Pheadra, a Victorian Steampunk-like Shadow, which lies just beyond the Golden Circle, has been overrun by the Chaosian army. They are not too happy about this, and there is a resistance movement. However, their high-tech neighbours to the south and east have been overrun by Chaos as well, and there is very little chance they can throw the Chaosians out and withstand the onslaught of both airships from the east and high-tech weaponry from the south. That is why they have sent an emissary (son of a wealthy Kashfan planter) to Amber, to seek an alliance.
We chatted a bit with this chap, and undertook the trip to Kashfa via Trump. There, we were loaded onto the airship that is regularly used to smuggle people, information and goods in and out of Pheadra for the resistance. We crossed the border with Onise -- also overrun by Chaos. We were high enough that we passed over any patrols undetected, but as we were approaching the center of Onise, a storm was brewing further to the south. We had three choices: take a detour, which would bring us dangerously close to the airship patrols from Nomaria (Pheadra's high-tech neighbour to the east, and loyal to the Chaosians!), go through the storm with the chance of damaging the ship and blowing us enough off-course to be intercepted by an airship patrol, or put the airship down until the storm blew over -- trying to stay out of the sights of the native tribesmen and Chaosian patrols alike.
We chose the third option, and set the airship to ground in a thicket of trees. The balloons were largely obscured by the trees. Philip assisted the shipboard magician in trying to shield the airship from the effects of the storm. Lightning and wind could damage the ship irrepairibly, leaving us stranded in the middle of enemy territory. Us princes could shift away at a moment's notice, but that would leave the airship and its crew to the mercy of whoever happened to stumble across the scene. Nikolai would patrol to the north of the thicket of trees, Taron would keep track of the east-side, and I would patrol the south-side.
I hit the jackpot first: to the south, lightning struck a tree, scaring a herd of buffalo-like herbivores into a stampede. I Trumped back to the airship (via Philip) to retrieve a stick of dynamite, and I blew up the front-line of the stampeding herd. This persuaded the other animals to divert their course away from the airship.
The rest of my patrol was uneventful, until I was Trumped by Nikolai. A group of about fifty local tribesmen, all warriors, had passed him by -- going into the direction of the airship. He took me through the Trump, and also Trumped Taron. The group looked like a scouting party on the war-path to me (I had read up on the geography and culture of Onise before we left Amber)... It was imperative that they would not reach the airship.
Taron picked a few off with his bow, while Nikolai and me killed a few stragglers from behind. We had downed 10 men before the group noticed they were being attack.
The local warriors are primitive (armed only with a spear and several throwing spears), but they are not stupid. Quickly, they fell into a defensive formation. Taron picked another one off, which gave them a direction to march in. Nikolai and I circled them, while they marched towards Taron. A few spears were thrown, and Taron wasn't really able to shake them off. He couldn't run away either...
Nikolai cut into the approaching formation, and I took a few guys down as well. Taron threw away his bow and used his sword as well. We had to move carefully, so as not to be impaled on the large spears. We were all wounded from the fight, but in the end they had only about half their original number standing. On the command of one of their leaders, they disengaged and withdrew to a defensive formation. We let them (there was little point in killing them all), and in broken Thari we communicated with their leaders. We assured them that we didn't have an army hidden around here, and that we would be leaving once the storm had blown over. This seemed to convince them, and they retreated whence they came.
Fifteen minutes after that, we were airborne once again. We arrived in Pheadra without any other events, about a day's travel away from the capital. The airship was partly dismantled and hidden in a large barn, and we were quartered in a large mansion. A message was sent to the leaders of the resistance, who showed up the next day.
The resistance is led by the former prime minister, the former minister of agriculture and the former head of the university. The Chaosian governour (Boar, who, as it turned out, was a cousin of Matto, one of our Chaosian contacts) had disbanded the government and taken the queen hostage. He had imprisoned most scientists and engineers, because of a fear of the threat Pheadra's technology could pose to him. Most infra-structural projects had been halted and production of weapons and other high-tech goods had been completely halted. Boar wasn't a popular guy in Pheadra.
Apparently most high-tech weaponry the Chaosians wanted/needed were either imported from the south (from a Shadow that has a similar tech level, age-old rivals of the Pheadrans) and the east (from Nomaria, a theocracy that had been converted to worship the Chaosians as gods, and thus were fiercely loyal to them). This was both good news and bad news: the good news was that the Chaosians weren't keeping a close watch on the production lines of weaponry in Pheadra itself. But the bad news was that they had nothing to lose if the fight went bad for them: they could easily blow up all factories and machinery, without losing any production capacity.
When we strike, we will have to be extra-careful and execute our plans to meticulous timing. We have all selected a neighbouring Shadow to visit, to see what the situation there is, and how that Shadow could aid or hinder our mission in Pheadra.