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  Topic Review (Newest First)
02-26-12 10:44 PM
VixusKragov Just saw this, got idea for a story, and noticed the deadline . Oh well. Always next month
02-26-12 03:16 AM
Shogun_Nate As this one turned out longer than expected, I'm going to incorporate it into next month's somehow.

Good luck everyone!

Nate

Fiiiiiiiiiiire…woo, woo, woo-WOOO

The sun crept over the horizon, bringing with it the promise of another day filled with what would most likely be failure (and rain, damn it all). Von Vandersnoot greeted the cloudy morning as he would any other; a quick run to the outhouse (which almost turned into a knife fight with a rat big enough to be the illegitimate hell-spawn of a damned skaven rat-man) to get himself sorted for the day followed by his daily imbibing of the noxious treacle that kept him alive (relatively speaking, of course) and kicking.

The previous night’s fiasco had left him dejected and not a little bit down-hearted (which, oddly enough was at odds with his jovial, yet quite insane, demeanor). Eric had spent the better part of the night scrubbing his rather odious foot with brush and soap and, sure enough, he’d managed to clean off the wretched fecal matter (only after a few florid curses that had inadvertently led to the death of several pigeons nesting in his roof…the dark arts do have their upside, you know!). He’d been lucky enough to stop before he hit bone. Previous encounters with dung had not been quite so fortuitous (and even led to a trip to the apothecary’s one winter’s night centuries ago. Though, one can’t blame him. I don’t know if you know this but should you ever be one of those poor, ill-fated souls to step into a pile of nurgling poo, just cut the damned foot off. Honestly… You’re most likely going to lose it anyways. Cut your losses and move… well, shuffle on).

However, it wasn’t long before his plucky nature kicked in. His staff (and only companion) greeted him with the muffled strains of what most likely was a string of terrible curses in orcish. Eric tutted the staff for its lack of manners.

“Gorsnag! If you continue on like this, I might just leave the catgut on! Now mind your tongue and shut up!”

This, of course, only enraged the skull more, provoking a string of quite brilliantly laid out (for an orc, mind you) diatribe ending in something that sounded vaguely close to ‘rip off your gnadgy bitz an’ feed ‘em ta yaz’. Shrugging, von Vandersnoot gave up and began working on his next course of action. He was still no closer to escaping this wretched city and word had reached him that certain parties (of the witch burning kind) had taken interest in the ‘local eccentric behind the tavern’. That was all he needed.

“Damn all witch-hunters to a fiery hell, Sigmar take their fanatical souls!”, he muttered to himself.

Seeing that he wasn’t getting anywhere staying home, he took up his staff and decided to for a little walk. His meander took him close to the eastern gate. Here the neighborhood was a bit poorer (even by Empire standards, poor was an understatement) and the guards not quite so hidebound to their duties. As he reached the square, he was greeted by the sounds of wails and smoke. Turning to see what all the fuss was about, he noticed some fool had set his house on fire.

“Must have been a cold night”, he mused to himself, watching the flames sidle their way up the sides of the wooden building.

Eric glanced to the staff. It was still struggling valiantly against the ensorcelled restraints but for now they kept his yap well and truly shut. There’s nothing in this world (short of cursing Sigmar, setting your testicles on fire or growing an extra appendage in the middle of a rousing sermon against the impure) that gets another person’s attention than a talking staff (especially an orcish one given the distasteful nature of the marauding greenskins and their proclivity to set things on fire ((minus their testes of course…do they even have testes? I’ve always wondered about that. Sure, they’ve got the sausage, but do they have the bread? Come to think of it, meat and potatoes would probably be a better euphemism. Err…where was I…)).

Drawing closer, von Vandersnoot found himself accosted by several of the more buxom (if not toothless) harridans amongst the crowd of looky-loos who spent their time between tearful cries and gesticulating wildy towards the house. Given his habit (that would be his attire…not his personal foibles. That in itself would be a scrolling epic worthy of several volumes), pale disposition and perpetual stoop, many mistook him for a priest of Morr. Granted, his profession did put him close to death, but it was in a manner totally opposite of those fusty old codgers who spent their time looking for ways to bilk old women out of their precious monies (and sometimes knickers…hey, being a priest of the whole god of death doesn’t lend itself to many romantic rendezvous with the opposite sex…well…the living ones at any rate).

Before the building, Eric could clearly see a group of men fruitlessly laboring to put the fire out with buckets of water. Amongst their number one fellow stood out. His bright orange hair and robes marked him out as a pyromancer. The leader of the gathered men seemed to be speaking with him. Von Vandersnoot could make out snatches of their conversation given the heated (aye, tis a poorly crafted pun but you’re the poor daft sod reading this, not I!) nature of it.

“Can’t you put it out, Tymon?”, came the voice of man in charge, one Greigor Hautmann.

“I start fires you fool… I don’t stop them”, replied the wizard in a haughty tone.

“Sigmar preserve us… What use are you then?” the man snapped angrily.

“Apparently none at all. I don’t even know why they woke me up for this. They’re just some stupid peasants. Let them burn", was his only response.

This elicited a rather angry snarl followed by clenched fists and death threats. It would get him no-where of course. Wizards being what they were, the man knew not to get too uppity.

While he watched, one of the more odiferous hags clutched at Eric’s robes, pleading with him to pray for those lost inside.

“Madam, unhand me lest I turn your innards into outards!”

That was enough to see her loosen her vice-like grip. A cry went up from many amongst the crowd.

“Look there! The child! She’s still in there!”

To be Continued


Word Count - 1,063 including title.
02-20-12 03:50 PM
Dave T Hobbit
Kidnapped

Kidnapped (HOES Entry - Into The Fire)


***


I barely move across the grass, slowly lowering each foot to let each blade of grass press individually into the sole. In this perfect moment I take joy in small things. Small flowers of periwinkle and citrine dot the sward and dew dapples their delicate petals. I bend to drink and am drawn into a world of sublime flavours.

My taste sated I wander across my perfect garden. The grass bends, folding in myriad patterns, unfolding in unnumbered more, standing straight again.

The sky is ripped by a discordant note. Singing songs of joy I rush to see. Running as fast as I can, I feel the air caress my passing.

A giant metal beast is tearing a trench in the grass, rolling and spitting. My perfect moment lies shattered and torn. I run but the beast is fast and gouges its way inexorably toward me scouring the ground flat with its passing. Flames stream from its body like feathers turning my flowers to ash.

It is almost upon me. I see three terrible eyes staring down at me, twisted in loathing. I feel the weight of their regard like iron chains, unseeing my choices and confining me to this single ashen flight.

Dark tongues eat away at the ground and the chains are biting deep now, pulling me toward the beast. I struggle against them but the ground is soft and shifts beneath my feet. The flames burn high; I strain my eyes but, unlike the flames of home, I see only an ugly finality in their random jerking. With a mighty tug the chains complete their task and I am drawn through the flames, feeling my senses and my flesh scoured.


***


I am aware.

The ground cuts at my feet. I try to remain motionless but it is a torment of rigid pieces and, as the air tears at my skin, I am forced to shift again and again seeking comfort. Looking around see that I am standing in a tunnel. Darkness masks the ends; as far as I can see the walls are grey and uniform. As my senses reach out further I feel a thundering.

Gusting winds…a rumble…. Is this a tunnel… or a throat? Have I been swallowed? There is nothing special about this place, so I resolve to move, but which way? Thoughts muddle in my head: how do I know that the air will be coming from an exit if it is a tunnel? Should I wait to feel if it changes direction? A sound, different and small, comes from the distance; not music but the beginning of a crude rhythm possibly. Filled with the desire to act I choose that direction.


***


The sound gets louder. The ground does not shift beneath my feet and my limbs feel heavy but dragging myself through the thick air I force myself toward it.

In the distance I finally perceive two shapes, grey like the tunnel but with a glow like me; the idea that there might be others like me floods me with joy before giving way to a new thought that I slowly realise is not pleasant, a concept of loneliness.

I dance forward and the shapes sing in greeting; they are off-key but make up for it in volume. I chant forth a counterpoint to their melody and they soar higher in response. A symphony of scents breaks forth as they release unguents and pheromones in greeting: sharp yellows and coppery reds overlay earthy browns.

One of them runs off, raising its arms in joy and I see that they lack proper hands. Perhaps it has gone to find (I try the idea again to see if I understand it) others. The second is gazing at me in ecstasy, while a new salty scent cuts the perfume.

They feel ecstasy like me, and they glow like me; we are the same! I ignore the hard echoes and sing; I ignore the razor floor and dance. But the glow is weak and the other does not dance and sing.

The grey must have trapped it. I must make it free again. My strong hands quickly cut away the hard grey shell and the layers beneath. Freed of the muffling blandness the glow flares and I taste its glories. The uniqueness overcomes me and I swallow.


***


The odd almost music has returned; there are more instruments but still no harmony.

My eyes are strangely dull and it takes an eternity to seek the source of the sound. More of the glowing creatures are advancing slowly along the tunnel towards me. The grey wrapped around them is heavy enough to give their motions a dull uniformity.

A harsh note drowns the music completely, revealing a creature behind them enveloped in grey so flat it is almost black; it waves its arms in sharp jerks, disrupting the traces of grace in the other creatures and they come to a halt. Beneath the barrage of dissonance the glow is forced deeper into the grey.

Pleasure fills me as I realise I can save these creatures as I saved the first one. I arch my spine then slowly pass one leg over my head performing an elegant cartwheel while striking the hard tips of my fingers together in a countermelody to the dissonance. Continuing my graceful process I see the creatures raising straight rods.

They spit straight lines, each a million million spheres, each the same. Each sphere leaves a dull grey mark on my skin, dulling the patterns and turning flesh numb. Finally they strike my eyes and I am spared the sight of uniformity scouring away my beauty. One last moment of clarity holds me, before my senses bleed away and all is still.


***


I am standing in a field of exquisite salmon grass. In all directions the ground undulates upward before the meeting far above my head in a perfect sphere. I pirouette and the sky moves with me in perfect unity.

I barely move across the grass, slowly lowering each foot to let each blade of grass press individually into the sole. In this perfect moment I take joy in small things.


-1046 words
02-17-12 10:09 PM
gothik
Until it sleeps.

HOES entry 12-02 (second story)

Into the Fire.

Gothik

The Introduction to the Chaos Warband The Reborn who seem interesting enough to write about eventually.

Word Count: 1023 (not including title or intro)

I have to hide, I do not know where but they are getting closer. My parents have run afraid of what is happening to me and I do not understand. All I wanted was for them to help me, to take me away from here but when the sky turned black they ran, yelling at me to take myself away.

The city streets offer little shelter for they have women with them that hurt me, I saw one before I ducked into the sewer outlet where I would play hide and seek as a child with my friends before it – it spoke to me and changed me.

The gang I belonged to were scared of me and with good reason, Vacka the leader liked to bully me and tried to make me do things to him that I did not want to do….it would be the last time he tried to get me to touch him.
His screams made me smile and the – thing that was changing me laughed too, promised me no one would ever hurt me again but now I am running, I do not want them to find me the blackness the woman caused was not nice.

I don’t know how many times I threw up but they were enough to make me break out in a cold sweat. I had tried to be Emperor fearing but all I can think of now is how cruel the Emperor must be to want to feast on my soul.
That’s what my priest told us all, those who develop unholy powers would become one with the Emperor and would be the source to keep his omnipotent power going. Well if he was so powerful why would need me to help him?

I run on until my lungs are fit to burst and finally emerge from a sewage gate far on the outskirts of town. I don’t want to die, I am only 16 and I do not want to become one of them things that sit in the communications hall with no eyes and no soul.

That is no life; I would rather be an outcast for the rest of my life then live without a soul. The thing in my head that I have come to regard as perhaps the only friend I have tells me there are others like me that are at peace and respected. It tells me to keep running and from somewhere deep inside I am given the power and strength to pump my weary muscles with new found vigour.

The Las-shot whistles past my head and in fear and terror I glance over my shoulder to see armoured men chasing me and my own parents pointing at me, my mother is yelling for them to stop me, all I did was punish those that had raped and killed my sisters.

I let a roar go and the armoured men behind me are on the floor writhing as blood pours from their eyes and noses. I cock my head a little as their heads burst and with a withering gaze at my parents I make their deaths slow and agonising. Then I run again and this time I do not stop.


The voice tells me to walk into the empty ruins. It is night and I do not even know how I have found myself here. For now I have lost my pursuers and for the moment I have respite. I stumble into the ruined store and my legs finally give out from under me and I am on the floor unable to even stand. Crawling into the corner I draw in great lungful’s of air and it hurts, it hurts to breathe and it hurts to move.

Maybe I should give up and just let them take me, so many people hate me and all I did was destroy my former gang mates for what they did to my family. How was I to know that the older kids were connected to the higher ups in our society? My father had screamed at me for what I had done, all he thought about was his job in that blasted office; my mother sobbed and wrung her hands saying that she was blessed to have had daughters that were taken and a son that wasn’t and how life was not fair.

Well what about what was fair to me…I did what any brother would have done, I made them pay and now I am truly alone. A shape moves behind me and I jump and before me is a behemoth, a giant from my worst nightmares. His armour is Orange with rusted joints and black etching he wears no helmet but his head is shaved with intricate tattoos and script in a language I cannot read across every part of his skull.

He comes down to my level and his eyes bore into mine but I am drawn to the skulls that adorn his armour and the symbol on his shoulders. He nods to himself and offers me his hand, his voice deep and terrifying.

“I have been searching for you Kynar of Seriga, your name was spoken to me in a vision. Come let me take you from here and show you how you can benefit those who have blessed you with your powers that these Imperial dogs would kill you for”

I am not sure what to say but I am in no position to argue and I need to be away from here. I take his offered hand and his hand swallows mine. He lifts me up as if I am nothing more then a babe in arms and I hear him speak into some sort of communications device.

Just as the figures crash into the ruins I am gone.


I sit and listen to what my saviour tells me. I have been blessed with the soul of a fallen Librarian from their order and they have been looking for me for decades, I am to be trained and I am to be given a new purpose and like my new family…I am Reborn.
02-17-12 12:25 PM
Brother Emund
Into the Fire

Damn the 1000+ word limit. Had to take the knife out (alot).

1088 words - not including the title.

Into the Fire


WHEN DOES A recruit become a veteran?

Pletea thought it was a reasonable question, but the drill sergeant thought it was stupid, and for the next five minutes, the young Guardsman found himself doing a series of muscle-numbing exercises until the drill sergeant was satisfied.
“Obviously’ the drill sergeant continued ‘. You are recruits’ he paused ‘and I am a veteran”.
Pletea rejoined the ranks, cursing and sweating.
“The vast majority of you will never stand beside me. Most of you here will be dead a year from now. Most of you will never fire a shot in anger. Most of you will never even see the enemy. Some of you will clamber aboard your first troop ship, and be reduced to your component parts before you even draw your weapons. Only a lucky few will make it through’ he grinned ‘and when the time comes, you’ll know when you are a veteran”.


Pletea tucked his chin into his chest, closed his eyes and prayed.
Beloved Emperor. Guide us through this storm today. Protect this ship, and the men’ he opened an eye and looked across at the Guardsman opposite ’even Garbanowski, though he is a complete retard. Put us safely down onto this hunk of rock that has been deemed a priority target…”

“In the old days’ shouted his companion ‘before the great wars and even the Emperor”
“Blessed be his name”
“Even before the blessed Emperor’ Garbanowski continued ‘Terra was a place of peace and prosperity…”
“Get on with it”
“… The people’ he growled ‘had so much spare time that they devoted themselves to leisure activities. They constructed huge apparatus of plasteel that stood hundreds of feet above the ground. The people would climb into small containers and then be shoved off the side. The containers would follow a route that would take them up and down, in and out until all the people inside puked up their breakfasts”
“That does not make sense”
Garbanowski smiled and waved a dismissive hand.
“It’s true; it was called a carousel. They paid credits to go on them, just to gip up on their mates’ he paused for effect and then continued ‘You see, being on a drop ship is almost like a carousel”
“Except the incoming, I bet the people of Earth did not have to face Macro cannons”
Garbanowski spat “It’s my story, stop interrupting. It’s like a carousel but without the flak. I love assault landings. They don’t bother me. I can eat a breakfast of raw meat and eggs washed down with dogs urine served in a latrine bowl, and it would not affect me one bit. Up, down, left, right...”
Pletea coughed and hot bile filled his throat followed by the contents of his stomach. A loud Hurrah went up as he was sick into his lap.

“Well done Garbanowski!”

The loadmaster, a bearded Navy lifer punched the front of Pletea’s helmet, knocking his head back against the restraining cushion.
“Not on my deck boy!” he roared, which caused a further flurry of insults.
Pletea groaned “I’m sorry…” and threw up again.
“Get this thing sorted out sergeant” growled the loadmaster, glaring at the squad leader over to the right ‘I don’t want anyone slipping over when the ramp drops”

The sergeant released his straps and limped over to him. He knelt down, carefully avoiding the pool of steaming goo at Pletea’s feet. He lifted up the youngsters chin.
“You alright Trooper?”
“Yes sergeant, I’m sorry”
The sergeant turned abruptly.
“Nice one Garb, really nice touch”
“A pleasure sarge”
“There are only two types of sarge in this universe; sos-sarge, and mas-sarge, and I am neither of them. It’s Sergeant to you”
“Yes… Sergeant”, grinned Garbanowski.
“Hey’ added another Trooper ‘why do we always get the babies on these drops. They are useless and always get killed”
The sergeant readjusted Pletea’s shoulder straps and gave him a reassuring wink.
“You were a recruit once, and you Garbanowski’ he turned to the rest. ‘All of you were sitting here puking like him. All of you did the same, without exception. Some even wet their pants ‘he looked at Garbanowski.
“Untrue. My canteen exploded when the hull depressurised”
“So tough, so hard; veterans scared of nothing. I know you all. You give him a hard time because you are all scared and want to take it out on an easy target to cover your own fears”
“I’m not scared of anything sergeant” clipped another Guardsman hugging a multi-barrelled chaingun. The sergeant laughed.
“Aspen two-four?”
“That was….”
“You cried like a baby when you dropped your lasgun”
“Rubbish!”
“… And Garbanowski screamed like a girl when he saw his first decapitated body”
“Lies”
“Kemp here ran away from that Tyrannid on...”
“I paid for that”
“… Six months in a penal battalion, I know”

Pletea looked around and suddenly he did not feel so bad about ruining the loadmaster’s pristine deck. The sergeant placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder pad.
“You ridicule him, rib him, and belittle him. One day, he might be the one who picks up the discarded lasgun for you or be the one who comforts you when the sight of death becomes too much. He might be the one who stands beside you when the enemy threatens to overrun the line. He might become your trusted friend”
The sergeant sat back down.

+ Entering Defence Zone +

“He deserves your respect”
The drop ship jolted to one side bringing a moan from the squad. A bright flash lit up the interior and Pletea saw pale faces staring back.
The ship dropped and banked right.

+ Thirty seconds +

A loud bang caused Pletea to jump. A ripping sound could be heard to the rear.

+ Evasive Manoeuvres. Landing zone acquired +

Small flames appeared in an alcove to Pletea’s right.

+ Ten seconds +

A hydrant erupted in a white cloud and the flames disappeared. A panel exploded nearby.

+ The Emperor be with you +

Pletea faced hell as the ramp dropped with a dull thud. A wall of flame greeted him.
Explosions, streaks of missiles and heavy weapons fire filled his ears. Men were on their feet, an instant later, they turned into a cloud of pink liquid and gore.
“Move it!’ shouted the sergeant ‘Move it!”
Pletea was working on instinct, with his lasgun in his shoulder and his legs pumping like pistons. He had survived his baptism of fire... as a veteran.
02-14-12 09:54 AM
Mossy Toes Oh man oh man oh man. I'm scrapping my previous idea. Inspiration has struck.
02-14-12 07:13 AM
Serpion5
A Different Life, A Different Time...

A different life, a different time...

1,099 words excluding title.

--- --- ---


‘Are you sure?’ Seprin asked. Though his face was a blank metal mask his voice conveyed confusion and even a hint of concern.

‘I am.’ Nemreth replied. ‘This decision has been some time coming now. I cannot continue as I have been. You are a psychomancer correct? What I ask is within your power.’

‘Indeed.’ Seprin replied, turning his head to glance at the glyph adorning his staff. ‘But you must realize what this entails. And further, you must understand that this is something I cannot reverse. The gift of the Forgotten God is a fickle one.’

‘I am aware.’ Nemreth nodded. ‘But it must be done.’ The two Necrons were silent for a few moments following this, before Seprin moved across the dark chamber to where his artefacts were being stored. Canoptek spyders watched his every move passively from the shadows.

‘You do not make use of wraith constructs I’ve noticed.’ Nemreth observed. ‘Why is that?’

‘Bad memories.’ Seprin replied. ‘Have you heard the tale of Shadow? The First Wraith?’

‘I confess I have not.’ Nemreth answered, still standing exactly where he had been. ‘Should I have? Or is it something I am better to avoid in conversation with our master?’

Seprin chuckled a coarse metallic laugh before replying. ‘The First Wraith, curse his name, was once one of out greatest allies. A true champion who carried the favour of Aza’gorod and the Forgotten itself. He was a fickle ally at best. We don’t know if it was the gods meddling with his mind or not, but we no longer count him among those we can trust.’

‘I see.’ Nemreth nodded, though truthfully deeming it irrelevant.

‘Remain here and prepare yourself for the procedure.’ Seprin ordered the noble before him as he carried several cubic devices towards the chamber exit. ‘I will furnish your servants with the tesseract labyrinths you require and return to you in a short while.’

* * *

‘Is he going to go through with it?’ Arakyr asked, taking the cube shaped devices from the cryptek’s hand and giving one to Socous at his side.

‘He is indeed.’ Seprin confirmed. ‘It will be difficult for both of us, but if it leads to benefit I will repeat this process.’

‘Repeat?’ Arakyr enquired.

‘I...’ Seprin hesitated for a moment. ‘I used this procedure once before on Lord Mithrahc. He has become quite a different individual since then. To lose so much of what was your driving force. His purpose will remain, but his reasoning will be hazy for some time. Guard him well lychguard, for this will be difficult time for all concerned.’

‘As you say, cryptek.’ Arakyr replied. He turned to Socous who, typically, had not deemed the conversation in need of his input.

* * *

Thousands of warriors died in an instant as the first blasts of energy washed over them. The devastating psychic attack from the great serpent like creature at the head of the lesser saurid attackers could not be resisted and Nemesor Nemreth was forced to watch as his army suffered a grievous blow in one swift stroke. He cried out in anger and despair. His own son was among those that lay dead. With the serpent alien’s power temporarily exhausted, he ordered the charge continue. He was fighting a losing battle, but worse would be the wrath of his king should he fail...

Necrontyr soldiers died in droves, yet their casualties were equalled by their reptilian opponents. The large serpentine leader remained motionless, gathering his strength for the second shockwave that would finish Nemreth’s already diminished forces. It was through his own tenacity and the skill of his bodyguard unit led by the ever blade savvy Arakyr that he managed to bring the creature down before it could decimate the remainder of his army.

He returned victorious, but without his son and with his army all but destroyed. The title of Nemesor was stripped from him and he was reduced to the role of an administrator. Thus began Nemreth’s fall...


* * *

He was an unstoppable warrior now, freed from the shackles of mortality and the weakness of flesh. He had become what he was always destined to be, a leader and a general, a Nemesor without peer. But the cost had been great. Even as the biotransference took place, he and the others could feel their lives becoming hollow. Their souls had been all but erased, and only the memory of this betrayal remained. The gods had fooled them, and the uncaring whims of the higher royalty had seen many unfortunates left to suffer the mass transference that would deny them even their own memories.

Nemreth’s wife was such an individual. Not deemed important enough to serve a prominent role in the upcoming wars, she had been claimed by the ghost arks shortly after Nemreth’s ascension. By the time he had found her empty vessel, it was too late. She had lost all semblance of memory and her life force had been drained to feed the hunger of an uncaring god. He cursed Szarek’s name with every fibre of his being, but at the same time shared the Silent King’s own lament.


* * *

Stepping back from the kneeling still form of Nemreth, Seprin looked upon the noble with a new sense of understanding. Nemreth was not like Mithrahc or Nayten. He was not a deposed phaeron looking for a way to reclaim a throne. Yet what he was about to do could change that. It could transform the lord into a being as power hungry as the legendary Imotekh himself.

It was a risk. But it was not Seprin’s place to deny the noble his request. He had glimpsed the memories of the lord through the link he had established. Now, as he activated an arcane piece of technology built into his staff, he prepared for the next step. To remove these memories required the cryptek to experience them himself first hand. Steeling his resolve, he opened his mind and advanced headlong into the fires of the god hunter’s turbulent mind...


Several days passed. Following his own preparations, Arakyr waited patiently at the chamber doorway. When the pair finally rose from their knees, he stood to attention as Nemreth approached.

‘My Lord?’ Arakyr asked. ‘Are you well? Do the memories still plague you?’

‘What are you babbling about Arakyr?’ Nemreth asked in response. ‘Come, we petition Lord Mithrahc for an expeditionary force immediately. We have a god to hunt.’

Rising to his feet on eerily shaky servos, the cryptek wondered if he done the right thing, or created a monster from the flames of Nemreth’s memories...
02-14-12 02:18 AM
jonileth
Day of Reckoning

“It should have been the happiest day of my life. Looking back now, I suppose it could still be considered such given what it was. I did not, however, think of it as such that day…- Excerpt from a private journal entry.

He had been an acolyte of his master for nearly two decades. Since his early teens, the life he had been living had all be for the sole purpose of attaining the ultimate reward… a rosette. His master had taken him to the far reaches of the Imperium, and many time far beyond the borders. He had been privy to things that would make most sane men’s minds sink into the mire of insanity. All of those things undertaken with the singular goal in mind… to earn a place in the Emperor’s Inquisition.

Lucian Andiron stood before the Inquisitor Lord who oversaw the operations of his particular cabal of the Ordo Xenos. The man before Lucian was a very old man, having served the Emperor for many long decades, and presumably he’d been doing so since before Lucian was even born. He has met the man only twice, this being their second meeting. In all due prudence, Lucian had never asked for his name as he felt he’d have been told it already if he’d needed to know. The fact that his master knew him and had enough confidence in Lucian to make a request for him to be given his rosette spoke volumes enough of how privileged Lucian was to be meeting with the Inquisitor Lord.

“So, Victor… you believe your acolyte here is worthy of being given his rosette?” the Inquisitor Lord inquired of Lucian’s master.

Victor Rumentis stood off to one side of the Inquisitor Lord, his dark robes covering the pitch black power armor that he favored above regular clothing. Victor had been an Inquisitor just shy of forty years, and had only elevated one other acolyte before Lucian. Among the Ordo, Victor was seen as one of the most ruthlessly strict masters an acolyte could ever have the misfortune of being assigned to. His methods were radical at best and tyrannical at worst, and even still Lucian had survived and thrived. It had not come without cost, but in the grand scheme of things, it was now suddenly all worth it.

“I do, my Lord. He has been a most studious acolyte, his faith and resolve proven beyond measure, his mind sharp and his focus to the tasks required of him. I would personally vouch for his fitness should you ask it of me,” Inquisitor Rumentis intoned rather officially.

Lucian felt a swell of pride in his chest. Never before had his master spoken such words of confidence. Such simply wasn’t his way. Now, however, it almost seemed a waking dream that he was now standing before an Inquisitor Lord, breaths away from leaving his master’s side to become a master himself.

“Acolyte Andiron,” the Lord Inquisitor turned his attention to the man standing before him. Lucian, clad in his own suit of power armor painted black much like his master’s, straightened visibly at the sound of his name. He dared not speak, the Lord Inquisitor had not asked it of him. He waited patiently for the man’s next words.

“Inquisitor Rumentis speaks highly of your skills and of your worth. I doubt that I have to tell you just how much such words weigh. In looking through the files he has compiled regarding your long apprenticeship, I do not believe such words to be hollow. Step forward, and take this Inquisitorial Rosette. You shall stand among us as a brother Inquisitor, no longer an apprentice of Inquisitor Rumentis,” the Lord Inquisitor said after a long pause, his hand reaching forward to present the symbol that would represent his authority as an Inquisitor.

Lucian stepped forward, his eyes fixated on the thing. He had seen one just like it among his master’s gear for decades, and had yearned for one of his own. With as steady a hand as his suit could offer him, Lucian seized the rosette and stepped back. He wasn’t at all sure how he was meant to reply, and decided it was best to remain respectfully silent.

The Lord Inquisitor turned to Lucian’s now former master, “Give him the details of his first assignment, I have other duties that demand my attention.”

“Of course my Lord,” Victor bowed slightly and watched the man depart for a moment before turning to his former pupil, “So, do you feel that you are sufficiently prepared for your first excursion alone?”

“You have taught me well, Master Rumentis,” Lucian nodded, “I believe I will be more than able to handle the things that shall come.”

Victor laughed heartedly, “We shall see, my boy… we shall see. Now then, your first assignment is going to be on the outskirts of the Segmentum. More specifically, there is a world that we believe an artifact can be found that is of significance to the Eldar. If the Eldar are looking for it, it must be something worth collecting and studying.”

“What’s the catch?” Lucian asked almost on instinct. His former master had been known to only explain half the situation and leave out much more broad details, such as what was waiting for him even before he arrived.

Again, Inquisitor Rumentis laughed loudly, “I see you are wasting no time taking up the mantle of a full Inquisitor… you’re already questioning even me! Excellent…”

Victor motioned for Lucian to follow him to a nearby display table that had been sitting dormant in the room. When it was activated, Lucian beheld what looked to be a rather sizable Eldar force already in orbit.

“You’ll be playing catch-up. The Eldar have already arrived in orbit and have been searching for nearly two weeks…”

“And what’s the other catch?” Lucian asked, knowing that the Xenos being there wasn’t the only dark cloud being revealed to him.

“You’re only going to be given a small cruiser with a squad of Adeptus Astartes from the Raven Guard Chapter. And they are not thrilled at the prospect of having to take orders from you. I was nice enough not to tell them that you were only just minted an Inquisitor,” Victor chuckled.

“Thanks…” as all Lucian could manage before making his way to his first and possibly last mission as an Inquisitor.

Word Count: 1073
02-12-12 06:43 PM
VulkansNodosaurus
Heresy Online Expeditious Stories 12-02
VulkansNodosaurus
1058 words
Judgment’s Heat

In another Chapter, Vyx Lukr suspected, his errors would go unnoted. Perhaps he would be censured, but not… this.

But the Sons of Medusa, the Iron Hands’ most fervent successors, were not another chapter. And Vyx was not another Space Marine. He knew his sins, his folly, his weakness. He would atone for it, though the cost would be high.

In the end, his Squad’s loss had not been his fault- not entirely. The primary villain had been Aloam Kablar, an Iron Father, who had betrayed the Chapter and the Imperium for vengeance against Vyx. It had been petty, and the danger that it exhibited- the sheer ruin that unchecked emotion could bring- was a cloud that hovered over all Sons of Medusa and all Space Marines.

And Lukr’s fault in not preventing that ruin, however minor, would be punished. After all, Kablar was dead, and the Chapter could do nothing more against him.

“Enter.”

Lukr stepped into the chamber with heavy shoulders. He had seen the Room of Sentence many times before, but had never expected to be tried in it. It was an utterly black place, and even Lukr’s enhanced vision could discern only one source of light- a lamp some distance above the throne opposite him.

As he knelt, he considered the throne. The man sitting in it was his brother, but a far superior one; that was Vaylund Cal, Iron Thane of Clan Atropos and supreme commander of a third of the Sons of Medusa. He was flanked by two Venerable Dreadnoughts, representatives of the Chamber Ferrum; even in the dim light, Lukr could identify them as Mautwi Acmuhal and Axock Vyrabal, some of the highest-ranking Dreadnoughts of the Sons of Medusa.

It was rare that such a company was assembled in this room; typically, Cal stood alone, pronouncing a sentence of weakness on some xeno, serf, or renegade and executing them on the spot. A brother Marine required more care, for which Lukr was rather grateful. Even now, he was considered to be important.

“Battle-Brother Vyx Lukr.” Cal’s voice was deep and severe, even accusing. “Your weakness has been noted. We have conferred to decide your fate.”

Lukr knelt in the darkness and cold. This was humiliation, and not truly deserved; but it would be over soon, one way or another. Cal, unlike Lukr himself, was not known for drama. Nevertheless, as the Iron Thane paused, Lukr took a moment to defend himself.

“Remember,” he said, “that Kablar’s fault was infinitely greater than my own. Remember how you sanctified him, how you raised him to the ranks of the Iron Fathers! With me, at least, you can be certain that my weakness is limited to the body. For how many others can you say the same?”

“I would tell you to be silent, but that matters little.” Cal let out no laugh, no sign of mirth; he never did. “But you are right; your punishment must be less than Kablar’s. You will be allowed to serve your Chapter with your death. You will be sent, alone-” Lukr was already alone- “on a mission to recover lost artifacts belonging to the Chapter. Survival rate predicted as twenty percent for the average Space Marine, forty percent for the average Son of Medusa, twenty-five percent for you. Thus I pass my sentence.”

The silent Dreadnoughts turned and walked back. Cal remained alone.

“Rise. And go.”

That, Lukr did. He was not too unhappy with the punishment- it was severe, but no less than he had expected. Besides, the Chapter’s leadership always underestimated him.

He would go. And he expected to return.

* * *

“Brother-Sergeant?”

Vyx nodded to his former subordinate. “Apilun, you know that is no longer my designation.”

“Oh. I had forgotten. What will your punishment be?”

Lukr told him.

Apilun nodded. “That was in line with Iron Thane Cal’s prior decisions.” So he had been researching those prior decisions. “However, I- I still wish it did not have to be this way.”

“I do, too. But Cal is not known for mercy. I leave in a few minutes- will you escort me?”

He would. The two of them walked through sea-green hallways, passing by the core of the Fortress-Monastery. Hasit was in one of those halls- from rumors, Vyx guessed that he had abandoned Lukr completely. That was understandable.

“I don’t know,” Apilun said. “I do not see why I regret this. But I do. It is emotional, I suppose; I should not feel it, should I?”

“Emotion is not a sin, but a resource that can be used for good or ill. The flesh is weak, Apilun, but it should not be discarded entirely. Is hatred not an emotion? And should we not hate the weak?”

“Some Iron Fathers would consider this heresy.”

“Even Iron Fathers are not incorruptible.”

Apilun could only nod. The memory of Kablar still hung in both of their minds.

Vyx climbed into the fighter. After a few last goodbyes and a brief introduction to his new crew, he charged out of the hangar. Open space lay before him, a lightless void punctured by needles of star. The spaceship was holding together perfectly- as his mission was one of penitence, he had received one of the less-repaired models, meaning he could not have been sure of anything- and within moments, the fighter was weaving its way out of the Taelus system’s asteroid belt.

An utter blackness lay ahead of them, but Vyx had no fear. This was his destiny. Even if he would return, sooner or later he would meet his doom.

“Preparing Warp drives.”

“Preparing Gellar fields.”

“Securing vessel integrity.”

“Entering Warp!”

In two words, the chatter on the bridge ended. Outside the ship’s windows, black shattered, becoming a million unnatural hues. Each one was more garish than any of the others, and yet somehow each was the least painful of them all. There was no logic here, no concept of place.

The Navigator could see, with her Warp-Eye, the light of the Emperor’s Astronomicon. The rest of them were forced to either stare at the nightmare spacescape or drill the windows shut. Understandably, they did the latter.

The journey would take ten days. And after that, Vyx Lukr knew, there would be war, carnage, and death.

He could only hope it would not be his death. Hope- and fight.
02-11-12 08:28 AM
Davidicus 40k Alright, I just had to pin this idea down before it slipped away. I really wanted to try to convey the terror one must feel while entering the Warp for the first time, especially if the ship's survival rests on one's shoulders.

Just like last time, please criticize (constructively!) .

With Body and Mind - 1,037 words (including title).

A sense of anxious anticipation flowed through his body, causing his heart to beat rapidly and his muscles to throb. Secured in the cold steel contraption that served as his throne, he did his best to regain his composure. He, of all people, needed to remain calm.

His arms were shackled to the armrests at the wrist; likewise, his legs were locked tightly at the ankle. His head was clamped to the back of the throne by a metal ring, which kept his gaze pointing through the towering glass viewport directly ahead of him. Numerous cybernetic jacks were embedded in the ring, as well as the throne itself, and from each jack protruded a wire mated to ports in his skull and spine. In this way, he was inexorably tied to the massive vessel.

He swallowed, feeling the saliva drop through his esophagus like a boulder. Despite his best efforts, he began to sweat, and his breathing became short and quick. This was his first venture, after all! How could he not be nervous? Yes, he’d been trained, but the realization of being on a ship hurtling through the Warp terrified him greatly. At the mercy of the Empyrean, a ship was nothing more than a massive metal death-trap.

In the background, he heard the crew busily preparing for launch. They shouted orders and status updates across the bridge, sat down at cogitators and tapped away at the ancient brass keys, or performed a myriad of other mundane, yet necessary tasks. Finally, the captain announced with pride that they were ready to set off. Their ship had been delayed for nearly a week by a series of unfortunate setbacks, but their cargo was vital and if they did not leave now, they would be too late.

He urged himself to relax and closed his eyes, focusing not on the situation at hand, but on his heritage; though he was young, he was a member of the ancient House Amaranth. He was part of the next generation, tasked with upholding the family’s proud name throughout the Imperium. If he failed on this, his first trial, then not only would he die in disgrace, he would also forfeit the lives of thousands – no, millions.

The thought of his lineage and the weight of responsibility helped focus his mind, and when he opened his eyes, there was a fierce determination in them. He would succeed, at all costs.

A screeching metal groan echoed through the bridge as the ship uncoupled from its mooring, followed by a deep thrumming as the engines came to life. He felt the ship lurch forward, picking up speed as it departed from the Naval station. The space in front of him was pitch black, with only a few distant stars burning light years away.

“Power to the Warp drives. We need to make good time,” the captain ordered.

Through his neural links, he felt another shift as the vessel prepared to translate. As the drives charged with energy, so did his anxiety. Only a few more seconds, now…

He offered a quick, silent prayer to the Emperor before he was gripped by a moment’s feeling of weightlessness, then blinded by a sea of light.

“Translation successful,” reported one of the junior officers.

The Navigator forced his third eye, a slit-opening just above his right eyebrow, open. Through it, he could see past the protectively shaded glass of the viewport and the translucent bubble that was the Gellar field surrounding the ship’s exterior. He could peer into the very fabric of the Warp; the shifting, pulsing miasmas of primordial, psychic energy. He could hear the predatory howls of the beasts and anguished cries of the souls trapped within its infinite domain.

He was nearly overwhelmed by the experience, until he saw one piercing beam that cut through everything else. This was a beam of pure golden illumination, one that sung to him in a powerful, harmonic chorus. It brought him comfort and guidance. He knew instantly that it was the holy Astronomican.

He breathed a sigh of relief. By focusing on the Astronomican, he was able to organize the chaotic rifts and currents of the Warp into something resembling a safe path. The Navigator relayed the proposed route through his cybernetic links, so that it appeared as a hologram projected in the center of the bridge.

“Hmm… you estimate this will take eight days, eh? I suppose we have no other choice. I’ve heard of Navigators who foolishly ventured too close to the Eye of Terror, to save perhaps a day or two, only to disappear forever. This route may not be the quickest, but it is the most secure. I applaud you, Navigator,” the captain remarked.

His entire consciousness was focused on the Warp, but he heard the captain’s approval as if he was speaking in a distant dream. The journey was far from over, but the Navigator had survived the tumult of his first Warp jump.

Seven days later, the vessel tore away from the Warp and re-entered the Materium. It crackled with incorporeal lightning and trailed wisps of smoke as its realspace engines took over, propelling the ship towards the crystal-blue planet ahead.

The Navigator finally closed his third eye and grinned. It was a harrowing experience, no doubt, but he had served the Imperium well. The planet was called Optimus IX, a plague-stricken world that had been in dire need of medical supplies for months. Crates of medicine and vaccine were piled in the ship’s cargohold, waiting for transfer to the beleaguered people below. If the Navigator had failed in his duty, and the ship was lost to the ravenous entities of Chaos, it was likely the entire planet would have perished.

The Navigator reflected upon his fate. He knew that each Warp jump would be a potential sacrifice, a leap into the fires of destruction, but he was willing to risk that to serve his Emperor. He was one of the very few who could make sense of the Warp and chart a course through its madness, and he would devote everything – his body, and his mind – to using that gift for the greater good of Man.
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