Noir City 2


Ninombir stood upon the wooden ramparts of teetering tower at the peak of Snowcrest. He looked over the icy tundra and the mountains about them. His goggles were designed to search for any heat, this meant an approaching army or a mechanical monstrosity. The only heat was seen way down below. The keep he was a watchman over burned like a lonely coal in the snow. A giant’s foot could snuff it out.

He shook his head. Why did he always think that way? “Your brain is too full.” Father told him, “Too full of flying lizards, magic men, and giants.” He always thought of giants when on watch, huge beasts of stone. Sometimes he dreamt of them. Oh, his dreams. This was where the madness truly began.

His scarf barely kept the icy winds from freezing his face. Even the king’s prized mechanic took watch unless there was a special need for him.

“My oven toaster.” The king had asked him just last week. Nin had come back in from fixing the heater vents. The King whined, “It isn’t toasting my toast properly!”

But there were no oven toasters to fix on this chilly evening; Nin was marked as the next man on watch. Not that he minded. It gave him a chance to think of his strange dreams. It had been of that girl with pretty brown eyes and hair that well, at some moments she seemed like a brunette, at other times a blond. She even came across as somewhat, red-headed. He’d had many dreams of her lately. Last night’s dream was the most vivid one.

At that moment, his goggles caught a small dot of heat in the clouds. A small airship soon appeared. It had red sails and flew rather tenaciously. The dirigible was either in trouble or controlled by an unskilled pilot. Unskilled men did not last long in this freezing tundra. Then a form of something monstrous appeared behind it. A fireball flew out of the form, hitting the little craft just so that it flew toward Snowcrest. Had his eyes deceived him? The form was suddenly no more, or perhaps hidden in the clouds, but the dirigible was on fire and falling fast. It would have surely crashed into the ground like a rock, but instead, it flew into the mountain right below the mechanic hitting the snow drift with a loud crunch.

Nin left his post and climbed into the mechanical carriage. A five-minute drive took him to the crash site. The dirigible’s engine gears were still revving as he braked the carriage before the crater of the crash. The dirigible was, thankfully, of those newer models, designed to take the brunt of it. This meant it was smashed into a heap.

It looks worse than it is, he kept telling himself.

His mind raced at any number of people who could be inside: a lone warrior wounded from battle, a king’s foolish son, an old man hoping for a final flight before he was deemed unfit for service?

He pulled aside the door and sucked in the chilly wind. For what he saw was a maze of curls that half covered the most beautiful face in the world. Now, even for a mechanic, he’d seen a few beauties, but not as divine as this.

The vivid dreamy girl came to mind. A curly-haired princess with a bow in one hand and a glowing orb in the other, and hair that was… what sort of color was it? Last he’d dreamt of marrying her, this strange illusion of a woman in his dreams.

And here he was staring down at just that type of woman! Was the dreamy girl real? This one was. She lay unconscious before him in a thin blue gown fit for a ball.

His practical senses interrupted the revere. She is too thinly covered for these weather conditions? He checked her pulse under her chin. She moaned, something about tiaras stuck in her hair. He glanced at the woven curls. Thick and well-maintained. What color was it? Hints of red, blonde, and brown twirled about like an autumn dance. He could write a dozen sonnets about how perfectly they moved. His ever-practical mind butted in, Thick hair is good for the snow. It keeps one’s neck warm. He sighed and went about lightly pressing her arms and legs to check for any breaks. To his surprise, her dress changed from blue to a deep green.

A dozen dialogue options went through his mind. As always, his most practical side won out.

“Hey! You need to come with me, miss.”

Her arm brushed about as if dismissing a servant.

“Come now miss.” He said. “Take this cloak.” She took the fir-skin cloak and smiled. Her eyes slowly opened. They were a doe-like brown. She is in shock. His mind told him. She tried to stand. He caught her in his arms so close that his beard brushed against her cheek.

“There now,” He said. She gazed up at him and didn’t seem to shy away. Her face… it was, just like the dreams.

He finally caught himself, “Now, what is a beautiful young lady doing in a dirigible way out in Snowcrest?”

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