A little something. Will it go anywhere? Who knows! Just about 500 words.
Hanna crouched at the edge of the cliff. The wind whipped her black curls across her face.
“This is unfortunate,” she said. She wiped black blood from her sword on the grass and stood.
Dren grunted, removed his axe from the tuatha’s throat. “We’ll have to get a new engineer, I guess.”
Behind them, the Bulwark towered above the treetops, lifeless, its breached cockpit flayed open by the pack of tuatha that had, minutes previous, hurled the machine’s pilot over the edge of the cliff. The Bulwark still stood in mid-stride, one leg and arm swing ahead of the rest. Smoke drifted from its engines, huge barrel-shaped structures perched behind its shoulders.
“That was our trip home,” Hanna said. “We’ll have to walk the rest of the way to Avallee. Get everyone together. Get our gear out of the hulk.”
Hanna and her company was a small outfit, just six others beside herself, but they were a hardy bunch. She saw no wistful glares over the edge of the cliff, no spat curses at their misfortune. They scrambled up the legs of the Bulwark to access the cargo pods and stripped away the buckles holding their belongings to the powerful trunks of steel that had been carrying them all across the continent toward home. Without transportation, they were looking at spending another three weeks on the road, walking through dangerous territory.
“Dren, see if you can figure out how to shut down its engines,” Hanna called to her second-in-command. “Last thing we need is this thing exploding and bringing a blaze on the forest around us.”
“Check for food, while you’re in there,” said Garin, “That poor sap isn’t going to need it.” Hanna smirked; Garin was their best tracker, the one they turned to when rations became scarce. He hated hunting.
Dren clambered up to the cockpit and carefully eased himself through the jagged hole created by the tuathas’ claws. Hanna heard him poking at levers and switches. One of the machine’s arms lurched suddenly, and dropped to its side, prompting the men clinging to its legs to leap free with yelps of surprise.
“Try not to kill us all, Dren!” Hanna yelled.
They heard groans and clanks from inside the machine, and the engines hissed with a sudden release of steam. A series of loud bangs popped through the afternoon air. Dren popped his head out.
“I think that did it,” he told them. As they watched, the fires glowing inside the engines faded. Hanna’s troop climbed back onto the Bulwark, probing for any further luggage or useful supplies that might be carried.
“We just going to leave her out here?” asked Jeral. “Awful pricey piece of equipment.”
“It’s salvage now,” Hanna said. “We get back, second priority will be to get a flyer and a new engineer, get back here and bring this thing back. This time with the Hanna’s Hussars shield painted right about there.” She framed a section of its upraised arm with interlocked fingers.
“A damned shower.”