The next morning Officer Derek went back to meet with the local official, only this time bringing the rest of us along with him. The meeting room was again the wood dugout which from the inside seemed to be some sort of headquarters from all the maps, charts, and accounting machines strewn about.

”The intel was correct but we lost one of our veteran knights in the brawl. ” said Derek.

”Im sorry to hear that, ” said the man. ”But I must inform you that you are yet again needed back east at once. ”

”What ever do you mean? ” said Derek.

The man came to a table with a regional map pinned to it before pointing out a region deep in the mountains to the north east.

”We have gotten word that a group known to us only as Velagoth has set up a workshop in an abandoned mine from the Nalro period. The high council of the King think they are some of the leading members of the Gilton resistance and that destroying them and their base is of top priority. ”

Jarvis seemed to recognize the name but from what he did not know. I on the other hand did know that the workshop would be where such a machine as the one which killed Franke would have been made and I for one was all for making sure it was destroyed for good.

”Thank you Benfard, ” said Derek. ”But we would need to wait for more reinforcements before we could possibly deploy for this. ”

”I am sorry sir but you must leave at once, the King has already sent word to me that he wants this dealt with immediately by your crew in particular. ”

”Then so be it we shall leave at once. ”

With this we headed back to the crawlers to prepare and stock supplies for the journey ahead.

By the time we left the gates of Dunn it was midday and the savanna sun had reached its highest point in the sky. We headed east along that same road as before only this time turning left before the ridges. Derek had brought a road map of the mountains and it showed a path only a few miles north which would allow us to reach the old mine within two days or so of travel.

This map however was not to be fully trusted as it was based on one from the Nalro period. A time long before the Kings of Jamin, the invention of steam power, and bronze working. It is believed to have ended some four hundred years ago though the map was only a century or two old.

The road began after an incline up the mountains where we passed the ruins of what was probably once a large checkpoint carved into the mountainside. Now all that was left of it was some piles of dilapidated stone bricks and the entrance to a narrow valley which housed the path.

It was quite easy to traverse for it was built into the natural features of the valley allowing us to make great time for the first day or so. By night fall we had already made it a third of the way there, marked by a cave on the map. The cave entrance however had long since collapsed so we instead made camp outside of it, parking the crawlers in such a way as to wall us off from the road. In our now walled off section Amelia made a fire with some dead branches nearby whilst Jarvis spoke to me of what he knew of the surrounding lands.

”I grew up in these mountains among the Giltons and that name, Velagoth, got me thinking. Since its very similar to my tribes word for weapon: Veelagoth. ” said Jarvis. ”I first learned it when hearing stories of the Nalros great treasures and technology buried deep within the mountains. ”

”Why are you telling me this? ” I asked.

”Because its said they were mechanics like yourself. I don know how they did it but its said they could build great war machines with nothing but tin and stone. ”

”Thats impossible, they would need a fuel source or something of that kind. ”

”Well to them these machines are very real, I don know how they would work but I do know that my people had lost many men trying to uncover them. ”

I didn know what to think, Jarvis seemed like a reasonable guy but then again he wasn good for much besides piloting bronze-men and carrying supplies. Maybe he just misunderstood machinery? Whatever the case I decided then to get some rest and from the heat of the fire and the warmth of my leather cot I fell swiftly into sleep between the mountains.

Early the next morning we packed up camp and hit the road yet again, weaving through the ever narrowing path with less and less speed as we came upon cliffs and dead ends time and time again. The map was helpful, but many of its pathways had been blocked by rock slides and such over the years. The ruins we passed now became more and more frequent as the day went on, turning from piles to rubble to the remains of farms and small towns on the ridges above us. Yet despite all these ruins which passed like the hours we had yet to see any signs of people, let alone The Order of Gilton.

Just as we were on the final stretch of the journey, the path began to narrow until it came to a point which was too small for the steam-crawlers to pass through. Even using the bronze-men we could not clear a way large enough for them.

”We could head back and go anorther way. ” said Amelia.

”That could take days, ” said Jarvis. ”We should head the rest of the way on the bronze-men, we are only a few miles from the mine according to the map anyway. ”

”There is no point in turning back now, ” said Derek. ”Me and Jarvis will carry Cambry and Amelia with our bronze-men whilst Deckard carries some supplies. ”

We packed enough food and fuel for a day onto the back of my bronze-man with rope. I did not know how that would effect my ability to pilot or fight with the machine and I prayed to not find out.

The rest of the way was a slog in the bronze-men and we did not reach the outskirts of the mine until sundown. We dismounted and met together in the ruins of what was probably once a mining town before planning our approach for the coming day. Jarvis wanted to breach the mine right away as to deal with them quickly whist Derek did not agree.

”We should camp here for the night. In the morning Deckard will bring the women back to the crawlers in case we need a quick evacuation. For now let us rest for the coming battle. ”

And rest that night we did.

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