Stammering out a hurried apology, Zephyr made to leave the booth and get out, but he saw one of the people dressed in black. He was pretty sure they were thieves or, at the very least, criminals. They were going around checking the booths for someone. Zephyr turned to the two strangers and pleaded with them to not say anything. Thankfully, Waternavians weren’t talkative. They kept to themselves for the most part. He shoved the children under the table and tried to hide them in the shadows underneath.
A pair of boots appeared on the floor in front of their booth and saw the person lean forward to probably get a better look at the dim surroundings. Seeing no children and getting no answers from the patrons, the criminals in black went to leave. There was only one left now who paused to look around one last time. A small sneeze rang out from under their table as the smallest child, the young girl – Opal, breathed in the dust that they had kicked up in the air when hiding. It rang out in the awkward silence of the bar. Zephyr debated his options before kicking into action. He pushed the kids out of their hiding place and rushed towards the back door. Unfortunately, the criminal had seen them make a run for it and he raised the alarm. He rushed towards the last booth, yelling at his cronies to grab everyone in the booth. Though shocked, Dvalin also acted, shoved his way out of the booth and behind the fleeing children. The bird lady, Lullaby, followed. They burst through the back door in a rush of bodies.
The group of people lost themselves in the crowd again as they reached the street. They were successful this time as they made their way towards the docks. To let the children rest from their bar room flight, they stopped at a fountain on the way. They were sitting, catching their breath, when a portly man walked up to them. He seemed to know Zephyr’s name and all about a stolen item that the gangs of the city knew he had. Zephyr vehemently denied any wrongdoing but cast suspicious looks at the children. For their part, the kids were looking everywhere but at the conversing adults. Still the portly man insisted that such a theft had occurred and threatened Zephyr with jail time if not death at the hands of the gangs. Zephyrs was exasperated but kept denying that anything had taken place. The children took their cue and said nothing more on the subject. The less the “inspector”, as he had introduced himself, knew the better off they would be.
While the others were discussing things, Lullaby had been looking around as if searching. She was looking for the path. Her training allowed her to know, in a vague sense, where she needed to go. Guided by the path, she began walking and then running towards where her senses led her. Dvalin was looking for a specific boat he wanted to board in order to begin the mission set on him by his father. He had a name, The Clockwork Majesty, and a boarding pass but that was it. He looked around and saw a large crowd by dazzling dirigible that looked exactly like what he was looking for. He shifted slowly to head in that direction and then also began to run. He also seemed to be following the same path as Lullaby which was strange but not more important than getting away from some thieving children and their neglectful father. Of course, he had no way of knowing that they were not even remotely related. Zephyr, seeing that there might be an escape, ran behind the dwarf, hoping to escape the inspector. Mythe, of course, ran behind them with no problem.
The crowd was large enough for them to stay out of sight of the searching gangs in the city while they looked for a way out. Dvalin elbowed his way to the front. Before any cry of protest could ring out Dvalin produced his boarding pass. The others caught up to him, smashing themselves in behind him. He was allowed to board and so was Lullaby, with the promise that she would help by working on the ship to pay her way. Zephyr, keen to get away from the accusations that now surrounded him and his friends, opted to try and buy passage for the children and himself. To his surprise they were allowed on without payment as well, with the same promise that he would help aboard the vessel. Mythe used the same excuse and managed to wrangle a seat on board. Apart from the captain and first mate looking very strange in their outfits, the group of adventurers and children that had just boarded felt relieved at being able to get away from this place.
Once all the seats were filled, the alarm rang out to let people know to stand back as the dirigible took off. As soon as they were safely over the ocean Zephyr turned to the captain to ask where they were headed. In the background he heard a steady ticking noise he thought was the ship. The captain looked at his first mate and nodded. They both began to take off their disguises. The ridiculous hats and beard came off, along with the oversized coats they both wore in the balmy coastal air. The captain was a construct that was the source of the steady ticking Zephyr had heard and his first mate was a bug bear. The first mate began to speak in a gruff voice and short, abrupt words. He explained that they were headed to the island of Novos where the downtrodden and persecuted could begin anew. With that simple explanation, Zephyr was told to get below deck for their flight. They had a very unique dirigible. It had a special set of magical engines. These allowed the ship to open doors to where they needed to go and exit at that location when they exited the door.
While Zephyr went and joined the others he forgot that he was supposed to be helping do something aboard the ship. He had not remembered to ask and had not been told anything. The captain and first mate had no intention of asking for help. They had a competent crew that all did their jobs amazingly. The small sums of gold they did get were used to pay the crew. The captain didn’t need any money, food, or drink and his bugbear friend preferred to hunt his own food. The magical engines, developed by an amazing creator from Novos – Asterisk, were readied for use. In a few moments the dirigible had arrived at a small islet far from the coast. A door opened in front of the ship and it went right in with a smooth motion. The crew had done this loads of times. The ship entered a space of moving constellations, strange waves of energy and weird creatures that didn’t seem to notice anything around them. Zephyr came up to the deck to inquire about his duties and stopped in awe of what he could see.
The first mate hurried to explain where they were but Zephyr was only interested in where they were, not afraid. He noticed the creatures of gas and ether but was assuaged when the first mate explained that they were not dangerous and did not seem to notice them as they passed. He was told not to worry about the duties and to rejoin those below to prepare them for landing. Zephyr went below and readied everyone. He secured the children to him, hugging them close and huddling them around a beam that ran through the ship. The others found other means of supporting themselves and prepared for landing. There was a little lurch as it seemed to Zephyr that they had exited the door on the other side. Suddenly, there was a loud wrenching sound, a flash of cold wind, and then darkness.