The Steampunk Empire

The Crossroads of the Aether

Writing work in progress, comments and critiques are very welcome.

Cloud and smoke swirled overhead. The shrieking and desperate cries of slaughtered had slowly died but the sound still rang out in their ears, in his ears. The onslaught had begun just before dusk, the sun was now setting and once pale light was now as bright crimson as the ground upon which they stood. Any one being whom could hold a blade was slaughtered. All but one. It was no woman, no child. The creature that stood was a single armored male. The decorative armor was adorned with new trophies from war; gashes bit deep into the dark metal, blood spatter, dust, ash. The gray and scarlet pelt resting upon his shoulders and back was now matted with drying blood and mud. Upon his face sat sculpted glass set into place by decorative metal wiring, an aid for his vision. Spectacles.
Upon on bloodied knee he stooped, bracing one hand on his blade and panting, surely out of breath due to his struggling. They moved like shadows, soon filing into an arc shaped form before him. They were magnificent creatures to look upon, however it ignited all of his human senses, telling him to fear to flee. He could not, he would not be able to out run them even at the peek of physical fitness. They were simply too many. Though he was spared, for whatever terrible reason these monsters had not decided to slaughter him as they did the rest.
It was when he saw a dark shadow converging with the gathering of the others that he lifted his eyes to see. They had deeply empty spaces where the eyes should have been, their skin was light as the falling ash, yet the region upon what he assumed was their faces remained empty and darkened. With eyes widened, he soon took in a large figure. The creature was not large in height, rather mass. He happened to be terribly short and more human-like than any of these that stood in their arc formation.
He passed through the lanky creatures and soon stood before the single warrior. A twitch pulled at the corners of the rounded male creature's mouth. Chubby fingers, like little pinkish sausages, came upward and stroked through a tangled mess of a facial waterfall. A faint jingling of beads, decoration, and the occasional crackle of fire where the only sounds piercing through the deafening mute.


“I want him.” The Dwarf-like male announced. He turned on a heel and eyed the ranks before him and the downed warrior.
“I want him!”



His voice echoed like church bells, dying slowly over the vast plains leading away from the bloodied, ash covered grounds. A cracking followed by the clattering rumble of stone and wood crumbling to the ground killed the silence that had been choking the single warrior. He was caught, of this he knew, so he risked a moment to stare around at the blood soaked ground, to watch as the ashes fell like snow, blanketing the ground in a false winter. As his eyes traced the gruesome image, committing it to his memory, the man would release a ragged sigh and allow for his lips to crease downward. Homes that once held small families were now but rubble heaps, their bodies charred and torn to pieces.

The crunch of fresh grass under foot snapped the warrior's attention back upon the Dwarf-like creature. A pleased grin polished his saliva covered lips. To this look, the warrior nearly tilted his head, brows furrowed and his eyes intense with fury and sorrow.


“These people...” The warrior began as he gripped his sword hilt tighter, forcing himself to rise up. “... These people were unsuspecting, innocent farmers with families—with children.” He breathed these last few words as he stood. The blade remained
within bloody soil, eyes fixed on the short male.


It was not words that came from the short chubby creature, not at all, but instead a hearty laughter teeming with malicious intent. The warrior imagined him rolling around on the ground for all of the laughter that had erupted forth from the gut of this short man. If the warrior was not so exhausted, he would have strode forward in a heart beat to choke the man—to quell his laughter and to transform it into a choking whimper, a pleading noise matched with a brittle cracking. The warrior had not the strength, not the stupidity. He stood before an army.





“It was completely necessary to kill them, I assure you Raalen.” The Dwarf-male
Hissed with pleasure as his eyes glanced over the warrior and then toward his work.
Glee glistened within his tiny blackened eyes as he viewed the wretched scene with
utter delight. “You evaded me well, however you were predictable knight. Though
I will say you were clever and quite cautious with where you chose to hide, not clever
enough to hide from me granted, but any other fool would have given up... Not I!” Again
his lips were parted and that rumbling laughter cascaded forth, it scurried into the ears of
Raalen and clawed its way into his brain—rattling it with low, deep tones recognized as joy though translated into malicious mocking.


Gritting his teeth, the warrior gripped the hilt of his blade tightly and tried his very hardest to refrain from tugging it free from the ground. Thoughts of attack raced through his mind, thoughts of expending the last of his energy in one mighty attack to destroy the Dwarf-male where he stood. But even thoughts of attacking wore him out. Digging the metal-guards of his heel into the ground and leaning upon his blade, the man sighed and shook his head.

“Well... You have me Sabidt” Raalen spoke, eyes falling closed behind the shaped pieces
of glass upon his face. As he pulled upon the heavy blade within his clutched fist, his eyes drew open and narrowed. The Dwarf-male stepped away from Raalen cautiously,
optics widened with concern. “Get him!” Sabidt shrieked before breaking through the
ranks of creatures.





They advanced upon Raalen as a massive ash and onyx shadow. Spear-like weapons raised and prepared for the struggle of subduing the warrior. He braced visibly, sword raised despite his exhaustion, his heart fluttered with the effort and pounded with anticipation. The first creature to attempt his capture wound up with the Raalen's blade deep within its body, just beneath the harder-than-bone structure of armor where a small gap of clothed flesh remained exposed. The creature's cry was terrible and piercing though Raalen was deaf to the sound due to the pounding of his heart and the raggedness of his breathing. It was over quickly however, for the lean creatures that he was pitted against were fearsome warriors nearly unmatched in skill. His arms were seized and twisted so that he would release his blade and he did. Arms took hold of him from every which direction, pale flashes of flesh and fine onyx black armor clouded his vision.

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Comment by Lt. Gideon Volgas on January 18, 2011 at 8:53pm
I'm working on a story as well...if you'd like to check it out, then here's the link: http://www.thesteampunkempire.com/profiles/blogs/a-world-in-ashes-a...
Comment by Lt. Gideon Volgas on January 18, 2011 at 8:38pm
Wow!!! I really like it!!! Seriously, this is very good. I would like to read more soon.

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