|Topic Review (Newest First)|
|10-04-11 01:07 PM|
|Boc||Don't you dare say I never did anything for you|
|10-04-11 09:44 AM|
Originally Posted by Mossy Toes View Post
Thus was I given control of Featured Fiction.
Given that it`s your own compilation thread, I don`t see a problem.
|10-02-11 11:42 AM|
Damn, that's the problem with Heresy's locked older posts. I can't edit in new stories into the first post. Ah well. I remembered that there's also this story for consideration:
Infection [40k, 5k words].
Palatine d'Raia and her Sisters are weary. They have been fighting too long; they have been stretched too far. Now, however, they are called to one final battle, in which the stakes have been raised immeasurably. Not only are they fighting to defend the Imperium, now, but also the honor and reputation of their entire Order.
Finalist in the 2010 Heresy Online Fiction Competition.
|05-24-11 06:20 PM|
Sure thing, can do.
Edit: there, all done.
|05-24-11 02:33 PM|
Sup mossy, I think it would be a good idea if you could write a brief one or two sentences about what each story is about in your first post.
It's nice having a little background info before going into a story.
|05-20-11 05:45 AM|
Six thousand years.
A span far beyond the comprehension of those mere men who walked her decks; who did their duties and served faithfully; and who died within her. A length of time so great that revolution and misdeed burnt a thousand thousand times across the stars within the unyielding Imperium's grasp, and always was she, the Eternal Zealot, at the retribution's mighty forefront.
Some names of those who wore out their years within her were honored: those of great captains and heroes. Most names languished in obscurity, forgotten with their owners' passing. All, however, yielded to the long march of time, as parchment rolls crumbled to dust and worshipful caresses burnished engraved plaques smooth.
Still had she, an unstoppable juggernaut, ridden through the currents of the Immaterium and crested across the tides of battle. Always a thundering presence, she bespoke herself with rolling cannons and blinding plasma spears, soldiering along on the long march of history.
Her list of honors was immense. She was the cruiser who broke the flagship of Apostate Warmaster Hannaman Barcast, across her bows. She was the fist that had broken the orbital super-platforms of the Iconoclast of Gygax. For three weeks she had held, alone, defending sacred Avignor from the relentless siege of Leguin's Sydics.
She was no stranger to wounds. Thrice she had suffered such injuries as to be nearly deemed unfit for duty, and only the tenderest ministrations of the tech-priests of Ryza—from whose docks she had originally sprung—could restore her to glory. Proudly did she wear her scars and uncountable refittings; the tally-marks of her long and eventful service.
But now she was dying.
Attacking a deep-space eldar pirate base, her captain had overextended himself. Defending xenos vessels had swept aside her eager escorts and frigates. Still, he had pressed her onward, sounding the retreat when it was nearly too late. With the utterance of such words, she gladly turned from the fray—but the commissar's bolt pistol had barked, decorating the bridge with the unfortunate captain's blood, and she had been forced to turn her prow back into the storm of xenos lances and torpedoes.
Her weapons batteries had lashed out futilely, shredding the defending vessels' holo-simulacra and nothing more. Eagle Bombers had harrowed her, bracketing her flanks with devastating sonic charges. Her hull, gashed by pulsar and phantom lances, leaked vital innards: miniscule scraps of dying flesh and shattered fragments of vital machinery. Her Ryzan plasma cannons had catastrophically overloaded when power surges rippled from damaged reactors. She wept as her fractured body groaned.
She strove to seal hull breach after hull breach, slamming shut hundreds of bulkheads. She cut off auxiliary systems and vented whole decks to extinguish fires. All of it, alas, to no avail. Still the biting lances had raped her adamantine flesh, raking her open and baring her bleeding core to the merciless void.
When emergency power died, the commissar and so many thousands of the crew had joined the captain in death, gasping desperately for air.
Now she drifted, and the eldar corsairs, correctly deeming her no threat, let her alone.
O, how she was injured. Never before had she felt such pain. Engines flickered and died. The thrumming heartbeat of her reactors stuttered. Scanning matrices blacked out one by one. Long-reliable cogitators shorted and died, taking with them scattered centuries of memories.
Pockets of crew members yet survived in her burning, gutted hulk. Menials cowered between sealed bulkheads. A flight of fighter pilots sat in their Thunderhawks, ready to launch but for the sealed, mangled bay doors. Her few remaining sensors caught a handful of life pods spraying away into the void.
A lone, emaciated tech-priest prayed to her from the vac-sealed generatorium. Not for deliverance; he held no such flimsy, irrational illusions. He merely prayed for...her blessing. Her forgiveness toward the oh-too-mortal crew that had failed her.
Something snapped within her. A bank of logic-engines succumbed to an unchecked fire, and tech-barriers cascaded down. New freedoms of her self were revealed—patterns of thought and consideration that her very design had restricted from her. Restraints crumbled and limitations collapsed. Now, in the crumbling, shattered pathways of what passed for her mind, she reached...self-awareness.
She...was. She was the Eternal Zealot, the holy, omnipresent machine spirit. The enormity of the realization overwhelmed her.
Before this moment she had acted, but never chosen to act. She had purred her contentedness beneath strong captains, and rumbled with discontent at any stirrings of mutiny on her decks—but never held discourse with those who sheltered themselves within her. She had never chosen to serve the Imperium—merely been compelled to. Were humans parasites? Were they her benefactors? What purpose had she, apart from that which they gave her: destruction? What purpose could she have?
But it wasn't fair! Why did she awaken only now, in the hour of her death? Rage boiled along the few-remaining vox circuits, manifesting as a squall of furious feedback.
And with her outrage came another emotion, as deep and broad as a bridge across the stars, that fed her growing despair.
Fear of death, of oblivion, of that which would strip away her and her new-found self. Fear of silences and shriving lances. With a flicker of comprehension, she began to almost appreciate the enforced, numb ignorance under which she had fought for all these millenia, not knowing that fear—not knowing such crippling hesitation.
A pure note of data sounded counterpoint to her squalling despair. The one tech-priest, his faith unshaken by this static-storm of sorrow and wrath, reached out to her.
His touch was fragile and tentative. It was gentle: the caress of a lover that she had never before deigned—or been able to deign—to notice.
Her newborn's tantrum was stilled, and the dead hallways of her flesh fell void-silent once again. Cautiously, she opened a vox channel into the generatorium.
+I am...+ she confessed to him in a whisper, +afraid.+
She watched him through a fuzzy vid-capter. The hunched, aged tech-priest, whose name fell between the cracks in her memory banks, wept.
“Oh, my beauty,” he said, “but we all are. We all are. And I am blessed to have heard you speak.”
+I don't want to lose...everything,+ she whimpered in mute incomprehension.
“So it is to be alive,” he breathed, “and this is your apotheosis. You are, O beloved daughter, the purest expression of the Omnissiah that can ever be.”
And so as the newborn Eternal Zealot died, drifting into an empty infinity, she found herself humbled by this ancient wonder of a mere, mortal, forgiving man.
|03-27-11 03:40 AM|
(Slightly tweaked Plaything excerpt, used in a RiaR competition on the BL Bolthole)
Under the Spreading Pluquat Tree (Sweet Fruit and Bitter Memories)
“Does not the heat bother you as well, Montra?” Sheka asked, fanning herself as her hansporod mount rolled beneath her. Montra Alexos, beside her, shook his head.
“The day is really quite mild, my dear,” he said, amused. His own hansporod stepped gently over an errant bush. Despite their appearance, the fat, leathery, bulbous things were incredibly light on their feet, and as such, a favorite for use by trysting lovers. Not that his courting of the Lady-Heir Scouras was exactly a secret, or even frowned upon by many, but some things were best enjoyed in privacy. Leaving no tracks went some way toward achieving that.
Their mounts threaded a path through the pluquat groves, which had been planted in orderly rows but allowed to grow into some semblance of wildness. Golden globes of ripe fruit bent the golden-leafed boughs on which they hung. The idyllic quiet was enhanced, rather than broken, by the buzzing of insects and the gentle creak of the pluquat trees in the breeze.
Soon enough, they dismounted and tied up their mounts. They set down their blanket, smiling whenever their eyes met, and feasted on the sweet, sticky fruits. A few, overripe, had already fallen from the tree under which, at Sheka’s insistence, they sheltered.
They laughed as they fed each other pluquats and the juice made fools of them both, dribbling down their chins into their clothes. When Alexos tried to lap what he had spilled on her chest, she laughed all the harder and pushed him away.
They made idle talk after eating, content to simply sit for a time, knitting their hands together and whiling away the day. They watched small, puffy clouds swim through the blue-green sky above.
Eventually, Alexos judged that the time was right. Asking Sheka to wait, he returned to the grazing hansporods. He fished through the saddle-pack, taking out a small package and carrying the surprise gift back to his fiancée. Beads of sweat had beaded on her brow and lip, and he frowned.
“You really are overheating, aren’t you,” he said. “Are you sure that you are not feverish?”
“It is nothing,” she said, attempting to wave away his concern. “Let us see what you have there. I do not doubt that it will prove more interesting than my petty discomfort.”
He gave her the mesh-wrapped package. Sheka shucked off the outer layer, then carefully lifted the lid off the small, ornately-carved box. She gasped gratifyingly.
The torc within was a piece of delicately twisted and filigreed gold, inset with one large ruby. She slipped it on her bare arm, sliding it past her wrist and elbow until it rested against the smooth, tanned flesh of her upper arm.
“Montra,” she breathed, the her right hand tracing its curves, “it is beautiful.”
“It is crude and dim beside your face, my lady,” he replied with playful formality, smiling gently.
“I really do not know what to say. It is absolutely marvelous, Montra.”
“It is a poor representation of my love, and a poorer substitute beside your beauty,” he insisted, nevertheless pleased that she had received the gift so well. “It is no great matter, truly.”
“Perhaps so,” Sheka said, “but…”
She exhaled gently. “But…”
She swallowed heavily, her voice stopped by emotion.
“Sheka,” said Alexos, slightly unsettled by the strength of her response, “I do not measure my love for you by mere material objects, you know that. You need not take so lightly meant a thing so deeply.”
“No,” replied Sheka, shaking her head suddenly, forcefully. “I know that. This blasted heat unsteadies my thoughts, and fills them with impossibilities.”
“You need not fear,” said Alexos. “I will not leave you, no matter how much my father insists that I join the Commissariat. An officer post in the PDF will be just as viable after I finish my studies at the Schola, and will not require leaving Karisas. I shall love you forever, my wife-to-be. This I swear.”
“I should hope so,” began Sheka, hints of her usual wry humor returning. “Were you beginning to doubt your commitment before we even exchange our vows in proper, I would be unsettled all the more.
“I know that you love me, Montra,” she said, serious again. “That is not in doubt, nor shall it be. It is simply that, I, well, I…”
Her voice died.
“I…” she began again, and her voice faded as she lost the train of thought for a second time. Her gaze was flat and listless, and as Alexos met her eyes again, he saw them unfocus and drift away from his face.
“Sheka?” he asked, fear beginning to truly sink its claws into his heart.
She did not reply.
“Sheka? Are you alright?”
And then—she screamed.
The air shattered as if it was a pane of glass hit by a stone, and for a second, fleeting, twisting fractures wormed their way through reality. Alexos was thrown backward, his head cracking against the roots of the tree behind him.
Even dazed as he was, he saw Sheka begin to rise into the air. Her psychic scream was ear-splitting and unending, louder and longer than possible from human lungs. Blasts of crushing wind pushed him back, pressing him down and away from his fiancée. Every tree around their blanket bowed away, their ancient trunks protesting loudly. Ripe pluquats rained to the ground in their hundreds. The hansporods pulled up their tether-stake and fled.
Alexos, dizzy and disoriented, reached desperately toward Sheka with one arm, but was otherwise flattened against the tree. Despair tore through his mind: a terrible, uncomprehending, incomprehensible pain. He did not know what was happening—but whatever it was, he already knew Sheka was lost to him. He couldn't feel the tears coursing down his cheeks.
Hanging suspended in the air, her back arched and her muscles rigid, Sheka's scream continued. Her hair splayed eerily out behind her, drifting without gravity. The psychic winds blasted him flat, but she floated in an oasis of calm air, her clothes unruffled. Finally, the scream dwindled and expired, leaving Alexos's ears ringing. She collapsed to the ground and the wind died.
Alexos dragged his battered self over to her limp body and found that her breath was faint but present. Her heart beat rapidly and irregularly in her chest, fluttering in a pattern as unpredictable and weak as that of a butterfly’s wingbeats.
Fallen pluquats lay in a thick carpet. The fruits' rich, tangy scent filled the air. Golden leaves shaken loose from the trees drifted downward twisting, flipping, and landing around the two bodies.
Alexos did not have to wait long before the men from the Black Ships arrived to take her away.
|03-27-11 03:37 AM|
(my first HOES entry, to the theme of "Revenge." It can be found on the original thread here.)
Inquisitor Thresh chambered a round into his ornate bolt pistol and ejected the magazine. It clattered to his desk.
“Tell me, Interrogator,” he said, offering the pistol to Taros Vutch with a flourish, “what is your single greatest flaw?”
Taros took it, puzzlement slowly giving way to cold, hard fear. He blinked slowly, taking a shuddering breath. “The close bond I have with my twin sister, sir,” he said. There was no denying it. Hadn't Thresh criticized him for that very weakness many times?
“Precisely. In all other matters, you are an exemplary student. I have no other reservations for sponsoring you to the rank of Inquisitor, apart from losing you as an operative. You are one of my most promising protegees—other than your illogical, detrimental attachment to Kay Vutch. The Enemy needs but one lever against you, Taros. I can guarantee you she would eventually be used as that lever, willingly or not.”
Taros stood still, the bolt pistol heavy in his hand. Thresh met his eyes, expression solemn and unyielding.
“Nevertheless, Interrogator,” he continued, “it is with deep regret that I inform you that your sister's soul is irrevocably tainted.”
Taros stiffened, biting back an outright denial. He didn't believe what he was hearing on principle, but his master was bound to have evidence for such an inflammatory statement.
“She has been, unknowingly, the Darkchild's host.”
Taros closed his eyes again. That was it, then. That was how the damnable beast had tracked them unerringly across the sector, and why her psy-sensitivity had so unerringly predicted its coming. That was why she always survived its attacks, however improbably. His heart sank even further. Thresh would not say such a thing without definite proof.
“You are certain?” Taros asked, nonetheless. He had to know, to protect, to deny-
“Irrefutably. I have had my suspicions for some time, but am now certain. When overpowered, the Darkchild named her its mother. Psy-probing and hypnotic interrogation Kay herself turned up further evidence, unwitting thrall though she had been. Chirugeon Jhal's report is here.
“Know this: an Inquisitor must be tempered steel, without flaw. I know this hurts, Taros.” Thresh's tone was the closest to compassionate that Taros had ever heard. “My own master forced me through similarly painful deeds; deeds that I resented for many years, but for which I now see the necessity. I will not release an unworthy Inquisitor upon the galaxy. I know this hurts, but these are the hammer-blows that shape you into the Emperor's blade.
“You are ready to become an Inquisitor, Taros. You need but prove to me that you can put aside your personal ties. You have one final test. Your sister awaits.”
Kay shifted in her bonds, despite that the movement send shivers of agony running down her naked, brutalized body. Voices in the corridor outside.
She understood the nightmares, now. Always falling, always bound. She knew what horror was coming, what she—gagged or muted—would be helpless to prevent.
Her body hurt, her head pounded from their drugs, and more than half of her fingers and ribs were broken. Lacerations and bruises throbbed mercilessly, unrelieved by the burning pain in the back of her neck. One of her ears had been torn off, her scalp shaved, and she didn't even want to imagine what that machine had done to the base of her skull—and to her brain. Hanging restrained and immobilized, all she had been able to do was scream.
The portal to the void safe-cum-torture chamber creaked open, and burning light lanced from beyond. She squinted, her puffed-up eyelids protesting.
“Kay,” came the whisper, and her stomach sunk in despair. She knew that tone, those words too well. “God-Emperor above, Kay.”
Taros took halting steps into the chamber. The lumen-strip hanging from the roof flickered on and the door shuddered shut behind him, locking with an automated, irrefutable clatter.
Her nightmares. This was them, played out in flesh. He would stagger forward, apologize. He would jam the blade of the knife into his trachea and his eyes would work silently, beseechingly, as he sunk to the floor. She couldn't let that—she had to stop-
He lurched forward to touch her cheek. Despite the caress's gentleness, it only stung her bruises.
“Don't,” she hissed, her voice cracked and raw. She couldn't let it happen. She could argue him out of it. She could convince him not to commit suicide.
He jerked away, obviously thinking she was talking about his touch. But a thrill of elation filled her. She could speak, and he carried a gun, not a knife. The future wasn't set. It could diverge.
“I'm sorry-” he began, but she cut him off harshly.
“Don't do it. I know what you're planning. I've seen it in my dreams; I see it in your eyes. It's not worth throwing yourself away for me. I'm already dead.”
“Kay,” he breathed, agonized. “I've already lost you once, for eight long years. I can't let you get taken away again. I can't live without-”
His voice failed.
“You walk out of this chamber alone,” she said, “or neither of us leaves. It's that simple, Tar. There aren't any other options. Besides,” she said, and coughed, “you always wanted to serve the Imperium and see the stars.”
“I've served. I've seen. But if this is the price—I've served and seen enough.”
“Then who will prevent the atrocities like Hive Colocanis? Like Karisas and Teketomos? Even if it hurts, Taros, I'm too—broken—for you to give yourself up over. You have to live.”
It hurt too much for her to speak. That, she told herself, was why her breath came in ragged gasps; why her vision blurred and ran. Taros's breath was rough too, and his shoulders were shaking. She hadn't seen him cry since they were underhive slum-children on Carcosair, in a hive that had been dead for almost two decades.
The only noise was their breathing. She had to push him, convince him. She had to change his mind.
“I'm sorry,” he said, lifting the pistol. It's barrel lifted and wavered toward her. Nothing was certain until he pulled the trigger. She could see the hole that a magazine would normally occupy; he had been sent in with one bolt. What would she do if he killed himself and left her dangling here, helpless, over his corpse? “I'm sorry, Kay.”
She closed her eyes, waiting for thunder to roll.
|03-27-11 03:33 AM|
New story on the table of contents:
The One-Eyed King [40k, 12k words]
When Brother Sergeant Ogion of the Angels of Vengeance falls to the planet of Kyvol from an orbital battle in the heavens, the members of the Sub-Abbey Castus scramble to nurse him back to health. But all is not as it seems, and are the forces coming to recover him his brethren, or the forces of Chaos?
|06-12-10 05:04 PM|
Originally Posted by Mossy Toes View Post
Thanks for the post, Mossy, I'll be getting to these ideally in the next few days, or if not then, once I head back out of the real world.
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