Oct 27, 2020 5:40 PM
Raafi falls into the Sunless Skies
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"Don't give it to me, give it to Williams. She's got sharpshooter's eyes."

The young woman blinks her grey eyes. "Not a good shot, sir."

"It's just an expression. I put you on lookout duty for a reason. Here, into the bridge." He hands the telescope to her, then starts ordering a turn.

"Uh. 'M off duty." Williams weakly objects, but she follows into the bridge. "...Spell?"

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He casts again; the effect, when she takes it, is nearly as good as the telescope itself, and works perfectly well with it.

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"-Woah."

She peers through the telescope, tilting on her feet as the engine turns.

"Yeah- That. That seems like two separate streams to me. There's some black smoke and some white smoke, or steam vapor. And I see- Some of the trees have pieces knocked off of them."

"Anything else?"

"Hold on." She peers silently for a long moment. "...Mm, yeah, I think there's an engine hidden in the trees. I can sort of see grey straight lines behind it. Rocks and trees don't grow that straight. And I think a running light. A red light. Diffuse, not streaked like blood."

"Good to know. Good job. Keep looking, let us know what you see." Captain Abernathy tells the engine room to make for 3/4 steam.

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"I'm going to get some things from my cabin, I'll be right back."

When he returns, he's wearing a rust-brown cloak with autumn leaf decorations at the hem and carrying a walking stick that looks like it's made from a fallen branch, with the wood at the top wrapped around a large, rough-cut green gem, and he's wearing a strip of black cloth as a headband. "Do you know, by the way, whether seeing starlight matters for how dangerous it is?"

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"Well, don't watch the stars when you're not behind stained glass. Sky-suits help, hope and purpose helps, being on the ground helps, heavy clothing in general helps, sometimes protective talismans help though the scientists insist it's just because you think they help- It tends to be mostly alright if you keep exposure low and take time to recover, it's long voyages in stressful conditions with constant exposure and - feeding the mental changes that is the concern. There are plenty of warning signs and chances to turn back. I'm not especially concerned for any of us for the duration of a rescue mission, but whoever's down there may be a bit, ah, strained."

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"All right. I'm still going to be especially careful - you don't want someone with magic as powerful as mine going funny - but the cloak should help, and the blindfold might, it's enspelled so that being blind won't debilitate me. And the stick gives knowledge of how to follow tracks, if we need it."

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"Very good. I'm thinking about how to land - the ground doesn't look very even or clear, there, and landing off of tracks is always a hassle- Navigator Rochester, how far do you think it is from the viewing platform?"

The navigator borrows the telescope. "Where's the-" Williams nudges the telescope. "Ah... About a mile, and maybe six hundred feet of slope. Probably better if we can get closer, if they need food, fuel, engineering - moving heavy stuff through a sloped forest with no trail is not easy."

"There's... A flat spot a lot closer to it," Williams tentatively says. "See that big wrench? It's got a big, flat rock in front of it. Could land on that?"

Captain Abernathy grumbles. "Be quite a thing to get that close without scraping rock and stop on a dime."

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"I can teleport a few people down, if we can get close enough - a thousand feet - but I might not be able to get everyone back up that way, if there are survivors. An air elemental might help, if strong favorable winds would let you do more?"

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"Yes, but that would rather be putting my faith in something other than steam and steel... Hmm. Hmm."

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"I think that's all I have that's likely to be useful - I do have a repair spell, if there's something you could try that has a risk of damaging us. And I can fly - trades off against teleporting, if I do it for more than fifteen minutes, but if a guide line would be useful, or something..."

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"There's a question of how far the sky-sailor's duty to rescue vessels in distress extends, when it involves risk to other vessels. In some cases, I think, locomotives have a duty not to get involved - if it's nigh hopeless and trying could lead to two engines in distress. At the very least if I decide we can't risk landing, we would try to drop a packet of food and fuel for them... At any rate, I think we could manage the close landing if the wind elementals are much like the water elementals."

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"They're similar. I was planning on summoning a single larger one, for this, it'll be easier than trying to coordinate several."

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"For how long? Takeoff won't be as risky as setting down, but still."

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"Not very. About a minute and a half."

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"That is just long enough for one landing attempt."

He leans on the Captain's chair.

"I think we can do this with an acceptable level of risk, since I know your ability, Raafi. We will attempt a landing and give aid."

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"I appreciate it. Let me know when you're ready for the elemental, and if you're going to want it doing something more specific than helping us settle down - I'll need maybe ten seconds' warning."

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It takes a few minutes to approach, and then set up for a clean run to the landing spot. The Captain frets about gravity's inconsistency and makes other preparations - the galley is locked down, some engineering things are done in the ductwork above and below the main engine, crew are woken and armed with sky-suits and harnesses.

And then they are really quite perilously close to the mountainside for something as maneuverable as a locomotive, and Captain Abernathy comments as if out for a morning stroll, "Now would be good, Raafi."

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It's a few seconds' chanting to cast the spell, and another few to ask the nearly forty foot tall being made of dense, swirling clouds that appears when he's done to help them land without hitting the rock face. It twists into an even larger cyclone that provides a steadying force and helps ease them down.

Raafi tugs his blindfold into place and re-settles his cloak around his shoulders as soon as they've touched down.

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The rest of the crew has equipped themselves with heavy backpacks full of food and water, medicine, fuel, rope, and common replacement parts, gotten into reasonable hiking clothing, and distributed the contents of the Captain's small armory.

They set off towards the downed engine, loudly shouting about how they're here to help all along the way - to avoid spooking any lookouts, and to keep jungle critters away.

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Raafi takes a spot near the front, where his magic-granted sense of the area has a chance to catch any tracks - human or otherwise - before they're disturbed by the group's passage.

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They crowd towards him a bit, given his cloak's warming effect.

There aren't any significant tracks to be found. They come into clear view of a downed locomotive, a bulky and somewhat rusty thing. The plumes of smoke and vapor are almost entirely out, now, and half a dozen crew mill about, lightly wounded and resting. The rest are out of view or on top of the engine.

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Raafi's magical not-vision doesn't extend that far, and he has to ask the crew to tell him what they're seeing - do they think he should teleport down to confirm that noone is urgently injured, or does it seem like things are past that point?

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No, it seems past that point. Looks like they need repairs, mostly.

When they get a bit closer, they're challenged by men with guns in makeshift blinds.

After a short introduction, "Good to see help out here. Sorry for drawing on you lot. We've been here overnight and something has been trying to get the drop on us. Shoots spines, got Jessamine with one." He indicates one of the walking wounded. "Doesn't seem poisonous, at least."

"I'm glad I left behind a guard crew of my own then!" Abernathy bellows. "Let's get you back in the air smart quick."

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"How many wounded do you have? I've got healing magic."

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"...Nine if you count bumps and bruises. Four, elsewise. You don't look like a doctor." He is squinting suspiciously at Raafi and seems kind of twitchy.

"It's strange, but he's not lying."

"...I'll leave it to the injured to decide."

"Well, let's go meet your engineer and see what you need to get moving."

The guard nods. "Go ahead. I'm keeping watch."

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