Baron of the Skies

I quickly whipped up this story for the CGSociety Steampunk Challenge

Decades ago I was known as the Baron of the Skies.

Back then I lived in New City, which, contrary to the name, was built a very long time ago on the ruins of an even more ancient metropolis. Remnants of which jutted out from the foundations, creating a confusion of sun-bleached marble ruins, amongst grime-covered metal, glass and concrete.

In the middle of the city was a large park – a splash of green in a sea of grey. One road gouged its way through the trees and led to a sprawling mansion: the heavily guarded, and mysterious, Lost Boys’ Orphanage. Stone gargoyles, frozen in mid-yelp, stood guard over its gothic towers, which pierced far into the sky. A sky that always had thick, black clouds, which oozed over the mansion – even when the rest of the city was bathed in sunshine.

The institution was run by Dr Saliva Grey; a thin, little man with pale, taut skin. He had a toupée, which was poorly adhered to his head, and flapped wildly in the wind. He constantly spat on his hand and pasted it back down onto his skull.

He was always flanked by two identical twins: the Brothers Gloom. Both were ghostly pale, with closely cropped white hair. They stood around 8 feet tall and wore black leather frock coats. Their hefty left arms had thick steel plates rivetted to them.

I was far too young to remember how or why I arrived there, but I’ll never forget what they did to me and the others. The tortuous experiments in the relentless quest to create an army of steam powered soldiers.

I was one of the fortunate few who survived.

However, they … transformed me.

I awoke groggily from this transformation, and was lying on a steel bed in a cavernous laboratory. Dr Grey was sneering at me.

At first, all that appeared to be different, was a small metal cap which had been implanted into the top of my head. Then I patted my chest and discovered a series of dials and buttons had been embedded into it.

In a panic I pressed one of the buttons. To begin with there was a just small tickle in my feet. Then, the tickle rushed through my body like a wave, until it reached the crest of my head. With an electric shock, the metal cap started to bloom and rapidly extended into a 4 foot steel pole. With a little steam, that puffed surprisingly out of my ears, four tapered blades unfolded. They started to turn, and rapidly gathered speed. I lifted from the ground. Only a little at first. Then, with confidence, I allowed myself to go slightly higher.

I turned my head, by just a fraction, to the right and zoomed unexpectedly into a row of bubbling test tubes, causing glass and hot chemicals to spit throughout the laboratory. This collision made me jerk to the left like a rag doll. With my knees scraping along the floor, I careened into a book case, and chewed up dozens of scientific tomes.

At that moment, I noticed Dr Grey fleeing the room, only to be replaced by his towering henchmen: the Brothers Gloom.

Escape was possible, if I only could reach the door that the brothers stood in front of. I raced towards it, but as I did, one of them stepped in front of me, barring my way. He smiled his steely smile. I sped towards him undettered, propeller first.

The brother put up his metallic left arm. I saw this too late and my blades hit the proffered limb, causing sparks, which lit the shredded books around us. As the flames grew, I battled both the metal-armed Glooms, who parried, and thrusted at my propellers.

The fire got higher and the smoke thicker. Both my spinning blades and the swinging metallic arms fanned the flames.

A Gloom brother looked warily at the encroaching fire, and let his guard down. This allowed me to get my blades close enough to gash his face. In response to the pain, he raised his other, fleshy, arm to his fresh wound. With a turn of my head I severed my foes real arm, and watched as he screamed; a loud, inhuman roar.

The roar was echoed all around me by many identical voices. Then there were resounding thuds, getting closer, like elephants stampeding. Through each of the walls smashed through dozens of men who looked exactly like the two Gloom brothers I had been battling. All eyes turned hungrily towards me.

All at once they rushed towards their prey – me. I parried as they all tried to grab me with their steam-strengthened arms. One managed to grab my blade and I became suspended in the air. Fearfully, I pressed all the buttons and twirled all the dials on my chest, willing my blades to spin again. After what seemed forever, plumes of hot steam billowed out of my ears. The brother Gloom struggled to hold me, and the force of the sudden release flipped me upside down with my blades near the unprotected legs of the Glooms. They could do nothing but jump as my blades came close to them.

I managed to get to my feet and jumped out of the window. I flew, unsteadily at first, trimming some of the parks’ trees. Several Glooms stood at the window, shaking their steel fists as I flew farther away.

This was only the beginning of my adventures.

Baron of the Skies


Golden Point, Australia

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Artist's Description

I quickly whipped up this story for the CGSociety Steampunk Challenge



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