A possible prologue to something more….?

“Remember my young apprentice we strive to keep ourselves balanced. There cannot be light without darkness, life without death. Let others close their minds and align themselves towards something they do not fully understand,” closing the polished antique silver lid on the meditative brazier, before resuming “Awaken my apprentice, it is time to end your mediation.”

Watching my apprentice slowly awaken as the mind-altering smoke faded from the room. Allowing his body to begin purging the gas’ effects from his conscious. The mediation ritual was the second part of his studies that forcibly opened the mind’s true potential. Feeling the sheer power coming from my pupil at this distance even as walked across the ancient stone chamber. The strength I had felt from him when I discovered him in a partially burned down farmer’s shack had grown.

Wide hazel eyes looked up at me as I approached, the gas still having a slight effect on him. Staring at me in silence, hopefully adjusting quick enough to begin practicing some of the more straightforward lessons I have taught him. If what I noticed on my travels through the world grows, the balance will collapse. Leading to something ancient and remembered only in myths to awaken from its forced slumber. Making my innermost fears come true, the few who recalled the forgotten truths would need all the strength they could muster.

Where to go from here?

Starring out through the cracked screen of my cryo-chamber, I tried looking around. Barely able to look around, before realizing I was still locked inside the cryo-chamber. Knowing trying to break free the titanium alloy restraints would be pointless. Bright, sterile looking light bulbs hung motionless on a long polished chrome pipe. Contrasting with the long dark brown pipes that ran perpendicular to it along the ceiling. Making me wonder where I was since it didn’t look like anywhere I could recall.

Hearing someone shouting nearby in alarm, unable to see them. Seconds later an older looking man with a slightly wrinkled face, and graying hair was peering at me. A dark framed pair of glasses rested against the man’s nose. Tapping lightly with a single finger against the cryo-chamber glass, before commenting “Try to stay calm. I imagine this is startling to you. Technicians are on their way to break the cyropod’s seal, and let you out. Nod if you understand.”

Nodding my head the best I could manage, I waited. Tapping my fingers against the cold metal backing. Surprised by the old man’s diction, and politeness in which he spoke. Assuming even the most basic of principles of civilization would have been eliminated in the impact. Leaving me to wonder if the collision was as dangerous as it was predicted to be. Did humanity endure the impact outside the Arks? Could the old man have been on one the Arks? Had more time passed then planned initially when the creation of the Arks began?

The old man said “Good, you understand,” pausing for a brief moment, glancing at the top the cryo-chamber.”It appears your nameplate has been eaten away by rust. I’m guessing we will have to search the pre-impact data storage for your identity. Given the Ark, was filled with a random mix of people in it, I’m curious to find out,” stopping, and turning around. “The technicians are here, to let you out. It seems I will have to get the answers I seek elsewhere,” vanishing from view. Being replaced by two technicians in stained white bodysuits, and tinted face masks.

The start of another idea…maybe

With two strangely curved blades at my throat, I reluctantly kneeled looking up at my pale-faced enemy. His coal black eyes were staring down at me, as a curved grin spread across his face. Showing the rows of pointed predatory blood-stained red teeth. “Given how well you fought against me, you are no ordinary soldier. Yet, I doubt there is any noble blood in you,” noticing something around my neck. “Provided your men forfeit, there will a more private discussion about that strange gold pendant that rests around your neck after this battle is done. For now, get off your knees and follow me to the turret. I wouldn’t recommend trying to grab weapons from your fallen soldiers as you move. I may appear to be alone, but I can promise you I’m not.”

Not seeing much choice, I waited for the blades at my throat to moved from my neck before standing. Without saying a word, I followed my pale-faced enemy. Stepping over the bodies of fallen friends and foes alike. Hearing the battle was still being fought as boulders impacted against a nearby stone wall. This strange enemy seemed unnerved by the fight going on around him. Even his armor appeared to be different than the soldiers I had killed.

He led me towards a high turret, that had a shattered wooden roof on it. The sun was beginning to set on the back, casting an orange glow over the castle ground. Grabbing the bannerman’s brass horn from his corpse. Forcing a loud blast to emit from it as he blew into it. The blow was loud enough to create a temporary pause in the battle.

With a thunderous voice, he commanded “This battle is over. I have captured your brazen commander. Throw down your arms and leave my castle grounds. Tell your king, that I will not be merciful if you attack my castle again without reason,” blowing bannerman’s horn again. Grinning back at me, remaining silent as he led back into the castle.

Once both of us were in the throne room, several towering guards popped out of the shadows. Each guard dressed in black full plate armor. Their faces were hidden under a matching black helm with a flat look. Heavy looking black-handled curved blades rested at their waist. Vicious crescent-shaped long axes with ebony iron handles were carried in by all of them. The edge of each ax stained red with fresh blood. Even if I had any weapons, I was smart enough to know these men were killers. Taking a reluctant spot several large footsteps from the throne, I kneeled. Waiting for the leader of these monstrous men to take his seat on the throne. Wondering what my fate would be if I answered his questions.

Well there’s another idea……

A mighty icy wind whistled through the stone cutouts of this ancient mountain monastery. Bringing whisps of snow in its wake, trying to put out the orange flame from resin torches. Stone pews and statues were empty of any devoted visiting pilgrims.  The elders secluding themselves in the back of the temple, deciding what to do with the dangerous religious order that was sweeping over the land. Despite the monastery’s natural isolation, word reached us of the Crimson Light and what they were doing.  Using their religious beliefs and growing power base to get away with heinous crimes. Taking those whose bodies demonstrated anything that went against their religious doctrine. While my order offered sanctuary to those living close, our reach was limited. The few small villages around the mountain’s base helped when they could. Given the pressure the Crimson Light was putting on the villages, help was becoming increasingly seldom.  There was a growing sect of monks, including myself who followed the beliefs of the warrior god, Anesoni were trying to fight back. Hopefully, the elder’s would make a hasty decision about training more monks in the art of war.

Taking a slight breath, I began to notice something moving in the distance, barely visible through the small crack in the door. Casting a faint orange glow around itself without any noticeable smoke or odor. Opening the door with slight caution, trying to get a better view of what was coming. Seeing a dark shadow in the middle of the mysterious light. At a quick glance, the shadow didn’t appear large enough to belong to a full-size man. Following a growing sense that this person was similar to me, moving sideways through the door. Pulling the wool hood over my head before walking far from the dar. Letting one the organic steel chains around my waist, unfurl down my right sleeve. Noticing the flame suddenly extinguish itself, the shadows fading along with it. Sprinting forward toward where the light vanished.

Contracting the chain around my left are, feeling the blunted spear tip against my hand. Stopping to find the thin body of a young child, poorly clothed in tan rags. Someone had shaved the entire scalp of the body, making it difficult to determine if it was a boy or girl. Still healing cuts were apparent on the left and right side of the child’s face. The child had been tortured by someone who appeared to know what they were doing. Assuming it was the Crimson Light’s inquisitors well known for their skills for infliction pain. Being careful I lifted the frail child over my left shoulder. Heading back to the monastery, hoping this would alter the decision being made by the elders.

There is another idea…

On the cusp of war, the high-pitched trumpets of Dorill blared at the gates. The royal family of Dorill having arrived, to seal and bind a marriage of peace. Thier horse-drawn carriages being escorted by living sapphire wall of armored soldiers. Bannerman with still white and blue banners stood at the forefront and back of the caravan. Each flag bearing a dagger forced into a blacksmiths anvil in blue, with a six-pointed star on the pommel of the blade.

Looking over to my late father’s guard captain, I ordered “Send a battalion of guardsmen to fetch the Dorril royal family. Tell them to be careful escorting them back to castle. Make sure there are at least a dozen bowmen in the battalion. I know this marriage has some degree of ill favor upon the serfs and some noblemen. If the royal family has complaints regarding the escort by our soldiers, they can augment the battalion with a small group of their own countrymen if they wish,” knowing how crucial this day would be if tensions continued to rise among the nine kingdoms.

Captain Ordo respectively bowed before leaving to follow my order. Leaving me on the balcony with two other guards. The twin moons beginning to appear in the sky, as the sunset on the horizon. It seems meeting the woman who would rule beside me, would have to wait until the morrow.

 

Strange dreams…..

Dreams and inspiration can go hand in hand at times. Even though why I dreamt of the piece below is beyond me. I wonder if someone can figure that out for me, haha.


On a moonless night, I wandered into the forgotten graveyard of my ancestors. The ground being reclaimed by nature. Obscuring roots and eroded gravemarkers alike. A dark green vine crept up the west side of the last family crypt. The vine was blooming a deep scarlet colored flower, with a black center. Somehow the old stone road that led to the ancient castle remained untouched. Even the protective stone wall that hid the cemetery seemed intact. At this distance I couldn’t make any guess at the state of the castle, I knew was there.

Walking along the old stone road, pausing a few steps away from a rusting iron gate door. A petite woman in a full length dark red dress was standing behind the gate. Long fire red hair ran down and across both shoulders. Contrasting the women’s highly pale skin. She was staring at me with inhumanly bright blue iris, possessing an that was oddly contracted considering how dark it was. Her lips were narrow, having the same color as her dress. If that was makeup or something else was difficult to discern.  A polished silver chain rested around her neck, holding a fist-sized black jewel.  The black gem was surrounded by a small perfect circle of deep red rubies. Her hands were clenched around something tiny.

Barely opening her lips, she said, “You are real,” sounding like she knew something I didn’t, then the short phrase being a question.

Hmm…..

 


Still dressed in the suit jacket, I looked out at the rooftops of my city. Roving spotlights were slowly coming to life as the last remnants of the sunset dyed away.Stationary lights illuminating various large propaganda flyers reminding disobedience and nonconformity are to told to authorities.Nocturnal billboards were repeating the words “Curfew is now active,” in neon red letters. Patrol drones were being launched off various buildings to enforce the seemingly endless rules most people mindlessly followed. Observing the few nearby drones, trying to detect a broadcast signal with my mini-computer at my wrist. Rapidly tapping at the touchscreen with my right hand, for a few minutes before acquiring a strong signal, Breaking the signal’s powerful encryption algorithm in about a minute, before gaining access to the hive drive that every drone shared. Finding the specific file after a search, copying it first. Continuing to search for any data I could use, keeping a close on the signal strength. Successfully pulling a few additional smaller files before the drone escaped my range.

Running inside feeling a renewed sense of energy as I unlocked the door to my small windowless apartment. Locking the door behind me, securing my apartment further with some minor modifications I built. Feeling secure I walked toward my secondary computer. Sliding the mini-computer off my wrist before setting on the desk that held my secondary computer. Plugging two black data cables into it that ran in separate directions. One running into a port on my secondary computer. Another connected to a custom-built multi-cable splitter that ran into multiple pieces of augmented clothing. The clothing purchased on the black market from someone who had access to military surplus. Sending the first file, I stole through various tech I placed inside the garment. Letting the progress begin on using enemies technology against them. Reaching down and sliding a small open box out from under my desk. Grabbing the makeshift facial scrambler, that would hide obscure my face from electronic eyes. Using a nearby toolkit, I applied the finishing touches. Cramming the few loose wires into the support band that would go over my ears. Placing it on my head to make sure it would work out there without interfering with my vision. Glancing around my apartment, seeing nothing hindering my sight directly. A yellow light appeared at the slight edge on both sides of view. Making a snap decision to live with it, I pulled the scrambler off my head. Setting it aside on the desk, before checking the progress of the file’s upload into the clothes. With almost fifty percent of the upload completed, I began working on my weapons. Feeling the ebony colored force amplifying bat with my hand, lifting it to my lap. Twisting the wide end off with several clockwise turns, exposing the glowing blue core held in place by forceful red magnetic rings. Grabbing a few small screwdrivers from my toolkit, before tinkering with the core. Trying to make sure the core would amplify the force of my swing without killing anyone it hit.

Ten minutes passed before I put the bat back together. Making sure the bat felt solid, as my micro-computer dinged. Leaning the bat against my desk, I saw the file had fully uploaded itself into my clothes. Meaning my debut was now almost ready to start. Quickly changing into my outfit, I walked about my apartment. Everything fighting nice and snug around my body. Setting my scrambler onto my head, before grabbing my bat. Heading out my apartment door, with my bat over my left shoulder. Letting the door automatically walk behind me, as I made my way to the rooftop.

Well…..there is another idea

Do you ever write something, and think to yourself, where on Earth did this idea come from? It seems to be happening frequently to me, as I try to keep my creative juices flowing. Either that or I’m in a state of creative overflow. I guess it could always be worse.


In silence moved to the back of Restir, taking a seat at a small round table. Ignoring the disgusting smell of cigarette smoke, and piss that lingered in the air, as I observed. Enjoying the experimental jazz music that was playing through carefully hidden ceiling speakers. Disregarding the bar’s other customers, focusing my gaze on my target. Watching the strange man sip a black bubbling drink in a short clear glass, at the bar. Two other clear glasses rested upside down on his left side, the black drink still sticking on the sides in small spots. Hiding parts of his face under a wide-brimmed black cowboy hat. The raised red collar of a long black trench coat hid what remained. Knowing with certainty that he was armed with at least two handguns, several short knifes, and the Marsekoh blade I was after. I didn’t know why my client wanted it, but, considering how much he was paying me I didn’t care.

A short, narrow-waisted waitress approached me. Dressed in short eggshell white button-up dress, with a black and red belt around the waist. The dress fell from her shoulders enough to reveal the tufts of her breasts. Narrow blue eyes peered down at me through rose red glasses. With a flirtatious smile, she handed me a menu, before running her hand through her short dyed blue pixie haircut. She smiled before another customer called out for her, forcing her to walk away. If I wasn’t on the job, I would have considered flirting with her. Setting the menu aside, I resumed my observation.

After I saw him down his fourth drink, I got up. Lightly pushing people aside, as I approached the bar. Taking a seat next to my target, lifting my phaser without revealing it. As he watched the bar-bot make his fifth drink I made my escape plan. With a slight turn, I pushed down on the trigger. Releasing three short burst low energy plasma, intending to stun him. His body began to unsteadily shake as he fell to the ground. A surprised look on his face. Reaching down I quickly grabbed the Marseketi blade from the right side of his waist. Sprinting into the kitchen, almost colliding with one of the cooks. Pushing him aside, racing towards the back door. Running through the door, before jumping off the edge of the delivery dock. Feeling the exhilarating rush as the air pushed around my face. Letting the air expand the gliding flaps that were custom sewn into my coat. Slowing my fall some, allowing me to navigate through the resting traffic of flying cars. Being careful to avoid a collision and the seemingly endless array of surveillance cameras that littered the city. Hoping the Obscura tech was working, as I made my way to the bottom of this colossal metropolis.


As always comments, are welcome. Thanks for reading.

Preview of Death’s legion (title pending)

I’m not really sure where this idea came from. Yet, given how death exists (in some way) in every genre of fiction it was something I can build on.  Twisting and shaping it to something both strange and plot building. Without diminishing the power that death could wield in a fantasy environment.



Raising the visor of my battle damaged helmet, I attempted to wipe the blood away from on a battlefield that had fallen mostly silent. Only the caw of crows and the ramblings and moans of those who death has yet to take were the only thing heard. Keeping a tight grip on my sword I began to step away. Prepared to be merciful to the fallen, ally and enemy alike.

Stopping completely when I heard a strange almost inhuman groan from behind me. Turning around I raised my sword. Only to see the fallen general of the Tisthan forces, had begun to raise. Bloodied arrows still through what remained of his eyes.

Trying to hide my fear, I asked “You are dead, I watched you fall. What in god’s name are you,” raising my sword to defend myself if needed. Still struggling to understand what I was seeing.

The general’s corpse chuckled before responding “What or who I am is not your concern mortal,” as his flesh began to change. Becoming rapidly darker as it tightened around his bones. “All you truly need to know,” being cut off as a sword with a body of fire decapitated him.

Sensing I was going to be killed by the blade’s unknown wielder, I struggled to pull a dented, muddied shield from the ground below me. Hoping I would manage to die with honor, as my ancestors have. Raising the shield I readied myself to die. Glancing over my shield I saw the wielder of the strange flaming sword. A tall warrior clad in ebony plate armor. Yet somehow the flame the sword possessed was within its body. The strange blade sheathed at the left side of his waist. Cautiously lowering my shield, I watched this strange warrior. Trying to understand any of what was happening. This shouldn’t be happening, it went against everything the Kuorkizin.

Rapidly reciting a quick prayer softly, I began to step backward. Keeping my gaze focused on the strange warrior, as I attempted to flee. Ignoring the screams of the wounded as I passed over them. This place was no longer a battlefield but, a place of damnation. I may have killed today in defense of my homeland, but I felt no desire to be damned.

Managing to reach the outskirts of this unholy battlefield, I turned myself. Breaking into a run, trying to escape all of this like a coward. Believing it was better to be branded a coward, then to die in a fight against a warrior of unholy origin. There was no honor in that.

Being stopped by a forceful tap of something hard, as I ran around a tree. Grunting, I looked up to see what had hit me. Only to see the same strange warrior from the battle-field. Holding a bloodied iron halberd where my chest would have been if I hadn’t stopped. How he managed to get ahead of me was beyond me.

I shouted “I don’t know what you are, but I beg you to leave me alone. Please,” trying to get up. “My family will not ransom me, there is no reason to follow me,” managing to get to my feet. Looking past this strange warrior, at the area behind him. Remembering an old monastery of the Iquarthi monks was nearby. Hoping they knew a way to stop this thing from following me.

This strange knight barely reacted to me getting on my feet. Moving the halberd out of my way, keeping its gaze on me. Without hesitation, I broke into a run. Ignoring the pain in my chest, and legs. Keeping a slight gaze over my shoulder as I ran. Only to see him standing there still, watching me.

Following the dirt road, I attempted to flee once more. Keeping a close eye on the nearby forest in the process. The monastery was protected by the forest that surrounded it, according to my mother. I never knew what she meant by that.

Starting to alter my direction some, I ran towards the forest. Feeling the dirt give way to stone, before quickly being replaced by dirt once more. Continuing to push my body, as I saw the twisting spires on the horizon. The setting sun casting its light on it from behind.

With relief, I slowed down. Noticing the monks inside had begun placing candles in the spires’ peaks. Creating the illusion of a circular ring around the sun. The monastery appeared to change much since my childhood visit. A wall of trees of various shapes, sizes and types formed a defensive wall around the structure. Two watchtowers rested above the treeline. Watching for pilgrims try to get through the only iron gate into the monastery. A lone torch rested in the middle of the gate. Watching silently for pilgrims arriving at this late hour.

As the sun fell away, I reached the gate. Finding it locked, as I attempted to pull it open. In frustration I pounded on the gate, considering trying to force my way in. Yet, that would only add more blasphemy to my arrival. Assuming they would listen to the strange tale I would tell them, at this late hour.

A monk shouted from somewhere nearby, “Stop that infernal pounding soldier it’s late,” as t torch began to make its way into view from the left side of the door. Revealing a hooded monk in brown robes. Keeping their face hidden, the monk asked “The time of darkness begins, and a weary soldier pounds on the door. What blasphemous actions could you have done that couldn’t have waited until morning?”

Continue reading

There is an idea….

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.