Home > urban > Men of Bronze > Chapter VII

Men of Bronze Chapter VII

Author:Franke Category:urban Update time:2022-11-24 23:00:02

When I came to an immeasurable time later, a way had been cleared in the broken rock above us and all that was left in the pebbles and debris was Jarvis, the wrecked drill and I. I crawled to Jarvis who was still unmoving. Pulling and shaking him I begged him to wake up for some time but it was to no avail. I pushed my head to his chest and sighed with relief, a heartbeat. This of course still left us deep in the mountain with sunlight only seeping in through a stone lip which stood fifty jagged feet in the air.

My arm still wasn healed so it was little use trying to climb up and find help. It yet again seemed hopeless. I could see the sick irony in surviving the collapse of the cave just to starve in what was left of it. The one thing I still could not figure out was what had happened to the bronze-man. I looked around to see if there was anything left in the rubble to aid in our escape. The drill seemed much too damaged to be of any use even in terms of parts and besides that there was northing but the strayed furnishings of our once mighty cell. I had reached true desperation, there was northing I could do. The only hope I had left was that Cambry or Amelia would choose to come looking for us with some rope and picks. But even that seemed unlikely as how would they even know where to look with the entrance tunnel completely collapsed. That was until I looked over and saw it. The lone pile of fresh wood, used for supports in the prior tunnels and strewn about there just within reach. With some time and some clever angling I was able to drag some of it over to the center of what was left of the cave. Here I used some coalatik from the drill to start a fire.

The flame soon rose, simmering with a plume of smoke which rose to the heavens in the clear evening sky above. The smoke was a pale flash in the moonlight rising higher and higher. I laid my head down on Jarvis and closed my eyes, someone would have to find us sooner or later, my only hope being that whoever it was was friendly.

I must have dozed off at some point because by the time I opened my eyes again the sky had turned amber with the mornings light. The wood had turned to a smoldering pile of ash angrily cracking its last breaths but that was not all that had changed. A group of people dressed in animal skins had gathered around the top of the cavern and were peering down at us with curiosity pressed upon their faces. As I stumbled to my feet the children among them pointed and the rest of them murmured to themselves as their soft voices echoed down stone walls to me. I knew not of these people but from what I could see they looked to be quite similar to Jarvis in build, with hard square faces and deep orange skin like the desert clay one might find near an aquifer or slope.

It did not take long for them to bring a long hempen rope over the edge of the canopy, allowing me to grab on and test my weight against it. Two of the larger men of the group clambered down the rope with great speed before each picking us up on their backs. I was first, being brought up to the others upon the shoulder of the man whilst the other soon followed with Jarvis, still lifeless, in tow. A man stepped forward, old and grayed by age and dressed in a large grayed robe, patched together with all sorts of cloths and fabrics over the years. He reached into a pouch tied around his hip for a small jar no larger than his fist. Inside the jar was a dark purple liquid still not made clear in the suns giving and open light. He opened the jar, dumping its contents over Jarviss face and within a second Jarvis awoke spitting and sputtering as he gagged on the liquid, some of which had made its way up his nose.

Like having been struck by lightning Jarvis shot up, he seemed shocked to find himself out of the mountain and surrounded by the people I had assumed to be tribals by their garments. The children poked and prodded Jarvis for a moment before being shooed away by the women of the group. The old man looked to us both and with a nod of his head he drew the others to him. They left east just as quickly as they had arrived and made no effort in speaking to us. I was rather perplexed by the situation but grateful none the less.

"Who were they?" asked Jarvis.

"I thought you would know." I responded.

"How in the good Kings name did we get up here; and what ever happened to the man who was trying to kill us?"

"The cave collapsed and I assume he was able to climb out with the bronze-man, or he was crushed by the falling rocks. Either way those people saved us and we owe them our lives."

We made our way east down the mountain, walking back to camp and beyond to the narrow valley entrance where we found Cambry and Amelia still waiting for us. We where still covered in the dried blood, sweat, and dust from the day before.

"What happened?" asked Cambry.

"Wheres officer Derek?" asked Amelia.

"He didn make it," said Jarvis for me. "We can explain the rest on the trip back to Dunn but for now lets just get somewhere safe so we can get Deckard here a healer." And with that we made the trip back, Amelia was broken by the loss of our officer and I was treated as soon as we reached Dunn. I reported what I had seen in regards to the large tin hand in the cave and the situation with the hijacked bronze-man but neither was taken seriously by the medic or city official who had come to see me.

We all received medals of the Kings honor for our service in the eastern mountains which felt little deserved with only a few days of service. Derek and Franke were buried together in the capitol with full honors the same day as us receiving the medals, only their funerals were private matters attended only by their families and such. I would be unable to serve because of my injury and decided to return back to my farm where I found it as I left it. I would spend my remaining days planting crops and fixing the pump, only a little richer and with a new story to tell the passing traders and soldiers.

The End

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