A towering cloud of smoke came from the stack above the blacksmith’s foundry, said foundry supposed to be closing down for the night. Reckoning on the Indian’s next target in Ascension, the three marshals didn’t even stop to plan; years of experience were calling the shots.
Marshal Octavius Wilhem shut the helmet of his iron armour with a clang as he barrelled through the doors of the foundry.
Meanwhile Marshal Wendel Kane covered the front of the building and Marshal Jack Lightning, atop the still frenzied horse, Thunder, took off to cover the rear.
Inside the foundry, superheated steam whistled from the furnace, stinging the eyes and ears of Wilhem, even behind his helmet. Heedless of the workbenches and tools in his way though, the Iron Marshal charged toward the controls, furiously spinning dials and turning cranks. As the whistling gained in pitch and volume, Wilhem took the direct approach and what was remained of the fire retardant, after the stampede, was fired into the explosive contents of the furnace.
Thunder rounded the foundry at full tilt and anyone not the equal of Jack Lightning would have been thrown off at the speed. Reaching the rear of the building, Jack was just in time to see a shadowy figure making a quick and silent getaway. The lightning gun appeared in the marshal’s hand and blue bolts of light tore through the shadows. But it was just the shadows they struck as the Indian, lit briefly by the gun, dived into the alley between buildings.
Kane, seeing the discharge from the streets, headed the Indian off at the mouth of the alley. True to Wilhem’s deductions, the savage was huge! Corded muscles were drawn tight with power from the vile red root that he, no doubt, inhaled. Gripping a tomahawk in one hand and a flint knife in the other, the Indian swung both weapons on sight. Kane was ready and both weapons were knocked aside as the Mountain Marshal charged in knuckles first. The blow only glanced off the Indian’s chin and the berserk state he was under meant he didn’t even notice.
Inside the foundry the deafening whistle had wound down to a slow whine and the smoke dispersed enough that Wilhem could look around the foundry. With tools and benches flung, aside from those caused by the marshal’s entry it was clear that a struggle of titans had taken place and it had taken a bloody toll. Hand clamped around his throat, blood spilling out between his knuckles, the bronzed blacksmith had turned ghastly white and Wilhem, despite hearing the sounds of a struggle outside, knew the man couldn’t afford to wait. As fast as he treated the furnance, Wilhem treated its owner.
Thunder reared as Jack pulled on the reigns. The Indian had dived into the alley and, pulling up alongside it herself, could see that the savage had found Kane at the other end. Locked in combat, even the legendary skill of Lightning Jack couldn’t risk taking a shot with her ally at risk. At that moment, the tomahawk cut a gash across Kane’s forehead and blood wept into his eyes. Not waiting a moment longer, Jack spied a winched bucket above the giants and, loosing a bolt into the pulleys, send it crashing down into the Indian’s skull.
Even under the effects of a berserk rage, a metal bucket filled with water striking the head makes one pause and it was enough of a chance that Kane readied his right hook and powered it into the jaw of the Indian warrior. There was a loud wet crack beneat his knuckles and the Indian was poleaxed– dead before he kicked up the dust from the fall.
By now, the marshals’ adventures had drawn even more of a crowd, that let out a gasp as Wilhem emerged with Max Volker near death. Instructing two stouter citizens to bear him to a doctor, the Iron Marshal returned to his companions as they dispersed their audience.
“Fortunately no artery was vas cut,” Wilhem said.
If Jack heard his words, she didn’t pay them any heed. One of the onlookers was showing more than simple curiosity. Harry Winsom, the gambler she and Wilhem had run out of the Ignit-Inn was observing with morbid fascination and a wan smile on his face.
“You got a problem?” Jack challenged has her hands brushed the butts of the lightning coil throwers.
“Just admirin’ the way you work, Marshal,” Winsom drawled. That his hands also drifted to his holsters did not go unnoticed.
“Zere is still ze matter of the third Indian,” Wilhem said, breaking the tension enough that Winsom took one hand from his belt and tipped his hat before walking away.
Jack watched him go, realising that she was going to have to settle things with the gambler and rumoured gunslinger before long. A dread thought that went right over Kane’s blood-soaked head.
“Somebody’s got a crush…” he smirked.
Jack shot him a glare before returning to what Wilhem had said. There was still one Indian at large and he was either in town or already out at Colt’s camp.
“I only saw one Injun comin’ here,” Kane said while wiping away the blood.
“Colt, then,” Jack decided and the marshals got onboard Wilhem’s steam tank and slammed into gear toward the giant six-gun on the horizon.