I’m really curious to get feedback on this idea. Something tells there is something in this idea, just not sure how far to move with the hybridization of steampunk and magic.
“Finally I found you, Dorian,” recognizing the scar on his shaven scalp, despite the lone light in this abandoned factory. “His majesty is asking for you, yet you brazenly refuse. Despite generous offers of gold, land, pardons, and resources for your strange experiments. I was sent by the king himself to bring you in before he decides to send in soldiers,” pulling out compacted repeating crossbow. “Now, are you going to be civil, or do you need some enticement,” I asked.
He laughed not turning to see me. “I knew at some point you would come, Alister. However, you are late, my old friend,” raising an intricate mechanical right arm of brass. The arm was engraved with symbols of powerful magics. “The majesty wants the man I once was,” turning to face me. A mask of tarnished bronze covering the right side of his face. His eye covered by a thin piece of clear glass. Lines of sorrow and age were rampant on the uncovered half of his face. The rest of his body was hidden under a patchwork gray cloth. “There are other reasons, besides my appearance why I have refused the king’s offers. Why I chose to hide away from both worlds. Please for old times sake, lie to the king.”
“That will be difficult I’m afraid. Your presence is well known to the locals, and they are easily bribed. I know you still grieve for your wife and child, blaming the king’s soldiers for their tardiness. Your grief and anger have clouded your mind, for too long.It’s time for new ideas to clear it, as you create under the country’s banner.”
Dorian said “You speak some truth, Alister. However, your blind loyalty still prevents you from seeing much more than you can fathom,” flexing the fingers on his mechanical limbs. The Engravings beginning to emit a shade of light blue, before three short bursts were released from its palm. The magic landed on the floor around my feet, creating three concentric glowing rings. “It is time for you to see the truth, Verus Vedonre,” forcing the grounded magic to spark to life. The sparks building up rapidly before they struck my forehead.
My knees buckled, as visions passed through my head. Screaming out, I was a court of people at what appeared to Parliament. They were extravagantly dressed, sharing the same shade of ebony throughout their clothes. Twisted, old-fashioned, blackbird masks hid their faces. Yet standing above them was another, who was dressed almost entirely in ivory. The only thing that wasn’t was the black cloak that was hung around his shoulders. I assumed that the one in white was running this strange court. The intense pain faded as the vision vanished, leaving me with several questions.
Dorian asked “That was only one of the government’s secrets. I don’t know what they call themselves but, I have taken to calling them the Black Court. From the little I managed to find out, most are related to the royal family or are royalty themselves. Individual names are challenging to find for certain, as it gives them deniability. My informant revealed they orchestrated the deaths of my wife and child, along with much more that sorrowful day. If you insist on dragging me back, I will reveal the truth to the citizenry. Which I doubt will end well for those in power. Is the king really willing to risk that, for my return?”
Staying silent, I pondered all that he had shared. Forcing me to question, all that I had done in my life. All that my ancestors had done in the name of crown and country. There was so much, I didn’t fully understand but, I intended to find out.
I responded “The king believes a war is coming because of all the attacks on our own soil and on our own territories. He wants to gather his resources trying to strengthen the nation, to endures it. I should force you to come with me, but with what you revealed I’m wondering how many of the attacks were orchestrated by those in power. Not to mention the possible civil war that may break out if the citizenry reacts violently to the truth,” setting down my crossbow. “Yet I may have a proposal that would satisfy all those involved. It will be unpleasant though, and will require me to take your mechanical limb.”
Dorian blinked several times in rapid succession, gazing between me and his mechanical limb. “This damned place has some of the most brilliant minds in the world who would be foolish enough to begin a war with us,” he asked almost shouting out his question.
Something crashing through the barricaded roof windows, prevented my response. Grabbing my crossbow from the ground, I sprinted towards Dorian. Hearing several more loud crashes all around us. Glancing around to see strange steam driven humanoid machines, watching the room. Long narrow pipes erupted from the things backs, releasing whistles as steam shot out of them. Each one a terrifying giant body of iron, and bronze. They bore no symbols on the metal that I could see. Thin extensive claws reached out from each hand on the eight of them.
I shouted “hope you still remember how to fight my old friend,” quickly tracing a Pyrosis rune on the crossbow’s quarrel. Raising the first bolt, I looked at Dorian. Taking aim at the nearest ones ready to fight. “Some things never change, something is always to kill one of us.”
Dorian chuckled, tearing off the cloth that cloaked most of his body. Dashing off towards the nearest giant, before the fabric could hit the ground. Leaving me to cover him from here, or work on getting the others attention. They managed to break into groups of four, before sprinting towards us. The ground trembling with every step. Releasing the first bolt at the right knee if the nearest colossus. Watching the tip catch ablaze, leaving a small smoke trail in its wake.quickly drawing back the mechanism, the quarrel loaded another bolt. Releasing another bolt before rapidly repeating it. Managing to get two additional bolts fired before they got too close. Yelping some as the one landed a strike on my back.
It took minutes of careful dodging before I ran through a found a small window. Running through it I fired blindly, to some distance between me and them. Glancing over my shoulder to see two of them were following me with ease. One of them was struggling to keep up. Aiming over my shoulder, I fired another bolt. Reloading another bold with haste, hoping my previous one made its mark. Blaring glancing over my shoulder I fired once more, before climbing on top of an old loom. Checking my quarrel to find six bolts left.
Sliding the quarrel back into its place, I watched. Two had fallen massively behind while one kept pace. Getting close to melee range rapidly. Dropping my crossbow, I reached for my behind. Pulling out two matching curved short blades, with leather wrapped handles with great haste.
The iron behemoth’s claws reached for me, ready to kill. Leaping over claw, I quickly looked over the thing for weak points. Finding two sets of thick rubber belts that ran from the shoulders into an iron cage on the thing’s back. Rotating my body slightly I bought my blades together. Slashing through the belts on the right shoulder before rolling on the floor as I landed. The iron giant struggled to move, as it turned around. Managing to find a similar set-up powering both legs. Kneeling some I sliced at the uppermost part of the left hip. Repeating the strike on the right while I still could. Now that the iron giant was immobilized, I sprinted off to the next one.
Rolling out of the way of multiple strikes, once I got close to the two who targeted me. Giving me a small advantage, as they both struggled to turn. Slashing out at the right hip belt of the closest one. Feeling the blade struggle some as it crossed the belt. Forcefully pulling the blade back, as I stepped back. Keeping myself moving in the opposite direction they were turning. Striking with precision at their hips or shoulders, when I could. Keeping myself moving and slashing until they iron colossi were immobilized.
Running to Dorian, I saw he had dealt with all but one of the mechanical giants. Without much thought, I plunged both of my blades where the steam pipes met. Feeling something shatter inside, before water started leaking down the things back. Depowering the thing before it could slice at a sweat-covered Dorian.
Out of harm’s way for the moment, I did a closer examination of these things. Finding nothing to indicate who made them, or where they could have been built. Their pilots would have to be taken into custody. Along with suits, taken away with great discretion. Given how close Agloia was to war, I felt no inclination to prematurely spark it.
Dorian inspected the machines as he said “These colossi are an impressive feat, of engineering. Yet the design isn’t particularly efficient in a cramped area. I’m curious to meet the mind who created them, nonetheless.”
I remarked “Indeed they are. The mechanics and engineers at the Mechinka Consortium should see things. Deconstructing them for use in the army, with improvements after they are remade. Yet, they make for a bothersome challenge, in a group. I will send for backup and transportation. If you have any prohibited items or experiments, I suggest you hide them,” pulling a small disc of bronze and enchanted glass out of one of the pouches on my belt.
Dorian glared at me, “There is more at work here than you know. Only scurry, someone, you can trust,” flexing his hands some. Letting them emit a glow before shouting “Ocacco Tgoe,” releasing a burst of magic over the area. Hiding old decaying books, scrolls, unfinished projects, and so much more. “Contact your friends now, I shall dress for my return to court,” he said before walking away to the far left corner of the area.
Pulling the scurrying device closer to my mouth, I whispered “Reffero Fator, Sgt. Drusilla,” feeling the runes carved on the bronze warm as the magic began to work. “I need transport, at my location. Enough for at least twelve, including four guards, and eight prisoners in the count. Along with something large enough to move eight mechanical colossi. Colonel Alister, Quies Slentium,” ending the scurrying. Letting the device get cold, as the magic was released.
Carefully placing it back in its pouch, I reached for my blades. Seizing them out of the back of the iron giant, I examined their edges. Finding small nicks in the metal and some loose material from the slashed belts. Pulling the material off, I wiped them clean with a nearby cloth. Setting the cloth aside before sheathing them. Letting the tail of the dark blue overcoat cover them some. Preparing my clothes before my help would arrive. Knowing Sgt Drusilla would make a remark, with the nimble tongue of hers.
Satisfied with my appearance, I went to retrieve my crossbow. Being cautious despite the paralyzation of the iron colossi. Yet with their pilots still inside them, I would prefer to be prepared for anything. Unsure if they could escape from their metal cages or not.
Refilling the quarrel as I walked towards, I peeked outside. Keeping watch for friend and foe alike. Glancing up at the cloudy sky, desiring to find a clue on where the mechanical giants could have dropped from. Having strong doubt they could have climbed the building, without making a noise, or falling through the rotting roof. Seeing nothing outside of common citizens, I retreated back behind the door. Wishing the door’s rusted out lock worked.
Staying close to the door, I leaned against the wall. Trying to keep more curious citizens from entering and learning what happened here.
A sharp piercing whistle sounded three times before stopping abruptly. The sound of several precise footsteps hitting the ground all at once. Stretching some, I peeked through the door, crossbow loosely in hand. Several soldiers of Agloia had arrived, dressed in dark blue. Curved and straight swords alike hung around their waist, by gray belts. A brass buckle embossed with my country’s flag sat in the center of the belt. Tight gray pants ran down their legs, to polished brass buckled black boots. Sgt Durisallia and another were the only two whose dress was slightly different. White circulates sat upon both her shoulders. Along with two thin bands of white at the end of each sleeve. Her shortened black hair tied mostly back around her neck. A few stray strands set around each cheek, barely contrasting to her naturally tanned skin.
Sgt Durisalliaia said, “Transport has arrived, as requested sir, “saluting me with the two-fingered salute of our country.
I said “Good Sgt. Have your men remain out here for the moment. Follow me inside, Sgt,” turning around and stepping back from the door. Sensing she was smart enough not to question why.
Moments later she wiggled her way through the door. Looking at me for a few seconds before, noticing the mechanical giants that were in here. Her mouth starting to slowly drop.
Dorian remarked from the shadows, “Durisallia it has been a long time,” stepping into the light. Revealing he had dressed in a purple vest with gold trim around the edges. A bright white ruffled shirt contrasted beneath. Matching black pants and boots, and a top covered the rest of him. An intricate towering staff of bronze, with what appeared to be small metal feet at the bottom help him walk forward. Several runes were carved into the staff with great care. Each band connecting into a unifying spiral, where a single clear jewel sat. “I doubt you may recall who I am from your childhood, but I was once great friends with your parents. Your ravishing beauty reminds me of your mother when she was young.”
Durisallia reminded silent for a few seconds before remarking, “Only a little old man, “turning her head some. “Is he why you summoned me here,” a little ignorance in her questioning tone. “Or is it the strange mechanical giants?
I responded “Both, Sgt. Those colossi were dropped on us from above. However, they are currently disabled with their pilots still inside. The suits will be taken to the Mechankia Consortium. I want their pilots incarcerated at the nearest constabulary by them. If the war does break out, these suits could be useful on the battlefield. You and your men will escort them there, and try to be discreet if you can. Keep the full truth to those who can guard their tongues.”
Sgt Durisalles said “As you command, Colonel thy orders will be done,” saluting me once more.
I nodded dismissing her with the opposite salute, on my right eye. Three fingers resting against the eyebrow, with two clenched inwards.
Dorian asked, “Now that those things are being taken care of, where are you leading me?”
I responded “You will be escorted by me, to see the king,” watching Sgt Duriasalles walk out the door. “Contact someone you trust at the Mechanika Consortium, I want to make sure they know what is coming. From what I recall most of their leaders were once your former pupils. Have one of them contact the nearest location ArcMeckia, and pass along instructions,” checking to make sure I had my blades and crossbow. “Follow me, Dorian, to where our transport awaits,” heading towards the back door.
Making my way towards the old dirt covered train tracks, that had been forgotten. Unmoved by the rusting, broken machinery that was scattered there. Rotten, Dirt covered spools of various fabrics were spread around. All in various degrees of thicknesses, and colors.
Taking the path north into the forest four about an hour. Stopping at a small brick shack, with a brown door. A single slot about three-fourths of the way up was the only thing visible on the outside. Dorian followed behind as I approached the door.
A deep voice bellowed from inside “Quis Approphquat?”
I answered “Colonel Alister Dukerf, and a high priority personage sought by the king.”
The voice bellowed again “ Entrance Sententia?”
I responded “In totum requim adquire, quaerve captis putei abysi.”
The door slides open from the inside. Revealing a single hanging glass lantern, above a set of stone stairs. In silence, I entered first. Grabbing the lantern, before descending the stairs. Dorian following close behind, leaning on his cane some.
At the end of the stairs were three guards, dressed in dark gray uniforms. Black belts, gloves, hoods, and boots were only they were that wasn’t. Two stood at the edges of the wall. Rifles of brass and wood, against their shoulder. The rifle’s barrels pointing towards the grounds. On the far wall was alone sitting guard. A mounted steam power multi-barreled Mling machine rifle obscured some of him. In the middle was a set of iron tracks, that hid a powerful hydraulic system. A polished brass oval-shaped egg rested on the tracks. Attached to the northern part was an iron cone. The cone had small holes around in a spiral pattern. A singular piece of latched copper sat on the left edge, for refilling I assumed. Four narrow copper pipes erupted from the back, almost parallel to the tracks. Multiple sections of blackened glass formed the top. Separated by a brass rib about the thickness of a child’s arm. The crest of Agloia was painted in black and blue on the low side of the rib.
I commented “This will transport us to the royal family’s castle, with necessary swiftness. Strap in on the far side Dorian. There is little knowledge of this tunnel system outside the royal family and their elite guards and soldiers. Try to keep it that way, Dorian.”
Dorian nodded briefly before walking around me. The larger black glass section, sliding back from inside. Revealing alone sitting guard rested inside, the leather interior. Along with two other seats in the back. An iron brazier, engraved with multiple Pyrosis runes rested on the guard’s left side.
Minutes later we were inside the pod. Beginning to make our way to the capital as the brazier was slide into the cone.