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The New World, Mecca, North East of Fort Hensink, The Atoll

Roughly two hundred kilometres offshore from the beaches of Hensink, lies a small archipelago of islands and reefs formed from volcanic rock. The islands have steep slopes densely covered in vegetation and trees and were devoid of people. Wild animals and monsters roamed the islands surrounded by steep rocky cliffs and at the highest peaks of one of the islands, dozens of wild winged dragons flocked around the peak.

In the midst of these islands and reefs, lies a large atoll. The waters around the atoll were crystal clear and covered in white sand. Dense trees covered parts of the atoll and one was to take a closer look, one particular area had an olive green painted large curved plate sticking out between the trees.

The radar installation was slowly rotation on its mount, the rest of its body covered in camouflage netting. A short distance away, a similarly camouflaged and hidden bunker sat facing the open sea. At this moment, a very bored Oerkin Marine named Yak was staring out of the narrow firing slits of the bunker, eyeing the gathering storm clouds in the far distance.

On a clear day, the End Zone could be seen despite being hundreds of kilometres away as a wall of grey on the horizon of the blue sea. Yet today, the storm clouds that appeared suddenly had covered the entire horizon and did not appear to stop growing larger. Even the winds had picked up as Yak could see the trees waving in the strong wind and the howl of the wind through the firing slits.

"Yak!" A yell woke him up from his daydream and he found his fellow marine calling him from behind. "Come on! The LT wants us to help move the plane in!"

Yak, happy to do something rather than just staring out at nothing, grabbed his rifle and slung it behind his back and followed his buddy out. They left the shelter of the hidden bunker and kept to a well beaten track through the foliage and soon emerged out to the large lagoon with clear green blue waters in the middle of the atoll.

High Command had chosen the atoll to be a forward observation post as compared to the other islands, the atoll was relatively flat and also has a source of fresh water. And having a large sheltered lagoon allowed flying boats like the FB - 1 Mariners or F/A - 1N Sea Cobras to land and take off safely, as the rest of the islands were surrounded by dangerous reefs and rough seas.

Construction of concrete bunkers and the radar station soon took place and the unnamed atoll was soon known as The Atoll by the workers and marines stationed there. The site was heavily camouflaged and all other traces of habitation was wiped once the workers left the atoll.

Now a large sea gull winged twin engined flying boat was beached on white sands of the lagoon. The seaplane's crew and several other Marines were at the tail end, standing half deep in the clear waters. A pulley system of sorts was rigged to the trees on the beach and other Marines and Navy personnel were pulling on the ropes.

The flying boat rolled up the sandy beach while the rest helped push the plane up. A couple of the aircrew rolled chocks behind the wheels to prevent the large seaplane from rolling backwards and injuring anyone behind.

"Come on!" Someone yelled over the roar of the engines. "We need to get the plane higher up or the coming storm will blow it away!"

Yak stripped his gear off and dumped it on one side and rushed forward to help and little by little, the flying boat was rolled up to the trees. Its crew and the Marines quickly started to secure the aircraft down with ropes and camo nets.

After they were done, the skies were dark as the storm clouds had crawled over their heads and the wind picked up even more. "Secure everything that is loose!"

Yak grabbed his gear and followed the rest, some headed to dismantle the radar dish and communication antenna and relays, others started to move miscellaneous stuff let out in the open back into the bunkers.

As outpost readied itself for the coming storm, pea sized raindrops started falling from the skies, and not long after, the end of summer storm broke out and autumn has arrived.

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The blood red coloured airship shuddered as a particularly strong gust of wind slammed into its side, the magical repelling runes flashed continuously as it countered the crosswinds. A bolt of lightning arc across the skies as rain pelted down against the magic barriers heavily enough to have water dripping through.

Inquisitor Mathias sat quietly before a glow lamp, his attention solely on the sheets of parchment in his hands, a report detailing the first expedition to the New World. He has reread the report multiple times throughout the month long journey.

The first expedition has returned to the Protectorate with holds full of precious magic crystals, gold, silver and many new converts to the faith. Over forty airships had departed in the first wave and over the months, just twenty four airships had returned.

In the report, five airships were lost crossing in the Sea of Clouds and nine remained, including Inquisitor Rism's flagship, the battleship Aggression. The other twenty six airships made the trip back in two batches and each batch lost one ship in the return trip. The resources brought back made waves throughout the Old World despite the fact the Protectorate has done all to ensure there were no leaks of the news.

But still, there were still heretical spies not weeded out among the faithful as word had gotten out to the other Great Nations, resulting in a mad rush to the New World. The Grand Jury having seen what the truth of the New World has to offer, has mobilized a second force, greater than the first expedition to further expand their influence and foothold in the New World, as they did not wish the land to be tinted by the other heretical Nations.

Inquisitor Mathias was appointed to lead the second wave as he had some experience travelling to the New World by the Grand Jury. Now holding a rank of General, he led a massive air fleet of over seventy airships with over half of those were lightly armed transports. Mathias had made use of his new authority to force several new changes to his fleet.

Using the experience and reports from the returnees, Mathias had his fleet undergo refits at the Protectorate yards. He implemented both new arcane measures and hull reinforcements to the airships to increase their survivability through the Sea of Clouds.

With the influx of magic crystals, Mathias can afford his ships to use the magic crystals to power their magical barriers. He also had new crystal communication devices and newer more advanced signalling systems installed to all the airships so as to improve their communications abilities when inside the Sea of Clouds.

It had taken him months and all his connections and favors to have all his implementations and expenditure to be approved by the Grand Jury. Finally, his fleet fully outfitted and loaded with troops, weapons, supplies and new colonists, the second wave of airships departed directly for the New World.

After a month of travelling in the dangerous and unpredictable Sea of Clouds, Mathia's air fleet exited out from the Sea of Clouds and into a gathering storm. But compared to what they had been through in the past month, the storm before them felt trivial and the best part was only a single airship was missing from his fleet of seventy!

Granted over two thirds of his fleet had suffered some form of damage but none where crippling. The measures he had implemented had helped cut down loses by a massive margin and his popularity among the airships' captains and crew grew.

Mathias put down the well worn report when someone knocked on his cabin door. "Enter!"

"Lord Inquisitor! May Justice be on your side!" An aide saluted as he entered. "The fleet is formed up and ready to proceed fore to the New Protectorate Lands!"

"Good, pass on the order to the fleet!" Mathias replied as he stood up. "The fleet will make haste to the New Protectorate Lands!"

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The New World, The Old Kingdom of Foral, ???

Blue Thunder lashed out with his hind claws as he came flashing down from the trees and snatched at the started herd of horned deer. The unicorn looking creature caught in Blue Thunder's claws let out a squeal of fright and pain as it was lifted up into the skies in a violent way and its lifeblood slowly drained away from the sharp claws pierced into its body.

Blue Thunder had a smug grin on his face as he came to a glide over the camp. He dropped the dying animal like a bomb and came to hover by beating his powerful wings before landing on all fours. "And... I am fully healed!"

"Fully healed your head!" Stamford growled as he poked at one of his wounds that had reopened on his shoulder. "You have just torn your wounds open again!"

"But they don't hurt anymore!" Blue Thunder said indignantly. "And I can fly again!"

"I thought I told you not to go flying until your wounds have closed up!" Stamford frowned. "Now look at what you have done!"

"Sorry... mom..." Blue Thunder gave his best innocent smile and giving the wide eyed Saphia that was watching at the side a wink. "At least I brought back some dinner!"

Stamford shook his head in defeat as he gave up in trying to control Blue Thunder who was like a kid diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, "Yeah, yeah... good work..."

They had set up camp near the edge of the forest by a watering hole. The brutal fight the other day had exhausted them greatly with everyone suffering one form of injury from the mad melee. The only being that did not suffer a scratch was Saphia who had kept herself hidden from danger.

Blue Thunder's timely breath attack had turned the tides and like a flamer, the enemy was burnt off the hilltop. The enemy's mages already weakened from the burden of maintaining the magic barrier was easily defeated by Blue Thunder's attack and they were hit by the magical rebound, dropping down unconscious to the ground.

Seeing the appearance of an angry dragon, the surviving assailants' morale broke and they fled down the slopes to escape with their lives. But Stamford gave a cold blooded order to kill them all as he did not want any enemies to report back their failure. His tired and wounded crew lugged the machine guns back to the edge of the hilltop and started mowing down the running enemy until none remained moving.

Pushing themselves, Stamford and his men cleared the battlefield, ensuring no one remained a threat by putting an end to anyone still alive. After that, they finally dropped down to rest, in the hilltop covered with bodies.

Once they had recovered, they started looting the bodies for anything of use such as items like food and water supplies were taken. Once they had enough supplies, the group of four and two dragons started trekking again until they came upon a watering hole.

Stamford checked his watch and looked up to the darkening skies before he announced to the camp. "We have rested long enough here and Blue Thunder seems fit enough to fly again! We will set off tomorrow morning!"

His crew let out a small cheer as they were tired of living out in the wild. Their spirits rose as they started cheered up from the news. Stamford went to the luggage packs and dug out a small but heavy bag. He checked the contents and seeing that they were all there before he walked over to the edge of the watering hole and tossed the heavy bag into the centre with a loud splash.

"Let's see how you can track us from now onward!"

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A note from neo Koh

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Happy 2021 people! Its time to return to the New World!


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neo Koh

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