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post #5 of (permalink) Old 11-13-12, 03:45 PM
andygorn
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Join Date: Apr 2011
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Default “My Only True Friend” (1098? words) (Draft in case of grammar errors)

Hi everyone,
Glad to be back on here again and that the Heresy problems got sorted out.
My thanks to Boc and anyone else who helped with this.
I just read through the "Family Ties" HOES stories and they were all fantastic!

Prompted by the theme, the following story came into my head.
As always with my 'story' postings, all of the characters, locations & events are from ''somewhere else'' (i.e. not my imagination, nor taken from any other writers as far as I know)...they just come to me as time goes by and I try to use my words to do justice to what they are saying or experiencing.

I am always attempting to improve my transcribing. Not only for myself and my family, but mainly to give your good selves something better to read and pass the time.
Comments/criticisms/suggestions/etc always most gratefully received.
Peace and good luck to everyone!
AndyG.
+++++++

“My Only True Friend” (1100 words)

Armour crashes through undergrowth, colliding with solid thuds against trees, almost masking the death-squeals of the small animals crushed in it’s headlong charge. A flash of steel shoots out and a sword tears the remaining vegetation from the man’s path.

His inner being had brought him to the still, shadowed glade.
Having reached his goal, though nearly exhausted, he treads carefully as there is only wan starlight to see by.
Upon a night like this, even the moon dares not show her face, for the air is laden with expectation and promises a new part of his life.

When Heinrich Kestermann looks at the visage in the rippling water, what do you suppose he sees?:
A fine knight? A noble man? A Margrave of not-inconsiderable repute?
Or instead: One who fell? A coward? A traitor?

No matter the truth of it, his head is enveloped in agony when he tries to think of ‘the- time-before’, so instead he attempts to refocus upon his image:
Scar-lined cheeks boldly tell of battles old and new. Heavy brows speak of a lifetime of hard decisions. The merest glance at the deep set grey eyes sees them aflame with sorrows as yet unavenged.
Without thinking, his body pitches forwards beneath the violently churning water.

The scroll from the elderly wizard had promised salvation for his family and lover if he only had the courage to take it.
In a moment of madness (or was it over-eagerness?) Heinrich had taken the invitation to be a challenge against his valour. His mind had no trouble reconciling the ransacking of the tower after his mailed fists had left naught but a robed pile of crumpled bones behind.
The scroll had been a map, leading him here these past six months; the authorities had swiftly found the old man’s corpse...his family’s 'good name' was now forever hated.

His mind tries blot out the vision and return to the present, yet cannot prevent the sight inside his closed eyes:
A field of fire and sand and pain. Oily black machines litter the ground, mingled with the corpses and wargear of foe and ally alike. Silver streaks blaze across the sky and he knows they foretell more of the vermin coming to be slaughtered. It matters not, all shall fall.
A fellow knight turns to him and in a sibillant voice which contrasts with it’s huge bulk states:

“All you have to say is ‘yes’, Margrave. The spoils of your accomplishments will be vast and you shall have what you wish for and deserve.
“None shall ignore your new life and never again will you be thrust into those despicable courtly intrigues when you are needed upon the frontlines to defend your lands.”


The offer was indeed intriguing...a veteran of many campaigns, Heinrich was often pulled away to conduct treaties instead of killing the many foes of his home. The voice continues:
“The beastmen hordes assailing your dominion will bow down in loyalty instead of frenziedly attacking.
“ Your blade of simple steel will be reworked and reforged to new keenness, bearing the soul of another to reap their skulls and end them once and for all.”


Through the dark brown water, he looks down at the sword:
Forged for him at birth, it has been his one true friend during all the years of his life and never failed him. Whatever might happen to him, Heinrich resolves to never let such a noble companion fall to corruption.

Wracked by electric spasming agonies upon his refusal, he resurfaces, thinking himself free of the machinations of the vision-pool.
Yet the brackish waters prevented his weary eyes from seeing the piles of glowing green-black rocks at the bottom, the ones whose razor-sharp shards have already invaded his feet, cutting through his heavy leather boots as though they were made of silk.

Pulling himself onto the bank, vision returns and he tears off his footwear, surprised to see their soles sliced open.
His mind and vision still numbed and anaesthetised from the insidious warm liquid, it takes him several minutes to recall that his right foot used to have five digits, not the eight he sees before him.
Also, his left extremity was never webbed and suckered like that of an octopus.

“Foolish mortal! You would spurn the favours we proffer?
“We sought to show you the words of power; the ones which would save your family -and Isabelle- from death. You were unworthy, Heinrich Kestermann of the Reiksgard! See where your path has taken you...to damnation!”


Roaring in defiance, Kenrich rails against the knowledge that he is already irrevocably tainted by the temptations he resisted.
He unsheathes his sword -the only thing that matters to him anymore- and hurls it into the pool.
It has barely disappeared beneath the surface before it is spat back out at him, spinning end over end. Despite his efforts to evade the blade, it still only misses his head by inches, embedding itself hilt-first into a nearby tree.

His relieved barking laugh at avoiding death suddenly turns into a series of gasps and wheezes. He has seen such effects when fighting the Skaven and Northmen: the warpstone has already reached his lungs and seeks to rob his limbs of oxygen.

Looking down, the skin of those same limbs begins to strain and crack, weeping dark red pus under the mutating effects of the wyrdling pool. It will be mere seconds before his bones suffer similar fates.
Although the transformations sway and stagger him, the remaining vestiges of honour in the disgraced once-knight mean he does not yet fall.

“My loved ones will die. My castles shall fall to ruin. The love I craved and murdered for will be forever denied to me.
"Yet, though I die an abomination, I have the true heart of an uncorrupted soul!”


Quickly turning, Heinrich uses the last of his strength to hurl his body at the nearest tree and his ancestral broadsword renders one last faithful service to it’s owner.
As vision blurs, the Margrave eagerly and welcomingly embraces his failures, these inherent frailties of fleeting mortal ambition.

-------
In time, others will come to the moonlit glade.
Some few accept the gifts and lay waste to the innocents of The Old World.
Far many more will drown in the murky depths, either having refused temptation, or being found wanting by the semi-sentient pool.
Yet all who come shall stop and stare (if only for the briefest moment) at the forgotten, twisted and warped creature -spitted upon four feet of steel- which died with a satisfied smile on it’s face.

Urgently trying to trace any living relatives of Private Sam/Samuel "Jock" Wilson (Black Watch, No. 6 Commando, UK Army Service ID 2764432, died 10.06.44). Any info/suggestions gratefully received.

"Mockles! Pent on silpen tree, blockards three a-feening. Mockles! What silps came to thee, in thy pantry, dreaming?"

Please check out the HOES (Heresy Online Stories) threads and vote for the tales.
More feedback = better stories for everyone.

Last edited by andygorn; 11-23-12 at 12:20 AM. Reason: Fixed for default font/colour
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