06122016 edit - prayers for the victims and their families of the Orlando Florida massacre earlier today Peace
06052016 - holy dragon poo...BBRB chapter 44 in three parts is finally up, sorry for the delay. there's a new style to the story, where we quickly transition from different sets of characters in distant locations. we have Mundhelm going by eagle to speak with the king and queen of Albi Aula (with a cameo of Gemma and Haergrim in a non-speaking role), we have Pana and Chawinda who have to stay aboard the Vatishehir, we have our two Eladrin at the battlefield of Croyden Wood (explaining where Myrddin went), then we have Jarl Gudrum and his frost giants Gelaende-ing across the Albi Aulan countryside, even a brief moment with the three squadrons of Roc bombers already in the air. that's a lot of moving parts to keep track of, to keep the timeline as straight as possible!
also, more seems to happen in this chapter than in other chapters, with a big reveal that will have an impact across the known world. I tell you, this big reveal was in the pipeline for months, and certainly there's gonna be more to that than this chapter, or this part of the world even. it also starts to tie together some of the loose ends that became evident over the last half of the story
again, I apologize for the delay, and I hope you will enjoy this chapter!
John "Basileus Ioannis"
06062016 edit - the scene where Pana and Chawinda wake up in their stateroom is like an executive summary of a longer scene that got cut from two chapters ago. I had written a scene where Mundhelm shows them to their room, ooo how awesome is this room, look there's a bathroom with a real bath, etc. including a servant who shows them how the toilet works, all that good stuff. but the chapter was already too big, and by value the scene was a "that's nice" piece rather than "plot-centric" so it appears here as a brief "good morning" scene. hopefully that will also not offend anyone who might be sensitive to their relationship, as it is
re: Jarl Gudrum and his army. a little over three hundred frost giants seems low for the main force, but I figure one giant is easily worth more than a squad/section of human soldiers (obviously not a squad of Myrddins or Eladrins), which is about ten humans, so if you multiply say 350 by ten or fifteen, you get around 3500-5250 human equivalents. that's still small compared to say Sauron's army of 10,000 mostly orcs that came pouring out of Mordor, but that was like whacking the hornet's nest with a stick. I think Saruman's army at Helm's Deep is closer in size, so it's still a substantial body of troops
also, why'd they have to go due east, then due south? why not go diagonally, or follow the river? besides the fact that the river bends this way and that, the main reason is command and control. moving 350 mostly-chaotic-evil frost giants cross country requires orders to be kept relatively simple. since you-know-who got whacked, it became that much more necessary to keep things as clear as possible, so heading straight for the woods around the fens, then turning 90 degrees south and follow the woods is the best thing Gudrum could do under the circumstances. following the hills at first was relatively easy, but likewise it was easy to follow them too far!
and no, there was no way that Gudrum could have foreseen the effect of the High Porte forces...he's never fought them before, hell he didn't even know they existed. besides, he calculated (correctly) that the Royal Dragon Force would be drawn into the fight at Croyden Wood, that's why he sent all his white dragons there. even if the Spitfire Squadron doesn't get wiped out, they would be exhausted by that battle and probably wouldn't be able to redeploy in time to intervene against him. also, side note: these two battles aren't the only ones, as the owl patrols had discovered. the other diversions would have tied down the bronze dragon led Hurricane Squadron along the coast, perhaps even the silver dragon led training squadron up north.
finally, the Skibbyen. it was inspired by Queen Millenia (1000年女王), an old Toei anime (movie, I didn't catch the tv series) where Earth and the planet Lar-Metal pass by each other every 1000 years, and the titular Queen is a native of Lar-Metal who watches over the humans of Earth. well, this upcoming close encounter is going to be the last one, as Lar-Metal is on a trajectory to get lost in a black hole or something, so when the natives wake up from their thousand-year-long hibernation, they decide to wipe out the humans and jump planet. the Queen says "ta hell with dat noiz" (in much more Queen-like way, of course), choosing to defend the humans who she had overseen for the past millenia against the evil plot of her own people, the Lar-Metallians. but as the planets get close, there is geological catastrophe unfolding on Earth. to save as many humans as she can, Queen Promethium II (so pretty) has built a "Noah's Ark", where a cylindrical chunk of earth nearly two hundred kilometers across containing millions of humans, all sorts of animals and plants, and the crypts of the past Millenium Queens safely underground, rises up out of the devastated Earth and goes flying. even Lar-Metallians, who are vastly ahead of humans in technology, are stunned at the size of Promethium's "ark". a big battle breaks out, some Lar-Metallian rebels and the spirits of the past Millenium Queens go off to fight the invasion fleet, killing the chibi-sized witch-empress of the Lar-Metallians and defeating the invaders. in that fight on the witch-empress' ship, Promethium is mortally wounded, and the end of the movie is a very moving funeral scene. you can see the movie on YouTube (here is where the "Noah's Ark" takes flight, it's badass y'all!)
anyway, inspired by, but not quite the same (nowhere near as big, probably about three or four miles in diameter, and the surface buildings aren't deserted ruins), a Skibbyen is not an unarmed "ark" but a battlegroup of warships. the left and right sides can be detached and can fly as escort ships, leaving the center which would look like an immense battleship or aircraft carrier. the escort ships have to stick near the central ship, because the Vindbrugere are located in the center (so they "fly" the escorts remotely...cool huh?). aaand that's all I'm gonna say right now...stay tuned for more!
06142016 edit - I did a quick calculation based on the circle of fire scene compared to Google Maps, and the diameter of the "Noah's Ark" is actually about 180 kilometers/just over 110 miles, spanning from Mount Fuji in the southwest to Kasumigaura Bay in Ibaraki prefecture to the northeast, from Chiba prefecture in the southeast to the border of Saitama and Gunma prefectures in the northwest, encompassing the lion's share of the Kanto Plain. actually, if it was exactly circular, Mount Fuji wouldn't be on it, but I think Toei took artistic license in including the holy mountain because of its visual significance. in any case, almost twice as big as my previous estimate...the Ark is friggin' huge!