New Kingston, Pennsylvania: Troll vs. Giant
Javalonius Bierdan was like all four-year olds. He was alert, focused, intent, and carrying a beach ball. Daddy had wanted to go to the place where Grandpa had worked. It was going to open again. Grandpa said he would take Daddy. Javalonius expressed a desire to go, too. He expressed it sharply, he expressed it repeatedly, and he expressed it repeatedly with increasing sharpness.
Javalonius went, too.
Tall dark building. Icky spider webs. Grandpa walking around, pointing to this and that, Daddy nodding, looking, and Javalonius carrying his beach ball and looking for something to play with. It was a nice day for late Fall, but neither Daddy nor Grandpa would play with him. No one would until in one long low building--it was a cave, kind of, like the one in the picture books--Javalonius dropped his beach ball. It rolled down into the darkness. He looked around. Daddy and Grandpa had wandered off. It was time to cry. They shouldn't wander away like that! But then his beach ball rolled up and back to him, and he laughed, and kicked it back down into the darkness. The ball soon rolled back. He did it again, and again. And for a while, the world was perfect.
The ball rolled off to the side. He could hear a rumbling, groaning sound, and then the ball rolled back to him. Javalonius picked up the ball. There was more rumbling. Something huge and metal rolled up to him and stopped. Javalonius dropped the ball. Something long from the side of the huge metal thing slid out, and gently pushed the ball back up to him. Javalonius laughed. He had never had a playmate like this, before! It was funny.
"Hi! I'm Jav!"
Javalonius laughed. "That's a funny name! Is this your home? Are you the troll under the billy-goats' bridge?"
He got the idea that it sort of was, but neither Crawler nor Javalonius could express the complicated thought clearly. They played ball for a bit longer, the huge metal shape patiently catching the ball with the long Lightning Lance (2x)'s on its side and carefully pushing the rolling toy back up to the child. Both were happy. And then came the sound of monstrous, heavy footsteps.
Crawlersuddenly rolled forward, putting itself in between Javalonius and the approaching impacts, which were getting louder. Javalonius pouted a bit, but in the light behind Crawler he could see large shiny things that interested him. He wandered over to those while the friendly troll of Javalonius's playtime rumbled toward the approaching heavy impacts. Javalonius looked at the tools as the Crawler clattered forward up toward the opened hatch of the bunker underneath Building No. 5.
It was a huge manlike shape, looming through the fog that rose up from the cooling pond next to where Rosenwald Kingston had built his foundry and used the spring water to solidify his castings. The darkening shadow carried a long iron club. There was a sharp cracking as it destroyed a large spreading chestnut tree next to the pond from which generations of workers had taken shade and nuts.
The Crawler kept itself in between the massive form and the child, grinding upwards to squat in the mouth of the bunker and block the new arrival's passage. A huge rock came sailing through the air, shattering to pieces against the Crawler's forward armor. The Lightning Lances (2X) on the side sponsoons swung swiftly forward in response, and two immense gouts of electricity shot forth. Javalonius abandoned all thoughts of play, screamed, and crawled underneath a dust-covered welding table behind the war machine. A fragment of stone pierced the brightly-colored vinyl of Javalonius's forgotten beach ball.
The smoke from the massive electrostatic discharges cleared away. There was no reaction at all from what loomed in between the war machine, the child, and the light. The Crawler shot its bolts once more, each charge filling the air with the scent of ozone and steam boiled up from the water vapor in the air. The war machine had justified confidence in its main armament. The Kingston Lightning Lance was one of the most powerful magical weapons ever created by the hand of man--and the 2x had twice the power of the standard model. To this day, most people still thought that Billy Mitchell and bombs had sunk the Ostfriesland. Regulators and walls had vanished into clouds before the impacts of the two mounted in the Kingston Crawler's side sponsoons.
The giant stood there before the mouth of the bunker, completely unscathed. For the first time in its existence, the Crawler experienced fear, as much or more for the cowering child behind it as for itself. The giant picked up and hurled another boulder, the Crawler barely having timeto lurch into the missile's path and block the shower of its fragments before they could strike near Javalonius's huddled little form. A jagged piece of concrete next hurtled inward, to disintegrate in yet more shards when the war machine's bolts struck the onrushing missile and shattered it.
There was a deep rumbling snarl as the giant picked up its club and strode forward. The Crawler charged grimly out to meet its advance, leaving a plume of dust behind it as its treads squealed into rapid movement. The forward heavy stunners flashed repeatedly, striking the giant in the arms, one of which dropped the club just as the Crawler's momentum struck the huge being in the shins. Smoke rose from the Crawler's treads and gears as it thrust the giant backward.
A massive hand reached down, picked up the iron club, and brought it squarely down on the Crawler's empty control cupola. Sparks and shrapnel flew into the air, the sound of the struggle almost but not entirely hiding the sound of the cowering child's terrified screams.
For a moment, figuratively, if not literally, the Crawler staggered. Agony surged through it, and it missed the Friend--the human who had climbed into it and helped it fight, increasing its ability to sense and respond to threats. Falchion had ably directed its course and attacks against the Regulators back in Salem. It had won then, and afterward. The war machine longed for him, for anyone who could help it save the child. This threat was too much to overcome alone. The Crawler missed Rosenwald Kingston, its builder. It even missed Oswald, who it remembered had promised not to leave it in darkness again--but who was not here to assist it now. On this foggy late evening, the Crawler fought for its life, the life of a child, and the existence of the factory where it had been built.
Had the Crawler's mind ever sent forth a thought with more urgency?
You are afraid. What has frightened you?
Crawler was a little busy at just that moment doing its best to break the giant's leg, the full power of its motors directed just below the giant's knee as the massive club swung down and left a dent on the Crawler's starboard side. The heavy stunners flashed like warrior fireflies, sending energies into the giant's hands and eyes that slowed, but could notstop, the flurry of blows sounding against the Crawler's scarred frame. Somehow an image of the struggle got through to an elegant steam yacht floating without lights in the deep waters off of Salem, Massachusetts. Something that bore a passing resemblance to an Edison cylindrical phonograph moved deep within the Kingston Cruiser's hull.
That is a storm giant. They are immune to lightning. The Enemy must have sent it to destroy you and the Wand Works.
Some part of the Crawler rejoiced that it would be destroyed in the full knowledge of what it was fighting.
Does your main armament still function?
Keep the faith. There is a pool of water behind the giant. Here is what you must do...
Treads groaned and sparked against concrete and gravel as the war machine fought grimly on. The giant would shift and pivot to bring down the club, the Crawler would shift and shove, taking several blows just to drive its huge attacker a few more yards backwards. The Lightning Lances on the side sponsoons fired again and again into the pond even as the giant struck the war machine's body. Pieces started flying off the Crawler, system after system going black and fading from its awareness. Was the giant smiling? It had reason. Even if the metal turtle drove it into the water, the shock-sticks would not hurt it. Master had promised it rich reward for killing the turtle, for smashing the buildings and the tiny ones within them so that they could not hurt Master or interfere with Master's plans. It would be soon. The dented club swung down again...
Crawler battled desperately on. Bolt after bolt struck Rosenwald Kingston's old cooling pond, the water rising up in moist clouds as the electricity ripped its component molecules asunder. With about the last of its reserve energy the Crawler suddenly pivoted sideways with a scream of tortured metal, exposing its severely damaged flank to the giant as it blocked the door to the bunker and the child with its mutilated body.
The remaining heavy stunner swiveled wildly, fired at the giant, and missed. The monster smiled as its feet stopped at the very rim of the pond, but retreated no further. Master would be happy. It would now finish killing the turtle. It would then destroy all the buildings.
The glowing stunner bolt traveled past the giant's shoulder and into the cloud of hydrogen floating up from the pond and swirling in the oxygen-enriched atmosphere around the two combatants. There was an explosion.
"The lengths some folks will go to, just to get attention!"
Crawler was almost entirely blind, but it could still recognize Hieronymous Blazer's cracked voice, the sensations from the old engineer's footsteps moving around its awareness. The great bulk shifted slightly. It could feel a friendly hand running over the scars and rents in its armor.
"No, you killed it, whatever it was. Burned it to a crisp and knocked over a lot of stuff we can put back up again. The shop's okay. The kid's safe, too.
Now see if you can move for me."
Crawler moved. Metal scraped and squealed as the lacerated tracks rotated and thrust the mauled bulk forward.
"Good. It's not far. Follow my voice and we'll get started on fixing you up. Rosey's boy is going to flip when he hears what you were up to last night and what it's going to cost to fix you... But I think Rosey would be proud of you."
From the rent and dented metal of the Kingston Crawler came a softly growing sense of great and satisfied relief.
A Dark Lord, a war of mages. A small boy, and an aging, forgotten war machine...
lol Was this like a Bolo tank with wands!? wtf and very weak armor, nonetheless good writing and glad it had a proper Bolo outsmarts bady by using intelligence. (-;
In fact it was an intelligent WWI-era tank, a Mk. VII, with modifications, in a world very much like the Harry Potter universe. I'm so glad you two both realized that an enchanted weapon could be intelligent, brave, loving and determined... and a tank.
They see me Bolo.
'Cause they all hatin' rollin' BOLO!
'Cause they all hatin' rollin' BOLO!