Vault of The Starborn Machine

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Chapter 1: The Journey to Ellomyr

Part 2: Timing

(Correlates to this post 3:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/montecookgames/numenera-2-discovery-and-destiny/posts/1995049)

The soft whir of robotic joints and heavy footsteps sounded out as, Hiero, the mechanical knight, made his way onto the crest of a hill. His blue eyes scanned the hilltop, and settled on a piece of half buried numenera. He planted a triumphant foot on it, one fist on his hip, and pointed dramatically to the town of Ellomyr roughly three miles away. Before he could speak however, the apparent scrap heap leapt out of the ground, and knocked the knight prone. The strange half construct, half crustacean then snapped a claw in Hiero’s direction before scuttling away, the numenera on its back muttering a string of ancient slurs all the while. The knight did its best to ignore the remark about his nonexistent mother as he returned to his feet and dusted himself off. “What a crabby rock, am I right?” he said to Ro, his mutant squire.
Ro, who had been staring at the strange golden sliver on the horizon, jumped in place. When she regathered her wits, she gave the automaton an apologetic look. “Sorry Hiero, I wasn’t paying attention.”
The android frowned, “That’s not like you Ro. You’re usually quite the attentive pupil.”
“I know,” said Ro, taking a pause to savor the compliment, “but there is something weird about that golden thing. Ever since we saw it on the horizon I’ve felt…different. Like I can feel something strange.” When Hiero responded with a serious expression she leapt to the most logical conclusion her worried mind could come to, “Am I dying?!”
“What? No, no. That’s not at all what’s happening to you.” The knight knelt down next to the girl, “I expected to have this conversation with you when you were older, but we all grow at different paces. You see, there comes a point in a young girl’s life where she begins to experience strange feelings. It’s a sign of maturity, and an important part of growing up. Ro, what you’re feeling now is what’s known far and wide as ‘THE CALL TO ADVENTURE’!”
“It is?” The kid asked, eyes wide.
“But of course! It’s a giant floating thingamajig of golden light and mystery. You would have to be some sort of soulless monstrosity not to feel the call to adventure while looking at it. Why, it’s truly no wonder your hero senses have begun to awaken at a time like this.”
Ro marveled at her hands, and whispered to herself, “I have hero senses.”
“That said, that golden thing will be an adventure for another day. As for today…” Hiero hopped over to a nearby stone, and resumed his previously attempted pose, “Today our adventure begins there.” A metal finger jutted to the village of Ellomyr. “Cower in fear wretched villainy for this moment marks the newest chapter in the chronical of Hiero Sol, champion of starlight and defender of humanity!” As if on cue, a wind whipped by to flutter his cape in dramatic fashion. “Come and see the home of our newest adventures young Ro. Look upon it and see the evil that looms about, poised to strike just from beyond the curtain of possibility.”
Ro, quirked an orange eyebrow at his comment, but acquiesced. Striking a similar pose on an oversized stone, she squinted at the village below. A frown formed. “I don’t think my hero senses are working anymore. It just looks like a bunch of ordinary houses to me.”
“By the nine mechanical gods, you're right! This place already has half the requirements of a BURNING VILLAGE! Thank goodness we arrived in time.”
Ro quirked her head, and considered his logic. “But aren’t there lots of other important things that make up a village? You know, like stores, and people, and seski?”
Hiero looked thunderstruck, “If that’s true, then its only one fifth of a disaster away from becoming some poor orphan’s tragic push to heroism. I’ve seen it happen at least twice already.” The mechanical knight gripped his hand into a fist and whipped around toward his sidekick, “Come young squire, we must stop this tragedy before it’s too late.”
“Wait.” Ro held up a hand, “Do you mean an orphan like me?” she asked with too much hope.
The knight stared down at her. There was a long uncomfortable silence.
She broke it, “I’m just saying-”
“Heroes don’t burn villages, Ro.”
The girl slouched, “Okay.”
A mechanical hand reached out and tossled the child’s nonexistent hair, “The best heroes are born of patience, dedication, and hard work, not tragic backstories.”
“Is that how you became a hero?”
“In a way. I was an incredible hero the day I was made, but someone had to invest a lot of patience and hard work into making me.” Hiero said, continuing towards the village.
“Oh,” Ro lowered her head and sulked as she followed behind. “It would have been great if someone had done that much for me.”
Hiero opened his mouth as if to speak, but found no words that would fit. He wanted to promise her that he’d make her into a hero, but actions would speak louder. So, he simply took hold of her hand, gave her the warmest smile his robotic face could muster, and the two continued on their way to town in silence.
It lasted for about five minutes before a Ro spoke up. “Did you just see a purple light flash down there?”
Hiero squinted as his vision zoomed in on the point Ro had been looking at. On the other side of the village, he saw a number of human figures facing off against a tribe of margr. “Oh silversmith! We’ve already arrived late!”
Scooping up the girl, Hiero sprinted off across the field like a racing comet, thrusters screaming with the intensity of a pack of charging avatrol. As he raced across the field, still too slow to ever make it in time, he recalled the awful words the crab’s device had thrown out earlier. They fit the situation perfectly.