Handoven, the marvelous city-state that never rested! It was built on a 5-mile broad plateau and stood nearly 3,000 feet above sea level on the edge of the Mercuio bay. The Handoven plateau towered over the Abermian plains around it, and farms covered most of the plains.
Trevor, a young hamdan, loved spending his time running through the tunnels of the plateau. His mother and father spent many months away as crew aboard the countless trade ships of Handoven. Trading was one of the most prominent lifestyles in Handoven, and Trevor couldn't wait for his turn to be a trader and see the world of Aerstrum!
He stared out the window of their newly purchased dwelling, which looked out to the bay. His father's ship was due to arrive today, and he did not want to miss it. It had been hours since he had breakfast, and he had rarely left the window cill. A pillow made the wait more comfortable, and he raised his spyglass every time he saw a ship appear over the horizon.
A loud knock on the door startled Trevor, and he nearly fell from the window as he tried to stand up with his legs still asleep. He shuffled toward the door and glared at the peephole twice as high as him, nearly three feet. He would never be able to see it; he thought to himself, at least not in time.
Quietly, just above a whisper, Trevor asked who was at the door. All was silent for a moment until the door was knocked on again. He must've spoken too low, he thought to himself. He cleared his throat and spoke up again, asking who was at the door. This time he heard the muffled response of a young girl. It was Elara!
Trevor unlocked the various locks on the door and swung it open carelessly. He had not seen his best friend in the months since he had moved to a different plateau floor. Elara was a chipdan about the same age as himself. They greeted one another with their secret handshake, and Trevor shut the door behind them.
Elara blazed toward the windows, staring out in sheer amazement. Owning a dwelling with windows was a privilege if you lived within the plateau. Trevor's father was recently promoted to captain on his ship, the Truffle II, and was awarded this dwelling. Elara's father also worked on the Truffle II. Trevor remembered his father saying something about a promotion for both of them.
They sat there for hours catching up on everything that had happened since the move. Elara occasionally squished her face against the glass, trying to get a closer look at the birds flying by. Just on the horizon, Trevor saw the masts of a ship. He grabbed his spyglass and swung it toward the window and peered through toward it. It had the vibrant colors of the Truffle II, and all the other ships in that fleet just left a few days ago. Trevor handed the spyglass over to Elara, who looked with excitement. This had to be their father's ship. She looked down and noticed that the harbor wasn't that far below. She was determined to see her father at the dock and used every tactic she could to persuade Trevor to go with her. Reluctantly, Trevor agreed. He knew his parents told him not to leave, but they were almost teens now, almost old enough to start finding apprenticeships.
They ran outside the door and made their way toward the elevators that would bring them down to the docks. As the elevator slowly creaked down along the plateau side, they leaned against the floor-to-ceiling windows. They were so mesmerized by the view on that sunny day, that they missed exiting the elevator, and found themselves ascending back to the top in a rather cramped elevator.
Finally, the elevator reached the ground level. Trevor and Elara made their way to the front as the doors rattled open, and rushed out running towards the docks. The path toward the docks was bustling with people and wagons heading in and out of the plateau. Elara grabbed Trevor's hand and led him as they dodged in and out of all the obstacles.
Trevor stopped for a moment as the shadow of an airship loomed over the street ahead. He looked up and took it all in; the ocean breeze, the salty smell, the air filled with a dozen airships, and the bustling city that he called home. He remembered this feeling once, but it was years ago. Elara paused with him and smiled; then, she beckoned him to follow and climbed up a parked wagon. Trevor followed with a smile.
They stood there for a moment, taking in the scene, and then a nearby hay wagon began to wander close to them. Without notice, Elara jumped onto the wagon, disappearing into the hay. Trevor quickly followed behind her, laughing the whole time. They made their way down and up the street, jumping across different vehicles before finally landing on a black wagon full of barrels.
They sat up and took a deep breath and laughed about the adrenaline-filled adventure they just had. However, the driver of the wagon clearly felt differently. The old wolvan spun around and began yelling at them, accused them of stealing his goods, and brought everything to an abrupt halt, growling and flashing his teeth.
Trevor remembered his father telling him to never trust a wolvan, and here was one climbing over his cargo to come after them. Trevor grabbed Elara's hand and jumped. He felt her hand rip away from his, and he turned back to see Elara being carried by the wolvan. Trevor landed with a roll and bounced back up immediately.
Panicking, Trevor moved to get back onto the wagon, but a large carriage was coming right at him. He jumped backward, narrowly escaping the giant team of horses. Shaking the dust off of him, he stood back up. The black wagon was starting to move, and Trevor didn't see Elara anywhere.
He saw a buggy speeding toward him and grabbed ahold of it. Making his way to the top, holding his balance. The buggy was catching up on the black wagon fast, and an intersection signal was up ahead. Trevor had seen that signal from his window and had figured out how it worked. The signal flipped yellow, and the wagon and the buggy slowed down to wait. Now was Trevor's time to jump across. He bent his knees and prepared to leap into the air, but the wolvan saw him and growled. The black wagon jerked forward, barely making it through the crossing traffic.
Trevor didn't know what to do and jumped down onto the cobblestone street. He walked over to the edge of the road and found a goat tied up outside one of the stores. Could he ride this thing? It'd be better than hoping the buggy would catch up. He looked around to see if he could find the owner but had no luck. It was now or never.
He untied the goat, telling it all of his plans and intentions, hoping it would understand. As he got on top of the goat, it bleated and hopped around for a few seconds before finally settling down. He held onto the reins and whispered for the goat to run. The goat turned its head and looked at him sideways in confusion. Trevor was feeling sick, he can't lose Elara, he asked the goat to run, this time a little louder. Suddenly, the goat nodded as if understanding the situation and took off. Trevor held on tight as they weaved through traffic. He told the goat to keep going, to keep running, and to look for the black wagon with the wolvan.
It felt like ages until he could see the black wagon again; it turned right, down a narrow path. The goat followed instinctively in pursuit. Trevor patted it gently, he was confident it understood him. They were catching up on the black wagon, which had come to a stop. The goat pulled off to the side, and they watched as the wolvan grabbed a bag that was moving and walked into a worn-out warehouse. Elara had to be in there Trevor thought to himself.
He noticed a ladder to the roof of the warehouse and asked the goat to stay nearby. He grabbed a couple of rocks and put them in his pocket before climbing the ladder to the roof. He looked into the warehouse through some open holes. He saw the wolvan talking to some others and brought Elara out of the bag. Without thinking, Trevor jumped down into the room and threw the rocks at the wolvan, knocking him off balance. He grabbed Elara, and they ran toward the door. Several wolvans were in pursuit as they ran out the door. Trevor saw a flash of gray, and the goat ran past them, butting the wolvans to the ground like a bowling ball crashing into pins. The goat turned back around and shattered a wagon wheel before catching up to Trevor and Elara. It bleated out at them, and they hopped on its back.
They made their way back toward the main road, and Trevor noticed several wolvans in pursuit. Elara asked the goat to take them down to the docks as they neared the main road. The goat took a quick right down a side alley as several of the pursuers crashed into each other.
The goat was running as fast as it could, but more wolvans were catching up. It was only a matter of time until they were outpaced. A roadblock was up ahead, a delivery wagon had unloaded dozens of barrels, blocking the street. The goat bleated and lowered its head, Trevor and Elara held on tight. As the goat crashed through the barrels, wood and flour flew all over the place. The goat and the kids found themselves covered in the white powder, but they kept on moving, flour dust filling the air behind them.
They made their way further down the alley before taking a left turn toward the main road. The goat came to a halt as a bunch of wolvans stood in the way. They were quickly surrounded, and the goat didn't have much space to get a running start. One of the wolvans gave a crooked smile and threatened them if they did anything stupid. Luckily, the goat sneezed, and a cloud of flour flew around them. Trevor whispered, and they swiftly tiptoed their way out of the entrapment and onto the main road.
The sound of Seagulls comforted Trevor, and he could see the docks just past another intersection. He and Elara hopped off the goat and led it into a nearby stable to get some water. Elara left the stable door slightly open, and they watched the wolvans searching the streets for them. After a few minutes, the goat was rested and nudged Trevor. They slowly opened the door, hopped on their goat, and made their way into the middle of the road to blend in with traffic to cross the intersection.
The kids could see the Truffle II had docked, and Elara had the goat picked up the pace. The sound of wolvans shouting could be heard behind them, and they hurried faster. The gangway was in place from the ship, and the crew was walking down it. Trevor had never felt so relieved, he hopped off the goat and hugged his father close. He watched the wolvans fade away into the crowd behind him, they were safe.