Long-time readers of my blog (and a couple of newcomers as well) will probably recall first seeing the name Zaphnora in a post titled “Airships of the Nine Empires, Part 2.” Well, given my new adventures with a high-resolution 3D printer, I have decided to make a much more detailled model of this ship than the one I had printed at Shapeways. As of this post, I have spent the past four days designing a high-detail hull (which I will still have to have printed at Shapeways, owing to its size), as well as new conning towers, funnels with hollow vent stacks, and detailled guns of various types. The guns are taking a while, owing to the fact that it took a while to work out the exact specs I wanted for deck guns that could be mounted on disappearing platforms, and I also wanted to make three different types. Today, I finished the first type, which I am particularly proud of, and which I mention briefly in the following three paragraphs.
Rubina had not slept in days, yet exhausted as she was, she found no solace aboard Kveta’s vile airship. Every thought she ever had flooded her mind, particularly the memories of all those who had died on her dubious quest thus far. All but one of them had their lives cut short by the abomination she now sat inside, and now they had finally come back to demand “why.” The eerie, pulsating whine of the ships levitators penetrated the hull and sent waves throughout Rubina’s body, even as she laid in a soft bed. Staring up at the ceiling, a ghostly face slowly appeared in midair, hanging just above her. It seemed to be coming closer as it became clearer, a tender look in its empty eye sockets. Rubina tried to wave it away, expecting that it would dissipate like smoke, but to no avail, and she rolled out of bed and onto the floor in a panic. She made her way to the door, unable to keep her own balance. It seemed as if the ship was rolling violently, yet something told her that this was simply her mind playing tricks on her. The door, surprisingly, was unlocked, and she threw herself out of the room, falling onto the floor of the corridor outside. She forced herself to her feet, still feeling dizzy. The walls seemed to move away from her, as if she was shrinking down to the size of a mouse. The eyes on the walls, painted and static, seemed to come to life, their slit pupils narrowing and closing in on her. Down one end of the corridor was a black void, from whence more ghostly faces came. Down the other end was a light, and she ran towards it, sometimes tripping and having to crawl a short distance before getting back to her feet again. After what felt like hours, she reached the light, which was coming down a staircase that led up and out to the ship’s main deck. Still dizzy, she had no choice but to climb the stairs on all fours, with each step becoming steeper, until she felt like she was climbing a ladder. The corridor behind her disappeared entirely, as she looked back to see if the ghosts were still following her. All that was ahead was a blinding light, but after climbing a few more steps, her vision cleared, the stairs became stairs again, and the deck came into her sight.
On deck, her sense of balance seemed to finally return, yet the blast of cold air along with the even louder whine of the levitators instantly gave her a tremendous headache. She did not recognise where she was, as the conning tower looked different from before. She turned round, and upon seeing no raised deck, realised that she was near the stern. Rubina decided to head for the bow, hoping to give Kveta a piece of her mind. Along her walk, she noticed that the deck was completely devoid of crew members. The ship’s deck guns were almost all stowed and covered, with only a few here and there that were ready in case the ship was attacked. As Rubina finally passed the first funnel, the forward conning tower came into view, and Kveta was standing atop the flying bridge, gazing out to starboard. As Rubina passed below, Kveta glanced down, but then went back to staring out toward the horizon. Rubina noticed this, and thought “fine, ignore me.” She then turned round, and noticed that the very first starboard deck gun was uncovered, and had a full ammunition box on its platform. She looked back at the flying bridge. Kveta’s eyes didn’t meet hers, and after a few moments of looking up, Rubina turned her attention back to the deck gun. It was one of the Zaphnora‘s smallest weapons, but still quite formidable. Rubina walked up to it, examining its mechanisms closely. From its ammunition box, a belt of fat cartridges led up to the gun’s receiver, where they would be fed into the chambers of each of the gun’s nine rotating barrels. Rubina walked round to the front of the gun, then looked back at the flying bridge. Kveta still wouldn’t look at her a second time. “Notice me, damn you,” Rubina thought, as she climbed up onto the platform and began stroking the gun barrels. Each one was large enough that Rubina could easily fit her own fist inside. She then turned her gaze to the seat, from which she could turn this gun onto its ship’s own bridge. “I could do it,” she thought before taking one last look at the flying bridge. Kveta slowly turned her gaze toward Rubina, then leaned forward, gripping the railing tightly. Rubina couldn’t see Kveta’s face from such a distance, but she knew Kveta had a look right now that said “do it, I dare you.” The two stared at each other as Rubina stepped onto the footrest and began cranking the handwheel that turned the gun. She had the gun turned almost 90 degrees before she heard a gruff voice shout “what do you think you’re doing?!” “Shit,” Rubina hissed.
Rubina climbed the ladder up the back of the pilothouse to the flying bridge, to find that Kveta hadn’t moved. “I can see why you like it up here,” Rubina sneered. “Oh, why is that?” “Because then you don’t have to see them.” “Who, my own crew?” “Seriously?” Rubina wasn’t sure if Kveta was mocking her. “I’m talking about the ghosts.” “Ghosts?” “Of all the people your demonic flying machine has killed!” Rubina was beyond frustrated at this point. “Oh, that,” Kveta chuckled, annoying Rubina even further, “that noise certainly gets to people after a while.” “What has the noise to do with it?!” “It’s a problem that all glossarian airships have, sweetie-” “don’t call me that” “the noise and vibrations can cause people on board to experience nausea, hallucinations, and insomnia,” Kveta explained, “weak-willed aeronauts have been driven to utter madness, sometimes jumping off the ship in mid-flight. Of course, you’ll never hear the officers of your own air force talking about it, on account of the fact that volunteers are already in short supply.”
What you just read is a passage currently slated to be in the latter part of chapter 8 in book 6, Storms of Retribution and Revolution. I know, I know, I’m all over the place with my writing. I’m also all over the place with my projects! I keep promising a complete video walkthrough of Marie de la Cordelière, for instance, but I keep putting it off for a number of reasons, none of which are good. The last time I teased that project was a month ago, but rest assured, IT IS COMING. I’d like to finish the new version of the Zaphnora first, however, which brings me to an important announcement. I’m going to make a video showing the process of assembling the airship, which I will upload to BitChute after the Cordelière walkthrough is finally done. However, since the latter may take several days to record, owing to the fact that I will be making a higher detail model than usual yet again, beginning tomorrow, I’m going to start posting pictures of each new item to SubscribeStar. However, a BIG however here, these little sneak previews will not be free, but subscriber-exclusive. If you don’t wish to part with a dollar a month, then you’ll have to wait until the video is published to see any of the new models, including the 42mm 9-barrel autocannon I mentioned earlier. I have no clue when that will be, so you could be waiting quite a while. What can I say, other than “I can’t keep working for free, but I don’t know how to beg for money, either?”
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