The New World, Eastern Border of the Isles, 73km off No One's Island
A mournful wail came from the island whale calf, as the giant sea turtle looking like sea creature had a dozen harpoons pierced into its body. The harpoons had thick magically strengthened ropes attached to their ends and the island whale calf was desperately trying to dive into the safety of the deep waters in vain.
It's family nearby was crying out in alarm horror as they circled around the struggling calf, uncertain of its despair and pain. The air was thick with the scent of salty air and rusty smell of blood and the struggles of the calf dyed the sea around it red. The island whale calf with a barely formed island on its back, the few sparsely growing plants and trees on its back the indication of its growth, started to grow weaker in its struggles as blood gushed out from its torn wounds.
The culprit of the island whale calf's plight was hovering dozens of meters in the air, the ropes of harpoons anchored to the fat cigar shaped airship. Funnels spurted out jet black smoke as the boilers worked overtime powering the aerial screws that hummed loudly as they struggled to keep the airship afloat and from being dragged into the ocean by the screaming island whale.
"Fire the noisemakers!" Grand Lord Hammerfall bellowed at his men manning the steam cannons. He was not wearing his golden armour and was instead stripped half naked like the rest of the excited crew. The order was passed and loud pops of compressed steam erupted from the half dozen steam cannons aimed downwards at the pod of island whales, each spitting out a stubby barrel like projectile out and smashing into the ocean.
Almost instantly, the barrels exploded with a thunderous bark, creating shockwaves of ripples across the surface of the ocean. The pod of island whales screamed and wailed in pain and fear as they fled far away from the sharp sounds that pierced their hearing, the dying island whale calf temporarily forgotten.
"Batten up the lower hatches! And bring her down!" Grand Lord Hammerfall ordered next as he leaned over the open platform under the belly of the airship. "GENTLY! Or I dump you kravens overboard!"
The crew hurried off to lock down the lower portion of the airship as the water capable airship slowly descended until its lower hull sank into the ocean and the aerial screws powered down. The forward nose of the cigar shaped airship, cranked open like a mouth and exposed its inside. Gears started rolling and a ramp slowly extended out into the waves and dwarvans and other races started working on the cranks of harpoons, reeling in the dying island whale calf. "Heee... Hoooo! Heee... Hoooo!"
Grand Lord Hammerfall joined in one of the giant cranks and he put his muscles to work together with another taller person. The crew was a mix of races, as The Cartel hires many other races to supplement its workforce and military. The island whale calf made a last attempt to break free, but with massive blood loss, it could only struggle futilely before it could only allow its self to be dragged up the ramp that had rollers fitted for easier reeling.
Once the entire island whale was on board the air trawler's belly, Grand Lord Hammerfall started bellowing again, "Alright! Bring her out of the water now before the blood starts attracting sea monsters! The rest start harvesting!"
The crew hurried off to do his bidding. The boilers were stroked, aetherium were heated up and black smoke rose out of the funnels while the aerial screws started spinning rapidly and the air trawler slowly pulled itself out of the ocean, trailing seawater and blood. The ramp was reacted and the armoured prow of the airship slowly folded itself back to position.
"HAHAHAHA!" Grand Lord Hammerfall laughed happily as he stared greedily at the fat island whale calf stranded inside the cargo hold of the airship. Already his crew had picked up butchering tools and some started sharpening them on grindstones.
The large panicked filled beady eyes of the island whale calf flickered around in fear as it eyed its strange surroundings and smelling the scent of death in the air, it gave one last desperate cry for help when the crew descended upon it with knives.
Lord Copperstone stood at the airship docking tower's loading deck and waited patiently for the crew to depart out of the just arrived airship. He finally spotted the Grand Lord appearing at the cargo hatch and he approached him. "Rock and Stone, Grand Lord!"
"Rock and Stone, Brother!" Grand Lord Hammerfall smiled as he wiped his blood soaked arms with a wet cloth. "I need a shower to get all this blood off!"
"Your servants have already prepared a hot bath for you, Grand Lord." Lord Copperstone replied. "We have just gotten word from the locals, that Fleet Master Akron has increased the price of the mana stones yet again."
"Again?" Grand Lord Hammerfall's good mood vanished and his expression darkened. "Those greedy bastards! What do they want now?"
"More steam engines," Lord Copperstone replied. "Or they will cease all trade with us, including food supplies..."
"Did they think they could threaten us with that?" Grand Lord Hammerfall growled angrily. "When will our supply ships return?"
"At least another two weeks at least," Lord Copperstone answered. "Three weeks the most."
"Grand Lord, I think they know our food supplies will not last that long..." Lord Copperstone added. "That is why they are putting this demand out now. Quite a bit of our stored supplies were ruined by the recent storm... And with what we have now, we barely had enough supplies to last two weeks at the rate we are eating..."
"We sustain ourselves easily!" Grand Lord Hammerfall grumpily gestured to the crew that was moving harvested crates of the butchered island whale meat and parts out. "We will not be intimidated by some puny uncivilized nation!"
"Yes, Grand Lord," Lord Copperstone nodded his head in agreement. "But, still, this land has no source of wood and other resources we need to grow and expand! We either have to find a new trade partner or settle in other more fertile lands!"
"Since we been acting so friendly and accommodating with this... Isles..." Grand Lord Hammerfall frowned deeply. "They think we are meek and easy to bully right?"
"Are you suggesting we take over some of their lands by force?" Lord Copperstone frowned.
"Why not?" Grand Lord Hammerfall replied. "Since being diplomatic with them has failed and they think they can push us around. We shall show them that we The Cartel are ones not to be bullied!"
"We have endured discrimination for so long in the Old World and finally managed to rise above that, why would we endure to be pushed around in the New World?" Grand Lord Hammerfall growled. "Once we show them our strength, I am very certain that these... Islanders... will bow before us!"
"But a declaration of war would require the other Cartel Lords' approval..." Lord Copperstone reminded the Grand Lord. "And we have less than a third of our original fleet here... The rest has returned back to the Cartel and it will take another two weeks or more before the ships returned!"
"It will be enough!" Grand Lord Hammerfall declared. "They don't even have any flying ships. Our airships will dominate the skies! Who controls the skies will dominate the battlefield!"
"Then, I shall call for a gathering of the rest of the Cartel Lords!"
The New World, The Isles, First City of the Fleet
"As expected, the dwarvans did not take the news of the change well," Fleet Master Akron reported. "They were pretty angry about the rise of the price..."
"Ignore them," Megan smiled as she sipped her wine. "Immediately cease all forms of trade with them."
"I don't understand why do you want to anger the dwarvans?" Fleet Master Akron asked with an unhappy tone. "They possessed a military that is stronger than us despite their low numbers..."
"I am afraid they will attack us," Akron voiced out his concerns. "And now you want to cease trade with them totally..."
"Enough," Megan cut Akron's sentence off. "I know what I am doing. It's all part of the plan! And what of the other news I wanted?"
"The giant United Nations ship has departed Hensink a day ago," Akron replied unhappily. "Our informants report that they are sailing south and will arrive within a week to our waters."
"Good! Very good!" Megan laughed happily. "Now everything is falling into place! Now we just have to wait!"
"What is this... plan of yours exactly?" Akron was unhappy. "We risked many enemies out of two powerful nations! What are you exactly playing at?"
"Don't worry, poor Akron," Megan smiled as she gently patted Akron's cheek, making him blush. "Soon you will find out and the Isles will become stronger than ever once this is over!"
"Now, go pass down the order to cease all trade with the dwarvans! No one is to trade with them from now onwards!"
The New World, Off the Coastal waters of Mecca, UNS Vengeance
Blue Dragon peeked from behind a parked F/A - 2 Viper at the tiny figure surrounded by an excited group of people. Behind him sat Saphia who was glazing at him with a confused expression. She poked him at his back, making him jump up and nearly crashing the parked Viper, much to the annoyance of the Viper service crew who started scolding and shooing him away.
"Why did you do that?" Blue Thunder scratched the spot where Saphia at poked him. "Now I got scolded for nothing..."
Saphia was eyeing the service crew who dared to scold a Dragon with shock before she turned back and replied sheepishly, "Well, I called you but you seemed engrossed at something..."
"Oh..." Blue Thunder quickly waved her over as he crouched down behind another parked aircraft. "I'm looking at that God Girl!"
"Who?" Saphia struck her head up and looked around curiously. "A God?"
"Keep your head down!" Blue Thunder urgently pushed Saphia's head down with his wing. "I heard from Raztraz that we Dragons were once servants to the Gods..."
"And?" Saphia asked curiously. "What does it have to do with you sneaking around?"
"I don't wanna be soul bonded to a God!" Blue Thunder replied nervously. "You know, freedom and all that..."
"I see..." Saphia nodded as she tried to recall some ancient history told to her by the Dragon Matriarch. "I don't remember anything about this subject..."
"Well, better safe than be sorry..." Blue Thunder mumbled under his breath.
"But... I think she has long spotted us..." Saphia said as she pointed her claws in front.
"Ohh... shit!" Blue Thunder followed Saphia's claw and gasped. "We are screwed! I don't wanna lose my freedo- soul!"
The tiny figure had walked over and she looked up at the two dragons that were looking back at her, the larger blue dragon's eyes were panicking while the other smaller black dragon had a curious light in her eyes.
"What are you?" The tiny God girl asked as she peered up at the dragons.
"We?" Saphia answered as she noticed Blue Thunder acting as he had not noticed the girl. "We are dragons. I am called Saphia... And this brute here is called Blue Thunder."
"Nooo!" Blue Thunder quickly covered his face and said in a hoarse voice, "I not Blue Thunder, I- I am... erm... Quicksilver! Yes! Quicksilver!"
He gave the name of another dragon who was part of the UNAF and deepened his voice more. "I got work to do! Got to go! See ya!"
"Hey wait!" Saphia frowned as she saw Blue Thunder trying to run away. "I thought you said you want to show me something called a 'moo vee'?"
The God girl's eyes glittered brightly as she heard a new term. "Moo vee?"
"Yes, do you want to join us?"