The Cyneweard

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Part I - Bringer of Storms :: 11

"No more lies! No more lies!"

Parton had to admit, the cadence was spot on. The loudest protester was rather cute too. He'd have to get her name later.

He had shown up unannounced to the service for the now fifty four souls that had been lost in the script store bombing. That had gotten the rabble rousers going with their stupid chant. The reaction had been expected but was still to be savored, especially the dumbfounded gawp he had drawn out of Watcher Wilcox.

Holy Elder Guerre was going on and on about returning to the soil and the love of the great mother and yaddy yaddy ya. Whatever. Parton had faith in one thing: power. It was time to wield it.

As he stepped up on the makeshift wooden dais, the chants from the Unionizers lined up against one side of the street grew even louder. He held up his hands, waving to them with a mocking grin pulling at his lips. Numerous boos sounded. Guerre stepped to the side, giving the President of the Machine's Board room to step up.

Parton looked out onto the see of angry, shocked, and sallow faces, now flanked by foremen and guards. Though the sun was shining and the smoke from the stacks was billowing over some other district, there was a remarkable cloudiness to the proceeding here. He imagined it had something to do with all the death. During the war he had gotten used to the presence of death and had, like Wilcox, grown immune to its heartstring-pulling. So he offered the besodden bunch a large smile and took in a large breath.

"Friends," he began, his voice bouncing off of the many shop fronts and homes, echoing back to him on delay. "Fellow Workers. We have borne witness to a despicable act. The culprits were desperate to make a mark on our local economy, our spirits, and our work ethic. But we are stronger and braver than they can imagine. We will not be bullied by those out there that have turned their backs on the community, our brotherhood, and our ways. Nothing will stop this great Machine that drives our ever-forward moving progress.

"I ask that you remain strong. That your work ethic not drop. That you continue to report Union activity to your supervising forma-"

He leaned to the right as what appeared to be a shoe came flipping for his head. His eyes trailed it as it landed with a thud on an empty bench.

His ears picked up one sharp, shrill, breaking voice from the crowd and tried to pick out its source.

"Lies! The Machinists are the ones who used that magic!"

It was a young Hume, tousle-haired, lithe, and dressed in a grey coverall. What a stupid young man.

"The Machinist Group vehemently deny such alligations. I suggest you sit down and evaluate what you have done, young man," replied Parton.

"Fuck you. And your lies."

More voices started to join the young Unionizer's shouting. It all blended together for Parton. His ears started to ring. Not again, he thought. Not here.

"Someone needs to teach him a lesson!" Parton heard the boy shout as the pain in the back of his head started to burn down between his shoulder blades. He backed up from the edge of the dais and into the cradling arms of two guards.

It all happened to fast for Parton. Between the surging pain and the chaotic noise, he saw mere flashes of what happened next.

FLASH

The boy had made it up on the dais.

FLASH

His guards sprang into action.

FLASH

Watcher Wilcox was running up to the dais, trying to climb up.

FLASH

A guard slams the boy to the ground.

FLASH

A woman screams a name and starts running for the platform.

FLASH

Multiple blows from his guards land square onto the boy's young face.

FLASH

The Sigil, the Union, and the majority of his guards are sparring. He's being dragged away, his feet useless to hold his weight.

FLASH

Someone's crying. Loud. It hurts his ears. His vision is blocked by a ring of guards. They're protecting him.

FLASH

"He's dead!" he picks out of the chaotic noise around him.

FLASH

A sea of legs parts. He sees the once youthful face of a teenage Hume boy, now mangled. The eyes stare out at him in accusation. There is no light behind them.

FLASH

Wilcox's face in his. He's saying something. Can't hear it.

FLASH

He's being lifted into a steamcart. He hears its bubbling engine whining to life. A woman is sobbing in the distance. It's a hard cry, a death wail. A familiar sound.

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