Well, this isn't really related, more than being set in the same world. I'm not even sure I really like this piece myself but tried some new things and would be interested in any views on it. Enjoy!
EDIT: The Megablocks parts are of course meant to be the H-word
And there he goes again, slips away, disappears. She sighs, deeply, feels a distinct taste of blood as she heaves her chest, as she breathes in, breathes out; carefully touches her left side, the sharp edges of her torn armour, the soaking clothing beneath, the marred skin, schorched flesh and tirelessly pumping veins. A bitter grimace of pain, but no sound, she’s far beyond that; contemplates her hand, the bloodied fingers, far too bloody; maybe she’ll die this time?
She had thought so once before, lying in a pool of mud and blood, her comrades in piles around her, her limp Lover with empty eyes staring up at her pained face; long ago, in another life, the Great War they call it now; she had been burned by the hell-fire machines of the Stunted People, so had her comrades, so had her Lover. No, there were no empty eyes frozen in time staring up at her, there were but two black holes in what had once been the most beautiful face she had ever laid her gaze upon. And there she lay, shrieking in grief as well as bodily pain, asking why she hadn’t died as well, why her heart would keep on for yet a few minutes, just to give her time to savour their destruction, their defeat. But then, just then, amid the splashing of the unforgiving rain, the thundering of the unholy machines, the death shrieks, the war cries, there was the sound of two feet lightly treading the mud beside her, there came into view two slender legs, kneeling, a mane of coppery hair, two penetrating eyes catching her gaze, a vaguely smiling mouth.
‘Not yet’, the thin lips whispered, ‘not yet.’
And she felt the pain go away, she felt the gentle touch of the coppery-haired woman, she felt her wounds close.
She stands, she wipes her bloodied hand, she picks up her long, thin-bladed sword.
Not yet, she can’t die just yet.
For there he goes, slips away, disappears; only a vague shadow amidst the barren hills now, the fledgling dragon flying on one side, that strange halfling fellow struggling to keep up on his other; there he goes, like a good son he follows her orders.
She lets him go, lets the shadow disappear among the hills, turns back to the present, to the immediate, clutches the hilt of her sword. Everything however, is silence, for the moment. She contemplates the machine that might have been her bane, with disgust she sees the dead Stunted Man who sits inside it, or perhaps is fused with it, his crazed, disturbed face cloven by her sword. It’s still crackling, the thing
, still showing traces of an artificial kind of life, its blade aglow, occasionaly, like a dying ember, flaming up with a bright fire; the blade that nearly tore her apart from hip to shoulder, the fire that in such an eerie way reminds her of that old pain, of those scars that never really stopped itching, despite the healing hands of Ravīja.
That name is legend to most, a goddess to some, had so been also to her, before they met.
Ravīja Uniter, Ravīja Fist of the Gods, Ravīja Beloved of the Fey, Ravīja Mistress of Beasts.
Ravīja of the Healing Hands she’d always remain to her, Ravīja of the Ruby Eyes, Ravīja of the Serene Voice. Wounds closed she held her hands, helped her to her feet, whispered in that fey tone:
‘What is your name?’
And ‘Širīna’ she answered, meeting the seemingly shining red eyes that betrayed the draconic heritage within.
‘Will you walk with me, Širīna?’ she asked then, Ravīja of the Serene Voice, ‘will you walk with me, to the end, if that’s the will of the gods?’
Of course she would, but the end didn’t come, didn’t then, didn’t for her.
But maybe today. Maybe the still crackling, broken machine before her feet. She kicks one of its legs aside, a last look over her shoulder confirming that he’s gone now, her son; continues past the thing
, limps on, eyes set on the opening in the rock some hundred feet away; there will be more, that she knows, but they won’t pass her, that she knows as well, not just yet, not until her son is safe, not as long as she stands.
‘I need you to take His Guard down, can you do that for me?’ she asked, Ravīja of the Serene Voice, and what could she do but nod, Širīna who had left her home, hearth and newborn son to fight for the survival of her people, Širīna who had minutes ago seen her beloved burned beyond recognition? She knew Him, she knew Him to be the King of the Stunted People, and she knew His Guard, she knew them by the legends, by the stories that the veterans had told her.
‘They simply won’t die’, he had mused, that old sorcerer of the name Gavatī, and he had held her gaze from the other side of the camp-fire, the red flames illuminating his face, showing every scar upon his stern features, ‘they simpy won’t die.’
But now they would, for she couldn’t let Ravīja down, not Ravīja of the Ruby Eyes, forging an eternal bond between the two of them, just through those very eyes. And they were on the move.
Like a shadow they swirled through the battlefield, seen by no one, heard by no one, like a wind they passed rank upon rank, warrior upon warrior, machine upon machine, higher and higher, closer and closer, the big, belching, wagon of the King looming ever nearer, ever bigger before them; but they weren’t alone, the wind grew stronger and stronger, the shadow larger and larger, she felt light caresses of fur about her legs, she saw vague shapes around her, she heard growls and howls, yes, Ravīja Mistress of Beasts she was called.
But today, this day below the unforgiving sun Širīna stands alone. She hears the clanks, the creaks, the thundering, the belching, she smells the smoke, she makes out their voices, their battlecries, hurries towards the opening, doesn’t feel the taste of blood in her mouth, doesn’t feel the broken ribs puncturing her intestines, wouldn’t care if she did; must get there first, must stop them from getting out, flies once again like a wind upon the rocky hills.
And the shadow fell, they were there, the skies rained fire upon Ravīja’s command; panthers leapt, tigers roared, the wagon crumpled and suddenly they were everywhere, the Stunted People, His Guard, shooting flames, heaving heavy axes. She followed Ravīja as a shadow, she lashed out, she were her living shield; never saw their faces, saw nothing but masks of iron cruelly grinning, but there was flesh beneath, there was blood, she felt the flesh, saw the blood as her enchanted sword clove their armour. Yes, they would die, they simply would die and killing them was just so simple in that moment, was the only thing she could do to deafen the grief.
Lights in the cave, flickering fires, blinking lanterns, they’ll be over her soon; she pants, clutches her side once again, knows that she has lost far too much blood by now but the flickering fires come ever nearer, she grits her teeth, deafens the pain again, summons a picture of her grown up son before her eyes, the long lost son, yes, she will fight for him, she must, just as she fought for Ravīja, but this time it’s the other way around, this time she will die the heroic death.
Just like Ravīja, just like Ravīja of the Ruby Eyes fell from the cliff, her claws borrowed in the face of the King, his blood flowing all over her, his sword deep in her chest. She wasn’t there to save her, having decapitated the last Guard she dashed to the ravine, looked upon the two limp shapes down at the bottom; felt the careless rain, cried, wailed, but to what purpose? All was still, all was silent, she alone had survived.
Bullets whistle past her, fires burn but she’s all too fast, too fast still; she dances her last dance with these Stunted Men and their clumsy machines, she cuts, she kicks, she jumps, she laughs, she cries out in joy for finally her time has come, for finally she shall join Ravīja of the Ruby Eyes in the Heavens. Bullets whistle past her, bullets tear her, bullets strike her down. She pants, she coughs, she laughs yet again at the blood coming out of her mouth, her
blood, knowing that her
blood will go on, knowing that it’s her
blood that she has saved; smiling as the axes come down on her, as the hell-fire machines pump their lead into her flesh, regretting only that she never told him, never let him know that he had a mother, that he had a mother to look after him till the very end.
"Hinc satis elucet maiorem habere uim ad discenda ista liberam curiositatem quam meticulosam necessitatem.”
- Augustinus Hipponensis