His armor was too strong for their guns, his power too great to be stopped. Behind him all the legions of renegades would come. If their black captain could defeat the king of the rocks, there would be no victory for the people.
And Caesar stood on the bridge, blood spewing from his wounds and
covering his body. Not at all man-like in appearance, beyond any man in
his strength, the only man who could save the people now.
The black rock of the bridge crunched into powder as the king stepped toward the black captain. Miniscule particles of dust blew away in the nearly silent wind. The enemy moved slowly forward, his armor flashing a dark reflection of the ruined ground before him. He stood over Caesar's cornerstone, on the first support of the bridge. The king strode onward, until he stood barely a leap from the enemy captain. Silently they stood staring each other down, all songs and laughter ceased.
Sparks jumped off the wires at the base of the bridge. The circuit was shorted out.
Caesar leaped into the air, ready to drop on the captain. His feet were ten feet from the ground, coming down when the captain launched his first shot out of the nail gun. It drove through Caesar's left arm and threw off his landing. He crunched into the black rock, scattering shards in every direction, and lay there moaning. He crawled away from the captain as fast as he could, barely out pacing the slow walk of his enemy.
Then suddenly the king rolled backwards over his own back, swinging his right arm at the head of the captain. With another shot the long nail drove through Caesar's right arm. The king cried aloud in his pain, nearly drowned by the growing laughter of the captain.
Caesar stumbled away from his enemy, running backwards over the bridge. His mind was going with his blood, which had stained the black stone red in trails all the way across it. He had only stumbled so far for three seconds when the cannon sounded again, and a nail drove through his legs.
Silently the king fell to the bridge, his body stretched across it, his breath fleeing him, darkness swirling in his vision, and the laughter of the dread captain sounding in his ears. He lay there, on the people's rock, unable to sing, unable to move, unable even to breathe. His eyes shut with pain.
In the swirling silence and dreadful noise the king discerned the sound of his enemy approaching. The heat of the black stone seared Caesar's back. A quiet wind stole across his face. Blinking his eyes open a moment the captain was over him, his gun charging up again. The sun spun away from Caesar's mind.
The captain stepped to one side, and the heat of his black boots radiated toward Caesar's side. He heard the gun clank on the ground. The whine that preceded a shot, and then the hiss that followed it. The nail drove through Caesar's side; he gasped as his lung was pierced, and then his heart. What blood was left spurted out the final wound.
All the world was silent and through the thin air rang out the victory cry of the dread captain. "Hail! The King of the rocks!"
The base of the bridge crackled. One final thought jumped out of the king's darkened mind. She was safe.
The crackling grew to a tremor, to a blast, and the bridge was torn asunder. In a jet of flame and smoke and dust the whole bridge was blasted to pieces as the wires connected. Black rock and the grey rocks of Caesar blasted together into the sky. Above them all flew the body of Caesar, slowly twisting and tumbling through the air and ash. Higher into the sky the bodies flew, followed by the rocks and debris. They flew higher than the cheer of victory from the people below, but not as high as her wailing.
Minutes later rocks were still falling to the earth, and the clouds of ash still filtered down. Many crashes were heard all around and in the camp of the people as rocks crushed vehicles and smashed the guns. Their black rock blanketed both shores and smothered the river's surface. Grey chunks sent steaming gusts of water out of the river. The crack of the captain's bones echoed as he smashed down on Caesar's cornerstone, and afar off was heard the thud of the body of the king.
And to this day even the stones cry out, to the praise of Caesar, and the story of the King, who died for a people not his own.