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  1. #1
    Annihilator scorpius007's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Rebirth of the Deathjack

    A short story telling the series of events to make this model possible: http://privateerpressforums.com/show...eme)-Deathjack
    Written by my brother and I with my girlfriend editing. We don't proclaim ourselves to be writers in any sense, and apologize if this turns out to be a painful experience, but hope ya like it
    Artwork of two characters here: http://privateerpressforums.com/show...r-amp-Daughter
    So here we go...


    Rebirth of the Deathjack




    Chapter I: Leftovers and Scraps


    Nothing useful.” Nando Corazo muttered in disgust, wiping the blood and dirt off his hands as he straightened up from a squat, giving the corpse he was searching a light kick in frustration. He turned the rifle he’d looted from under the body over in his hands, sighting along the barrel. It normally would have fetched an okay price but for the damage to the action. It turned out that the bullet that killed this poor sod hit the ejection port on the rifle, rendering it little more than a chunk of wood and metal.
    Come along, Rena.” Nando called to his daughter, who was a couple yards off, idly drawing in a patch of mud with a twig. Nando smiled as he reflected on how children could find simple amusements among such carnage. Since his wife died and his farm failed, he and his daughter had been reduced to drifting from place to place, and looting corpses in battlefields for anything they could sell or barter for a few days’ food and lodging. A child’s joy was hard to find in such situations, but most precious when it did turn up.
    "Kay daddy!"
    Rena scooped up her teddy as she turned and ran towards her father, a young blonde girl of 8 years. She beamed up at her father and proudly held out the small handful of crowns she managed to scrounge out of the dirt. Nando smiled and ruffled her hair, pocketing the meagre bounty.

    That’s my girl.”
    They moved onto another area of the battlefield continuing their search for items of worth. Rena, squeezing her bear, followed close behind her father, her tiny fingers clutching tightly to the hem of his shirt, eyes downcast.
    What lay before them was particularly horrific. Throughout the battlefield so far, most were slain by sword or firearm, but the bodies found here appeared to have been ripped apart by some sort of beast or worse. The acidic smell of burnt and rotting flesh amidst the gore was evident, and closer inspection gave light that some of the formless masses on the ground may have once been human. In the center of these ruined bodies lay the wreck of an old labour jack.
    Nando took in these surroundings, mouth agape. He had seen many of the terrible things men do to each other on the battlefields he scavenged but had never seen anything like this.
    “Can we leave Daddy? This place is scary.” Rena murmured, tugging Nando’s shirt.
    He wanted to go too, his daughter was not the only one that was scared. Unfortunately, they needed whatever they could find if they were to survive. Despite the carnage before them, he was certain that there would be something of value, something to make it all worthwhile. He felt that something was telling him so.
    He led her to a large rock and sat her down on it, giving her a hug.
    “Not quite yet, but soon. I just need to see if there’s anything we can use over there. You stay here, try not to look and keep an ear out. Ok?”
    She nodded with a small smile, ”Alright daddy.”
    “Good girl, I’ll be back before you know it.” Nando said as he stood up, giving her a quick peck on the forehead. “Holler if you hear anything.”
    He began scrounging through the site, inspecting the slain soldiers’ effects, careful to avoid the ones who had appeared to have been doused in some sort of acid. He didn’t want to find out just how corrosive that stuff was firsthand; the smell was enough. All in all, not nearly as fruitful as his previous certainty had suggested. Most of their weapons lay as broken as they were. Now that he had a closer look at the slain men, he began to wonder. He and his daughter had been travelling for some time and he had never seen any kind of beast in the area that could do this kind of damage to so many, let alone spray acid. At this realization he stood up and scanned the area, eyes narrowed.
    Nando’s eyes finally settled on the ruins of the old labourjack about 100 meters away in the middle of the carnage. He shrugged and started towards it, some nameless force driving him onward with unexpected urgency; by the time he reached the old ruins he was running at a dead sprint. Dropping to one knee, Nando gasped for breath, his lungs and ribs burning from the exertion. When he had composed himself and glanced up, what he saw made him gasp, falling over onto his backside.
    “Thamar’s Teeth” he whispered, taking in what he saw. In front of him was a grotesque, black-steel spiked skull resting by the ruins of the old ‘jack. The metal showed absolutely no signs of damage, a warped reflection of the surrounding devastation visible in the smoothly curved, unblemished surface. The three spikes rose up from the forehead and crown of the skull to wickedly sharp points. Nando knew instinctively this thing was evil; the sunlight coming from above seemed to steal the warmth from his flesh and even the ravens and other carrion birds fell silent. It radiated pure malice. Every time he tried to look away, however, some unheard voice turned his attention back to it, bidding him nearer.
    Tentatively he extended a hand to the skull, lightly brushing a finger against the cold, smooth surface. Even as he wrapped his hand around the edge of the thing and began wrestling it from the damp earth, he acknowledged he shouldn’t be doing this, but it was likely the only thing of even remote value left in this hellish place.
    Leaning back, Nando pulled on the skull, finally tearing it from it’s resting place. He rose with his prize, grinning as he felt a sense of accomplishment that far outweighed the task just performed. He turned, about to tuck the skull under his arm, when he heard his daughter scream.
    Last edited by scorpius007; 03-21-2012 at 10:26 PM. Reason: rephase introducion
    Sock-jacking is a viable option for dis-assembly.

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    Mad Bodgin' Mage

  2. #2
    Annihilator scorpius007's Avatar
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    Act II: Lick Your Wounds



    The howling wind began to die down as Koldun Kommander Aleksandra Zerkova dove to the side, barely getting out of the way of the 10 ton warjack that was flying towards her. She landed heavily on the bare rock of the cliff, the breath driven from her lungs as she watched the blue Ironclad soar through the space she had just vacated, tumbling over the edge of the cliff 20 feet away. She felt her connection to her last remaining warjack an antiquated, but well-maintained Destroyer — start to fade as the last of the coal remaining in its furnace burned and guttered, the jack’s heartfire dying as it sank to one knee.
    The runes around the Khadoran warcaster began to fade as she watched what remained of her forces dispatch the final few Cygnarans that had ambushed them and driven to the edge of the sheer cliff. Zerkova walked to the high ground at the very edge of the cliff, glancing down at the jagged rocks a hundred meters below, barely able to make out the mangled remains of the Cygnaran’s Ironclad. She turned, her shoulders dropping slightly as she sighed, realizing that the Cygnaran dogs had pushed her well away from her coal wagon. It was going to take a while to get enough coal here to re-activate the inert Destroyer. Looking around, she counted herself lucky that the group that ambushed them didn’t include a warcaster. Even a journeyman with the Ironclad and Hunter they had faced would have turned a close-fought victory into a complete rout.
    Zerkova turned her head as she spotted movement out of the corner of her eye, turning to face the grime-stained battle mechanik that was approaching. The man stopped a few paces away and snapped to attention, saluting smartly before delivering his report.
    “The Juggernaut’s a total loss, Kommander.” he began, “The first Hunter shot went clean through the boiler and once the Ironclad got a hold of her...” the man trailed off and shrugged. “All it’s good for is scrap and spare parts. As for the Destroyer, it’s only got enough coal and water left to make it maybe a quarter-mile, and that’s if the terrain was flat and level. In this area, we’d be lucky to get half that. No way it’s making it back to the supply wagons.”
    Zerkova lowered her head slightly, massaging the bridge of her nose with her thumb and forefinger as she considered the information. After about a minute, she looked the mechanik in the eye, speaking slow and calm;
    “Take Private Mrowka and go to the supply wagons. Tell the supply drivers where we are and bring back as much coal and water as the two of you can manage. We’ll get the Destroyer going again and rendezvous back on the road. While you’re at it, collect any dog tags and personal effects you can find from the fallen. I’m sure their families would appreciate the closure of knowing their sacrifice for the Motherland. Dismissed”
    The mechanik saluted and ran off, tapping the young Winter Guardsman on the shoulder and bidding him to follow, the two men disappearing into the woods. Zerkova turned back towards the edge of the cliff, sitting down on a nearby rock as she began to draft a report for her superiors back in Korsk. The High Kommand would not be pleased to hear the Cygnarans have encroached this far north into the Motherland. She wrote quickly, often pausing for several minutes at a time to think back through the chaos of battle, trying to remember even the smallest detail that her superiors would want to know.



    6 Ozeall Trineus 609 AR- South of Hellspass, Gozytska Velozkya.


    To: High Obavnik Arbiter Vasily Dmitrilosk; Supreme Kommandant Gurvaldt Irusk
    From: Koldun Kommander Aleksandra Zerkova


    On 6 Ozeall Trineus at approximately 2 hours past noon, my company and I were ambushed in the mountains south of Hellspass while in transit to Skirov. My forces consisted of the following assets:
    Myself
    Juggernaut Warjack 583/1/4/JZ-03
    Destroyer Warjack 547/1/DZ-08
    6 Winter Guardsmen under the command of Kapitain Yuri Zaitsev
    3 Warjack Mechaniks
    1 Greylord Ternion commanded by Koldun Boris Petrok


    The enemy forces comprised of at least one squadron of the Arcane Tempest. The Gun Mage officer commanded one Hunter Light Warjack and one Ironclad Heavy Warjack. The enemy also included a unit of Rangers from the Cygnaran Reconnaisance Service that has been increasingly active inside the Motherland’s borders as of late.
    The ambush occurred at the end of a narrow valley bordered in thick trees and brush that opened into a sizable clearing. Upon entering the clearing, the Juggernaut was struck in the boiler by an armor-piercing shell, At the first shot, my forces moved up a steep hill at the edge of the clearing in an attempt to gain the high ground.
    I called forth several windstorms to give my men some cover as we advanced up the steep slope, attempting to screen my infantry from enemy fire. Enemy rounds till found their mark, the runes visible through the wind and dust marking them as Magelock rounds. We lost Privates Simonyev and Zietsev before they could reach cover.
    As the two Winter Guard fell, two enemy warjacks emerged from the trees, evidently being controlled by the commander of the Gun Mage unit that followed behind. The Greylord Ternion bought us some time by incasing the heavy Ironclad in ice, allowing the Destroyer and Juggernaut to close in and destroy the Hunter.
    As the Gun Mages advanced, I was able to strike the officer down with a burst of wind as the Greylords mopped up the remainder of the unit. My battle mechaniks worked to keep the Juggernaut operational, finishing repairs on the boiler just as gunfire from the trees felled all but Koldun Petrok and Mechanik Adka.
    I invoked a massive windstorm in the area to prevent further enemy fire, driving the remaining enemy forces to retreat back into the woods. The enemy Ironclad managed to put the Juggernaut out of commission; one of its hammer strikes re-opening the rent in the steam boiler just as the Destroyer grabbed it and flung it over the cliff.
    Sock-jacking is a viable option for dis-assembly.

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    Mad Bodgin' Mage

  3. #3
    Annihilator scorpius007's Avatar
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    Zerkova looked up from her writing as she sensed a presence behind her. Drawing her weapons she turned quickly, relaxing as she saw Mechanik Adka approaching from up the cliff. She rose to her feet and glanced behind him, seeing the small handcart of coal and water that he and the young Winter Guard private managed to manhandle through the woods. The grizzled mechanik snapped to attention
    “We’ve got enough coal and water to get the Destroyer running, Kommander. It’ll take some time for it to build up the head of steam needed to become mobile but once we get the heartfire going, you can re-activate the cortex.”
    Zerkova stood and followed the mechanic to where the Winter Guardsmen were loading coal and water into the inert boiler. Once they finished their task, they stood back as the mechanik checked that all was satisfactory, then re-ignited the boiler.
    They all heard the water starting to boil after a few minutes, the glow in the machine’s visor starting to brighten as its heartfire warmed up. Zerkova stood in front of the massive construct closing her eyes as she opened her mind to it and murmured under her breath. She felt the familiar sensation of her awareness splitting into two as she opened her eyes, regarding herself and the cliff behind her through the Destroyers eye. Satisified that the ‘jack was fully aware, she instructed the mechanik to monitor the boiler pressure, collected the the small bag containing the identification tags and personal effects of those that fell in battle,and ordered the mechanik to tell her when the ‘jack was ready to move. Turning to the Winter Guardsmen and Greylord, she ordered the three to patrol the area.
    Walking back to her previous spot near the edge of the cliff, Zerkova bent over her pad and continued to write.


    Casualties of the Motherland
    Warjacks and Mechanika
    Juggernaut Warjack 583/1/4/JZ-03
    Troop Casualties
    Winter Guard Kapitain Zaitsev, Yuri - 600-49-49381
    Winter Guard Private Andreivich, Viktor - 604-54-581148
    Winter Guard Private Ivanovich, Aleksander - 603-559-46841
    Winter Guard Corporal Petrovich, Aliosha - 606-057-54647


    Master Mechanik Yurikovich, Pachek - 601-568-54318
    Apprentice Mechanik Grigorovich, Kosara - 606-044-84714


    Greylord Siriova, Ilyana - 602-458-47108
    Greylord Dalmatovich, Dmitri - 602-458-57621

    Looking up from the page in the fading light, Zerkova put the ID tags that she used to list the fallen back into the small cloth bag she had kept them in, stowing it into a pocket of her tunic. Standing to stretch her back, she was struck an odd sense of dread; an eerie feeling that something malevolent was nearby and coming closer. Reaching out to her ‘jack, she allowed herself to see through its eyes, her actions unconsciously mimicking the Destroyer’s its head turned to scan the area, limbs flexing as she tested how close it was to being able to move.
    The warcaster’s hands dropped down to her weapons as she caught a fleeting glimpse of movement at the edge of the trees. The old jack turned its head just as a shadowed form darted out of the woods, headed directly for the Destroyer.
    Sock-jacking is a viable option for dis-assembly.

    If tis stupid & it werks, tis not stupid.
    Mad Bodgin' Mage

  4. #4
    Annihilator scorpius007's Avatar
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    Act III: A Sudden Compulsion


    Please be okay”
    He ran as hard and fast as he could, lungs burning with the strain and foul air.
    Please be okay”
    The uneven ruined ground threatened his footing as he moved with reckless abandon, leaping over the dead and rotten, the dark skull still under his arm.
    “—Shouldn’t have left her behind”
    He was close now, almost back to where he had left her; his mouth had gone dry. The damned skull seemed to throb. Why was he still carrying it? His legs carried him over the last body and around a large tree, he could see the rock now.
    RENA!”


    “Daddy!” Rena cried as Nando came into view. The man standing before her turned; his eyes wide as he looked Nando up and down. Nando froze in his tracks as his gaze fell to the rifle clutched in the man’s bloodied hands. The rifle’s sight was swiftly focused onto Nando as it’s owner moved to face him. Rena was huddled up against a tree, bear in hand and their supplies at her feet, fearful of the gun now pointed at her father. Nando put his hands up, the skull tucked under his arm. He tilted his head slightly so he could see his daughter.
    “Are you hurt?”
    She shook her head quickly. He gave a small smile and nodded, turning back to face the gunman. Looking at him now Nando could see the man was a mercenary and the rifle he carried was the same make he had inspected earlier. His clothes were tattered and the armour he wore could hardly be called that. Blood was everywhere on this man and it was questionable how much of it was his.
    “...Do you know what happened here?” Nando asked hesitantly, both out of curiosity and hopefully to distract their attacker.
    The gunman’s mouth twitched and his body shuddered as the memory came back
    “It came from the trees... a huge black thing with putrid lights — a beast of living iron and smoke. Our men ripped apart by gnashing claws and boiled alive by foul steam, their flesh melted right to the bone!”
    The gun in his hands had started to shake.
    “We tried to hold our ground, tried to destroy the thing but this...thing’s body would start growing back whatever we cut or blew off as it continued it's damned massacre.”
    Nando inched a little closer as the mercenary continued, if he reached out he could almost touch the barrel.
    “As each one of our men were were cut down, I could still hear them screaming even after they had died, that thing took their very souls.“ Another shudder.
    Nando’s eyes widened at that. “By Morrow, how did you survive then? What happened to this thing you speak of?” A little closer, he thought, and he’d be able to take the gun.
    This question unfortunately seemed to bring the man back to himself and he was suddenly aware of how close Nando had gotten to him. Faster than Nando could react, the man swung the stock of his gun into the side of Nando’s face and sent him to the ground. Rena cried out as Nando fell. The gun focused on his face as the man spoke angrily.
    “What do you think?! I bloody ran. I don’t know what happened to the monster, I’m just glad it‘s gone now. But with my company all dead, I need supplies to get the hell out of here, supplies I’ll be taking from you.”
    Keeping the gun on Nando, the man stepped backwards to where Rena was. Rena grabbed the bag and held it close as tight as she could. The man grabbed the other side in one hand and pulled.
    “No! that’s daddy’s bag!” Rena cried out as she was lurched forward.
    “Wait, wait! How about we give you half our supplies and we each go our separate ways?” suggested Nando from the ground.
    “No, I’m taking it all, I’ll be taking that little trinket of yours too.” responded the man, eyeing the skull Nando held in his hands.
    kill...
    “No.” Nando replied, beginning to stand.
    kill...
    The man dropped the bag, taking steady aim at Nando.
    “You get back on the ground or I’ll blast you,” he snarled.
    kill...
    “No.” Now fully standing, he advanced on the gunman.
    killkill...
    The gun fired, and the report was quickly followed by Rena’s scream as she turned away in fear and the bullet ricocheted off the blackened skull. The man had no time to react before Nando was on him, hand around his throat in a vise-like grip. Nando felt a strength he never had before.
    killkillkill...
    His breath taken from him, the last thing the mercenary would see was this dirty scavenger and the ornate skull he carried, it’s eyes seemingly looking at him as they gave off a green light.
    KILL

    CRACK!
    Last edited by scorpius007; 10-10-2011 at 02:00 PM.
    Sock-jacking is a viable option for dis-assembly.

    If tis stupid & it werks, tis not stupid.
    Mad Bodgin' Mage

  5. #5
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    Act IV: A Change of Plans

    “Come along, Rena. Try to keep up, sweetie”

    Rena scrambled to the top of a low rise, her breathing laboured and her young muscles aching from the extra weight in the backpack she carried. After the bad man had stopped shaking, her father had disappeared again for what seemed like an eternity, but not before bidding her to search the sleeping man and take anything useful. He must have been sleeping deep, since he didn’t say or do anything even when Rena tried rolling him onto his stomach, barely able to get enough leverage to move the heavy dead weight.

    When her father came back from what seemed like hours, he seemed...different. His voice, always warm and caring when speaking to her was... still warm and caring as usual, but he seemed distracted. It was as though there was always another person in the conversations they had that only he could hear. He had also come back carrying another one of those black skulls. Those were all he was carrying now, save for the bad man’s rifle. Rena had found some spare bullets in the man’s pockets, along with some rations, a knife and a couple crowns.


    As Rena came to a stop beside her father, she found him looking up into the distance, searching for something yet unseen. Now was the first chance Rena had to really look at the heavy black skulls her father carried. She had heard the *ping* when the mercenary had shot at her father, but even if her life depended on it, she wouldn’t have been able to tell you which one was shot. The surfaces of both were pristine. As Rena looked into the eyes of one of the skulls, a sudden chill swept through her even in the warm, still air of late afternoon. She did not like them. Nando cocked his head to the side, listening for something, or to something only he could hear, before turning and starting down the hill.

    “We’re almost there, Rena. We should make it before nightfall”

    “We’re almost where? Where are we going?” Rena thought. Any attempt she had made to find out from her father was brushed off as if the question was never even asked. In their travels before he had always been open in what they were doing and where they were going, but now she was beginning to doubt he even knew it himself. The path they were taking led into a deep ravine with a trail at the bottom. Even at this distance, signs of recent travel were visible. Whatever went through here was either really big, or there was a lot of them.

    Once they reached the trail her father stooped down to inspect it. She sat and was glad to stop even for a little bit to catch her breath after the climb down. She took a few sips from the canteen they carried and she felt a little better. As she did so she could just barely hear her father speaking to himself.


    “We’re close...very close.” as he pressed his hand in the rut dug into the thin layer of soil “hmmm. The track is deep and well-defined. Whatever was in here must be heavy...Two on foot heading...That way.” looking down the ravine.


    FInally, he stood turning to her and his face was twisted in a terribly wide smile that looked alien on her daddy's face. The sunken eyes of the twin skulls in his his hands seemed to bore into her and for the first time in her life, when she looked at her father, she felt fear.

    “No time to waste darling, the sooner we go the sooner we get there. The faster we go the faster task is done. The task must be done and so we must go.”
    “Could we stop for something to eat before we go, daddy? I'm really hungry and tired” Rena asked as the pace her dad was harsh and the supplies she carried had started to get very heavy.
    His answer was immediate, “No. We go now.” His voice cold, flat and not quite his own.
    “Oh...” She hung her head down sadly, the pack felt even heavier at that moment. What was this task he was talking about? It was the first she heard of it. Fighting back tears she looked back up and her father was kneeling on the ground before her, with a pained smile on his face.
    “I'm sorry dear, but we can't stop. We must keep going. It'll be done soon,” he said, caressing her cheek. “Here.”

    He gestured to the bag she had been carrying. She gave him the bag and he rummaged through it, pulling out some rations. He opened them and gave one to her, and took the bag over his shoulder, placing one of the skulls into it. He stood, the other skull under his arm, ruffling her hair as he did so. She smiled, taking a bite of her ration as he took a bite of his. She watched him take a step down the trail and he half turned to look back at her

    “Ready to go?”
    “Yes, Daddy!” She said, stepping lightly to catch up.
    Last edited by scorpius007; 11-01-2011 at 07:45 AM. Reason: removed implied eating of hand, twas poorly phrased
    Sock-jacking is a viable option for dis-assembly.

    If tis stupid & it werks, tis not stupid.
    Mad Bodgin' Mage

  6. #6
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    This is perfect, Nando thought as he and his daughter continued down the trail.
    Ever since he had found the second skull he had known he needed to get to a Steamjack. These tracks they followed appeared to be that of a wagon and crew, most likely transporting coal and water for a Steamjack, or possibly even the ‘Jack itself. Whatever the case, the intense pain in his head he had felt whenever they were idle faded to almost nothing with each step forward on the trail. As he stared into the eyes of the skull he carried in his hand, he smiled softly to himself, knowing that they were on the right track. It was near sunset when he looked up and saw the soft glow of a campfire.
    “What we seek is near”
    Nando looked down at the skull and smiled, knowing better than to ask how the nameless voice knew this. He’d been hearing it more often the farther they travelled, always encouraging them to press on, bidding them not to stop until the task was completed. Only then could they rest.
    Nando looked back up towards the fire at the top of the ridge. Spotting movement, he ducked suddenly behind a boulder. He motioned for Rena to get out of sight as he peered over the rock. He strained for another glimpse of what was moving but it was about twenty seconds before he saw it again — A Khadoran Winter Guardsman.
    “Wait here, Rena. Don’t look,” Nando told his daughter as he slipped out soundlessly from behind the rock. Keeping himself low, he slowly made his way up to where he saw the Khadoran patrol, slipping from tree, to rock, to tree to keep hidden as best he could. As he neared the campsite he saw a grizzled older man sitting by the fire, warming grease and dirt-stained hands over the flames. Turning, he saw the sentry he spotted earlier, heading back in his direction.
    Nando’s breath caught in his throat as he drew the mercenary’s trench knife from its sheath. Looking around, he saw a small, shadowed alcove that would keep him hidden until he was ready.
    ...Ready for what? he asked himself as he knelt in the shadows. He tested the edge of the blade against the ball of his thumb, nodding in satisfaction before holding the knife in a reverse grip. In the fading light, he saw the sentry walk slowly past, not much more than a boy judging from the light dusting of hair on his chin and upper lip.
    Do it...Do it now. He’s in our way so you must remove him, Nando heard in his head, as the pain in his temples started to build from a dull throb to a sharp pain behind his eyes. The pain faded as he stepped forward silently, the knife held tightly in his right hand.

    Hot blood poured over Nando’s face and hands, steaming in the cool air as the knife point bit deep into the back of the sentry’s neck. The young man died before he had time to scream, his last sensation the iron-hard hand gripping his hair and forcing his head forward before the knife bit deep into his neck. Nando dragged the corpse down the hill, dropping it unceremoniously behind some rocks to keep him hidden from the camp. Wiping the worst of the gore off his hands and face using the dead man’s tunic and pants, he returned to where Rena was hiding.
    Last edited by scorpius007; 03-20-2012 at 08:19 PM. Reason: minor edits
    Sock-jacking is a viable option for dis-assembly.

    If tis stupid & it werks, tis not stupid.
    Mad Bodgin' Mage

  7. #7
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    Act V: Infiltration

    Rena wrapped her cloak tighter around herself and her bear as she waited for her dad to return. The wind was starting to pick up now, the shadows lengthening and darkening as the sun sank deeper behind the horizon. He had spoken to her before he left, and his face had looked somehow conflicted, almost as if there were two sides to him; one was that of the loving father she knew, while the other... was a wicked happiness. Then he was gone, and she was alone with her teddy, hidden amongst the rocks. She felt a chill go through her that wasn't the wind, and it never left. It was as if they had come past the edge of of darkness and there was no going back.
    He was still her loving daddy but at the same time there was this sick feeling whenever he spoke of “the task that had to be done.” The idea filled her with a terrible dread that she did not understand, all she could do was trust in her father and hope that everything would turn out fine, as it did so many times before. He had been gone a long time now and she was starting to worry, when she heard something approach. She tensed thinking back to the mercenary from before and reached into their pack with one hand to pull her father's old knife, eyes wide and watching.
    "Rena," a low voice called out quietly from around the corner of the stone she hid behind.
    "D-daddy?" she replied nervously. He came around the corner then, and she had to cover her mouth to keep from screaming. His face and upper torso was covered in rivulets of dried blood that gave him a frightful appearance.
    Seeing her alarm he was quick to put a finger to her lips, making a shushing noise as he sat down beside her, back to the stone.
    "It's okay, daddy's fine, nothing to worry about," he spoke in a soothing tone, putting an arm around her and giving her head a peck.
    She relaxed then, and her father's knife remained in the pack. She gave her bear a squeeze and leaned her head into his shoulder with a relieved smile. For a time they sat there in the descending darkness as she listened to her father's rhythmic breathing. The sun was a just a sliver at the edge of the world when it abruptly stopped. She sat up and turned to Nando to see him with a grimace on his face and a white knuckled fist at his temple.
    "Daddy..? What's wrong?" Her father was now cradling his head in his hands, jaw locked tight and eyes squinted shut.
    "We...must...go now." He replied in a pained voice. "There will be some...obstacles... on the...way,... but we can get by... in the dark."
    She watched as he crawled over to their pack and retrieved the skulls within. The gush of air that left his lungs and loss of tension in his body made it plain that whatever pained him had lifted. When he turned around and faced her she took an involuntary jump back. There he sat on the dirty ground, hands on each skull at his side. The now brown blood that had run down his face made his eye sockets seem empty and as if they were weeping. The too-toothy smile that split his face was the most terrible as he rasped, "We leave the rest behind, time to go Rena"
    At that moment it felt there were three sets of eyes staring back at her.

    Last edited by scorpius007; 03-21-2012 at 11:11 PM. Reason: minor edits
    Sock-jacking is a viable option for dis-assembly.

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  8. #8
    Annihilator scorpius007's Avatar
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    Dmitri Adka stared into the flames as he held his hands out in front of him, savouring the warmth. The Kommander had just given him orders to let her know when the Destroyer was ready to mobilize. He figured he had time enough to relieve himself and rest from hauling the coal cart. So he sat thinking about the recent battle and his fallen comrades. Collecting their personal effects had been hard. He felt a familiar stab of guilt as he questioned how he survived where so many of his friends were not so lucky. .
    How had it ended up like this? He didn't think the Cygnarans had that large a force in the area, and judging by the size of their own, neither did the High Kommand. At the deafening bang and screaming hiss of the Juggernaut's boiler being breached he had felt cold all over. It was then his training had taken over and everything had become a blur of screams, metal, grease and blood. All in a desperate attempt to do his duty and survive.
    He drew out a weary sigh and glanced away from flames toward the trees. Some time ago he had seen Private Mrowka making his patrol at the perimeter and realized he should have made his way back this way by now.
    “Maybe he needed a leak”, he muttered to himself.
    Still, he couldn't help but wonder if there was something amiss. So he stood up, taking up his wrench as he did so and moved into the trees to find the wayward Winter Guardsman. The now dark sky made navigation difficult and he had to struggle not to lose his footing among the roots and rocks. He continued on to where the light from the fire was insufficient in aiding his perception. He stopped to listen, only hearing the faint crackles of the fire behind him.

    It should not be this quiet... he thought, taking another couple steps.
    <Squelch>
    His weathered boot landed in something wet. Stooping down to inspect it, he prodded the substance with a finger. It felt congealed and holding it up, it was already too dark to see what it was. Hesitating, he tentatively drew his finger to his tongue.
    Instantly he knew what it was as the taste of copper coins filled his mouth, and his eyes grew wide. Looking to the ground he could just barely see when it had spilled and where it led.
    Following the trail down a low hill and behind a rock his suspicions were confirmed: there lay Private Mrowka in a crumpled heap. Inspecting the wound he knew someone was out here. Closing Mrowka's eyes and collecting his tags Dmitri's mouth formed a hard line.
    The silence that surrounded him was suddenly shattered by resounding boom and a pained cry back at their camp. Snapping his head around, a putrid green glow could be seen just over the crest of the hill, the source just barely out of sight.
    Last edited by scorpius007; 04-25-2012 at 05:40 PM.
    Sock-jacking is a viable option for dis-assembly.

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  9. #9
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    Nando and Rena moved silently among the stones and trees. With an urgency that Nando could hardly contain and Rena could barely keep up with, they went deeper into the Khadoran camp. After leaving their bag of belongings the two did not speak, as they could not be sure of how many were on patrol. The black skulls were the only things that Nando carried with him, held close as if in an embrace. Rena had her teddy in the crook of one arm, her other hand clutched to the back of her father's coat.
    She had also taken her father's knife, the unfamiliar weight at her side as they moved forward helping to quell the fear she was feeling. The fear of the dark, fear of the possible enemies about them, but mostly fear of the one whose coat so she clung to, and who she followed so earnestly. She did not know who she followed anymore, but felt helpless to do otherwise.

    Faster, move faster, almost there...


    Nando's thoughts drummed in time of his rapid footsteps as their objective came closer. His daughter was a barely-there pressure tugging at the back of his coat. Nando tried to slack his pace to let her keep up, but each time his pace slowed, the dull pressure behind his eyes intensified to the point of nearly blinding him with pain. As such, he maintained a punishing pace, his muscles trembling from the exertion as they neared the crest of the hill.

    When they made it to the top he dropped to the ground partly to stay hidden and partly of of exhaustion. Rena had done as he did and her breath came in quick gasps, though she tried to hide it as best she could.
    Taking a moment to catch his breath, Nando looked ahead at what lay before him. There were bushes leading up to a clearing on the edge of a cliff. In the moonlight he could see the form of a woman sitting down writing some sort of document. Occasionally she would look up in thought and then start writing again. Also in the clearing was a huge construct---

    THERE! THERE IT IS! GO! GO NOW!

    It took everything in him to not charge forward at that moment and the pain behind his eyes was so intense he thought surely they would burst. Instead he clenched his teeth and tried not to cry out. Rena turned to him with a look of frightened concern across her face. He took a few breaths and gave her a small nod and pointed forward towards the warjack. He glanced around the clearing, seeing no one else save the woman hunched over, poring over her document. Nando took a tentative step forward, seeing Rena's eyes widen as he did so. She began to move to follow but he cut the notion short with a quick shake of his head. When he looked back to the woman she had stood up arching her back when she froze in mid stretch.
    did she hear us?
    A moment later the hulking construct gave a high-pitched whistle of steam, the pistons and actuators on the joints starting to move, akin to some lumbering beast waking from a long sleep. The Warjack moved sluggishly, still not yet standing, it's head swaying slowing from side to side, taking in it's surroundings. Nando could see the woman was doing the same.
    He was running out of time, he had to get closer, had to keep to the shadows at the fringe of the firelight. With the skulls clutched in his hands as he made his way closer. As he made it to the edge of the fire closest to the machine, the woman's hands suddenly went to her sides and the Jack's boiler blasted steam.

    NOW! GO NOW! IT MUST BE NOW!

    The voices in his head pushed Nando with an urgency he’d never sensed before, no force of will would silence the shrieking in his mind, urging him to make his move.

    Nando bolted from the shadows, his lungs burning as he sprinted towards the massive construct. Glancing around, he noticed the woman’s head snap up and turn towards him... No, not him, but to the warjack.

    Turning it's ember gaze in his direction, the jack raised its axe, the razor-sharp edge easily longer than Nando was tall, and started to draw the weapon back, clearly intending to cleave Nando in two. In a desperate lunge Nando leaped inside the reach of the massive axe, and pressed one of the skulls into the armour plating at the shoulder. He could feel the force as the axe smashed into the ground behind him.
    There was a brief sense of accomplishment as the skull left his hand but that was short lived as the voice in his mind screamed at him to keep moving and finish his task. Taking in his surrounding as he moved he could see the axe rising up from the ground and beyond it the woman closing in, sword and stave drawn. This close to the light he could see she was quite injured.
    Having moved beneath the 'jacks head he used its leg as a sort of kickstand to climb higher up it's now rising body. While in the air he was able to reach out his free hand to grab onto the hull by the shoulder plating and draw his other arm back behind his head. Through his mind there was a rush of almost overwhelming joy, being at the crux of finishing this wondrous task.

    Yes yes yes yesyesyes...

    The words pulsed in between his ears. This was right. Beautiful. In all his pain he has endured coming to this point, his grin was the portrait of maddened pure bliss

    ...Do it.

    With a white-knuckled fist around one the spikes of the black skull he swung down upon
    the beaten machine's shoulder. The very air seemed to shatter from the sound made as the the skull connected.
    The voices were gone, and Nando suddenly felt the corruption of what he had unleashed as the fog in his mind cleared. Upon its leaving, his strength left him.
    “What have I done?” was all he could ask himself, in a voice wracked with grief, as he fell.
    Sock-jacking is a viable option for dis-assembly.

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    Mad Bodgin' Mage

  10. #10
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    Act VI: Rebirth

    She screamed.

    White hot pain exploded in her mind as Zerkova was thrown back, the mental bond between herself and the Destroyer violently rent asunder by some malicious entity.
    Her mind still shuddering in agony, she struck the jagged ground hard, losing hold of the Rod of Whispers as she herself skidded toward the edge of the abyss. Only a desperate grab for purchase as she went over saved her from the same end as the enemy’s ill-fated construct below. With waning strength she climbed back up the cliff face, nearly losing her footing in places. Her head throbbed and body strained, eyes and teeth clenched shut as she pulled herself up over the threshold. With her lower body still over the edge she opened her eyes and lifted her head up. Her vision was bathed in a green light.

    With hands clamped over her ears from the sound, Rena watched as the warjack recoiled as if stricken by some great blow, the light nearly blinding. As it lurched back the huge axe it carried was cast aside into the abyss and she could see her father on his back staring up at the thing, his face contorted in horror.

    Dimitri sprinted towards the camp, Private Mrowka’s tags clutched in one hand as he finally crested the rise near the edge of the cliff. He couldn’t believe the scene before him; Koldun Kommander Zerkova was hanging desperately at the edge of the precipice and her Destroyer’s shoulders were ablaze with green fire. It had began falling forward over a middle-aged man in the mud in front of it, its eye sockets empty of light.

    Time slowed for Nando as he looked up to the jack as it fell down toward him, his limbs heavy as lead as he struggled to move. To his eyes it seemed it's faceplate was melting away, like rotting flesh from a skull. The Destroyer’s features were unrecognizable as it came crashing down face to face with Nando. His life flashed before his eyes.

    CRUNCH!
    Last edited by scorpius007; 04-25-2012 at 05:37 PM. Reason: quick update
    Sock-jacking is a viable option for dis-assembly.

    If tis stupid & it werks, tis not stupid.
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  11. #11

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    .... you.have.to.finish.this.or.the.pain.won't.go.away!

    Great writing, I like your characters and how distinctive you describe them (even the casualties) and the two/three story parts that get woven into one fateful moment.

    This could easily be written down in the fluff-section of one of the Warmachine books, the quality seems equal.

    MOAR!
    Please (with sugar on top)

  12. #12
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    Sock-jacking is a viable option for dis-assembly.

    If tis stupid & it werks, tis not stupid.
    Mad Bodgin' Mage

  13. #13
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    Excellent story. Very engrossing.
    Looking forward to reading more.

    Take care
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  14. #14
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    Dimitri stared on, mouth gone dry as the 10 ton construct fell forward on top of the man in front of it. The man kicked feebly at the ground, trying to scramble back and avoid the certain agonizing death that was sure to come if he got pinned beneath the warjack. Dimitri looked quickly around, seeing Kommander Zerkova still scrambling for purchase on the edge of the cliff, and a brief flicker of movement at the edge of the clearing, just a shadow moving on the periphery of the firelight.
    His attention was snapped back to the Destroyer when he heard and felt the construct hit the ground with a loud ‘crunch’, the ground trembling slightly under his feet. He looked back at the fallen machine, a puzzled look on his face...something didn’t look quite right. It was hard to tell as the light of the campfire and the odd, sickly green fire emanating from the ‘jack’s shoulders did not quite reach, but it didn’t look like it had fallen all the way over. It was almost like... like the head was being held up by something.


    ...daddy?


    She barely kept from screaming when the jack fell on her father, both her hands clamped tight over her mouth so that only a small squeak was given voice. For but a moment the huge machine stayed where it lay, the only sounds she could hear over her beating heart were the crackling of flame and a low hiss as the boiler went out. She willed her body to move forward so that she could see her father, but the flames enveloping the skulls intensified, stopping her before she began. What followed was a horrible pulsing that she could feel in the ground and the clanking and scraping of stone and metal. With eyes wide and shining with tears unshed, hand moving to hold her old bear, she looked on. The machine began moving.


    DADDY...!


    thrum... thrum.... thrum...


    Was he dead? He opened his eyes to darkness... No. There was something there. Two dim lights, pulsating in front of him from the eye sockets of the machine that should have crushed him.


    thrum thrum thrum...


    With each quickening pulse they grew in intensity.


    thrumthrumthrumthrOOM-THROOOOOO...!


    The lights blazed into an eye-searing flare that forced Nando to turn his head and shut his eyes again. He only opened them when he felt the first tremor of something moving. A green-lit, wickedly curved horn filled his gaze, digging a rut into the dirt not six inches from his head. Turning his head the other way, he saw its twin. Looking down, he realized the tremor he felt was the massive construct beginning to rise.


    Crrrk crk... crrrrk crk.... chu chuk...cshhhhh... chu chuk...cshhhhhh...


    Nando shuffled backwards, squeezing in between the great horns, trying to get away from the waking monstrosity looming above him. He was pushed off them when they suddenly shifted from under his hands, sprawling him back to the dirt. A demonic visage bore down on him and looking into the light of its malicious eyes he wept.

    Sock-jacking is a viable option for dis-assembly.

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    Mad Bodgin' Mage

  15. #15
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    Alright, this is legitimately awesome. Keep up the good work!

  16. #16
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    The Destroyer struggled to rise; its battered body twisting and buckling in the strange light rippling across its surface. Dimitri stood transfixed as the old warjack he and his crewmates had worked on became something not of the Motherland. The once brilliant red of its hull was now a darkening bruise turning a greasy black. The large chassis groaned and rumbled as its internal components seemed to swell, needing more space than its frame would allow.


    With a sudden lurch the chest seemed to implode as what looked like a spine erupted from in between it's now deformed smokestacks. The boiler hung loose and useless, how was it able to move? In the new light coming from the cavity in its chest, he could see more.


    He saw the man, alive and staring up at the monstrous thing before him, tears of horror streaming down his face. He saw a horribly clawed gauntlet in place of the bombard, the three fingers of the other hand having twisted into a matching five-fingered appendage.


    He saw a little girl at the edge of the clearing watching -


    He saw his former warjack's face -


    He saw Death.




    The now bestial thing's eyes weighed heavy on Nando from above. He felt his strength leaving him under that foul light, as if the air around him was pressing down on his chest. With an ear-splitting shriek of straining, twisting metal and a low hiss of escaping gas, the thing’s chest yawned open like the maw of some great predator. What looked like an iron ribcage separated, reaching out like unnaturally-long fingers to embrace him. Beyond them, at the being's core, he could see the brilliant light of swirling green chaos, and feel it pulling at a part of him with a cruel persistence. He tried in vain to move away from that light, panic driving him, hot blood pumping in his temples and bile rising in his throat but still his body stayed where it lay.


    He had to watch as that light drew closer; feel the strangely cold, pulsing metal through his clothes. The vertigo of being lifted; the sounds of falling chains; the scraping of rapidly shifting metal. The sudden thrust and gnash of metal colliding.


    The scream of a little girl.


    Then the flames.
    Sock-jacking is a viable option for dis-assembly.

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    Mad Bodgin' Mage

  17. #17
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    This is the best thing ever.
    Quote Originally Posted by Defenstrator View Post
    Yeah! Sure one of the choices might suck, but having one choice be way better than another doesn't mean they're not equally valid!
    Unless you like winning. Then they might not. But, you know, choices!

  18. #18
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    At the sight of her father being cast into the green flames Rena cried out in anguish, vision blurred as tears flowed freely down her cheeks. From within the damned machine she could faintly hear his final screams before they too were lost to the roar of the inferno.
    Her loving father that always put her fears to rest despite their hardships; the one who would tell her that everything would be alright; was gone, taken from her.


    No.
    She couldn't accept that.


    A mad determination gripping her, Rena rushed out into the clearing. In her haste her cloak caught on something and brought her back to the ground. Coughing she groped at the clasp, undoing it as she rose back up, not feeling the cold air as the garment fell.


    “DaaaD-D-d-y!”


    Her voice came out as a choked sob, chest heaving uncontrollably. She ran, small feet carrying her on the hope that she could see her dad again. The monster was before her now, long chains hung from its forearms, ending in wickedly sharp hooks. The fires from within roiled violently and cast twisted shadows through the disfigured ribcage closed around it.
    She was looking into it as she ran when the ribs cracked open and the fire surged forth toward her. She cried out and fell back, not sure that what she saw could be real. In the rippling light she could make out the visage of her father reaching out to her. His features in their green hue were that of a tortured man broken, his once strong hand as it came closer seemed to wither and age. Each passing second the lines in his face became more apparent, cheek bones jutting out. His eyes fell deeper into their sockets, lips receding to reveal rapidly decaying teeth. Then the weathered flesh peeled away, revealing only his skull to look back at her.


    Re...na...
    ...run...
    ...sorry.


    She watched, knees drawn up to her chin, clutching tightly to her old matted bear, as the last of what may or may not have been her father faded.


    At that moment she knew in her heart that her daddy was gone.


    Nando Corazo was dead.




    The death-cry from within the vile thing unnerved Dimitri as it took the man into its body. He broke into a cold sweat and his teeth hurt. What he saw confounded him.
    The thing had stopped moving. Its newly-formed spine was slightly arched back. The constant shriek and clamor of shifting, twisting metal had fallen silent as well. The cacophony of rending, straining metal was replaced by the scream of the little girl he had seen and the billow of furnace fire. He watched as she sprinted headlong into the clearing in such a rush that her cloak caught and pulled her to the ground; only for her to get up and moving a moment later.


    What are you doing!? You shouldn't even be here...


    He wanted to call out to her, to tell her to get away from that thing, but his words froze in his throat. He was about to rush into the clearing as well, but his legs refused to move.


    Come on come on...


    Frustrated by his own cowardice he urged himself to MOVE when...


    CRACK! FWOOOOOORRRSHHHH....!!


    Dmitri promptly fell to the ground, landing painfully on his back as a wave of stinking heat washed over him, feeling as if it was about to roast him where he lay. Craning his neck, he saw the little girl cowering in front of the monstrosity in front of her, the chest of the ‘jack wide open as the furnace flared bright with green hellfire. The ‘jack’s arms were stretched out to its sides, like some great beast waking from a long slumber. It no longer moved like any machine, but with the fluid grace of something flesh and bone.


    Dmitri swallowed hard as, to his horror, the steel of the machine’s hull began to ripple and flow, reminding Dmitri of molten metal in the heart of a forge. The distinctive Khadoran engineering that he’d spent his life studying and repairing was washed away by the liquid steel running over the surface; changing to something he could only describe as infernal.


    The little girl he’d seen earlier was still sitting there, frozen in horror as she gazed entranced at the warjack changing before her very eyes. The ‘jack turned towards her. Dmitri felt and heard a low rumble emanating from the jack, the growl of a predatory creature closing in.
    From behind him and to his left he could hear shouts and movement in the brush.
    He hoped that it heralded the arrival of Boris and Nikolei, as the time to act had to be now or not at all. Feeling the familiar weight of his wrench as he hoisted it up onto his shoulder he looked back into the trees.


    Last chance. What'll it be?


    He turned back into the clearing, to the damned machine looming over a frightened little girl.


    Fight or flight?


    His legs starting running.
    Sock-jacking is a viable option for dis-assembly.

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  19. #19

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    .... so. much. tension!

    Having a little daughter myself, this story unfolds some additional facets for me.
    I hope the little one gets saved!
    "There is no need for a rule in the book to tell you to follow the rules as written." - Valander

  20. #20
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    Act VII: Death Incarnate

    Koldun Kommander Aleksandra Zerkova’s muscles strained to pull her up the sheer cliff face, feet kicking and scrabbling for purchase as she painstakingly drew herself over the ledge. One hand on Quietus, the other a white-knuckled grip on the rocky surface. Her head was pounding in time with her racing heartbeat; every pulse feeling like an icepick being driven into her temple. She had to stop with her legs still dangling over the edge. Her head felt so heavy.

    What the hell was that?”



    Zerkova lifted her head up, vision blurry as her eye adjusted to the light. The clearing had taken on a sickly-green hue, her Destroyer at its source. With their mental connection severed, the now inert machine had fallen forward, trapping the intruder under it.

    Zerkova was about to dismiss the man lying under her warjack as dead and concentrate on making her way back up when she noticed movement. She squinted, struggling to clear her vision, and thought she could make out the man starting to move out from under the destroyer. The jack was moving as well, getting up onto one knee.

    That caught her attention. Since she could no longer feel the link between the jack and herself after she was thrown to the cliff's edge, this should not be possible. The machine's cortex should have shut down at the moment they lost their mental bond.

    The warjack continued to rise, the steel warping and twisting as Zerkova watched, a sense of strange curiosity and chill of fear washing over her. Her mouth drawn in a pained expression. The agony in her arms faded to the back of her mind as she watched the hull of the ‘jack’s torso thrust inward, leaving what looked to be a crude ribcage behind. The air around her was filled with the grinding and scraping sounds of metal, making her head hurt more. She could make out the machine's eyes, an intense and menacing brilliance as they glared at the man below. The disheveled man kicked feebly at the ground. He was trying to get out from under the horror looming over him.

    The being placed its arms on each side of him, both a flurry of rapid movement as their surface twisted and shifted, until they were no longer recognizable as the appendages of a Destroyer.

    Zerkova had never seen anything like this before; a warjack should not be capable of movement after being cut from a Warcaster, let alone the apparent shape-shifting this thing was exhibiting. She needed to know what forces were at work here.

    Her vision was clearing up, but it didn’t help her understand what she saw any more than before.
    The thing grew more sinister with each passing second, and with the additional support of its arms, it was almost standing.

    Its rib-cage opened, and each rib elongated seamlessly in unison to reach around the man, cradling him almost tenderly as it drew him up with it while it stood to its full height. He didn't struggle, almost as if asleep. Or dead.

    Then with an sudden lean backward, and the “clamp” of the ribs rejoining, the man fell into the warjack and screamed as it consumed his body.

    Wincing at the sound, she turned away momentarily, his screaming making the pain in her head all the worse. She felt a weight on her that she couldn't explain; almost as if the air around her had become denser.

    The screams of the dying man faded over the clearing.

    CRACK! FWOOOOOORRRSHHHH....!!

    The sound and concussive force made her body tense up painfully and she snapped her head back to the machine wide-eyed, giving her a moment of vertigo from the sudden movement.

    What she saw caught her breath in her throat. The clearing blazed with unnatural light from the open chest of the warjack. Long chains, ending in razor-sharp hooks hung from its forearms. Outstretched talons pointed to the sky, flexing as if it were alive. Its hull’s surface shimmered and shifted like water from a brook, solidifying in the form of something corrupt. From underneath a helm adorned with horns of a demon, twin fires of malice and hate focused on the small figure trembling before it.

    ...A child!?”

    A frail little girl, curled up on the stone holding tightly to an old stuffed toy. Frozen in fright, looking into the space between herself and the machine towering over her.

    Zerkova did not know what to make of it. Her curiosity and awareness of the danger posed here feuded within her. Either way she had to get back up from the edge. She kept her eyes on the scene as she reaffirmed her grip and got herself a foothold.

    As she did, the demonic machine took one step forward, lifting its left arm as it did so and rotating its body in a smooth motion. The massive hand was raised high, blade-like fingers poised to skewer the girl where she sat.

    She watched the claws come down with tremendous speed. She could vaguely hear the rustle of brush, rapid footsteps and shouts before the impact.

    KERCHUNK

    Rock and dust flew up where the girl had been, the claws embedded to the first joint in the ground. She heard the sudden report of a Winter Guardsman’s blunderbuss.

    The girl was lying on the ground in a heap, ten feet from where the warjack’s talons made a crater of the piece of earth she previously occupied.

    Zerkova glanced around the clearing, relieved to see three other people apart from the girl; recognizing them as Koldun Petrok, Mechanik Adka and Winter Guard Sergeant Radazar.
    She noted Private Yuri Mrowka had not come. Did he run? There was no time to think about it now.

    Radazar was busy re-loading his blunderbuss in retreat while Petrok discharged a blast of their order’s signature ice magic at the jack.

    She took the opportunity to get one leg up over the edge, her body protesting all the while, using Quietus as leverage. Looking at the formidable form they faced, Zerkova tried to will away the pain, finding renewed strength in the warcaster armour she wore. She could only hope that its fuel stores would hold out.

    Zerkova saw that the mechanik was still lying outstretched on the ground, he having been the one to shove the young girl out of the way. The razor-sharp claws had missed his leg by a few inches.

    The jack had seemed to not acknowledge his presence for the moment, its head turning to regard those who fired upon it. Where the buckshot struck one horn it had cracked, but she could already see the black steel starting to knit and rejoin.

    With a sharp hiss from within, the machine lashed out with its right arm at them, dislodging the ice there in the process.

    THWooo!THWooo!

    The two men were nowhere near the grasp of the thing’s claws, but they both hit the dirt just the same as two bladed chains flew past threatening to remove head from shoulder.

    The warjack wrenched its other hand from the ground in a savage overhead strike as it pivoted in their direction, twisting its body with an agility not found in even the most nimble of mechanika. The scraping of stone from its claws was punctuated with the CHOK CHOK of the chains embedding themselves into the rock. Her men cried out in shock and fear at the damned things’ speed as they were barely able to dodge the attack.

    She pulled her other leg over and rolled onto her back, limbs numbed and useless from re-opened wounds and the constant strain of the climb. Trying to clear her head of whatever blasted her over the cliff she glanced over at Mechanik Adka, seeing him and the girl just getting to their feet. Adka hefted his massive ‘jack wrench in his hand, holding it at the ready as he backed slowly towards the young girl, watching the warjack.

    As Zerkova willed her body to move into a sitting position she saw the three men charge by some unspoken signal, closing on the hellish construct before it could wrench its arm free from the stony ground. Ice formed on the thing’s head obscuring the hellish light of the jack's eyes briefly and it swung wide with it's free hand, claws and chains finding only air in their wake.
    The blast of the Winterguard's blunderbuss resonated as he closed in and fired, shattering the ice and cracking the now brittle metal beneath. As he rolled out of the way, Adka rushed forward and leaped, slamming his heavy wrench into the machine's faceplate below the left eye with a dull crunch. As the lower half of it's face fell away her men darted back out of the thing’s range before it could retaliate.

    All of them but one.

    Zerkova could only watch as the thing lunged at Koldun Petrok, gripping him around the chest with one massive, clawed hand and lifting him off his feet. It held him up to its marred face, the unholy light of it's eyes distorted, regarding him almost like Zerkova herself would marvel over some strange new artifact.

    She saw the air around the trapped man turn to an icy mist and runes form around Petrok’s body as he worked their order’s magic, before his incantation turned to a blood-curdling scream of agony. As he was casting his spell, the ‘jack’s other hand had come across his midsection and effortlessly tore out Petrok’s entrails, eviscerating him with chilling efficiency.

    As the last of his life slipped away, the thing held him, seeming to look into the dying man’s eyes and she could see a faint aura form around Petrok’s body. The thing's chest cracked open to reveal swirling chaos, drawing the aura into itself.

    The greylord’s body dropped bonelessly to the ground. The warjack turned in Zerkova’s direction. In the sickly green glow eminating from it’s chest, Zerkova caught a fleeting glimpse of its face. She realized with a start that the warjack, if it could still be called that, was in parade-ground condition.

    Realization hit and the blood drained from Zerkova’s face as Radazar cried out in terror and turned to run. She now knew what was upon them. The half-remembered lines from a tome detailing the various threats and creatures found in the Western Immoren flashed through her mind in chilling clarity...

    ‘Fifteen feet of kettle-black greasy iron and a gut full of soul-burning mechanika...’

    ‘...a horned helm with glowing eyes...'

    '…The Deathjack.'


    At Radazar's frightened cry, Immoren's Boogieman whirled around and gave chase on the hapless Winter Guard like a wild animal, swiping it's arms, its exhaust coming out as a feral roar. The chains of each hand met where Radazar ran, taking his legs from him in a spray of blood and bone. As it towered over his prone, screaming form Zerkova knew this was a doomed battle.

    Escape was the only option

    Using her sword, she stood, closing her eyes a moment, breathing in the night air. She could hear the violent spewing of horrid gas from the murderous jack like a torrent and the final shrill cries of Radazar. The bubbling of flesh, the din of the void. She exhaled slowly, trying to shut out the agony in her limbs and head, feeling for the arcane as she did so. She opened her eyes to the sound of metal on stone and boisterous surge of steam being expelled.

    In all it's nightmarish glory the damned demonic death machine came at her on all fours in a murderous charge, the souls of her men powering it's fury.

    “only one chance...”

    Unholy light bore down on her as she readied her blade. The Deathjack's footfalls fell like thunder over the stone and the squalling of it's exhast was painful to her ears.

    “Focus...” She drew her sword behind her, stabilizing her stance, the blade lit with arcane energy.

    As the warjack closed in it slashed at her, claws and chains flying at terrible speed. She ducked forward and leaned in to it's body, close enough that it removed her hat. Then she swung upward with all her strength. Quietus struck biting into it's metal hide, there was a crackle and blue light, then the massive machine's legs locked up and it came to a screeching halt before the cliff-side. Zerkova sidestepped out of the way just in time with a flourish.

    She quickly scanned her surroundings, not seeing any sign of Adka or the girl, she needed to escape while the Deathjack was hindered, there was no fighting it in the state she was in, not alone. Under different circumstance, this could have been a grand opportunity to learn more of the feared entity, but research was only good if one was alive to tell about it.

    Looking toward the cliff and Warjack, an idea came to her. A faint smile crossed her lips, then she broke into a run. The Deathjack's vents flared in indignation and it attempted to deter her path, dragging it's now useless legs behind with massive claws to block her way.

    Her body screamed in protest, pain flaring like fire though her body, head pounding with the beat of her rapid heart. A claw lashed out at her in a salvage backhand. In an act of desperation she leaped up to receive the attack. Her boots landed of one the mechanical beasts great claws and it's momentum propelled her over the cliffside and out into the open air. She turned in the air in time to see the chain blades to rush past her, to meet the hateful eyes of the demonic jack as she went. It stood and roared it's rage it though a noxious burst of exhaust before the cliff face obscured it from view.

    As the wind rushed past her, a feeling of dread filled her.
    The Deathjack, reaper of souls had returned, and in it's wake only pain and suffering could follow.

    The Motherland will not sleep soundly.






    Last edited by scorpius007; 12-23-2012 at 12:00 PM.
    Sock-jacking is a viable option for dis-assembly.

    If tis stupid & it werks, tis not stupid.
    Mad Bodgin' Mage

  21. #21
    Annihilator scorpius007's Avatar
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    Sock-jacking is a viable option for dis-assembly.

    If tis stupid & it werks, tis not stupid.
    Mad Bodgin' Mage

  22. #22
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    The last "Cinematic Three Vignette" Sequence of Zerkova using an innovative method of her power is quite awesome and cleverly portrayed...

    Excellent work that conveys far more meaning than hundreds of words (not that the Prose of Yours is not good and captivating !!!).....

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