Just because I haven't got anything better to post about, here's the modification of yesterday's snippet (and a bit more, too.) Tell me if I scribbled the life out of it or made it better.
The airship juddered, engines roaring in protest. Sparks spat from the ship's skin, air thundering as loud as the straining engines. Tossed against the back of her seat, Meida's protections flared, crackling and raising the hair on her nape and arms with static charge. She craned her head to look out the window, anticipating either an attack or flaming gas bladders and impending crash. Cattle and goats glanced up from marshy fields and rice paddies, workers from tall ladders in the mango groves. Apparently they weren't worried a fireball was about to explode over their heads despite the corona of flame surrounding the airship.
Then she saw the winding, sixty-foot levee passing below: They'd reached Athlinar's outer wards.
She leaned back against the velvet upholstery, twitching her enveloping chadri out of her way in order to dig her belt pouch out of her kidney. It figured the arrogant magi of Athlinar wouldn't care if they scared their passengers into heart failure by an unannounced and needlessly rough crossing through the perimeter of the city state's defenses.
The craft dropped again, shoved her stomach into her throat. A glance showed the marshy fields changing into jungle and the rising spires of drowned Mumbai in the distance, gleaming ruddy in the sunset, clouds of mothras drifting among them, golden, tentacled bubbles. The place was still deadly despite the mothras; retexophage constructs gobbled the ambient radiation, but nothing could slow half-life, not even the Angelaeic biotech and magic that had spawned the tekmagick revolution. A human still wouldn't survive a ten minute exposure in the vast towers, remnants of the Assonance Event and the nuclear firestorm of the resulting panic. And, she thought, as a dark brush painted a swath of mothras black and they exploded like negatives of light to cascade on the waters and she caught a glimpse of something tentacled, something of Lovecraftian horror whipping back into its den high on an indestructible tower, a human who was smart wouldn't want to visit Mumbai, not without an army behind them.
A moment later, quiet pierced her ears. The shaking ended, sparks faded.
Meida relaxed with a deep breath. They were through the city-state's defenses without going up in a fireball. First hurdle crossed.Which was when Athlinar's ambient power rushed into the vacuum, burning laval and agonizing along the gold-traced circuitry embedded in Meida's flesh. Rubies at chakra and resistor points burned with ruddy light through flesh and clothing as her control wards handled the influx of magickal energy.
So, whaddayous think?