Excerpt from The Eternal Machine
Hundreds of blood thirsty Fae eyes burn on me, and every step is carefully placed.
Lifting brass and leather goggles on a burgundy nest, I halt before The Machine. A massive undertaking of ancient technology, with spider-like copper arms weaving into the abyss below. Copper gears tower to the top of the stone chamber, making the labor camps behind me minuscule in comparison. Metal cranks together, belts purr, and purple smoke fills the air above, never ceasing.
I trace along the cliff’s edge, passing the ladders leading down into the trench reserved for Keepers, the only engineers allowed so close to the beast. While inspecting for malfunctions or leaks, the gauges on my leather and tech-covered wrist spin out of control. The lingering familiar stench changes, sweetness replacing death hanging in the air. Exhaust vents huff speckled night now, instead of the purple haze.
In a place far from here, High Fae are Power. High Fae are Magic.
We are not in a place far away though. We are right here.
We work for The Eternal Machine, the beast conjuring magic and fueling the lands. Crimes of all kinds are welcome in this mountain, but you leave your magic behind. Rather, it is taken from you. Not that I know what that feels like.
Minutes pass, the only sound is made by leather boots and a whining engine.
I pause, halting before the foreman. A Grasshopper before a Bear. I snatch his dark matted beard and yank him down, tough knees meeting rock. Dull emeralds shine for a moment, his jaw tightening. My soft face brushes against his filthy cheek, my full lips meeting a pointed ear, a lover threatening sweet nothings.
“Darling, what’s this?”