By: Brandon Dudley 
Online Editor 

The heat of the room was sweltering beyond comfort as stream driven engines pumped their pistons furiously.

A mechanical din bounced off steel walls and a haze of steam hung lazily in the air making it hard to see much beyond 10 feet of oneself.

Within the haze were two figures: one standing elegantly and one kneeling in submission.  

Kor looked to the bound orange robed man before him, a demeaning smile crossing his face at his beaten enemy. “Ah magic,” Kor started, pacing from side to side as he continued to watch the mage. The coat of his tuxedo suit swayed with him as he moved, its tail swishing on the metallic floor. “The manipulation of the elements for one’s own purposes,” he commented, then paused looking down in anticipation  

No response from the mage, still in recluse within his robes with head bowed.  

“Truly unlimited potential within the hands of any who wield it or are brave enough to endeavor into its wondrous realms,” Kor spoke as if it were a rehearsed speech.  

The mage tilted his head up a bit, an expression of defiance on his face. It appeared to Kor that clenched teeth were all that kept back a retort.

The wizened features on the middle-aged man’s face bespoke years of study and time spent practicing the magical arts.  

Kor took interest into this. Tightening his top hat’s hold on his head, Kor knelt down to be at face level with the man.

“What is it? Do you believe my words false?” He inquired, honestly curious.  

“You know nothing. You are blinded by your own falsehoods,” came a disbelieving growl from the captive, shaking his head with the last sentence.  

Offended, Kor exhaled out of annoyance. “Well now, that was rude…” he scoffed.  

“It’s true,” the mage came face to face with Kor showing bloodshot eyes. “You believe that any who wield it can have unlimited power. That those who are willing to be ‘brave’ enough to search its realms can find some vault of untold knowledge. But that’s not how this works. Magic is not something you play around with like a child with their toys!”   

The intensity at which the mage spoke caught Kor’s attention.  

“Magic is the manipulation of chaos, of the bindings to life itself. Not just the elements. And one does not simply do as they wish on a whim. One must be strictly trained and disciplined to handle such things!” the man chastised further, growing red in the face; whether from the heat of his own emotions Kor was not completely certain.  

Kor laughed, “Magic is for the powerful to attain and utilize for the greater good my little pumpkin. And I, the mighty Kor, have mixed magic with machine to create life perfected. How can one be more powerful?” 

“By not being a slave to your own misgivings…” The mage murmured, dropping his head down again, seeming to finally give up. “You may have mixed machine and magic, but this does not mean you have perfected life. What you are doing, is perfecting murder. You are killing nations you deem ‘unworthy’…”  

That was it. Kor had had enough of the man. Calling to his assistant, Kor finalized his decision. “SHAI, please dispose of this man, thank you.”  

Kor stood up and walked away, hands clasped behind back. The man began to say something, but a loud burst of steam cut him off abruptly.  

As Kor left the room he smelt burnt toast, a very distasteful smell at that. His engine room should not smell of such things.

And was that a scream he heard intermingled with the sharp hiss from the steam?

“Guess I will have to invent something to take care of that then,” shrugged Kor as he continued through his city, onto the next prisoner to question.  

 

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