New Blood Logs:
Tom Noon's Tale
Voyages of the Nones
Mother Goose Chase
Adventures of the Munch
Lanthil & Beyond
As you may recall, we left our heroes in combat over one of the Cities of the Seven Kings in an archipelago on Yazatlan. They had been attacked while in the process of rescuing civilians who had been the victims of an earlier aerial attack. The next steps would be preventing the last 10 missiles from hitting and rescuing the last survivors.
After consultation with a couple of the players, I've decided that September, 2001 is not the right time to role play the rescuing of the survivors of an aerial attack on a city. On September 11, 2001, we saw a real aerial assault and real world heroism as fire fighters entered burning and collapsing buildings to help rescue thousands of innocents.
Therefore, with a profound sense of respect, and honor to the thousands of innocents and hundreds of heroes who lost their lives in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on Flight 93 in Pennsylvania, we draw a curtain while the Pantope crew rescues citizens of this city and the rest of the Seven Cities. The injured are gathered, treated in the chocolate-fruit-financed autodocs, and with impressively low casualty rates are reunited with their kith and kin.
One incident in the liberation of the Cities of the Seven Kings is worth noting. In the Fifth City, they open a door into a large crowded square just before a large dragon lord, his head haloed by a cobra-like hood strides down the steps of the large municipal building at the north end of the square. The lordling is flanked by an elite body guard who rapidly spread out around him.
Direct conflict is inevitable. Dafnord and his swat crew sweep out on the ground. Robby, Markel and the girls provide aerial support. Tom and Kate deftly pull their finest Stupid Pantope Tricks TM. The dragons prove to be one of the toughest groups the crew has ever encountered on the ground, fielding both flyers and modern energy weapons as well as elite hand to hand fighters. The dragon lord proves to be a shape-shift magic wielder who tosses both balls of raw energy and something rather nastily dimension twisting.
It's a tough fight, but Our Heroes are used to tough fights. What makes this one worst is the fact that because it was unexpected on both sides, there are a number of civilians caught in the field of fire at the foot of the building's steps. At one point the crew's hearts nearly stop as despite their finest efforts a frail white haired woman ends up square in the path of one of the mage lord;s fire balls.
Miraculously, she makes a small gesture, raising her walking stick so that it is square in the path of the fire ball which splits in two, passing on both sides of her. Tom and Kate sweep her to the Metaphor. Markel and Dafnord take advantage of the surprise of her survival and disappearance to pull a particularly clever attack on the dragon lord which directly leads to his eventual defeat.
The Fifth City proves to be nearly as hard a task as the one where we drew the curtain, but the defeat of a major dragon lord -- later identified as The Bronze King, a major player on the Yazatlan stage -- throws the defenders into chaos, which gives our heroes the edge they need. The last of the Cities of the Seven Kings fall easily.
When they have time to breathe, the crew question the white-haired lady, with some interest.
Having finished the evacuation of the rest of Yazatlan, the crew turns to the Golden Archipelago, where they have reason to believe that the dragons suspect their presence. As it turns out, they were right. The dragons put up a tremendous fight, fielding forces that seem to be overwhelming. Two things play in Our Heroes favor. First, they are, after all our heroes, a crew for whom saving the world is a recurring resumeé item. Secondly, the dragons don't seem to be in top form. At several key moments they seem to be distracted, as if their attention was constantly being drawn to events elsewhere in Yazatlan.
The fight in the Golden Archipelago is fierce and hard, but the crew once again manages collect nearly all of the people of Yazatlan, completing the last load of the Tellumatauru, but it costs them, big time. As battle comes to its last moments in Yazatlan chronology, a dragon Mothership appears, fielding scores of manta ships. Once more they field their transdimensional technology and the Metaphor takes a substantial or at least semi-substantial hit, and Tom flees.
And so, we leave our crew, valiant victors of the Battle of Yazatlan, heroic rescuers of hundreds of thousands of nephilim, fey and mortal folk. The Tellumatauru sets off for Olam Nephilim with its last load. The crew are taking turns in the various autodocs on the Metaphor, the Munch and at the ranch. Tom is making noises about repairing the huge crack in deck and Dafnord tallying the likely costs of repairing the Munch, but they made it. The War and the Rescue are over. By all estimates no more than 5% of the population of Yazatlan remains in dragon hands. There were casualties, staggering when counted one by one, but in terms of percentage of the population, remarkably light. Some day, both the Crew and the Destinos vow, those left behind will be saved, but for now, given the mothership's last assault, that will have to wait.
I hope that everyone will understand why I decided to move the storyline so suddenly on, leaving the destruction of the cities of Yazatlan behind.
I wrote the first lines of this page while listening to the story of Todd Beamer, who with the words "Lets roll!", joined with Jeremy Glick, Mark Bingham, and Thomas Burnett Jr in an attack on the hijackers of Flight 93. All 44 people on board died shortly thereafter, but no one else did. Flight 93 never reached whatever target the terrorists had planned.
Please remember these men who found a strength and courage unplanned, and all the police, firemen, school teachers, men of God and rescue workers who died doing their jobs, protecting others that day. Remember the man who stayed so his paraplegic friend would not be alone. Remember the office workers who carried injured friends and strangers to safety. Remember the newsman trapped on the roof who stayed on the phone to his office describing events until he and all the TV towers plummeted to the ground. Remeber all the people whose instinct was to rush into the disaster to save others, rather than from it to save themselves. Remember the fireman who said he had fellow officers in the first collapsed tower, strapped on his equipment, assured us that "you'd do the same in my place", and went back in.
These are the faces of heroism.
Copyright © 2003, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.