Airship Battles Are Metal

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Location: The Skies.

Time: The World of Tomorrow.

The Doodlebug is skimming along the tops of the clouds, heading for a destination known to only a few of her crew. A floating island cast adrift during the Folly, and found by sky pirates shortly thereafter. Used to forge bonds between disparate crews, the meeting place has been kept a secret for generations. It is neutral ground, almost holy, and fights between Sky Pirates are to stay outside the island's airspace.

Leetle, the moogle cap'n, paces before the assembled crew, at least those supposed to go ashore. "This place is like sanctified ground for sky pirates, kupo." The moogle speaks clearly for once so that all might understand. "If you have any complaints, beefs, grudges or desire for revenge, you best leave them behind on the Doodlebug. We sky pirates do not take lightly to the violation of this island, so keep things to yourself, alright? Best behavior, please."

He pauses to puff heavily on a long cigar, blowing smoke rings through each other with a chuckle. Serious once more, he turns back to the crew. "We are going to try and convince as many sky pirates who ply the trade routes around Emberstrand, Archades and points in between to double their efforts on Archades targets. Scout camps, supply depots, lone warships if they dare... and cargo vessels running the Archades flag. I be talking to the captains if I can, and I hope that you, crew mates and mercenaries, can talk to those in similar positions. Get them excited and talking. The more social pressure we can bring, the more likely we'll get other sky pirates on board. Hah, pun intentional."

"...Then I shall watch the ship," the masked Viera says to her Captain, peering out at the city on the floating island. "Words are not my great proficiency." TUgging her shaggy fur wrap about her shoulders, she stands at the railing, apparently unwilling to budge from the ship.

Grumm somehow managed to get talked into a trip on an airship, and was fine, if a little nervous right up until it moved. He quickly got nauseus and anxious, even while hiding down below decks. Atleast he can't fall off from down here, right? He opens his mouth to respond, making an odd sound and quickly closes it as his cheeks puff out. A simple nod is directed at the captain as acceptance.

Celeste grins from where she's sitting on the railing, the mouse warrior having agreed to rejoin the crew for this particular outing, and listening to the Captain give his instructions. "Oh, I'mma talk," she drawls, "Y'ain' worry'n 'bout that none." Her whetstone scrapes softly against the blade of her spear as she works on sharpening it. "An' I'mma keep sober, no darn sill fight'n th'wrong folk."

Sometime after Leetle finishes his speech, a sudden 'snap' can be heard up. Then, rappeling down from one of the lines zipping up above, a black bundle appears hanging behind Leetle. "Zhgir is here, Zhgir is here! What did he miss?" He asks, as he tries to fight off the bundled cloth off him. His head finally peeks out, his four eyes peering curiously. "What is good behaviour?"

Leetle peers at Alba, "You would prefer to stay here, an' allow yer captain to wander ashore without watchin' his back?" He looks to Celeste, "Oh, well, drink or talk, yer choice. Try not to do both, kupo." The moogle offers a lopsided grin at Grumm, "Yer courage knows no bounds, Grumm. A pity ye are airsick, but it'll pass once ye get ashore." And then the spiderling appears. Leetle suppresses a shudder, barely, before turning around. "It means ye stay out o'trouble. No stealin'. No knocking people on th' noggin with blunt objects, kupo."

"Airships are metal," gravels a deep voice.

"N-no, airships are wood, mostly. The engine is metal," answers back a soldier.

Black turns his face. "No." He gestures. "They're metal." He considers, "You know, they are a flying machine with guns. It's..." His glowy eyes screw up, "It's hard to describe. It's like zapping people with lightning on dragon back, that's pretty metal."

The soldier leans over the railing with Black. Most people have shied away from Black since he is a homicidal and possibly defective ticking time bomb of magical energy. But the young man is willing to talk. "Oh. So." He thinks. "Like stabbing a man with a sword?"

Black, the blackest Black mage, shakes his head, "No, no, that's not brutal enough."

The soldier thinks. "One time I stabbed a man. And then when I tried to pull my sword out, I tripped his friend onto the other guy's sword. Got him right in the face."

The Black Mage nods appreciatively. "That's pretty metal." He pats the soldier's shoulder. "I don't hate you."

As the Doodlebug travels past one of the clouds, a wide wedge shape pull upward from the clouds. White sloughs off of it as the cloud recedes. It is marked the AAS Ahriman. A Heavy Cruiser class. A heavy ship with some speed and firepower, but meant for boarding actions rather than full on fire fights. There is no ask for surrender. Immediately, it begins to take shots at the Doodlebug's engines, cannon shot pounding away at it as it drifts closer. The Archadean soldiers on the deck are behind cover, waiting to get close enough to grapple over.

"Airship battles are metal." Black informs his soldier friend.

The fur puffs out around the moogle's neck as the AAS Ahriman breaks cover and begins to fire upon the Doodlebug. He squints as he charges for the pilot house. "Stand to, stand to! Prepare the port side cannons! To arms! To arms!", Leetle yells out, and is seen to pull hard on the wheel, the Doodlebug turning her engines out of the line of fire... bringing the port side in parallel to the advancing cruiser.

"....Captain," Alba says, as the first shots open up, "I do not think that it will be necessary to leave, to guard you." Throwing the edges of her cloak back, she turns to regard Celeste. "...Cousin. It would seem that battle yet trails in your wake." With that, she lopes toward the rope that Zhgir had descended on, crawling up at a relatively rapid clip.

Grumm is busy throwing up when the cannons start firing, not helping the situation at all. He wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and looks around. "Is great. Come for ride, they say. Is safe, they say." Grumbling he makes his way to the mast, as far away from the ariling as possible and preparing for a fight. "No bad 'nuff ta be up here. Now we's unner attack."

The mouse warrior's ears flick in the direction of cannonfire, and she jumps up from her spot, moving swiftly towards the middle of the ship. "Battle always follow'n me," Celeste calls back to Alba. "An' I wouldn' have'r any other way!" She takes up her shield from where she left it leaned up against a crate earlier on, but merely slings it across her back for the time being. She gazes out over the open skies at the AHriman, and cracks her knuckles, before finding something to hold on to and set her feet properly before the next volley.

Way before Alba goes to grab the rope, the arachnid is already scurrying along, further up onto towards the masts. The black bundle seemed to move quite fast when under a tangible threat!

The Ahriman pulls in close as the Doodlebug turns around. Soldiers man thick harpoon guns, two men on each harpoon. They lever the heavy harpoons carefully. Each soldier on the deck is winding a clockwork device, cranking it with trained effort, almost in unison, exactly ten times. Then they hold it in one hand, axe in the other, preparing to board. This isn't like any pirate crew. The dozen soldiers here are well trained, waiting for their moment as the harpoon guns fire one after the other at the Doodlebug, going high to hit anything above deck.

Black takes a long swig from his aleskin, belches, and swigs again.

Over the intercom, the moogle yells, "Watch yourselves, aim whatcha have at the soldiers with harpoons. Get those cannons up, kupo! Those on deck, prepare to repel boarders. Also, Imma going to try t'get closer." All along the port side, panels pop off, revealing cannon positions, the snubbed noses rolling forward. A rolling thunderous boom echos out, chains and grapeshot spat across the distance, deadly to crew, sail and delicate ship bits alike. The moogle hangs onto the wheel, trying to coax the Doodlebug to turn inside the heavier, hopefully slower, ship.

"Shoulda bring that fancy gun." Mutters Grumm as he grabs a rope, to keep his feet until the swinging of sharp sticks happens. Squinting, he fights through his nausea and locates a suitable target. Concentrating to channel mana, his hand starts to glow red as he extends it quickly with an open palmed strike, shooting a bolt of [fire] at a harpooner.

Curling her arms and legs around the rope, the Viera hangs on as cannonfire is received and answered, the rope shaking like a plucked guitar string. "SPIDERLING," she calls up to Zhgir, "'WARE THE BOARDERS. THEY SEEK CAPTURE, NOT DEATH."

Celeste strides up close to the railing once more, narrowing her eyes as she stares out across the decreasing expanse of void at the enemy ship. The mouse chants softly, and glowing, fiery runes flash around her free hand; they linger for a moment, before coalescing into a blast of flame, that sizzles across the intervening distance towards one of the harpooners. She watches it go for just a moment; she reaches over her shoulder, considering the shield, but ultimately opting against it still, for the time being. [Fire]

The spiderling seemed to be just fine with hanging onto the wildly undulating piece of rope as long as Alba was a good distance away from him. "IT'S FINE," He shouts back, curling around a mast top. IT'S ARACHNID !" He corrects, as he twists around in place and then colorful smoke suddenly explodes around him, making him quite the target. After a moment, the spider actually manages to let out a very [Annoying] cry. That is not at all like screaming like a little girl.

Heavy grapeshot hammers against the armoring of the Ahriman, slamming through sail, crashing into wood. But the soldiers are waiting behind a thickly armored section, hunkering down as grapeshot rains against them.

A ball rips through Black's companion's head, taking half of it off. Blood spurts from the spot where the upper half of it was. "Ahahah, oh man, that is pretty brutal." Black brings his aleskin up for another drink. It was ripped away from the spout by another wild shot of the grape shot. He looks down at it. "Hey!" He bellows into the air at the other ship. "HEY! WHICH ONE OF YOU DOUCHEBAGS RUINED MY ALE! HEY!" Black grips his fists. "Assholes, just because my magic is black." He lifts his hands over his head. The clouds around the airships begin to darken. Zhgir manages to attract someone's attention!

A huge dragon made of jagged lightning rips out of the clouds towards him.

Two of the four heavy harpoons shoot up wild upwards as one gunner on each is thrust away from his station by the burst of flame. The other two, however, streak towards the Doodlebug. Heavy steel cable lines spool out from behind the large heavy barbed iron shafts.

Leetle only shakes his head in wonder at the spiderling. "An extra dose o'crazy in that one.", he mutters... over an open comm. Seeing the heavy cables zipping towards the Doodlebug, he yells out over the comms once more, "Brace for maneuvers!" With a lurch and a tugging at everyone's stomachs (sorry Grumm!), the Doodlebug bounces upwards as the buoyancy in the ship's floatstone changes. The hard turn continues as the moogle tries to cross their T. The sounds of sporadic gunfire can now be heard as the Doodlebug's regular crew bring rifles to bear upon the Archadian ship. There /should/ be a small enough distance to jump...

"Stupid spiderling," Alba grumbles, as the ship begins to turn with Zhgir in midair... And the distinct possibility of nothing beneath him, when he falls. Gathering her legs underneath her, she hangs on tightly to the swaying mastrope, peering through her mask at the swiftly closing ship. Once the moment is right, and the rope is at its farthest back... She lets go, pushing against the rope, to launch herself into the air. If all is timed well, she'll come down on the Ahriman's deck. If not.... best to focus on all being timed well.

A chance for glory presents itself, and Celeste is hardly going to let that pass by un siezed upon. The mouse finally gets around to pulling her shield off her back, and shoves her arm through the straps; as she does this she backs up, before sprinting straight for the edge. Her last step is planted on the railing before she launches herself straight into the air, hurling herself airborne through the shrinking distance between the Doodlebug and the Ahriman. Her spear whistles through the air, and her lips peel back as she unleashes a mighty, joyous battle yell as she hurtles towards the enemy ship.

Even with the help of the rope, Grumm loses his footing and falls to the deck, one hand still clenched on the rope. After some flopping around, he eventualy gets to his feet, looking the wrong way. Hearing things behind him, he turns and looks for a new target. Without releasing the rope he moves enough to get a view of an unmolested haroonoer and channels mana again. With another thrust of his hand a bolt of [fire] shoots out.

The highly Annoying cry gains another pitch when that lightning dragon just appears in front of Zhgir. "UNFAIR !" He bellows out, as he does an emergency barrel roll out the smoke, and twists aside from the creature. "WHY NOT FIRE ...!" But his hands were already at work, hastily tying some rope onto the end of his polearm as he helds it horizontally against his body. He was steadily falling downwards in a circle around the two ships.

"LIGHTNING IS METAL!" Black shouts.

Airship battles are not easy. Many are won with weapons, not boarding actions. The addition of a Z axis ensures that.

The Doodlebug swings up hard and around. THe harpoons graze the side of the Doodlebug, but they don't do as much damage rifle fire does to the soldiers. They scramble for different cover as gunners and mages work to turn the boarding action into a fire fight as quickly as possible. Bullets rip into the armor of soldiers, pushing them down as the rifle fire is returned.

The harpoons begin to crank quickly, heavy clockwork mechanisms rolling them back into place and snapping them taut once more into the locks. But the harpooners take cover for the moment as well.

The Doodlebug being on top gives them the upper hand here. Boarding the Ahriman is easier than they can board in return. However, it does not have an open deck. It is covered by a canopy of steel armor. Getting onto the deck is certainly something that will rush your blood. Alba slides in amongst the canopy and has a moment to prepare her plan of attack as the soldiers who were about to board gather themselves up to repel borders. Celeste's alcohol probably makes it easier as she likely thinks less of hitting the canopy before she lands. All of them are armed with axes.

Grumm's fire misses one of the harpooners but the loosed fire bolt slams into the harpoon, setting fire to the gunpowder charge next to it with a roaring bang. It isn't enough to destroy the harpoon, but the harpooners are blasted away from it.

Meanwhile, Zhgir probably does the most important part. He distracts the Boss Level Blaster. Black brings his hands up, twisting the lightning dragon around to follow the spider. It's a damn big spell, too. But it is slow, as much of its power is in making it look like a dragon. And you know, the firepower to flay skin from bone. "Hey, get back here, you douchebag, get eaten by the dragon, YOU OWE ME A BEER!"

The Doodlebug's port side cannons fire once more, aimed farther back and over the heads of the Alba and Celeste. They're proper cannon shells this time, fired amongst the armor and soldiers huddling there. Several more of the Doodlebug's crew leap down upon the Archadian ship, backing up the two against the enemy soldiers. Some are armed with cutlass and saber, and wade into combat with flashing blade, while others hold the landing area, firing at solders that try to flank the melee component. "All ashore who's going ashore!", Leetle yells out.

Grumm blinks as his miss proves to be even more effective and it gives him an idea. "Ignite the powder!" He yells out as he he pulls his shield around to his hand and flips the axe from his belt into the other. "This be a bad idea." Two deeps breaths and he breaks into a run, leaping over the railing and aiming to land near Celeste. "Can' let ya fight 'lone."

Alba, historically, has never been one for carefully considered battle plans. Where some would see close to a dozen armed and armored soldiers, a pause for reflection might be in order. A *normal* person would stop to consider. Alba, however, is *far* from normal. Her knives out and streaming toxic, magical vapors, she looses a high, ululating scream, launching herself forward into the thick of the soldiers, happy enough to deliver several poisoned cuts across as many of the men as her knives can find.

By contrast to Alba, Celeste has a battle plan, though it turns out to be pretty simple. The moment she straightens from her crouch she wades straight in, rushing the enemy with her shield up in front of her as a mighty bulwark as she simply ploughs right into the nearest group of soldiers. She echoes her cousin's yell, even as Grumm is landing nearby; once she gets close she swings her shield in a wide arc, intent on bashing her foes off their feet, or even off the side of the ship; then her spear flashes out, lancing powerfully forwards to finish what she's started.

The arachnid continues to somehow cling into his dear life, whilst being chased by a huge dragon lightning. Was that even a thing? Could he even ride that thing? "HEY! ZHGIR'LL TRADE CH'TAGN FOR A RIDE ON IT!" He yells, before he spins his polearm out... and throws it through the air, trying to latch onto something, /anything/ on the assailant ship. Just so he doesn't veer off into the blank nothingess; and has something to pull himself into the safety. His arms were getting pretty damn tired by now.

The heavy fire fight begins now. With the Doodlebug up higher, the cannon shots rake the canopy. The more powerful cannonade shot warps and bends the armor, blowing chunks of it off. It's not made to take too much heavy cannon fire. With a full on fire fight going on, it suddenly cuts its engines, pulling rapidly away from the Doodlebug.

The soldiers all take to one knee, grabbing something nearby. The sudden shift gives Alba time to stab her poison daggers through the armor of one of the soldiers before he can take a swing at her with the short boarding axe. Green fires up underneath his armor along his body. His howl of pain is mostly lost on the wind. Anyone who has played Fire Emblem KNOWS that axes beat lances! The first soldier loops his arm around a bulkhead and uses the short axe to parry away the spear. A second soldier takes battle with the shield, getting hammered back by it. His grip is knocked loose.

Then the reason is apparent. The Ahriman slows down, then moves up. And gravity suddenly becomes a different direction. The deck of the Ahriman becomes a steep slope. All the soldiers are prepared for it, their axes ready against the likelihood of the others falling at them.


The polearm digs into the side of the ship. Black stops the lightning dragon for a moment. He puts crackling gloves to where his chin might be. "WHAT'S A CH'WHATYOUSAID?" He bellows back.

"BRACE for maneuvers!", comes the cry from Leetle as he shifts the Doodlebug 'round to match the antics of the Ahriman. The Doodlebug shimmies to starboard, and climbs with the Ahriman, staying close by, but out of the path of the other airship... should she want to climb into the 'Bug. "Give me grapple an' lines!", calls out the Moogle captain, and crew begin rolling out lines and large grappling hooks. Two can play the boardsies game!

A veteran of many a harrowing airship flight, Alba's first instinct is to scramble *up* the tilting deck, planting a dagger into a convenient spot to keep her still. Flipping about, she looks down past her feet at the redied soldiers, a cackle floating up from behind her mask. "Truly," she says, voice light with vicious glee, "is it we, you wish to fight? Think," she says, producing a small man shaped figure, carved of rough wood, and cracking its head against the canted deck. "Think *hard.*" With that last word, shards of flashing, chaotic light flare toward one of the uninjured soldiers, scattering his wits, thickening his fear, and stripping away the ability to know friend from for. [COnfuse]

The landing sends Grumms stomach tumbling and his checks puff out, summoning all his will to not throw up. Settling enough to fight he charges towards the soldiers near Celeste only to have the ship shange course quickly, sending him off his feet, tumbling across the shroud. He chops the axe down several timea until it catches, halting his movement with is legs hanging off the edge from the knee down. "No again onna boat."

Celeste leans back as the ship pitches, tilting the slope beneaht her. "So yer wanna play *THAT* game," she drawls, even as she skids several feet forwards before regaining her balance; she's lived half her life on a ship, a tilting deck is hardly anything new. "A'ight then!" she snaps, as she keeps her shield between herself and the axes; she chants, her lips quirking up in a grin as the runs appear once more around her spear hand, and she lobs a blast of flame into the nearest axe wielder. Because being lit on fire is scary. [Fire]

Please catch onto something. Please catch onto something. Please and with a fierce yank, the arachnid kites around the ship, the rope pulled taut as he is knocked along by the wind. "BEER! BEER AND RUM FOR DRAGOON !" The flailing arachnid bellows over the fighting below, flapping his flag that he stole from Doodlebug. He wasn't very good at this.

As the Ahriman climbs, it fires forward cannons at the Doodlebug's side. Powerful mist shells rip out of the cannons with a thunderous detonation before it is above the other ship. Out of cannon range temporarily, the crew begins to reload the harpoons in an effort to return the boarding action and take part of the action to the other ship.

One of the soldier's draws a pistol. "Pretty sure." He answers Alba, firing up a shot at her. It doesn't come in time to stop the figure from smashing against the deck, however. The addled soldier brings his axe up and around, throwing himself at the other soldier. And he promptly falls to the back the ship, scrambling wildly.

The ship begins to level out again as they prepare the harpoons and the Ahriman gets height over the Doodlebug. This makes it easier for Grumm to stay hanging. It also gives one of the soldiers time to rush him, bringing his axe up and at the dwarf's hand that keeps him held to the deck.

Being lit on fire is indeed scary. He bellows briefly as the fire rips up his armor. But they are trained men. They know a magical fire only stays for so long. And the best way to combat it is to attack. With the fight in full force again, the axe soldiers disentangle their limbs and gang up on Alba and Celeste, one trying to keep Celeste's spear busy. The others concentrate on liberating Celeste's head from her neck.


Black hrmms. "I do like rum." He waves a hand, the lightning dragon rearing towards Zhgir. "Alright, you have a deal." He says with a grin. Metaphorically.

Celeste, Alba and Grumm aren't alone on the deck, the nameless Doodlebug redshirts getting their bearing and footing under them before pressing the attack, two of them flanking Alba, while the third takes the sword blow meant for Celeste. Behind them, several rifles are aimed and fired, one poor sod from the Ahriman keeling over. "Stop aiming for the same guy!", one of them yells as they reload.

"BELAY the grapples! Open the starboard cannons! And BRACE for IMPACT!", comes a trio of orders from Leetle. The wings of the ship groan as they strain against the maneuver being performed, the ship turning much faster than before, creaking ominously. The six armed Moogle figurehead looks almost like he's cackling manically as the 'Bug lurches forward, her armored prow making for the stern of the Ahriman.

Grumm doesn't have time to get out of the way so he moves his shield to cover his hand, and deflect the attempt to take it off. He likes that hand. Before the soldier can swing again he scrambles to his feet, rushing forward with a shoulder toward the mans stomach, followed by raising his shield, trying to flip the soldier over top of him and hopefully off the edge.

Celeste may be facing trained men, but she's certainly no slouch herself. Her head is connected to her shoulders by a legally binding contract known as a 'spine', and she aims to keep it that way; her shield is brought up to ward off blows, but even with one of the Doodlebug's crewmen stepping in to help, she still catches an axe in the shoulder. The wound bites deep, and draws an impressive flow of blood, but almost immediately upon the weapon being removed the wound starts to close itself up once again. [Regenerator] The mouse warrior just grins, and shoves hard with her spear, to shake off the people trying to keep her busy. "Nah'bloody likely," she snaps, as she winds up with the weapon, and ploughs it down from on high at the man she just lit on fire, to hammer it straight into him, using her strength to her advantage. [Heavy Blow]

The bullet grazes across the Viera's thigh, drawing a pained snarl, but as the deck levels out, she gathers her feet underneath her. Launching herself back into the fray, she lashes out with tiny slices and cuts in rapid succession, her intent to drawing attention away from the redshirts, as much as poisoning Archadean soldiers.

"REALLY?!" Comes the incredulous reply. And for a moment, the arachnid seems to kite himself towards the dragon. Then he remembers its made out of lightning. "ZHGIR WILL RECONSIDER." The arachnid fiddles more whilst fighting against the wind but soon enough he rappels down towards the ship, the black flag continuing to pull the rope aloft. It would really suck if a lightning struck it now.

As the boarding party from the Doodlebug joins the attack, the harpooners give up trying to hit the other ship and go for their weapons instead. The Ahriman begins to move, however. With the Doodlebug's crew on its deck, the captain of the ship takes a chance. The Ahriman moves, descending in a spiral to get back into a firing match with the Doodlebug. But this time, it is careful to keep the side the boarders are on to the Doodlebug's cannons.

The soldier oofs as he struggles with Grumm, slamming his axe down at the shield. The short dwarf gets him up and over and the soldier goes over the railing with a Wilhelm Scream, tumbling into the clouds below.

With the boarding crew helping, the battle begins to turn back around. Rather than being able to simply gang up on the two, the crew begins to block and keep the weapons at bay. It gives Celeste enough room to move and jam the spear down through the neck of the man's armor and out the back, plowing down through his body. It gives Alba time to start giving cuts all about rather than focus on a single target. The attacks begin to slow, but they focus solely on Alba, trying to hammer at her with their axes to pin her down.


The sky suddenly grows black. Both up and down. Black lifts his hands up, then pushes them out to either side. The air thrums with a deep bass beat. Power crackles out from around him. The dragon disappears into the clouds, roiling from simply a Thundaga spell, to a Thundaja.


Smoke rises from parts of the Doodlebug, and some crew are sent scrambling, going for water stores to put the fires out as quickly as possible. The Doodlebug comes on though, her cannons silent while the Moogle captain does course corrections, the 'Bug following the Ahriman down in that same spiral. "Aw no ya don't, I be ramming yer precious, kupo!", he calls out, the intercom plainly heard over the din of battle.

The two crewmen with Alba follow her into the general melee, taking jabs and slashes at those who focus on Alba, perhaps happy that it is not their shirts currently made red. The one, bleeding crewman next to Celeste tries his best to fend of sword blows aimed at him, and her, while holding his arm to his side. Behind the melee crew, the rifles are brough up again, this time spreading their fire around more effectively. Another crewman makes his way to Grumm's side, wielding pistols and aiming into those wishing to harm the Dwarf. Grumm nods at the pistoleer and takes a moment to get a good look around. "Too many around Alba." He thinks and charges in to assist her and using his size as an advantage. Ducking below the weapons of their enemies he hacks at legs and stomachs while they're distracted by the much taller viera.

Axes are slow, heavy weapons, but even with aid and distractions, enough make it through that it becomes clear that slow, heavy weapons *hurt* when they connect. Luckily, at least in Alba's thinking, the magics that course through her blood do their part to mitigate the damage, slowing bleeding, sluggishly closing wounds as they open, and allowing her to retain the strength to pay back what she's given.

Enough is enough. Celeste grits her teeth as she receives another axe wound, that starts sealing up immediately, but bleeds and hurts just the same. "Get b'hind me," she snaps at her wounded ally beside her, "Ain' no use gettin' y'self dead." As she speaks, she hammers her shield forwards once again, battering her enemies back and away from herself; in the wake of it, she wings her spear around and swings it in a wide arc, letting the long blade do its work on as many foes as possible. She grins, pressing forwards once more, as she presses to advance towards the crazed, black mage captain of the Ahriman.

Zhgir made it, he made it! Slamming onto the steel canopy, on all fours. It felt good. But not as good as high tailing from the 'Aja. But, unlike most sensible things, he starts to scramble towards the black mage. "Zhgir is not tiny! Zhgir is just not thunder resistant!" Hopping onto a nearby convenient protrusion, he waves his hands at the mage. "Turn it into fire instead...!"

The Ahriman tries to stay on top, trying to do everything to get the Doodlebug out in front of its guns, anywhere to start the fire fight they were sure would end this. The airships speed up. The Ahriman moves fractionally with each turn, trying to get its side to the Doodlebug long enough for the side cannon, more solid iron rounds rather than mist shells, to rake the other airship. The Ahriman itself has taken pretty good fire from the Doodlebug.

Fire Emblem doesn't cover axes versus daggers. Alba can weave around the blows easily. Her assailants are starting to get sluggish. Their blows get slower as the poison works through their veins. One of them simply drops right to the ground. But that gives the riflemen room to use their bayonets. It is getting to be a knockdown brawl. Leetle better do something soon. The addition of Grumm slows the fight in Alba's favor again, once more giving her room to work. A dagger slices up a man's cheek, scar turning black quickly.

The Black Mage is most certainly NOT the captain of the airship, but he is probably the biggest threat. By the looks of that big ass spell he is slinging about. The wide swing of the spear starts to batter Celeste's attackers back, making them work harder to get in around her. They give blow for blow, swinging axe at her shield with each swipe of the spear, but the slashes of spear across armor and flesh push them back.

Black provides for Zhgir.

The dragon turns into an enormous figure of cold, made entire of shards of ice. It slowly looms down at the Doodlebug and the Ahriman.

Shit is about to hit the fan.

The Doodlebug will have nothing of it, but the the standoff continues. "Hhhf, hang on to something.", comes a resigned sigh over the comms. There's a bang, followed by a roar, and the Doodlebug lurches forward suddenly. Her ramprow nose comes up just as the 'Bug impacts the very rear of the ship, both ships shuddering from the blow. Creaks and groans accompany the loud crunch, as the two ships lurch and begin to twist about. Theres a snap that sounds like a large whipcrack, the Doodlebug's ram snapping in two, leaving the rear of the Ahriman impaled. "FIRE!" yells the Moogle, clinging desperately to the helm of the ship.

The 'Bugs cannons belch fire and cannonshell, though a fully half miss, passing behind the ship as the two drift still from the impact. The other half are aimed right at the rear half of the ship though.

The cries and yells of the Doodlebug's boarders can be heard over the sounds of battle, being thrown to their feet by the impact, shots going wide and blades definitely missing their intended targets.

Grumm working low with Alba above is effective, both having openings left by the distrations of the other. Atleast until the bayonets come into play with the longer reach. A slight change of tactics as he steps under her arm, moving around behind and punching out his fist that's gripping the axe haft. The fist glows red and a stream of [fire] jets out towards one of the riflemen just in time for the impact which knocks him off his feet.

The bayonets are a clear irritation, and it shows in the set of the Viera's ears as she fights to pull herself and Grumm out of the melee... only to have the bulk of her work done for her, by the ramming of the Doodlebug. Hurled off her feet, she scrabbles up as soon as she can, grabbing hold of Grumm's shirt and pulling him to his feet as well. "THE MAGE!" she roars over the din of fighting, magic, and tangled airships. "WE MUST KILL THE MAGE, QUICKLY!"

Shield and spear clatter across the deck, as Celeste is flung off her feet by the impact of ship against ship. She doesn't bother to get up, at first; she instead lances her spear forwards, at one of her likewise fallen foes. Then she gets up. Her ear flicks to the sound of Alba's voice, and she looks towards the stern, where Black is busy... doing his thing. "ALBA!" she shouts, howling at the top of her lungs to be heard, "WATCH ME BACK!" With that the mouse wades forwards once more, bashing people out of the way with her shield and stabbing them whenver she has the opportunity with her spear. Bayonet and rifle bullet clang off her shield and armor, sometimes finding her flesh and drawing blood as the mouse rushes forwards aggressively, carving a line as swiftly as she may towards the mage.

Zhgir dares to look behind himself. Then he gazes back towards the mage. "That's not fire." He says, flatly, before he continues on scrambling along the scaffolding with all six limbs of his; barely hanging on few times, as explosions and the sudden collisions knocks him off his footing. But he was already headed towards the mage, digging in his pocket for a small container. "Here, take this!" And the arachnid tosses the bottle towards the mage. Unfortunately, it was only a half empty paint canister. [Annoy]

Shit hits the fan.

The Ahriman struggles to do the same thing the Doodlebug did, trying to pour on a final bit of speed and rip away from the moogle's airship. The ship's collide slightly offcenter, but it does no less damage. The deck of the Ahriman heaves under the two crews. Black adjusts himself like it isn't no thing, because he's drunk. He doesn't give a shit.

The Ahriman's mist engines falter at the ram. Then the cannons fire. It takes the damaged back of the ship full on, spinning it slightly as it hits off center, making it whirl drunkenly in the sky as the cannonade explodes through one of the mist engines. The ship bursts into flames underdeck. Smoke begins to pour everywhere. The ship slowly begins into a nose dive.

Fire rips through the ranks of the rifleman. Grumm's small burst is enough to ignite the powder prematurely, firing a wild shot. Alba moves. Celeste moves. And all the attackers against the three don't get in their way. They give up the fight, quickly moving out of the way and around to try and get to Mist Bikes around the sides of the ship and dive into them. They do this as orderly as they can, but some of their discipline is lost by the fact this is now become a losing battle.

Black sits at the back of the ship, clenching one leather fist, staring wild eyed at the Spider, crazed rage filling his glowing eyes. He catches the paint can. "THIS IS A PAINT CAN, YOU DON'T PUT RU YOU KNOW WHAT."

Pure magic flows out from Black's robe. It crackles around his head, out of the sleeves. His body arches as he floats up into the air. He lifts one mighty hand upward, then slams it down towards the Ahriman, right where Zhgir is standing. The enormous Iceaja spell in dragon form roars down at Zhgir. And the Ahriman. If Zhgir doesn't move, he is going to meet the fate of the rest of the Ahriman, ripped in half.

Black seems to realize that floating off a moving ship is not a good idea. He plummets into the clouds.

Good news: The Ahriman is probably going to explode!

Bad News: You are still on it.

The Doodlebug creaks and groans once more, turning around in a fairly small circle, moving up along side before the Ahriman has fallen too far. Ropes are thrown over the side, dangling down to the sticken ship below. The rest of the Doodlebug's crew begins to line the rail, rifles pointed down, but not firing, at the enemy soldiers below. "Doodlebug's crew first. Then any sailor who doesn't want to implode, explode or plummet to their death, drop your weapons, and climb aboard. You may have sanctuary, and may return to your homes once this is all over." This said, loudly over the intercom.

Grumm is pulled along the deck for several feet before getting to his feet. "Aye, lass." Is all he can think to say and starts charging towards Black and gets knocked off his feet again be the explosions. Mastering understatement, he looks up at Alba as the ship starts to go critical and says. "Tha's no good." Scrambling to his feet yet again, he breaks into a run towards the Doodlebug stowing the shield and axe as he grabs a rope, pulling himself up slowly with the use of his legs.

"No," ALba murmurs, "no it is not. ZHGIR! FLEE OR DIE!" Knives stowed, she turns to lope toward the massed soldiers, and the Doodlebug's railing beyond. The Captain's words are not lost on her, but she finds some relief from her fury in the small cruelty of looming over the rail, until Zhgir appears or is dead for certain.

Well, hell. Celeste finds herself standing on the deck of a very large bomb with an uncertain fuse. The Doodlebug has ropes deployed, but they're very far away, after her headlong charge towards Black, who has in the meantime managed to just bugger off before the mouse could put her spear into him. She slings her shield and spear across her back in record time, as she makes her way straight for the nearest skybike; she grabs the soldier attempting to ride it by the collar, and hurls him off. "Get a rope," she instructs, before hopping up onto the bike herself. Power switch? Ahh, there it is. The mouse sets her feet, grabs on tight to the handlebars, and punches the throttle with an impressive roar of engines.

Zhgir just stares a bit dumbly towards the black mage, getting back onto his feet from yet another tumble. "Really? Zhgir thought " He begins as he starts to open his satchels but the arachnid was already running at the end of his rope. The appearance of the dragon, makes the rogue take in a deep breath and leap away but unfortunately, he is not as swift as he would enjoy at the moment. The ice blasts close enough to graze his hide, and he lets out definitely an inhuman cry as he tumbles down along the cracked steel carapace; apparently knocked out for the effect.

Many of the soldiers are stunned by this. Some try to get to the bikes, but there are fewers bikes than soldiers. Some of them take the ropes quickly as the mist engine begins to burn.

The ice dragon roars through the Ahriman, steadily plowing through the back of it, cutting it off from its engine. The floatstone begins to crack underneath the stress. They are rather eager in their urgency to get to the other ship. One soldier staggers back as his bike is taken and he runs in a hurry for the ropes as the deck starts to crack apart.

But who will go back for Zhgir?

The fleeing soldiers are definitely made to drop their weapons, under threat of cannon and rifle. The Moogle captain peers out from the pilot house, watching the situation closely, trying to keep the 'Bug level with the ailing ship. "Celeste... go an'grab the arachnid, an' quickly lass, that ship is gonna blow. Just keep as level as ye can, I'll bring the Doodlebug to ye, once I've taken all I can. Alba, iffn ye could board the 'Bug, please?", comes out over the comms." The horn of the 'Bug blares out loudly now, doing a quick succession of notes indicating a ship in distress."

Streaking away from the stricken ship, Celeste navigates her way through the cluster of soldiers and sailors who all have the same idea as she does; once she's clear, she wheels around, gaining some altitude and looking back at the impending destruction, as much to make sure that the Doodlebug is clear as anything else, not that there's much she can do about it. She looks carefully for Alba; there, her cousin is at the ropes. She breathes a sigh of relief, and relaxes some of the tension from her muscles as she eases back on the throttle. Her ears perk up as she hears Leetle's voice over the loudspeakers, giving instructions; she sits up straighter, and scans the Ahriman, pursing her lips as she looks with urgency for Zhgir... Ahh, there he is. The mouse hits the throttle once more, and rushes down at breakneck speed towards the Ahriman, to where the arachnid is sliding off the edge. As she approaches she leans over, tilting the bike hard to the side; her knee skims just an inch or two away from the ship beneath her, and she stretches, reaching with her left hand to snatch at Zhgir. The act of catching him would've torn a weaker mortal's arm from their socket, but Celeste mearly snarls at the strain, and hauls the spider up into the air with her as she speeds away, driving the bike one handed in the time it takes her to cross the Doodlebug's deck and deposit her charge there. After throttling down enough that he doesn't get turned into salsa upon landing, of course.

"....Hn," Alba grunts, hopping from Ahriman to Doodlebug, stepping away from the soldiers and allowing those able to board, to do so. Leaning over the railing, she tracks Celeste's progress on the skybike, keeping watch until it's certain that Zhgir is in safe hands.

Grumm grabs onto the railing and pulls his feet up, stopping to look back. The unmistakable body of Zhgir is laying motionless and summons up the last of his courage, turning around and preparing to leap. He's not going to leave a companoin behind, regardless of how annoying that might be. Saved by the order to Celeste as he bends his legs and leans forward, almostt falling when he aborts the jump. With a grunt he pours himelf over the railing, onto the deck and crawls towards a hatch so he can get back below decks.

Celeste pulls away from the Ahriman with Zhgir in tow. The last soldier pulls away from the Ahriman and scrambles up onto the Doodlebug, giving it scant seconds to get up into the air as the Mist Engine gives a thunderous crackle and goes up. It takes most of the Ahriman with it, debris falling away. The burst of height and air rolls over the Doodlebug and Celeste's skybike as the detonation rocks the rock. Slowly, the magic infusing the clouds dissipates, bringing it back to white, and the sun once more shines down on the somewhat intact crew of the Doodlebug.

Zhgir's barely conscious by the time Celeste grabs him, his arms just hanging limply off his savior. Still, despite being zinged in so many ways, his eyes roll in their sockets. "Look too pretty... for a dragon... Zhgir..." And then his head flops onto Celeste, his mouth open.

After dropping Zhgir off on the deck, Celeste speeds off into the sky once more; she watches the destruction of the Ahriman, and scans the sky for any other survivors who might have made it to neither skybike nor rope. Seeing none, she wheels about, and brings the bike in more slowly to make a gentle, careful landing on the deck of the Doodlebug. There, she goes about powering down the engines, and jumps off to get some rope and secure the vehicle safely. "Careful w'me baby," she sternly instructs a sailor who comes to help her.