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The Delvers is a silly story loaded with half-baked subtext. It follows a group who seek magic artifacts, despite being wanted by the imperial government.
Chapter 1: The Hunnul Ascends
This was Stevie's favorite part of the job.
"Thank you for choosing to fly with the Cloudbound Trading Company," he said in a well-practiced monotone. "We just flew in from Ack, and boy - are my arms tired," he continued, equally deadpan.
A few passengers in the cabin chuckled, and then the laughter began to build, shifting into chatter as some explained the joke to others. It wasn't often that the Hunnul flew all the way up to Helmet's Dent, and Stevie knew that meant this would be the first time many of them had been on an airship. Through the chatter, Stevie heard one woman keep laughing, a hearty belly-laugh. This was going to be fun flight, Stevie thought to himself.
"As I explained when we were boarding, today's flight won't be making its usual stop in Tayopopopolis," Stevie went on. He had to slow down for "Tayopopopolis," the foreign convention of adding an "op" to the city's name when a new monarch took over was sensible enough, but Tay the Third was an old man, and his son wasn't in good health - it wouldn't be long, and Stevie would need both hands to count the "ops."
"Because of the shorter flight, we won't be able to honor any of your drink tickets," Stevie continued, pausing to allow a few grumbles. Cloudbound flights almost never honored drink tickets, and Stevie had found it helped if he let people grumble as a group. "But they don't expire, so make sure to book your next flight with us." The passengers were moving in their seats, and starting their own conversations, so Stevie had to raise his voice slightly.
"If you have any questions, please make your way to the front of the cabin, where I'll be. And again, thank you for flying with the Cloudbound Trading Company."
Stevie went up to his seat near the cockpit and opened the thick canvas curtain that separated the cockpit from the passengers.
"We're ready to take off," Stevie said, and without looking back, the pilot gave Stevie a thumbs-up. Stevie closed the curtain and leaned out the airship's open door. He gave his own thumbs-up to the men standing in the field, who released levers which freed the thick ropes weighing down the airship's canopy.
Stevie remained leaning out the doorway as the Hunnul lurched upward, appreciating how the breeze suddenly shifted direction, seeming for a moment to come up from the field below. With a content sigh, he slid the door shut, and moved to his seat.
He leaned back in his chair and rested his eyes, listening to the excited chatter of the passengers as they watched the field drop away under them, the whole of nearby Helmet's Dent come into view, and slowly fall off toward the horizon as the airship Hunnul made its way out of the Farsteppes and through the Central Plains toward the city of Ack.
Chapter 2: Exposition
Jenos Anadini was seated near the middle of the airship's passenger cabin, in the aisle seat. He was trying to listen to Stevie's speech, but was distracted by the three passengers seated closest to him.
Across from him was a woman who, despite all his inclinations toward social courtesy, couldn't help but describe her in his head as a "barbarian." Her black hair was knotted past her incredibly broad shoulders, and she was dressed in a simple tunic and trousers. However, her fingers and neck were loaded with gold jewelery, and the way she carried herself confirmed: she wasn't a local peasant.
Seated next to her was a lanky young man, with hair as long as hers, but nicely brushed and bright red. His outfit was also unusual: fine trousers and a vest over a collared shirt, but everything looked a bit musty. And those wide salmon-leather lapels were definitely the style when Jenos had been a young soldier.
The seat next to Jenos, near the window, had been occupied by the time he had boarded the ship, by a pale man with a bushy black beard, dressed in many layers of fur and leather. The man, the youngest of the four, sat turned toward the window. Jenos suspected he was a nomad from the Farfarsteppes.
Jenos had ridden on airships many times before, so when the flight steward began his speech, Jenos continued to look at his fellow passengers.
He figured, based on their outfits, that most were merchants returning to the Green Delta.
Scene-setting the Green Delta
Ravens Attack, Hunnul Descends
Phasing into Jerry's Hallway
Crash, Recovery, Walk to Bellybrush
Jenos goes to the Curio Shop
presents his book to barnabus, who says he might know more if jenos is willing to help investigate the strange noises.
Jenos Buy Supplies
Wrapping each arrow individually in tissue paper.
Jenos tour the curio shop
Jenos defends the curio shop from imps
trent tells jenos about the book
it's old dwarven, he'll have to go to the worldkeep to learn more.
trent tells jenos to go to lorrestar's estate
"Find this book about this magic wand that'll make imps go away"
jenos goes to bar
the leaping eel, sees kindal and renkah again, tells them about the house, they agree to come along.
the group explores lorrestar's estate
finds book, it's in dwarven, nothing to do with imps, jenos' reads dwarven.
the group comes back, barnabus is actually honest
barnabus admits he's cursed, wants to break it reform the delvers. jenos agrees to help
jenos goes into the sewers
carbon dioxide trap
jenos breaks into basement of chandlers guild, but it's abandoned.
Jenos returns to Curio Shop
"place was abandoned" "they're onto me, we gotta flee - blindfold me, let's go to lorrestar's estate"
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