from_the_west: (the house that matteu built)
[personal profile] from_the_west
um. hi. part 4? tags will get you the uh, much earlier posts of this sequence.

****


They felt the thrill of girl and airship (or a strange, alien vibration that might translate to something like delight, on an airship's part, if one were inclined to think of an airship as a living thing) an instant before she called "Got it--" and the ship's wings spread, she slipped away from the dock and into the open air.

There was a dizzying drop--they noted with some bemusement that Rose's delight flared bright and sharp in Rin's head, her arms and face flung skyward as they plunged--then Aten, at the drake's nape, tugged violently at one leash and another, fighting for control. He cursed the drake and builder in particularly fierce Avalonian invective, bemoaned the complete lack of sense in this system--and thankfully, in the next click, seemed to have caught on to whatever it was that flying an airship demanded. His hands slid back, to where the leashes were knotted to the swivels and divided; he was able to take up the jesses between his fingers and manage the drake's wild pitch and roll as well. The planks beneath them stopped gaping and pinching as the drake ended her bating and came to Aten's fist; the deck leveled out, and the vanes stopped straining against their rachides and shafts to the point of breaking.

The twins relaxed their respective grips on the drake's staves as Aten triumphantly, albeit still a bit awkwardly, turned the airship about, and sailed a jumpy parallel along the cliff toward Bowyn's shed to meet their fighter.

"Hey, I like this, tá? Maybe I'll get one of my own."

"...And people ask us how
we're still alive."

"You did agree to go flying with someone who confessed to being new to it, tá?"


They allowed he might have a point, but still.

Bowyn might own many ships, but his eyrie was small and unassuming as the rest on Keely Maeveen's mews; a shed that clung desperately to the cliff-face, it looked as though it was composed as much of peeling layers of paint as it was of dented and splintered wood, and half of it supported over a great deal of empty air by roots and rocks and odd planks and posts. Several planks extended well beyond the eyrie itself even further into space, too small to perch a drake on, and reasonable, one might suppose, because even an airship of this size might try to pull the whole building down--and succeed. It was to one of those palm-wise-broad and several-body-long planks that Aten directed their attention to with a mildly alarmed jerk: "...Guys?"

And indeed it was the crew's own fighter being backed out onto one, arms raised for balance, at the pointy end of Bowyn's spear.

"I see him." Rose replied, and took up the ship's tether until she reached the hallux--the hook--at the end of it. "Ready."

"He's got good balance, tá?" Tiun commented, for the plank bounced quite a bit under him with every crouching half-step backwards, and with the wind, and with Bowyn seeming wickedly inclined to stomp the board on purpose.

"Brace." Aten said, and it was their only warning to his dropping several of the jesses he was managing and letting half the length of the leashes slide all at once; a set of vanes flattened, the airship stooped like a hunting-gryphon, and Rin and Tiun felt themselves grow lighter before the sudden swoop and the planks beneath went level and caught them, and so did gravity, then the planks tipped back up as the drake swept skyward; there was a violent thud and a shudder, shock and relief and glee. The drake sailed on, more-or-less steadily, and the wind died a bit, and they were able to wipe the water from their eyes to see what had happened.

Ever was sitting safely on the deck, his face wind-burned-red and exasperated, struggling to get the huge curving hallux out of the back of the leather brigandine he was wearing over his tunic. Rose bent to help and he set his aura to sparking at her hands--"Nil hea, wait, I got it--"

"--You can't get it, I dropped it in, hold still!" She snapped, sparking back; she shoved his head away with her palm, laid her other hand on the hook and neatly willed it back out.

"...Remind us to take y'with us when we go fishing, tá?" Tiun grinned. "You can be bait."

"Sure. Remind me to take you with me next time I go to collect a bet from a used airship dealer." Ever said dryly. "I'll be getting the better end of the deal--she's terrible at fishing. Acts like she's afraid of water."

"I'm not afraid of the water--I'm afraid of the monsters swimming in it." Rose corrected, as they had one last scowling exchange of parting sparks, like siblings still in their eumadh years.

Ever redirected his scowl over his own shoulder, poked at the surprisingly small, brittle-edged hole Rose's operation had left behind, traced the starry flare of pale creases around it.

"Your vest would be a lot messier if you'd hit the ground in it, tá." Aten observed cheerfully.

"How do you know I wasn't gonna say thank you?" Ever demanded.

"You never say thank you." Aten snorted.

"I do so!"

"You should be happy--we have a better boat then we came for." Rose cut in.

"True. But Brolly-boy only owed me the cost of the small one, tá?" Ever said, shaking his head, grabbing a strake and pulling himself up to his feet.

"Fine. This is for all the trouble he gave." Rose shrugged.

"If we started charging for trouble, we'd own half the land's belongings." Ever growled back.

"...And?" Rose asked, brow furrowing a bit with confusion. No, really, how was this a bad thing?

"We of the Rian call this a lack-of-honor charge." Aten declared with a sense of perfect authority, lowering his hands as confidence built and air-space allowed, letting the leashes play out and the drake reach full pitch and speed. The wind began to sing intermittently through the bright-shining vanes; she was being to sound as a well-flown drake should.

"We do?" Rin asked above the wind and drake-song, as the twins regarded him in amusement. They weren't inclined to fault them for this act, given the circumstances, but they were still pretty sure it was called stealing and nothing else.

"Tá, we do!" Aten informed them brightly and not at all repentantly. "in some certain corners of Avalon, that you might not have travelled through...."
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