Title: Hammer & Steam (0/?)

Author: Cyclone

Feedback: Please be gentle.

Distribution: Gimme credit and a link. Plus, archived at http://fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=62966 or http://fanfiction.net/~cyclone

Rating: I'm gonna go say PG.

Spoilers: Up to Chosen.

Disclaimer: Some of the characters depicted herein belong to the almighty Joss. I'm just borrowing them for a while. The rest belong to me.

Summary: In a wartorn land, a carpenter from another world tries to survive.

Author's Note: This comes courtesy of my gaming muse, who is trying very hard to fill in for Rander.

* * *

Kira ran through the streets, her fiery red hair, streaked with white, whipping in the wind.

The attack had been swift and sudden, and even now, she almost couldn't believe it was happening.

But it was.

Raging infernos throughout the city lit the night sky as shadows of those monstrous flying contraptions obscured the moonlight and starlight. She heard something shriek past and involuntarily flinched away as the rocket struck near her, throwing dust and gravel across her.

She skidded to a halt when she heard something tromping around the corner, and she bolted into the nearest alley.

Kira sucked in a breath as the mechanical warrior stomped past... and stopped. It was a support model, that much she could tell, and it looked like it was out of rockets. One of the glider wings on its back was shredded, and the other wasn't fully retracted.

It must have gotten separated from its squad.

She swore when it turned and shouldered its way through the debris. The tiny eyeslit revealed the orcish pilot's greenish skin and yellow eyes as it raised its worn and blood-stained battleaxe.

Kira raised her staff and struck the ground. An arcane word sped from her lips as lightning arced from the ornate globe on top of her staff toward the war machine.

It stumbled and fell, and Kira fled.

* * *

High above, aboard the Imperial skyship Dread Claw -- a massive dirigible held aloft through a mixture of sorcery, hydrogen, and steam-powered fans -- Warleader Drayguss smiled. He was a tall orc, standing a good seven feet tall. His greenish skin rippled with muscles, and his yellow eyes hinted at the sheer, raw intelligence lurking within.

He threw his head back and laughed.

His troops had tasted blood, and they had emerged victorious. If this was the best this weak Republic could offer, than the continent -- and _vengeance_ -- would easily be theirs.

* * *

Below decks, a one-eyed man sat. He had heard the battle below, knew that he must be near the enemies of his captors.

Knew that _this_ was the time to escape.

* * *

Author's Postscript:

Just so it's clear, this is an original setting, a variant D&D world I've been working on for a while now, tweaked slightly to factor in Xander's presence.