Saturday, September 27, 2014

City of Curses: Oddfellow

A part of my face had melted from the heat of the fire.  Half of my face must've looked like it was sweating.  Hot wax dripping from the part of my face not covered by the faceplate.

I stood up, my gears stuttering from the stress of it of the fall.

"Are you okay?"  I gazed down at the pair of children I had deposited on the ground.  Both were covered in black soot, coughing out ash.

The taller tiefling child blinked at me.  She continued to cough, but I saw tears in her eyes.

"Android!  Does you master know you saved these children?"  I heard a voice shout at me.  I looked over to see a bright light.  A pair of figures stood out to me.  One of them held a box, one of those cameras the university had created.  "Does he own this factory?"

"In the name of the-"  I sighed.  Reporters.  They made some of my business more of a pain these days.

"Who?  What?"  The taller tiefling child's question made me pause.

I ignored the reporters.  I knelt beside her or him.  I could never really tell.  Gender always seemed so strange to me.  Such is the curse of the android.  Somethings always remain unknowable.

"I am called Oddfellow."  I explained.  I wonder if my face, half covered with a crimson plate helped matters any.  "I am a Knight of the Flame."

"Oddfellow!"  The Reporter called.  "Do you know what caused this fire?  Can you attest to your master poor practices leading to the fire?"

I gritted my artificial teeth.  "I'm not owned by anyone.  I am a free android and I-"

I stopped when I noticed the black squirrel on one shoulder of the Reporter.  The same little monster that I had seen spraying oil and lighting gun powder inside.  It still hissed at me.  I focused my eyes on it and onto its master's shoulders.

"Foul deeds this night."  I pointed a finger at the reporter.  "You sir.  I challenge you to a duel.  You are dishonorable-"

A bright flash caught me in mid finger thrust at him.  I felt a hand clutch tight to my hand.  I looked down to see the Tiefling child crying.

"Nothing.  All we had was that job."  She sobbed.  "What are we going to do now?"

I looked up to see the Reporter smiling back at me.  I wanted to punch him in the jaw.  He tossed me a piece of paper.

"Sorry buddy.  I don't truck with that.  See you in the paper this evening eh?"  The reporter left, his black squirrel jeering at me all the while.

I hesitated.  Part of me wanted to follow.  Instead I stood there.  I learned my lesson: newspapers will burn children to make their headlines.  But someone has to stay there for the children.

Even if that is a burned, half-melted Android paladin.