The Silver Tower Chronicles Adventures in other worlds, other times, and other realities

12Sep/12Off

Enzi’s Irregulars #0011

Approaching the crowd, it seemed that there were quite a few city guards but it was mostly normal citizens. Ritter was surprised that so many people had come this far out into the wasteland. He did notice that some merchants were taking advantage of the situation, having brought water and food to support the crowd. The crowd paid little attention to the wagon of mercenaries. Ritter imagined the crowd though that it was just more supplies being delivered.

“Ritter and I will see what we can learn,” Enzi said, “If this is what I think it is, the rest of you want to stay out of sight for the moment.”

Ritter wondered what Enzi meant by that but had to agree that the Nuvroci would be much more comfortable speaking with a human and a Halz. Although he imagined they would be speaking to him rather than a Feergrus. A minotaur, gorgon, and lycanthrope might be attacked on sight as monsters, but that was a danger anywhere the Irregulars worked.

“A dwarf!” one Nuvroci said, “And you look like a warrior! Excellent, just what we need. You should talk to the constable.”

“Oh?” Ritter said, “Why don't you take me to him, I could stand a bit more information on this.”

The Nuvroci citizen nodded enthusiastically and led Ritter to a grizzled veteran. The Nuvroci man had more than his share of scars. He wore a shirt of mail and had a large axe strapped on his back. He looked at Ritter with an appraising eye, then moved with the help of a cane. His voice was raspy and the Halz was not sure if it was from age, damage, or a mixture of both.

“Ah, one of our stout brethren from the mountains. We need more good strong soldiers for this endeavor.”

“Perhaps you could tell me more of this... Endeavor as you call it,” Ritter said.

The old warrior raised an eyebrow at the question, “You know of the monster?”

“Yes,” Ritter said, “I was not expecting to see so many people here.”

“Ah,” the Nuvroci replied, “That makes more sense. I was beginning to wonder how you were here if you didn't know what was going on. Yes, I was able to put together a militia of brave folks to face this monster before it slaughters more innocents.”

“That is why I and my friends are here,” Ritter replied, “And we seem a lot better equipped to deal with danger than these citizens.”

“This monstrosity has been quite unstoppable by simple soldiers,” the old man said, “They only thing I can see to stop it is by sheer numbers.”

“A lot of people will die,” the Halz said.

“Yes, but we are prepared for that. The death of a few to save the many.”

“By that logic, you should let my group try first,” Ritter said, “If we fail, then you still have your group.”

“Or we could add your strength to ours,” the grizzled veteran said.

“I doubt your people would want to fight beside all of our group,” another voice said.

Enzi had made his way around to the leader without either Ritter or the old man noticing. The veteran looked over Enzi, noting the scars on the Feergrus man. The Nuvroci had a discerning eye and quickly determined that Enzi was at least as much of a veteran of combat as he had been in his own life. That lead to as much suspicion as it did respect.

“So who are you exactly?”

“We are called Enzi's Irregulars,” Enzi replied, “We deal with unusual and extraordinary threats. Or anything else threatening the human race if we have time.”

“Irregulars. You have some army training to know such an appropriate name for such a squad,” the Nuvroci said, “Go then and destroy the monster, or be destroyed yourself.”

“Thank you,” Enzi said, “I would hate to have seen so many people harmed.”

The veteran grunted and then watched as the irregulars entered the ruin. He saw the gorgon, the minotaur, and the enormous wolf.

“Irregulars indeed,” the man said to himself, “Simply more monsters. I should have known a Feergrus would have a hidden agenda.”

The light streamed into the ruin and Ritter saw the glint of metal. The group slowly made their way through the decaying rubble and the Halz gasped as the metal moved. It looked like a metal human, perfectly formed. The metal had an odd blue tint to it and Ritter recognized it immediately. It was the metal of the elves, what they had called mithril. However, the body had another color to it. The crimson color of blood. Gore covered its hands and had splattered across its metallic body.

It cocked its head towards the mercenaries. Enzi had remained behind, not wanting to spook the creature if humans set it off. Ritter worried slightly that perhaps he was too human in appearance and remained at the rear, watching what happened. Something about the golem unnerved Ritter. He wondered what the attempt to infuse it with a human soul had done to it. Then it spoke in a voice that was all the more bone-chilling for the tone of innocence.

“Daddy?” the voice of a child spoke, “Where is my daddy?”

The horror washed over the Halz in a palpable wave. The mind of an innocent child chained to the body of an unstoppable killing machine. It was nearly inconceivable. The dwarf knew that a soul could infuse an item with great power, but ever had he seen actual intelligence of any kind. If the Ravaleian had somehow succeeded than he had crafted a horror unlike any other. It would mean that Sisera Dane would have broken every law of nature. Ritter could not imagine what would drive a person to do something so insane.

“Where did my daddy go?” the mithral golem whined, “I want my daddy back!”

Eurysa slid forward slightly and hissed, “It is okay. You will be okay. We will find your daddy and no one is going to hurt you.”

***

The Nuvroci man looked out at the gathered crowd. The Feergrus man was out of sight, and the soldier assumed he was helping his team capture the golem. The old man knew that the golem was far too dangerous for that. He felt it with all his soul. Even if Enzi's Irregulars could contain the creature, he did not want such a monstrosity in anyone's hands, especially not the hands of a Feergrus. He smiled, however, as he knew the mercenaries would distract his target. It just made his job easier.

“Listen good folk of Nuvroc. We have come here today to face a grave threat to our nation, to the very well being of the human race. We must destroy this metallic monstrosity once and for all! Gather your weapons, we charge now!”

The crowd roared. At the entrance to the ruin Enzi heard the roar. He glanced and saw the whole crowd headed his way.

“Wonderful,” he muttered to himself.

He yelled inside towards Ritter, the nearest mercenary to the entrance, “You guys need to move now, the crowd is coming!”

The mithral golem cocked its head towards the noise, “Daddy?”

“Come now, let us get you out of here,” Eurysa said softly, “We want to help you.”

Kava moved forward, then the eyes of the golem lit up as she closed in. Suddenly there was a blur of motion. The vodyanoi took to the air in an acrobatic flip as the metal fists of the golems flew through the air in a frenzy. Enzi had been right. It had a self defense protocol. As a frightened child, it was certain to strike out at any perceived threat. To a child, almost anything could be a threat. The crowd erupted into the room and the golem squealed out in childish fear.

The crowd, however, had not heard the mithral golem calling out earlier. All they heard was a high pitched squealing. They reacted as if under attack and charged at the golem while yelling and roaring themselves. The golem turned and fled, crashing through the rubble effortlessly. Its immense strength was obvious. It had blown through rock as easily as Ritter could have ran through a wall of paper.

The five mercenaries gave chase as did the crowd. Soon they had cornered the golem at the edge of the Scorpion Cliffs. The crowd pressed in as the veteran chanted.

“Kill the monster! End its threat!”

“Stay back!” the golem said in its childish voice, though it was drowned out by the roar of the crowd.

“I don't want to hurt more,” it said, “Not like daddy. Now daddy is gone.”

As some of the crowd charged in, the golem swung its mighty arms. Aldebaran leapt forward and swung his heavy blade. He connected with the arm but did not more than deflect the blow. It did not even leave a scratch on the surface of the golem. The thing was nearly invulnerable. It was obvious that if the golem wanted to that it could just slaughter its way through the crowd. It was far too strong to be stopped. Even if it was no more than the size of a man, it was many times heavier.

Simple weapons poked forward at the creature as the unsure crowd tried to edge forward. The weapons were quickly knocked back or even broken. The golem had nowhere to go, it had to fight now. Enzi attempted to take advantage of the lull in the crowd. He stepped out and raised his voice.

“This creature does not wish to harm anyone as you can see and hear, but one does not move towards a cornered animal. Stay back for your own safety!”

“Do not listen to the Feergrus!” the veteran Nuvroci soldier yelled out, “Like all his kind he wishes to enslave this monster to his cause. Look at what he has already enslaved. We can not allow such power in the hands of anyone, but especially not a foreigner like this.”

The crowd roared and surged forward. Ritter expected blood. He expected the golem to defend itself. Yet somehow the golem finally overcame its programming to protect itself from harm. It leapt backwards off the cliff. The Halz swore he could see a look of fear in the golem's eyes. The golem vanished into the mists below as the ocean crashed into the cliffs and was gone.

Its haunting last words echoed across the crowd, “I'm sorry...”

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