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  Topic Review (Newest First)
11-01-12 12:12 PM
Boc Competition is now closed, voting thread will be up shortly.
10-29-12 10:36 AM
Boc As a reminder, just two more days before this HOES competition window closes.

I know the updated dates and Table of Contents aren't visible, there have been some hiccups with updating the boards so I'm unable to edit it, but the voting thread will have an updated ToC for ease of browsing while the voting window is open.

Let's get those stories in!
10-25-12 03:00 AM
gothik oh go on be a devil mossy you know u want to
10-25-12 02:31 AM
Mossy Toes A month of HOES, devoured by She Who Thirsts. Tragedy.

Well, I'd given up being able to post anything, but I suppose I might as well whip something together, now that I've been given a second reprieve. Were I clever and on top of my crap I would have long since completed my entry, even if I were incapable of posting it, and have found myself in readiness come this renaissance. Alas, I am not as such. I dare eat a peach, I dare disturb the universe, etc.
10-24-12 05:35 PM
Bloody Mary
The Brightest Star


The Warmaster seldom has a moment of peace. The title is but unworn and new to him, but the duties that burden him have all but increased. The paperwork alone occupies a large bulk of his time. He can only hope that soon he will be able to delegate it to his subordinates. What is more, his elevation has not absolved him of his duties as the commander of an Expedition Fleet. The usual complications and issues await his attention.

Nevertheless, he has managed to find a moment, in which he will not have to be the Warmaster. For a while, he can just be Horus. He has sent away his advisors and instructed them not to bother him, unless it’s at least a small scale invasion. Now, he stands in his sanctum and tries to chase away the thoughts of obligations.

Shaking his head, he stops in front of his books. Those he keeps in his private sanctuary are merely a drop in the sea of knowledge he has absorbed. They are his most beloved pieces of writing, the ones he enjoys most. All of them are worn from multiple readings. His hand hovers over the tomes, before electing to take the oldest one.

It is not a book the public would expect a Primarch to read, but it is one of Horus’s most treasured possessions. While he does concur that he cannot learn anything of value from this tome, he considers it a treasure none the less. It is the very first gift he has received from his father. The memory of the day when he was given it is still fresh in his mind.

He flips the pages casually, as he wanders back to his desk. Once he stops, he leans against the massive piece of furniture, his hand resting on the scarred wood; too engrossed to bother sitting down. He opens the tome and starts reading the chapter on the Dreadful Sagittary anew.

By now, he knows it practically by heart, but it is of little consequence to him. It is the sign Father has chosen for him and when he reads about it, it feels like he is still with him.

***

The book is old and worn by numerous readings. Abbaddon recognizes it—Horus had shown it to him and the Mournival, back when Loken and Trogaddon were still his brothers. A gift from the False Emperor, he had thought the Primarch had gotten rid of it long ago.

And yet, he found it, lying innocuously among the other books. A bitter laugh escapes his lips—as if he needs more evidence that Horus was weak. The old primer is nothing but further proof that the former Warmaster had not been the chosen one the Gods needed.

Horus was weak. Abbaddon had learned the truth of it as he watched their cause crumble just as the Warmaster’s life had crumbled in the face of the wrath of the Anathema. Even with all the might of the Gods backing him, Horus had been too weak to deal the final blow. He faltered and died, leaving his forces headless and bleeding.

Absent-mindly, he leafs through the book. It has no value that much is clear. The information within are inexact at best, and incorrect at worse. A child’s book, given by a parent to keep them ignorant of how the world truly works. By keeping it Horus had proven he was such a child, unprepared for the great duty placed on his shoulders.

And so he failed.

No one has stepped up and taken his place—the Primarchs had each taken their Legion and fled. In the end, none of them dared to usurp Horus place, even after he had proven himself unworthy. The demagogue Lorgar, the first to discover the true Gods, bitter Perturabo, who had resented Horus’s rise to Warmaster, blood-thirsty Angron and charismatic Fulgim, none of them had even tried. They had fled.

He gazes down at the book and slowly, methodically starts tearing it apart. Page by page, he rips them from the cover. They scatter around him, like snowflakes, but he picks them up and continues his work of destruction. Each page becomes nothing more than scattered fragments. He spots the title “Dreadful Sagittary” and deliberately rips it letter by letter, and then the letters until the fragments are too small for his large fingers to grip. He lets them fall with a snarl and picks himself up.

He casts his gaze around the room, feeling memories assault him from every corner. Here, on this couch, Horus would lounge and speak with him and his brothers. There, on his desk he would sit and write, penning directives and signing reports. Shadows of the dead surround him—Horus towering over him in his black armour, Trogaddon laughing at Loken…

He shakes his head. The room belongs to the ghosts and he has no place for them. Without thinking, he throws himself at the desk, raining blows upon its sturdy surfaces. He rages, wrecking furniture and scattering belongings, until only ruins remain. And still, he cannot shake away the feeling that Horus is there, watching him with disapproval, as if he had any right to judge him.

Too much like his father, Horus had been prideful. Just like the Emperor, he had failed his sons. He left them with only bitter disappointment and broken dreams of glory.

Abbaddon looks around, taking in the destruction he had wreaked. He feels empty: the abandoned son of a god. Horus had left him, just as the Emperor had left the Warmaster back on Ullanor.

The brightest star had burnt out too early.
10-24-12 03:40 PM
Boc Grumble grumble... I'll extend the deadline till Halloween, voting will be done the first week of November and the new topic will be posted while voting is going on. Curse you, Russian hacker!
10-24-12 07:55 AM
Liliedhe And, for the third time...

Vindication

Where does madness start? In the flame of a candle, fluttering despite closed windows and doors? In the light reflected in dead eyes that never held any when they were alive? In the wish to touch cold, dead skin just to know it is real?

It sat on the table before him, in the flickering light of the candles. They guttered in a wind that should not exist. Or was it merely his breath? They formed a tiny shallow pool of light in a darkness too deep for even his superhuman eyes to penetrate. The glow of the candles was golden and warm and fading, and cold and blue and sharp was the stasis field. The hololithic recorder sat on the edge of the dark stone table, a sphere of dull bronze, almost swallowed by the tenebrous air, holding a promise never to be fulfilled.

Inside the field sat his brother's head. Eyes open, skin white. Black hair turned grey, pooling on the bottom of the crate, like a threadbare pillow. He reached for it, out of instinct, his fingers stopping millimeters from the field. Blue sparks arced from it and played over his golden armour. He would not be seen outside his armour in his brother's presence, he would never trust again. Not even now that the other had been claimed by death.

Where does madness begin? When eyes can no longer be relied on? When only the touch, and the smell, the sound of dripping blood can convey the inevitable?

Dead eyes stared. Pools of blackness, reflecting the candles’ flames. Black blood crusted in the lines around a thin mouth with milkwhite lips, where teeth filed to fangs had cut into skin, in or after death. Sharp cheekbones strained against skin like parchment, white and chalky, casting shadows over gaunt and hollow cheeks.

He deactivated the field, and the blue light vanished. Now only the candles remained. They guttered, and two of them went out, extinguished by the release of trapped air. Or was it something else that had smothered them? And the eyes continued to stare at him, now free of the distortion of the stasis field. But their gaze wasn’t the only thing that had been freed...

The smell then hit his enhanced olfactory apparatus: dead blood, starting to go rancid, but preserved inside the field: coppery, rich, intense. Far different from human blood. Impossibly different. The sweetness of decomposition was yet absent. Softly, the smell of the dead man as he had been in life crept in, became noticeable over the overpowering scent of his blood. Sweat, unwashed hair. A faint suggestion of lapping oils from armour that had been like second skin. Mould and dust, the faint odor of decaying feathers. Where did that come from?

Where does madness begin? In the whispers of the dark, burning on fevered imagination? He relit the candles, to banish the shadows pooling in the dead man's eye sockets.

Slowly, they withdrew, evaporating with sirupy reluctance. Black eyes were revealed, staring into the distance. Black in black, bloodshot and bruised. Full of...

Nothing. His fingers were cold, despite the environmental systems of his armour being fully operational. He yearned to touch the cold, pallid skin of the corpse, to feel the reality of his brother's death.

A death he had ordered. A death met willingly, as the final validation of a life lived in service to an ideal. An unspoken denial in a redundant gesture of his hand. There was a faint tinkling sound as the recorder rolled off the table and fell to the marble floor. An unnecessary valediction. He was held spellbound by a dead empty gaze alone.

Where does madness start? In flinching from accusations nobody will ever voice?

He turned away, bending over and picking up the bronze sphere. It was tiny in his massive fist, dull against the shining gold of his gauntlet. The surface dented slightly as his fingers closed around it and after a moment of stillness, he carefully placed it on the table, inside the circle of candles. Such a little thing... It rolled forward, only to be stopped by a dead man’s jaw.

Where does madness begin? In imagining the feel of cold, hard skin, white as marble, stretched over black veins?

On his armour the flickering lights danced. With one hand outstretched he stood, still as a statue. As the wind played with his lank grey hair, the severed head had more life than him.

Where does madness begin? Speaking to the dead? He was silent, his mouth firmly shut.

The dead man's smile was a thing of shortened muscles and differing temperatures. The candles' corpselight gave an illusion of life to a skin that had looked as pallid, as lifeless when still covering a body with beating hearts. Pointed teeth protruded between bluetinged lips. Delicate grooves cut into flesh that had never been soft and now looked like stone.

A finger gently pushed a strand of hair back, where it lay over a black eye. The skin was cold, sensors embedded in his armoured fingertips told him. But not as cold as his. An inane caress.

Where does madness begin? In images in the dark, given life by one’s own fevered mind?

He stood back, closing his eyes. He had feared he might see his brother's face as it had been in life, might see his accusation, his triumph. But he saw only darkness. Once more, lightning struck, and the tower fell. For the last time.

Under his tread, the marble floor cracked.

The door flew open, and the guards jumped, taken aback by his ferocity.

"Take it away."

Words: 942 without title.
09-10-12 10:45 PM
Ambush Beast
Only The Guilty Should Suffer!

Only The Guilty Should Suffer!


What could be said for my family? The fact that I never knew them? The fact that my father was never around and my mother was a whore? Maybe it was the fact that I was never around. No, my father and mother and brother were around. My mother was not a whore and my father did not forsake us; it was me, I forsook them and it was because of me that they died.

They died by the hand of the Inquisition. They died because I was the heretic, the sinner in the midst of the righteous. They died because I did wrong when I could have done right. I hate myself for that. I hate the fact that my mother wept as they butchered my brother and father, as the Inquisition sought information my family could not possibly have known. I hate myself for betraying them, for delivering them up to execution by our family ties alone.

Inquisitor Fredric Maston was a brutal man, a man devoted to the purification of the Emperor’s worlds by any means necessary. The scriptures of the Pure were constantly upon his lips and tattooed upon his flesh. His armor was inscribed with prayers and symbols of warding as was custom for the Brotherhood of the Light. For every sin there was a punishment, for every wrong perceived upon the righteous there was a brutality dealt out.

‘You have been found guilty for the aiding of a heretic!’ he proclaimed. The cuts of his blade split the skin of my mother and she screamed and begged for him to stop. ‘The suffering I place upon your flesh will purify you of your many sins. Your screams will testify of your purging.’

She died after many hours of torment, after seeing her husband and son murdered before her very eyes. The last words she spoke through a lipless mouth were these, ‘We are innocent.’ The Inquisitor’s last words to her were, ‘Innocence means nothing.’

I wept as the blood dripped upon my head as it seeped through the floorboards. My family would not have divulged my place of hiding even if they had known where I was. The fact of their innocence meant nothing to the Inquisition. The very fact that I was alive was testament enough of their guilt.

Six years have come and gone since the last time I had been home. I was now a very different man, very different from the child I had once been. When I was a child I spoke and acted as a child should. The sins of my past had long been a plague to me, a stain upon my soul. I remembered the crime that had branded me a heretic, the theft of an amulet from the local jeweler. I had been eleven years old at the time, a little boy who should have known better then to steal from anyone.

It was not a crime worthy of anyone’s death; not a crime worthy of anything more than a fine, but the smallest infraction was a sign of guilt and theft was not tolerated by the Inquisition. Now I am seventeen and have lived a lived of violence. I had been taken in by the Brotherhood of the Vengeful, a local cult that wielded enough force to give even the Inquisition pause from their normal brutal ways of enforcing the law.

‘What is your name, boy?’ the man had asked. ‘Sven, sir.’ I had replied. The scar upon his face was terrible, the result of a fire long since extinguished. His cold black eyes regarded me for a long time before he slapped my face and knocked me to the floor. I cried out and when I did, he slapped me again and punched me in the gut. ‘I will teach you how to take pain and how to give it, boy. You will learn to be more than you have ever known. The Brotherhood will be your family now. We will be your brothers and sisters and I will be the father the Inquisition has taken from you.’

I grew up hard and became cold and soulless, and deep inside I knew there was a purpose for the pain. There was a reason I was still alive.

Inquisitor Fredric Maston walked through the alley with a confidence that had been born of pride and fanaticism. With him were seven men, all his arms of purification upon the sinners who dared cross his path. I watched them as they cleared the alley and crossed the street. The reason they were here was because of the contact I had made earlier in the day. ‘There are heretics in the Stalwart district. I have seen them butcher a man and praying to the lords of Chaos.’ That had got his attention.

As they entered the boarded up abandoned building I knew I had them. I knew where they would go and I knew what lay in store for them. I smiled, but it was not from joy but from the understanding that vengeance would be meted out. The Inquisitor would pay for the death of my family. He would know that killing the innocent to reach the guilty was a sin unworthy of the Emperor or the true followers of righteousness.

The initial blast dropped the floor out from under two of the vanguard of the Inquisitor. They died instantly when they fell upon the spiked bed on the floor below. The second blast dropped the slabs of plas-create above upon three more of them, flattening them like cakes crushing their bones and popping their bodies like air-filled bags spilling blood across the floor and up the walls with the weight of rubble.

The air was filled with dust and smoke and the screams of one of the last two remaining soldiers who had accompanied the Inquisitor. His leg had been smashed flat by a section of the ceiling. The Inquisitor and the last of his retinue knew they were trapped. He cursed and proclaimed the scriptures of hate he had tattooed upon his flesh. When he saw me and my brothers stepping over the rubble he pulled his plasma pistol and fired. The shot immolated the person beside me.

I fired my shotgun as did my brothers and killed the last of the Inquisitor’s men and injured the Inquisitor himself. He tried to curse us but I broke his jaw with the butt of my shotgun. ‘You killed my family. You are guilty.’ When I close my eyes I can still hear his screams.

1,099 words, not including title.
09-08-12 11:51 PM
gothik
Blood Ties

Bloodlines.

A Renegades Short.
Word Count: 1069 (not including title)

The Giant stood over the Justice Keeper, annoyed by the lack of co-operation on the humans’ part. He had been obstinate and disrespectful to the Astartes since he had first come into the Precinct house, was this how far the people of this night world had fallen? Did the fear of what their King would do if he saw fit not compute in their brains? The Astartes did not even want to contemplate the answers to that.

“You think I am afraid of you Night Lord?” The Justice Keeper sat back in his chair and folded his hands before him into a steeple. “Well I am not”

“That is obvious Justice Lord….. I did not get your name?”

“In your arrogance you did not ask it, so it matters not”

The Astartes growled deep in his throat, he was not used to being spoken too like this and he was within his rights to take this man’s head off his shoulders. The Night Lords were the masters of the darkness; they were the Emperors justice, his hunters of witches and those who would usurp the Emperors authority. He had returned to Nostramo upon rumours of upheaval and a return to the old ways, before the forming of the Legion, before the days of the Emperor and when his father ruled the world with fear.

He was the bogeyman that parents would tell their children about to get them to behave, he was the name whispered n hushed conversations’ in taverns, when the latest murderers had been found and he had never hidden the fact it was he who had killed them. His works of art deterred even the most hardened crime lord from doing anything that was going to get him noticed by the Night Haunter.

But of course they did and he dealt with it.

He always did, he made Nostramo safe and this idiot Justice keeper had no idea what could happen if, no not if, when the Primarch found out about how bad Nostramo had become in his absence he would take notice. This is why Seventh Claw of 52nd Company was here. Their Captain was a cousin of the First Captain, and he had been asked to send a squad to investigate.

The Battle Brother had been in the station house asking for information on bribes that the Chief Justice Keeper was apparently taking and right now, he was starting to lose his temper. Many of the other Justice Keepers had almost defecated themselves when the Night Lord had strode into the prescient house. The sons of Curze were, like their father, not known for their geniality like some of their brothers.

Since the arrival of the Night Lords back to the Home world, attendances at the newly consecrated Churches that had sprung up over the continent had risen.

He had been quite scathing in his comments, he believed that suddenly the Nostramans had found god not because they feared god but they feared what his warriors would do, and more than that, they feared what his archangel son would do. Curze’s brutality was known imperium wide, and it did not bode well for them. He would see the return to their darker ways as a stain upon his honour, and no matter what the Astarte said, or tried to convey across to the Justice Keepers this, idiot was not listening.

Or did not want to listen.

“Tell me, Astartes, how long have you been in the service of the King?”

He arched an eyebrow behind his helm and rumbled “Why do you ask?”

The Justice Keeper sat forward in his chair. He was a man of middle age maybe a little older and his once black hair was going white, his eyes spoke of horrors that he had seen and, judging by how violent Nostramans were, committed himself as a younger boy in the gangs.

“I was a boy when my father told me the same story I am about to tell you. His grandfather had a brother. When the call for the Legion came, when Nostramo was more or less well behaved, both of them stepped up to the call. The one who was careful about what he did, cleaned up after his brother and never really did anything but look out for him was killed during the trials.”

“Such is the way; he would have brought honour to the family for merely being chosen. The Primarch would have ensured they were compensated”

“And so he did, but see such is the way of society both brothers had sired children, the brother who lived sired a son and a daughter, the one who died sired a son.”

“I do not see the point of this”

“The point is this, the man you are hunting is my brother and he deals violence with violence, he is not corrupt, he accepts no bribes but, he dispenses justice in the way the King would see fit if he were here”

The Astartes watched as the man got to his feet and it was then he saw the name, Clause Balor, just as he was registering this in his mind, the door opened and the Chief Justice Keeper came out.

“Chief Balor, I believe this Astartes wishes to talk to you?”

Jarred Balor looked at the Astartes “Come to kill me son of Curze?”

The Astartes shook his head “I just wanted to know if you had returned to the old ways, it would appear my question has been answered.”

He walked to the door and removed his helm “It would seem my mortal line carries on the just fight of the Primarch I am Brother Balor, of Second Claw of 52nd Company, I am relieved that I have no traitors in my line”

He walked away leaving the two mortals stunned and both sat on the desk as they realised they had just seen their great grandfather.

“Dominus Nox” They both said at the same time.

Battle Brother Balor grinned as he walked away, such was the way of the Legionnaires early lives, maybe one day they would have children to carry on the name when he died.

“Ave Imperator”
He whispered and made the sign of the Aquila, pleased in the knowledge that his great grandsons were living according to the doctrines of the Primarch, and serving the Holy Emperor as loyal sons of Nostramo.
09-06-12 11:47 PM
gothik LOL ade and i will be entering this one i think
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