(Following the events in the Forge, while Eagle lie collapsed)
Flames. Endless Flames. Rolling for several hundred yards, nothing but flames. As vision cleared, He could see the battlefield once more.
Eagle stood in command of his troops, two hundred fifty of the finest warforged in the Mror Holds. With the outer defense breached, the charge sounded, and the battle was joined.
For his men, the fight would not last long. The Band of the Steel Hand was known for their ruthless efficency in fighting, and the Five Nations needed a victory here.
"Forward, Brothers of Steel. Leave not one fighting man or woman alive. Slay all who resist. Leave the innocents and civilians. We have no quarrel with them." An audible humming came up from the forged, and they marched on the city, easily brushing past defenses that would have crushed three times their number of regulars.
True to their reputation, the fight was quick. They crippled the city, leaving the merchants, women and children. Gathering at the center of the city, the Band counted numbers.
"Lord d'Kundarak, five have fallen inert beyond repair. Two are gravely injured, and a couple dozen minor injuries."
Eagle's face became like stone. "Send for the medics. Bring me to those that are injured. Gather the fallen. Their burial will be done with highest honor."
As the Band set to work, tending the wounded and fallen, the day progressed without incident. Funerals were given, goodbye's said, and camp was made for rest till the next day.
At the campfire that night, Eagle received a message on his buzzing box, and the soldiers tensed. More orders, the thought ran through their mind, and many drew blades and sharpening stones, tirelessly preparing for the next battle.
With a hand raised, the dwarf indicated for them to stop their sharpening. Most stood in confusion, but Eagle looked up to those near him and beamed with apparent joy; something they had not seen in three years time.
"Brothers of Steel, Rest well this night. When we wake in the morning, We make for home. It would seem that we are being rewarded for our "good deeds" by being given the next month at home."
Voices of joy began to break out, and what at one time looked to be a well oiled fighting force, broke down into joyus laughter and celebration. What once looked like battle hardened warriors, now had the appearance of several scores of halfling children at play. All night they sang, danced and drank to their fortune.
(one month later)
Eagle is moving about his sanctum, and preparing for his eventual departure. In one week and a day, the unit would have new orders and the grim business of fighting in this Last War, as it was being called now, would soon come to meet them once again.
After gathering his things, he teleported back to the Hold proper. There was much to do and not enough time to prepare. In his rush, he bumped into his brother, Thorin d'Kundarak. With a start he stammered, "I.. I'm sorry, brother. I am trying to finish the business I have here before heading back ou..."
"Calm yourself, my brother. Come, our Lord has much to discuss with us." He led the way to the main hall, and Eagle followed, not sure what was going on.
As they entered, They saw the High Lord Barrow d'Kundarak, Leader of the Mror Holds and Grand Thane of House Kundarak. "Good, Thorin and Darius. I need a moment with you both. Clear the hall." Servants and guards left their places and shuffled out, until only three were left in the Hall. "I had hoped that we could have done this on better terms, Darius, but actions must be taken now. As of today, your Band is dissolved, and your machines to be deactivated. It has come to my attention that some of your forged have accosted one of the Banking Clan's major outposts, and I will not allow that any more. I have already given the word, and the deed should be done soon. As for your posit..."
"NO! I will not allow you to harm my men. They are not simple devices that can be switched on and off when you wish to. They are living creatures, even more so that the Golems that guard the vaults."
"Enough. I will hear no more. You will..."
"I WILL NOT BE SILENT ANY LONGER!! You have always called my brothers machines, steel shells and other such names. You have derided me from the outset for choosing to command them in battle. Yet you never once complained when the victory you so desprately needed was snatched from defeat. And Now, you seek to murder over two hundred of my friends, my Brothers because they caused a little trouble at a Bank?"
"You walk a dangerous line, Darius. You have already slighted the House by taking up a fool's life of arcane wizardry. I will not tolerate another one now. Why do you care so much for those rust buckets anyway? They are Killing machines. The ones you command are too risky to leave to roam around. You know that I do not have great animosity to the forged, but those that you command..."
Eagle's eyes glossed for a moment, and lost focus as a single thought came to him. (Darius, my Lord, they are trying to kill us. Help, pleeeaaaasssssseeee....)
"NO!!!!" without thought, he hissed a few reptilian words, and was gone from the chamber.
Flames. Endless Flames. For hundreds of yards, nothing but the Flames. There lie the forms of countless forged on the ground, wrecked and leaking oil. Cores lie shattered on the ground, heads split in half, severed limbs lie everywhere.
Eagle's rage overflowed. His anger released, and he would not be stopped. Those that had done the deed stood over the field, laughing and bartering away items that had been taken from the slain. Without thought, his body roared in flames, consuming his clothing. He began to weave the flames around him, forming them into balls and rays, hurling them at those who had murdered his bretheren. By the dozens they fell, but his anger would not relent. He heard a noise behind him, and turned. Lost in his fury, he did not see the handful of forged that had survived, and by that time it was too late. Flames issued forth, and melted away the forged that stood before him. From his left he saw three figures move towards him, and he began to weave, but then it changed. He felt a rush of power, and then a brilliant flash of light, as a mark erupted into being on his body. The dragonmark, he thought, but I don't have..., unless it is...
As his thoughts trailed off, a handful of Dwarves behind him gasped. "Lord Darius has the Syberis mark. But how, he was said to be devoid of the mark's power?" And with that sound, Eagle whirled on them, and channeled the mark's power. A shimmering plane of multicolored light erupted into being, touching all of them, and they either fell, became stone, burned alive, or simply vanished. "I WILL NOT LET YOU HURT THEM!!! NOT MY BROTHERS!!! I WILL PROTECT THEM ALL!!!" His fury subsided to a dull anger, and in his haste looked around. The bodies of those forged he had just melted, and well as the dwarves, brought a new stench to his nose.
"NO!! NOT THIS!" He rushed forward, grabbing Swordarm, his first liutenant. His broken and melted body lie on the ground, and Eagle wailed in a gutteral cry of mourning. He frantically reformed his body, passing electricity into the core and body, trying to ignite the core, but nothing worked. He had killed his own best friend by his own hand. For what seemed like days, Eagle cursed as Onatar for the misfortune that had fallen upon him, that his brothers had fallen by his own hand. He cursed the Thane of the Holds, that he exacted such a high price for simple mischief, and found fell to his knees.
As he looked to the ground, he found the silver dagger that he had once given Swoardarm when he first met him. A good luck charm, he once said, to banish the evils of the battlefield away. As long as he held onto it, he would always return home. Darius reached down and plucked up the dagger, and made for a killing strike, plunging the dagger through his own heart.
But it never fell. He felt a hand holding him back, and looked down at the bleeding and broken nody of Swordarm. "Brother, take not your own life. You have spared us a miserable death. Those dwarves were not deactivating us, they dissected us like machines. You have granted us an honorable end that is fitting of us. Until we see you again, in Onatar's great Forge." And with that, the forged gave out, losing his spark of life.
Eagle's face twisted, grief meeting anger, sorrow, revenge, hatred and helplessness. He gave out a primal cry, and stopped only when he thought he would pass out from lack of breath. Taking the dagger in hand, he dipped it into Swordarm's oil, and then slashed his left hand open.
"This I swear, by my blood, mixed with the oil of my Brothers of Steel. I will not let another of your kind die, so long as I live. Even to trade my own life for one of you, I will gladly pay that price. This I swaer to you, Juryrig. Now and forev..."
Wait. Juryrig? Who's Juryrig, came a thought to his mind. Then he remembered. The Psiforged. The house. Varro and Uxor. Dalharil. Juryrig, must fix Juryrig..., cannot let... him... die...
Sitting up, Eagle looked around, and got his bearings. The with speed not his own, he bolted out the door, and down to the room where Juryrig was being repaired.