Turns out I’m a pretty fast runner. Even though I was in front of the crowd, I still managed to make up some distance once I found my stride. Looks like about 20 people in line ahead of me; I made good time. We were all huffing and puffing when I noticed my friend Henry was a few people behind me. I didn’t care what place I was in, as long as I got to go, so I offered my place in line to the man standing behind me so I could chat with Henry.

“You coming?” I said, still a little out of breath.

Henry looked up at me. He was still panting pretty hard when he said, “Hey, Toby. I saw you take off and I said, ‘Dang if he’s going and I’m not.’” He chuckled.

I guess I should introduce myself.

My name is Toby. Well, Tobin, but everyone just calls me Toby. Me and Henry grew up together. I think he’s about three summers older than me. Henry’s a good guy, and even better with an axe. I noticed he still had his small hatchet with him.

“You bringing that with you?” I asked as I motioned to it.

“Why aren’t you, is the better question. Who knows what we’re about to get ourselves into.”

“True” I said. “I guess I didn’t really think about that.”

With that, Henry and I talked through the night about what we might see once we got to the city. All the wonders we might encounter. I think we slept a little, but before I knew it, the sun was creeping up making it too warm to sleep.

“Hey, wake up!” I nudged Henry. “It’s morning, I think we might be leaving soon.”

The villagers had been thoughtful enough to set up a makeshift chow line. Bringing us each a portion of food and filling our water sacks, a small knapsack was also given to us with enough food for our journey. It tasted good and I was really thirsty; all that talking and running had made my mouth dry.

“Countrymen!” I heard the second in command say. He was a large Elder with a brusk voice.

“You are about to embark on an unknown journey. We thank you for your service.”

The older Elder stepped up and held up his hand.

“May the blessing of Nua be upon you. May you walk in peace and only take up the axe if you must. But if you must, fight with Honor and fight to Win.”

He cleared his throat. “We will be awaiting your return. May the Makers help us.” And with that he turned and walked back to the other Elders. A younger woman stepped up. She was a scholar…probably the most well versed on the Makers.

“Today you make history. No others that we know of have ever seen the home of the Makers. Please take notes of all you see. There may be clues that can help us in our future. We have provided you with writing materials. They are in your knapsack. Please journal so others may learn.”

I think there were others that were going to talk, but everyone stopped when we heard the whirring of the Botts. Their leader spoke once more.

“Please approach the Airship and take your ticket. Only 300 can board. We cannot carry any more.”

With that, we started lining up single file. Henry poked me in the ribs. “This is going to be fun.” he said. Fun? I thought. That’s one word for it.

I approached the Bott and handed it my knapsack. The Bott checked my knapsack and handed me my ticket.

“Please board,” it said with a whirr.

I thought, Am I dreaming? Am I really doing this?

Woah. I guess I am.