Chapter 10~•~ The Hanger
Shaka still found it difficult to accept the reality that presented itself before him. There were people in the continent, distributed far from each other, but they were all the same. They looked the same, different identities of course, but they were the same people on sight. Somehow, for some reason, these new people weren't like them. Without a doubt, both Freya and the old man were regular people with blood running through them, they were not the same as them.
What was it that he found so different? He could not tell. It was more than the mellifluence of their tone, or their skin colour. Nevertheless, they must have had what he needed. The myths that would become reality.
Shaka laid down on his bed, looking towards the ceiling and wondering what he would do while he waited for Skin's return. His part of the palace was mostly lonely and void of any human presence. He demanded it like that. Although it helped improve his thinking, he sometimes wondered if he would rather have at least one person there with him.
A loud, rusty noise came from outside his room, echoing down the lobby. Somebody was inside the chambers. It had to be either of his siblings, they were the only ones allowed inside without his invitation.
"Welcome. How did it go?" Said Shaka, as Akin stepped into his room.
"You wouldn't believe it, Shaka. There was a lot of them, with yellow and orange hair...beards too. They had these blue clothing that covered everything, but they weren't cloaks," he started immediately. "I saw them and they pointed some big weapons at me, I didn't know what they were but Thomas told me to stop then he spoke to them…" he demonstrated with his hands held a little above his head, a small distance away from each other as though he wanted to give the impression of carrying a box.
"Akin, slow down. Did you give them the message?"
"Yes, I did."
"Where you able to meet their leader then?"
"No. I meant someone rather interesting. He is a small man, with orange colour hair and a beard covering his face. I think his name is Charleroi...or something like that. He led the explorers here."
"So he is the one whom you gave the message?"
"Yes. He was quite happy to see Thomas as well."
"Oh. Now that's good. At least he wasn't forsaken as a traitor." He got sprung up from the bed and stretched out his arms up in the air. "You did very well, Akin. Thank you. You can continue training as you did and I will make some sort of preparation."
"Preparation for what?"
"We have to be prepared for when they return. Who knows, they might decide to attack us instead."
"Ohh you do have a point. But I must say, the small man seemed trustworthy."
"That wouldn't be decided so easily. We will devise a way to secure the city first."
"As you wish, brother."
"So...what else did you find interesting that you want to tell me."
"Oh there was this huge air ship."
"An air ship? Tell me about it."
And like so, Akin told him about the iron ship he saw. The ship that sailed on air instead of water, using sets of blades that moved in a circle to propel itself instead of paddles. A paddle wasn't going to push through air.
Shaka tried to imagine it. He wasn't sure if it was correct, but he wished he had the real image. A giant pile of iron lumped together in an organized fashion. Made to resemble a box, but not necessarily a box. Irregularities on its edges, and wings that spread out far and wide. He pictured it, its power. Imagined if he had it.
It was a little before dawn, when a white thread cut across the dark blue sky. The winds were cold and the windows were closed. The world was quiet and a man putting on his work clothing in a dark bedroom opted to keep the world in its still silence. The sweetest period of sleep is usually the time before sunrise, it was best not to incur his wife's wrath so early in the day.
His work on that very day was bound to be stressful and a bit longer than the usual days, for the explorers had returned with the aircraft. They had only landed about an hour ago and he wanted to make sure that he was there to welcome them and personally see their first report.
He adjusted the collars on his blue frock coat once he was done grooming himself. Looking well enough to appear in public, he decided to leave the house quickly when suddenly he heard a loud thump behind him.
"Alister? Where are you going?" She yawned. "It is so early you can't possibly be running off to work."
"Julia, my dear. Go back to sleep," he said.
"No. You should come back to bed." She walked towards him, rubbing her eyes with the back of her palm.
The sight of his wife in night-gown, walk through the unadulterated light radiating through the window. Her glistering skin, dark hair, and slender curves. Going back to bed wasn't too shabby an idea.
"I can't do that," he said. He wrapped both arms around her and gave her a warm kiss on her forehead. "Some work needs to be done. I want to be the first to welcome the men who flew north."
"Just stay. You can go to them a few hours later, I'm sure no one would mind."
"I would mind, my dear. I would." He gently pulled her head back and brushed the strands of hair covering her face. "Look at you, you are almost sleep walking."
"That isn't your problem." Her voice was very low-pitched, one could hear the sleep from it.
Alister lifted her up off her feet and took her to the bed. Unsurprisingly, she fell asleep almost immediately. Being glad that he could leverage her tiredness in such fashion, he left the house as swiftly and as quietly as possible.
The day was a bit brighter when Alister arrived at the hanger. There were scraps of metal scattered here and there. Skeletons of what would be aircrafts - or something else - were also scattered around. In the center of the area lied a very wide building, several metres long, with several windows throughout its length. The building was about half as wide as it was long, and as such it had enough room inside to house more pieces of metal and more skeletons. Engineers worked with the ones in the building and left the ones outside.
Alister walked by the airship that stood on the landing zone. There were still some guards, alongside some engineers who were scurrying around looking for problems. The size of the ship never seized to amaze him - he could fit an army in it if he wished.
From the corner of his eye, a small figure approached him. Strides the length of a child, but a powerful sound in his footsteps.
"Wonderful meeting you here, Alister." The man said.
"Charleroi! A greater pleasure meeting you." He put his hand on top of Charleroi's head and rubbed it, scattering his hair towards every direction as one would do with a child.
"Don't touch me!!!" He swung hits at Alister's hand. "Your dirty hand."
Alister burst in laughter.
"Calm down, it was a joke."
"Don't joke like that, please."
"Okay okay. How was it? How was the expedition?"
"Terrible at first. I tell you, the ship smells like oil and vomit."
"The men can't keep it down once the ship starts moving here and there."
"When did the journey get better?" He followed Charleroi who started towards the building.
"Everything changed once we landed, Alister. You should see this place we discovered, even the air you'll breathe is different."
Even the air? A flame was lit in Alister's curiosity. How would air be different? If he were to believe this then, how did it happen?
"Are you sure you know what you are talking about?" Alister asked.
"I wouldn't try to convince you. By the way, shouldn't you be in bed with your wife at this time of the day?"
"It is already working hours...."
"For workers yes. For a lord, no."
Alister was a bit surprised by his statement a and thought of a retort, but was cut short by an old man screaming his name while running out of breath.
"Are you alright?" He asked the man.
"Yes...my lord." He held his knees and tried to steady his breathing. "Please, I have something important to tell you."
"Ah yes Alister, this is the man who made contact with the dwellers. I believe you find his message interesting."