Cadwallon militia automaton Material : High quality metal cast. Another rotten day in Cadwallon. Three militiamen dead already. More than enough to Sergeant Vilo’s tastes, new recruits were hard enough to find these days. What had begun as a decent day in the Free City was turning out to be a nightmare. ? Why ?! Why that moron of Crimolin had to pee, now of all time ?! He couldn’t wait to empty his blatter ? ? swore the sergeant in his breath as a bullet flew past his head. This dumb kwack has seen six hooded men getting in the garden and rushing to the house of this rich dwarf jeweller, Master Prinaud or something. ? What a stupid move it was for him to raise his head instead of keeping a good look at his business… He would still have clean boots and his head, and I’d be in my office reading boring reports and sipping coffee. ? thought Vilo. A new bullet whistled and a piece of the pillar which protected Vilo burst. For thieves, they were equipped with a veritable arsenal. Nobody dared to try an approach because although they fired little, damn, they knew how to shoot, those buggers. Reinforcements would be there soon, Sergeant Vilo hoped in the depths of his heart as a new bullet took another piece of the stone pillar. A buzzing noise started to be heard and footsteps echoed with a mechanical pace from the nearby street. An massive militiaman larger than any human could be but not as square-built as a Khaurik turned the corner. He was wearing a heavy full-plate armor, and walked straight towards the militiamen taking cover behind the pillars. Three shots were fired and ricocheted on his metal body without the latter giving them the slightest notice. He turned his head to Vilo. Made of bronze and polished steel, he stood to attention in front of the sergeant and saluted. A noise like an empty saucepan rang as the militiaman’s hand hit his helmet. ? Empty this house from this band of cowards! No quarters! ? yelled the sergeant as bullets kept flying. The militiaman nodded and drew his warhammer, with his shield held before him he started to walk, the heavy fire not slowing him down. The sergeant looked at the big key turning slowly on his back. The spring and steam mechanism animated this militiaman. With him, no thinking, no fear and no scruples. The technology developed by Dwarves of Tir-Na-Bor was exceptional, but rare and expensive. The automaton was a precious gift, offered a long time ago by a noble dwarf to an old Lieutenant-General after having saved his life and the lives of his family from the assault of two rabid Wolfen. All this happened well before Vilo enlisted in the city watch. The automaton rarely left the barracks for his help was invaluable, but strangely he intervened whenever a dwarf had problems. The firing rate increased, bullets ricocheting off the metal body, barely slowing down the automaton’s pace. He arrived at the door of the building and slammed his hammer on it, four blows were enough to break it down and allow it to enter. The first cries quickly echoed. Vilo and his men rose up. He walked toward the house slowly but with assured steps. The automaton wasn’t one to leave things hanging, no survivors, no compassion, no feelings. Vilo saw it stepping out the threshold, its warhammer bloodied. The automaton saluted his fellow militiamen with a nod and went away with the small noise of grinding wheels. Vilo watched his key turning faster now than when it arrived … No time to hang around, the mechanism would soon stop. Short story by Daniel Schaeffer.
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