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Cinnamon

A Hero's Welcome

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It was all over the papers; Irontooth, senior engineer onboard the airship Indestructible, had lost a foreleg while performing damage control, after a cannon blast from an enemy airship hit the primary steam boiler. The captain of the Indestructible had her honorably discharged and awarded a purple heart for her injury. In honor of her years of outstanding service, Irontooth was given a retirement home here in Rockwington and a lifetime pension from the Griffon Empire's air navy. Perhaps more notable, however, was that a group of scientists back in Talonopolis had developed an experimental clockwork prosthetic foreleg, funded by military grant money, and Irontooth was given the opportunity to test it – once again, paid for by the Empire's military.

And so Irontooth, ex-naval engineer of the airship Indestructible, meandered through the streets of Rockwington, trying to figure out what to do next. This was the first time since her enlistment that she'd been groundside for more than a few hours at most. The airship was her life; with her recent discharge, she felt purposeless and directionless. Already, she longed to feel the wind on her face again... she felt a twinge of resentment at her former captain and crew for letting her go like this, after all the years she'd spent hanging out with them between shifts in the steamworks, all those years spent making sure everything worked the way it was supposed to, keeping the Indestructible afloat and protecting her crew from a horrible death by falling hundreds of miles from the sky and crashing into the ground, burning. The resentment intensified.

As Irontooth entered Rockwington's market district, her ticking clockwork prosthesis announcing her presence to all the griffons and other creatures in the area, she passed a food cart. The proprieter of the stand recognized her from a picture in a local newspaper and offered her a free fish; she accepted. It had been a long time since she'd had fish that wasn't processed and preserved to the point of being unrecognizable as something that was once alive. Taking a bite out of her meal, she savored the flavor of real food, something that airship rations just... lacked, somehow. It did feel nice to be treated like a hero, she thought. She warmly thanked the shopkeeper and continued on her stroll, munching on her fish, wondering what happens now.

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It had been a long time since Bos'n Stormalong had made port in Rockwington. Talonopolis had eclipsed the sleepy city of artisans as a main hub of trade decades before, and with the railroad there was little reason for the great merchant airships to call anywhere else. But the Cap'n was mixed up in something big, and the Venture went where the Cap'n willed, and Stormy along with her.

He was pleased to find one of his old haunts still existed. The tiny grog-shop in the central marketplace was dirty and poorly lit, but the location was incredible for Griffin-watching. Stormalong considered himself to be a fairly good judge of history and character- it came with the business of being the senior rated sailor on the ship.

Which explains why he was intrigued by the female who came walking up the sidewalk. She was tearing into a bass steak like it was the first real food she had eaten in years. Maybe it was. Her bearing was stiff, her walk prideful. Common amongst a proud race like the Griffins, but Stormy had hung around enough ports and dodged enough press gangs to spot military a mile off. Fresh off the boat, perhaps, given the wary readiness in her eyes.

Then he saw the gleaming steel leg and knew for sure. The naval crest embossed on it was clue enough. Definitely a veteran. he thought.

"Hey, Navy!" he called, standing up from his spot at the streetfront bar. "Buy you a drink?"

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Irontooth waved at Stormalong and walked over the the bar. As she approached, the constant ticking sound made by her prosthesis became apparent. The leg was clearly some sort of new invention; it moved just like an ordinary foreleg, albiet one that made a ticking noise that sped up or slowed down as it moved. Irontooth flexed the clockwork fingers - still getting used to the artificial movements, apparently - and gripped her drink, the ticking increasing in tempo as she did so. Taking a sip of the grog, she looked over at Stormalong and introduced herself. "Name's Irontooth."

If Stormalong had been keeping up with the news of the Griffon Empire, he might recognize the name - the senior engineer aboard the airship Indestructible, honorably discharged after an accident forced the ship's medic to amputate her foreleg, and given an experimental replacement limb.

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"Stormalong's what I'm called." the bosun grunted, throwing back the rest of his mug and tapping the bar for a refill. "Keep it coming, son."

"You must be a snipe." Stormy said simply, taking another pull from his fresh mug. "You've got a faint whiff of coal dust and lube oil about you, though that might just be that foreleg of yours. I hope it ain't pryin' to ask where you came by it? I've never seen the like in all my years."

[OOC]

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