Friendly Fire

- 7th October, The Sprawl, Night -

Smoke billowed through the yard and debris continued to fall from the shattered airship and the surrounding building caught in the blast. Men were screaming, some aflame as they ran in search of water and others bleeding out from horrific wounds. Eris moved through them all in a dance with death. The soldiers were her true target but in the sheer bliss of battle she cut down friend and foe alike, not that any of these City Dwellers could truly be called 'friend."

She saw numerous factions amidst the melee. Apparently the entire city had converged on the plague pits this night, called by some primal urge to defy the the system, the oppressive overlords that would create this monstrosity of a place amidst its own people. She recognise cultists and operatives of the Rising Star amongst the mob. Gang members and Skyriders fought side by side with spies and zealots as the newly reinforced militia poured hot lead and fire into their ranks.

She saw prisoners being released only to be hacked down or blown to a bloody pulp moments later. Surely the butchers bill would be too high this night to call it a victory. The militia were fairing no better as desperate men and women with nothing to lose tore into them with wild fury. Many fell in mute horror as the plague took them, its potency still a wonder to behold. One moment a soldier or rebel would be standing weapon in hand, the next he would be on all four vomiting blood and breaking out in fetid sores that marked him for death.

Eris whirled to take the arm from a man with the longer of her two blades and then sprang forward to thrust the shorted into his wind pipe. As he fell she spied a familiar pair battling their way through the distant ranks of militia. Fiasco and Tesla, a fascinating pair. Her master considered them to chaotic, too unreliable to bring to his service. Truth be told they would die, both of them before serving. She had spent many an hour in the viewing room watching these two, admiring them from afar.

She kicked backwards bringing a soldier who had been creeping up in her to his knees and then swiped around with both blade cutting his face to ribbons before dispatching him with another kick to the neck, crushing his wind pipe. There was a distant flash and an explosion and she turned to see the man Tesla releasing raw electricity into the crowded soldiers. She watched as men were burned where they stood, the power frying them in an instant. A crude implementation of electrical power, it would kill the man eventually. She looked for Fiasco and spotted him setting charges on the barricade. Timed devices? she wondered and then her attention was drawn away as two soldiers with bayonets charged towards her. She screamed in blood curdling fury as she met their charge head on. One blade caught her shoulder driving her to the ground and another pierced her thigh. The agony was exquisite and she sobbed with the horror of it as she plunged both of her own weapons upwards slicing the gullet of one man and losing the shorter blade in the stomach of the other. When she finally looked over again both Tesla and Fiasco were gone.

A familiar voice sounded in her mind, "Your sisters are clear with our prize. Why do you tarry?" She pushed the voice away. Why did she tarry? She plucked a pistol from the ground and began to fire into the militia ranks. She saw the tank, readying itself for another shot and she started to run towards it in a blind rage.

A heavy weight knocked her sideways as someone over took her and pushed her aside,

"Shut the fuck up, witch. Get out of my head." She heard the man growl as he raced past her.

He gave a few shots in the middle of his run, taking down several soldiers between him and the tank. He glanced upwards briefly with a smile on his face and Eris quickened her pace to reach him. She was just behind him now and she saw him shoot one more soldier in the head, exclaiming - "Yes... yes... what a lovely day." The man was crazy...she...

A white hot pain tore through her mind as some king of signal pulsed through the night air. It was almost familiar like those used by the Delve Masters to communicate with and punish. It rose to a deafening whistle and she stumbled to a halt just as the entire barricade was torn asunder by a series of explosions. For the second time that night she was thrown from her feet by the force of a blast.

Looking up she saw an airship struck by burning debris. The vessel fought for the briefest of moments before plummeting to the ground and whether by sheer luck or by the hand of a helmsman seeing his end and putting it to good use it struck the tank full on causing another ear splitting explosion.

Her ears rank as she clawed her way to her feet. Looking down she saw her left arm was almost torn away and the flesh on her right side was badly burned. She grimaced and tucked the damaged arm into her jacket as if holding it in a sling. She stumbled a few steps forward unable to see more than a few feet ahead in the smoke and dust. Her right foot struck something solid and she looked down to see the crazy fool she had been following. The man was on his back looking up at her. He was fucking grinning.

"what a lovely day." he croaked through bloodied lips before breaking into a coughing fit that caused him to roll to his side. She recognised him then, Captain Phineas Steelhart, the mastermind of this whole escapade. She reached down towards him with her good arm,

"Come with me Captain." she said and he looked up at her with questions in his eyes. She gave a wry smile, "That is if you want to live."

He grasped her hand and with some effort from both of them he got to his feet. Together they shambled through the darkness and smoke, Eris leading the way. They did not speak, they knew better than to make any noise that might give away their location and draw enemy fire. They were in no condition to deal with it. One soldier did stumble into their path but he was unarmed and terrified. He gave a terrified scream at the sight of them and raced off into the darkness.

Soon they were stumbling through the other streets of the compound and as they reached the outer barricade where Eris had made her entry earlier that evening two of her sisters emerged from the shadows. Silently they took charge of Phineas who was in a bad way and Eris sighed with relief as the burden was taken from her.

"What do we do with him?" Asked one of the pair.

"We take him home." Eris replied as she fell to the ground. The world went black.

< Prev : Down the Rabbit Hole Next > : From Dreams To Nightmares