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“Come on,” said Dek. “Let”s get out of this charnel house.”
They turned, as a group, and started working their way through the factory, towards the opposite side, where there was less carnage and at least some semblance of normality. Behind them, fire crackled, in pools, in puddles, parts of machines, areas of oil which still burned.
Noise had died down to a minimum. A muted crackle.
Several huge metal machines clicked as they cooled.
The Iron Wolves reached the far door, and turned, looking back. “I actually feel quite sorry for it,” said Narnok.
“Why?” scowled Dek.
“Well, we burned her. To death. And she was, if we”re honest, a pretty magnificent creature.”
“Not magnificent when she”s eating your children,” scowled Trista.
“Or flame-grilling your parents,” said Kareem.
“Yeah, but we killed her. Killed her dead. So we should show a mark of respect.”
“You want to fucking
for it?” snapped Trista, staring at Narnok in disbelief. “Is this really the man who drank
barrels of ale?
bottles of whiskey? Who endured the torturer”s acid eating his eyeball? And now you want to pray for a dead dragon?”
Narnok shrugged. He lowered his eyes. “It”s just, y”know.”
“We don”t know,” growled Dek, looking around warily.
“Well, since I were a wee lad, I read all them story books. Dragons were always honest and noble, and flew through the skies and rescued people and shit.” He looked around, and scowled. “It”s not
fault the pissing authors were pro-dragon, all right? It”s not my fault I have a bloody soft spot “cos of when I was a kiddie.”
Dek deflated, and laughed. “Great, Narnok the bloody One Eye! He has a soft spot for dragons.”
Trista opened the door. Outside, night had fallen, but she couldn”t see the stars because of the smoke and the swirling dust. She glanced back. “I think we better get out of here,” she muttered. “Beforeâ¦”
“Before what?” cackled Narnok.
She rose from the mess of oil and broken machinery, and she screamed. Then, in the blink of an eye, Volak shot upwards, sending three huge iron machines tumbling away, to crash through the roof high above. Ceiling joists came tumbling down, clattering on the ground, and then everything became calm.
Dust and smoke swirled in eddies.
Dek and Narnok ran to the door, closely followed by the others.
“It”s not dead,” said Dek.
“Surely, wounded unto death?” said Narnok, rubbing at his empty eye socket.
“I”m not so sure,” mouthed Trista, and peered outside again.
They moved out into the street.
“What now?” said Dek.
“I vote we head for the nearest Spear Guard Tower,” rumbled Mola.
Narnok stared hard at the squat Dog Man. He frowned. “You don”t think the dragon is dead, then, do you not?”
Mola shrugged. “The way I sees it, she”s a creature of fire and brimstone. We hit her with a hard blast all right, hurt her even, but at the end of the day, she fucking
She”s a dragon. You ain”t ever going to kill a dragon with fire. She”s impervious, she has to be, or she”d ignite herself.”
“You could have mentioned this before?” said Dek.
“Why?” Mola shrugged and grinned. “You was all having so much fun! And anyway, it was worth a try. Maybe we hurt her, maybe we scared her away and even now she”s flying off to some far and distant dragon land to lick her wounds and try and recover.”
“And if not?”
“We”d better get to that tower. There”s no answer like hard-forged iron.”
he Iron Wolves
moved through the darkness, looking skywards continually. Iron hearted violet pdf free download. Vagan was under a pall of fog, no doubt caused by so many fires raging through the city. They could still hear them, the distant roar of flames, the tumbling collapse of buildings, the screams, the wails, the muffled noises in the murky dark.
They met few-to-no people on the streets. Most were indoors, terrified of the dragon they”d all witnessed rampaging throughout the city. But now, the great wyrm was curiously quiet. As Mola had said, maybe she had gone to lick her wounds. Orâ¦ maybe not.
The tower stood unguarded as they reached its foot, and Mola stopped, looking up. The others did the same. It was circular in design, built from red stone and with only the occasional tiny window, and it disappeared off into the fog. This was a tower of defence, not a tourist attraction.
“We”re in,” said Mola, peering through the doorway. He grabbed a spear from a rack, and tossed it to Dek. Taking another, he passed it to Trista. “Come on. Seems we have the place to ourselves.”
“This feels wrong,” said Dek, looking about, grasping the hefty spear in his fists. “Where”s the City Watch? Where”s the King”s Guard? Have the fuckers just
? Why”s it always come down to us, eh? That”s what I want to know. Orlana”s mud-orcs, twisted fucking elf-rats, now a fucking dragon â oh, the Iron Wolves”ll deal with it, they”ll sort out the shit, no worries, no questions asked. Whilst everyone else fucks off and hides in cellars and drinks cider and eats toasted currant muffins.”
“You finished?” growled Mola.
“Not even started, mate,” said Dek.
“Well, put a lid on your mouth. Because we”ve a long fight ahead of us, I reckon.”
Mola gave a long, low whistle. And from the fog came three horrific beasts, hell hounds, fighting dogs barely under control â even under their master. Mola knelt on the cobbles, fondling Duke, Sarge and Thrasher; cuddling them, stroking them, hugging them, allowing them to lick his face with tongues better suited to eating demons from the Chaos Halls.
“I always meant to askâ¦ ” said Dek.
did you get such ugly beasts?”
“I bred them with your mother,” grinned Mola.
There was a moment of tenseness. You did not joke about Dek”s mum. And, for a moment, in his own heightened tension, Mola had forgotten. Realising his error, he stood, and held up both hands. “Look, I”mâ¦ ”
“No!” laughed Dek. “No, don”t worry. Is a funny joke. My mother. Yes. You only have to look at my face!”
And they all burst out laughing, Trista and Narnok sharing a glance behind Dek”s back. Not very long ago, a comment like that would have got you a broken spine. It would seem facing down death with a rogue dragon was enough to chill Dek out. For the present time, at least.
“Come on. Let”s climb.”
They moved into the tower, and looking upwards, started up the spiral stone steps. They were narrow and curved, and did not lend themselves to climbing. Dek came last, and stopped outside the tower, staring up at the high walls which surrounded the city. They were fashioned from huge blocks of stone which reminded him very much of the walls of Desekra. But whereas that last battle had been a war against mud-orcs, a host created from humans and blood and magick, now, here, this battle was against a solitary foe. A dragon. A powerful, sentient beast with, apparently, her own twisted agenda.
“Let”s do this,” muttered Dek to himself, and grasping the spear, he entered the dark interior and started to climb.
on the flat summit of the Spear Guard Tower, and looked out across the city of Vagan â or at least, what they could see above the heavy fog. Fire burned in a hundred different places, some still raging, like the Church of Sacred Spires, and some just glowing amidst the fog, like Whore”s Quartet and Pig Square Market. Volak had certainly been busy in her little one-dragon mission of fire and destruction.
Mola ran across the roof to a huge contraption. It had six cups, each the size of a large melon, and in surrounding baskets, thick lead balls which could be loaded with much swearing and grunting. Mola lifted one, and dropped it into a cup, then grabbed a huge lever and started to wind it. Clicking reverberated across the rooftop.
“What is it?” said Narnok.
“We used to call it the Decimator. Unbelievable against infantry and cavalry. Fair fucks up anything that gets in its path.”
“So you”d fire it from up here?”
“Aye. Not so accurate, but it was designed to carve a big fucking hole in a front line when they”re all bunched up together. Forget shields and plate armour, these lead balls would go through ten men before coming to rest.”
“This the crossbow?” said Dek, grabbing the huge length of iron and twisting it on its oiled monopod. It was mounted on a ball and socket arrangement that meant Dek could swing it easily and precisely, despite its weight. The siege crossbow itself was easily the length of a horse, and Narnok stepped over, whistling softly as he stopped and grabbed a crossbow “quarrel”.
He grunted. It was as heavy as him.
“That”s some fucking spear,” grunted the axeman, and with Dek”s help, loaded the quarrel into the machine.
“Now rotate that, yes, the grey handle.” Dek turned the handle, which clicked on a heavy ratchet. “It”ll take three. Load her up. Kareem, help me fill up Old Bessy here.”
“Six balls is never enough,” winked Mola, with a disgusting grin.
Far across the city there came an awful, awful wail. It lifted above the smoke, and hung there, a solitary, mournful note, which finally died away and was gone, leaving a resonance surfing across the fog.
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Gradually, silence returned.
Only the distant crackle of fire infiltrated the muted city.
“Was that her?” said Narnok, eventually.
“I reckon it might have been,” said Dek, loading the third quarrel into the siege crossbow. “And I also reckon, if it
then maybe, thanks to Mola here, we have the weapons to fight her.”
“We”ll only get one shot,” said Mola, then eyed the crossbow. “Well. In your case, maybe three. If the fucker doesn”t torch you first.”
“You believe these weapons can bring her down?”
Mola shrugged, and knelt, patting Thrasher. The great shaggy beast, more a cross between demon and wolf than actual
gave a little, half-friendly whine.
Dek smiled at it.
Thrasher growled and bared fangs. That look said,
not fucking welcome.
With weapons loaded, the Iron Wolves looked out over the city. Nothing stirred. Smoke flowed, undulated, coalesced. Occasionally, a dog barked, or there came a bang, a crash, as some opportunistic looter kicked his way into a shop or undefended house; but other than that, nothing.
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Kareem moved to the opposite side of the tower, and stared south. His mind wandered, and he pictured the massive structure of Desekra Fortress. Desekra, four mighty walls with wide battlements and high crenellations, built by King Esekra the Great. Deep within the Pass of Splintered Bones, a place of haunted misery; thus Desekra had grown on the splintered bones of the thousands who had fallen defending the pass against the southern desert tribes. Wedged between towering mountains, Desekra had become a stronghold, a symbol of Vagandrak power, of not bowing to the whims of larger armies and more powerful nations. The beast's heart pdf free download. There were four walls: Sanderlek, Tranta-Kell, Kubosa and Jandallakla â leading to Zula, a huge, stocky keep, black and grim and foreboding, more like a prison than the core of a fortress. Zula meant
in the old Equiem tongue, and it had been here, on his deathbed, that old King Esekra had indeed found peace, secure in the knowledge he had built not just a protective barrier to guard his people of the north. No. It also stood as a monument to the greatest Battle King ever to walk the lands of Vagandrak.
Now, Kareem thought about that king, and his mind drifted to the days of blood, fighting the mud-orcs. Sent by Orlana the Changer, otherwise known as The Horse Lady, the mud-orcs had numbered in their thousands and attempted to storm Vagandrak, aiming for the soft underbelly of the lands beyond Desekra.
But the soldiers of Vagandrak had held a different opinion.
Kareem shivered, remembered knives and spears and swords â steel jutting into eyes, cutting open bowels, skewering livers. He shivered, and remembered comrades vomiting blood on the battlements. But the worst bit had been the screams of those he knew, those he loved; those wounded beyond reach, whimpering, crying, begging to be released from their mortal agony as mud-orcs crouched beside them, drooling and laughing and masturbating, unwilling to let these good men die, unwilling to put them out of their misery so that their cries could taunt the survivors and sap their morale.
“She”s playing with us,” said Kareem, suddenly, looking up.
“What?” said Dek.
“The dragon. That fire never hurt her. She”s testing us. And she”s playing with us. Like a cat with an injured mouse.”
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don”t fucking know,” said Kareem. “Maybe it was because we stood up to her. Gave her a fight. I bet she respects that. In us
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“So what happens next?”
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“We wait,” smiled Kareem, grimly. “We wait. And our fear grows. And thus she grows stronger.”
“Well, I ain”t scared,” said Narnok, and Kareem looked into his eyes, and he truly believed it.
“Ain”t nothing scares you, eh, old man?”
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“Less of the fucking old. You”re only old when you”re sucking soup through a tube and you can”t get a hard-on for a beautiful woman who”s shoving her erect nipples in your mouth. That”s when you call it a day. That”s when you beg for your bed, your slippers and your fucking grave.”
“I remember you,” said Kareem. “On Desekra.”
Narnok puffed out his chest. “You do, lad?”