Soon, I was being swarmed by frilly dolls secured to wooden kite-frames that soared through the air on flapping wings of wood and paper. I was very lucky that none of the flying Dolls punctured the airbag of the ship, but a slug did tear through the engine, billowing steam around me. That white cloud of boiling moisture may have been what kept them from making a direct hit on my frame.
Dolls in lace, and flying ornithopters. This had Aleister Mason's fangmarks all over it. Obviously, he discovered I broke free of his control. He seemed nice enough as a person mind you, beneath the typical Spark obsessiveness and the vampiric bloodlust, but he was still a bit...odd.
I was starting to lose altitude, and the dolls were swooping close enough to grab at me. The gunfire I did hear was now between the two dolls with twin gatling guns on a larger box-kite contraption and the guns of the Middlesea Fleet. The box-kite had a corkscrew propeller on top as well as wings, allowing it to confound the aim of the gunners with hummingbird agility. It stood to reason dollies in the larger kite were providing cover while their sisters tried to kidnap me.
I reached for my axe and started swinging. As I splintered their ships and shattered their porcelain limbs I screamed that I would never let them take me, that I would never again be a slave...not to Jeremiah nor Aleister! NO ONE!
Then, I distinctly heard the pop of a cork high above the din of battle, and my body suddenly forgot to fight. No other sort of bottle on earth had that exact sound when opened. My body knew it. I held my axe loosely in one hand, craning my neck up as I leaned over the bow, salivating along with the other dolls who suddenly switched to hovering, staring up and drooling like myself.
The horror came to me. My mind was now free, but this body...and the others that Aleister built...are helpless thralls of the Bloodwine used to create us! We heard the sound of pouring, and sighs. We all sighed. Then a shout, and our eyes focused on a glimmer of crystal and spread of crimson liquid through the skies.
We all shrieked as one, kites climbing straight up. I heard myself cursing as I threw off my helmet, strapped on some emergency wings and ascended. I jumped off the rail of the CIRRUS, letting it spin downwards to the ground as sheets of cavorite carried me up towards the hull of the black trireme.
The dolls were dogfighting each other (a fluff ball I believe the call it) for the crystal. Having performed a few mid-air saves myself, I triumphantly captured the glass in my free glove. I rose past where they hovered, their crimson eyes staring at me from blank, porcelain faces. What to do now?
Of course! Aleister always addressed his troops with a glass of the wine in his hand...his symbol of control! Now I gave the orders.
"There's more wine in the ship, Girls! Seize that vessel!"
We swarmed the deck...the sailors were demons, for certain, but not warriors. The was clear from the way they covered their heads and ran below deck, screaming from an invasion of Dolls!