The Cyneweard

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Part I - Bringer of Storms :: 26

“All people, be they Animas or Humes, should be given the same fair treatment by their employers, no matter how big or small those employers are.

"The Machine is taking advantage of its work force while placing them in the most dangerous, lethal working conditions yet seen. Miners in the Whistling Plains are safer. They have a mortality frequency of just two per year or cycle, if you go by Machine time. The Machine has two deaths per week. It needs to stop.
"But we will not stop it with our fists or weapons. We will stop it with our voices, our minds, our hearts. The Union are not the enemy, they are your workforce. Listen to them."
Greer yawned at his post, hearing only the echoes from the magically amplified voice of the Union Leader named Koph. His father had positioned him far away from the main dais upon which the Union's head honcho was speaking, in the shadow of a dilapidated inn that had long since seen its last patron.
The planning had been hasty. A quickly rebuilt dais placed in the district's main square, a hundred or so chairs, a couple of alchemists to handle the acoustics, and a dozen or so Sigil Protectors from the Sash district along with the Union Leader's personal protection detail. And here he was, stuck guarding a spot where not a thing would happen.
Koph continued saying the right things, over and over, to louder and louder cheers from most of the audience. Greer could see a few audience members frowning and shaking their heads. He assumed those were Machinists but couldn't tell. He had never mixed with that lot a bunch and found them to be dour companions. Something about that place sucked the life from the average person. The affect was greater on the Foremen tasked to keep the place running smoothly. Only a few of them made it to their positions unscathed with personalities in tact. Most were militant assholes.
Greer yawned again. The leader droned on and on in his own perky way. When would this end?
The thump made him turn. He found himself face to face with a madman. Greer reached to his holster but found no slugthrower there. He looked down, and then back at the man that had landed behind him. His sidearm's handle was fast approaching his face. He wasn't going to dodge this.
He woke up to screams, shouting, and finally, a gunshot.
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