Alan Campbell

Iron Angel


(Follows from remaining fragment BofP, Vol II, pg 783)…

The god of flowers and kni(ves?) could not kill this foe. He flew above the burning town of Skirl. And among the fire and smoke walked an arconite.

The corpses of (illegible) thousand Northmen filled the streets. And one hundred thousand more stood upon the backs of their (unknown term, trans-cold?) brothers in order to reach the great winged demon.

They hacked the arconite with steel and burned it. But the demon (laughed/howled?) and walked among them and slew the Northmen. All the men of Coreollis came forth to fight, and the men of Brownslough and those of (charred). One half of the (handsome?) god’s men died beneath the arconite’s club. The rest tried to flee. But the god of flowers and knives was wrathful.

(following two lines charred/indic. collateral PF impact)

Chains of bane were brought forth from (unknown term, trans-“city of voices,” see appendix 4a) to bind the arconite’s feet. It stumbled and fell and crushed many (dwellings?) in Skirl. But still it slew the warriors around it, for it would not return to Hell so easily.

(Excised) from Oxos came to poison the fallen demon. It would not die. (Excised) brought Worms to devour it.

It would not be consumed. Slaves (charred) from the Riot Coast, and set about the beast with hammers and (illegible). And after two moons the arconite had been pinned.

Even then they could not slay it, and so they buried it under the earth.

The god of flowers and knives brought forth a great rain to cleanse Pandemeria of (excised) . But in his castle he brooded, for his army had been decimated. And under the drowned earth, the arconite still breathed.



Saltwater fog had engulfed the old galleon for as long as her crew could remember. The briny air had warped her joints and planking, eaten holes in her decks and bulkheads, and turned her interior into a dank, rotten hive. Everything creaked, dripped, and groaned in the gloom. Even the throne upon which Cospinol sat had wasted, its once finely carved surfaces now reduced to so much mulch.

The old god was wearing his best armour, but the layers of hardened red crab shells had cracked and tarnished millennia ago and no amount of paint and glue had been able to restore the suit to its former glory. His wings slumped from his shoulders like the tattered grey and white sails this ancient vessel had once possessed. His eyes peered out through a bedraggled net of his own hair as he studied the axe in his hand.

“My Lord?”

This corruption would be the end of him. Like the wooden axe handle in his fist, his vessel, the Rotsward, could only barely support her own weight. She would not survive another century. Her bones had atrophied, her skin had split, and now things moved through the dank spaces in her belly that had no right to be there. Cospinol lifted his eyes from the axe and listened for the patter of small feet.

“My Lord?” The slave girl kneeling before him clutched the hem of her smock. “Your brothers are here.”

Cospinol made a dismissive gesture. A child sniggered in the passage outside the captain’s cabin, and then a shadow darted past an open gap in the nearest bulkhead.

The old god raised his axe. “This runt has been pestering me for days,” he growled. “I intend to have the little bastard’s head on a plate before they arrive.” He rose from his throne and took a step towards the source of the sound. Planks sagged under his shell-plated boots. Looking down though a hand-sized gap in the floorboards in one corner of the cabin, he noticed a much larger hole in the Rotsward’s outer hull. A small figure clambered through this and slipped out into the fog beyond, followed by a chittering mass of living red crabs. “The boy is a damned spider,” Cospinol muttered. “How is he able to climb underneath my ship?”

“He has hooks for fingers,” the slave girl said.

“Hooks? Since when?”

She shrugged.

The sea god grunted. “This infestation is a conspiracy. The last thing I need is for my brothers to find Mesmerist scum loose aboard this vessel. How do you imagine that will look?”

She made no reply.

“Those bastards might even try to supplant me,” Cospinol went on. “They’ll say I’m harboring the enemy, then call a vote and have me expelled from my own dominion. They’ve been eyeing the RiotCoast for centuries, just waiting for an excuse like this.”

“The war in Pandemeria keeps them fully occupied, my Lord.”

Cospinol opened one of the cabin’s rear windows and looked down upon the Rotsward’s stern and rudder. He could see little beyond the vague outlines of the scaffold that enveloped his entire skyship, the great floating nest of yards and ropes all wreathed in fog. A gull hopped along one of the timber spars and then took off, circling down towards the ground far below the hull and scaffold, until it disappeared entirely in the grey mist. Cospinol could see nothing of the landscape down there, but he supposed the Rotsward must be drifting somewhere to the west of Pandemeria. “Evidently not occupied enough,” he said, “as they’ve left mortal generals in charge of their armies while they traveled out here.” He closed the window again. “Besides, what does a dead girl know about the war? You weren’t Pandemerian, were you?”

She lowered her head. “No, my Lord. I lived and died in Brownslough.”

The god nodded. “Hafe’s realm. I suppose you’re one of the lucky ones. Just be thankful that Pandemeria is far from here, lass.” He wandered across the cabin to inspect the banquet table beneath the stern windows: the white linen napkins; the silver platters, cutlery, goblets, and candlesticks-all far too ostentatious for his simple tastes. He picked up a knife, wondering how his slaves had restored the blade to such a high sheen, before he noticed a rash of black spots along one edge. Not even his best-kept silverware had survived the slow decay.

This endless fog was to blame, that dismal pall of brine on which Cospinol looked out every day, and which tumbled behind the windowpanes even now. Yet the god did not dare expose his vessel to the sun of this world.

Not yet.

“Where are they?” he grumbled. “What’s taking them so long?”

“My Lord…” The girl’s chin sank even lower to her chest. “Your guests brought something overland with them. It is being hoisted up here now. Your Lord Brothers chose to oversee the operation from the Rotsward’s yards.”

“What is it?”

“I do not know, my Lord. They found it in Pandemeria.”

Cospinol felt suddenly uneasy. Nothing good had ever come out of that war-ravaged land. Whatever Rys and

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