|Skies of Arcadia: Heroes
Author: sorathecrow PM
Vyse and Aika knew this was an important raid, but neither of them knew the impact it would have on their destinies-and that of the entire world…Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Friendship - Fina - Chapters: 2 - Words: 12,851 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 05-19-11 - Published: 03-24-11 - id: 6845993
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: Well, I hope you enjoy the first chapter! It was fun writing it, and I hope its fun to read too! This is, obviously, a fanfic, but I want it to be something you can read and understand and enjoy without necessarily having played the game before. If there's terminology I don't have time in the main story to explain immediately, I'll post a little explanation after each chapter that will hopefully explain things clearly. This thing has caused me no end of trouble, and the formatting never seems to translate correctly onto the web, so forgive any mistakes that may appear. In fact, please point them out. I try to bug sweep everything, but its a big post...
Rated: T for violence, suggestive themes, mild gore, language, loqua reference
Disclaimer: Obviously, I don't own skies of arcadia, and I neither speak for them, nor make money off of this. How could you possibly think I do? Why do people even bother writing these anyway? This is a work of parody, that I hope you will find amusing.
Prologue: Fallen Angel
Admiral Alfonso sighed dramatically and slumped in his chair. It was dark where he sat in the bridge of the air-battleship he commanded. Most of the lights inside and outside of the ship had been turned off, and the engine idled. Aside from the occasional creak from the metal ship or a squeak as a soldier's metal plate armor rubbed together, it was silent. It was driving the snobbish young man insane.
"How much longer must I patrol this backwater place?" He complained. "It has been two weeks and we have not seen any sign of a silver ship. Blast Glacian and that mad Vice Captain of his! The First Admiral of the Mid Ocean Fleet should not be forced to do such grunt work as patrol."
Yes, believe it or not, this aristocratic, blond haired young man with haughty eyes and a proud tongue really was an Admiral. An Admiral of the Valuan Imperial Armada, in fact. He was given the command because of his noble blood-unprepared for the position though he was. He was thoroughly, unbelievably spoiled, and had gotten it into his head at some point that the world owed him something. He had the utmost contempt for anyone not of noble blood, and treated the people under his authority as sub-human and disposable. Needless to say, he didn't have many friends on this particular ship.
The much bemoaned assignment: patrolling the Mid Ocean for any signs of a silver ship that could appear in the area within the next few weeks. Normally, Alfonso would simply delegate the task to one of his men to carry out, but the Lord Galcian himself had ordered him to oversee the job personally. Thus Admiral Alfonso was forced to do this 'menial task' (as he would call it) himself.
"What's worse is, the only people here are either common merchants passing through on their way to Sailor's Island, or savage air pirates-"
"Admiral Alfonso!" The Vice Captain interrupted, rushing up to Alfonso's side. Ignoring Alfonso's annoyed glare, he saluted hastily and continued: "We have spotted the Silvite's ship!"
"Wh-what? Really?" Alfonso asked incredulously. He hadn't really expected to find anything. In the back of his mind he had wondered if Galcian had only given him the job to get him out of the way. "Well, it's about time." He said, recovering quickly.
"What are your orders, sir?"
"Uh…oh, right, right! Ahem- get us in range and prepare to fire the concussion shells," Alfonso said. "But remember, Lord Galcian and the Empress want the pilot alive."
"Yes sir!" The Vice Captain turned and barked orders to the crew at the controls of the ship, and they, in turn relayed the orders through the intercom.
As if a switch had been flicked, energy returned to the ship. Soldiers dashed around the bridge and the engine revved to life underneath Alfonso's feet. Lights flickered on overhead in the bridge as blinding white light simultaneously shone from the search lights on the outside of the ship.
The lights of the ship alerted the pilot of the one-person vessel. It tried to veer away to the northeast as the Valuan vessel began to pursue, but the ambushers were already within range.
Concussion shells rocked the silver ship, knocking the pilot unconscious and nullifying the power of whatever moonstones were powering the ship. The Valuan ship lumbered to a stop beside the other smoking vessel and grappling hooks flew through the gap between them, dragging the paralyzed ship close.
"We have retrieved the pilot, sir," the Vice Captain said.
"One thing, sir-"
"What?" Alfonso asked.
"Sir… The pilot is an unarmed girl. Hardly older then sixteen years," the soldier said.
"Hmm? That's odd- a girl sailing alone at night? On a mission that interests even the Lord of the Imperial Armada?" Alfonso wondered aloud. "These people that sent her aren't the brightest chaps, are they. Bring her here."
Alfonso could hardly keep himself from dancing a merry jig in front of all his officers. He settled for rubbing his hands together and giggling quietly in greedy anticipation.
"Once the Empress hears of my noble deeds here, she's sure to be very pleased. I could be given a new flagship….perhaps even a promotion!"
A soldier cried out, interrupting Alfonso's daydreaming.
"Ship spotted off the port side, coming down out of the clouds!"
The vessel jerked under an impact from the left, making Admiral Alfonso lose his footing and topple to the floor.
"Wh-wh-wh-what?" He sputtered from his spot on the floor. "Who would dare attack a vessel of the Imperial Armada?"
"Their ship bears the standard of the Blue Rogues, sir!"
From his perch in the crow's nest, Vyse watched the unsuspecting Valuan ship. The wind-powered Blue Rogue ship the Albatross, lights doused, had easily crept within a few miles of the Valuan ship without attracting any attention. Now, using a bank of slow-moving clouds for cover, they waited for the opportunity to pounce. Any second now the signal to attack would go out. He gripped the wooden rim of the basket, drumming his fingers impatiently.
Valua had always kept up a minor military presence in the Mid Ocean, if only to back up its claims on the area, but due to the low amount of taxable traffic in the region and frequent Blue Rogue attacks, the Valuans usually stayed out of the way. In the last few weeks, however, the Armada had stepped up its patrols—battleships could be seen flying the Mid Ocean skies at all times of day. The Blue Rogues—freedom-loving pirates who already took every opportunity to hassle the Valuans whenever they could—naturally didn't take this invasion of their privacy well. They had already held up a couple of minor frigates, but all along they had their eyes on a much bigger mark—a battleship. And not just any battleship- the battleship of the Admiral of the 1st Ocean Fleet. If this raid was successful, it would permanently cement the Blue Rogues' dominance over the region, as well as add a substantial amount of wealth and prestige to their name. Vyse drummed his fingers a little bit faster.
A gunshot shattered Vyse's thoughts—The signal!
The Albatross's back-up engines roared and the ship dived steeply. Before the Valuan battleship could even react, the pirate ship's port side was rubbing up against it, cutting off immediate action.
Ignoring the tow ropes that were being cast onto the other ship, preventing it from peeling off and giving the pirates a bridge across, Vyse opted to simply jump from the basket down to the deck of the other ship. Despite the heavy landing, Vyse recovered swiftly and drew his two cutlasses in time to meet the first of the Imperial defense that began to pour out onto the deck.
"Hey! My name's Vyse. I'm a Blue Rogue, and soon, my friends and I will be relieving you of your valuable," Vyse said, bowing jauntily.
"Insolent whelp!" A bigger soldier said. He hefted his shortsword and approached Vyse. "I'll silence—" The soldier himself was silenced by a heavy boomerang caving in his oversized helmet. He tottered back a few steps, then tripped-unconscious.
A teenage girl with fiery hair jumped the small gap between the ships and caught the boomerang as she landed. "How could you leave me behind, Vyse? I can't let you go and have all the fun!" She glanced at the stunned soldiers as if noticing them for the first time. "Oh—hiya! My name's Aika, and we're robbing you!" The girl's childish greeting instantly negated any fear the soldiers might have had from her initial devastating display.
"Ha! Air-pirate scum! Let's teach these kids a lesson!" The soldiers yelled in unison and leapt at the duo. The group was tightly packed, making maneuvering a challenge—Vyse and Aika dispatched two soldiers, but soon, their attention was occupied with just fending off the sword thrusts from all sides. Vyse brought his right-hand cutlass up around just in time to intercept the sweep of a shortsword, but before he could retaliate with his other blade, he had to block an attack on the other side. Nearby, Aika was having the same difficulties. The circle of soldiers tightened, forcing Aika and Vyse back-to-back. The two shared a quick glance and Aika wordlessly started preparing a Pyri spell to hopefully clear the ranks a little, the red-tinged metal of her boomerang glowing brighter.
A soldier chuckled and brandished his weapon at her. "Don't even try it. We'll kill you before you can chant the first word. Ha! What can the two of you hope to do against the five of us?" The soldier drew his sword back for a killing thrust.
Blam! A gunshot rang out and the soldier jerked violently, dropping to the ground like a stone.
"That's funny, I only see four of you," a deep voice deadpanned.
"Good timing, Dad!" Vyse said, turning back towards the ship.
The man that stood on the deck of the other ship cocked his pistol, keeping it trained on the other soldiers in the circle. Guns were a very recent invention, and only a few elite soldiers were even trained in their use yet. While they were unbelievably powerful, despite the Empire's mounting efforts to devise an efficient way to manufacture them, they were still very expensive to produce. Such a rare weapon made the man look even more impressive. Along with his neatly combed brown hair, trimmed beard, and blue vest, the man hardly fit the image of a rowdy pirate.
"Go on, you two," he said, his steely blue eyes never wandering from his targets. "We'll take care of these guys. Make your way to the bridge and shut down the engines,"
"And Vyse…" the man added dryly. "How many times do I have to tell you? When we are sailing, call me 'Captain Dyne' or 'sir', not 'Dad', is that clear?"
"Aye aye, Captain," Vyse chuckled. He turned to Aika and grinned. "Now, shall we pay a visit to the owner of this fine vessel?"
"Let's go!" Aika said, punching the air with her fist as she skipped past the soldiers.
"Hey, wait for me!" Vyse exclaimed, following her into the heart of the ship.
"How dull! Valuans have no taste in design," Aika declared as she jogged in front of Vyse through a hallway in the Valuan ship.
Everything in the ship was purely practical. The walls and ceiling were a uniform steel grey, with exposed metal beams at precise intervals. Emergency lights shone here and there, suffusing the air with a red glow.
The hallway opened into a large, two-story room. Stairs at the opposite side of the room led up to a walkway that looked down on the floor below.
The two made it halfway to the stairs when a voice behind them said: "Well…Well… It seems Air Pirates have decided to…infest my ship."
A young man with blond hair and a silky white jacket leered down at them from the walkway above them. A soldier with an unconscious girl slung over his shoulder stood just behind him.
"I am Alfonso, cherished son of Valua's most distinguished family, and an Admiral of the Imperial Armada," he continued haughtily, flicking his hair. "Normally, lowlifes such as yourselves would never have the opportunity to bask in such greatness. Consider yourself fortuna—"
"Yeah, right…" Vyse cut in, asking, "Who's the girl? I never thought someone of your…stature would stoop to kidnapping."
"Scum like you would not understand the ways of the Valuan Empire," Alfonso snapped his fingers. "I cannot waste my time dealing with you." A group of five soldiers came out of the door behind him. "Dispose of them," he ordered.
Without hesitation, the soldiers jumped down from the upper level, landing in front of the two Rogues. As soon as they hit the ground, they whipped out short, yellow batons and began chanting slowly. It was a suicidal move that left them open to attacks in the mean time—they probably hoped that they would win by sheer numbers alone.
"Aika!" Vyse exclaimed. "They must be Yellow mages! We gotta take 'em out before they finish chanting!"
Vyse hit one in the gut with the hilt of his cutlass, following it up with a rap on the back of the head.
Since the soldiers were to close for Aika to throw her boomerang she was forced to wield it like club. She swung it in a fearsome arc, clipping one man and sending him to dreamland, and possibly breaking another mage's ribs.
They could not move fast enough, though. The last two mages thundered "Electri!"
Vyse dived towards the mages, hitting the ground just as two brilliant lightning bolts arced from their batons. A bolt flashed over his head, narrowly missing him. With a quick stab, he dispatched the mage nearest him.
The attack caught Aika off-guard. She took the attack straight in her back. With a small grunt she dropped to the ground, falling over the soldier that she had just knocked out.
The man stood triumphantly over the girl, readying another spell to finish her off. The mage made the same unfortunate mistake as Aika, though: he turned his back on one of his opponents.
"Nobody hurts my FRIENDS!" Vyse shouted, bringing both of his cutlasses down to cleave the man's helmet wide open. The soldier fell, residual energy still trailing from his baton.
Vyse kneeled and shook Aika gently. She moaned, but did not wake up. Her breathing was ragged and her pulse was thready—not good.
"Come on, Aika. Now is not the time to be taking a nap," Vyse whispered. "Now…Let's try this." He dug a Sacri Crystal from a pouch at his side. Putting the fragile crystal in her hand, he curled her fingers around it and squeezed firmly. A vibrant green glow poured out of her fist, quickly enveloping her whole body, and then disappearing just as rapidly. With it went all of the minor cuts and scratches that were visible on her skin, indicating the healing light of the Green Moon imbued in the crystal had done its job. Almost immediately she bolted up into a sitting position and tried to gauge the situation. When she realized there were no more enemies at the moment she sighed and relaxed a little bit. "Thanks for the save, Vyse," Aika said with an embarrassed smile. "I got caught off guard there."
"No problem—hup, there ya go," Vyse said, helping Aika get back up on her feet at the same time. "Alfonso must have slipped out while we were occupied."
"That means we have no time to lose!" Aika said as she trotted to the stairway. "We can't just sit by and let that creep get away with kidnapping!"
They quickly scaled the stairs and made their way to the door that Alfonso had exited from.
The door was made of heavy steel and was locked from the other side.
"No good—its locked—" Vyse began.
"Move aside, Vyse," Aika said. Her hand was raised, palm facing the door.
He stared for a moment, then his eyes widened in realization of what she was planning to do. He plugged his ears and sidled a healthy distance away from the door. "Just don't overdo—"
"Moons, give me strength!" Aika interrupted. With a bright flash and a sound almost like a thunderclap, a fireball buckled the steel door like tin and sent it flying down the corridor. The recoil from the blast threw Aika to the ground a few yards away. Her arm was covered in soot and her face was streaked with it as well, but she was otherwise unhurt. Vyse had backed far enough away from the point of impact that he had been unfazed by the blast. He dusted the coating of soot off his clothes, ruefully wondering how long the gunpowder smell would cling to them. He looked to Aika, already skipping cheerfully through the burnt-out doorway. "You know, you're really terrifying sometimes…"
"Ahahaha!" Aika laughed, taking it in stride. "What are you doing, Vyse? We don't have time to stand around! Hurry up!"
The hallway ended in a small room stacked with metal crates. A heavy steel door even more secure-looking than the last one took up most of the far wall. Indeed, it looked more like it belonged in a bank vault than a battleship.
"Sigh…not another one," Vyse said.
Vyse shook his head before she could offer what he knew was coming. "You'd destroy the ship itself before you could blow this one off its hinges.
"Let's think about this logically—pirates have overrun his ship, and the battle seems lost. What do you think he'd do?"
"Probably make for the lifeboats…" Aika mused.
"Most likely. We just need to find another route to the garage where they're usually kept. A big warship like this must have more than one route for maintenance crews and such…"
"Hmm…" Aika and Vyse looked around the room. "There!" Aika pointed at the opening of what appeared to be a side passage partially hidden by a stack of crates. The passage went off to the right of the steel door, but it was the only chance the duo had.
"It's worth a shot…" Vyse said, going over to help her move the crates.
"The hangar door is open, the weather is fair, and the life-boat is ready for launch, sir. The preparations for your escape are complete," the Vice Captain reported, saluting Alfonso.
When the earlier fight had turned in the favor of the two Rogues, Alfonso and his Vice Captain discreetly exited the room and made their way to his personal safe-room behind a heavy steel door, which also had a private entrance to the hangar where his lifeboat was stored. The expansive hangar took most of the back end of the ship, and had a large draw-bridge door that now opened the whole back wall to the morning sunrise and provided a runway ramp for the lifeboat when it was ready to lift off. The engine of the lifeboat in question purred quietly as it hovered in place.
The hostage was left, still unconscious, in a corner of the hangar by the maintenance door, largely forgotten during the preparations.
"Excellent," Alfonso replied, turning from where he had been casually polishing his yellow moonstone-imbued rapier. "My preparations are complete as well…"
"Preparations—" Alfonso flicked his sword-tip to the Vice Captain's chest. "To dispose of a traitor!"
"Wha-wh-what do you mean, sir?" The man exclaimed, unconsciously backing towards the edge of the hangar door. If it had been a fair fight, the soldier could have easily over-powered the young noble, but the shock and confusion from the out-of-the-blue accusation made it impossible for him to react.
"The Empress will not take my deserting ship in good humor. I need a scapegoat, and you will do quite nicely," Alfonso said. He chuckled to himself as if it was some grand scheme, slowly backing the Vice Captain up with light pressure from his rapier as he spoke. "Now, if you'll excuse me?" He lightly prodded the man again with his sword, making him jump back—and tumble off the runway, head over heels into the Deep Sky far below.
"Nooo!" The man cried out as he fell. Alfonso leaned slightly over the edge to watch him fall, sheathing his sword again as he planned his excuse.
"But, Your Majesty, when the air-pirates attacked, my own Vice Captain turned my men against me. It was all I could do to dispose of the traitor myself before I escaped," Alfonso giggled like a child at this. "Heh heh heh. Even in death, he serves me well."
"First kidnapping, and now killing your own man in cold blood?"
Alfonso jumped in surprise at the new voice, nearly falling off the edge himself.
Vyse stood in the corner of the hangar in front of the hostage, weapons drawn. Aika was kneeling down behind him, checking the white-clothed girl's condition.
"Draw your blade, Alfonso," Vyse challenged.
"You two again? You are persistent for Rogues," Alfonso sneered. "Fine, if you want my ship so badly, take it. I can always ask for another one."
"We'll take the girl while we're at it," Vyse added. "You Valuans can't have anything good planned for her." He shifted into a fighting stance. "Now, prepare yourself! Don't try and get out of fighting me."
"Feh—" Alfonso scoffed. "You are not worth the effort. If you are so desperate to fight something, why don't you test your skills against my personal war beast? Antonio~?"
Vyse and Aika followed Alfonso's gaze over to a pair of heavy double doors. The doors shuddered and bulged outward as if hit by twin battering rams side-by-side. With the second impact, the beast burst through, sending the mangled doors flying apart.
It resembled a bull in shape, but its skin was rough like a rhino's. The creature's most prominent features were two enormous horns that, at their bases, you wouldn't even be able to wrap your arms around—not attached to its head, but on either side of it on its body.
"Antonio…" Alfonso purred. "Trample these pests, and make their deaths as painful as possible."
"Looks like we got no choice," Vyse said, glancing at Aika.
She gulped and nodded.
The beast turned towards them and lowered its head as if it was preparing to charge.
"Maybe if we use magic on it from a distance," Vyse was interrupted by the distinct crackle of electricity.
The beast's horns began to spark and glow with yellow energy.
"I don't like the looks of this…" Aika said warily.
The monster jerked forward.
Vyse dived to the left, pulling Aika down with him. In the next instant twin lightning bolts arced over their heads. The monster tried to follow it up with a charge, but Aika cast Pyri on the beast, knocking it back temporarily. It reeled back from the combined shock of intense heat and light. After a few moments of snorting and shaking its head the beast turned back towards the duo, apparently unharmed. The beast began preparing another bolt.
"Looks like its hide is too thick for my magic to seriously hurt it," Aika said as she dodged the incoming attack. "What are we gonna do, Vyse?"
Vyse racked his brain for options as he ran. I can't get close enough to that thing to use my cutlasses—it would run me through with its horns long before I got close… Beyond stunning it for a few seconds, Aika's Red Glist Arts aren't powerful enough to… "That's it! Aika! Attack its face with your Pyri attack again! While its stunned, I'll hit it with my 'Cutlass Fury!'"
"I guess it's our only choice," Aika said. When there was a lull in the lightning attacks, Aika thrust out her hand and intoned her normal activation key: "Moons, give me strength!", and thundered "Pyri!" Another fireball blossomed on the monster's face. It roared in confusion and light pain, shaking the flames off just in time to see Vyse bring both of his swords down in a crushing blow to its head. Out of reflex, the beast loosed another bolt of electricity, the charge short-circuiting between its horns and directly through Vyse. Although it was weaker than the previous bolts because the beast didn't have time to prepare it, Vyse caught the whole of the attack and was thrown several yards back.
"Vyse!" Aika gasped, running over to him.
He was already struggling to his feet when she got to his side.
"Once more…just…once more and it'll be finished," he said determinedly.
"What are you talking about?" She exclaimed, helping him to his feet. "'Just once more' and you'll be finished!"
"Look, though…the monster can hardly stand now…" Vyse pointed. The attack had done a number on the beast—it was sagging on its stubby legs, and blood was pouring out of its wound in its face. "If I can hit it one more time—"
"In your condition?" Aika asked incredulously. "At least wait a second so I can heal you—"
"There'll be time for that later," Vyse asserted firmly, strength coming back to his voice. "Cast Pyri, now!"
Aika cursed something about meaningless heroics and yelled: "Pyri!"
The weakened creature crumpled under the force of the blast, its horns almost touching the ground.
Gathering the last of his strength, Vyse ran forward, swords blue blurs as they sped towards their target.
The monster anticipated him this time though—with a roar it poured all of its pain-induced fury into one mighty lightning bolt. Vyse's momentum was too great to be stopped, though. He slipped between the beast's horns and used the inertia to drive the blades deep in its unarmored neck. The cutlasses sunk down to their hilts, mindless of the tough hide and hard bone they cleaved. The electricity coursing through the beast's horns abruptly cut off, and the beast sunk to the ground. Vyse followed suit, leaning against the fallen monster.
"Sorry…I had to get rough with you there…" He murmured weakly.
"Sacri!" Aika called out as she ran over.
The air around him briefly shimmered with a green glow. By the time Aika got over to him, most of his injuries were healed. Aika grabbed his arm and pulled him to his feet. "Now we're even, 'kay?"
Vyse pulled his swords out of the dead war beast. "Yup, sorry I kinda just jumped in there."
"Well, at least it over," Aika smiled.
"Almost," Vyse said, turning to face Alfonso again.
Alfonso started when he felt the Rogues' attention on him. He was in the midst of trying to figure out how to get the lifeboat off the ground when the two pirates turned on him. He straightened, trying to look appropriately regal again.
"Feh…It appears there is more to you Rogues than meets the eye." He pushed a button on the control panel of the ship and it shakily rose into the air. It jerked, and then zipped forward off the runway. "We shall meet again!"
Vyse and Aika ran to the edge and watched the lifeboat dart off into the early morning horizon.
"Darn! What kind of Captain abandons his crew and runs without even putting up a fight?" Vyse said, glaring at the retreating speck in the distance.
Aika grinned widely and poked him in the ribs. "He may have been a coward, but he was a coward with gold!"
"I guess this means the ship and everything on it is ours now…" Vyse mused, a grin appearing on his face again. He looked over at the girl who was still lying on the floor, forgotten by the cowardly admiral. "I wonder why the Valuans are so interested in that girl…"
"Besides the odd taste in fashion, she looks normal…" Aika wondered.
The girl's clothes were definitely odd. She wore a white dress, trimmed with a gold hem. Around her head was a gold circlet, and she had gold ankle bracelets as well. She seemed to be near Vyse and Aika's ages—somewhere around seventeen years old. Her blond hair, splayed around her face, was about shoulder-length. Her skin was white, as if she hadn't been touched by the sun once in her whole life, although it wasn't an unhealthy color. An incomprehensible rune was drawn on her shoulders and forehead. Altogether, she was pretty in a delicate, almost alien sort of way.
Who is she? Vyse wondered to himself. And why do the Valuans want her so badly?
A/N: These notes are intended to expand one the mechanics of the universe in the story, not so much as info specifically on how the game works. Some things may even differ from the game.
Islands and Airships
Arcadia is like our world, in that it consists of islands and continents, but with one major difference:
There is no sea.
Islands and continents alike float in the air, with nothing but air between and below them. Its theorized that the continents are held aloft by the moonstones embedded deep in their soil reacting to power of the moons above them to create a kind of magnetic levitation. Scientists have been unable to properly test this theory, however, because it seems to only occur on a large-scale. There is an old legend about a man-made island that actually harnessed this phenomenon, but it has been dismissed as an impossible myth…
All the islands and continents float within the "Middle Sky"- a region of the sky that is able to support life. Arcadia's skies are divided into three zones based on habitability: Deep Sky, Middle Sky, and Upper Sky.
Middle Sky is the only region where humans can survive. This is the altitude where the clouds roam, and the swirling maelstroms called Sky Rifts are confined.
Below Middle Sky is the Deep Sky. This altitude in a constant state of chaos. Storms cover all of the surface of Deep Sky, making exploration currently impossible.
Above Middle Sky is the Upper Sky. The air is too thin for humans at these altitudes, making travel impossible. Clouds are nowhere to be seen up here, with only a few small, lifeless islands drifting alone.
Using the power of the moonstones, the Arcadians developed a way to cross these skies: airships. Airships 'burn' moonstones as fuel to power the great engines which hold the ship in the air. There are many different ways moonstones can be used to power airships: red moonstones can be burnt to power an engine, blue moonstones can be used to create wind on a quiet day(to power sail-boats), and yellow moonstones can double as a battery for an engine!
Moons and Moonstones
Arcadia has six known moons. The Yellow Moon hangs above the continent Valua resides on, and the Red Moon above the continent on which Nasr resides, earning them the nicknames the "Yellow Continent" and the "Red Continent" respectively. Each moon also embodies an element:
The Silver Moon embodies Light, or life and healing.
The Green Moon: Earth.
The Blue Moon: Air.
The Red Moon: Fire.
The Yellow Moon: Electricity.
The Purple Moon: Ice.
Moonstones often fall from the moons and land on the islands or continents below. These stones can be collected and refined to be used to power machines or imbue them with the chosen elemental. Moonstones can also be obtained through mining deep into the lower crust of the continents.
A single moonstone can also be used to cast magic, or "Glist Arts". The more refined a stone is, the more powerful it becomes. Raw moonstones that have not gone through the refining process have very little useable power.
Nasr and Valua
About fifty years ago, a new king came to the throne of Valua. For the next decade of his reign,the people of Valua lived in peace and prosperity. However, the king eventually fell to the corrupting influences of such great power. He became greedy for more power and land. The king launched a surprise attack on the surrounding contries, overpowering them one by one and using their resources to strengthen his own navy. After five years of nonstop war and bloodshed, Valua controlled its entire home continent under the Yellow Moon. The king was not satisfied with just controlling the home continent, though. He now had visions of controlling all the land in Arcadia. His navy, now dubbed the 'Invincible Armada,' promptly took Sailor's Island, a small but prosperous center of trade in the Mid Ocean. The king turned his gaze next to the desert continent of Nasr. The land under the Red Moon, though, unlike the other unfortunate countries on the Yellow continent, was prepared for the coming attack. Seeing the Valuan king's press for land, the Nasrians amassed a navy to rival the Invincible Armada.
In a fierce and costly battle, Nasr pushed Valua back to the refuge of its fortified capital on the Yellow Continent. The thick, stone door of the fortress/capital, called the "grand fortress", resisted all Nasrian cannon fire. Although the Nasrians kept up their attack for several weeks, they never made any progress on those huge walls. The cannons mounted in the gates eventually picked off so many of the Nasrian fleet that they too had to call off the attack.
Valua had been delt a heavy blow- and her citizens, already dissatisfied with the war, had reached their limit.
Nasr had taken a beating as well- never again did it reclaim the glorious power its navy had once held.
Valua, its "Invincible Armada" completely destroyed, halted its campaign. In the unrest following the war, the king was assassinated. The Valuans hoped that the king's daughter, Theodora, might bring peace back to their troubled country.
And for several years, their future seemed bright. The Queen was just and kind, and Valua began patching up its relations with Nasr (although it still kept the nations on its home continent that it had originally taken). The fragile peace that had begun to grow was crushed when the Queen's husband died in an ambush on a diplomatic trip to Nasr. Although the cause of his death and who the ambushers were is debated to this day, the Queen blamed the Nasrians in her rage. She immediately withdrew her ambassadors from the country, and began building up the old Armada once again. Now, about ten years later, Valua routinely patrols much of the sky of Arcadia.
Although she has not declared war on Nasr, the rapidly growing new Armada, and increasingly aggressive actions of Valua, suggest that war is not far off.
Looking back over what I wrote, I figured it would be a good idea to give a brief overview on what specific Glist Arts have appeared thus far.
The first spell we come across in the story, is Aika threatening to use a Pyri spell when she and Vyse are cornered on the Valuan ship deck. Pyri is the most basic of the Red Glist Arts, and naturally, uses a Red Moon Stone as a conduit. In this case, the "blade" of Aika's boomerang was imbued with Red Moon Stone energy, so she was using that to focus the power. Other instances, like where a fireball erupts from her palm, follow the same idea. The caster first uses their magic-imbued weapon to focus the power, and then directs the magic where they want it to go. You can cast Glist Arts without using a magic-imbued item to focus it, as long as you have a moon stone, but its a common tactic for novice spellcasters to make it easier for them in the heat of battle.
The next spell we saw was directed at our heroes- Electri. As its name implies and you saw in the story, its an electric attack, powered by a Yellow Moon Stone. The actual chanting part of the fight, where the mages were left vulnerable, was actually fairly short, what made the scene feasable was that in real life, they would truly have been exposed. Generally, to cast a spell, all you need is an activation phrase, like Aika and Vyse's "Moons, give me strength!", "Let's try this!" The words aren't really important, it just helps you focus while you gather energy (video game terms: Spirit) for the attack. So, in that brief time while they were trying to blurt out their activation chants, Vyse and Aika were able to get in a few hits.
Sacri- we saw this one twice this chapter, and we'll probably be seeing it much more as we go on... Sacri is the most basic healing spell, healing minor cuts and scrapes and light internal injuries. The mage's attack was fairly weak, actually, Aika just took it harder because she was unprepared for it, so Sacri more than did the job. In the case of Vyse getting hit first with a basic lightning attack, then pretty much taking Thunder of Fury head-on, its a wonder he was even breathing. Luckily, Sacri took care of the worst of the damage, although it just didn't have the power to heal him completely. Coincidentally, that was all the MP Aika had left anyway, so that's why she didn't do more...Right... Harhar.