Snakes and Ladders-34

Snakes and Ladders-34

Chapter 34

*** Shaya…

Things are coming together here in the fortress and it’s taking time doing so but it is happening. It’s slow going and we’re set to get more troops and people in here to take this place apart and to claim things back for the crown and to go over everything.

Wren’s plan is amazing but it’s a lot of work here on our end right now because we have to catalog and count everything here and that’s a task that is going to take a lot of time.

And then there’s the fact that I’m here in command alone and without Bhlaze with me and without my partner here, without the presence of my dragon there’s still the thing that I am still me.

As much as I’m Shaya…as much as I’ve changed and fought to live through the guilt over the things that I did…it’s still there.

People know, I’m hardly a secret really and with that it’s still going to be there.

Illian, The Black-son, the fallen one and Lyam’s left hand….

I open my eyes and stare up at the ceiling from my bedroll and frown then sort of hug myself. I’ve gotten used to Wren being with me and the feel of her against me and the scent of her and the fact that honestly it’s easier sleeping with her, with someone to hold me and someone for me to hold…or hang onto.

Even though we’re linked and everything it’s me being alone and in command and command isn’t a place mentally that I was really ready to do. I mean in action it’s one thing and with other officers and with Bhlaze there it’s different I’m not me as much as I’m a dragon rider and now I’m actually in command here as things are getting done.

There’s so much to do too and as I’m not sleeping I get up and I walk over to my little area that we have set up in the storerooms off of the hangar area and have well warded off in case of surprises and such or just even little nasties.

The Darklands are full of little nasties.

I go to my basin and I hold my hand over it and I chant out spell words that bring water from the air. You can do spells without words but words of magical power are descriptors of forces, like the verbal keys to a specific phase or kind of magical energy and have been used for so long they have their own providence from ages on ages of cause and effect.

Sort of like when you know a song by its notes the majik knows these words and it has been used to define these force-meanings for so long it has its own effect of the world. It gathers the mana and shapes it.

Lesser mages have to repeatedly chant things over and over until they get the result but a spell caster that puts their own energy into the spell that you’re chanting does so a lot faster and the words actually make the energy requirements less.

In theory you can do anything with enough raw power. I’m not trying to do that though instead I’m doing a call water spell and it pulls moisture from the air and lets me pour water into my basin and another spell does a little flash of energy focused solely on the water and it heats the water.

I take a quick sponge bath and since I’m not prowling I use my nice scented soap and feel better and more myself…Shaya the woman.

That’s still important to me. It’ll always be important to me after all of the hell and abuse and silent-living death that was my former life.

It’s why I was throwing myself into my oaths as a knight; it was why I embraced the darkness and fought for my uncle.

I could maybe die doing that.

And in that act of masking who I really was, in how bad it hurt me and that hurt being anger it had me believing him.

Lyam is a warrior a general and he was older than my father… Dorian my father was named king by my grandfather at the end of the Summoning war on his death bed and he wanted father because he was…he was peaceful.

We’d just went through a bitterly toxic civil war against the Forsaken and he was being hailed as The Peace King.

But by the warriors and a lot of the generals it was a break in tradition, it was putting “The Farmer” in charge.

I was angry enough and hurting enough to buy into all of that and just do some very bad things under Lyam in the guise of for the greater good. Things that Shaya can’t leave behind even if my body is reshaped and my soul freed it’s still things that I’ve done.

The sponge bathe even after years of being like this is still in my quiet just me introspecting and over analyzing is amazing. It’s having the quiet just almost sinking into the rightness as I run the cloth over my ski and over all the right parts in all of the right places.

A little shiver as the water and bare skin reacts with the cold of the caverns, we are in the mountains it’s not bad or even intolerable but it’s just this sort of physical reaction that I still treasure. A confirmation of size…since my body matches my soul I’ve she’d almost another person…well another girl’s worth of weight as I lost twenty percent of my height and close to forty percent of my weight as my body was reshaped.

As Shaya I have my father’s line in the dark hair and the way that my magic works or follows. I’m not a green mage like he is but my powers are closer to rawness and nature. But physically I follow my mother who is a fae blooded or that’s what they refer to it as and that’s slender and light.

Wren makes two of me almost. (Big smile.)

I am so very much in love with her and the time’s we are together and are doing things and making love and even just snuggling and being together…her human body is bigger and warmer than all but the biggest of sylvan women, the rarest of them and her breasts.

By the gods and goddesses her breasts.

I have literally never seen a pair like hers. Nor has any sylvan I think. She says it’s common there or relatively so where she is from and that’s daunting to me as is the other things that she has told me of and scary things too.

I know we have very bad problems here but some of the things that she has said and told me of scare me and break my heart for the one’s left suffering.

I empty the water down the jakes off from the side of my “room” and then I get dressed. I’m not going into battle so it’s my under things and then my line leather pants. They’re line with silk that’s been molded to fit the inside of the leather and it stops a lot of the chaffing and a mage charm that I bought for the button actually keeps them comfortable temperature wise with a little burst of mana that alter the temp of the leathers in relation to my body temperature.

It won’t help me in a desert or in deep cold but like this…it will help me from sweating like a pig on L’honei. Then my shirt slip and then one of my steel-silk shirts. It’s actually woven glassteel and spelled to not splinter and leave fine glass under the skin and such. It is expensive but it’s good protection against sharp things like cuts and grazes or dagger and knives. Over that my plated hardened leather vest/breastplate and then gloves and boots and my weapons belt and then I secure my things and get my large purse and my tablet and stylus and a few things I’ll need and I head out to get some more work done as I’m not sleeping.

It’s to the main hangar first where we had the big battle and the showdown and where we also ended up crashing and breaking one of the enemy air-ships and it’s taken some muscle power and some know-how to get it moved back to the center of the room where the cradle is and we’re slowly trying to repair it.

That in itself is a very big task and we really don’t have a whole lot of experts on the subject here. That being said it’s still a very imposing bit of magic work and techno-wizardy. The ship itself is long in the fashion of a barge with a very shallow draft like river boat but this is more for aerodynamics than for its use on water.

It has a sharp ramming prow like a blade that resembles a voulge’s tip that leads to the spike of the bowsprit…but the spire is not a bowsprit but instead it’s a heavy beam cannon that looks like it might have at one point been used from some of the ships out of the stellar navy. That’s a powerful weapon even in the atmosphere with a great range and it is definitely made for anti-fortress use.

That’d likely be a breaching weapon more than a full out assault weapon unless they actually wanted to…not saying that they wouldn’t do that.

Then there’s two turreted quad guns on the front these are open guns with four barreled pulse lasers and what I think might be a personal shielding unit and there is another two of these on the aft and in the below decks is the side long weaponry of firebolt guns…like the combat spell they fire off a stored spell pattern of a firebolt which in reality is an elemental attack that uses a contained cloud of combustible minerals and it’s lit while the majik spins the flames in a manner to create thrust so as to “shoot” the bolt.

A dangerous and damaging weapon with the range of a decent crossbow and there are thirty of these built into each side all tied to a control panel on the bridge and a power batter giant crystal under the ships castle/bridge.

It’s not a starship but it’s still damned deadly and add in some people that have gate spells and stealth spells as well as troops to fight with this ship could have ravaged the entire region and worse.

It’s a big problem since by sacred laws we cannot take starships or fighters down here to the sacred planet and it’s further compounded by the fact that The Crown doesn’t have that many actual airships. The cost is huge and father being father he will not commandeer the airship docks and builders of others to build up our stocks.

Politics, traditions, elder laws and more politics and people using that to their advantages and father not being the kind of man that will break those rules even if Lyam would do that and has done that.

The Sacred planet, Sylvania itself is a neutral zone, it’s is its own realm all of itself and it is home to The Holy City and all of the gods and their temples. And the king has to have the consensus of the Gods in order to rule. It makes no sense in a military way but they all state that such things as high military technology are forbidden on the planet. Small normal tech, hand weapons are fine…but ships, fighters, war machines…these were last here as the weapons of the C’thul.

I sigh as I walk through the ship watching as the try to repair the side masts and the top masts all having taken damage in the crash and the fighting. It’s just frustrating and scary that this was here, that it was almost ready to be used and with those War bats as living air support.

Mentally that’s not a pretty picture.

And Lyam will not play by tradition or rules.

I head over and meet up with some of the people that are going through things and counting them and I see Ilisa sitting with Kyte as they’re looking over clothes that were captured and they’re talking about colors of the dyes and the weaving but also the stitching and things.

“And this stuff’s important? I mean no offense but I don’t know much about these things except for things that I find pretty…”

I can’t help it it’s the truth and there’s a part of me that sort of quails still about something that at least with these two seems like such a relevant thing.

Ilisa looks at me. “Oh well I was just mentioning there were things that we should maybe look for in the finery and even the very well made travel wear and it turn out that Lady Kyte here is an authority on some of it.”

I look to Kyte who looks pleased with herself and I’m not sure if it’s a one upwoman thing with her over me or not. Despite her thing with Wren she has not been one of my supporters nor her house and I have heard her say things that in sylvan time weren’t that long ago about me and my transformation.

About being an affront to the gods.

It’s hard to not feel those stings even now and the look.

Or I could be just me and sometimes so wrapped up in my own things and my own darkness that I see trouble that might not even be there.

And Bhlaze is so far away…he’s still there and still bonded but it’s still so far…Wren too. I could contact them but I don’t want to be that needy, I don’t want to lean on them all of the time.

Kyte starts in though like she never picked up on what Ilisa and I were sort of skirting (Unintentional-pun.) “Home we deal with this stuff all the time when you’re a noble lady the fashions and the providence of the clothes and the cloth and who made it and who seamstressed it is a thing especially if you can get one of the real mistresses to make something for you. This stuff isn’t quite in that level but there are tags on some of these and mana marks too if you can see them that say where these were made.”

I look at her. “So the sign their work?” I’m honestly surprised because most clothes I have are nice and some are even fancy and stuff but at the same time they’re still clothes.

Kyte grins almost ruefully. “Yes, it was an advert through the guilds originally but it has become a class thing with the noble’s home. Who’s work you’re wearing is important there.”

“And that means?”

Ilisa says smiling and holding up her tablet and quill. “It means we can have a good idea of where they shopped which lends to where they’re from and their habits and how much they’re spending on things like these.”

I nod. “Wren’s pretty smart.”

Both of then nod and Kyte says. “She has a completely different perspective and we need that I think. I’m still…” she turns red with a blush and I sort of get it that sheepish thing where you really just don’t have words to get the feelings out.

Ilisa says as she’s writing things down. “She’s alien and human and she’s quick to a lot of things or should be according to the legends.”

I look at her. “Legends?”

She looks at the two of us. “It’s not the first time our two races have met.”

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