Your silence irritates me.
My last thought, as I left the meeting, repeated over and over. It haunted me. Taunted me. Greeted by the apocalyptic aftermath of the 100 year war, I stepped out of the pristine room and into the stench of industrial work and burning brimstone. My lungs were packed to the corners, but I didn't waver. Thousands upon thousands of Machines scaled the mountainous, barren landscape. Each of them went about their daily life like the Call to Arms came in one ear and out the other. Maybe they weren't informed by Fel'Strom either.
Ignorance is bliss.
My feet came to a flight of stone stairs. Besides the crowds below, they were my only obstacle to my Pioneer war suit. Blood pumping; momentum building, I took double steps down.
Suddenly over the Machine Works in the distance, I heard the call of a changing heart. "Statix! Wait for me!" It was a feminine voice; the T's were prominently pronounced which made the accent unique. It was Qaliurt no doubt. I turned half way on two different steps, one knee bent awkwardly. Keeping her arms up for balance, she scrambled down the steps, animating a tap dance. She met me with a frantic pant and wheeze.
Resuming casually down the stairs, I ridiculed her, "You've changed your mind, then."
You never spoke anyway.
Her thin lips beamed a smile that went wide, wider than expected to my comment. If they went any wider, the cyan in her eyes would have vanished. The gesture made me feel a slight bit remorseful.
"Sorry for not saying anything back then. Defilers... Necromancers – it all made me think too much."
"That's your problem," I said, thinning my focus to her eyes, "Not saying that's bad-- just certain situations." I stumbled over my words. I didn't want to lash out verbal abuse, but I was known for speaking my mind at times like this. Lightening the blow, I finished, "Thanks for coming anyway."
"Well I couldn't say no. I have another chance to fight with you again. Who could say no to that?" She questioned with a tone full of gloat rather than inspiration. Maybe this was her vibrant ego talking.
I've known you too long.
"Well it's been-- what? Nearly eight hundred years since the end of the War for Dominance. You've waited long enough."
"Long enough," she repeated with a drag on her words.
At the bottom of the flight of stairs, Qaliurt and I made a snappy right turn to the armoury station. Despite it being the most underused area in the Machines Rise, it was still horded. Through the small gaps of each citizen and the large gates of each courtyard, I made my way to Newt, the armourer around here. R.O.M.E in huge steel letters was above the glass door and inside, the task-focused Newt forging armour bare handed.
Calmly opening the door with my hand slipping away, I entered as quietly as possible, not interrupting his toil. His mucky greased hands retreated from station and shook; a rag from under his sleeve revealed itself.
"Enter whoever ya' are." He sang and slithered the rag through his fingers, over viewing his new creation.
From day one, you're still creating.
"Hello, Newt," I warmly greeted and began to approach his dwarfish person with care. A stray screw tested the toughness of my boot as I trod down. The sound of grit and sand being compressed signalled its failure.
Clean up this bombsite!
I gulped a critique that would've put me in his bad books and remained silent until he spoke again. "She's a beauty, huh?" He asked, tossing the soiled rag on his stained workbench that looked like a seat at first.
Another pile of junk?
Before my verdict came to play, I stared down its golden alloy finish; a priceless distorted reflection of me watched intently back.
"Another masterpiece," I lied and looked away.
"I wouldn't say a masterpiece, but thank ya', Whitey." His green eyes leered up to me, a ball-tipped nose rudely pointing. "What'cha here for, lad?"
I replied, "My—" Qaliurt halted my request as she came through the doors, "Our armour."
"Oh. What for?" He rutted his brows into a straight line.
"Fel'Strom hasn't told you, either?"
"Fel'Strom? Me? Nah, we never mingle!" He laughed heartily and went to up to the water dispenser in the corner. With a quick flick on the rusty valve, the pipes went whistle and squeak, sending water out of the pipe and into his dry mouth.
"There's another war," I said to him. With a wide grimy eye, he backed away from the dispenser; excess water trickling to the floor from his furry beard.
The frown he held went from straight to askew in bafflement, "Another... war? With what?"
"With whom," I corrected quickly and furthered, "And It's with these so-called Defilers."
A smile appeared around his face that brought out his dimples and wrinkles. "Defilers, eh? What did they do? Ruin Toxotee's chance of gettin' a gal?" His joke glided across my head and out the window. I forged a false grin nonetheless.
"No, actually. Fel'Strom told me this… 'Alliance' can't handle them. Our armies can't handle them, either. So she's called for the Pioneers."
"Ah, I see. Where's that chompy face, horse lookin' buffoon, Jadgidaius? He's a Pioneer, too, a'ight?"
Such an accurate description.
"Yeah he is, but he denied the mission." I explained with disappointment that clouded my throat.
"Heh! No surprise," Newt grumbled, basking in my frustration.
Randomly he dashed his head side to side, hands patting over his grubby working clothes. The hands came to a sudden break at his lower stitched pocket. He ruffled through his near-torn leggings and yanked out a chrome key that glimmered.
"No dilly-dallying. This way to yer gear, guy 'n' gal." He smiled with chapped lips open and led us to a greyish door, the key freely whirling on his finger.
It's time to reunite with an old friend.