The sun would rise twice that dawn one sunrise for life one sunrise for death. It did not matter much to those that died but to those that lived it would be a constant haunting remainder that they remained when others had fallen.
Sniffing and moaning the trollefather tried in vain to control his throne but the mechanomanic would no longer moved as he commanded it. The trolleking could not understand that it was because of the last spark had fizzled out from the tech-priest that controlled the Polytechnical Tower. Once a mighty warrior trollefather would no longer be seen as even a member of the specie he had ascended from so long ago in that harrowing ritualistic operation. He was no longer a among the blessed he was not even one of the damned he was just lost.
The smaller kinne stood in silence and watched their lord argue with his throne. It was not proper to disturb a king and they all knew his anger far too well. They were called despicable and cursed but theirs was a feudalism no man could ever comprehend.
Into the bleak dawn the bridge guards walked looking up at the new sun and preparing for the work it brought. Hauger climbed into his walker and fired up its primeval core warming his frail body in the fire of the engine’s spirit. Sigrún and Gunnhild watched for travelers approaching and ser Alder readied the mega cannon in anticipation of colossi killing. Theirs was a lonely and despised duty for few men liked toll takers but everyone could understand the need for troll hunters. For if anyone was in need of killing then surely it was the foulness of the trollekin.
The hunt was on and venerable Hauger was the first to bring down his prey. His cannon sung and gore was spilled upon the thirsty ground and in one devastating salvo most of the trolleking’s court was dead.
Moving in for the final kill Hauger smashed his axe into the last bewildered trollekin. He prepared his heavy knife and put his gas mask on, for trolle bounty is paid by scalps and all men versed in hunting knows to avoid the contagious stench of trolles lest they themselves turn into trolles too.
There is no sport in such a killing even Hauger knew that but when a job needs doing the duty cannot be avoided.
Inquisitor Snowe led her guilders through the blasted sand waste. Rhossum Secundus was an enormous disappointment for the inquisitor. It was nothing like the report and sworn testimony that had led her to agree to the expedition and now her force was falling apart and fast. She could barely keep the enraged little mutants under control those cursed things, those squats. Fortunately she controlled the hulking Actaeon and vicious Interitus and loyal brother Desplat would not abide a mutiny.
Unwillingly Snowe and her retinue found themselves caught up in the trolle hunt. Flashing arrogant signals of warning and doom she proudly strode across the bridge not understanding the deadly offence she thereby caused the bridge watchers.
Bullets filled the air and riddled the colossal trolleking. His flesh should have held against such tiny balls of iron but not even his enhanced skin could long withstand the hail of steel and screaming and sobbing the great behemoth was brought to his knees and toppled. A few last almost human thoughts filled his dying mind and he gave up a prayer to the sky father before his twin hearts stopped beating and the seed inside him dried.
Filled with glee and boundless mania Hauger cut into the flesh of the fallen king cutting and carving to remove the trolle’s scalp. It was the work of the knacker’s yard cleaving through the iron sinews of the dead creature. Not even the disillusioned squats in their proud arrogance could stand to witness such primitive abattoir greed.
A hail of bullets struck Hauger’s knight and ricocheted in all directions. It was the mechanicum wardens that had opened fire upon the butcher. Silently they fired again and again at Snowe’s command advancing to kill before the rabid man could threaten them.
Harpoons flew through the air into the Polytechnical Tower and stole it from the bridge. Through a dust cloud an ominous colossus approached the quarreling forces upon the bridge. This would not be a dawn where knights fought for this dawn would clearly bring colossi warfare.
Sensing the human inside the machine Snowe reached out to him with her mind prodding and clawing at him forcing him to kneel before her. But there inside his mind was only blood drenched fury and the laughter of a thirsting god.
Leaving her loyal wardens to slay the foul abomination of a knight Snowe and her remaining followers made their way of the bridge and towards the colossus called Rotburg. She would commandeer it either with its crew intact or dead it mattered little to her.
The dust clouds rose and the storm grew in strength. Ancient horrors from the first dawn crowded the bridge and cannon song could be heard above the roaring engines locked in battle.
With speed and panic Alder loaded his gun as he saw the colossi approach his home. All considerations for the toll forgotten he now sought only to protect his bastion from the greedy roaming fortresses.
Alder despaired when he saw which colossi had come to his door this dawn. Rotburg, Nabucannezzer, Brennisteinner and Paras daemon engines all of them who knew no lord except their crazed captains. Alder knew there could be no parley or even a captains salutation. There would be war between the gods and to the final bullet and bloodied fang.
Deep inside the shadows of the colossi Sigrún remained beside Gunnhild both women still holding their guns but not knowing where to shoot or whom to kill first. What can a mere human do when the gods quarrel among themselves.
Seeing the Paras pass without even a shimmer of acknowledgement woke Alder from his paralyzing dread and filled him with anger for no one had dared to pass without paying him his due.
To his eternal shame and pain the bridge keeper missed the shot that like an iron fist could have ended the Paras and it’s shaming of him. Instead he shamed himself for all time to come.
Filled with the same anger as her husband Sigrún run across the field towards the colossus. She knew she could not hope to kill the leviathan with just her trusted gun for it was enormous but the beast could not know the trap it willingly had stepped into.
With one single bullet Sigrún shot the hidden bombs triggering a chain reaction of apocalyptic fervor and fire. A storm of fire swept up underneath the colossus destroying it from beneath and eating away its engines. It was a sight so rarely seen it had become a metaphor for the unlikeliest of events, godfall, a word for when a colossus die. The burning wreckage of the Paras fell from the sky crashing down beside the cursed bridge in a gigantic explosion.
The cold calculus logic of the two machines barely registered the magnificent display of the godfall and Hauger could not think beyond the fight.
Unexpectedly the bridge was engulfed in flames that eat through the corroded plates of the Actaeon. It was the disgraced captain Kyros III formerly of the Paras that brought his vengeance on all these vermin that had dared to raise their hands to his colossus.
Help unasked for did nonetheless come useful and Hauger did not stop to ask from where the fires came. Laughing manically he turned his axe and gun upon the weakened Interitus. Surely inside both machines there would be something bloody and human, something he could scalp.
Burning and dying Sigrún stumbled towards her home mind almost gone from the pain and shock. She had done the impossible she had caused a godfall. The walls of her home beckoned her towards them as the darkness descended upon her. Such a short dawn she thought as the fires eat her flesh away and death came rushing in, such a short dawn.