Reborn Hope

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As it turned out, Umbia was a massive port on the western coasts of the Itas Peninsula, a massive jut of land that penetrated south into the Inner Sea.  Here, at Keffe, the bulk of the Republic fleet was anchored.  After another week and a half by wagon, Brax and his guests reached Umbia.  And, upon entering Keffe and looking upon the fleet rocking gently at their moorage, van Joss had to agree with the decision of the war council to build an entirely new fleet.

The largest ship that the navy possessed was no larger than Brax’s sloop, the Snow Flower.  None of them could carry more than twenty crew and supplies at any one time.  The galleon that Brax and his engineering team was proposing, was a massive four mast vessel, with three decks and plenty of moorage for a crew of over 75 as well as two hundred soldiers.  According to the plans, the galleons would also be equipped with four longboats, for landing.  Each longboat, a variation of a rowboat that even van Joss had operated, carried twenty men at a time.

Of course, all of this was on the Ursan scale and so dwarfed anything that van Joss and Humanity could have built.  As was proven when Brax took van Joss, Longspear and Salina to visit the prototype sitting in dry dock in the northern part of the shipyards.

“Maker burn me,” Van Joss quietly said in open amazement as they stood on top of a low tower overlooking the dry dock basin, a massive hole in the ground that could be filled with water via a set of locks that let the water in at a controlled rate.

“Never have I seen anything so big!” Longspear said beside him, unable to believe her eyes.  The vast wooden shell below them dwarfed anything that she had seen before, including the city of ruins and the massive fortresses of the Kanid Imperium.

“It is a practical, double hulled design,” Brax’s chief engineer, an Equis by the name of Ojinious assured them with a nod of his long head.  Unlike the bulky bodies of the Ursa and the Bovis, the Equis were long and lean.  Powerful buttocks and quadriceps provided the majority of their great speed, the muscles shifting uneasily even at rest, as if being barely restrained from hurtling into motion by the strongest of wills.  And, like the Bovis, they didn’t possess feet as did the Ursa.

Instead the Equis had a single digit, like a massive toe with an equally massive nail.  The Equis called them ‘hooves’, like what horses had on the bottom of their feet.  The Bovis had a variation, their hooves being split in two, or cloven.  Regardless, it gave both an advantage of not needing boots while enabling them to move over a broad variety of surfaces with little or no difficulty.

Whether Ojinious was aware of his legs’ restless shifting, he gave no sign, peering down at his blueprints with first one eye, then the next.  The Equis, like the Sea Wolves, had their eyes more on the sides of their heads and did not possess true binocular vision, as did the Ursa.  The Bovis too had similar eyes.  This, however, also gave them a wider field of vision, beneficial in a more open environment where enemies could come from any direction.

“And it is designed to easily hold two hundred Ursan troops in the middle deck,” the Equis engineer continued, rolling up his blueprints with curious three fingered hands.  Van Joss had noticed that the Bovis too only possessed three digits on their hands, two fingers and an opposable thumb.  Still, they seemed to work well enough with them.

“Of your design, I have no doubt that it will do what you say,” the human said with a slight smile.  “It is just the size of it that amazes me and my people.”

Brax chuckled at the surprised look Ojinious threw at the human.

“Remember, Engineer Ojinious, these people are easily half the size of an Ursan and smaller than even your people,” he pointed out with a smile of his own.

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