Thursday, July 31

The United States of Erebus

"Arr? A strange name for an empire, that is if ye don't mind me sayin' Prince Rengent!" The captain of the Midas, a demon named Simull, was a scaly creature, its natural pattern a deep midnight blue. His smooth features were nearly indescernible except for the bright orange rags he wore.

Marcus did not respond immediately, as he was concentrating on assembling the salvage of a dozen factories into a massive device. The howling wind pulled at his his black toga, which was covered by an ill-fitting jacket borrow from one of the more humanoid members of the crew. He needed no tools, as his mind manipulated the pieces and screwed and locked each into place, seemingly of their own accord.

"It is one the citizens of this current empire are more likely to accept." His voice was measured and calm, despite the dangerous winds and the monsters that surrounded him. He climbed the rungs that were spaced precisely apart for his small frame, and slipped into the machine. Levers and dials shifted and spun without his touch. A series of greet glass lenses held together by a web of struts and cables stacked to bring vignette of a city to the foreground. "This is their capital, just south of here."

"A mighty palace that is, my Prince!"

"No, that is the Capitol building, where the people send quislings to speak for them. That small white house is where the ruler lives."

"EH? That lil' white house? How poor is this ruler?"

"His hold is rather week...I would build a palace across the river there. It would be the largest building on Earth, with five sides and a courtyard in the middle. I would call it...the Pentagram." A botton sank into the console, revealing a vellum diagram of an encircled star-shaped structure.

"Five sides? Aye, much harder to destroy. Very wise, Young Prince."

"The Treasury is right next door to the White House. Their vault is underground. That is where you will find a grand share of their gold."

"Buried or sunken, floatin' or flyin', the Midas will find it, Lad!"

"These are where the treasures I care for lay hidden. That castle is called the Smithsonian. Ancient talismans are stored there by collectors who have no idea of the power of what they possess. Their rivals for arcane knowledge hide in this other building...the Library of Congress. The secrets behind both shall be mine."

Simull muttered to the shorter avian humanoid who waddled by his side. It was a nauseating mix of badly arranged feathers of vile colors and a malformed beak that could barely close. "This kid's a sharp one, Braxius."

"Cap'n?" Squawked the First Mate. "Face jes' fot' unnya nye po' sai!"

Marcus leaped down from his platform. He stared at Braxius and furrowed his brow in confusion. "What did he say?"

"He sez we got company, Lad!"

The bird pointed some rotting feathers towards the port side. Simull and Marcus peered over, and the boy floated a few feet above the deck to get a better view. He saw spots of shining helmets and a circle of small dirigibles spread out from where a burst of energy was fading by the coast. A handful of boats with silver metal jutting from the sides cut throught the currents to aim jets of water through the windows of factories burning below. Formations of brass helmets traced through the blackened streets.

Marcus squinted. "Those ships...they bear Caledon colors..."

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