The airship came to a halt, docking in its bay. I could see all manner of botts coming and going. Large botts, small botts, botts that looked like they were hauling cargo. We made our way to the exit and heard the bott say, “Please…follow me to your destination. The Makers await you.”

As we made our way down the ramp, I could see the passengers ahead of us starting to board some sort of machine. Penny clenched my hand and I startled.

“This is so exciting!”

Yes it is,” I said, but I wasn’t sure if I was more excited she was holding my hand or being at the Makers’ City.

We were soon in line to board the machines. I could see several compartments ahead that they were loading us on.

I wasn’t sure if we should be worried, but if they wanted to harm us, I was pretty sure they would have by now.

This seemed more of a desperate cry for help.

The compartments were a little cramped, and that was fine by me. Penny seemed to have attached herself to my arm. As the last passenger boarded, we began to move: slow at first, but…but then we began to pick up speed. Faster and faster we went into this dark tunnel. It was smooth and exhilarating. I’m glad I came, I thought to myself.

The tunnel opened up and we could see the inside of the city; it was bright white. Huge spires that seemed to go on forever. It seemed we were headed toward the very center of the city!

After some time, the vehicle began to slow. I could see several botts awaiting our arrival. We stopped, and the doors opened once more. Ramps descended to the ground below. 

Botts approached each of the containers and said in unison, “Please…follow us to The Makers.”

Penny clutched my hand rather tightly. 

“This is it,” she said and ruffled her feathers a bit.

This was it. It wouldn’t be long until we would have some answers. The botts took us to the largest building. It was like they cut the moon in half. It was incredible! Even our best Stonemelders could never make anything this massive and smooth. We entered a great hall with a pool in its center and what looked like 24 pillars around the outside in a circle. We followed the botts to the center where several older beings sat. They looked fully human. Only a few very old drawings were left of what we looked like before the fall, and these resembled them.

As we approached the beings, the one in the center stood up.

“Welcome to Ishka,” he said. The sound came from all around us. “We understand that you may have a lot of questions. All will be revealed, but we must get to the point of why we brought you here.” He paused and looked at the others seated around him, and they all nodded.

“I am Zedron, the Last Maker. We have lived here many of your lifetimes. But alas, we are too old and cannot have children and may soon perish.” He paused, then continued to speak. “In the past, we have sent botts to the surrounding islands to check in on your development and offer small advancements in technology. Recently, the Island of Carnage has attacked one of our ships and deactivated our botts. We fear they may be using that ship to attack our island and destroy us and our beautiful city. In the past, they raided nearby islands and believe they will continue to do so. If they take our city, they will have more technology than any before, and none of the Islands will stand a chance against them. In short, we need your help.”

Carnage! I thought. They raided our lands long ago with their great ships . This wasn’t good.

“Will you help us in our fight?” he went on.

“In return, we will provide botts that will help with building ships to fight the Clochenwraith. Please confer amongst yourselves. We await your decision.” He sat down.

We hadn’t formed any council, so I’m not sure how we would make a decision. Everyone was talking, and it was a bit hectic. It was then that Penny let go of my hand and yelled.

“Quiet everyone, please!” she went on. “It was clear when the botts arrived that they needed our help. It was our only recourse. If we do not, we will surely be next. I propose we take a vote. All in favor of helping The Makers and in turn saving our people, please raise your hand.”

I looked around; there wasn’t a single hand not raised. She made a compelling argument.

“Then it is settled. Mister Zedron, sir, we accept your offer,” she said. I didn’t know Penny had it in her. She was a born leader.

“Very well. It is settled. Let me introduce Alpha. She will guide you through the next steps. There is no time to wait. We fear they will attack any day. You must get home and start gearing for war and start building up a defense,” he said and sat down.

A beautiful older woman stood up and began to speak.

“I am Alpha. I will be your guide. We must get you back to Nua soon. If they attack our city with you here, there will be no way for your people to survive.”

She was right; this is very bad. How are we going to create Airships? This is all out war.

Alpha continued to speak, but I was caught up in my own thoughts. My family, my life, all is changing in the blink of an eye. How can I do anything? Why am I even here? Everything seemed hopeless. Maybe the Makers can help.

“…and with a little training, we believe you will be up to speed quickly.” Oh no! I thought, I missed something. “Now, please, follow the botts back to the Airship. It’s time to learn the ropes,” she said and sat down.

“Penny,” I said, “I don’t understand. What’s going on?”

“It’s okay, Toby. They want us to learn to fly those ships. Come on! Let’s get going!”

We got back on the transports, but this time they separated, and we went in three different directions. I watched as the others headed towards other tunnels. 

“They are breaking us into 3 different groups so we may learn faster. Each of us taking a ship,” Penny said.

How did I miss all that! I thought, reminding myself to pay closer attention.

The botts took us back aboard the Airship, and each of us had our own personal bott that escorted us to a position on the deck, instructing us on how it worked. We moved from station to station, and it didn’t seem very hard. Then they said it was time for us to give it a go. We gave the order to cast off, and we were on our way, floating through the air. That’s when we saw them: the Piratts were not far in the distance and were closing in fast. 

Their ship was covered in dark looking nets and had war paint down the side. They had a flag that was black with the outline of a rat off its bow. Everyone on the ship began to panic, and the botts seemed overwhelmed. 

“Please, stay at your stations,” the botts said over and over again.

I heard a Stonemelder cry out, “Prepare the cannons!”

That was my station! I thought to myself. I looked around to find the control panel the bott had shown me moments earlier. 

Green. Green loads the cannon. I pushed the button and heard the machine begin to move into action. The panel turned Yellow. 

Yellow meant ready to fire. Firing now would be stupid. We didn’t have a target. I yelled back, “Cannon one ready!”

From across the ship I heard, “Cannon six ready!”

I felt the ship begin to turn. I could hear the massive beams crack as it turned hard to port. Over the side, I could see the PiRatt ship get closer, turning as well to match our course. 

I screamed over to the wolf next to me, “Load your cannon!” 

He was confused but nodded, and I saw him push his button. Within moments, they were upon us…cannons blasting and the vicious sound of the pigs screaming in the distance. Next to me, I could hear the cannon fire but knew he had fired too soon. The cannon ball did not connect, and he frantically tried to load another, but it was too late. I waited and prayed as I hit my red button.


My round had found its path true as it hit the deck of the great ship. But I realized it might be too late as the grappling hooks began to take hold of our ship, and I saw the Piratts begin to board.

I thought of Penny. Where was she? I had to find her.

I ran to the back of the ship and saw a Rat jump over the side. He turned and looked at me. That’s when I saw Henry jump over a bott and strike down the Rat with a single blow of his hatchet. He looked at me and smiled his big, wolfish grin.

“Penny!” I yelled, “We have to find Penny!” 

“This way!” Henry seemed to howl.

Penny was between two botts and a very large Pig. The Pig squealed and hit the first bott with his chain. The bott exploded in little pieces. I heard Henry growl. He sprang at the Pig who didn’t see him coming. Henry swung his axe across his back, and I heard the Pig squeal once more. He turned and pulled on his chain tripping Henry onto his back. The Pig pulled his chain back to whip as Henry rolled out of the way, narrowly missing his head. 

Henry stood and said “Run!” Penny saw her opportunity to make her way towards me.

The Pig glanced at Penny but knew who the greater threat was. He pulled his chain back and began to whip it around his head, first slowly but then picking up speed. In seconds it was a blur around his head. 

Henry jumped to his feet, just in time to miss another slash of his chain whip. Henry growled and rushed the Pig. Leaping with his axe he brought down a crushing blow. The Pig turned his head and the axe bounced off his iron collar. 

The Pig grabbed Henry and brought his chain around his neck.

“No!” I yelled as I watched the pig lift Henry off the ground. I could see Henry struggling against the chain. I felt hopeless, but I couldn’t turn away.

Suddenly, I felt the ship drop to one side, and I started to slide towards the bow. 

The Pig, large and clumsy, began to slip and fall towards the edge. He crashed through the railing as I grabbed Penny and pulled us to the rail. I watched as Henry, the chain still wrapped around his neck, was getting pulled over the ship. He scratched at the ship’s deck to no avail. And then he was gone, tumbling over the side of the ship.

“Henry!” I screamed and tried to make my way closer to the edge.

The Airship was going down…quickly. We had to figure out how to get it to slow down.

I could see The Don trying to approach the wheel of the ship. Slowly he made his way to the back. He cranked the wheel in the opposite direction and I felt the ship begin to correct itself. Soon he had us leveled out. The Piratt ship was nowhere to be found, and Henry wasn’t either. They may have retreated, but the hole I put in their ship might have slowed them down. I made my way back to The Don. 

“We need to get back to Nua,” I said through the tears in my eyes, “And fast.”