Part 99: Sirocco: Update 33
Sirocco's Year: Part Thirty-Three
Suddenly Pumpinglemma let out a shrill scream.
'I- I can't take it anymore! I-I've gotta go!'
Everyone stared at him. Pumpinglemma dashed out of the gatehouse before anyone could say anything. Screaming Idiot made to follow but tehsid put a hand on his chest to stop him.
'No, we can't afford to lose anyone else. We've got to wait for them to come to us. Anything else is suicide.'
'The eejit still owes me ten flutes! If he thinks dyin'll stop him from giving me what I want then he's got another thing comin'! I'M A GODDAMN PUMP OPERATOR-'
'You're a soldier,' tehsid interrupted. 'Stay where you are.'
I don't know what happened here. For some reason Pumpinglemma just suddenly ran out of the gatehouse and up the mountain away from the spawn. I can only assume he was running away.
'Hey! It's Firos! She's back!' Male Man suddenly shouted. Everyone clamoured round the bridge to see.
'She's OK! Hey! Firos! Get over here!'
But she ignored us and went back to guarding the watchtower where she sat down and brooded over her hammer, slick with the dark blood of the Spawn.
'Pumpinglemma's back,' said tehsid looking over the bridge. 'He's defending the merchants that got locked outside from a Spawn. I knew that guy was alright.'
'Where are all the others? I thought they'd be here by now,' said Syntax! walking to tehsid's side.
'I... I think they're running away!'
At once we all cheered and threw our helmets in the air. Screaming Idiot and a merchant started dancing a jig right there on the spot. I smiled.
The happy Syrupleaf I've grown to know and love all these years... it was here again. Why did they run away? Who knows? Personally, I think they found a certain... something near the gazebo that spooked them. Will they be back? Almost certainly. But this time it'll be on their own terms... not just rats in a cage.
That makes them more dangerous than ever.
That night we drank, we sang, we danced, and regaled each other with tales of heroism, of tragedy, and of times yet to come.
I love Syrupleaf.
Bobbin Threadbare wrote :-
Glancing quickly through the room to ensure my solitude, I stepped hastily to the coat Boborachi had left upon the wall. I checked the pocket I had seen him slip the device into, and retrieved its contents. Beyond the silver item, the pocket also contained one of the octagonal Parasol markers which had become a familiar sight to me in the past months. I decided to keep both, but I soon realized a problem. What if the Weskerdwarf were to notice the missing item? Surely he would feel the difference in weight if he were to check his pocket, and I would need as much time as I could grasp if I were to understand this device. I did not have much on my person, needing to run silently as I did, but when I checked my own pockets, I discovered to my surprise that I had not left behind my rock pick after I finished work earlier that evening. Noting that its handle was approximately the same size and roundness as the Time Reversal Mechanism, I set it in the pocket to take the time manipulator's place. As the light was far too dark to see such things, I could only hope at the time that this pick did not have my name etched into it.
After I reached the dining room, I took a closer look at the cylinder with which I had absconded. It was a strange construction, made of pure silver with bands of silver and no menacing spikes of any sort. A red band carried over half of the object near one end. As I manipulated the object, my hand accidentally touched a hidden catch, and more of the object sprang out from the end! Now I could see the controls of the strange object. Various tiny gears seemed to select different time metrics, such as minutes, hours, and days. I refrained from touching the large button which seemed to activate the item; I did not want to undo what progress I had made. Instead, placing the two items back in my pocket, I decided to write another message to Sirocco, who had turned out to be an unexpectedly competent overseer. Perhaps I could send him a new message, one that hinted at my progress. I still could not trust his association, but as he was one of the dwarves most inquisitive about the Event, I was now more secure about sharing my discoveries with him.
But then, disaster! Sirocco was far more competent than I had imagined, and was awaiting my next message! Although it took a speed only terror could have driven me to approach, I escaped his view with both my life and, I believe, my secrecy intact. But as I reached again for my pocket, my heart dropped into my stomach as I realized that both the Parasol icon and the silver cylinder had fallen out. At some point earlier in the day, the pick I stored had burrowed a hole into the fabric, and in the heat of escape both items fell out without my notice. Doubling back some hours later confirmed my suspicions: Sirocco had found the TRM and the icon. I could only pray then that he was not on the side of my enemies.