Twenty-Five Blackbirds, part three

First was Jenny darling, apple of all eyes.

On swift and careless wings did she fly to her demise.

Young Diego tripped and fell upon the ground,

Several hungry wolves made sure that he was never found.

It was many years since the Tin soldier last was spry.

He could not evade, so in his armor he did fry.


Ah, Tin. What is there to say? He is scary, scary even to us. Tin, the Tin Soldier, the Toy, the Last Man standing, the Broken Arm, his titles go on and on. I think at one point, he was actually made a Marquis or some such.

Tin is a monster, a giant encased in steel. He stands easily seven, seven and a half feet tall, and his armor is solid despite the rust. He was our dragonslayer, the triumphant veteran. A hero, to be feasted in halls and taverns alike, never removing his armor due to some knightly vow or another. At least, that’s what he told people. We knew better of course, that there’s nothing but the armor.

Still, he is our insurance. When our work is done, they come to the hero that just happens to have been passing through, and he swears to go and stop us. When he returns, they rejoice, Tin’s legend grows, and any who think that there’s something wrong with the rescued folk are waved off as fools.

His ability is strange and multi-faceted, but the part you need to worry about is this: He can’t fall until all of his companions have. He is the Last Man Standing, always. Naturally, he goes in first as a result. Once engaged, he can’t really be beaten, only delayed, because he never tires, never falters, not while there is someone else that still fights.

That’s how they caught him, you know. When we were discovered, he was doused in oil and set alight. He just kept fighting, burning all the while. In retrospect, the fire probably caused more damage than he did. But when they nailed the last of us down, he just fell apart. Literally. The armor fused, joints melted together, and Tin became a jumble of red-hot metal.

What? Oh, no, of course I’m not contradicting myself. Dead Jenny doesn’t fall under the purview of his power. She’s already dead. Point of fact, she’s died by falling several times.

Oh, you meant me? Well… I’m not one of his companions. I’ll get to that. It’s complicated.

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