Plume of Down – Part 3

World at Large

Four months have passed. The threat of the arrival of humans weighs heavily on everyone’s mind. Corvo’s survey team spent many days watching as the construction of the tower continued without delay. When the second tower was finally completed, the humans built scaffolding to reach the small floating mountain. Once there they began to mine into it. In a matter of a few weeks they had acquired rare and mysterious glowing blue stones from the core. Days later, some of their spell weavers had learned to levitate. Humans were on the verge of discovering magical flight.

At the Crowmaran city, training had not yet paid off fully. Most trainees were clumsy but many had the determination to continue to try their best. Magic was not easy to grasp either. Elder Kallis was patient and taught as best he could. Thankfully the group learning magic had greater skill and thus made progress to being able to mount a sustainable defense. A small few, still worried about a conflict they did not desire, decided to leave. Although it was a painful choice, they would rather avoid fighting.

One day, shortly after returning from an early morning survey flight, Corvo reported in with the elders.

“They’re headed this way. It’s a large convoy. Their army was holding a sort of defensive position protecting some central figures. From the looks of it they don’t seem prepared for an invasion”

“Thank you Corvo. We cannot let our guard down regardless. Tell Acarius to hurry and prepare a contingent of the best trained warriors. After you are done with that, find Elder Kallis and tell him the same. We need to prepare a defense”, said Elder Cairos.

“Got it, I’ll head out immediately”

Corvo flew around the city and found Acarius in a large plaza still teaching one of his defense classes.

“Why this interruption Corvo?”

“Elder Cairos requests a contingent of warriors. He says it’s time to prepare a defense”

“The humans are near then?”

“Yes, I saw a convoy not too far from here and headed in our direction”

“I did not expect them to move so quickly. Fine then, I’ll gather those most capable and send them to the meeting hall”

“Alright, I’m off to find Elder Kallis”

“Wait Corvo. I must apologize”

“What for?”

“For too long I have seen you as a reckless, ignorant child. The truth is, you are probably the bravest of us all”

“I have been as scared as many of us Acarius, but I do what I feel is right. It was that recklessness that initially led me to discover that tower”

“And for that we thank you. You even took some of the defense classes”

“With the other instructors, because I still thought you hated me”

“No, no hatred from this old fool. Go, Vala should be with Elder Kallis”

Another flight through the city. Even with some crows leaving, the city still bustled as they prepared to receive the coming visitors. Close to the western edge of the city, on another of the great floating mountains, was Elder Kallis and Vala. They practiced ancient spells and magical enchantments. Strange glowing symbols floated around them. Small flames erupted from some of those and danced around at the command of Vala.

“You seem to have gotten the hang of that”

“Corvo! I’m so glad to see you!”, said Vala.

“You come with news for us?”, Elder Kallis questioned, seemingly knowing what Corvo was about to say.

“Yes, Elder Cairos has asked for a contingent of crows adept with magic to mount a defense. The humans draw near”

“Understood, I will gather those I can. Vala, go with Corvo to receive our group at the meeting hall.”

“Alright. Let’s go, Corvo.”

Around midday alarms sounded throughout the city. The humans had arrived at the area below the great floating mountains. Most elders waited at the meeting hall preparing the defense groups for the worst.

To the utter astonishment of the elder crows and just about everyone only three humans arrived using a magical bridge. Not even proper flight magic was used. The elders were confused. For the longest time humans had been thought of as savages, but here was evidence that things had changed dramatically.

“Greetings. People of the Crowmaran. We have been aware of your presence for nearly a century now. We are also aware that our continuous conflict has set a terrible example of who we are. I am Queen Amelie, and these two are my retainers. To my left is our court wizard, Elena. To my right is Knight Captain Juliana”

“Greetings Queen Amelie, I am Elder Cairos. I will be direct with you, you have surprised all of us with your presence here. Please, tell us, why have you come here?”

“I am here to assure you that we have no hostile intentions toward you and that we wish to connect with the rest of the beings of this world. You are the closest neighbors to my kingdom and thus I wish to extend an invitation for your people to feel free to visit. We wish to promote trade of knowledge and materials. En fin, we wish to come to an understanding”

“What guarantees do we have that your people will not be aggressive towards us?”

“This is why I have come here myself. I am their leader. It is my responsibility to keep them in line. Rather than just tell you, your people should experience this themselves. For now, I know you are apprehensive about all this, so I ask that you merely assign an observer. Afterwards we can talk about commerce. What I offer you today has been the same I have said for others. Even the stubborn Wolven kingdom started trade with us recently”

“The Wolven?! That is indeed a surprise. Well then, you have convinced me Queen Amelie. I will assign someone to go to your kingdom. May this be a step towards continued peace”

“Indeed. With that I consider my task complete, I will head back to our city. I await your envoy. Farewell!”

And just like that the humans left. Corvo watched as the caravan moved away. He questioned why the need for so many forces for one person, but the elders reminded him that, despite those humans being peaceful it didn’t mean that they were naïve enough to let their guard down. In the same way the Crowmaran suspected aggression, they too could suspect them of being violent. Though their own conflicts had happened decades ago, the scars were still fresh.

“We are as split as they are Corvo. For example, long ago we had to split our people because of near constant aggression. Today, our yellow spotted cousins remain in control of the floating mountains far south”, said Elder Cairos. “If we can continue to have peace, then I will take it. Would you be bothered too much if we chose you to represent us?”

“Of course not Elder Cairos. I would be delighted. I am a curious crow to both my benefit and detriment, ha!”

“Just remember to report in regularly”

Peace remains in the city of the Crowmaran. Their fears about the humans had been relieved. Commerce eventually bloomed between them. Corvo was delighted with learning about the traditions held by the humans. Eventually all trade broadened to include the Wolven and even the yellow spotted crows from the south. Some areas of conflict remained, as with such a diverse world it was inevitable. The new alliance tried to deal with these as best they could. To soften old hatreds and eventually reach a peaceful resolution for them. Finally at the end of this road, Corvo was happy one day when he discovered that his parents were alive and well. They had traveled so far they lost their way, but with the new roads and flight corridors set up by the alliance they rediscovered the great Crowmaran city. His family reunited, now he had to contend with having two sisters and a brother. As for Vala, she continued at Corvo’s side for years to come.


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