169 Incoming Fire
The instant the skiff landed back on his flagship, Cornelius Rellen was barking orders to his subordinates.
"Get the armada back in formation!" he roared as he marched his way up to the bridge of his ship.
His orders were sent out to the other Kreppelins, and soon the armada was underway again. With the Rellen flagship in the lead they started to fly their way over the sinkhole, circling around the area where Cornelius's subordinate could sense the presence of Markus Rellen who they had been tracking. The armada formed itself into a long battle formation that completely encircled the target area in preparation for the next step in Cornelius's orders.
Then the command to fire went out to every airship in the armada.
The first to fire were the ballista from the flagship. These weapons were bigger and deadlier than any other Kreppelin present could boast, and when the magically reinforced siege weapon let loose its fury it was a sight to behold.
Like a comet, the first flaming bolt was sent howling down into the swirling fog that covered the sinkhole. Hundreds more followed it as every Kreppelin started unloading their weaponry as they had been ordered.
Most of the bolts were implanted with flame magic, leaving behind smoke and singed air in their wake as they streaked towards their target. Some were implanted with lightning magic, more expensive, but more explosive power as well. They looked like spears thrown from olympus, crackling and sparkling with lightning as they flew.
On his flagship, Cornelius watched the scene below like a hawk as the armada's first volley pierced into the clouds. He didn't know how deep the sinkhole was, but according to his subordinate, Markus's location was only just below the cloud cover in that section. He had ordered his ships to fire in a wide area pattern to make sure wherever those rats were hiding, they would experience the power of his armada!
Zoey shook her head to get rid of the slight disorientation she felt after disconnecting from the holo projector that she had used to face Cornelius Rellen. She was still on the bridge of the Stella Tenebris after all, and had used a modified spider drone to project an image of herself up top.
She was not quite sure what had come over her up there when she had erupted with power and spoken with a voice that was not hers. The voice that had spoken out and declared that she was the Dark Star had not been her, yet had been her at the same time. Whatever it was had originated somewhere inside her inner world and flown through her like a river of power, alien, yet somehow familiar. The voice reminded her of the one that had spoken to her when she had found the first Dark Star Shard, but what could it mean? She would have to investigate later.
Next to her, Max's brow was furrowed in concern as he watched her every move carefully to make sure she was ok. She smiled reassuringly at him and patted his head as she got up from the command chair and looked at everyone that was waiting patiently for her to speak.
Taigen, Baiken, Ssaul, and Saigo were all on the bridge with her and Max, all of them ready and prepared for the fight that was to come. They knew the situation, they had seen it from the display that had showed them everything that Zoey's hologram had seen. But as overwhelming as the forces arrayed against them were, they had confidence in Zoey.
That display was actually being shown to every single person aboard the Stella Tenebris. Even in Markus's room there was a display that showed the scene as it had happened. The Asurai clanspeople were nervous and scared as a result. Many of them had experienced the power of a noble armada before, and some even recognized the flagship in the sky as the same one that had heralded the destruction of their clan so long ago.
Zoey knew that they were afraid, but she needed them to be strong. She used her interface and linked to Eve, projecting her image to every display on the cruiser and her voice to every Eve.
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"Hey everyone. I know the situation seems bad, but don't worry. Remember that you are inside the Stella Tenebris, and she will protect you. The nobles and their dogs will strike at us, but we are not helpless, and we are not hopeless.
So remain strong, believe in your comrades, and soon, we will be sailing our way to the next horizon."
Zoey turned off the connection and walked to the front of the bridge where she stood for a moment, looking out at the fog. She did not consider herself a speech giver of any kind, but her words seemed to have done the trick as Eve was reporting that the spirits and motivation of her crew had improved.
Suddenly, a display blinked to life next to her and an alarm tone rang through the bridge, startling the others.
"ENEMY FIRE INCOMING"
The display showed Zoey the scene above the clouds as the armada encircled them and let loose a volley of magical bolts towards their general location. Zoey assumed that they were still tracking her using whoever it was that had mimicked Markus's talent, or a Seeker Vekt to lock on to her Harmonic Heritage.
She turned around and looked at Max and the others for a moment, then said with quiet conviction, "Let's give them hell."