Welcome to this strange teslapunk world I had floating around my head for ages now. I’m starting to really getting a grip of it, meaning that the picture of this particular scene crossed my mind when taking a walk the other day. I wont explain much, as most of these words are self-explanatory, but know that ships in this universe don’t use balloons to fly but Astyrium, a special element with anti-gravitational abilities. Also, this is my first “real” post on this blog, meaning that this type of bits and pieces of text are what you might expect from this site. Have fun!
Music of the Moment: Jeremy Soule – Secunda
The moonlight reflected off the untouched snow that covered land, rock and treetop alike, illuminating the night in that surreal fashion only snow could do, where the world was barely visible and no shadows were cast. The wind lifted some of the snow from the ground, making it cascade over hills and ridges like waterfalls made of icing sugar. It was a silent spectacle, entertaining the few who could value its beauty, hiding the life of the Southern Highlands for the night, so it may rise again upon the morrow, interrupted only by the rattling sound of the engines propelling the Only Daughter, an airship of the Monarchs Royal Fleet.
She was a luxury shuttle with a small Astyrium-core keeping her afloat, blimp-shaped, little, quick and lightly armed, providing every comfort lords, officers and royal protégés might expect. Her hull was polished copper, seeming almost golden from a distance and a few of the little windows and portholes were illuminated, but only a dim gleam came from the great window pane of the starboard observation deck, where Gullen Bonds admired the dance of the cold.
He was a lightly tanned man with groomed yet chaotic, long, brown hair and eyes of the same colour, wearing an expensive black suit with a bright brown chemise. Bonds sat on the broad settee of red satin, holding a crystal glass of whiskey. With him was Sir Joseph Hayward, a bald general of the Royal Army with a fleshy face and bushy eyebrows. He was of advanced age, but broad and muscular in build, with bulky arms and enormous ears. Gullen was never sure whether to call him “Sir” or “General”, which is why he tried to use both from time to time.
It had come as a surprise when he found out that someone else than him had a passion for the night and its calm beauty, especially a military man. In the five days of their journey from Rycantis he had actually grown quite fond of the man, even though he still expected him to erupt into a walking tank of death and destruction at any moment, but that was just what he thought of every soldier, so it wasn’t personal.
“Have you ever been to the South before, mister Bonds?” Hayward asked.
“Well, I’ve been as far as Sheridan Post several times, General.”
“That’s only a hundred leagues from Rycantis, still in the realm.” He shook his head.
“It’s cold and majestic, far away from civilization.” Gullen argued.
“So is Rycantis, but we don’t call it City of the South, do we?”
“We call it City of Glass Towers. It’s more descriptive.”
Hayward laughed, silently.
“So you mean to tell me that you have written twelve novels about this place and never physically visited it?”
“Eleven, actually, Sir. Quips of the Frost Gods was a collection of short stories. But yes, that is exactly how it went. I talked to many a worker, soldier and adventurer that’s been down there.” He explained.
“Down here, you mean. We are in the South.”
I suppose we are, Sir.” It was still hard to realize that the vast expanse of nothingness underneath his feet was the white hell he’d thoroughly explored in his mind during the past seventeen years. After hearing so many stories about man-sized wolves, Icewyrms and barbarians shooting fiery lances of light that could set entire houses ablaze he was quite disappointed about the ongoing tranquillity. Not that he’d favoured a fight, but the occasional sight of life besides woods of massive pine trees would have been nice.
“So what drives you here? You certainly know how to write an intriguing book without having seen the place it’s about, so why the sudden change of mind?”
Daphne, he thought, I’m only going for Daphne, but instead he said:
“I didn’t really have the resources for such a voyage, General. It’s expensive, travelling to the South whilst still enjoying all the comforts I’m used to in the golden streets of our great capital.”
“You have been a member of the Royal Arts Society for five years now, have you not? The Monarch himself has invited you to his dinner table on many occasion. Certainly you would have had the chance to see the fabled South with your own eyes by now.” He is suspicious. He senses something is wrong. How can he know?
“As a general you must have sat at his table a few times yourself.”
“Yes, but as you say: I’m a general, a knight, and a nobleman. No disrespect to you, of course. I don’t view the bourgeoisie as inferior to those of noble blood.”
“To be honest I had been trying to avoid this voyage. The word is that the South is a dangerous place to be and I have my limits regarding the danger I’m willing to put myself in. Alas, the Prospector-Trilogy is finished and interviewing the workers arriving at Rycantis wont serve if I want to keep my face, so here I am. I was bound to run out of excuses not to go eventually, so I’m glad that it happened while I’m still young and vital.”
The general laughed his silent laugh again.
“Oh yes, Prospector. I have to say, Wollay Pence is quite the character you’ve drawn there. People are actually learning how to read just to have a go at those books. Although, my son Gillen is quite critical of them. He believes they empower the working class too much and make Lords and Leaders seem too unimportant.”
“What do you believe, Sir?”
“I believe my son is an idiot, but don’t tell him that.” he chuckled “Gillen’s been to the South many times, but what he doesn’t understand is that the men working in the depths of those Astyrium mines are the ones keeping us alive down there, not our nobility. Not only do they get the stuff out of the earth that makes our ships stay in the air, but the profits their corporations make bring food, wine and weapons down to us, not the Monarch and certainly not High Command.”
Bonds didn’t know how to respond to that, so they sat in silence for a while, contemplating the landscape passing by. Although the silence was disrupted by the low sound of the engines, after five days he didn’t really hear them anymore.