Grim
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YEAR 3100

Drip

Drip

Drip

The monotonous tone of the dripping stalactite echoed through the chambers of the rock hewn tunnel, the soft sound keeping a steady beat in the quiet darkness.

Drip

Drip

Drip

«..and thus I mark, lest I not forget…» the sound of a softly humming voice mixed with a rhythmic clanking and creaking interrupted the soft dripping as a dim light turned the corner. Ducking slightly in the low tunnels, the lanky, creaky construct clinked as it hoisted the wet and broken sprockets, springs, and other rusty washed up thingamagigs that it carried deftly in its arms through the soft puddles of the tunnels, its cryptic voice filling the space with a lightly hanging fog of a hum.

«…the sad fate of the father land in which my life was shaped.» The soft hum redoubled strength as the construct turned down another similar looking tunnel, its legs and mouth seemingly working on autopilot as the ancient words mixed into the cheery hum continued to drone forth and fill the cavern… «Left down here… as a Note… Given up… My memory broke… This writing here my last attempt… »

………

The figure paused slightly… Its head gently cocked to one side… As if trying to recall something from the dusty reaches of its mind…

«This writing here my last attempt… ……»

Shaking its head slightly, it slowly slipped down into an almost invisible corridor set in the stone, turning sideways so that its large armful of parts could slip in as well through the somewhat narrow opening. Squeezing through, the rusty construct came out in the middle of a large cavern, the speckled light from the outside streaming through as best as it could through the heavy dirt encrusted glass that was embedded within the rocky ceiling.

«This writing here my last attempt…» the creaky warforged murmured softly and less ‘tunely’ to itself as the component parts clanked and clattered down on a makeshift workbench against the cavern wall, knocking over various other random clockwork devices as the warforged released them.

“Hmm….” It spoke softly as he lifted a hand up to its head to slowly knock out the dim embedded light, his eyes scanning the faint and barely readable scratched in hieroglyphs that adorned the circular walls…

«In the year… Great nation…. Nefertal… Known throughout the land… dark day… destruction… this record….» it let out a soft sigh and shook its head.. “No, this wasn’t the right part…” it spoke out loud as it crossed slowly over to a different section of the wall and moved a half finished schematic drawn on tree bark… «This unit… unique… Afraid of the knowledge… the Fathers… removed memory slate… precaution…» its voice spoke as its dim eyes darted over from one end of the dusty wall to the other, its hand unconsciously rubbing the back of his cylindrical head, gently brushing past the hole set inside it without thought… “No… no… It was further down… I think…” it muttered absently as it turned to scan the room for a silent second…

“Ah! There it is!” he exclaimed quite satisfactorily as it lifted itself up and strode over with purpose to the opposite end, passing chains of hieroglyphics and benches piled with various objects that could only be categorized as ‘doo-dads’ and ‘doo-hickies’. Stopping, the figure leaned down lower and hummed the ancient final hieroglyphics out to the empty room.

«This writing here my last attempt… to tell the details of Nefertal’s fate. Of its folly, of its fall. Plunging low beneath time’s darkest call. It marches ever on, stealing me away… I do not know how long I can hold it at bay. The faded black pulling me in… Dimmer now… into oblivion. In this end, I wonder here… Will there be enough of me left to fear?»

Satisfied, it straightened itself back up and stretched out its creaky joints, the singular voice echoing out nonchalantly in the lonely, expansive cavern. “While quite melancholy, whoever wrote this sure knew how to make a catchy tune…. At least once I was done with it… Too bad I was never able to meet the individual in person…” The brief sensation on the back of the construct’s head came back… Like a small itch… As if something was gone….

Shaking the sensation off as the construct had always done, the warforged continued to talk, its voice filling the quiet that had settled quickly in the cavern. “Oh well. At least the person was nice enough to provide me with something to sing to myself while I work… Now…” it stopped for a second as it scanned the open cavern lightly… “Where was the beginning written again? I seemed to have forgotten the first couple of lines once more…”


Epilogue

“Sir. Your four o’clock is here.”

“Ye Gods…” The Mayor of Rook’s Nest, only slightly tipsy at the moment, sighed as he reached down and picked up a specific bottle from a crate behind his desk. “Alright send him in.” Opening it in a quick and practiced movement, Russell sighed heavily as he tipped the contents of the bottle into his mouth.

“Ah.” A soft metallic voice intoned as the willowy figure slipped through the door, removing his clockwork stovepipe hat to reveal its rusted stovepipe head. “I see you are still conscious. It appears I came at a good time, then.”
Finishing off the bottle in a final swig, the man chucked it behind him in a listless grumble and reached for a similar bottle. “Not for long. I got Helja to put some painkillers in this newest batch just for me.”

“Of course.” The old metal construct stated matter-of-factly as he removed his gloves and long suit coat and handed them to the small scurrying construct that accompanied him, an invisible smirk playing about his features. “Don’t worry though, I will be sure to accompany you to the hospital if worse comes to worse.” Grim pulled up the chair opposite the desk and sat down in it as Russell groaned and opened the bottle to take another swig. “Oh joy.”

“Now Mayor, about my business here…”

“What is it now? Don’t tell me Bregnir University needs ANOTHER wing built already.”

“Well… Yes actually that would be nice, but it is not why I came.”

“Of course it isn’t.”

“Now that I think about it though… The Guardia officials did ask if they could send some additional promising engineers to research further methods of airship building at the University… Another wing could help with rooming them…”

“Grim…”

“Hmm? Oh yes… Sorry Mayor.” Grim gave a soft shift in his seat, a habit he picked up. “I come here in my other capacity, as a board member on the Archeological Research Committee.”

“Well crap.”

“I was hoping we could extend the radius of the excavations to few additional islands that haven’t been touched yet.”

“But I thought…”

“Yes, we are currently still researching and excavating the island I was…” Grim gave an artificial cough, “…found on. But recent information has revealed that some islands in particular might be connected and of interest to the Community… You can see them on this map I have right here my colleagues and I drew up for your consideration…”

Russell gave a low groan of pain as Grim pulled out the map and spread it out on his desk, the soft clink of glass resonating past the construct’s droning voice as Russell poured himself another drink… A picture of Grim giving him a disconcerting thumbs up on the label of the bottle.

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