Cogflake Cogflake

Feb 23, 2024




Reinventing the Lightbulb - Part 2

Previous - Reinventing the Lightbulb Part 1

Raziel awakens to the sounds of activity outside, and bright morning light pouring through the small window of the inn room. Remembering the events of last night, and the promise of the day ahead, he tries to rise quickly; managing only to bash his skull off the headboard of the not-quite-large-enough bed. He shouts a few quick expletives as he rubs his head and dons his coat, before grabbing his rifle and heading out the door. Pausing next to the adjacent room, he hears the otter inside snoring quite audibly, and proceeds to pound on the door three times.

Zorro is leaning on a lamp-post. He’s already gotten up and gotten to the proper place, and is just sort of snoozing there, ears splayed out with a bit of morning dew on them, allowing them to glisten in the evening light.

As the sun rises and the morning starts to grow, the sound of steamships starting their engines and bells tolling out to tell everyone that the time of departure has come, signaling the time as Eight o’ Clock, or at least somewhere close to it. Right on time, Sovereign steps out of his workshop and onto the small dock platform that leads to the street.

Zorro feels the ground shake beneath him. Or wobble, as it were, what with the ground being a sort of dock. He rubs his eyes and looks up, “Hey, little big guy.” He grins. He’s still tired.

Raziel tries knocking on the door a few more times, but eventually gives up. He heads down the stairs, and after eating a light breakfast of bread, departs the inn. Soon after arriving on the street, he spots the diminutive fennec from yesterday alongside the hulking mechanical suit of the newt, and heads in that direction, waving a greeting.

Sovereign looks down at the fennec, nodding as he lumbers on to the shipyard. “Hello, Zorro was it? Are you prepared for today? I’ll have to fill you and the others in more when we get to the shipyard. Unfortunately, I cannot travel with you to Gilead, some business has come up that requires my attention. I have sent someone along ahead to meet you there though, he is filled in and ready to go, and will be joining you on your… shall we call it quest? It seems far to long a journey to be called an errand.”

Zorro nods, “Quest is perfectly well suited for a writer.” He winks, scribbling more notes on his paper, “I’m quite prepared and ready. If a wee bit tired, so early!” He chuckles, swishing his tail, “But the progress of ships waits for no one’s comfort.”

Raziel catches up with Zorro and Sovereign, quickly enough to catch the tail end of their conversation. “Well, I’m here. I was afraid I’d overslept a bit; though I don’t seem to recall establishing a time of departure last night.”

Sovereign stops a moment to let Raziel catch up. “Ah, all is well. I never seemed to get your name, what is it, may I ask?” After everyone is together, he moves again, his mech walking as fast as it can go, which is about normal walking pace for a normal adult. “Is this everyone then?”

Zorro tilts his head, “I thought there was an otter fellow who was going to join us. A bit spunky, big muzzle?” He blinks, “But I don’t see him now…”

Raziel nods to Sovereign. “My name is Raziel. And yes, I assume this is everyone.” He directs his attention to the Zorro and replies, “Mr. Nata seems indisposed at the moment. He may still choose to join us later, but I’m not sure if he has other business in town. I never got your name, by the way.”

Zorro ahs, and offers a paw, “I am Zorro, writer extraordinaire!” He grins, swishing his bushy fennec tail. “Pleased to meet you, Raziel.”

Raziel takes the proffered paw and shakes it. “Nice to meet you. So, Sovereign, where precisely are we off to?”

Sovereign nods. “Ah, what a shame. It seems I was in right of thinking to have someone else join you. He’ll be in Gilead when you arrive, waiting for you. He’s quite a unique fellow to say the least, you’ll surely not miss him. As such, since this is everyone, I can fill you in on the way, and Mr. Nata later, if he decides to join you. Anyways, the location of the ruin is southeast of a little town called Quark, in the forest some many miles west of the path to Cetayanti from Quark. “

Zorro nods, ears perked. The fennec takes down notes on his paper, and also pulls out a map to examine and follow along.

Sovereign corrects himself. “I’m sorry, I got my directions mixed up again. Many miles /east/ of the path to Cetayanti from Quark.”

Zorro ahs, “That makes more sense.” He chuckles.

Sovereign chuckles. “It wouldn’t do to have you find a submerged ruin somewhere in the Sea, now would you?”

Raziel nods. “So, essentially in the middle of Sastra Forest.” He chuckles. “There are certainly worse places it could be.”

Zorro nods, “Aye. This shouldn’t be too bad.” He grins.

Sovereign chuckles again. “Yes, I hoped on it not being too bad. Anyways, here is the ship you are to be on, I’ve already paid for your trip to Gilead, and any other supplies you’ll have to get there. My associate has a bag of Vira for each of you, so you may purchase supplies from that. Is there any other questions, my friends?”

Raziel looks lost in thought for a moment, then asks Sovereign, “How large is the statue we’re looking for? Small enough to carry, or will we need an alternate mode of conveyance?”

Zorro nods, “Yes, is the statue as big as me or bigger?” He chuckles. Leeeeetle foxie.

Sovereign smiles. “Well, according to the story, it’s about as big as I am, if that gives you any indication.”

Zorro’s eyes go wide, ears laying back, “Goodness. Wait.” They flick back up, “With the suit or without?”

Sovereign chuckles again, hopping out of his suit after the short time it takes to do so, stepping out on the ground. “Without the suit. You might need something to tote it around once you find it. “

Raziel looks relieved upon hearing this. “Oh, good. That should be manageable.”

Zorro whews, looking relieved, “Yes, that’s much better than I thought it would be.”

Sovereign nods, hopping back in his suit. “Yes, should be fairly easy I would presume, and a statue of such size could last me a while I believe. The boat leaves in about twenty minutes, enough time for you to get comfortable.”

Zorro pauses for a moment, and then looks back to Sovereign, “One moment, I have one more thing to ask.” He notes, “We’re going to be heading to the other side of Loka to go get some statue. What is our recompense?”

Bansi steps outside of the harbormaster’s office in conversation with one of the assistants. His style of dress is the same as the previous night, but these clothes are rather less travel-worn. He is also looking rather better rested than when he came into port. He’s just finishing up, tucking a log into the briefcase, when he spots Sovereign’s suit. Bansi quickly takes his leave of the assistant and hurries over toward the group.

Raziel gives the fennec a quizzical look. “You’re a writer, correct? Isn’t the opportunity to make an interesting book worth the travel?”

Sovereign says, “That is a tougher question. I would suppose Vira would be a suitable reward, though I could very nearly supply you with anything within reason, given the time it takes for me to gather such things. I suppose I would leave that up to you, when you get back. You could also get a very nice marketing deal out of it, mister Zorro, if you so want.”

Zorro tries to close the tiger’s muzzle with his paw before he can say more, but he’s too short! “Ah, yes. Some sum of vira, and a proper marketing deal. The things I write down on our journey should well help us come up with pithy slogans and advertisements and such wonderful things.”

Bansi raises a hand in greeting to the group as he nears. “Mr. Sovereign!” Bansi calls amiably. “And Raziel.” He nods too to Zorro. “I was just about to make that daylight visit to your lab, but it seems I would have found the place without its master.”

Sovereign tilts his head at the approach of Bansi, smiling. “Well, welcome mister Bansi, you’re just in time. We were talking about rewards and whatnot, where you’ll be going if you so wish to join still, that sort of thing. “

Raziel waves to the otter. “Glad you could join us, Bansi. Are you ready for some excitement?”

“Join? As in the metal-scavenging expedition that you spoke about?” Bansi responds, looking up at Sovereign with a puzzled expression. He blinks at Raziel’s comment. “I was under the impression that you would be gathering a team of specialists, not just the first two people to respond to your advertisement.” He glances to Raziel and Zorro and adds quickly, “Which is not to say that these two aren’t highly qualified…”

Zorro places his paws on his hips and states, “I’ll have you know that I can just as easily as anyone else march into a forest and grab a statue. It’s not like there’s anything else to it, right, Mr. Sovereign?”

Sovereign shakes his head. “No no, nothing else to it. And yes, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t very much like large groups of hired thugs and so called ‘specialists.”

“Come on, Bansi. It will be an enlightening experience, and there won’t be anyone shooting at us.” Raziel smiles. “And if you came to Meson for a simple job, well, they don’t get much simpler than retrieval.”

“Ah,” Bansi remarks, though he still looks a bit confused. “I suppose there’s no time like the present, if that’s all there is to it,” he comments with a shrug. “Still, you might consider picking up a ‘hired thug’ along the way; you said this expedition was to the Ze’ev homeland, yes? I’m not entirely convinced that the site would be uninhabited, even if the locals aren’t numerous enough to rate a spot of a Royal map.” Bansi chuckles and shakes his head at Raziel. “Some of us can’t shake off a week on the road and sea and go back for more the very next day. I’ve clients here to see to.”

Zorro’s ears bobble, and he leans on the lamppost, “Well, I’m ready to go as soon as you are, Mr. Raziel.” He thumbs over toward the ship, “Not sure how crowded it’s gonna get. Maybe we should head over there now and get a good seat.”

Raziel nods at Zorro’s comment. “Perhaps we should.” He turns his attention back to Bansi. “Are you sure we can’t persuade you to accompany us? Mr. Sovereign has generously offered a reward, and we aren’t traveling all the way to the Ze’ev homeland, just southeast of Quark. But, should you decline, I trust you’ll be in Meson by the time we return?”

Sovereign nods. “Very well, I respect that. Thank you for your consideration anyway. Oh, and I do have someone meeting them in Gilead, one I believe would easily suit the role of ‘hired thug’, though I would never stoop so low to call him one. And yes, the time for departure is quickly at hand, and please, make your trip a safe one. Wouldn’t do to have someone hurt along the way, to and from. As for now, I must leave. I await your return, missers Raziel and Zorro. “

Zorro tips an invisible hat toward sovereign, and ambles over toward the boat, his little paws pitter-pattering on the docks. “Well, this should be fun,” He comments to Raziel.

“I should hope he did offer a reward, on such short notice,” Bansi replies. “But no, I’m not the adventuring sort, beyond traveling between cities. I’ll be sure to write you, Mr. Raziel, if I’m not still here when you return.” Bansi nods at the remark from Sovereign. “I hope you might permit me, too, a look about your lab someday while I’m in town?”

Sovereign says, “Of course, come by any such time. I am in poor supply of visitors lately, and the company would be greatly appreciated, even if it is just a look about my laboratory.”

Raziel sighs. “Well, I shall see you both in due time then.” He waves a heartfelt goodbye, then follows the fennec down the docks. As he leaves, he mumbles to himself, “Is that little fox always so energetic?”

Zorro looks back at Raziel, “Usually. Just part of my nature, I suppose.” His big ears swivel, “As is my ability to hear especially well.” He winks, hopping onto the boat.

Bansi nods to Sovereign and raises a hand in farewell to Raziel, chuckling at the sight of the exchange between him and Zorro. For the time being, Bansi lingers with briefcase in hand to watch the ship loading.

And so, Raziel and Viktor head to Meson aboard the vessel, the first part of their journey underway…

Next - Reinventing the Lightbulb Part 3

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