...but still, it...it's working! As he sees Heinrich start to falter, his hope keeps him going, and he can hardly believe it as the bear's knuckles knock the table. "Ha-HA!" he gasps, "told you...I was...--erk!" the skunk yelps as the great bear drags him out of his seat and up toward the deck before he can catch his breath.
Hartford snaps as he misses the target, but applauds Samira heartily as she knocks one down. "Good shot! Told ya you could do it, Sammy!" he cheers. "Let's head up and see the sights!"
The overexerted Skunk leans himself on the guardrails, struggling to catch his breath in the icy cold. It's starkly beautiful, all snow-laden scrub pines and a blanket of white everywhere, though there's an odd thrumming sound...and as the ship descends, he catches a glimpse of huge feathery wings connected to a grey horse-being with light, pale blond hair, dressed in furs and a heavy-duty leatherc cap with thick glass lenses! The flying horsewoman gives a lopsided stare before smiling and giving a hearty salute as she wings her weay past.
The skunk shakes his head. "This thin air is playing hell with my brain..." he mumbles.
Samira jumps up and cheers with joy, despite her throw only resulting in a small victory. Rushing over to Hartford to give him a tight hug, she churrs. "Well done! Sadly, I think we're almost there. Let's go!" She practically races Hartford upstairs, eager to see the sights and see if Flora has anything to say.
Cassidy perks her ears at that as she steps out onto the deck and looks over the sides. "I did get the highest! That's a good omen, I think, dear. A good start to our little adventure! Hopefully the rest that follows will be just as good," she says as her tail twitches happily behind her, turning to hear the answer to Natska's question, herself.
On deck, Anton stands apart with the captain and the pilots, helping to direct them to the port on the banks of a great river. Over the railings lies an immense plain of scrub and low trees, split by the mile wide Negila river and on its north side lies the great city of Hilrock. The city glitters in the light of the afternoon sun, though it does not seem nearly so impressive as Firmament. There is no great palace or monuments to be seen!
Heinrich laughs heartily at Natska's eagerness. "Here above the ground?" he guffaws, "You will see none of the wonders of Hilrock! Is too windy and cold! Look!" The polar bear points at a great arching bubble that covers a wide section of the river where great ships are coming and going. "We will land there," he says, "The great covered marina of the Negila!"
Natska laughs happily as she watches the Marina draw closer, turning to Heinrich. "This is cold?" she asks, then slips her arm around Cassidy and leans into her as she turns to look out over the frozen ground. "Mmph. Ready for some adventures, hun?" she asks quietly. "I want to watch until we are docked, and then I wouldn't mind taking our time packing; I am sure there will be a rush of people eager to get off immediately, and I don't mind giving the crowd time to thin out."
A soft rumble, a small smile, and Flora stands proudly on the deck of the airship, her tails swaying behind her. "Soon, we will land within the marina, and we will make land. Again, Flora asks you to be on your best behavior, as you are not only representing Sweetwater, but LongTech Industries as well. Follow all instructions, and so on, yes... However, above all, Flora implores each and everyone of you to have fun, and, of course, to be in time for the airship to resume its journey. After Hilrock, we will also travel the countryside for a bit. Remember, if you miss the airship, we will not wait for you, and you will have to find your way back yourself."
"Now, without further ado... Welcome to Thera'Dor... Yes."
Hartford takes his place beside his hefty charge, a friendly hand on Brutus's furs. "Just look at it! The mountains...those trees that look all beat up but alive...it's unbelievable, isn't it?" "You can say that again," the dazed nobleskunk replies. "Just look at it! The mountains, the trees--huh?" the Buck asks as Brutus taps on the shoulder. "Let's get our luggage ready so we can disembark and find our quarters, eh, Hartford?" "Oh, of course, Mister Brutus!" he replies merrily with a bob of his head. From the hot wastes of Shralesta to the frozen mountains...this was amazing!
Cassidy smiles brightly and leans against Natska, nodding. "That's fine! We can watch til we dock, and then we'll depart at our leisure! I had taken the time to send word ahead to prepare lodgings for us in advance, so we don't have to worry about the others taking all the fancy places on us or anything."
Heinrich laughs again. "No, silly kitten!" he says, "The airship is protected in bubble of magic. The real cold and the wind are not coming here." The ship glides smoothly into the water of the river, slicing upstream until it comes under the cover of the marina. The marina itself is HUGE! Twice the size of the docks in Firmament, with great golems for loading and unloading cargo. The whole place is lit up artificially, and while it is certainly not warm, it seems that it is not overly cold either. A practiced eye might pick out the great warding runes inscribed along the edges of the great cover over the river. "They say that it is a gift from the Creators to the firstcomers here," Heinrich says, "Me? I say that it is damn useful, eh?" The northern shore bustles and teems with the traders and seamen of all shapes and sizes. The easily recognizable symbol of the Snowmark clan is scattered around liberally, as are a number of less familiar marks designating the other ruling houses of Thera'Dor. Three great tunnels lead away from the marina, lit as brightly as day. This was looking to be an exciting adventure indeed!