Chapter 8

Chapter 8

A Chapter by Johnzo

The trio is traveling to Sedenza, while Langhorne gets organized with his fellow marshals.


The view from riding atop the back of an airwhale was quite breathtaking.  The sky radiated bright hues of blue with wisps of porcelain clouds scattered across the horizon.  In every direction there was a different landscape.  To the north west there were forests, while to the east there were was nothing but barren rock and scorched earth.  To the south there were patches of grassy plains, but mostly large rocky outcroppings and rubble.  Further to the south in the distance was a grey and white haze, a foreboding land only known as the Wastes.  To the west of that foggy mire was a river which marked the borders of the northeast territory.  It was all quite a sight to take in, though it was one that Trede was all too familiar with to spend much time noticing.  Traz however was enjoying himself most noticeably.  The three were sitting around in the corner of the carrier hallway.  There were several small round windows along the hall, some at varying heights.  Trede was sitting with his back in the corner, Cassidy was to his right.  Traz was to his left and one of the windows was just over his head.  Traz tilted back to gaze out the window and spoke.  

“I can see many of my past homes from here!  I should have taken a trip on the telaliam sooner, this vantage gives a great perspective.”  Traz said while smiling so much his whiskers were slanting upwards. 

Cassidy responded, “How many homes have you had?”

“We selahns do enjoy finding out the farthest of places, so we tend not to stay in any one of them for too long.  The adventure of discovery is ever calling you know.  Most recently I’ve been in that forest there.”  He pointed towards the north.  “I should likely return there after our business in Sedenza is done.”

“Well I just wish these windows were a bit bigger.”  Cassidy was leaning over trying to get a view of the forest around Traz’s shoulder.  “Sedenza is an amazing city though, you may never want to leave.  There just so much to do, a huge market place, all the major guilds have a presence there.  The hunter’s guild especially, you wouldn’t believe the amazing smoked meats they have, some animals you’ve never even heard of.”

“Sounds intriguing,” said Traz licking his lips.

“Then there’s the historical library, a whole field of landing towers and the original trading outpost that was founded over a hundred years ago when some explorers first discovered that location as a cross path for so many airwhale migration patterns.  There just so much history and culture!  And I haven’t even started talking about the Cytech guild facilities yet.  Hey Trede, you’re well-travelled, you must’ve been to Sedenza before, right?”

Trede who had been staring off into space turned back to his companions, “Yeah, a few times.  Not recently though.”  He gripped his staff tightly at his side.  His first trip to Sedenza a few years ago hadn’t been an easy one.  He was attacked in the cargo bay after landing in the city in the middle of the night.  There were two thieves trying to break into the hold, unlucky for Trede he was the only one in between them and their desired prize.  It was the first time Trede was forced to take a life to protect his own.  It was also the first time he pushed the power of his staff to such a limit.  The blast not only radiated the thieves, but blew a massive hole in side of the carrier wall.  The event troubled Trede for some time, and he tried to forget it as best he could.  Since then he always avoided Sedenza when able. 

He was familiar with the city though, including the location of the Cytech compound, though he had never been inside the large gate at the main entrance.  “So what’s with the big gate at the guild?  Seems strange to have such a such high security,” asked Trede. 

“Well that’s just the start!”  Cassidy said with a hint of defensiveness.  “It’s a huge complex and there are a lot of cutting-edge inventions in progress there.  You may be surprised to find that there are a lot of people interested in stealing our ideas and technology.  Not all of them are widely valuable, but some of them, though I can’t really mention details, are going to change the world!  Anyone who got their hands on one of these devices could reverse-engineer it and start selling them all over the continent.  It would be the ruin of the guild!  So you see we really have to keep close ties on everything.” 

“Has anything ever been stolen before?”  Asked Traz. 

“Not recently, thanks to our high security.  But several years ago a group of well armed vagabonds broke in and stole what I’m told were some very promising prototypes.  This was before I came to the guild, so I’m not really sure of the specifics.”  Said Cassidy. 

“Not too surprising, there are a lot of rough sorts out in the world.”  Said Traz. 

“But they are the exception!  Overall, Sedenza is the most cultured city by far.  But, let me tell you about the guild.”  Said Cassidy excitedly.  “First there’s the main gate which you mentioned.  Once inside there’s a series of smaller buildings.  These are the main living quarters, as well as some smaller laboratories.  Further in is the main ground central building.  Inside there is the main meeting hall, the offices for all the board members, the kitchen hall and additional guest quarters.  That’s where you will likely be staying when you arrive Trede.” 

“Sounds nice.”  Trede replied while looking out the window, obviously only paying half attention. 

Cassidy continued.  “Then in the west wing of the central building is the cable carrier.  We use it to ascend the mountain side where the main laboratories are.  But I’ll let you both see that for yourself, it’s really quite a sight.” 

“Ah, so the highest secrets are in the highest place, very safe I imagine.”  Said Traz. 

“Yes, after the theft several years ago all the most important work was moved up to the mountain labs.  The only way to get up there is from the cable carrier in the ground central building.  The airwhales don’t fly over the mountain, so there’s no risk of drop-ins either.”  Said Cassidy. 

“What about climbers?  There’s got to be a path or climbing route somewhere on the mountain.”  Trede asked as his thoughts wandered to the present. 

“It’s pretty sheer, though I suppose someone could find their way if they tried hard enough.  No one ever has to my knowledge, and there are guards on the mountain keeping watch as well.” replied Cassidy.  There was a pause in the conversation, so Cassidy decided to change the subject.  “So Trede, what’s in that package you’ve got?  Just a regular last minute courier run?” 

“No it’s…  I don’t really know what it is.  I guess the guy didn’t want anyone to know what he was sending.”  Said Trede.

“Yeah he seemed a little mysterious, I mean seriously who wears that’s much black?”  Cassidy replied.  “You know, now that I think about it he looked familiar.  I think I saw him around town the other day.  Oh!  It was when we were waiting outside the marshal’s office.  I thought he might’ve been watching us, but when I looked again he was gone.” 

“Really?”  Trede said thoughtfully.  He was only slightly surprised that it appeared Maej had been following him longer than just that first evening they met.  “Did you see what he was doing?” 

“He didn’t really seem to be doing much of anything, just standing around.”  Said Cassidy. 

“Perhaps we should take a peak at said mysterious box.  There may be more to this man in black then we know.”  Traz was leaning forward, showing his curiosity. 

“No, no I can’t.  It’s not good for business.”  Said Trede.

“Who cares about business anymore?  You’re going to be a Cytech!  Let’s take a look.” replied Cassidy, her own curiosity giving way. 

“No way, it’s too important.”  Trede was getting uncomfortable, he clutched the box inside his jacket. 

“You have to have some idea what it is then?”  Cassidy pressed on the subject.

Trede stood up.  “I won’t.  He said it’s valuable that’s all, I don’t know what it is and I can’t take any risks.”  Trede paused a moment to look out the window.  “I’m going above deck to get some air.”  He walked off down the hall to the door leading up the stairs to the deck. 

“Aw, he’s no fun.  Maybe it was something that would help pass the time.”  She leaned back and sighed resting her head on the hard wooden wall. 

“Or maybe something to eat.  When is the evening meal around here anyway?” 

“It’s only mid afternoon, you’re hungry already?  We have at least another couple hours.”  Cassidy replied.

Traz’s mind wandered.  “Tell me again about those wonderful smoked meats?”  He asked. 



While Trede and his companions continued on the long ride to Sedenza in the central plains, back in the town of Smisom there was a rare event happening.  Marshal Langhorne had called together all the other marshal’s and scouts in the region for a council session.  Usually the information passed between scouts in the field was enough to keep everyone informed, but the gravity of recent events led Langhorne to believe that special precautions needed to be made.  There were half a dozen marshal’s in presence, from as far south as Mez and to the east and north the towns of Qialin, Jehd and the fishing village of Oreshia.  Each marshal also brought along most of his scouts, all together the group sized nearly thirty.  Langhorne called the meeting in the town hall building, there was a small stage and podium on at the far end of the room, and chairs were lined up in short rows of five or six wide facing the stage. 

There was a dull roar in the room as the gathered marshals spoke to one another waiting for the council to start.  Most had already heard about the recent outcast attack, and were talking about the potential ramifications.  Langhorne entered from a back door into the hall and walked straight to the stage without saying a word, just sound of his dark brown boots across the polished wooden floor.  The conversations slowly abated and by the time he stopped and placed his hands on the podium the room fell to silence.  Langhorne looked around the room slowly making note of who was in attendance.  He saw many familiar faces as well as a few younger scouts he had not yet met.  Though the reason was grave, Longhorne was glad to be surrounded by his compatriots whom he had the upmost respect for.

“It’s good to see you all.”  Langhorne spoke while unbuttoning his shirt collar.  “I understand it can be difficult to travel to Smisom at a moments notice, but I think you will all agree that the circumstances warranted it.” 

“Is this about the recent attack here?”  A voice called out of the crowd, Langhorne recognized as Marshal Hildegras.  Hildegras spent time between both Smisom and Mez, but was not in town during the attack of the Outcasts. 

“The recent attack is a more noticeable event, but I believe it may only be a sign of things to come.  But let’s get to the first things.  Three days ago a band of Outcasts attacked the northeast side of town under cover of night, a few hours before sunrise.  One of my own scouts had given be word that a group of four well armed men were camped to the south on the Daemon cliffs.  We posted a watch in that area, but we see now that group appeared to be nothing but a decoy.  A larger group, of at least nine men must’ve tracked up coast and then came west.  They knew while we were watching the south we’d have less eyes to the east.”

“What happened to the four camped at the cliffs?”  Marshal Lander from Oreshia asked.  His skin was very tan from being on the sunny coast, which contrasted from his bright white buttoned shirt. 

“Disappeared.  The afternoon before the attack was the last anyone had laid eyes on them.  We can only assume the retreated to the wastes.  Though not even our scouts in Mez saw them return by.”

“But you still have a hostage?”  Asked Lander.

“Had.  He bled out shortly after the attack, but we did manage to get a few things from him.  The Outcasts have regrouped under a new leader named Rott.  We’re uncertain of his new motives, but if he’s breaching the peace held in this land for nearly twenty years we can be certain that there’s a reason for it.  Rott wants something, he thought it was here in Smisom, but he didn’t find it.  One thing we can be sure of is he’s not going to stop there.”  Langhorne’s face grew more grave as he went on. 

Another Marshal called out, this time Jazin from Qialin, “I heard you had a help defending the attack, do we need to start looking at willing recruits?  We may need to brew our own offensive.” 

“I did run into a courier and his selahn friend who had downed several outcasts, but they’ve since left town.  I have on good source that it was best to let them leave.  Though for my own thoughts, I might question that advice.  But to your question Jazin, no.  When a few of us ventured out here to the north east territory with the thought of bringing order and safety to region, we never meant to become an army.  We’ll intercept advances and protect our lands, but we’re not starting a war.  We’ll fight smarter, we’ll be quick and well-informed, but we’ll remain Marshals of peace, not Generals of war.” 

Langhorne paused as Hildegras spoke.  “Do you have any idea what Rott is after?” 

Langhorne thought for a moment, “No.  But there’s a chance that whatever he’s looking for is not the end goal.  If he finds whatever this artifact is, it could bode ill for a lot more people than just the northeasters here with us.  But it’s just a theory for the moment.  We need to gather more information.  I want any movement within the territory reported.  Anyone moving by land is a suspect and needs to be watch, but don’t be foolish.  All you scouts, don’t engage anyone unless you have assistance.  And for the marksmen here, I’ll be giving out new long range scoped rifles, we’ve had a shipment that just arrived a few days ago.”

“Just in time it would seem,” said Lander. 

One of scouts from the Mez area spoke out, “Sir, we’ve seen a man in a black cloak pass by towards the central plans recently.  Should we be concerned?”

“That is a man I’m familiar with, though of his motives I’m unsure.  His name is Maej, if you see him do not engage under any circumstances… but watch his steps.  He may end up being in the middle of all this by the end.”  Longhorne said as he straightened his shoulders and re-buttoned is collar.  “I thank you all for coming, I know it’s difficult leaving your regions with only minimal scouts posted, now more so than ever.  I look forward to when we can meet face-to-face again under better tidings.”  He smiled and respectively saluted his friends.  “Scouts, move quickly but be nimbler of mind.  Marshals, act with wisdom and strike with strength.  Until our next meeting my friends.” 




The days and nights on the long flight to Sedenza continued on.  Trede and his companions had spent most of the time sitting and talking to each other mixed with long periods of staring out at the horizon which expanded out clearly for miles in every direction.  In one such conversation Traz regaled his friends with tales of some of his previous homes, including one such thrilling tale of an encounter with a leaf viper in the Mighs forest, and another about the first time he met one of his distant cousins, a Kelahnin hunter-chief in the south near Azuden.  Traz enjoyed storytelling, especially stories that involved himself.  Trede and Cassidy were just glad to have something to pass the time.  There wasn’t much to do on a carrier flight, and even less room to do it in.  There was an outer hallway that ran about the outer perimeter and there were numerous doors leading to small interior rooms used as both passenger quarters and storage.  Below this main deck was the cargo hold, and above was the lookout deck.  Scarcely more than a roof with a wooden railing around it, it could get quiet breezy and chilly there, but what it lacked in shelter it made up for with fresh air and spectacular views. 

On one particular day near the end of the journey Trede awoke shortly after sunrise.  He had been sleeping in the hallway near one of the small porthole windows as he preferred to do as the morning light crept in.  He hadn’t had so much as a dark dream since leaving Smisom, but when he awoke he felt short of breathe and recalled tossing and turning a bit during the night.  He went to topside to get some air as was his ritual, though after his encounter on the previous flight he was always cautious. 

As Trede reached the door that lead to the stairwell, he overheard a conversation of a couple of deck hands nearby.  They were just around the corner in one of the private rooms, but they had left the door open. 

“Did ya hear what happened ta’ Jarith last night?”  Said one with a thick accent Trede didn’t recognize.   

“No, I’ve been in the map room all night, plotting the courses for all this cargo we’ve got to transfer in Sedenza.” Replied the other. 

“Well we was checkin’ the ropes topside over last night, he lost his foot, nearly fell off!  He slid down a’ways, but managed ta hook his arm on the support rope.  We got to pull him up but when we got’m top he was out cold!  Hasn’t woken up since.” 

“That seems odd, did he pass out?”

“Seems like, but somethin’ is odd about it alright.  Smit was wonderin’ if he’d been poisoned.  I’ve never seen a man so far out, seems unnatural.”

“Well wouldn’t that be a sign of things, you think he’ll be ok?” 

“Time’ll tell, cap’n knows a doctor in the city, we’ll get him checked out.”

Trede had heard enough and ran up the stairs, as he opened the door the morning breeze blew inside knocking him back a step.  He stepped outside and closed the rough hewn wooden door.  “No, no, no…  It couldn’t have been me, I didn’t see the lights, I didn’t dream.”  Even he didn’t believe his own words, but in disbelief he clutched to the spoken words more than the gnawing doubt in his mind.  He knew he had stirred in the night, but if this really was his curse in action it was the first time he hadn’t remembered seeing the shining lights. 

Maej’s words ran true more than ever, this time someone had very nearly died because of him.  This has to stop, somehow.”  Trede thought.  He walked up to the railing and places his hands down firmly upon it.  He was at the front of the carrier, the top of the airwhale’s head just down and out of view from where he was standing.  Just on the edge of the horizon he could see a field of landing towers, Sedenza was now in sight and gave him back a sense of hope.  “This has to stop,” he continued, “I can’t live like this any more.  No matter what, I’ll find an answer.”  Trede’s mind wandered again, looking off into the horizon, the city of Sedenza still very slowly approaching.  He gripped the map to the temple in his jacket pocket anxiously. 

A few hours pass, Trede remains unmoved from his position.  Suddenly behind him the door creaks, Trede turns quickly and puts his hand up over his shoulder grabbing his gunstaff handle and watching intently. 

“Yo ho!  We’ll be landing today I see!”  Traz spoke merrily. 

“Hey Traz.”  Said Trede with small but genuine smile.

“Good morning to you as well.”  Traz walked up to the railing and stood beside Trede.  “And today should be a good day indeed.  I long to stretch my paws on more solid ground.  This air travel is good in small doses, but I prefer the firm country side.”  Traz paused and noticed Trede staring solemnly out towards the city.  “You alright?”

“Yeah.  I’m fine.  Just had a rough night.” 








© 2010 Johnzo

Author's Note

The main goal for this chapter was to develop the character relationships, so that as the story continues they'll have a rapport to draw from in future interactions. (so not much action in this one) The next chapter the pace will pick up again.

Updated, fixed "site"->"sight" in first paragraph. (Thanks for the heads up!)

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This chapter was as good as the rest, if you kept with the action the characters wouldn't seem very human with all the running around and fighting. I did notice i typo possibly, that spell checker doesn't check, here near the start?:

To the west of that foggy mire was a river which marked the borders of the northeast territory. It was all quite a SITE to take in.

Looking forward to the next one, : )

Posted 14 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


[send message][befriend] Subscribe
This chapter was as good as the rest, if you kept with the action the characters wouldn't seem very human with all the running around and fighting. I did notice i typo possibly, that spell checker doesn't check, here near the start?:

To the west of that foggy mire was a river which marked the borders of the northeast territory. It was all quite a SITE to take in.

Looking forward to the next one, : )

Posted 14 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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Added on April 4, 2010
Last Updated on April 6, 2010



Bridgton, ME

For more info on my little world, visit: -Latest post: 2nd Draft Preview My favorite stories are usually ones that have a bigger world behind them, a story behind the story that.. more..

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A Chapter by Johnzo