Bloodmaiden: Part 3

Amy smiled as her father laughed at the man’s joke, and hoped he meant what he’d implied–that this was as much for them as for her, and that it was a stroke of luck that left her with protection, and them with a good hiding place.

Except her father ran the empire’s intelligence as well as the military, and he’d taught her and all of her siblings about politics. If she’d retained anything from that, she’d learned not to let the details distract her from the big picture. As much as the Harcourts might say that they were her bodyguards, the possibility that they were her assassins fit just as well.

“Well,” Mr. Harcourt said, “I’m sure you’ll want to say your goodbyes privately. We’ll see you inside.”

With that, the Harcourts stepped inside the white painted gondola, shutting the door behind them with a musical click.

Her father met her eyes. “The Council insisted they go along with you, and yes, their orders are to kill you if you appear to be preparing to overthrow the government.”

“Father,” she began, and she heard Amanda begin to talk too. She stopped when she saw her father’s face.

He looked pale in the sunlight, and tired. There were bags under his eyes, and she thought she saw something glisten in the corner of his right eye. “I’ve talked to them. I’ve told them that if they kill you and can’t prove that it’s anything less than high treason, I will use every resource I have to make sure their lives will be short and miserable.”

She blinked away tears, unsure of what to say, and not wanting to lose control here with the Harcourts in the gondola, and guardsmen waiting on the lawn.

Amanda hugged her, burying her face in Amy’s shoulder. From the wetness dripping on her neck, Amy knew that Amanda had already lost the battle against tears.

“Ten years,” her father said, putting a hand on her shoulder. “We’ll have this taken care of within ten years. If it takes more than ten years, come back yourself. Do reconnaissance, and don’t come alone, but come back. If we can’t finesse this within ten years, we’re either dead or need your help.”

Amanda stopped crying and pulled away from Amy to stare at their father. “Is something wrong?”

He shook his head. “Nothing unusual. There are always threats against the empire. In ten years one of them may grow to become too powerful for us to handle on our own.”

Amy might have found that comforting except that he’d hesitated.

She raised an eyebrow. Keeping her voice low, she said, “Are you telling me create an army and invade?”

In a quiet, but even voice he said, “I’m telling you to find out what’s going on, and then make the best choice you can.”

Three days later on the airship, she found herself thinking back to that conversation, and wondering if she’d made more out of it than her father had been trying to say.  She knew better though. Everything she’d learned from him said that if he had the chance to hide her from harm, but also use her as the family’s insurance against an enemy, he would.

She wouldn’t disappoint him.

Around noon, they sighted land. She was ready for it after three days of almost constant water. Ahead lay the coastline of the Summerlands, specifically that of New Amsterdam.

She’d heard that it was large, but seeing the many towers rising above the water, she realized it must be as large as any city of the Northern Islands. Even from this distance, she could see that they were far from the only dirigible in the sky. The airships flying over the city weren’t much more than dots, but there were more, some of them larger than any airship she’d ever seen.

That wasn’t all. When they were only an hour out from the city, a ship rose into the sky. A long metal cylinder floated upward, fansails extended on each side, a multicolored glow spilling out around the edges of each sail.  The aethership flew higher, the sails glowing brighter the higher it went. Amy had no idea whether the aethership was heading toward the Moon, Mars or Venus.

It didn’t matter. She wouldn’t be riding it.

They weren’t going to another planet, not even one of the outer ones. They were flying toward one of the towers in the city. She didn’t remember which.

She’d moved toward the front, and stood next to the windows when they’d reached the city, gazing at the apartments, factories belching out smoke, the shipyards, and airships that floated above the city.

Then she realized that the dirigible was aiming toward a tower with a mooring mast. The tower stood out from the others around it partly because it  was taller, but mostly because it had been sheeted in a silvery metal.

As she watched  it get larger,  Mr. Harcourt’s voice interrupted her thoughts, surprising her enough that she had to fight back the urge to change.

“We’re going to dock at that building over there.” He pointed at the building she’d already seen, and she strangled the urge to tell him so. “It’s the property of a well known inventor in these lands, a man name Joseph Vander Sloot. I’ve visited before, but not officially–not that this visit is official.” He chuckled to himself.

“Note the…” He stopped. “Now that is unusual.” He pointed ahead.

A boy her own age floated in the air, held up by a device that had been strapped to his back. Judging from the twin streams of fire, it appeared to contain two rockets.

13 thoughts on “Bloodmaiden: Part 3”

  1. Typo:
    In a quiet, but even voice he said, “I’m telling you to find out what[‘s] going on, and then make the best choice you can.”

    I’m assuming that it’s not the Rocket. Though, it does bring to mind Orion, from Justice League.

    Also, having a piece of the old empire somewhere in the world, amassing an army and able to come back and overthrow somebody’s rebellion is a great deterrent to rebellion.

  2. Oh my, Amy’s world seems even more interesting than I thought: Not only does it have Magic but it also seems to have tech and one that followed an uncoventionnal developement I really like that particular point.

    The other interesting thing is that people from this earth seem to be able to freely travel the stars which implies there are no Xiniti guarding earth which in turn implies that the Abominators did not visit or alternatively got kicked in the teeth way back when they tried to get their first humans and never came back and never created their soldier races in that reality. Dang this has lots and lts of potential and makes me even more eager to learn more about this reality.

    As for the threat Amy’s father warned her about…For some reason I think it is currently chilling in Turkmenistan and if said thing is as powerful and smart as I think it is and has the resources of a whole country plus other faeries I can see why the Empire would need help against it. If that’s it then the main story will visit Amy’s reality, which is awesome!!

    Now interesting to see an alternate Nick popping up there as, on the top of what dwwolf said that also makes me wonder if shipping off Amy to another reality was part of the original plan or not or if this is the result of the Encounter wiht that Alternate Rocket. Eh makes one wonder if she also met other alternate league members.

    very very Nice update.

    1. There might well be Xiniti around. I had the impression that tgey were keeping humans limited to the solar system not to Earth.
      There probably are alternate league members, but do not expect the same grouping or line up.

  3. Error: Three days later on the airship, she found herself thinking back to that conversation, and wondering if she’d made more out of the it than her father had been trying to say.

    Fixed: Three days later on the airship, she found herself thinking back to that conversation, and wondering if she’d made more out of it than her father had been trying to say.

  4. You know, the first time i read this i didn’t reliaze New York used to be called New Amsterdam. I now reliase she comes from the Bloodverse version of britian and is visiting America (Summerlands). The things you catch when you reread things.

    1. That’s interesting. I never intended that to be obscure, but I didn’t make a point of making it clear either. You’ll find a few other things like that if you pay attention to names.

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