Ednath Ventorin was a man consumed.
It was only six months earlier that he had lost everything dear to him to a scourge called The Blood Beast. The Blood Beast is a disease that unravels the mind and fortifies the body in unnatural ways.
Ednath had laid helpless before his son Verrin as the young man picked up a large piece of farm equipment and threatened to crush him under it. This is something no man should be able to accomplish.
But Ednath had seen many such feats since that day, and he didn't like thinking about them at all. When The Blood Beast had begun rampaging through the lands, it was taught that once taken, a victim seldom recovers. Ednath had thought himself prepared to face losing a family member, to see them as a monster only... but what frightened him most was the look in his son's eyes that fateful eve.
He saw a flash of the boy he raised in those eyes. Why else did Verrin drop the great thresher to the ground instead of upon him? The child he loved was still in there. He more than knew it; it simply had to be the case, and he was the one who was going to bring Verrin back from cursed unlife!
His sanity depended on it.
Ednath put aside such heavy thoughts and stared down at the rusty monstrosity lumbering though the valley below. The former farmer silently pulled his spark-sword out and felt the warmth of the arcs radiating like pure plasma off of its sterling surface. He hadn't needed to check the power level in months, as the sword had cleaved enough animated flesh lately to last decades.
The Brass Dragon was clearly a sentry of some sort. It had been pacing up and down the valley the whole time Ednath studied it; taking measure of it. From the small angry head that was more like a fanged maw with eyes, down to the torso covered in armoured scales that glinted golden in the dawn, to the long swishing segmented tail trailing behind it; the thing simply looked unstoppable.
Even with all his years in The Last War, serving on the deck of HMRA The Righteous Indignation, he had never faced down such a thing, and was attempting to discover a way around it. The only direct route to Amenburg was through this valley, but the town was host to a famed guild of Chordists. They would surely be willing to help for enough gold, and while his trusty spark-sword was the only thing he had left from his past life, he knew that there would be opportunity to make gold in the city.
Ednath's grip on the hilt tightened and he swallowed a deep breath and slowly let it out. The misty morning air burned in his chest and he had to concentrate to not cough it out. He shut out any possible revelation of this moment and focused on the danger immediately before him. Just breathing made him feel like he was truly alive like nothing else, and calmed his nerves.
The dragon had clanked its way around the gnarled tree at the center of the valley and had begun to move back toward the north exactly as it had done five previous times since Ednath began watching it.
This was it. He knew it would take the mechanical monster a few minutes to return, and this was the optimal time to make a run for the other side.
Ednath heaved himself up and began a mad dash down the rocky slope. The dragon was disappearing behind a small copse further up the valley, and it hadn't noticed him.
Just as he was beginning to feel a moment of relief, Ednath saw the thin wires stretched out before him. There were small bushes scattered around the valley, and Ednath spotted the wires just as he plowed into them at full pace.
Tripping and tumbling to the ground, he bellowed a stream of curses; knowing full well that silence was no longer a precaution he needed to take. As a long metal pole covered in bells swung upright, he saw the pennant at the top was displaying the crest of the Assassins Of H'nafth'yth.
As the sound of the bells echoed up the valley, Ednath didn't pause to wonder why the Assassins had come so far west to Ninimia. He didn't wonder how they subdued or cajoled a Brass Dragon into their service as a lowly guard dog, and he didn't even wonder why they were staking out such a prime location. He was focused too much on untangling his ankles from a mess of thin copper wire.
Just as he freed his legs and stood up, he heard it. A steam whistle roared in the distance and a flock of crows took to the sky behind the small copse to the north.
The dragon was coming for him.
Ednath swiveled on his heel to run, but saw that there was too much distance to be covered, and he knew instantly he would never make it. Besides, he reasoned how many more tripwires were laid out, and didn't want to risk running again. It was better to stand and fight from a position of relative strength than to be cut down from behind.
Ednath looked up at the gnarled tree a few yards away and smirked.
When the dragon emerged from the copse and stomped to a stop a few moments later, it looked from side to side, seemingly a bit bewildered. As it slowly rounded the still wagging and jingling flagpole, it was suspiciously eying the bird's nest of wires bundled on the ground when Ednath launched from his hiding place down on to the back of the mighty creature.
What didn't factor into Ednath's plan was the condensation from the steam accumulating on the back of the dragon. Little drops of water flew everywhere as the man struggled to remain atop the slick metal surface, but it was in vain.
The dragon simply shook once and Ednath fell to the earth, his spark-sword skittering to a stop many yards away. The dragon glanced at the glowing weapon, flicked it further away with its tail, and quickly fixed its gaze upon the man. The great brass lizard bared its teeth and hissed black smoke, only inches away now.
Ednath filled his lungs and prepared for burning death, but a coughing fit came to him like a holy revelation.
He couldn't die. He was no longer a living man. For the first time, Ednath faced the awful truth that he was indeed taken by The Blood Beast many nights ago during the battle with that bloody curiosity shop keeper.
The former man opened his eyes and glared at the dragon just as the fearsome maw closed around him.
For a moment, the dragon savored its victory over the intruder and began to turn northward again, but its eyes grew wide with terror and it stopped. The black smoke that coursed out of the stack behind its shoulders thickened momentarily and then choked off all together in fits.
The dragon writhed on the ground, rolling frantically as a clanging clamor welled up from within its armoured abdomen. The hind legs froze motionless, then the tail, then the fore legs. The long neck curled up towards the sky, reaching senselessly for escape as a dent punched outward from its chest plate with a loud thump. Then another thump, this time popping rivets followed.
Steam billowed in every direction and the dragon groaned a long sickly sound as a seemingly human fist broke though its chest.
Ednath tossed aside the scale-etched armour and opened his fist. The dragon's small clockwork heart curled up into the shape of a beetle and squirmed to escape frantically.
The spirit essence of the Brass Dragon reduced to but a harmless bug, Ednath stuck the wiggling thing into his pouch and continued on his journey.
The Chordists would be interested in such a curiosity as this.
EDITED to add:
just made this illustration based on this section of the Ednath story![link]
Its a great interpretation of the character, you should check it out!