Here’s a little bit of flash fiction to help establish more of the feel Heroes of Metal and Bone is intended to invoke.
The deck rocked almost imperceptively as Eloni guided the Roskilde through the debris-ridden waters of New York. A vague glow had started to fill the horizon to the east – time was running thin. I could smell the stress and apprehension of everyone on board as I paced back and forth like a trapped animal. Our resident techie Grace was tap-tapping away at her laptop in the cabin, keeping watch on the sensors. Mitch was sitting cross-legged on the roof of the tophouse, completely motionless and calm. No clue how he could do that – this morning depended on him. And the… thing we were dragging behind us.
A shape appeared in the gloom as we glided towards it. It resolved into a massive metal hand, holding a darkened torch, and covered with green patina and white bird droppings. Gulls flew off as we approached, evidently uninterested in the contents of our net. Before the Roskilde touched the statue’s hand, Eloni grabbed some ropes and knelt briefly. Underneath the massive Samoan’s tank top, what appeared to be a tattoo covering his back started to glow blue – an Uruz rune. He looked up at the torch, took a breath, and leaped the impressive distance between the deck and the torch’s balcony. The boat rocked a bit as he deftly tied it off, then rocked a bit more as he made his return trip.
Eloni looked at me (and the groove I was wearing in his deck), then Mitch, then into the cabin at Grace and her array of electronics. “Where’s Ji-Hun? He should have been back before we tied off.”
I looked up into the still-dark sky and sniffed, absentmindedly rubbing the Wolfsangel rune on my hand. “He’s pretty close. Or at least upwind. Gracie? You got more than me on this?” A giggle floated out of the cabin.
Grace hefted herself into the door frame. “You guys. He’s… right… above us. Prolly laughin’ at ev’ry word we’re sayin’.” As if on cue, there was a *thud* on the deck and a sudden shower of black feathers were everywhere, slowly settling to reveal a slender young man with unkempt raven-black hair. Ji-Hun was not laughing.
“Action time, everyone! There are three destroyer drones headed this way from the City. The dwarfs know we are here.” He was wringing his hands even as the silver Raido rune faded from his cheek.
Grace had already slammed back into her chair, pulling a console closer. “Not if I can jam the signals from those drones first!” The Thurisaz-themed screensavers on half a dozen screens blinked away as she brought up the main system. I looked at Ji-Hun and Eloni. Mitch was still completely motionless.
I sighed. “Ai. Drones over the water. You guys know I’m not good at swimming or flying, yeah? Might as well be prepared though.” My Wolfsangel flared with a red light, and I felt the lurch in my stomach that accompanied transformation.
“No, Isa. That shouldn’t be necessary.” As my paws hit the deck, I craned my neck to see Mitch standing. “We needed a way to test out old Olvaldi here.” He nodded towards the bundle bound in our fishing net. “It’s time. Eloni, release the bones.” Mitch pulled off his baggy shirt, revealing a toned physique and mastectomy scars.
Eloni and Ji-Hun worked on the netting as I paced back and forth again, this time on four legs. Eloni looked at the massive bones starting to bob to the surface. “I still don’t understand – how can you stand to be one with that thing?”
Mitch rubbed his patchy beard. “It feels more like home than my own body ever has. And… it’s how we’re gonna win this war.” He kicked his shoes and shirt off the roof onto the deck, then dived into the water. An agonizingly long moment later, a brilliant yellow glow lit up the waters beneath the Roskilde, and the floating bones started to shift and move. A skull easily the size of the tiny fishing boat lifted out of the water, red pinpoints of light shining in the empty sockets. Vertebrae clicked into place, skeletal shoulders eased up past the side of the boat, and a ribcage formed around the blinding yellow glow.
As the glow softened, and the thunderous waterfall noise of the giant emerging from the ocean died down, another sound pierced my keen ears. The drones. “They’re almost here,” I growled, hoping Mitch could hear me from inside the titan. A bony hand splurped out of the water, gave a thumbs-up, then swung through the air with surprising speed. The monstrous palm slammed into the closest drone, utterly crushing it!
A distant siren sounded to the north, raising my hackles. The robotic hulk that dominated the skyline of the sunken city of New York lit up with red and blue lights. They knew. New York’s Destroyer was active.