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The Steam Knight and the War Maiden IIIFading with every second, the dark grey pall of the morning began to recede, beaten back by the bright amber light of a sun rising over a red-stoned, bronze-plated city.
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Tension - so tight in the air, the girl could see it, feel it. It was as tangible as the smoke and steam which crowded the streets and skies, as bitter a taste as bile in the back of one's throat. The cockerels outside the city walls did not crow for the morning; the street children whose eyes glimmered from crevices and shelters were subdued and silent; the whole world waited with baited breath.
They were coming, and she knew it and so did the city.
Flowing white robes, cutting like a gleaming sword through the darkness and flame. The purest white cloak, caught in the updraught of a gust of wind - and a deep black cross, its colour a contrasting shadow to the beauty and sanctity of the cloth upon which it was embroidered. Stopping to stare, fear clogging her throat - no, no, not more, no more - changing even
The Fable of the Steam Knight and the War MaidenIn the early morning, when the sky was that pale shade of grey, and a faint coolness still clung to the umber-stoned buildings and dusty, bent trees, life was starting.
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In the very heart of the city, a steam-filled heart pumped and pushed, its noise filling the otherwise silent streets with a constant, chugging rush-and-fall, like the steady beating of a metal heart; smaller organs around the buildings spewed their steam into the air in wide, pale clouds, barely visible against the grey of the morning’s sky. Rows upon rows of houses, factories, shops and temples soared up into the sky, building to the great, grand domes of Acre in the very heart, below which that living, stable organism pulsed and beat in time to the order of life; they stretched into the sky, a smattering of factory towers, tall glass windows, pipes and walls and metal doors, and hidden in the dark shelter of their roofs the children of the night wove and ducked and sped on their ways. Even further out from this