Hi all, great stories so far and I'm sure there are more to come.
Tales of Dark Eldar usually enter my head but, this time, a story of a different flavour. Public and private comments criticisms and advice always gratefully received, but this is my first time at a WFB story, so please be gentle (lol).
The hate in this story is more of a 'personal hatred' than something which is ideological or army-spanning (and I imagine that the 'devastation' in the title refers not only to the wrecked city, but also of personal morals and casting aside a former life), so I don't know if people will go for it, but just got to write what comes into my brain.
Anywho, here's my humble offering for this month, I hope you enjoy and my thanks for reading:
"Devastation in Praag" (I think it's 1088 words).
With the screams and shouts ringing in his ears, Battle-Priest Dietmar could do nothing but watch in horror through the broken timbers of the once-proud gatehouse: the caravans that should have led the civilians to safety now proved to be their trap and their doom. It was the same fate that had taken so many others during the seige and –with the Horde closing in day by day- it was proof that there was now no hope for any of them.
Tears streaming down his face at the massacre, he shouted to his captor: “You killed all of those people! They were only farmers and peasants...innocents...they posed no threat to you!”
Chaos Champion Varelda turned to face her prisoner, her tarnished high-heeled boots scratching upon the demolished courtyard’s broken flagstones. “The knights that sallied forth last week posed no discernible threat to my warriors either, so why believe that the unarmed ones should not be treated similarly?”
“Lascivia, please come forth, we have a guest.”
A new companion entered the wan light that bathed the courtyard: barefoot, her grimy and bloodstained attire had unmistakably once belonged to a Sister of Sigmar. However, instead of hiding the body to better concentrate upon devotion, her garments had been cut and altered to tastefully emphasise her form. The newcomer’s face covered by long dark hair.
Varelda’s gauntlet reached out and grasped Lascivia’s shoulder, the touch making her shudder, seemingly in pain. “Found in a forest years ago, this lady has been with my warband ever since. I could tell that she was already damaged before the Gods brought her to me; none have touched her for fear of incurring my wrath, however I have had to take steps to protect her from the world’s horrors.” Parting the other’s hair, Dietmar saw that Lascivia’s eyes had been sewn shut, but he let out a heartfelt groan of recognition at the revealed face: the same face he had doted on for eight years and kissed goodnight whilst she slept as a child before she was lost to him over a decade ago.
Sagging in the grasp of the brutes who held him, his voice was a whisper of disbelief: “No! Kristin should have been leagues away from here, safe from Chaos forever!”
“Nowhere is safe.” Varelda replied. “Sigmar ceased to answer prayers here an age ago, yet still you have this ‘faith’ that he protects? I have shown you that he does not relieve any of you from the burden of pain. No-one is coming to rescue you and Kholek has seen to it that your temples are in ruins; even your most sacred places are no match for the majesty of Chaos...”
“Whilst you preached and sermonised to the masses, your own flesh and blood sat amongst your congregation...unloved, unrecognised and unremarkable.”
A murmured stream of denial and justification started pouring from Dietmar’s lips, but was cut short by Varelda as she continued: “You were doing your God’s work, but is he a 'caring' God if he encourages his priests to ignore their families? Does he ‘protect the faithful’ if he asks you to discount these very foundations of your lives? I think not. Here, Lascivia has a chance to shine and show her true worth, beneath the very gazes of the Gods themselves!”
Nodding to the guards to release him, she added: “Take up the spear that is in front of you...show us what your faith is capable of.” Picking up the glinting blue-grey weapon, he attemped to thrust it into his own chest from the shame of his life but, even straining with the exertion, it only scratched his skin and would move no further forwards.
The blade shimmered again in the fading sunlight as his tormentor laughed shrilly: “That thing you hold is a creature of pure enmity...though it will trick you, it has now tasted you and will not let you fall to despair.”
Eyes closed in frustration and against the truth of his faith crumbling around him, Dietmar let go of what he knew and grasped a new source of strength. Reversing the spear, he lashed out with all his might and his effort was rewarded with the sound of a heavy body hitting the shattered cobbles, gurgling out it’s last.
Vision returning, dismayed that he had missed her, Varelda’s light applause greeted his ears as another member of the warband lay dead at his feet.
“That was Gregor, the one who had brought Lascivia into my...care...and you have instantly gained your ten year revenge against the one who stole her from your sight. What happens when you cast aside the old ways and allow your feelings to take hold is the true power of devotion....Chaos embodied.”
“If you cling to the faith of a cruel God, the weapon will reject you and -defenceless and alone in a falling city- how will you then be able to protect Kristin who is miles away?”
“You may die here, sent on a futile errand by High Priest Jankovic, who schemed to see you dead or at loeast out of the way...
“Or you may join us and show your devotion to your daughter, protecting her from suffering. Perhaps you may one day beat me to lead the warband, taking her away from Chaos entirely?
"Even if you do not challenge, you know that Chaos feeds upon itself, so you can still take out your revenge upon others amongst the Horde, as well as upon the Elves and Dwarves and Lizards who seek to enslave your people.
“You will also finally have a chance to purge the ocean of self-loathing that you have always felt since Lascivia disappeared.
“Lastly -and most importantly- I will give you full rein to war against ‘the faithful of Sigmar’ who have forgotten you, destroying all who abandoned yourself and Kristin to the likes of me.”
Knowing it all to be irrefutable truth, his mind hardened against the coming duty, one he knew he would serve more truthfully and wholly than any oath he had taken to the Empire’s religion.
With new purpose and hate-of-self blazing through every fibre, the man who had once called himself Battle-Priest Dietmar staggered to his feet, his mind already devoted.
Even as he followed Varelda, his shattered faith exerted itself one last time before it was submerged forever beneath a tide of rage and malice. Finding his voice, it’s last faltering denials whispered out:
“No! You’re wrong! You are wrong! You...are...”
“...mine.” said the spear.
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?"
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Last edited by andygorn; 05-27-11 at 07:39 AM.