I do apologize for not posting last week. I have been a little under the weather lately, and feeling a little overwhelmed with all thats going on in my life. I didn’t get a chance to do anything much this week either, but I thought I would add another page from the graphic novel. Like I said, I’m not posting it all. I think I’ve skipped a fe. Anyway, here it is. Hopefully, I’ll be back on track in the next few weeks.
I have been working on the first full length ‘Alongrid’ story and I haven’t really had a whole lot of time to do any ‘other’ writing. So I thought I’d share an excerpt from what I have written. Just to set the scene, VanDarn and Locke are sneaking into the Waterworks. They are trying to avoid being seen to keep questions to a minimum. Our favorite gnomish brothers, Jim and Coop Tucker are distracting the security guards.
VanDarn pulled the car over on the side of the road with a hiss of vented steam. We were close to the guard shack, but we would walk the rest of the way to keep the guard from seeing our vehicle. If everything went as planned, the Tucker brothers would have their truck waiting for us.
“We need to hurry. They were only going to distract the guard for half an hour, and that started about ten minutes ago.” I said goodbye to Yon, and accompanied by VanDarn continued on foot down the road. VanDarn gripped my arm as I stumbled, keeping me from tumbling headlong down the embankment as we came in sight of the guard shack. The Tucker brother’s truck waited in the parking lot. It didn’t take us long to creep over and climb up in the back. We ha d just gotten settled down when I heard the two gnomes come out, their voices getting louder as they approached the truck.
“Really? What a beautiful ashtray? What was that?” Coop Tucker was saying.
“Shutup! He was headin’ outside to check on that noise he heard. I kept him from going ta look! Besides, I didn’t hear you coming up with anything better.” Jim Tucker’s voice was deeper than his brother’s, but they still sounded alike.
“I could’ve, but I was too busy trying to keep from laughing at you as you fawned all over that ashtray. Sheesh.”
The truck shifted as the two climbed in.
“We’re here. Just go.” I whispered just loud enough for the two of them to hear. I heard the engine gurgle as the steam from the boiler turned the drive train. The tough construction of the truck made it heavier than a civilian vehicle, so the drive system had to work harder to get all that weight moving. Weight that included an extra dwarf and a human.
“Guys! Guys!” I could hear an out of breath voice calling over the rattling of the engine. It was the guard from the guard shack. “Here.”
“What’s this?” I heard Jim say.
“Well, you liked that ashtray so much I thought I’d just give it to ya.”
“Ya really don’t have to.” I heard Coop stifling a laugh as best as he could.
“It’s no problem really. I got three or four more just like these at home. Real wood. Hand carved.”
“Thanks, Smiley. I don’t know what to say.” This brought another muffled giggle from Coop.
“Don’t mention it. I hope you enjoy it for a long time. You boys be careful now.”
“We will, and thanks again.” The engine cycled up and we started moving. As we pulled away, Coop let out an unrestrained guffaw.
“Here, have this ashtray! “ He chortled. “You don’t even smoke!”
There was a hollow thunk from the cab, and a groan from Coop. It took me a minute to figure out Jim must have hit his brother with his new wooden ashtray.
Alongrid, art, Author, detective, dwarves, elves, fantasy, gnomes, hammertown, hammertown. steam punk, legends, myths, noir, photoshop, pirates, prop pistol, props, sea faring, short stories, Steam punk, steampunk, stories
Okay folks, I usually reserve the blog for all things related to Sebastion or anything having to do with Alongrid in general. This week I am going to stray from that path for a little bit. This week I am going to ask for some help from those of you that read my blogs, my stories and what not. I have a very simple request of all of you all. I am going to post a link to my main web site, my Amazon author page, and my Deviant Art portfolio. If you have enjoyed any of my work, anything that I have shared through this blog or my facebook pages, please follow those links and just look around. You might even click on the ‘like’ button if you are feeling particularly helpful. You see, computers keep up with web traffic and those numbers help a budding author out. When you get high numbers it brings attention to your website. This is a good thing. So please, follow these links, ‘like’ my stuff, ‘share’ these links with your friends and ask them to do the same. Chances are, if you have been watching this blog it will be stuff that you are interested in anyway, and every click helps.
If any of you remember the short stories I was posting on here about Manfred Pennygigg and his faithful manservant, you will remember that we left them in dire straights, trying to come up with a defense against airborne attack from elven dragonriders. I finally managed to write the next scene. It is short. I think the term for it is ‘Flash-Fiction.’ Maybe, eventually I will gather them all up and include them in their own anthology. After all, what is steampunk without dirigibles? Now, witness the birth of a new age in the Dwarven Kingdom. Witness the birth of the age of flight!
Airborne At Last
“But it’s a success, Sir!” Malcom Kennison exclaimed. “You have actually built an airship! His majesty will give you a medal!”
“No, he won’t, Malcom.” Manfred Pennigig glared at his servant. How could the man be so daft! Oh, yes. He was a man, that’s how. “What good is an airship without anyone to fly it? I’ve been trying to find someone willing to fly the thing ever since we started building it, and I haven’t found a single gnome willing to even try. Apparently all but a handful of gnomes suffer from a severe fear of heights, and dwarves are just too heavy. As a result I need to find a crew that’s not scared, that weigh less than dwarves, and are smart enough to be trained in the operation of this thing. On top of all of that, the elves have managed to produce a squad of dragonriders. According to reports they will be using them in combat in less than a month. It’s impossible, I tell you! Impossible.”
“Oh, come now, sir. Not too long ago you were saying an airship was impossible!”
“Well…I sometimes amaze even myself, Malcom. It was nothing really. Any gnome with half a brain could have done it. Maybe I am a little quicker about such things, and maybe I have fewer failures than most…”
“Your humbleness never ceases to astound me, sir.”
“Perhaps I am a little too modest.” Manfred gazed at the boat that hung suspended from the canvas balloon, completely oblivious to the sarcasm that was practically dripping off of Malcom’s statement. The airship wasn’t exactly beautiful. In fact it looked like an oversized dinghy strapped to an extremely large, inflated bed sheet, but it was an actual flying ship. “It is quite the achievement, isn’t it?”
“Quite. You could always pilot it yourself.”
“That would be totally ridiculous. The King would never allow me to risk putting myself within reach of the enemy. My mind is much to valuable here. Besides, I’m afraid I suffer from the same illness as my brethren. Why do you think I hired you? It wasn’t your charm. It was so I would never have to use a stepstool again. Not only is it embarrassing, it’s…high.”
“That kind of leaves you with a problem. Doesn’t it, sir? Perhaps you can automate it somehow. Maybe build some kind of ‘Nixon-control’ unit for it.”
“Of all the ridiculous ideas I have ever heard…” Manfred began, and then stopped. Malcom may not have had many good ideas, but he wasn’t stupid. Manfred eyed Malcom through his bushy white eyebrows. A strange idea was settling in the back of his mind. He shook his head. No, that was just crazy. On the other hand, he had found and trained Malcom to be the perfect man-servant.
“I really don’t like the way you are ogling me, sir.”
Well, almost perfect, he thought. The fact of the matter was, he could be taught. And just looking at him, he probably only weighed a quarter of what a dwarf did. Human bones weren’t as dense, the muscle not as compacted, and Manfred suspected that their skulls was mostly filled with air, but they could be taught. Perhaps that idea wasn’t quite as crazy as he had first thought.
“Malcom, is it true that the best and truest shot come from your race?”
“I think so, sir. My brethren grew up on the sea. It takes a keen focus to be able to fire a weapon accurately while the ocean is swaying underneath you. Why?”
“I think I’ve found my crew.” Manfred circled his manservant, looking him up and down, as if searching for flaws.
“Oh, no you don’t! I am afraid I lack the marksmanship of my brethren. I do have some small skill in that area, but not enough to be one to crew this against dragonriders!”
“Don’t flatter yourself, Malcom. Only under the worst shortage of personnel would I ever dream of lending my own personal manservant to the military. Those buffoons couldn’t possibly utilize your abilities to their fullest. But we could find MEN to fly this ship. And from of the stories I’ve heard they are all probably crazy enough to fly it right down a dragon’s throat.”
Malcom started to protest, but realized that he knew more than a few humans that might actually do just that.
“You would have to offer them something worth the risk,” he said, instead.
“That is the King’s department. I just come up with the brilliant ideas. It’s up to him to bankroll it.”
“That it could. So his majesty has asked me to come up with some kind of defense against them.”
“Against dragons, sir? No wonder the king has put priority on this. Not even the smartest of gnomes could hope to come up with a defense against dragons. How could he expect a humble division such as yours to do so?”
“It is quite daunting, isn’t it?” Manfred gazed dreamily off into the nether realms. “Perhaps I might be able to come up with something.”
“Like what? What could face a dragon in the air? Even small dragons are dangerous in the air.” Kennison lit another lamp to help alleviate some of the gloom of the office, and then set about building a fire in the fireplace. The last rays of the sun were disappearing over the mountains and the lights of the gnomish town of Glennford were coming on.
“Yes, and according to the intel these are big enough for elves to ride.” Manfred stared out the window, watching the clouds that were colored orange by the setting sun.
“Really. Do you know how big a dragon has to be for an elf to ride one?”
“Neither do I, but I’m sure it has to be pretty big. Maybe we could make big spear guns, like the humans use when they hunt whales. Whales are pretty big, aren’t they, Kennison?” Manfred watched the clouds as they formed shapes in the sky while he considered the problem. Perhaps it was because he was thinking of the human whale hunters, but one of the clouds had come to resemble one of the human ships that wandered the oceans of Alongrid. If only real ships could travel the skies as easily.
“Yes, sir. Quite large. But even if you made these big spear guns, the sky isn’t like the ocean. What’s to stop these dragonriders from flying over out of range and dropping bombs on your gunners?”
Kennison was right, of course. He needed some way to take the fight to the dragons, regardless of how high they could fly. That meant he needed to invent a flying machine of some sort. Maybe one that could carry spear guns. Not big ones, but maybe a lot of small ones. He could see the beginnings of an invention forming in his mind’s eye. It would resemble one of the small human boats, and he would call it an airship. Now he just needed to find something that would carry his airship into the sky, like water carried a human ship.
Manfred watched the Kennison as he poked the logs that were blazing in the fireplace. Glowing sparks floated upward on the hot air from the burning logs and Manfred Pennigig began to get an idea.
“The Shin-endigh have a way of motivating people.”
Their voices faded as they passed out of hearing range. Airborn? Had they invented some kind of flying machine? That could be devastating to the Kingdom. And Shin-endigh agents here? That meant Gyro would have to be extra careful not to run afoul of the elven secret police. Just knowing that they were here almost caused him to abort the mission entirely. There hadn’t been a reported case of an agent running up against one of them and coming out on top. They usually didn’t even come out of it at all.
Gyro swung himself up and over the wall, scurried across and looked down. The ground was lost in shadow below. Reaching under the light jacket he was wearing, he produced a small pistol wrapped in burlap. The burlap kept it from making any noise as he moved about. He checked the walkway, making sure it was clear and then placed the barrel of the pistol against the wall, just below the outside edge. There was a pop, about as loud as someone clapping there hands as he triggered it. When the pistol was pulled away it left an eye-bolt embedded in the concrete. Gyro replaced the pistol under his jacket. In a few more seconds, he had attached the end of the spool of cable that was hooked to his belt and swung himself over the ledge. Pressing a button on the spool, it began to play the cable out slowly, allowing Gyro to walk down the wall.
In no time at all, he had reached the bottom. Disconnecting the spool from his belt, he mentally marked the spot for his return trip. In the middle of the walled compound was his target, a huge building almost one hundred and twenty yards squared. Shrouded ventilation fans were set evenly along it’s walls. The one Gyro faced had a small door set in the east end. An overly-alert sentry guarded it. Perhaps he had heard that the Shin-endigh were on base. He was careful to move only when the guard was looking in the opposite direction, even though the shadows seemed to cloak him. The light tended to hamper infravision, but it did not totally blind it.
Once he was close enough, he realized that all but the loudest noises would be masked by the fans and the sounds coming from within. Muffled grunts and screeching could be heard coming from somewhere inside. The sounds made his ear hair twitch. Whatever was in there was extremely dangerous. That made it imperative that he find out what it was, since the elves were planning on using it against the Dwarven Kingdom.
Apparently the elves felt that the security of the outer wall, and the confidentiality of the bases location was enough. He could see no security other than the guards at the entrances to the building. The fan farthest away from the guard was the most logical insertion point. Moving silently, he made his way over to it. The fan was huge, with each blade being almost three gnomes tall. The shroud that covered it was just a square box, with six louver fins mounted horizontally across it. The box itself was probably three feet deep. The system was set up so that the suction from the fan would keep the louvers fins open. If the fan stopped there would be no suction and the fins would fall closed. All of them were connected by a bar running vertically down the center, ensuring that they all moved as one. The opening between the bottom fin and the edge of the shroud was just wide enough for him to squeeze through.
Gyro wasn’t comfortable standing next to the lazily spinning fan, but he had enough room to move around. Taking a small leather bag from where it had been attached to his back of his belt, he unrolled it. Inside were several different lengths of pry-bars. He selected one of appropriate length and wedged it in so that the fins were propped in the open position. That accomplished, he turned to look at the mechanism that was powering the vent fan. It was a simple chain and sprocket design, powered by an electric motor. Snapping open the hard leather case that was fastened to the interior of his jacket, he selected one of the four small vials that were secured in the padding within. A magnetic strip was attached to one side of the vial for securing it to metal. Gyro attached it to the inside edge of the chain and stepped as far away from it as the shroud would let him. The was the pop of breaking glass as the vial was crunched between the bottom sprocket and the chain. The acid stored within ate quickly through the chain, and it rolled off the top sprocket with a muffled thud.
Gyro waited almost a full minute to make sure no one had heard the noise above the other fans and the loud screeching within. No one came to investigate, so he climbed through the opening and dropped down to the catwalk just below. He wasn’t sure what he had been expecting, but fear gripped him as he realized what the elves secret weapon was. Dragons. The entire building was lined with stalls and filled with dragons.
They were all young ones, and each one had a saddle strapped firmly between it’s shoulders. There was no doubt as to their purpose. Gyro Lash stood there with his mouth hanging open as the implications of it hit him. If they managed to tame these dragons enough for elves to ride them, that would give them the whole sky to fight from. It would severely cripple the dwarves ability to stop their advance. It might totally obliterate it. With the capability of flight they wouldn’t have to face their ground forces. They could just fly up and drop bombs on them. He had to report this as quickly as possible. If they were going to be airborne by the end of the month, then time was swiftly running out for all of Alongrid!
Gyro Lash had never been accused of being a very cautious gnome. As a matter of fact, it was his long list of infractions that had earned him his place on the Decisive Elven Assessment Detail, or D.E.A.D. list. The list was almost a running joke in the dwarven military, but only if you had a dark and morbid sense of humor. It was the job of the operatives working on the D.E.A.D. list to recon elven troop positioning and to gather any intel that the dwarven military might find useful in it’s war with the Elven Nation. But the D.E.A.D. list carried a dual meaning, and if you were caught behind enemy lines you would find out the second one.
No one really could remember who started the war. It’s beginnings were lost somewhere in history. It didn’t really matter. Gyro knew what evil the elves were capable of. He had seen it up close as he was scouting around their internment camps for their sacrifices. He had seen them using the blood of the so called inferior races to power their demonic magic. It was enough to turn the stomach of even the most dishonest citizen of the Dwarven Kingdom. So the war was necessary, and Gyro took his part in it just as seriously.
He watched from his location, about thirty feet above the ground in the saddle of a Y-branched tree, until the elven guard pacing the wall of the fort in front of him passed out of sight. Flipping a switch that was mounted on his left bracer he activated the miniature metal crossbow that was attached there. The crossbow arms sprang open with a click, and the dark haired gnome took aim and fired at the wall that was slightly lower than his own position. The small barbed bolt sprang across the gap, trailing the thread of cable that spooled out from the bracer. Gyro smiled in grim satisfaction as it embedded itself in the mortar between two of the bricks that made up the wall, right where he had been aiming. Gyro unfastened the bolt that was secured between the crossbow and his bracer. Running the short bar that had also been attached to the bracer through the eye of the bolt, he ‘corkscrewed’ it into the tree. Detaching the cable from the spool, he ran it through the ‘eye’ of the bolt, securing it tightly between the wall and the tree.
This was Gyro’s third trip behind the elven lines, and it had been the hardest of all of them. It was usually gnomes that got assigned to the D.E.A.D. list because it was easier for a gnome to conceal himself, and Gyro was the best of the best. It had taken him a month to get here, traveling by night and hiding during the day. According to all the maps he had seen, this compound wasn’t even supposed to be here. As he swung out onto the cable, the bar slipped from it’s place on his bracer and disappeared into the darkness below. Gyro held his breath, waiting to see if the distant clang drew the attention of any guards.
A full minute passed before he managed to talk himself into continuing. Swinging his legs up, he crossed his ankles above the cable and began inch-worming his way across the open space between the tree and the wall. He barely made it into the shadows as the door opened and two elven sentries emerged.
“So how long before the first trials?” They were speaking elvish, but Gyro spoke it fluently and had no problem understanding them.
“The Director is saying another three months, but the Kennon-delch is pushing him. I would guess that the trials will be moved up.”
“If that car that arrived today was carrying Shin-endigh I expect we will have riders airborne by the end of this month.”
“The Shin-endigh have a way of motivating people.”
“As long as I don’t hafta do nuthin’ but walk.” Jeb nodded.
“Let’s get to it then. We have a good ways to go.”
They led Orin into the Commander’s tent, still shackled by wrist and ankle. He was escorted to the solitary chair in the center of the tent and forced to sit. Commander Thanto Veesal sat behind his desk absorbed in the report in front of him. His face was blank, and unreadable as he looked over the gold-rimmed spectacles at Orin. The investigation had been done quietly. It was beyond imagination that a dwarf would be helping the Elven Nation. Much less a Phoenix Guard.
“Do you realize what a stir you’ve created, soldier?”
“I dinna ask th’ bloody elf ta save me, Commander.”
“Still sticking with your story eh?”
“Tis th’ truth.” Orin spit. “Regardless o’ wot anybody sez.”
“Leave us.” Commander Veesal waited for the guards to file out before sighing and taking his spectacles off. He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose, holding that position almost long enough for Orin to think he had fallen asleep. “Your story checks out. We recovered some documents from the elf’s courier bag that bear out your story.”
“Then take these bloody chains off’n me!”
“Calm down, soldier. I have a proposition for you, first. You see, now we have a slight problem, and you are in a unique position to help us, son.”
“We know that supposedly there is a faction of elves that don’t agree with what their government is doing. We know they may be ready to join our cause. We just don’t know where they are or how to contact them.”
“It could all be some kind of elaborate trap. We’re not sure yet. We’ve had some of the Gnomish Intelligence Agency deciphering the documents that scout of yours was carrying. So far it hasn’t given us many leads.”
“Beggin’ yer pardon, sir, but I still dinna see where I ken help.”
“One of the documents was a map. There were several locations marked on it. They seemed to be important, but we don’t know why just yet.”
“Yer still a pourin’ wit’out a mug, sir.”
“The higher-ups want you to go on a special assignment for them.”
“Meaning you go covert. A stealth operation. The trial goes through as a cover story. With all the rumors floating around, no one will question it. You will be offered amnesty in return for your resignation. Only on paper.”
“An’ then wot?”
“Then we ship you out to one of the locations on that map. You will be stationed there without anyone’s knowledge. You will work independently of the military. I’ve seen your records. You’re qualified for this, son.”
“An’ wot is it I’m supposed ta be doin’?”
“The higher-ups believe that your elven scout was going to these locations for reasons that may be extremely important to the future of the war. IF there is an elven underground, it wouldn’t hurt for us to have a bargaining chip on the table. You are to go there and investigate anything you deem might be important to an elven resistance. If you find anything, take appropriate measures to secure it and report back to us.”
Orin was quiet while he thought over the implications. He would be leaving the Phoenix Guard in disgrace. Dishonored, even if only on paper. That would be a heavy burden to bear. He wouldn’t be able to tell anyone. His brothers-in-arms would spit on his name. Could he handle that for the greater good of the Dwarven Kingdom? Commander Veesal could see he was struggling with the decision.
“I know where your loyalties lie, son, but just think of what the might of the Dwarven military would be backed up by elven magic. It could turn the tide of the war. We might actually be able to go on the offensive. Take the fight to them.”
He knew the Commander was right. It was still a lot to ask of one soldier.
“If’n I do this, where will I be goin?”
“I can’t tell you that unless you accept the mission. I’m sorry.”
“Fine. I’ll do wot I can, sir.”
“I knew we could count on you, son. Your new assignment will be a long way from the Front Line. It’s a small dwarven city, but it is civilization. You’re going to be the next Captain of the Watch in a little place called Hammertown.”
“That be jes’ perfect.” He grumbled to himself under his breath. Dropping the useless ammo chain he launched himself at his nearest attacker.
The wall collapsed under the impact from his steam powered armor as Orin drove the Wendigo into it. His gauntleted fist cannoned into it, boosted by the servos in his armor. Orin was strong enough to break trees with his fists; with the extra power from the servo-assist he could crack boulders. He hammered at the Wendigo faceplate, knowing he had to take one of them down fast. A crack appeared in the seam where two of the armored plates met, and Orin focused the brunt of his assault there. The Wendigo tried unsuccessfully to block Orin’s attack as another energy blast exploded against the wall behind them, peppering them both with concrete shrapnel. Orin jammed the barrel of his steam jet into the crack he had managed to open in the Wendigo and triggered the weapon. The elven warrior screamed as he was cooked alive inside the shell of his armor. The Wendigo bucked and kicked, flinging Orin off just as the Corsair came in firing. Energy slugs slammed into the Wendigo where Orin had straddled it just moments before. As the metal turned to slag under the magical energy, the screams from inside it stopped.
The ‘low water’ alarm bell sounded in Orin’s armor, nearly deafening him. He must have pinched a coolant line or sprung a leak somewhere. His boiler-pack had dropped into the reserve tanks. That left him without his steam jet or his chain-gun. Picking up a chunk of the rubble that was strewn about, he flung it at the faceplate of the elven Corsair. The elf inside knew the projectile couldn’t hurt him through his suit, but it is reflex to flinch when something is thrown at your face. The Corsair jerked to the side, and Orin charged into it, making the fight close-quarters where he would at least have a chance. Or so he thought.
As his first punch connected, lightening flared. All of his display bulbs exploded at once as electricity shot through his suit. Glass shrapnel stung his face and blood mixed with the sweat running down his cheek. The discharge had flung he sideways and he had landed facedown with his back to the Corsair. Blinking away the dirt and sweat, he tried to roll over. Everything seemed so sluggish.
With a creak and a groan the armor finally passed the pivot point where the weight he had been pushing against was now pulling him along. He flopped over with a clang. Rain poured into his open faceplate from a missing section in the roof and Orin began to laugh uncontrollably. All this jes’ ta drown. He continued trying to sit up even though he knew there was no way he would have time to do anything. Any moment the Corsair was going to end his life. But the end didn’t come.
Orin clambered to his feet to find the Corsair aiming it’s deadly Energy Slug Gauntlets at him. It stood, unmoving, surrounded by a white nimbus of light. The light grew brighter and Orin became aware of the sound of metal groaning under pressure. Suddenly the Corsair armor collapsed in on itself with the sound of tortured metal. The light vanished leaving nothing but a twisted smoldering hull leaking blood all over the floor. The elven pilot never even had the chance to scream.
At first Orin just stood there, not quite sure what had happened. Then the elven ‘scout’ he had seen earlier stepped out from behind the Corsair’s remains. The white nimbus glow was fading from his hands and he looked as haggard as Orin felt. It took Orin a moment to realize the elf was speaking to him. He had heard the elven language before, but he couldn’t understand what the elf was saying. It was just meaningless jabber, and he said as much.
“I am sorry. My common speech is very rusty. I said; are you alright?”
“Wha..? Yes.” Orin stuttered. He had been saved by an elf!
“I think that group had been sent to intercept me. They just found you by accident.”
“Who are ye?”
“I am a friend to those that oppose the present Elven Regime. That is all I can say for now. If we…” Their conversation was interrupted by the pop of gunfire. Blood exploded from the elf’s shoulder and several red flowers blossomed across his chest. The elf jerked like a marionette with its strings tangled and then fell in a heap at Orin’s feet.
“Hold yer fire!” Orin bellowed as a dwarven musketeer dropped through the missing section of roof. Two more came through the openings behind him.
“Sir! I’ll have to ask you to power down your armor.” The musketeer that spoke aimed his rifle at the open faceplate to emphasize his request.
“Wha? Are ya outta yer bloody skull?”
“You were found talking with the enemy, Sir. I have to place you under arrest.”
“We ort ta jes’ kill’em.” One of the other two said.
“No. We’ll take him back to Crank. Let him decide what to do.” All three of the musketeers were glaring daggers at Orin. He knew there was no use in talking. They weren’t listening.
“I know ye don’t believe me, but I be innocent o’ any wrong doin’.” Orin powered his boiler pack down. Two of the dwarves helped him out of it, while the third held a rifle on him at all times. “That elf jes’ saved me life. An’ he was about ta tell me why when ye plugged him.”
“I don’t care, soldier. You can tell it to Crank.”
“At least bring th’ body. It’ll help prove me story out.”
“We don’t have the time to lug a dead elf back to HQ.”
“Then bring ‘is stuff!” Orin despaired, thinking the musketeers were going to reject even that suggestion, but the leader finally nodded in agreement.
“Sam, you collect that elf’s belongings. I’ll watch the prisoner. Jeb, you walk the armor back. Think you can handle it?”
“As long as I don’t hafta do nuthin’ but walk.” Jeb nodded.
“Let’s get to it then. We have a good ways to go.”