Chapter 3: The Engineer’s Apprentices
The first letter was for a Kitty Ironcraft. Cilvan had never heard of him or her before so he had to ask around.
“Have you heard of a Kitty Ironcraft?”
“You? Kitty Ironcraft?”
“I heard of a Kitty who was a Resister. I don’t help no Resistance types.”
He had nearly spent all day asking around and was about to sit down and rest his eyes for a few hours when somebody walked up to him.
“You look for this Ironcraft?”
“Yes,” Cilvan responded.
“Well, you know he doesn’t live here.”
“Is he a hermit or something?” This man confused Cilvan
“No, no," he laughed a little, “He lives, or lived in Evercity.”
“Evercity? The Imperial capital? How do I get there? Is he an Imperial?”
The man turned and began to walk away. “Trust the Great Engineer, and his son."
Cilvan looked after him confused. That man was a member of the resistance? He hadn’t seen a badge.
Looks like I’m going to Evercity.
The Journey to Evercity would have been a long one, had it not been for the Aetherstep. It was a weird feeling… almost sickening. You’d stand in a machine; hear a whirring then the charge up timer gets stuck at 88%; then you’re standing a different machine. It got him to Evercity but he didn’t like it. He walked out of the Aetherstep and looked around. He was in a small, well-lit room, with a door at one end. He walked to the door and opened it to see several Resisters walking about in a base. He went past them and exited outside. Ahead, he saw a row of houses and a street patrolled by automatons. When he was sure nobody and nothing was looking, he walked out and closed the door behind him. He cautiously snuck down the street, careful to avoid the patrols. And because of this, he found himself in the shadows of an awning looking at a fork in the road. Stepping over the fork, he continued down the path.
After hours of finding and choosing paths just to find and choose more paths, he found a shop… he had already seen this shop. He continued sneaking and found a split track. He continued down the leftmost path and almost got caught by a patrol. He narrowly escaped it. Then he saw a mailbox with the name “Ironcraft” written on it. He snuck to the mailbox and reached inside his satchel.
“Warning Citizen: Return to your living quarters: this house is off limits to townsfolk.”
Cilvan turned around slowly. This group had a Lasher and a pair of Pacifiers. Just his luck. He grabbed the rifle that was strapped to his back. He had got it before the battle of the Spire and really liked it. He aimed it at the head of the Lasher and a shot tore through the air… It hit one of the Pacifier bodyguards right in the chest, destroying it. Cilvan fired and hit the Lasher, dealing minimum damage. He backed up onto the yard of the house as the Lasher prepared for victory. Another shot, the other bodyguard down. Cilvan turned around and saw a trio of people on the roof of the house throwing down some rifles and whipping out knives. They jumped down from the roof and ran straight at Cilvan and the Lasher. Cilvan rolled out of the way and the small team ran past him. One of them--the leader--jumped onto the Lasher’s head and stabbed it while the other two slashed its lower body. The Lasher fell and the three men jumped away before all three automatons exploded.
“Who are you?” the leader asked, approaching Cilvan.
“I’m Cilvan, member of the Resistance” Cilvan was pulling out his badge while he spoke.
The leader pushed it away, “Never heard of it.”
Cilvan was surprised--where was the Resistance not known? “I thought you were members of the Resistance. You fought automatons.”
The leader pulled out his badge, an outline of Evercity with a violet sun rising over it. “Orion Copperview, member of the Engineer’s Apprentices. We fight for the freedom of this land.”
“Then we are on the same side,” Cilvan said, “The Resistance works out of No Man’s Landing.”
Orion sighed, “Why are you here?”
“The Scarlet Man told me to deliver this.” Cilvan pulled out his letter and placed it into the mailbox. Then closed it and pulled up the flag. “It is of utmost importance that nobody but Ironcraft reads that. I don’t know why but the letter is for him, and it’s important.”
“The Scarlet Man?” Orion asked.
“The leader of the Resistance and the Engineer’s son.”
Orion was stunned, “The Engineer has a son?!”
“Yes,” Cilvan said, a little surprised, “and he gave me that letter.”
Cilvan fished the scarlet nail from the letter and the Aethermeter out of his pockets and showed them to Orion.
Orion didn’t understand but he seemed to agree. “I don’t know if you’re telling the truth, but if the Engineer has a son, we need to make sure that this letter reaches Ironcraft.”
He nodded to his allies and they ran back to the building and jumped back up. Orion said something to one of his teammates and he ran off. Then, Orion and the other Apprentice disappeared behind the building--supposedly waiting for Ironcraft.
All right, that was easy enough, Cilvan thought. One letter down, one more to go.