Please enjoy the newest chapter of Lead heart
“What!?” Karina pivoted away from her sister.
“It’s a hammer!” Teena yelled, and heaved out of the tangled wires she’d been swimming in for two hours.
“Then just say hammer!”
“But I need the roundy one!” The engineer huffed and scattered borrowed tools all across the steel platform. A wayward set of pliers skidded between Karina’s legs, and she made the mistake of watching it plummet to the city streets some thirty meters below. Her stomach rebelled as her vision blurred and twisted in repulsion to the great height.
She doubled over, head between her knees, until the vertigo took pity enough to let go. The stench of rot and gunpowder from three days of war outside the walls did nothing to quell her vindictive stomach. She hadn’t even recovered before her sister was already beating on whatever it was that needed to be peened.
“You’ve been fidgeting for two days already, is this thing almost done?” She tugged at the knives in her sleeves nervously, scanning the crowds for soldiers.
“It’s not my fault, you can’t rush perfection!” Teena replied.
“We don’t need perfection,” Karina said. “We need survival.”
“You worry too much. My plans are foolproof! What could go wrong?”
Karina looked around worriedly as thunder crashed ominously in the distance.
“Besides it’s basically done I just-”
“HO THERE.” An amplified hail from street level cut her off.
“Scat, it’s the damned cloaked ones.” Karina hit the floor to avoid being spotted, but her efforts were futile. Teena peeked unflinchingly over the edge.
“YOUR PRESENCE IS REQUIRED. COME DOWN IMMEDIATELY.”
“WAIT!” Teena waved away their reply held out a hand to Karina. “You got that thing I asked for?”
Karina blinked, her mind struggling to change direction. “What? Oh, yeah that stupid rock?” She fished a lead ball out of a pouch. The thing weighed a ton for its size, just a few centimeters across, and it was scalding to the touch.
“I… probably shouldn’t have let you keep this on your person for so long… I hope the casing is good.” Teena stroked her lip as she muttered a terrifying string of words. “Oh well, you’re probably fine!” She disappeared into the innards of their new ride, tinkering away and ignoring the increasingly frantic uniforms below.
Karina sighed. “You’re going to be the death of me.” She took ten minutes to spy out the targets she’d been monitoring the past few days; the shiny ship on top of the hotel, the monks outside the wall, the increasingly fortified Gungrave military in the field. Teena had disabled the South wall cannons, but they’d be fixed soon enough. Once the Overseer had his weapons back in order, she had no idea what would stop him from taking them into custody. She’d been trying to convince Teena to sabotage the cannons again, but she kept saying it “wouldn’t be fair” to be paid for something and not deliver. The belligerent agents below told Karina that their time may be running out.
“Ta-da!” Teena bounced out with a flourish. “Just gotta fill the reservoir and she’ll be good to enough for a test.”
“Really?” Karina narrowed her eyes. “How much does the reservoir hold?” She asked.
“HEY!” Her sister screeched over the edge.
“GET DOWN HERE!” Came the reply.
“I NEED A HUNDRED GALLONS OF WATER!” She called back. There was audible frustration from the men on the ground.
“I ORDER YOU COME WITH ME IMMEDIATELY.”
There was a finality to his voice that made Teena sigh. “I guess they figured out my instructions were circular after all,” she giggled. Then pointed behind Karina, East, the closest side to the steep mountains. “Need you to find me one hundred gallons of water for this bad boy, K,” she said with a straight face. “The ditch for the industrial district runs under the wall over there, but it’s gotta come out somewhere right?”
“What-?!” Karina grabbed her sister before she could scurry down the mechanical guts of the huge mechanical man. “How in the hells do you expect me to get that much water!?” She demanded.
“Just use a bucket silly. Or the toolbox, it should be five or ten gallons easy. The intake is that big hole on top of the cockpit okay?”
“Not okay!” But her sister was gone, scampering down pipes and wires like a rat. “AAAAAH!”
Drip. Drip. Drip.
Leliana’s mind drooled. How long had it been? An hour? A day? Fifty years? The darkness was an eternal, unending purveyor of…nothing. Her fingers twitched at the idea of lighting a wick again, but if the darkness was oppressive, the claustrophobia of the tiny space around her was maddening. The constant drip of blood pooling below her was enough of a reminder of that, at least.
Getting some light meant she’d have to see the condition her knuckles were in, too.
Hard pass, she thought to herself.
The void she called home was definitely insulated. Every time the blood stopped falling, she was drowning in silence – the waste and exhaust pipes beneath her providing the only inlet for the faint sounds of the murderous monsters rampaging outside. There was no way out down there either. She’d tried. Even with her new strength, she was no match for whatever the hell these bars were made-
“AGH!” Pain lanced through her right eye. Not again. She smashed one hand over the eye, pushing as hard as she dared. The pressure alleviated the pain a bit, but not much. Worse was the uncontrollable rage that washed over her every fiber. Incredulity, betrayal, blind hatred – morphing the stupor of boredom into something feral she couldn’t begin to understand. The clang and crunch of bone hitting steel was the only sound as she lashed out at the prison under a new wave of adrenaline that she couldn’t control. “Get out of my head!” She growled.
As fast as it appeared, the feeling vanished, taking with it the surge of energy. Leliana collapsed into a heap, gasping for air and nursing her poor knuckles. The fits were getting closer together, leaving her more drained every time. Her body felt heavier than when she’d been caught in that stupid light Lilith hit her with in town. Hells, maybe that’s what was happening.
A tear, or blood, trickled unheeded down her left cheek. She was too empty to be furious, but she noted it anyway – something to fuel her anger.
After a nap.