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Iron Quill- The Clockwork Giant - A Chain of Clockwork


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There are many things I dislike in this world. The obvious would be witches and monsters. Ice in whiskey. Cold coffee.

Floor meeting my face.

Landing in a singed pile of equipment and bruised limbs, I heard myself groan as my head smacked into the ground, which caused the world to dim for a moment. I scrambled to my feet as fast as I could, and the bolt of arcane rage somehow grazed the one part of my features that was not scarred. I stifled the yell, and twisted to hide behind a huge gear.

Yes, gear. It was interlaced with other mechanical bits, the constant tock, tock, tock of the monstrous clock tower blocking out the footfalls of my adversary. This was likely one of the reasons she chose to run here before beating me into a bloody pulp.

“You know,” I called out “you could still surren-“

I was rudely interrupted as a bang echoed above me.

I jerked my head up, and saw smoke rising from a cogwheel before it broke loose and plummeted towards me. I tumbled out of the way, wood splintered as the metal landed. It sent me spiraling down the menagerie of moving parts and pistons. I landed on another wheel, the slow spin allowed me time to roll to a stable surface. I stayed there, trying to keep my breathing down. There was then musical laughter, loudly mocking above the clanking pandemonium.

“Is this all the Guild has to offer?” she called out coyly. “You make a better jester than witch hunter.”

I felt the retort rising, but kept it down. In a fair one-on-one duel she had the home advantage. That and her brand of magic was rather straight forward-holy-malifaux-kill-you type compared to my much more subtle incantations. I got to my feet and tried my best to hide in the shadows between the giant cogs in motion.

“What, no more threats? No jokes?” she sang. Her voice carried between the maddening noise around me. This made it impossible to fully pick out where she was next.

Then I had a thought.

I snatched for my Guild sigil and snapped the chain. There was a brief pause as I realized the light in the room had gotten brighter and warmer.

Then suddenly I was in the air.


In panic I reached out with my free hand and grabbed another landing, acrid smoke still in my nostrils. With a groan, I was able to maneuver and pull myself up. I quickly turned, and saw her across the toothed chasm. She was coldly beautiful, her eyes a bright pink and glinting in amusement, her arms aglow from the magic she had been throwing out. She was dressed in a voluminous red gown and lengthy black hair. How she has able maneuver with any grace in that get up was beyond me. She pointed at me, a wider grim spread on her blood colored lips.

I took this as a bad sign.

A brittle wall exploded as I was slammed through it. The silver lining was that my body was then between enough things she would have to move to see me again. I knew she would have to take her time maneuvering with that dress. I took that opportunity to slink to darker shadows and hopefully away from the witch. My ribs ached and one leg caused me to limp as I stalked through the insane landscape of metal.

She was like a cat, playing with her prey before the kill. That could lead to an opening if I could keep mobile enough.

This thought kicked in when I felt another blast graze my face. I ran full sprint between the clockwork; I drew my pistol and shot it behind me. I heard her yell as the bullet ricocheted off the machinery. I jumped to another platform and shot again at her general direction. Using this distraction I was able to climb higher. The noise here was loud enough, but the gunshots clanging made it almost unbearable. I slunk in the shadows and caught my breath.

I needed it for what I was going to do next.

I closed my eyes, a last chain link from my sigil clenched in my fist as my own magic awakened. I felt the past memories rising from it, pain, triumph but mostly pride. I focused harder, and felt for the other links I had left scattered across the tower. My nosebleed gushed as I concentrated harder, the first link I dropped told me that no one was near. The second one I dropped, however, echoed a brush of folding cloth and foot falls. The third heard them louder.

I was able to roll out of the way before the wall burst into flames. I sprinted ahead, and this time dodged the next attack with ease. I heard her yell in anger as the gears around me burst, and I twisted from under the barrage. She whisked by to take another shot. I took out my sword and leapt between the cogs and swung in a wide arc. I saw the look of surprised as she jumped away, the steel only grazed her, but forced her to backpedal. She yelped as I swung again and sliced her side. She raised her hands to blast me, but I was too close for her to get it off in time. I took my pommel and hit her hard in the cheek; she staggered in her dress and fell off the edge.

Her hands flew out and caught the platform, the room suddenly quiet despite the movement around us. I ambled to her, fear and anger blazed from her eyes. “How did you do that, witch hunter!?” she screamed.

“Oh come now, we both know I’m not the one answering questions.” I replied calmly. She attempted to pull herself up, her fingernails leaving marks on the wooden boards.

I slammed my sword into her outstretched hand and pinned her to the floor. She shrieked as she held onto the blade with her other hand. The lifeline sliced deeper the harder she held onto it.

“Please, you don’t have to do this.” She whispered to me, her eyed wet from tears.

“Is that what they said before the end?” I asked quietly.

The witch jerked her head up, her face showed sudden understanding and swift panic. I grabbed her shoulder and hoisted her high enough to see the charms and trophies around the girl’s neck.

“A life for many,” I said as I grabbed the necklace. “Justice will be served.”

I ripped my sword free.

She screamed as the steel ripped through her fingers and thumb, and in desperation her remaining hand grabbed onto the cord. I jerked it up, the blood on her hands caused her to slip and lose her grasp. Her hair and dress flared around her as she plummeted, she gave a final shriek as she slammed into the clockwork below with a sickening crunch.

I watched her as she fell; holding onto the last remnants of my brothers and sisters. The charms could tell me rage, fear, pain, but there was also pride etched in those red stained mask symbols.

Justice served indeed.

Final Word Count: 1,208

Secret Ingredients: Clockwork Girl, Severed Thumb, and In the Shadow of Giants (in passing)

Edited by ashenlion
OMG needed work XD
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I like the sardonic tone, although I feel the action gets muddy in places.

You've lost me. Head over tail, or arse over apex I'd follow, head over feet not so much.

Ignore me here. It turns out it's a valid phrase.

motorized clockwork

To be a pedant, if it's motorized, it's not clockwork.

Either make it you'd, or "than witch hunter"

This does work, but there's a suggestion that the protagonist isn't a witch hunter, and that the caster has had her fun with witch hunters in the past.

I touched my necklace, the Guild symbol shining in the dull light. I yanked it hard, causing the chain to snap.

And suddenly I was in the air.

Why is he suddenly in the air? Because he's snapped the chain?

Edited by ScrewedUpDice
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