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Author Topic: The Path to the Lower Dregs - Linden Vireo  (Read 2153 times)

Offline Tamrissa

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The Path to the Lower Dregs - Linden Vireo
« on: July 06, 2010, 11:39:50 PM »
Linden closed one eye and narrowed the other at the sparkling light traveling up the fuse of a particularly old flare.  She had three scenarios racing through her mind as she held the cheap tin handle.  One, the fuse would fire successfully and deliver her message to the guards patrolling the air around the city of Mistvald.  Two, the fuse would fizzle out in a cloud of thick smoke and leave her gagging and bound for a hell of a walk.  Three, and the one that stuck out most in her imagination, was that the flare would turn out to be a stick of more combustible material and leave her without hair...or arms. 

When the first fireball finally launched into the air, she was picturing her poor hands still grasping the handle as her lifeless body toppled over in the grass of the plains.  She gave a whoop of relief and watched as three more streaks of light leap into the dimming sky.  Finally, the narrow tube gave one final pop and sputtered into a thin line of smoke.

Her moment of satisfaction was taken away by the sight of her broken down aeroplane with it's gray hull ticking as the night air cooled the metal.  She threw the flare aside and tugged her glove back over her right hand.  The long blades of grass whisked against her knees as she solemnly walked over to her livelihood.

"Engine's practically brand new," she sarcastically quoted the seller and climbed up into the cockpit with ease.  "It'll pay for itself in three contracts if you fly it right."

She curled down into the leather seat and folded her arms.  Her fingers came up to her mouth and poked at the dry, chapped skin of her brooding frown.  How would she explain this one to her uncle?  He had basically kicked her out without a copper to her name when she had chosen to purchase the plane.  She'd reached too far, he said.  It was one thing to be employed on an aero and quite another to think you can govern your own business. 

Begrudgingly, she admitted to herself that he'd been right.  Most respectable aeros wanted reputable pilots or at least pilots that were flying planes that belonged to the aero's owner.  It was irritatingly understandable.  A pilot flying a machine that wasn't theirs was much more likely to bring it back in one piece or come back to the ship, period.

It was no longer enough to be simply a good pilot on an average aero though.  She had grown tired of risking her neck for a pay that was docked for any damages to the aeroplane and for the basic human needs of the crew.  The pirates that she helped defend the caravans from weren't worried about how much pay she was getting and she doubted the aero captains cared a finger's width more for her life.  At least with her own plane she was able to repair what needed repaired and only paid for herself when it came to the rest.

First Mate Doyen had educated her one night on the kind of life she'd lead as a crewman of the Gander.  Over their cups in a aerodrome-side bar, he'd told her that he'd started working on aeros when he'd been ten and only seen the promises of his current position when he was nearly sixty years old.  He'd taken a few blasts of shrapnel and nearly lost his arm to a pirate's sword in that time, but more painful it seemed were the deaths of crewmen that he'd witnessed.  As he nursed his ale, he had chuckled and remarked that he reckoned his best friend and a talented mechanic, Simuel, had probably been the intended recipient of the promotion.  Simuel had died a week before the old First Mate became the new Captain, leaving Doyen as the only viable choice.

When old Doyen had taken ill with a terminal ailment a few months after their conversation and been left with a menial retirement to see his loved ones through, Linden had abruptly resigned her post and gathered what funds she had saved.  If the struggle from servitude for her family had to start with her, so be it, she had thought as she searched for her new investment.  Then she had come upon a beat up aeroplane that still seemed to gleam in the sun.

The engine rattled more than a little bit, the propellers were heavily chipped and a mysterious dark stain had taken over half the leather seat.  Yet, it seemed a beautiful idea and she had quickly decided to give up all but a sliver of her savings.  Youthful pride had then driven her to buzz dangerously close to the Gander as it pulled from the aerodrome.  The authorities had not been pleased, but at the time it seemed worth the small fine she paid.

Now, as she watched the four aero-guards and the tow crate descending towards her, she wondered at how ignorant she had been.  As she lifted herself from the seat and hopped onto the ground, the weight of her coin pouch bouncing against her hip seemed much too light.  Her heart however was the complete opposite as she shoved her fists into her pockets and watched her seemingly dismal destiny touching ground...





This is just a small, hastily-written bit of Linden's story before her actual introduction and meeting with Mr. Aleheart.