Chapter 7 – Matinee

“The Diva’s got quite a voice on her. She has an otherworldly sound.” Bacchus said. The woman nodded in reply and threw her satchel around her neck.
“Until next time. Good luck Captain.” Poppy said.
“Next time.” Was the Captain’s only reply.

Bacchus sat for a few moments longer to finish his drink. Meetings with Poppy were always so short, both of them burdened by their profession. Reluctantly he got to his feet after his last sip. He too had enjoyed the matinee but he had got his papers and deposited the commission into the Claybar commons bank already. It was time he checked on the crew’s progress and made plans to set off. Before the curtains raised and the second act had begun, Bacchus was on his way. He walked through the streets of Claybar. The city was active night and day. People of all sorts of cast and creed made up the population. It was yet another town owned by merchants with no allegiances to any kingdom or empire. A good place for business. You could tell the wealth of a region by looking at the stores. A jeweler, a bank and then a dry leaf store sat all in the same row before yet another jeweler. Of course the purveyors and boutique lost their splendor the further away he traveled from the center but still they remained respectful enough. That didn’t stop him from resting a hand on his pistol inside his coat as he walked.
A lift brought him up to the airdocks proper and a few walkways after that led him to the bay in which The Glee anchored. The ship was fully dressed now. Barely recognisable as his pride and joy. It had been stripped of all the vibrant colour, of all the mirth. Shades of grey, blue and brown now decorated the hull with dirty tattered sails. Portholes were covered with metal rods and a cage sat on deck. He wasn’t surprised to see Claxton and Waldwick behind the bars adorned in chains. They played their parts well. Maybe we should keep them there. He thought to himself. “Captain on deck!” Came a shout as he walked up the gangplank. Of course it wasn’t a traditional ramp like they had on seafaring vessels. This walkway had rails and was chained tight to both ship and dock.  “Ready to set sail, Captain?” Came a voice in way of greeting from Karya.
“We’ve got all we need. Let’s set off.” Replied Bacchus.“Set Sail!” Karya shouted and the command was echoed throughout the ship. Men unchained the gangplank which retracted and locked itself against the hull. Mooring lines were pulled into the ship which separated any connection it had to the dock. This made the craft float off out to the side. The jolt didn’t phase the airmen who simply swayed with the craft. Sails unfurled to cover the deck and flapped in the wind. A hum and various vibrations throughout the ship indicated the Skilite engine had been activated. Mave sat at the helm and steered the ship away from the wharf. Slow at first until they were a safe distance from any other vessel or structure. Then with a smooth press of the control lever she kicked the ship into gear. The Glee propelled onwards and upward into the sky until they were amongst the clouds and on their way.

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