Friday, June 19, 2015
Scout's Law - Chapter 36
Captain Jorson slid down a quickly lowered rope and bowed before me. “I cannot put into words my relief at finding you alive and well, Your Highness! When we saw that freak storm knock the Vanguard from the sky, we feared the worst for your much smaller airship.”
Remembering the airship crash and David’s frantic, Boost-enhanced efforts to keep the two of us alive, I shuddered. “By a miracle and David’s quick reactions, he and I survived the crash. Our crewmen did not. Many of the Vanguard’s crew died in their crash, as well, and many more were killed when trogs attacked them.”
Jorson rose quickly and fixed his intense stare on me. “Is the Great One on the march again? I thought he liked Captain Rice and Your Highness.”
“No, I’m positive this has nothing to do with the Great One, Captain. I’m rather unclear about who is behind all of this.” As quickly as possible, I outlined the events of the previous twenty-four hours. I told what little I knew of David’s actions after we split up and then got Captain Cochran to add what little he knew.
Wrapping up the tale, I asked, “And what of the Tercel, Captain? How did you keep the wind from dashing your airship to the ground like it did to the Vanguard and my ship?”
“Credit for that goes to my second-in-command, Your Highness. He was the officer of the watch when we spotted the Vanguard in distress. He immediately ordered the ship to land, deflate the envelope, and anchor the airship.” Jorson gave a self-deprecating smile. “I relieved the man from duty when I learned what he ordered. The storm struck before the guards even got Lieutenant Konbra below deck. I rode out that horrible windstorm wondering just how many members of my crew Konbra saved with his quick thinking.”
I nodded, looking at the huge envelope strung above the Tercel’s hull. “And you spent most of the time since then re-inflating the envelope?”
“Just so, Your Highness. Of course, we only had heated air available to refill Tercel’s envelope rather than proper gas, so she flies low in the sky. But she flies!”
“The important thing is that you’re here, Captain. How many men do you have in total?”
“Two hundred and forty-six, including fifty marines.” A humorless smile played across the captain’s face. “I can assure you each and every one of them wants a go at those who downed their sister ships!”
“Excellent! Lift me onboard and we can set off after David.”
My request took Captain Jorson by surprise. “I do not believe that is wise, Your Highness! You should stay here, where you will be safe. Once we’ve found Captain Rice or subdued the trogs, we’ll return for you.”
“Do you know where you’re going, Captain?”
Jorson pointed south along the edge of the mountain range. “It doesn’t seem like a particularly complicated route, Your Highness.”
“Perhaps I should rephrase the question. Do you know where you’re stopping, Captain?”
That gave Jorson pause for a few seconds before he shrugged. “No, Your Highness, I do not know where we’re stopping. I don’t suppose you’d care to describe the mountain to me?”
“I’m not sure I can give you a description adequate to to your needs, Captain, but I’m absolutely positive I will recognize it when I see it.”
“Somehow, I just knew you were going to say that, Your Highness! Will you at least promise to remain on board the airship when the fighting starts?” At my nod, Jorson turned back to his airship and called, “Lower a sling for Her Highness!”
I gave quick hugs to the Cochrans and promised to find Jade and keep her safe, as well. Then I was hoisted onto the Tercel and we sailed off to find my husband.
Will Callan reach David in time to help his fight the trogs and their human allies? Find out in Chapter 37, coming Monday!