Welcome to the space where I experiment, my weekly serial. It is written raw, not edited at all, and mostly unplanned.
The world is partly based on the background of an unpublished Steampunk game that I worked on with a few friends, which has grown in my mind over the last couple of years. The story is a take on those ultra-violent revenge epics of the eighties where a man’s family is abused and killed, but he survives and seeks vengeance. Needless to say it is a grim, bloody tale, that deals with bad people doing bad things, so be warned.
Roses’s challenge shocked the room to silence. As a rule, anyone could respond to a challenge, but she stood out. In the Scab oddities are respected and feared, and madness was next to greatness, and so everyone sat up and paid attention. Odds were tallied. Money changed hands.
“Rose, this is insane,” said Geb, standing up.
“Bet on him if you like.” she retorted, already walking forward, her eyes on her quarry.
Ogre was a Kolim. Like most of his people, he was massive and thick limbed, standing head and shoulders above even the biggest man. Unlike any Kolim she’d ever heard of, Ogre was aggressive, leaner and more muscular that his kin. Rose was certain that he was warpt.
As Rose advanced she let her cloak fall, revealing the mechanical arm that she now wore. It was an expensive model with fully articulated fingers and the full range of human motion. It was also stronger and harder than a flesh limb and had injectors for Wraithstone oil built right into it. Odds changed. Money moved.
Ogre was rich. A long career of beating vailglorious idiots to death in blood-sports all over the city combined with the exotic attraction of a docile Kolim ‘gone bad’ had made him enough to retire to a Bedrock ward a decade ago. He stayed in the game because he enjoying maiming and killing people; it was something that Rose could respect.
She looked him in the eye as she entered the fighting grounds.
“I’m going to rip that arm off and sodomize you with it,” growled Ogre as she stood before him.
The part of Roses’s face that was visible smiled.
“You’ve already done worse to me,” she says quietly. She thinks back to that day, Ogre holding her down while Cackles throws her Gared into the cesspit, pushing her into the dirt while everything is taken from her, even hope. The murders, the rape, what more could he do?
“Can’t say I remember you,” said Ogre. “You won’t be the first idiot that seeks vengeance only to die by my hand.”
The referee approached Rose, examining her arm. After making certain the the chambers for the wraithstone oil injectors were empty he turns to Ogre,
“This prosthetic grants increased strength and striking power,” he intoned. “According to our rules such arms can only be used in this kind of fight if the opponent agrees. Do you agree to allow the challenger to fight using the is appendage, Champion?”
“I will allow it,” said Ogre, examining the unmasked side of Roses’s face. The crowd cheered. Odds changed and money moved.
The crowd cheered. Rose flexed her metallic fingers.
“Fight!” said the official. “FIGHT!” roared the crowd.
Ogre began to walk toward her.