Cogflake Cogflake

Feb 27, 2024




Reinventing the Lightbulb - Part 17

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Zorro scurries along the road, happy to be on the road again, “So. How far ahead is the next stop?” The fox swishes his tail, looking about the forest, and enjoying the scents and sounds of nature.

Raziel smiles, more than happy to be on the move again as well, after the various life-threatening misadventures retrieving the statue. “We should be good until we hit Helio. Or, we could do what we did on the way here, and skip right past it to Gilead. We are most certainly in the home stretch…”

Viktor nods. “Let’z go ztraahight to Gileaahd. Aah nice vaahrm bed thaaht’z my own zounds good. “

Zorro nods, “Agreed. We can rest once we’re on that boat, eh?” He chuckles.

Raziel snickers, and picks up the pace. “I can’t wait to get back to Meson. This all started out as such a simple job…just wait until we tell Soverign what happened…”

Viktor snickers. “Oh, aai’m zure he’ll like it, iz exzitink. Aai vonder how he’ll maahke the thinkiez. Ezpeciaahly vrom thaaht ztaahtue.”

Zorro hmms, “I imagine he’d melt it or shave them off or something. I don’t really know how it would work, as I’m not an engineer.” He shrugs, and starts jogging to match Raziel’s pace.

Raziel shrugs at Viktor. “Obviously, he has to do something to replicate those coils he showed us in the broken prototype - though how he plans to work with it, I’m not sure. It doesn’t seem very ductile…and I have no idea what other properties make it valuable for his work.”

Viktor shrugs. “Aai vouldn’t know either, not zometink I know aahnythink aahbout. Other thaahn it’z vaahncy. “

Zorro nods, and keeps up jogging. The fennec’s ears lay back for better aerodynamic efficiency.

Raziel chuckles to himself. “I know a bit about metallurgy through my time at the Academy, and through my work on firearms, but not nearly as much about electricity as I would like.” The tiger keeps a steady pace, used to the long treks between cities, though he makes sure it’s not too much for the fennec. But Zorro…seems to be doing just fine, it seems.

Viktor treads along, a little bounce in his step as he walks, looking all around. “Yoo know, thiz plaahze lookz zo divveren’t, even iv ve aahlreaahdy zaahw it.”

Zorro nods, breath picking up a little, “Everything looks different from the other side. And the sun’s coming from a different direction.”

Raziel laughs, shaking his head. “I believe Zorro is right. A bit hard to get lost on a single road. But I’m sure this is new to Akala.”

Speaking of which, Akala is wandering a bit farther behind, taking in the horrible barren beauty of not being in a forest any longer and now into flat plains. Something horribly differen’t and facinating, especially to someone who has only known trees. Trees, and giant booby-trapped pyramids and cults.

Zorro keeps up the pace, occasionally looking over his shoulder at the girl. He now knows better than to let her get out of sight. “Different, isn’t it?”

Raziel particularly finds the plains very dull, but not strange. He’s traveled enough to get over that. The tiger cracks his back as he walks, commenting, “As soon as I get back to Gilead, I need to purchase the materials to make more bullets. I didn’t think I’d be expending so many on a simple ruin trek, and we conveniently used all my gunpowder…”

Akala nods, catching up with a quick sprint. “Yes. This place is barren, void. No life. Is horrible place, so different.

Zorro looks up at Raziel, “Well, with what we’re getting paid, you should be able to afford plenty.” He smiles, looking forward. How far are they from Gilead?

Raziel shrugs. “I kind of declined payment…though I didn’t think things would become quite so interesting! And if Viktor is going to have Sovereign pay off his debt…” The tiger shrugs. “He needs it more than I do.” Viktor smiles and nods his head. “Yez, thaahnkz. Aai’m zure he’d paahy yoo iv yoo aahzk.”

Zorro keeps looking forward, occasionally checking behind. “How far out are we?”

Raziel looks around, trying to get his bearings. Not easy, when everything looks the same. “Uhh…we should be coming up on the mountain pass soon, the one that bypasses Helio.” The tiger grins a bit, and notes, “That’s where Viktor and I gave our ‘demonstrations’. It seems like so long ago…” It wasn’t really, but it sure seems that way.

Viktor sighs. Nothing so much as a hill nearby. “Yez. How lonk haahz it been reaahlly? Like, aah veek?”

Zorro mms, “Closer to two, really. At least, from when Raz and I started.” The fennec looks eagerly for the mountain pass.

Raziel nods slowly. He’s not good at keeping track of time anyway. He keeps a lookout as well - the foxes may have him outstripped in hearing, but he still has sharp eyes, and a height advantage to go with them.

Viktor trots along, bouncing some as he walks. “Honeztly, vaahz very excitink, but beink home vould be reaahl nize right now.”

Zorro nods, “That it would be.” The fox squints his eyes, “Are… Are those mountains in the distance, Raz? Goodness, I hope that’s the pass.”

Raziel looks out over the horizon, and nods slightly. “I believe so - else I need glasses.” The tiger continues to walk forward at his steady, ground covering pace. “Home is sounding rather good right now, but I can wait for that. I’d much rather just get to Meson without incident.”

Viktor smiles some at mentions of mountains. “Your home iz probaahbly vaahr aahvaahy, yez Raahziel?”

Zorro looks over at Raz, “I think you said you lived in Serendipity, right? I mean, you look it, with that contraption.”

Raziel nods to both. “Yes, Serendipity. Not too far, though it is rather lengthy walking from there to, say, Muon. The roads simply take you far out of the way. It’d be easier if the Trans-Lokan Railway were up and running…” He mutters something about, “#$%^ed White Circle,” but continues in a relatively cheerful mood. He grins, “Yes Zorro, I know my gun is rather…distinctive.”

Viktor tilts his head in curiosity. “Vhite Zirkle? Vaaht iz thaaht? Zometink Aai haahven’t heaahrd ov bevore.”

Zorro mms, “I’ve heard of them. They’re the ones responsible for those train derailments, yes?” He looks up at raz.

Raziel growls, “They’re some pretentious group of tree-hugging tribals that oppose the advancement of technology, simply to oppose it. I haven’t heard of any other logical reason for what they do.” The tiger shakes his head; he is - obviously - a big-time proponent of technology. “And yes, they’re the ones causing problems for the railway.”

Viktor blinks some. “Vell, aai zuppoze zomeone haahz to haahte it. Iz juzt the vaahy it iz. “

Zorro blehs, “It’s such a pain in the ass having to go through a long trek just to get from Muon to Serendipity. I hope they do get the train running soon.” The mountains are getting closer!

Raziel nods to Zorro. “As do I.” He chuckles, “We may even be able to see each other sometime, eh? You live in Muon, as I recall.” The tiger watches as the pass looms closer, thinking. “Not that I’m in Serendipity very often, mind you. I mostly go to check on my house, and see if there is anything going on at the Academy.”

Viktor says, “Aai vould like to zee Zerendipity. Zoundz like aah vaahzinaahtink plaahce.”

Zorro smiles, as they approach the mountain pass. “Not too much further now.”

Raziel nods, walking onto the trail as it diverges from the path to Helio, and starts down the path. “Serendipity is fascinating, I agree. You should see it sometime.” The tiger watches his footing, the incline just starting to head downward.

Viktor nods. “Aai think Aai vill, vhen my debt iz paahyed ovv.”

Zorro nods, “Sounds like it’d be an interesting vacation. I wonder if Amjad is hanging around there, and what he’s up to.” The fennec rubs his muzzle.

Raziel tilts his head. “I’ve never met an ‘Amjad’. Interesting fellow, I presume?” The tiger’s feline feet lightly descend down the rocky path, with little effort. After all those stairs…this is a cake walk.

Viktor finds it quite easy to walk down the slope as well, the air slowly getting cooler. “Not much lonker now. Yoo guyz aah’re greaaht vun to be aahround.”

Zorro chuckles, “He’s quite an interesting fellow. An adorable little engineer jackal, about my height.” He smirks, “But anyway, it’d be nice to see him again.” The fennec points onward, “There’s Gilead.” He spots it round the bend of the mountain, so it’s quite close!

Raziel laughs, and chuffs, “Thank you for the compliment, Viktor. And yes! We’re finally close!” The tiger picks up the pace a little, sure Zorro will do it anyway. Rambunctious little fennec writer, that one.

Viktor nods. “Yes, pervekt. Aai vonder vere Aahkaahlaah vill zettle down aaht.”

Zorro looks over at the jackaless, “She’ll have plenty of time to figure that out, I imagine.”

Raziel shrugs as they reach the path that rejoins the main road, heading south into Gilead. “I don’t know. I’d recommend starting small… Estenne fits that bill, but it’s also out of the way, cold, and a little rough around the edges. Escorus might be better, maybe?”

Viktor shrugs. “Aai don’t know vere or vaaht thoze aahre, other thaahn townz. Maahybe Noriaah or Mezon?”

Zorro hmms, “Escorus might be good. It’s fairly small, but in a warmer area.” He shrugs, “And it’s not that far from Helio and Gilead, comparatively.”

Raziel nods, “Haven’t been there much, but it seemed like a nice enough place.” The gates of Gilead are nearly in sight now, and growing steadily larger. “It is, ultimately, up to her, though.”

Viktor looks back at the jackaless, staying back as usual, this time inspecting and toting around rocks of all sorts. Rocks. Lots of them. She keeps dropping them and picking them up, discarding random ones for new ones. “My guezz iz thaaht zhe’ll haahve aah tough time verever zhe goez. Aahnd aai don’t think zhe’ll go vor aahny ov thoze. Vhy go zomevhere vhen you don’t know it exziztz?”

Zorro shrugs, “Well, she has to go somewhere. She can’t just not go anyplace. Maybe we’ll think of something when we get to Sovereign’s place.”

Raziel smirks, “I’m proof that wandering is always an option, but I simply assumed she’d want to find a more permanent dwelling /eventually/. She’s made it clear she doesn’t want to go straight back to her village.”

Zorro nods, and looks up, “Well, here we are.” The fox makes his way through the gate with the group.

An now, the city of Gilead, the kingdom’s pearl on the coast. After they persuade Akala to ditch her rocks, the group enters in and starts to make way to the harbor. If they are lucky, they can get the next boat out, making the trip that much shorter.

Raziel grins as he looks around, making his way towards the harbor. “Gilead…it always seemed such a peaceful place. Well, relatively. Compared to Muon, or Acre…or even Serendipity.” He frowns a bit, sniffing the air. “Never could used to the smell of the sea, though.” The tiger suddenly thinks of something he hadn’t before. “…Who’s covering the return trip to Meson? Sovereign payed for us to get up here, but we’ll have to pay out of pocket to get back. And I know Viktor is already in debt…” He scratches his head a bit, feeling around in his pocket. “I could /probably/ pay for passage for the three of us, but a fourth might be pushing it. Do you have any vira on you, Zorro?”

Zorro frowns a bit, “A little. I think it’ll cover her, but only just.” The fox is looking forward to getting paid.

Viktor shakes his head. “No, ve don’t. Juzt Aahkaahlaah. Zoverein haahz uz on aah hold lizt vor aah month. Ve juzt need to get on aah zpezivik boaaht out. Chaahnzez aahre thaaht ve haahve to vait though.”

Zorro nods, and starts his way down to the harbor, “On the off chance it’s docked right now, we should get moving.”

Raziel’s whiskers twitch. “I’d rather be that much poorer and avoid potential catastrophe, if it comes down to it. Let’s hope it doesn’t.” He jogs off after the little fennec.

Viktor beacons Akala to follow close, turning to run after the two himself, trusting that she won’t get into trouble. Hopefully.

Zorro ambles along, zig-zagging through the crowd on his way to the dock. Gilead’s a pretty bustling city and there’s always an active marketplace, if you have money or whatever.

Raziel is not as small as the fennec, by a long shot - so he bumps into a few more people as he tries to weave his way through the crowd, trying to keep up. Luckily, people are also hesitant to gripe at a stripy feline carrying a large rifle. Hopefully, their timing is /just/ right…

Viktor has to move behind the jackal, to keep her on track and from being distracted and confused by the market place. This slows them down quite a bit, but hopefully they can catch up in time.

Zorro’s pace soon enough gets him to Ocean Lane, bringing the dock into view!

Raziel is keeping up well enough, and he briefly scans the docks as they get closer, looking for the boat - though, honestly, they all look the same to him, as observant as he is. The tiger is no mariner…

Viktor leads the Jackaless through the crowd, weaving, slapping her paw away from food and stuff, keeping her from being distracted. They’re far out of sight from the other two, but at least he knows how to get to the docks.

Zorro runs forward, pointing toward the docks, “We’re almost there!” He shouts behind him, ears flapping in the wind. He lowers them to avoid getting slapped.

Raziel is certainly getting a chance to show his proficiency at not tripping over things. He bounds down the street on his paws, leaping over the odd set unloaded crates or barrels as he follows after the fennec. Easier than facing the crowds! Thankfully, the docks are within reach.

Viktor finally moves out of the market and into the harbor. Unfortunately, it’s just as bad with Akala’s rampant curiosity. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s making them go far slower than it should.

Zorro leads the group into the harbor, finally getting close enough to the docks to see which boats are in, and if any of them are the one the group seeks.

Raziel finally slows down as they approach the docks, still not sure which, if any, is theirs. He’s a bit out of breath, having run through practically all of Gilead to get here - but if it means leaving today, it’s worth it.

Viktor breaks out in a run to catch up, taking Akala’s arm and leading her on, spying the crowd for the little fennec and the white tiger. Oh, and the ship too.

Zorro’s eyes flick up as he beholds the ship, going to talk with whoever is taking tickets to see about their names on the manifest.

Raziel hesitates a moment more - he’s sure Zorro can handle talking to the crew, and he doesn’t want to disappear from sight, and leave Viktor and Akala high and dry. Since…they seem to have lost them. The tiger stands at the end of the gangplank, visually scanning the street for the fox and jackaless.

Viktor spots the ship from a high walkway, moving down closer to the water, figuring the two would be at loading. He skips down the stairs, the Jackaless close on his heels, figuring out the rush.

Zorro talks with the crew, and after verifying that this is the boat he’s looking for, ambles onto the driveway and motions the others to join him! “Hard part’s over, fellas!”

Raziel doesn’t believe he’s ever been happier to hear a specific combination of words coming out of the fennec’s mouth. Once he spots Viktor and the girl on their way, he all but leaps up onto the vessel, a grin on his muzzle.

It takes another minute or so till the pair catch up, but they do, and Akala and Viktor board the ship soon after, then they wait. For another half hour or so. Schedules and what not, somehow the group caught the boat early. Which is good, cause they don’t have to wait hours, but bad since they still have to wait anyway.

Zorro finds some place to lay down and promptly passes out.

Raziel stays up on deck for the most part, leaning on the railing, but staying out of the way. He stares out at the sea, thinking. His musings bring him to the conclusion that he just doesn’t understand what motivates sailors. Yeah, there’s water, and a lot of it, but…so what? He makes sure to keep these thoughts internal, though, and away from the captain…

Viktor follows suit with Zorro, taking a quick nap, and (probably not a good idea) letting Akala wander off. But only after she hands over the statue.

Raziel, being the only responsible(?) adult left conscious, obligatorily watches the jackal girl while the others get some rest. It’s only /one/ boat. How much trouble could she get into…?

Next - Reinventing the Lightbulb Part 18

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