Sir Évreux paced around the bridge of the Tomato and asked, "Have we untethered ourselves from the Teiwaz yet?"
A crewman reported immediately, "Yes, your Excellency, engineering reports that the Teiwaz has been set adrift. Additionally, all sections report only a few minor injuries, all stations manned and ready."
Another crewman reported, "Your Excellency, starboard spotters have ground forces movement at two one zero."
Sir Évreux took out his telescope and looked, "What the hell are those?" He saw slow-moving metal boxes heading toward their location each had what looked like a steam cannon turret on top. Behind the metal boxes were men carrying long sticks with a knife at the top, they didn't look like knights or soldiers, more like commoners carrying some kind of hunting weapon. He decided not to leave anything to chance and quickly ordered, "Helm, take us to course three one zero, half ahead revolutions thirteen hundred. Port cannons ready to fire Cannister Shot on my mark."
A crewman suddenly called out, "Radio reports message from Ground Forces commander, 'To Red Baron, leave Bromanian Airspace immediately or face further attacks', signed Brigadier General George Hamilton."
Another crewman reported, "Enemy ground forces are holding in their current locations."
Sir Évreux thought for a moment and then called out, "Do we have visuals on the Muffin or the Fenrir?"
A few moments later, "Fenrir and Muffin inbound at three five five your Excellency."
Sir Évreux nodded and said, "Flag the Fenrir to rig for the tow, they can drag the Teiwaz back. Flag the Muffin that we'll jointly guard the Fenrir as they pull the Teiwaz back to the dock. Tell them to avoid radio, explain that the ground forces are radio enabled."
Another crewman called out, "Enemy air units inbound from one two zero your Excellency, starboard spotters count two zero air units."
Sir Évreux called out, "Flag the Muffin to handle the air units. keep us between the ground forces."
Guy de Montfort walked up from the gate room onto the bridge of the Tomato and pulled out his telescope. The crew called out, "VIP on the bridge!" All of the crewman not actively engaged in work gave Prince Montfort a fist over chest salute.
Guy grumbled, "Damn, looks like we have a problem."
Sir Évreux nodded and said, "They got the Teiwaz before they got their forcefield up. I was a few seconds away from making the same mistake." He sighed and then said, "The Cannister Shot was effective against the enemy air units, but they stupidly flew past our cannons as well."
Guy nodded and then said, "I think we have a much bigger problem than that, this nation we found has hot weapons, our cold weapon nation only has our airships capable of fighting them."
Sir Évreux looked confused, "What are hot and cold weapons?"
Guy smiled and said, "Cold weapons are swords, hot weapons are projectiles like our steam cannons. Only this nation we ran into is using gun powder. Depending on who taught this nation to use hot weapons, they could very well outdistance ours." He pointed to the Teiwaz, "What happened to the Teiwaz is a lesson for all airship captains. We have to have our forcefields up, even if that means having two mages on the bridge."
Sir Évreux nodded and said, "I haven't detected any enemy mage units, but they have aerial units. They should have at least a few, right?"
Guy rubbed his chin and said, "Not necessarily. I didn't have the knowledge or experience to create a nonmagical flying machine myself, that doesn't mean someone else couldn't do so." Guy looked at the incoming aircraft and said, "Ah, I see. World War I era tanks and planes. Probably cannons and rifles as well." he looked toward the infantry and nodded, "Oh I see, so Americans."
Sir Évreux asked, "A Brigadier General George Hamilton stated he was the commander of these forces from Bromania."
Guy turned and looked at Sir Évreux then asked, "Wait, did you say Romania?"
Sir Évreux shook his head and said, "They clearly said we had breached Bromanian airspace. This is the nation of Bromania."
Guy's eye twitched and then he said, "Alright, let's withdraw, for now, we'll form a picket line between our southern borders and hope they don't have the ability to circle around through the North. I'll go over to Alicia's ship and explain things. Flag the Muffin with the plan as well."
Sir Évreux called out, "Has the Fenrir got that salvage in tow?"
A crewman saluted and said, "Yes, your excellency they are pulling the Teiwaz now, the Muffin is on the incoming aircraft side. The enemy aircraft have not attacked. Ground forces are also keeping a distance."
Sir Évreux nodded and said, "We're pulling back to the border, slow ahead. Match our speed and heading to the Teiwaz until we reach the border."
In the Bromanian war room, five generals sat around a table as men were constantly coming and going with new information. "Sir, we still don't have much intel about the area beyond the savages lands to the north. Early reports from our scouts said they were using cold weapons."
The general in charge slammed his fist on the table and said, "Those big airships decimated a fighter group and our northern defensive line. This Red Baron, we fought against, his ship specifically. Reports were that our weapons were completely ineffective against it. The other ship, how much damage did it do before we managed to get hits on it?"
A soldier saluted and said, "It destroyed the northern troop garrison before our fighters caught it. The cannon emplacements on the northern face of Mount Joseph finally put it adrift and on fire."
The General in charge sighed and said, "Alright, I'll notify the President. We'll let him decide. For now, let's start getting more intel on the north and put together a war plan. If the President wants to push for this war, he might have some more magic for us to use." He saluted his colleagues and left the room in a hurry.
The General walked into the President's office carrying a folder with his current intel on the situation. Inside was a black and white photo of the white and black battleship Teiwaz along with a recounting of the battle. The President seemed to be in a daze as he looked at the ship. He said to the General, "This is impossible. There is no way that ship could fly."
The General said, "Mr. President, that ship fired on our northern garrison first from our reports, we managed to set it on fire and adrift after multiple shellings. Then a second ship arrived at the scene, it looked identical only it was red and had the skull and crossbones on the tail. This ship was a nightmare existence that was able to finish off the entire northern defense line. It was impervious to our attacks."
The President frowned and asked, "Thicker armor?"
The General shook his head, "The shells hit an invisible bubble and just dropped to the ground. Completely ineffective."
The President looked excited, "A force field then?"
The General shrugged and said, "Mr. President none of our men could figure this out, that's why I brought it to you. Do you want to proceed with a war against the invaders or should we start preparing for a northern invasion?"
The President stood up from his desk and paced around his office and then asked, "If you fought against multiple ships like this Red Baron, what could you do right now?"
The General shook his head, "We have no defense and no way to inflict damage."
The President nodded and said, "It looks like I need to invent some weapons for this war." He walked over and sat down at his desk and wrote out some orders, "General Patton, take this to the machine shop, have them expect me there in twelve hours. I'll need these materials ready. Also, make sure that our Northern defense is repaired and upgraded. Let's prepare as best we can for the kind of weapons they use."
General Patton saluted and then asked, "You said that these ships are impossible, what did you mean by that?"
The President smiled and said, "They are too heavy to be in the air," He picked up his pen and let it drop, "You see? Those ships are defying gravity. There is nothing capable of making that much metal hang in the air like that. Yet, there they are. Hanging in the air. They are impossible. What does that make you think, General Patton?"
General Patton shrugged and said, "Magic?"
The President nodded with a grin on his face, "Indeed it is Magic, General Patton. Real Magic, not the kind of magic I have been using." He picked up his coffee cup and took a sip, "You said they speak French?"
General Patton nodded and said, "Yes, it's a French Dialect. We tried hailing the other ship in English, but they didn't understand us at all. Per protocols, we tried several languages and they finally responded to the French."
The President nodded and said, "Very good General, you and your men did the best you could. A ship like that might have been a considerable loss to the enemy. They were eager to retrieve it. For now, strengthen our northern defenses, but pull soft targets back, infantry and mobile divisions should be behind the lines until we see approaching ground forces. We're going to upgrade our airpower to fight these behemoths. They have a weakness we can exploit, they are slow big targets. Our fighters just need the right weapons and I have a design in mind that will work."
Another man came in and said, "Mr. President the press wants to know about the invasion what should we release?"
The President smiled and said, "Tell them I said, Today is a day which will live in infamy. The nation of Bromania shall not be defeated. We will fight on the land, on the sea, and in the air, we will never surrender!" He grinned and then started to draw plans on his desk for new weapons.
Olivier, the four Dukes, The Emperor of Wütendes Menschenreich, his top aides and King Gerard stood around the table looking at the new map data brought by the crew of the Teiwaz and the crew of the Tomato. Guy de Montfort arrived a little later interrupting their conversations about the new enemy by saying, "Our enemy isn't using magic. They are using technology that is far more advanced than our own."
Everyone went silent until King Gerard asked, "If they aren't using magic, do we then have an unstoppable advantage?"
Guy shook his head no, "I don't believe we do. They are using hot weapons, that is weapons that work the way our steam cannons do, only more effective. Our strongest Knights would be as weak as farmers to them. Unless we completely kill everyone in their country, we will not be able to hold any territory there."
The Emperor of Wütendes Menschenreich grumbled, "Are you saying that even my strongest men are fodder to these weapons?"
Guy nodded and said, "Strength of the arm is meaningless against a hot weapon. A child holding one of their weapons could kill your strongest warrior before he could get within a hundred feet of the child."
Everyone in the room inhaled a breath. King Gerard asked, "How much longer before we have more airships?"
Guy sighed and said, "A Minimum of two months. We just don't have enough gold or resources."
The room was dead quiet and then Olivier asked, "Is it possible to start arming our people with hot weapons?"
Guy shook his head and said, "I looked into it before I got here, we are missing a key ingredient for the gun powder that they must have a source of right now."
The Emperor of Wütendes Menschenreich frowned and then asked, "What do you recommend, Prince Montfort?"
Guy said, "I would like to visit the enemy nation and see if we can work out an armistice. We need time to advance our civilization before we truly begin to intermix with that nation."
After a long debate, they agreed to Guy's plan.