Chapter 1 - Preparing to Launch

Flyn Lafayette, Captain of the HMAS (Her Majesty's Air Ship) Changeling and his mysterious First Mate, Naransetseg docked at Elysian City to put together their crew.

After some caustic wordplay in the Shattered Emerald, Flyn hired Nods Argo, a diminutive poison-arrow frog with a smart mouth as his first A.B.S. (Able-Bodied Sailor). Despite the verbal sparring, Flyn was anxious to give the funny little frog a chance. It was either that, or let Nara bleed him, and let it never be said that Captain Lafayette likes to pick up a mop.

Next, Flyn discovered a waifish young cat-boy looking for work as a ropeman aboard ship. Upon discovering the boy's name was Jack, he fell victim to a superstitious compulsion of his, and was forced to instantly hire him on (albeit for a pittance). Jack seems a bit thin and delicate for a sailor, especially with the surname "Sirensong", but time always tells, and who the Lady of the Deep blesses is according to her own design. Flyn has Jack referring to Nara as "Mistress", perhaps just for his own amusement.

While perambulating the affluent North Market district of Elysian City, the crew encountered Sophiala, niece of Mayor Gudrin Osterlund, and charitably described as a beautiful, blue-blooded, incorrigible brat. Ensorcelled by her pure white coat, or perhaps by the promises of her purse, Flyn promised her passage aboard the Changeling to try and sate her insatiable boredom, all for the promise of a very unreasonable rate. This was all against the advice of Nara, who, it is said, can smell trouble coming even in the presence of seawater and dead fish. Judging from the way most of the crew look at the aristocratic, arrogant young arctic fox, it is hard to imagine much work will get done while she is on deck.

Requiring the services of an able Boatswain, Flyn and Nara encountered a sugar glider called Remi Thangkarr, an affable young man eager to please his Captain, experienced, and with an infectious smile. Remi is from some far-flung port of call that most have never heard of, but seems to know Western customs well enough. Remi is a master rigger, and seems to be no happier or more at home than when up to his shoulders in tangled rope and rigging, almost to the exclusion of all other pleasures. Nara tends to give him funny looks, and Flyn inexplicable grins.

While hitting on what appeared to be an under-dressed, athletic young female dockworker with one eye, Flyn discovered he had mistaken one Doctor Janice Saunders, a ship's surgeon with far too much experience from the recent war. Though he originally low-balled her into a dealbreaker, Flyn was reluctantly forced by Sophiala to make a decent offer in order to keep the aristocrat happy, and ostensibly his crew in good health. Saunders seems to dress unusually for a preeminent Doctor, and seems to lack the usual separation from the crew - quite the contrary, in fact, as her single eye watches them intently. She is one of the few who seems to have some of Nara's respect… no small order.

Nara pushed for some greater expertise aboard to understand the bizarre alchemy of the Changeling's flight engine, and when encountering the stern and calculating airship engineer Mavors Argyros, Nara wanted to hire him immediately. Flyn, however, flatly refused the expense, insisting the ship would practically fly itself……

Pressed for time to complete their first cargo run, Flyn hastily collected his ragtag crew and prepared for their maiden voyage. The sailors took quickly to their work, shiphandling to Flyn's satisfaction (even if not to Nara's much higher standard), and even Sophiala seemed comfortably settled, perhaps too much so, laying on the deck with her dress down around her hips and sunning herself before the common sailor's eye. Remi took the helm, Nara manned the engine room and Flyn gave the order… " Lift off!" Crew and passengers alike were astounded to feel the weight of the ways drop away from the Changeling's hull, and 30 feet of thin air rose up between the ship and the water below. Then there was a loud bang, a splash, and the ship went into free-fall…

At last we left our heroes, the ship had slammed into the water from its massive drop, causing one of the masts to crack and fall clean off, and untold damage and injury besides. Remi almost died when the mizzenmast came crashing down on the helm station, though Flyn managed to tackle him out of the way. And so ended the one minute flight of the Changeling, and next time we resume with our heroes sorting through the wreckage. First order of business - find that Engineer. And pick up the pieces…

As the Changeling returns to shore she will likely be losing crew and passengers, and taking on many more. This will be the second round of character collection, so now is a great time to jump on the bandwagon.

Mavors proves his worth in the eyes of Flyn as the gang desperately seek the parts and capital necessary to get the Changeling airborne once again (or at least put together enough to be seaworthy). As the costs mount from a patch job to a complete refit, things look grim, particularly for the failing candor between the Captain and his engineer. In the end Mavors manages, and the crew and passengers celebrate with drinks on the quarterdeck - but not before the gryphon regales everyone with the details of his genius refit, in vernacular that engineers find pornographic but that Flyn felt a bit of a buzz-kill.

Fully recovered, Remi once again took the helm of the Changeling and the crew watched in awe as they rose high above the ocean and flew (without the nasty falling part) for the first time. But Murphy's Law counts twice by sea, as they say. Would this momentary victory endure?

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