The Conquest of the Sky

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The Conquest of the Sky
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Literature
Author Adrienne d’Ortonnaise
Genre Drama
Accessibility Common Knowledge

“The Conquest of the Sky” is an epic opera written by Adrienne d’Ortonnaise after the success of her previous work, the Tower of Rie. It tells the tale of the first transcontinental airship flight between Anglia and Ithania, represented as a struggle between Ailor and a fictional goddess of the sky. The work was written as a reply to ever-repeated demand for a more military-oriented opera amidst the Second Elven War, and aired in late 305 AC within the Holy City. Copies of the script can be bought at most shops dealing in literature, and performances may be attended every now and then in the cultural-inclined sub-realms of the Regalian Empire.

The Conquest of the Sky

CHORUS

On an Anglian field she sits: stretching her wings, flaunting her size.
She is our first airship, built for the conquest of the skies.
Fifty crew stand around her polishing her torso,
Five hundred more surround her within the meadow.
Five hundred gasp at once in the common awe,
For this gentle giant, she truly has now flaw.

COXSWAIN

(Stands turned towards the audience, hands clasped together.)
At the double, crew, for this shall be a day of reckoning.
For today was the day man first took to the sky.
At the double crew, I want to hear my voice echoing.
For tonight will be the time of our great fly.

CHORUS

The crowd cheered in wonder,
Awestruck by the man and his words.
Though the captain up under,
Spoke different to the birds.

CAPTAIN

(Stands on the other side of the Coxswain, addressing the chorus directly.)
Heavens, skies, the very storms and doves,
I feel your envy, I feel your hate!
For we ascended our steps to the heights above!
It had been told, it is our fate.
It is the destiny, our Spirit dictate!
Cower behind your clouds, cower you gods!
For now it is us to whom you measure odds!
No deity, no world will match our brilliance.
Nothing will stop the Ailor resilience!
(The orchestra booms up with a couple of horns and a deep tuba, imitating the sound of a thunder.)

MISTRESS OF THE SKIES

(Sounds up in a deep and surprisingly loud voice, possibly aided by a good dose of Bōkaru bangwǒ, standing in front of the chorus and looking down at the captain.)
Foolish mortal! All your efforts are in vain.
Listen to me, for I shall state this plain!

CAPTAIN

(Recoils in surprise with a shock on his face.)

MISTRESS OF THE SKIES

If it is the clouds you seek to challenge, then so be it!
Within the turn of the day you fall to your knee, you will submit!
For nothing is stronger than the thunderous roar
Or the hailstorms that I may verily pour!
This I threaten you mortal, and this you will hear!
For if you take it to the skies tonight,
Your very souls I will tear!

CHORUS

With the retreat of the voice, the captain remained trembling.
The crew around him made their choice, ranks disassembling.
Though the older man cleared his throat and turned
To address everyone, with all respect he earned.

CAPTAIN

‘Tis my men was the challenge of the very sky.
Though listen to me, for I would sooner die,
Than let heretical words drive me shy!
I implore you, men of this vessel, to take up station,
For tonight we measure a god against our nation!

CHORUS

The crew drummed out in a common cheer,
For their mission was now plainly clear.
Fifty danced ‘round their ship’s thigh
To prepare for what could be nigh.

COXSWAIN

Sir, we are two tonnes overweight.

CAPTAIN

Then we shall avoid the highest height!

COXSWAIN

But sir, look! A storm is brewing in the east!

CAPTAIN

And after we wrestled it, we will sit down for a feast!

COXSWAIN

Though sir, should not we wait until the morning dawn?
Should not we rest so the crew speaks more than a yawn?

CAPTAIN

This witch of the skies, my friend. She spat on the Spirit’s name.
I shan’t sleep a minute until we crossed the channel and left her in shame.

CHORUS

Neither the Coxswain nor the crew trusted him all too much.
As they were preparing, the air grew cold to the touch.
The sun pursued the stars down the horizon,
The Moon illuminated her body in Anglia, soon arising.
A hundred-and-one feet of man-made beauty,
Those on the ground never seen anything such
Huge embarking on her most holy duty.
Waterfalls poured from the ship’s sides and back,
Releasing the ballast from underneath her anorak.
The balloon bulged above her head, tied to her sides,
And alone into the night this beast of beauty glides.
(The orchestra begins playing a heroic tune, the tone rising every other second to signal the ship’s ascent to the skies)

COXSWAIN

The storm is looming ever closer, good sir.
A swift return to dry lands I would prefer.

CAPTAIN

A swift escape is something you won’t have here,
Unless it’s the greeting cheers in Ithania I hear.

MISTRESS OF THE SKIES

Onwards, onwards you creatures of pitiful pride!
There isn’t a single cloud where you can hide.
It is the greeting cheers of Ithania you expect,
But only the mourning screams of widows you will get!

COXSWAIN

Hear! It’s the storm witch once more!
I can’t imagine what she has for us in store!

CAPTAIN

Neither can I, nor I will.
For it is her godly tears I will spill!
She will see us land across the sea,
To our ship she is nothing but a flea.
(After the captain speaks those words, the orchestra drums up a cacophony of melodies to signal the arrival of a huge storm.)

CHORUS

As the captain said those words out loud,
Crackles of thunder shot from a wayward cloud.
The winds roared up in pain and battered the ship with a broadside.
A crew cried, all in vain: for they were victims of a captain’s pride.
(The orchestra turns even louder in their cacophony as both the captain and the coxswain fall over, grasping for the ship’s wheel.)
After a blow, the ship bends to the right.
The crew are frightened, paled all white.
Ship’s wheel spinning, the captain grabs it for a halt.
The men clutch at railings lest they fall in assault.

COXSWAIN

Hold the wheel sir, for surely it’s our end!

CAPTAIN

Only in front of the Spirit will I bend!

COXSWAIN

Witness how the crew fall down to their death!
From the lady of the skies, this is but one single breath!

CHORUS

The captain’s gaze shifted from one to another.
Each man that fell he counted as a brother.
With a drop of tear drawing down his cheek,
He admitted with a nod: their chances were bleak.

CAPTAIN

Fire a cannon, my young friend.
For I do admit this may be our end.
The fleet we must call for our lives to spare,
Load a shell and light it red, we sign with a flare.

CHORUS

The ship creaked in the storm, battered.
Three lights left its aft and scattered.
“Save Our Souls!” the crew cried together,
Answered by a laughter from the queen of weather.

MISTRESS OF THE SKIES

Foolish mortals! From the bosom of my anger there is no escape!
None will save your souls for they now belong under my cape!
Fall to your knees and pray for your lives!
And I shall ensure you a painless demise!

CHORUS

One-by-one the crew obeyed and bent down in prayer.
They abandoned all faith to escape this nightmare.
The Captain looked down at his feet the same,
Though instead he roared, his eyes bright aflame.
He reached to spin the wheel, directing the ship
Towards the voice they just heard, to the witch’s grip.

MISTRESS OF THE SKIES

Defiance does not belong to my realm of the sky!

CAPTAIN

Defiance is what originally raised this vessel to fly!

MISTRESS OF THE SKIES

Defiance has earned you the wrath of the full storm.
Cower and tremble, witness my true form!

CHORUS

The clouds swirl in front, they gather around the ship.
They pick up the shape of a woman, vessel by her hip.
She is colossal, with horns piercing the stars
And hooves stomping drums of a thousand tzars.
She stretches her hand to clutch at the balloon,
The ship is helpless, it spins around in typhoon.
She sinks her claws down to the bone
The vessel unleashes a painful moan.
She departs with a crackle of thunder,
Leaving the ship slowly falling under.

COXSWAIN

Captain! The lifting gas, it’s draining away!
Our ship! The crew! To the Spirit I pray!

CAPTAIN

Gather what men we have left and have them parachute safe.
Though plunging from the sky, this ship I trust can still strafe.

COXSWAIN

So far we have served you, sir! This won’t be the end.
You will require all the aid me and the crew can lend.
And we would sooner give our lives to the Spirit
Than to a witch of the sky any of us would submit.

CHORUS

She ship leant forwards with every passing moment,
The crew bent down for a final prayer and lament.
Beneath them appeared a mirror of the starry dome,
The lights of the Ithanian mainland: they arrived home.
Thunder roared up again behind the vessel,
A ray of light from the sky joining in the wrestle.
It met with the aft of the ship bursting it aflame,
Giving her the coup de Grace, the final maim.
With flares now alight, the ship buckled above the town.
Citizens gathered in the night to see the ship’s falling down.

CAPTAIN

Quench the flames! Some ballasts are yet filled.
It shan’t be the inferno to have us all killed.

COXSWAIN

Run crew, run to the buckets. Grab yourself water!
Before the situations becomes any more hotter!

CAPTAIN

You see what I see, faithful companion? Down by that slope.
For what I spy for us is our last glimmer of hope.

COXSWAIN

The river or prosperity and its populous beach.
Up in the distance, the city of Havensreach.

CAPTAIN

Buckle up my friend and fill your quiver.
For we will teach this airship how to sail a river.

CHORUS

The hull descended above the towns of the realm.
The captain wounded, yet confident at the helm.
Balloon above, empty at last, collapsed on the deck.
The ship’s descent quickened, it was the end of her trek.
Rain poured now onto the hull, bleeding out below
As the vessel limped in the sky, a wounded doe.
She passed by a tower, scraping it with her aft.
The building gave way and fell, collapsing with the draft.
She trembled at the touch, six crew falling from the ship.
The rest clutched onto the wood, their lives held within their grip.

COXSWAIN

Brace yourself sir, for the waters are near.
We will plunge through its surface like a spear.
Have you any confessions? I gladly hear!

CAPTAIN

There is nothing to say, friend. For in the end,
We die for what we believe in.
We were born dreamers, that one day we would fly.
Such how we built this ship, such is how we took the sky.
Soon we will join the dreamers of old,
And tell them with pride:
We tried.

CHORUS

With his last words spoken, the captain closed his eyes.
The air grew stiff with the cry of allies.
The ship immersed underwater, then came to surface.
The remaining crew stuck in stupor, the dreaded brace.
Though they lost many to the witch of the weather,
Sun rose over those who remained alive,
they disembarked together.
Though the mistress of the skies tried to oppose none the wise,
She could not prevent these men from conquering the skies.

Trivia

  • A current Anglian interpretation of the play is a bit raunchier, an oral Frondespael which has yet to really get away because most stage owners are hesitant to make such performances public.
  • An Airship was named “Mistress of the Skies” as an irony by its cynical New Regalian captain.

Accreditation
Writers Miss_Ortonnaise
Artists None
Processors HydraLana, alchemyluvr352
Last Editor HydraLana on 02/18/2018.

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