The Clockwork Sea

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Jing Mon Ceros

Men swatted their foreheads as the witch doctor strolled by.

“Captain!”

“Captain!”

“Cap-i-ton.”

The Witch Doctor cracked a bony smile. A particularly small and blue-hatted full turn had spoken last. He had a nose shaped like a smoking pipe. Steam billowed out of it.

“Eh, I missed dat voice of yours, Salamon.”

“My voice is yours, Cap-i-ton.”

The Witch Doctor nodded and kept on, “As is everyting unda da sky.”

“And what above it?”

The Witch doctor slowed. It was the voice of a woman and his right hand girl.

“Marcel.”

“Admiral.”

“Please, lovely Marcel.” Smiled the bony man. “Call me Capiton around here. Shall we?” He said gesturing forwards.

Deafened steps gave way to clanks. A long iron path with stubby parapets stretched far into the roaming clouds. The Witch Doctor practiced a dramatic tiptoe. Clouds and the whistle of updrafts guarded the drop on either side.

“Be serious, Admiral.”

“I be always serious, mon.”

Marcel sighed, “If only that was true.”

“Oh hey now, did you just roll dose pretty green eyes at me? Or did ya tin cheeks just turn copper at my backside?”

“Neither. And while you were gone getting captured, again, we caught word of a dispute up in the Land Above.”

“Heh. Hence da ship. Da Arbitah?”

“Not that bad yet.”

Clouds brushed by him. The black edges of something grand hinted far on either side. He peaked back at Marcel, winked with both eyes.

Despite being a proper navy soldier, she never wore her hat, instead opting to keep her brown buzz cut that rustled in the wind. A muscular face coveted her piercing emerald eyes. All of it led to what he assumed was even more lean muscle underneath standard navy robes.

“Sir, please don’t stare.”

“Heh, dun ya be worrying about me now. I already be having a soul mate.”

She rolled her pretty green eyes, “I take it getting capture had to with that?”

The Admiral frowned. He flipped back to the front, the strange object getting more and defined with each step, “No, it be intuition.”

“Was it worth it? You were gone for months.”

“Wonderfully. A part from a few promising half turns, dere was a man wit, ya might say, interesting properties.” He gave her a glance and tapped his nose. “I’ll be expecting dem soon. Dey bear my curse sa you should know when dey arrive. Have a portah go befa we board.”

“Yes sir.”

The clouds parted and the Witch Doctor’s gaze lifted. A galleon the size of five focussed into view. The deck seemed impossibly high, and the masts almost uncountable. It was built solely of a black titanium alloy. The howls of crewman working could be heard from above.

“Da distance from Jing Mon Ceros?”

“Two hours by air, sir.”

He nodded. The distant hammer of the world’s strongest clock engine rang in his hollowed out ears. It had been awhile since he went up. Now he wanted to more than ever. He had an insatiable itch to visit another of the great beasts, less so of the dog emperor that ruled over it.

“First da fat whale on da Sea, now a flying one.”

“Sir?”

“Two ya said?” He asked peaking back to catch her nod. “Den we be making it barely.”

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