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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:54 pm 
Mr. Party-Killbot
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RAF Uxbridge, Hillington
Great Britain
December 16th, 1940


"The Admiral will see you now, Captain."

Michael Rankin straightened his jacket semi-automatically as he stood up. "I expect I'll find him in the covert?"

"Er... yes sir," said the aide, clearly put out of sorts by something or other. Rankin was more or less certain he knew what the issue was. He was also more or less certain that he did not give a damn for the aide's difficulties as a result. He could see the man's eyes being drawn to the silver cross-fleury attached to a band of white and purple ribbon that sat against his chest. His DFC had been a formality of course, a companion award to Æquitas' Star of Ascalon, but this officious little twit didn't know that. And even if he did, the four stripes of silver braid that marked an RAF Captain should be enough to curb anyone's tongue. Not that it always was.

"Lead the way then, Leftenant," said Captain Rankin, and without waiting for the adjutant to do anything of the sort, Rankin marched down the hallway by himself at a pace he calculated would be brisk enough to leave the other man gasping at his heels. He was gratified to learn that he was right.

Uxbridge was busier than it had been in some time. Why this was was clear enough, as the needs of an emergency bunker had been giving way to that of a permanent air operations center for some time. The hastily-constructed air defenses, ludicrously inadequate against a German Heavyweight in any respectable airman's opinion anyway, were being replaced by even more-hastily-constructed offices, signalling towers, and command-control rooms, all designed to give the RAF desperately-needed central control as the exhausted squadrons gradually shifted from their role of defense to harassing attack against the German positions in France. The Blitz was still in full force of course, with German raiders striking London and other targets largely every night, reducing entire towns to ash and ruin. But within the military establishment of the RAF, the sense had already begun to creep in that this phase of the war was at an end. Hitler's attempt to destroy the RAF had failed. And both sides knew it.

What that meant for the remaining prosecution of the war was unclear, but then that was theoretically why he was here, wasn't it?

The door to the covert was ajar, and within it, Rankin could see that it was better populated than usual. Two Yellow Reapers were revetted against the far wall of the massive underground chamber, one asleep, the other engaged in reading something off a dragon-sized lectern. Beside them lay a quartet of Winchester Scout-Couriers, two of which were presently wrestling with one another in a manner any civilian would have believed indicated a fight to the death, but which to Rankin's trained eye spoke of mere playfulness. The other two were still in-harness, their captains no doubt delivering whatever package they had been sent here with by hand. Nearer on, a single Parnassian eyed a Regal Copper with a menacing look, not that Parnassians had any other look available to them. The Copper did not return the favor, in fact it did not deign to even notice the Parnassian, occupied instead in a whispering conversation with an unharnessed Malachite from Training Command, something which in this case meant that the Copper's words were physically possible to ignore, if you worked at it. Above them all, the giant retractable roof of ferro-concrete lay open to the skies, evidence that, at least in daylight, Britain was beginning to show some confidence in their ability to detect and disrupt German bombing raids, though of course nobody was yet fully safe.

"Captain Rankin."

Rankin turned to his right, and saw what he had been looking for, a brilliant Golden Anglewing bedecked with the symbols of a Royal Air Force Vice-Admiral. He touched his cap, a gesture returned by the twenty-ton midweight with a nod of the head, and approached the older gentleman who stood by his dragon's foreclaws.

"Admiral Tolkien," said Rankin with a salute. "Thank you for seeing me."

"No," said the Admiral," thank you, Captain, for putting up with this absurd situation. You would not believe the logistical nightmare that this whole experiment has caused us. Not your fault of course."

That was hardly a universal opinion, but this wasn't the time. "I understand, sir."

"I doubt that," said the Admiral. "Nevertheless, I have good news for you. After a great deal of debate, we've decided what to do with your command."

"My command?" asked Rankin, with a question that was something more than just a formality. Since mid-October, his "command" had been a polite fiction, referred to in duty reports and little else. With the Battle of Britain winding down, the Admiralty had stripped the dragons from RAF Tangmere one by one for re-asignment to other formations, duties, and missions so top-secret that neither Rankin nor anyone else he knew could get word of what they were doing. This was all normal of course, part of the exigencies of wartime service, and even Rankin lacked the paranoia to see it as anything else... some days. But left to his own devices at an empty covert, with nothing but the occasional stopover from a courier, Rankin had begun having trouble avoiding the thought that perhaps the Admiralty had simply selected Tangmere as the next location for his apparently perpetual exile.

The smile on Tolkien's face seemed to belie that point though. "Indeed, Captain. Your command is being re-constituted. Indeed, we're enlarging it."

Tolkien had a habit of inviting junior officers to his covert and then dropping news on them that would shock a Thunderchild into silence. Most assumed it was a South African thing.

"You're what?"

"The results of our disbursement experiment were... not as satisfactory as we had hoped," said Tolkien. "RAF Command wanted to try and use the experience of your beasts and crews to stiffen other formations or lend weight to special operations, but I don't believe the results bore out their expectations."

"Admiral, I refuse to believe that for an instant," said Rankin before he could even think to stop himself, his face flushing red. "Those crews and dragons are among the finest in service anywhere, I testified to that in my after-actions. The results they obtained alone should - "

"It's not their fault, Captain," said Tolkien, with just enough weight to stop Rankin's rant in its tracks. "But your squadron was rather unorthodox. The admiralty had difficulty integrating them properly with a more standard TOE, and the mission prerogatives were, in most cases, ill-selected. Dragons willing to storm France against orders require a certain touch to keep in line, and there's the... colonial... aspect to consider."

Rankin closed his eyes and suppressed a groan. "Who did Frostfell attack, sir?"

"No-one who didn't deserve it, far as I can tell. But the decision to place him in Essex Squadron was, in retrospect, clearly a mistake."

"I could have told the Admiralty that, had they inquired."

"I did tell the Admiralty that," said Tolkien. "But SOE couldn't justify a Heavyweight in the allocation reports."

"A Wendigo is its own justification."

"Not according to the Admiralty. Regardless, there's no point in arguing the matter now. Our mistake has been identified, and we do not intend to make it again."

Rankin composed himself. "Will I be getting Frostfell back, Admiral?"

"Yes," said Tolkien. "Though I rather assumed I'd need to order you to do so."

After two months of enforced idleness, there were damned few dragons Rankin would not have jumped at the chance to get back, but he refrained from saying as much. "He's one of the finest flankers I've ever seen," he said. "Capable and willing to engage twice his own weight in hostiles at the drop of a hat. The rest, I believe, I can manage."

"All the better," said Tolkien. "At any rate, he won't be alone. We've decided to send Kunja and Jebediah back to you as well."

Rankin's eyebrow lifted. "Kunja didn't do well on Ark Royal?"

"Quite the opposite," said Tolkien. "But Ark Royal took a torpedo in the last convoy run and will be down for repairs for some months. This Heavy Lightweight business is still something of a mystery, and frankly, we don't know what to do with him in a standard squadron."

"And you imagine I do?"

"No, Captain, but I know you managed to fake it well enough for several months, and I assume that your powers of deception have not abandoned you. Moreover the Captain of Ark Royal said something about how Kunja had a tendency to 'draw' trouble towards himself. I don't believe he was sad to see him go. You know how the naval lot can be."

Rankin smiled despite himself. "And Jebediah?"

Above them, Galadriel suppressed a laugh. It sounded like an impending landslide. Tolkien ignored it. "As it turns out, Captain, Smoke Devils are not terribly well-suited to scouting work."

"I'm afraid I don't see why not," said Rankin. "Jeb's stamina was never in question while he flew with me."

"Nor was it up in Scotland. He did however show a tendency to... misinterpret orders."

There were several ways to take that, none of which Rankin particularly liked. "Misinterpret?" he asked.

"Scouters are supposed to find the enemy and then stand off while the main body destroys it. Jeb had some trouble conforming to that last element. Several of the Greylings thought he was attempting to make them look bad."

It was even money that they were right. "What happened?" asked Rankin.

"Apparently one of the Greylings decided to retaliate for these slights by accosting Captain MacClung. Once the Greyling recovers his powers of speech, we'll likely get the full story, but for the moment, it was judged provident to transfer Jebediah and his Captain out of Scotland."

Rankin could only shake his head. "Very good Admiral," he said at length. "Will I get anyone else back?"

"Capricorn's available, I believe, if you'll have him. But more importantly, we've received another wave of volunteers and dominion allies."

"And you're sending me the ones you can't figure out how to place?"

"Exactly," said the Admiral without missing a beat. "I believe the Admiralty is operating under the assumption that if you could manage to get a Victorian, a Wendigo, and a Smoke Devil to work together, you can likely handle anything they send your way."

Right now, Rankin was in no mood to equivocate on that point. "Do you know what I'll be receiving?"

"There's a Valdemarian from the Norway debacle who's become quite vociferous about paying the Germans back in kind. I believe he was discussing Heriot. If you can find use for a midweight with pretensions of nobility..."

"I do captain a Malachite Reaper, Admiral," said Rankin with a smile. "Any others?"

"There's two specials in from America. Volunteers. A Weyekin and a Xolotl, if you can believe it. There's competing claims for what to do with them, but the TOE being what it is, I think we can spare them for your service."

Rankin raised an eyebrow. "That'll overstaff me with Specials, sir."

"Given the fighting we expect from you, Captain, that may be warranted. And losses across the board have hit our line dragons heaviest. Most of our squadrons are disproportionately filled with specials now."

"I suppose that's better than the opposite."

"Quite." The Admiral glanced up at his Anglewing, who nodded slightly. "I'm afraid the rest will have to wait for your official orders, but that should do you well enough. We'll be transfering them in over the course of the next few weeks."

Rankin straightened his back and saluted. "Very good, sir," he said formally. "I'll return to Tangmere and lay preparations."

Another smile. "Actually, Captain. Tangmere isn't where we'll be organizing this force. We have other intentions in mind."

Rankin blinked. "Other intentions, sir?"

"Indeed, Captain," said the Admiral. "The Battle of Britain is over. The rest of the war awaits..."

_________________
Gaze upon my works, ye mighty, and despair...

Havoc: "So basically if you side against him, he summons Cthulu."
Hotfoot: "Yes, which is reasonable."


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:53 pm 
Mr. Party-Killbot
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RAF Gibraltar
January 22nd, 1941


"Signal's coming in strong, sir. One heavyweight, one midweight, coming in from the Northwest."

Rankin repressed the urge to hit something. There was nothing in reach he wouldn't regret hitting. "Is it necessary to do this every other damned day?"

"Orders, Michael," said Æquitas, but in a tone that told him it was only pro-forma. Rankin was getting sick of these endless alerts for no cause, but he could only imagine what Æquitas felt about being called upon to haul a dozen men, and three tons of equipment into the air after wild goose chases day after bloody day.

"Take us towards them then," said Rankin at length. "Let's hear what it is this time."

Ahead, on the horizon, there loomed two specks that rapidly resolved into a pair of dragons. One was larger by far than the other, a massive red-and-green monster that could only be what it was, one of Spain's famous (and infamous) Cauchador Real heavyweights, a breed approximately as subtle as an artillery salvo. The other, smaller by half but still a full midweight, was a black dragon, not dull but polished and sparkling in the afternoon sun like a statue of obsidian glass. Though excitable cadets saw only Stukas in any midweight darker than a Yellow Reaper, Rankin knew from long familiarity that this was no German abomination, but an Andalusian Whirlwind, a Moorish breed that had formed the backbone of the Spanish line since the days of Francis Drake.

"Caballeros!" bellowed the Cauchador as he approached, indifferent as always to the fact that Spanish dragons were supposed to refer to one another as "Compadre" nowadays. Trying to tell a Cauchador what he could and could not do was an exercise in frustration and futility, as Rankin had spent the last two weeks discovering. "The enemy approaches! Sound the clarion and we shall drive them back to the jaws of Hell!"

On some level, Rankin knew that he ought to be thanking his lucky stars that Campeador appeared to see the British as kindred spirits or noble allies, rather than whatever unspeakable heathen his fertile imagination seemed to be constantly dreaming up. The alternative could have sparked an extremely ugly incident. But going through this dance for the eighteenth consecutive time was trying regardless, and he could only think about the "incident" paperwork he would be required to fill out yet again upon return to the Rock.

The Andalusian pulled out ahead, moving towards Rankin and company at speed. Rankin already knew what for.

"Magister again?" asked Æquitas.

"Looks like it," said Rankin. "Let's see what it is this time."

The Andalusian's Captain was busy arguing with someone over a radio, and so it was the dragon who spoke first, in english. "I'm sorry, comrades," he said. "I couldn't get him to come home after maneuvers. He said you were going to need his help."

"We have come to conquer or die!" bellowed Campeador, drowning out everything else. "The Legions of Hell will flee at our approach! We will drive them at lancepoint into everlasting fire!"

Magister groaned audibly at this new pronouncement. The only Legions of Hell visible were a flock of seagulls watching the proceedings with apparent interest. Rankin had so far been unable to prevent the cadets from feeding them surreptitiously at every opportunity. This didn't stop Campeador, who began slashing his claws through the air in what Rankin hoped was merely demonstrations of his great power.

"Isn't there some kind of medicine you can give him?" asked Æquitas. "We're damn lucky he hasn't tried to bomb Gibraltar.

"Certainly," retorted Magister. "And do you want to be one who has to make him take it? His captain's a martinet and his crew don't know one end of a dragon from the other!"

Rankin gritted his teeth, but said nothing, for he knew both that it was true and how hard it had to have been to admit it as such. The Spanish war had gutted the ranks of Cauchador captains and crews, many of whom had sided with Franco and his fascists. The infighting between Communist, Anarchist, and Socialist had claimed many more, and so it was that Campeador, like most of his kind, were now crewed by political flunkies and hastily-promoted groundscrew rather than the trained, expert captains that had traditionally been demanded for work like this. Given the Cauchador's penchant for outright lunacy, this had predictable results. By reputation if nothing else, Rankin knew that Magister himself was one of the "Red Dragons", the communist air corps that had formed the backbone of Spain's successful resistance to Fascism. As such, this state of affairs was partly his own damned fault. And everyone knew it.

"D'you want a cow?"

Above Æquitas and to the right, a dragon as small as Campeador was large had moved towards the giant Spaniard, easily within striking distance, but this dragon didn't know enough to shy away, and his Captain had no objection. Capricorn was his own barrel of "fun" to deal with at the best of times, but the repetition of this dance day after day had told Rankin that it was generally best to simply let him handle this sort of situation.

"Cow?" asked Campeador. "Who can think of food at a time such as this! There are justices to be done upon the backs of evildoers everywhere! I am Campeador! Here to vanquish evil and combat the invaders!"

Capricorn took all this in in the spirit with which it was intended. "Oh," he said at length. Paused to think about it. "So... d'you want a cow?"

The argument began, as it always did, and Rankin turned back to Magister. "If he tries to claim Gibraltar in the name of Phillip II again..."

"He won't do that," said Magister hastily. "I... I'm sure he won't do that, he promised." The midweight glanced apprehensively over at Campeador, who was attempting, unsuccessfully, to impress Capricorn with his myriad of credentials, the veracity or even existence of which Rankin had never been able to verify. "I'm doing what I can with him but he tends to - "

"I know what he bloody well tends to do, we're still repaving the covert from the last time. But I can't keep the Admiralty quiet about this sort of thing forever."

"I've appealed to the Politburo personally," said Magister. "Madrid won't withdraw a single heavyweight from Algeciras. They said it would look like we're caving in to you."

Rankin rubbed his eyes. The Spanish claim to Gibraltar went back two centuries, and none of the intervening wars, strife, and chaos had served to blunt it. Even now, with the Nazis situated in France and the rest of Europe ablaze, the Spanish still maintained a strong air component at Algesiras, just across the bay from Gibraltar, useful for nothing except scaring the hell out of Whitehall whenever an incident like this occurred.

Campeador had progressed to the point where he was interrogating Capricorn about Capricorn's loyalty towards the "Sovereign Grand-Master of the Order of the Golden Fleece", whatever the hell that was. Capricorn responded to these questions with answers that varied from the nonsensical to the utterly daft, but that seemed to matter not at all. This was a conversation that two days ago had occupied six and a half hours. It showed no sign of being shorter this time 'round.

"Damnit, we simply can't do this all day today," said Rankin. "The rest of the squadron should be in by today. I can't afford to - "

"Then let's just go, Michael. Capricorn can talk Campeador's ear off all day if he likes."

"The Admiralty's orders are perfectly clear with respect to territorial violations of this sort."

"The Admiralty is a thousand miles away. Magister can make certain nothing untoward happens, can't he?"

Asking a Spanish dragon to watch over the territorial violations of another Spanish dragon while he conversed with an idiot Australian Dragon over the competing nature of adventure and cows. Rankin was beginning to miss the Germans.

"Very well," said Rankin at length. "Call us if anything... happens." And without letting himself consider if this was a good idea or not (likely not), Rankin nudged Æquitas' flank, and the Malachite Reaper wheeled around, flying back towards the rock of Gibraltar and the dragon covert nestled at its foot.

He was near-certain that this was only the start of the insanity that today would bring.

_________________
Gaze upon my works, ye mighty, and despair...

Havoc: "So basically if you side against him, he summons Cthulu."
Hotfoot: "Yes, which is reasonable."


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:41 am 
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Dragon Covert, Caer Darrow
Outer Orkneys, Scotland.

Haakon Magnusklekket was displeased. Most displeased. There he was, in the Orkneys within striking distance of the fascist pigs that had invaded his homeland--and in fact within striking distance of his Usurping brother--and prohibited from attacking them by order of King Haakon. At this rate, he would be happy to send out his crew in longships to raid the Norwegian coast... a thought he noted with no small irony. Instead, he had been idle since May, barring the occasional need to repel a german air raid this far north. These raids were limited by the range of the dragon with the least stamina of course, so the Luftwaffe had concentrated their efforts in the south of england closer to their coverts in northern france. Haakon supposed this was the reason he had not been given an attack order. Valdemarians had a long range, but the other dragons needed for support in an engagement with the Luftwaffe often did not.

Even the conditions were simply deplorable. There was a castle nearby, but it was too small to be properly occupied. Instead, human officers lived in it while dragons stayed outside. Outside. In pavillions that were little better than stables. It was not that Haakon objected to the outside part. No, that was not it at all, being Norwegian he enjoyed nature. It was the way dragons were treated everywhere but Norway. He had thus far consoled himself in the knowledge that he was the guest of the English dragons and not the humans of England. He was using their space and eating their food--not that of the pretentious apes--and was living as they did, as was proper under the old customs of the germanic peoples of northern europe. That the English did not treat their dragons as they deserved, even with the progress since the Napoleonic Wars, was no fault of the dragons, raised with no knowledge of their proper station as they were. The indolence of it however daily got on his nerves. His Huskarls were becoming...soft. He had put them to regular drill, and he and the other Valdemarians had arranged mock-combat in an attempt to keep them in fighting trim, but drill was no substitute for real battle. In Norway's untamed regions there were always territorial disputes or some uncivilized interloper to bring to dew-claw, but here...

He only hoped his letters (sent on huge scrolls with a wax seal the size of a dinner table) requesting relief from boredom and safety to King Haakon and the British Admiralty were met with an answer. Hopefully a favorable one. Not that waiting would keep him from writing another one.
...

Bjørn Svendsen put on his helmet and shouldered his Dane Axe as the Spotted Bothnian Sjørev, captained by Martin Linge approached, as did the rest of the air and ground crew. They however all wore conical helms, his was the traditional viking helmet that included cut outs for the eyes. A sign of his rank among the Huskarls. They positioned themselves before Haakon, who sat back straight on his haunches as if sitting on a throne, in two parallel lines to create the illusion of a walkway between them, while Bjørn took up position just in front of his Dragon-Jarl. It was all pro forma of course. He knew it, Haakon knew it, and so did the commander of Norwegian Dragons Martin Linge. Haakon was, or rather, is, the rightful Jarl of Steinkjer and even while in exile in his own right a Hereditary Dragon Peer. There were customs to be observed, even in these trying times. No. Especially in these trying times. To an outsider it would seem very surreal, but it was oddly comforting to retain such ceremonies, and no one expected it to need to occur when and if Haakon ever went into combat operations under British authority.

Captain Linge dismounted and both he and his dragon bowed to the green and grey midweight, a second later, the Huskarls lowered the butts of their axes to the ground in unison as a sign of standing down. Then themselves bowed to the newcomers, as did Haakon and Bjørn.

Haakon grinned and spoke in a deep booming voice that was a larger than even his size might indicate. He was not putting on airs either. His voice was just like that.

"Martin, Sjørev, what occasions your visit my friends, are you hungry?" he turned to his Huskarls, but was plainly speaking to everyone "You did not have to do that. There is no reason to stand on formality, not with friends and comrades in arms. Still, I appreciate the gesture." and he did. There was no small comfort in ceremony, even if only as a reminder of home. It was an old routine when receiving guests and was as much about honoring the guest as the host, even if it was not done in the great yard of Drage-Innherred

"It was no trouble Haakon. The truth is, I rather like seeing your Huskarls lined up like that." Martin responded "I could do with food and drink, and I know Sjørev needs it as well" to which the smaller dragon's eyes brightened. "I come bearing deployment orders from the Admiralty, confirmed by His Majesty King Haakon. You are to be deployed to Gibraltar under Captain Rankin, and leave tomorrow morning"

"Ah!" responded Bjørn "That is cause for celebration. I shall open up the casks of mead" there was a bit of a twinkle in his eye as he said it. This was going to be the special mead, kept back from regular consumption for just such an occasion. "And yes, before you ask Sjørev, I have had fishing boats out. My men managed to bring in a porpoise you are more than welcome to. I know land mammals are not to your liking"

"Thank you" the little dragon answered "these English have me eating cattle, and while they fill my stomach and keep me airborne, they taste like ash in my mouth. I wont complain about it to them, but I appreciate the offer of real food."

And with that, they had a merry feast that lasted until past midnight with Bjørn sleeping peacefully in a sleeping bag propped up against Haakon's forearm, the twenty ton dragon curled protectively around his sleeping form.

...

The next morning before dawn (which came late that far north) Haakon was in full battle harness. For most dragons, a harness was a symbolic restraint. For Haakon, a harness was meant in the medieval sense--a suit of armor. Granted, it was not a set of gothic or milanese plate, that sort of harness would be too cumbersome for flight. This one--while still composed of solid steel plates--only covered vital or vulnerable spots without sacrificing movement or putting on too much weight. Incorporated into this was also the system of straps and netting that would permit his Huskarls to move about his body as required. At the tip of his tail, a series of nine steel spikes each the size of a large sword or the three foot head of a pike and arranged along the major axes as well as an even longer thrusting spine at the tip was attached within a leather housing. This would break off if subjected to too much force before his tail was injured. He also had thrusting spikes attached to his alar thumb, and steel caps were affixed to his claws. Steel being stronger than keratin.

Once his gun turrets were loaded and provisions for the trip secured in his belly-rigging, the Huskarls boarded and with a a bound and several flaps of his massive wings, Haakon was airborn. He would cross overland through Britain and then fly south over the atlantic more or less, leapfrogging from transport to transport until he reached the naval and air base in Gibraltar.

....

He landed several days later, a dragon decked out in steel plates and metal spikes bearing a crew of bearded men in uniforms vaguely reminiscent of viking warriors landed in Gibraltar. All of them called out to one another in Norwegian as they immediately got to work unloading their personal gear and supplies.

"Lieutenant Alvarson!" Bjørn called out, in Norwegian.

"Yes sir?" a younger man said as he worked to get a round case out from the belly rigging

"Have one of the runners go and inform Captain Rankin that Jarl Haakon Magnusklekket and his Thane, 'Captain' Bjørn Svendsen, have arrived and wish to formally report for duty."

"Sir!" answered the Lieutenant and shouted for one of the væreierne to make the necessary report, who did so with a certain alacrity.

"You did not have to do that you know." Haakon said

"I know." Bjørn answered "But I will be honest, I want to see how this officer responds to a dragon calling himself a duke. His reaction will give us an idea about what kind of man he is."

"True. Are you going to do the whole ritual this time?"

"I am considering it"

"Please" Haakon asked "Dont. Using formal address when sending a message is one thing, but his customs are not our customs. I dont want him to think we are completely mad, and you know that is how Huskarls with dane axes standing at attention as an honor guard, while I grant him an Audience will be viewed. And that is if he does not go into apoplexy first. He might think we are here to raid a nunnery and try to raise Alfred the Great or Harold Godwinson from the grave."

With that mental image, the two of them shared a laugh at Rankin's expense.

"So Haakon, you have encountered the Royal Navy before..."

"Yes. The last time I did though, we were trying to kill eachother. Why?"

"Well, they have a certain naval tradition. I am curious as to your impressions of their current Navy. The ships have changed, but what about the crew? Do you think they are full of the same fighting spirit that earned them dominance of the seas?"

"I think so. Their officers have always been very professional. I have to say though, I expected to see more rum, and the evenings were filled with less noise from below decks than I remember."

"I beg pardon?"

"I will tell you when you are older" the dragon said coyly.

_________________
"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution."
- Theodosius Dobzhansky

There is no word harsh enough for this. No verbal edge sharp and cold enough to set forth the flaying needed. English is to young and the elder languages of the earth beyond me. ~Frigid

The Holocaust was an Amazing Logistical Achievement~Havoc


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:26 am 
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The polar bear grunted as it felt the arctic wind bite through its thick fur and and fat. It dropped down off the ridgeline, letting the land shelter it from the worst of the howling wind. "Erugh," the bear growled and raised his head. There was no scent of prey.

The snowbank ahead exploded. Snow filled the air and a white mass, more a charging river or a wild freight train than a living creature, lunged at the bear. Killer jaws closed on bear's head while the shear force of the charge bowled the bear over backwards as the Wendigo bit its head off. Blood spray turned painted the snow red.

Frostfell swallowed and then extended his tongue to lick up the blood. The adolescent Wendigo was far larger than his kill, a giant cat ambushing a scaled up mouse. Claws that could slice through dragonhide effortlessly striped hide from the corpse. The fur might make a good rug or bedspread for Nathan. Humans felt the cold very keenly.

"Well, well, well," came a deep rumble from behind Frostfell. The bone-white dragon spun about to face the voice behind the words. The hunter had become the hunted. "If it isn't the cripple's faithful steed," the speaker continued.

Blood red eyes pierced the gloom and swirling snow. The massive body connected to those eyes came over the top of the ridge. The dragon was huge, massing not much less than a full grown Jotunmeister. He was Trajan the largest Wendigo under harness and perhaps the cleverest as well. "You're all alone in the cold, little brother. No one to see, no one to know."

Frostfell bared his fangs but did not snarl. "Same for you, older brother," he hissed. Frostfell crouched down and began to crab walk to the left.

Trajan chuckled and matched his movements, keeping the younger dragon in front of him. "Do you really think you can win?"

"I don't lose," said Frostfell and showed his bloody fangs.

"Against me, everyone loses," said Trajan. "But you have spirit, I'll grant you that. Spirit and size. Oh not my size, I was even bigger than you are at your age. And even larger now, of course. And you're still a little skinny. Too bad you probably won't grow into your full size and strength.

"But I'm quick. And so very strong."

"Not strong enough. No one has ever been strong enough. As for quickness, I'm not slow. You can rely on it if you want but at this distance it hasn't been enough. Perhaps I will put your good captain out of his misery after I'm done with you. And that absurd pet of his that you're so fond of."

"Is this the part where I fly into blood rage and recklessly attack you?" asked Frostfell as the younger dragon continued to circle his elder. "You must be used to killing some very stupid dragons."

"Heh," said Trajan.

"How am I doing brother mine?" Frostfell continued. "Am I passing the test?"

"You're doing well, little wyrm. But the test never ends. Tell me, do you think we are truly brothers?"

"Both of us were taken from clutches within fifty miles of each other and in territory that the North Wind roams. Both of us are large and strong and the North Wind is said to dwarf every Wendigo alive. Except perhaps you, brother dear."

"If he's real. Or she."

"Then you don't know," said Frostfell.

"I never cared to find out. What does it matter who my progenitors are? I know what matters. I am Wendigo. Bigger, stronger, faster, smarter than the others of our kind. I'm not a cow or a show dog bred to be what its masters want it to be."

"And yet you wear a human's harness."

"An accident of birth and human I can dispose of when I choose it."

"Liar."

"Do you really think so? How naive. Only the worthy become my captain. Only the worthy stay as my captain. The weak suffer the fate of the weak."

"So you feel nothing for them?"

"The capable ones are worthy of respect but I am Trajan and they are just humans."

"Humans who rule the world."

"An unfortunate truth. If there is a god he is one with a sense of humor to give us a weakness that allows such a pathetic species to enslave us. Enslave us and remake us in their image. But perhaps we deserve it. I have met so many dragons, tame and wild and they are so very weak. Pathetic. Needy. Dependent. Dull. Unimaginative. Docile. Stupid. Tame. Even the ones the humans have not bred."

"So that's it," said Frostfell. "Boring old racism." He yawned.

"Truth," said Trajan. "Humans rule the world because they rule us. Of all the dragons we are what we are because we have chosen it. We are strong. Cunning. Ruthless. We have, to use Mister Darwin's words, selected for these traits. Traits that make us, picked from the wild, among the greatest dragons in the world. But we are more, because we are not tame. We need not be the lesser partner, accepting the order the humans give us."

"With our famously strong unity?" Frostfell said sarcastically. "Will you be the mighty general of the dozen strong Wendigo army?"

"So you can think," said Trajan, "and not just repeat the answers that your teacher expects to hear. Good. Live another day little dragon. Grow bigger, stronger, wiser. Worthier. Stupid dragons have their futures decided for them." He turned around and launched himself into the air.

"Nap time's over, old wyrm," said a voice in his ear. Frostfell opened a blood-red eye and gazed upon lanky man wearing leather gloves whose face was covered by a leather mask.

"I was just dozing," said the big Wendigo as he stirred and stretched like an oversized cat. A cat that hunted Kampfritters. The big dragon was lying under the shade of several olive trees and draped with camouflage netting. His eye scanned the sky.

"Our beloved leader is returning."

"I am filled with joy. Perhaps I will get the opportunity to maul another Malachite."

"They might send us to another squadron. Like back to Essex."

"Essex was fine. After they learned to fear me."

"Really? I had the impression that you didn't think they couldn't fight through half their weight of German mediums."

"That's because they couldn't."

"And you were fine with that."

"Perhaps I won't maim him until he crosses the line."

Nathan Reynolds patted his dragon between the eyes. "Sounds good."

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:03 pm 
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Portsmouth, England

Someone must have made a mistake somewhere. That was the only explanation for it as far as Jake Collington was concerned. The Royal Navy was many things, after all, loyal, dependable, most agreed that they were the greatest navy in the world. They were well groomed, organized, straight-laced, they followed orders to the letter and had strict guidelines for everything. So whoever had decided Jake and Kunja would work well for the navy had obviously known nothing about the dynamic pair. Jake and Kunja had hated every minute they spent on the ship, the rolling had been easy enough to adjust to. But the metal floors had been, at best frustrating and at worst embarrassing for the young dragon. Still, they'd taught him to move with a care that he had never moved with before. Worst of all however had been the naval officers. They'd taken one look at the colonials and written both of them off as louts. While they were not completely wrong, it certainly didn't help Kunja and Jake adjust to life at sea.

The other dragons hadn't been so bad, but it had been clear to Kunja that there were differences between the dragons of the Air Force and the dragons of the Navy. They hadn't liked his more free-spirited adventurous style both on the ship and in the sky. Kunja had claimed they had been tainted by the Navy, a claim that had been met with challenge from one of the other lightweights who had been promptly trounced. Of course, matters weren't helped by the fact that despite having absolutely no idea on how to use him, the brass had continually insisted that they knew best how to use him. The third time they had called on him to help harass a middleweight Kunja had turned and smashed into an enemy lightweight formation and tore it to pieces. Kunja and Jake later claimed that one of the enemy dragons had smashed their radio and they had been unable to hear the orders given. That the clawmarks on the radio were slightly larger than your normal lightweight was left as a question for the ages. Still, Kunja had learned how to work with lightweights to take down a middie, and the power, strength, and durability of Kunja had shown itself admirably. Of course, once he had that figured out, Kunja had decided to fight other middleweight dragons, and would often pick fights with the Germans as they showed up.

Once the Ark Royal was hit by a torpedo (a condition which the captain still blames Kunja and Kunja still claims that he just needs toughen up), Kunja was put on leave, and as things turned out, both sides were getting a break. The Arc Royal was finally getting rid of Kunja, and Kunja was off to be with a real Air Force again. Kunja had been out soaking in the sun when Jake approached with a big grin on his face.

"Kunja! New orders!"

The gray dragon lazily opened one eye and glanced at Jake, shifting slightly he turned his massive head towards his captain. He was a behemoth, as far as lightweights were concerned. Easily having two tons on the largest of combat lightweights the dragon smiled, showing off his sharp teeth, and stretching the scars on his face. The dragon had quite a few scars along his body now. A trail of thin scars ran along the side of his face where he had taken a claw to the face. Another ran most of the way along the length of his tail, while the third and most vicious looking scar on his right foreleg that went around half the limb. The other two scars may, in time, fade. The one on his leg however was a permanent reminder.

"Oh? Another damned ship?"

Jake grinned. "Nope. We're back with Rankin."

Kunja blinked. "Rankin and his blowhard? What do they need us in Tangmere again for?"

Jake laughed as he finished trotting up to the dragon. "Not Tangmere. Gibraltar. Probably want us to keep the Italians in the Mediterranean or some such."

Kunja got a thinking look on his face. "Gibraltar... that's very far away from Germany... and France... You'd think the admiralty wants to keep us away from Albatros."

Jake frowned. "Yeah. I want another try at him too. We've got his measure now. We've got a better idea of what he can do."

Kunja grumbled. "And he's got a better idea of what we can do to."

The two were quiet for a moment.

"Think Judith and Jeb'll be there?" Kunja finally asked with a small smirk.

To his credit, Jake didn't flinch. "Ugh. You had to bring her up didn't you?"

The dragon's smirk grew. "Don't tell me you're still upset about it."

"She dumped me!" Jake exclaimed, as though that were obvious enough reason.

Kunja got to his feet, laughing loud enough for all to hear. "First time for everything."

----------------------------

Gibraltar

All too eager to get off of the carrier they were on, and with the rumors of ship's bad luck with Kunja aboard, the Captain was happy to see Kunja gone as well. The pair took off and flew to the covert with all expediency, landing on the small field that served for such, both seemed to be rather happy to be on solid land again. And the Mediterranean at least seemed to have temperatures near what they were used to at home, which seemed a long ways away now, and a long time ago.

The pair looked around, sniffing the air and digging their feet into the ground, trying to get a feel for the area. They'd need to fly around a bit to get used to the wind currents around here. But the first thing to do would be to find Rankin and tell him that they were here. Jake turned to one of the orderlies, asking them where he could find Rankin and Æquitas.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 6:59 pm 
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Scotland
RAF Scout HQ


Judith came to attention in front of the desk and saluted, dropping it and going at ease as the Colonel simply waved. "You wish'd ta see me, sir?"

Colonel Bradsworth once again muted the urge to correct her language, something that he'd thought ten years in Scotland had trained out of him. "Yes, Captain McClung. You have received new orders, and will be transferring out immediately."

"Ah see.... Captain Jacobs request, then?"

Bradsworth sighed heavily. Captain Jacobs, whose Greyling Marnock was still recovering from The Incident, had been very vocal in his desire to see the two Americans out of service. "No, Captain. It is the opinion of the Admiralty that you be returned to the Command of Captain Rankin."

"Rankin?" The blue eyes finally met Colonel Bradsworth's gaze, instead of over his shoulder, the normal position during the several dressing downs he had given her.

"Yes. It seems your old unit is being reformed. Here are your travel papers, you will leave at first light tomorrow." And never did Bradsworth so want to see the back of a dragon or captain under his command. Captain McClung took the papers without a word, still a little amazed at the news. Following protocol, Colonel Bradsworth stood and reached over the desk to shake hands. "Good luck in your new post, Captain."

One of the grins that Bradsworth had learned to fear grew over the Appalachian Hellion's face. "Thank ya, sir... Ah'm sure Jebediah can't wait ta see Frostfell 'gain." She took a step back, then paused. "Colonel... we are goin' ta be credit'd half-capture fer that BlueJacket, yes?"

Colonel Bradsworth took a deep breath through his nostrils. "Yes, Captain." he bit off his words "Your actions did lead to the capture, and you will be granted credit," he said tightly, biting back the useless discussion of how a scout dragon should not have been involved in battle in the first place. "Now, I believe you have packing to do. Good day." He returned her salute and watched happily as she got out of his office for the very last time.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Off Gibraltar
18 Days Later


"Ah'm shure you'll be glad ta be back on land 'gain," Jebediah drawled, soaring a thermal as he crossed the last leg of their journey from Scotland. It had taken more than a day to get out of Scotland, several to cross England, and then hop from Convoy to Convoy down the Atlantic coast. "You'll fin'lly be keepin' food down 'gain."

"Why is it tha' Ah kin put up not jis wit yer flyin' but Kunja's flyin', an' still get seasick onna boat," Judith griped, using her binoculars to look at the base of the immense rock to see if she could make out who was already there.

"Tain't pregnant, are ya? ... OOOPH!" Jebediah snorted from the kick to his neck.

"Tain't funny, Jeb." Judith snarled. "Ah know yer lookin' for'ard ta seein' Kunja, bu' lessen' Jake's learnt a bit o' sense an' stopp'd tryin' ta kill his fool self..."

"Ya thin' Ah'd not know by yer scent, Jude?" Jebediah chuckled. "Ah'd known afore yer Ma knew, an' iffen ya had been, Kunja 'n Ah'd both mak' sure Jake did th' Raight Thing."

Judith Lowered the binoculars, sighing. It was going to be hard, seeing Jake again. She'd found it hard to forget the romantic idiotic loveable fool.

"Ya coul' always mak' him jealous goin' after Reynolds," Jeb quipped, banking and losing altitude as the Rock of Gibraltar loomed ahead.

That got a laugh out of his girl. "An' put up wit' Frostfell bein' jealous?! Like Hell!" Still laughing, Judith flipped on her radio to answer Gibraltar's call to identify herself. "Captain Judith on Jebediah, r'questin' landing."

Far too soon they were flying over the base itself, a chance to look down and see if they knew any dragons already aground. Camouflage nets draped from tree to tree, but this low a huge white form could be made out in one grove. "Ah see Frostfell, Jeb," Judith grinned. "Bet me his first words are a threat ta eat us?"

"Nawh, Ah'm thinkin' he'll jis' glower n' gloat," Jebediah replied, before doing a barrel rol, right above the man and dragon Judith had hoped she'd not see so soon. "Wave ta Jake, t'is polite," Jeb told her, knowing full well the two would know exactly who they were, even without Judith's long red-gold braid flying loose in the breeze.

"Yer bad as he is," Judith muttered as Jebediah righted himself and turned about to give a perfect landing three dragonlengths from Kunja.

Jebediah wasn't listening as he walked over to Kunja. "Hey youn'uns! How'd th' Navy treat ya?"

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:37 pm 
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Gibraltar

"Is that it?" The rust-red Northwestern peered at the airbase as it came into view at the end of the short flight from the transport that had carried the pair across the Atlantic.

"If it isn't, we're about to invade some poor country and claim it for the U.S. I'll settle for either one if it keeps us from another long ocean voyage," remarked Captain James Cannon from his position atop Faustus.

The dragon turned its head to look back at the young man in the saddle. "The ride wasn't that bad, Jimmy."

"It wasn't the ride, Faust, it was the food. Sure, you got sheep. I was stuck with whatever that poor excuse for a cook could come up with, and it wasn't pretty." The grin on his face belied the complaint, and he nodded towards the base. "Time to represent the good ol' U.S. of A. You are wearing your dress uniform, right?"

Faustus snorted and turned back towards the base, banking into a slow, lazy spiral down to the landing field. There were several dragons already there, including...

"...tell me that's not a Wendigo," Jimmy muttered as Faustus touched down.

"But it is a Wendigo," the Northwestern replied, easily loud enough to be heard.

Jimmy blanched as he unhooked his harness and dismounted. "So much for that first impression. One of these days I have to teach you how to whisper."

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:46 pm 
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Spain was... Sunny, hot... Boring. Theodore, didn't mind sunny and hot, although he wasn't entirely used to it being raised around the northern border of Deseret on eternal watch against the Mormon and his Nauvoo Legions. No, it wasn't the weather that bothered him, even the insane mania of the Spanish Dragon, who seemed mentally trapped in the 1600s didn't really get under his skin. Although he did pray for Captain Rankin, the man would need a miracle to avoid insanity.

No what got to him was... waiting, bored, while the fascist rampaged around Europe and the world. It wasn't that he wasn't nervous (okay, terrified) of actually being in combat, but... Well he had trained his entire life for this! His father and uncles and cousins had passed down the collective experience and wisdom of the ages, the USAF had drilled and trained the reflexes needed. His whole life had been building up to fighting his dragon in a war. Instead he was sitting... Across the bay... From a neutral country... Run by idiots. He had only been waiting a week and already he wanted to tear his own skin off.

Kalter Sturm, on the other hand was a combat veteran against Mormon raids when he had been but a growing hatchling and been the worse anti-air defenses the Germans had outside of Germany when he had down no less then 7 German observation balloons and zepplins, granting him the title of ace. He had been in the face of heavy cannon, dragon squads and worse. He was more then happy to wait in Spain while the English figured out what to do next. Besides he had texts from the School of Salamanca that had been made available to him. Such interesting spins on Thomism to. He understood however what Theodore was feeling, the young were often restless until their first taste of combat settled them down.

"Theodore, I do believe I see new dragons coming in, shall we greet them?" He asked. Theodore nodded, it was at least something to do.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:56 pm 
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Off the coast of Gibraltar

The trip had been long, trying, but oddly mystical - but now, as evening was beginning to fall, the encampment was about to come within visual range. Jacob smiled, checking the landmarks on his map to what they were seeing. "We're almost there, big guy. I won't blame you if you don't move at all tomorrow."

From ahead of him, Jacob heard the large, dark dragon snort in reply, which got Jacob to grin behind his rubberized helmet and facemask. "Looks like nice weather coming ahead, too," Jacob added, looking at the clouds in the distance.

"Finally," the dragon's voice echoed through the air around him, seeming to make all of them reverberate with an almost-echo, even in the wide area of the sky. Jacob didn't mind - his closest friend had many peculiarities to him, or his breed, but he was still Franklin.

Jacob chuckled at the large middleweight's comment. "Maybe we should hook up a fishing line with a key to the top of a building for you."

The dragon snorted again, but spoke after a moment, the eerie almost-echo slightly stronger. "We are close."

Jacob checked the map, used his sextant to confirm his position, and double-checked the math - and nodded. "Just another few miles, big guy."

The dragon rumbled briefly, a noise Jacob knew was a pleased noise, but he didn't speak again. Jacob didn't mind - Franklin wasn't the type for idle conversation, of any sort. But, that made the silences all the more profound.

The air was crisp, the smells very different from home - but somehow also comforting as home was, as Jacob watched Franklin begin banking into a final approach. Not having a radio on a dragon usually proved a bit of a problem, but when the British authorities asked for a time estimate as to their travel, Franklin gave them one. The British officer's face was a sight Jacob wouldn't soon forget, he thought with a smirk - especially because it appeared Franklin's estimate was within a few minutes apparently, as Jacob checked his watch.

The dragon's wings spread a bit further, curving their forward movement into a curving, spiraling dive, and landing gently, as usual. Jacob patted the dragon's back, even as he looked around the encampment that would be their new home. "Well done, big guy," he murmured. "We're even ahead by... two minutes of when you said we'd be."

The dragon snorted again, and shook his large head slightly. Jacob dropped down using one of the ropes, and stretched his limbs as he looked at the night sky, and all around the encampment, even as the few of his crew began to help Franklin get his harness off. The dragon said nothing, but Jacob could tell the dark dragon was trying to not be impatient with how long it took to be free of his harness.

"Y'know," Jacob spoke up, his Midwestern American accent thick as he spoke up with a grin, "I think Gibraltar and I are gonna get along just fine."

Jacob was in no way surprised to hear that Franklin's reply was another snort, and another shake of his head. In fact, it caused him to chuckle.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:18 am 
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Strait of Gibraltar

Thundercracker circled lazily over the shining blue waters of the Strait, Captain Roberts strapped to his mount and enjoying the salt air filling his lungs. It wasn't often in his career that he was stationed near the sea, and he enjoyed himself everytime he was close by.

"George, I'm getting hungry. Feeding time should be soon, is it not?"

George Franklin Roberts pulled himself out of his half-dreamy state to pull the pocket watch out of his oilskin coat and check it. He patted the rainbow colored beast at the base of it's neck, and shouted back, "Yeah, looks that way old boy. Guess we had best head back in eh?"

The Xolotl rumbled it's agreement before looping upwards, and heading back to the Gibraltar Covert.

----- ----- -----

Gibraltar Covert

Thundercracker made good time on his way back to the covert, his mind filled already with the sheep and goat he intended to take from the herd. He had grown a fondness for mutton once they made it to Spain, never having it had it in the States. Of course Thundercracker was well aware that there would be NEW Dragons arriving that day, that meant new worms which had to know the proper order of things - Thundercracker ate first.

"Gibraltar this is Thundercracker on approach," George called into his radio, "Requesting permission to land."

When permission was finally given, the Xolotl and Captain began the lazy circle to the field.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:35 am 
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Seeing Jebediah, Jake quickly made off out of the landing area to find Rankin himself just as the dragon and his captain landed. Kunja, ever loyal, played wingman as Jebediah landed. "First dragon to ever get kicked off a boat for being too good at his job." The Victorian replied with a smirk.

"Still wanna smack whoever thought puttin' us in with the Navy'd be a good idea though. Got high and mighty expectations for dressin' up fine before they worry about fightin'."

As the other dragons began to arrive, Jake slowed down in his search to take more time to examine them. There were a lot of dragons he'd never seen before. He recognized them easily enough from their descriptions, and when a Typhon, Xolotl, and Weyekin showed up, he was fairly impressed at the collection of firepower this new covert looked to have. If, of course, they knew how to use it. Probably still wouldn't get as much action in the sky as Kunja would. Shaking his head, Jake got back to his search for Rankin.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:16 am 
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The Huskarls had finished unloading, though without knowing their berth, they could not unpack their own personal belongings and started in on the armored harness.

"It is alright" Haakon said to them "Leave it on. I would like to make introductions before I get bogged down in removing armored plates."

"But it has been a long flight, are you not uncomfortable?" Bjørn asked, stroking the dragon's foreleg.

"Thor Forbid" the dragon responded. "I have been wearing armor since the seventeen eighties, it is like a second set of scales. Come, let us be social."

He plodded over to the two lightweight dragons and after reaching a respectful distance, spoke while lowering his head and shoulders in the draconic equivalent of a courtly bow, and switched over to english, which came out moderately accented.

"Haakon Magnusklekket, at your service. This is my Blood-Brother, Bjørn Svendsen"

"A pleasure" Bjørn responded in somewhat more thickly accented english, also bowing politely.

"Your reputation for giving hell to fascist pigs precedes you, and it will be an honor fighting at your side." Haakon continued. This was absolutely true. Haakon had almost literally consumed reports from Tangmere while he was stuck up in the Orkneys during the Battle of Britain.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:57 pm 
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As the other dragons assigned to Gibraltar arrived from their transport flights one after the next, a cavalcade of special, light, and middle weights, with a lone light heavyweight to spice things up, as this particular one generally did. Even as the dragons were landing however, another beast hove into view, coming in just above the summit of the enormous rock that loomed right beside Gibraltar covert, a mountain once called a Pillar of Hercules, and now simply the Rock of Gibraltar. Glistening a jeweler's green in the shining Mediterranean sun, the midweight spread its wings to catch the rising thermals, before lazily spinning down towards the covert spread below it like a tablecloth.

Æquitas touched down on one end of the covert spilling crew and officers as he did so, and from the Captain's seat on the great dragon's neck, Captain Michael Rankin DFC leaped to the ground, turned back to make a comment to his dragon, and then strode towards the gathering storm of Commonwealth and Volunteer dragons before him.

He would have to see to all of them of course, but first things first, he had to see to a pair of dragons that, if the reports were to be believed, had respectively destroyed the Royal Navy and triggered a revolution in Scotland. And the war was still young.

Jebediah and Kunja were (of course) were next to one another reasonably nearby, and next to them, unmistakable in these surroundings, loomed an armored Midweight surrounded by a crew of vikings. Even had Rankin not read the reports, he would know what this beast was, a Valdemarian dragon-lord of the Norwegian Marches. Because there just wasn't enough congenital arrogance in the squadron as assembled here between a Wendigo, a Xolotl, a criminally-insane Victorian, and... to be perfectly honest, a Malachite.

But then, he had wanted his squadron back, hadn't he?

"Gentlemen," said Captain Rankin as he approached, remaining as unspecific as he could as to whether he was addressing the Valdemarian's Captain or the Valdemarian himself. He fired an airman's salute, as he approached, interested to see who returned it, and in what form. "Captain MacClung, Captain Collington, it's bloody good to see you both. I hope the Admiralty didn't drive you to defect in the interrum, I understand you both had... lively postings after you were re-assigned from Tangmere."

He half-turned his head, to the Valdemarian itself. "Captain Michael Rankin, on Æquitas," he said, gesturing back towards the Malachite Reaper behind him, who having completed unloading, was striding over to meet several of the other newcomers as they arrived. "I presume this would be Haakon Magnusklekket?" The named rolled out tolerably well. It had taken the better part of an hour for him to figure out the pronunciation from the reports. Fortunately Æquitas had picked up a handful of Icelandic words from their time in Keflavik, and had managed to help with the strange characters.

"Welcome to Gibraltar," he said. "I'm the Squadron Commander here." The reply he got would be... interesting.

*--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------*

The dark dragon ahead had to be a Typhon, for that was the only breed they were supposed to have that matched such a description, and the one spinning lazily into a landing behind it was clearly a Xolotl, for there existed nothing else on Earth that resembled that.

It wasn't exactly common for dragons to greet their squadron-mates without their captains, but it wasn't unheard of either, and Æquitas was flagdragon here, and a Malachite Reaper to boot. Besides, while Æquitas had no idea what this squadron was being assembled for, he doubted seriously it was to parade about Gibraltar while the rest of Europe burned.

"Good morning to you," hailed Æquitas in as friendly a manner as he could. Rankin's near-desperate instructions that these were not merely volunteers but neutral American volunteers, with breeds reputedly choleric of temperament, and that he should exert every conceivable effort to not induce them to join the enemy.

"I'm Æquitas," he decided on, a simple and clear declaration that would hopefully elicit one in return. "Flagdragon, RAF Gibraltar. Captain Rankin will be along shortly."

What did one say to Americans? "I assume you all had a reasonably pleasant journey?"

*------------------------------------------------------------------------------*

No sooner had Faustus landed than he felt something nudge him in the side.

A small, dusty yellow-and-brown dragon, barely as large as a good size horse, was standing at the Northwestern's flank, still in harness but with no sign of his captain in evidence. The dragon's expression was direct and unblinking, regarding the lightweight as he might a barn, giving a puzzled look to the enormous flanged mace mounted within the lightweight's tail. Were either dragon or captain well-acquainted with their Jane's Fighting Dragons, they would have recognized this small beast as a Tasmanian Venomspitter, a special weapons dragon from the poisonous island-continent of Australia, whose lethality was never in question, but whose soundness of mind usually was.

"I'm Cap!" said the Venomspitter with a soft Australian accent, in the manner of one who has just related the answer to life, the universe, and everything. The small dragon gave no sign as to where his captain was, nor what he was doing here, harnessed and unaccompanied, but sniffed at the Bonetail and its captain for a bit, as though attempting to determine what precisely it was that he was looking at. With Venomspitters, one could never tell.

"D'you want a cow?" he finally asked, regardless of the fact that there appeared to be no cows on evidence. Still, the dragon smiled, or near enough, sitting down on its haunches as it waited for the no-doubt fascinating reply.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:42 pm 
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General Havoc wrote:
The dark dragon ahead had to be a Typhon, for that was the only breed they were supposed to have that matched such a description, and the one spinning lazily into a landing behind it was clearly a Xolotl, for there existed nothing else on Earth that resembled that.

It wasn't exactly common for dragons to greet their squadron-mates without their captains, but it wasn't unheard of either, and Æquitas was flagdragon here, and a Malachite Reaper to boot. Besides, while Æquitas had no idea what this squadron was being assembled for, he doubted seriously it was to parade about Gibraltar while the rest of Europe burned.

"Good morning to you," hailed Æquitas in as friendly a manner as he could. Rankin's near-desperate instructions that these were not merely volunteers but neutral American volunteers, with breeds reputedly choleric of temperament, and that he should exert every conceivable effort to not induce them to join the enemy.

"I'm Æquitas," he decided on, a simple and clear declaration that would hopefully elicit one in return. "Flagdragon, RAF Gibraltar. Captain Rankin will be along shortly."

What did one say to Americans? "I assume you all had a reasonably pleasant journey?"


When the Malachite Reaper began to approach, Jacob felt more than heard Franklin turning his head with interest to observe the other dragon. When the other dragon spoke up, and identified himself, Jacob could almost feel Franklin relax slightly. "Well, thank you," Jacob said to the dragon Æquitas with a smile. "I'm Jacob Maximilian, and this is my closest friend, Franklin."

As for Franklin, after studying the other dragon for a few moments, he nodded once to Æquitas in recognition, and spoke in return. "It was," the dragon said, his deep voice echoing eerily in the night air. "No storms, though," he said, as the dark head looked up to the sky for a moment before looking back at the other dragon. "It's an honor, Æquitas."

"Hey, big guy, if ya'll just want to play in the rain, we shoulda gone to Scotland," Jacob looked back over his shoulder to meet Franklin's gaze, and grinned.

Franklin snorted, and shook his head. "No," his deep voice echoed into the night air.

Jacob smiled more widely, and realized that Franklin was actually making an effort to be more sociable - makes sense, when you run into the boss' dragon, he supposed. Still, he couldn't resist. "I dunno Franklin, I hear there's lots of nice, sunny weather here. Ya'll might get to work on that tan of yours."

Jacob chuckled when he heard Franklin snort again. "I truly hope you're wrong," the Typhon said in the same, strange echoing voice.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:23 pm 
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"First dragon to ever get kicked off a boat for being too good at his job." The Victorian replied with a smirk.

Jebediah snorted, and turned slightly to show a healing scar where forearm met his shoulder. "Ah had ta knock down a Greylin'. T'was a migh' upset tha' we'd get half-capture onna Bluejacket an' though' he'd threaten Judith," Jebediah smirked. "'Course, Judith was jis' outta a meetin' wit' th' Colonel, bein' told 'Scouts Do Not Engage The Enemy' fer th' ninth time, so she up n' smack'd his nose afore Ah got there an' gav' me an 'scuse ta shut his loud mouth."

Judith was surprised that Jake walked off without a word. Surprised, and somewhat hurt. Then again, she had called him a damn, crazed fool trying to get himself killed, and kicked him out of her/their cabin at Tangmere. It had been a rough week before he'd been reassigned to the Ark Royal. Thus, she only half listened to Kunja and Jeb, not realizing her sadness was showing. The arrival of one of the new dragons was the only thing to break her out of it.

Quote:
"Haakon Magnusklekket, at your service. This is my Blood-Brother, Bjørn Svendsen"
"A pleasure" Bjørn responded in somewhat more thickly accented english, also bowing politely.

"Your reputation for giving hell to fascist pigs precedes you, and it will be an honor fighting at your side."

Reminding her manners, and her Jane's Dragons (with only a slight pang at the memory of staying up late as Jake taught her from it), Judith bowed back to the Valdemaran and his rider. "Judith McClung, an' this is Jebediah," she said politely, her own accent oddly primitive, similar to Scottish, but softer. "Our friend here's Kunja Jack, his rider Jake Collington jis' went lookin' fer Captain Rankin."

As the saying goes speak of the devil and you see his horns. "There's AEquitus now," Judith said as the Malachite Reaper soared to a landing and his crew and captain unloaded and approached. She returned Captain Rankin's salute with real respect, and blushed slightly as he mentioned her last posting. "The Colonel din't know how ta work with Smoke Devils," Judith replied, trying to downplay the situation. Her dragon wasn't as diplomatic.

"Ah'd heard so much 'bout Greylin's, Ah was lookin' forward ta fightin' by 'em," Jebediah drawled, much more relaxed with Rankin. "They've Frostfell's ego, but tain't one o' 'em done mor'n spy th' Jerrys n' run. Put a twist in their tails when we'd stay ta fight like you n' AEquitus taught us."

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:43 pm 
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LadyTevar wrote:
Jebediah snorted, and turned slightly to show a healing scar where forearm met his shoulder. "Ah had ta knock down a Greylin'. T'was a migh' upset tha' we'd get half-capture onna Bluejacket an' though' he'd threaten Judith," Jebediah smirked. "'Course, Judith was jis' outta a meetin' wit' th' Colonel, bein' told 'Scouts Do Not Engage The Enemy' fer th' ninth time, so she up n' smack'd his nose afore Ah got there an' gav' me an 'scuse ta shut his loud mouth."

Judith was surprised that Jake walked off without a word. Surprised, and somewhat hurt. Then again, she had called him a damn, crazed fool trying to get himself killed, and kicked him out of her/their cabin at Tangmere. It had been a rough week before he'd been reassigned to the Ark Royal. Thus, she only half listened to Kunja and Jeb, not realizing her sadness was showing. The arrival of one of the new dragons was the only thing to break her out of it.


"A greyling did that?" Kunja scoffed a bit, perhaps forgetting for a moment that he weighed nearly twice what Jeb did, and was a much hardier dragon. The image of Jeb beating the snot of one of the other lightweights did give the dragon a smirk though. "We didn't get much in the way of captures. Pretty hard to capture an enemy dragon when the only thing to land them on is the water."

General Havoc wrote:
"Gentlemen," said Captain Rankin as he approached, remaining as unspecific as he could as to whether he was addressing the Valdemarian's Captain or the Valdemarian himself. He fired an airman's salute, as he approached, interested to see who returned it, and in what form. "Captain MacClung, Captain Collington, it's bloody good to see you both. I hope the Admiralty didn't drive you to defect in the interrum, I understand you both had... lively postings after you were re-assigned from Tangmere."

"Welcome to Gibraltar," he said. "I'm the Squadron Commander here." The reply he got would be... interesting.


Jake had been told that Rankin would be back soon enough, and once the man's dragon had appeared, Jake had run back to the covert to greet his former, and current, commander. He actually didn't look nearly as disheveled, or as wrapped in bandages, as the last time Rankin had seen him after the "incident" with the Bismark. Apparently his time with the navy had rubbed off on the man a little bit.

"Take more than a few snooty stuck-up navy boys looking down their noses at me to scare me off, sir."

Kunja rumbled "An' for such a big ship, it sure can't handle much of a beatin'." He chuckled slightly.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:48 pm 
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Jimmy straightened up as Captain Rankin and Æquitas approached, only to turn and stare at the tiny dragon offering Faustus a cow.

Faustus, for his part, blinked and looked down at Capricorn, considering the question quite seriously. "...a whole cow?" The notion clearly intrigued the dragon, who generally was fed on smaller livestock.

"Faust, you pig. You'd fall asleep halfway through." He studied the Venomspitter. "Cap, eh? I bet that gets confusing. I'm Jimmy, and this," he thumped Faust affectionately, "is Faustus." As they spoke, Æquitas caught his attention, and the young captain saluted the flagdragon.

The Bonetail's head swiveled towards the Malachite, and bobbed in greeting. "I am Faustus, and this is my captain, James Cannon. The trip was quite nice, thank you, but James didn't like the food."

He sighed. "That was a joke, Faust. We've talked about this."

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:07 am 
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Nathan Reynolds walked down the hill toward the dragon covert. A half dozen dragons were flocking around in the open with their captains doing the meet and greet. The Canadian left the shade of the trees and walked out into the open.

He wasn't a particularly large man. He was a little taller than average and wore the uniform of the RCAF. His attire was, however, unconventional. He carried a gravity knife strapped across his chest and a heavy Webley revolver in a holster at his side. Despite the weather he wore leather gloves and most strangely of all, a leather mask over his face.

"I see the throng has arrived," he rasped, referring to Admiral Tolkien's famous work.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:20 am 
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Quote:
"Judith McClung, an' this is Jebediah,"


Haakon had gotten accustomed to a Scottish accent, and so West Virginia was no particular difficulty. In fact, he found Scottish easy, because of the linguistic similarities between Gaelic and the scandanavian languages. It happens when your people periodically invade and settle a region for several hundred years (in the the case of many of the norse invasions of the british isles, the minions of your ancestors).

"My Lord, the base commander approaches." Bjørn intoned, stroking an unarmored spot on Haakon' side, intentionally referring to Haakon as his Lord, mostly to see the looks. The reality was, they were closer to equals. The dragon had the final say, but neither would ever automatically defer to the other.

"So he does. Thank you" Haakon responded and leaned his head over to nuzzle the man, which had he been unprepared would have knocked him over. With a final brief nod to signal obligation rather than desire to leave the conversation, he turned toward Captain Rankin as Bjørn did what was proper, turned, and returned the Salute to Rankin.

Quote:
"I presume this would be Haakon Magnusklekket?" The named rolled out tolerably well. It had taken the better part of an hour for him to figure out the pronunciation from the reports. Fortunately Æquitas had picked up a handful of Icelandic words from their time in Keflavik, and had managed to help with the strange characters.

"Welcome to Gibraltar," he said. "I'm the Squadron Commander here."


Haakon was amused when Captain Rankin was apparently non-specific as to his address. There were a few errors in vowel stresses, but his own accent was worse. It showed that the man made an effort, which he could respect.

"I am, and thank you for your Hospitality, though the weather is somewhat warm for my tastes. My recent deposition and exile has returned my appreciation for the competent and aggressive prosecution of war. Your tenure at Tangmere gave you a reputation for both. It is a pleasure. This is my Blood-Brother, Bjørn Svendsen."

Bjørn responded to the prompt.

"An honor captain. May we, together, engineer the downfall of the Nazi regime, and display the disemboweled corpse of Hitler upon the White Tower of London as a warning to future generations of the folly of attacking our two nations" he said that with a wry grin and humorous tone, as if he may or may not be serious about that last part.

Inwardly, Haakon was laughing so hard that he been doing so out-loud, they could have heard him across the strait.

_________________
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There is no word harsh enough for this. No verbal edge sharp and cold enough to set forth the flaying needed. English is to young and the elder languages of the earth beyond me. ~Frigid

The Holocaust was an Amazing Logistical Achievement~Havoc


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:08 pm 
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As the Malacite Reaper approached and made his introductions, Thundercracker and Roberts were low enough to hear the dragon - catching the name was important. The duo made their landing close by - they had been at Gibraltar for two days now, and had been settled in already though they had yet to meet the Flag-Dragon and captain.

Robert's slide down the rainbow colored scales of the Xolotl's side with ease, using the straps of the "light duty" harness and a few judiciously placed ropes to ease the passage, and dusted off his oilskin coat some. A few quick twists and the buttons of his oil skin coat popped free, revealing the duty uniform of a USAF Aviator. Thundercracker's neck craned down and George strokes the crests light and fondly, before moving to make his introductions - the Xolotl in tow. George looked over the dark form of the Typhon, smiling briefly to himself, before giving a welcoming nod to all. He waited for a adequate pause in the introductions before introducing themselves,

"Captain George Roberts on Thundercracker - United States Air Force," he said amiably, not quiet able to hide the easy smile from his lips or out of his voice, "Which would be that overgrown rainbow colored gecko behind me."

Roberts had to surpress his chuckle, as the Xolotl's eyes narrowed and he was "suggestively" nudged by the 18-ton beast.

"I'll have you know my bloodline streches back a thousand years, and has been specially bred for it's purity and vitality! I'm as far above a gecko as you are above a chimpanzee." The Xolotl was hard pressed to keep his own brand of mirth out of his rumbling voice - he was far used to his Captain's way of introducing themselves and he had far fewer airs about himself than most other Xolotl's due to his "upbringing". Still, Thundercracker's gleaming red eye fixed on Æquitas, studying the Malacite Reaper's hide and form, before inclining his crested head at the flag-dragon.

"Please excuse my human...his manners are lacking."

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:51 pm 
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Judith got the hint as Rankin turned to speak to Haakon, and motioned Jebediah to follow her as she moved on. There were other old friends she wanted to see again, as well as wanting a closer look at the dragons AEquitus was speaking with.
Quote:
"I see the throng has arrived," (Captain Reynolds) rasped, referring to Admiral Tolkien's famous work.

Judith quickened her step to join the lean, leather-masked figure, an honest smile on her face to see him. "Nathan! We'd heard rumors The White Bastard ate a Mal'kite down at Sussex," she teased, reaching out to take the senior captain's hand. She would have given him a hug as well, but there was something about Nathan Reynolds that was too dignified for friendly hugs. "Glad we got ya back. We've miss'd flyin' wit' Frostfell."

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:34 pm 
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Obviously, the reports about Xolotls were not exaggerated.

"Quite all right, I'm sure," said Æquitas, as politely as he could, and changed the subject as rapidly as possible.

"We're glad to have you both," he said, deciding on the spot that this was not a moment to insist on spit, polish, and salutes, certainly not among American volunteers. As usual, the Lightweight's captain was the only one to salute. "This squadron has something of a history to it, and the Admiralty has intimated that we may expect employment throughout the Mediterranean Theatre. If you're willing and eager to fight the Hun, I assure you all that you've come to the right place. Whatever else you might have heard, Captain Rankin has a knack for involving us all in hot weather."

That was perhaps putting it mildly.

"If you need anything, the ground crews can see to your dragons. We've a proper covert here, feeding pens, the works. Officers' and enlisted quarters are on the side up against Gibraltar town. We've all been politely asked not to roar overmuch after dark, as it tends to upset the ladies of the town. I'm sure Captain Rankin will wish to speak to you all personally, but for the moment, do you have any questions I might assist with?"

*----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------*

He tried, really, but Captain Rankin couldn't repress a smile when Jebediah mentioned that he'd been the one to teach them to twist the German's tails. It was utter rubbish of course, nobody had needed to teach the two West Virginians to twist anything, but it was nice to encounter a dragon with something good to say for his command. There weren't many of those.

"Well the navy has their traditions, Captain Collington," said Rankin, "and we have ours. It's bloody good to have you back on dry land and under RAF colors again. I assure you, we'll put you to much better use than the tea-and-crumpet crowd did."

And then the Captain... or whatever it was... of the Valdemarian chose to express his intentions with customary grace. Fortunately, Jane's had told him to prepare for Vikings, and so vikings he had prepared for. It was the Air Force.

"I can't promise you Hitler," said Rankin, restraining himself to a raised eyebrow. "But if you want the chance to disembowel a number of his minions, we can offer you just that. Given the order of battle the Admiralty has assembled here, I expect we're going to be used on the offensive in the near future. There are a number of weapons here that I intend to insert as far as possible into the enemy's liver." He left the question open as to whether or not Haakon would prove to be one such weapon. Best to start things slow.

"We're not exactly on regal grounds here, Captain," he said, continuing to refer to the man, rather than the dragon directly. He knew of course that with Valdemarians, it was the dragon who ruled, but in the RAF, there were other ways of doing things. Besides, there were peerage concerns to worry about, and he couldn't very well address one of the dragons nominally placed under his command as Lord so-and-so, now could he? "I expect though that we'll be able to make do better than the Caer Darrow could. Let me know if there are any - "

He got no further than that, for at that precise moment, Rankin's eye caught the sight of a small, dusty-yellow and brown dragon cantering towards Jake and Kunja, babbling about something or other, and he realized, a second before it happened, what precise event was about to make his day significantly worse.

*----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------*

"Cap! Cap, get back here!"

Capricorn did nothing of the sort, galloping instead like an excited dog towards the larger (if still miniature) Victorian Reaper that had touched down minutes ago. If he was saying anything, it was lost in the scrabbling of claws over packed earth and the beating of wings in the windy air. The Venomspitter raced ahead, heedless of his Captain's calls, so intently that he misjudged the required distance for deceleration and wound up half-sliding, half-crashing directly into Kunja's flank. Not even a third of Kunja's size, Capricorn wound up laying on his side in the dirt, blinking at the stones in front of him as though expecting them to offer an explanation for how he had come to be in such a position.

Laughing without much sympathy, Captain Nick Kelly, Capricorn's long-suffering captain, jogged up behind the special weapons dragon as Capricorn righted himself, shaking off a cloud of dust and turning back to Kunja, babbling something only semi-coherent about Spanish cows and a Camp Door. Arriving beside the smaller dragon, Captain Kelly gave his mount a hard shove in mock-exasperation, before shaking his head.

"Sorry mate," said Captain Kelly, "he caught wind of ye's comin' in and doubled back so quick he nearly knocked me loose. I told him you and Jeb'd be shipping in 'bout three days back, and he bloody near hasn't slept a wink since."

Capricorn certainly gave no signs of sleep deprivation, happily filling Kunja in on all the goings on in Gibraltar, Spain, Europe, and the planet Earth in general, all filtered through the mind of a Tasmanian Venomspitter. No doubt he would have continued to do so, except that moments later, Capricorn was cut off by a voice many times louder than any sound he had ever managed to produce.

One that made even less sense

"CABALLEROS!"

Everyone in the Covert heard the voice. Everyone in Iberia had to have heard it, so loud that even Capricorn stopped talking. Those searching did not have to look long for the source though, as a massive red-and-green heavyweight dragon was already descending from the heavens, festooned with harnesses and bunting of many colors. Above and behind it flew a black midweight, as unassuming as the heavyweight was boisterous, its head hanging low as it whispered to itself in Spanish.

The Heavyweight took no notice of the midweight, nor of anything else, but circled down and landed in the middle of the covert, hoisting its head high as it roared loudly, a challenge perhaps or a greeting or something else, it gave no sign. The crew mounted atop the dragon looked this way with pale faces and furtive gestures, but the dragon ignored them as well. And before anyone could do anything about the 42-ton interruption that had just inserted itself into everyone's life, the massive Cauchador Real turned to its right, and bounded towards Jebediah, Judith, and Nathan Reynolds.

Had the dragon intended violence, God only knew what would have happened next. But while the distinction was somewhat academic, the Heavyweight did not actually strike home, instead stopping some dozen feet away, looming above the two humans and lightweight like a lion might loom over a trio of field mice. Its massive body casting them into shadow, its head towering over them like a crane, the Cauchador Real stared down at the three figures below him, and posed a question in a voice that could have shattered glass.

"I claim this land in the name of La Reina de Castilla! Do you contest me?!"

The direct stare and howitzer-bellow of his voice indicated that this dragon was, contrary to all appearances, quite serious.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:25 pm 
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When the Spanish dragon approached, Haakon recognized what he was instantly. A Cauchador Real. Many dragons had... quirks. A product of selective breeding, and one of the reasons that Haakon disapproved of the practice. The Cauchador however, seems to have developed along the same lines as the Valois kings of France, and the Hapsburgs of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire. Some even thought they were made of glass. This one was somewhat near to Haakon's heart. He was stuck in the past. A past that Haakon had studied. He would need to be careful, the delusions would not necessarily match history, but it could be worked with.

"Pax Vobiscum" he said, his voice booming in accent-free latin before switching over to english.

"We are all friends here, fighting in common cause against common foe, is that not correct, dear Herald?" he said, speaking up toward the Whirlwind who seemed desperately trying to regain some semblance of control over his mentally unstable charge.

Even if things went poorly, he would draw attention away from the smaller dragons. He might be able to at least survive an assault from a dragon that size long enough to receive aid. If the smaller one's made a wrong move, they would be crushed instantly.

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There is no word harsh enough for this. No verbal edge sharp and cold enough to set forth the flaying needed. English is to young and the elder languages of the earth beyond me. ~Frigid

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:37 pm 
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Franklin's eyes narrowed upon hearing and seeing the Cauchador Real, and narrowed further when he watched the heavyweight bound up like a brain-damaged hatchling to a lightweight dragon, and several humans - and proclaim a challenge of dominance.

"Thank you Æquitas, but I think we'll be alright for now," Jacob said, his eyes following Franklin's. "I did want to talk with someone about a... modification of sorts of gear for Franklin here, but that can wait."

Once Franklin was free of his harness, he got up, and moved with methodical steps toward the Cauchador Real. Once he was near the larger dragon, he kept moving at the same pace around it. Once he was sure that there was enough room between the heavyweight, and the lightweight and humans the Heavyweight was attempting to menace, he sat down on his haunches directly in front of the Heavyweight, staring directly into the larger dragon's eyes.

Franklin was so still, he might have been mistaken for a statue. Though he never said a single word, his body language was very clear - "Here I sit between you, and those you threaten. I will not move."

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:05 pm 
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Though not quite on the same level as a Cauchador Real, a Valdemarian's voice was still quite a thing, and the booming cry served to get the Cauchador's attention. The great Spanish beast turned to the Valdemarian, standing stock-still as the Norwegian addressed him in what was clearly meant to be soothing tones.

The reply was not precisely encouraging.

"Sorceror!" roared the Cauchador loud enough that the echo resounded across the Bay and caused the ships at anchor at the Royal Navy base next door to heave at their moorings. And before anyone could so much as blink, the Cauchador exploded into the air, crossed the distance between itself and Haakon in a single leap, and collided with him.

It was like getting hit by a falling mountain. Men scattered in every direction as sixty-five tons of steel and dragonflesh rolled across the covert, right through several trees, until fetching up against an ammunition bunker sturdy enough to stop them. The Cauchador's foreclaws were clenched around Haakon's throat, not tightly enough to kill, but more than enough to pin the midweight in place. Haakon was pinned on his back as the Cauchador Real stared him straight in the eye, entirely indifferent to the horrified screams of the Andalusian Whirlwind still flying above, nor the shouts of the displaced men and dragons he had just swept aside.

"Were you sent by the Soulless Minions of Orthodoxy?!" roared the Cauchador Real. "I shall send them all to Hell!"

_________________
Gaze upon my works, ye mighty, and despair...

Havoc: "So basically if you side against him, he summons Cthulu."
Hotfoot: "Yes, which is reasonable."


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