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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-22-12, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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Something I've been working on and decided I'd like to develop the character a little before committing to a full blown novel. Comments are welcome, criticism as well, and technical flaws being pointed out would be nice too.

I

“I wonder if the events that unfolded during my first excursion as an Inquisitor were planned by some unseen powers. The details seem too perfect looking back on them… almost unnaturally so. Perhaps it is merely my imagination that makes me think such things…”
-Excerpt from Inquisitor Andiron’s private journal

“I don’t like this,” one of the assembled Raven Guard Astartes bemoaned beneath the pitch black helm of his power armor.

“None of us do, Brother Revee,” the squad’s Sergeant remarked from behind his own helm. Their leader, Sergeant Silinus, had only recently broken the news about their pending mission on the hanger deck of their small strike cruiser. The group of six Astartes had been handpicked for the mission given their experience with covert insertions and their overall battle prowess. None of them, however, were overly thrilled about the mission or their mission’s overall leader.

“Why does it have to be us? Why can he not simply use the Imperial Guard for such a mission? Is that not what they do? Just throw bodies at their targets until they get what they want?” Brother Yaris inquired.

“Because I am trying not to let them know I’m coming or what I’m after,” a voice called out from behind the group. Silinus turned and was greeted for the first time with the form of the Inquisitor whom they had been ordered to accompany to one of the Exodite worlds not far from their home world. Compared to the towering Raven Guard, the Inquisitor was not an overly imposing sight, standing a mere six feet tall. The only thing that stood out about him was the gear he wore.

When the Inquisitor stepped fully into one of the spot lights that illuminated the hanger, the Raven Guard were witness to a rather unusual sight. Many an Inquisitor wore flowing robes, or other loose fitting attire that added to their mystic or their already intimidating presence. The man standing before them was different; his attire was ordinary in terms of the Inquisition. There was no flash, no stylization, nothing that stood out or brought much attention to him if someone were to simply glance in his direction. The fact that he was clad in jet black power armor seemed almost fitting, like he had been born to such trappings. The Inquisitorial Rosette that sat embedded in the chest plate of the armor was the only real giveaway that the man standing before them was actually an Inquisitor.

“Why ask for our aid then? Could you not have found some assassins that better suited your needs?” one of the Astartes remarked, his stance one befitting someone who was rather unhappy with his current lot in life.

“I didn’t ask for your help,” the Inquisitor remarked rather flatly, “My superiors instructed me to depart from my previous base of operations and make for the world we are now heading to. I was also instructed to make use of your squad to ensure the success of my task. I am not in the habit of questioning the orders passed down to me by my Inquisitor brethren. Do you make it a habit of questioning the Emperor’s will?”

The Inquisitor’s words cut the Raven Guard Marine rather deeply. Without actually saying it, the Inquisitor had just accused him of heresy. Even his own Battle-Brothers turned in his direction as if seeking the answer to the unspoken question of whether or not he was indeed declaring himself a heretic. Tense seconds drifted by before the silence was shattered by a voice, the voice of the Inquisitor.

“Of course you don’t. You simply question me,” the man remarked without a hint of ire, “I suppose it is only natural given the stigma the Inquisition suffers under. I would warn you, however, that not everyone in the Inquisition would so casually brush aside your words. It might be wise to govern your thoughts more closely if you should ever deal with my brethren.”

Even as he was speaking, the Inquisitor continued walking along the hanger toward the Thunderhawk that would eventually take them to the surface of the Exodite world they were quickly approaching. As he passed the Astartes that had been rather vocal in his displeasure over being called upon to serve with an Inquisitor, the man couldn’t help but chuckle. For reasons known only to him, the Raven Guard’s words and reactions seemed humorous.

Sergeant Silinus made his way after the Inquisitor, “If you do not mind my asking… what do we call you? Even I was not privy to many details about our involvement in this mission.”

The Inquisitor halted and turned around to face the group of gathered Astartes, “I am Inquisitor Lucian Andiron, and you may make use of whatever variation of the name that fits the moment. And I assume you are Sergeant Silinus, the leader of this group.”

“That is correct,” Silinus nodded.

“Well then, Sergeant, I believe you have a squad to prepare. We’ll be taking the Thunderhawk to the planet, as the Strike Cruiser can’t be seen in the system. We will deploy from the dark side of the planet’s largest moon and will be inserting ourselves near the outskirts of one of the largest settlements of Eldar on the southern continent. I believe what we are after will be found there, since it is the last place the Eldar fleet in orbit hasn’t visited yet,” Lucian explained to the veteran Astartes.

“And what will be our role once we get there, Inquisitor? Are we meant to assault an Eldar encampment with just the six of us?” Brother Graphin spoke up. He had been silent the entire time, choosing that moment to speak as if to voice the concerns the rest of his squad weren’t likely to after Brother Terenis’ admonishment.

“Hardly, my good man,” Inquisitor Andiron chuckled, “We aren’t going there to pick a fight with the natives. Indeed, I doubt very seriously they will even care that we are there. According to my sources, the local population has taken in many a human refugee over the years, which tells me they will not be immediately hostile, even to us armed as we are. I’m more worried about the Craftworld fleet and the warriors they’ve dispatched. I have it on good authority they are looking for the same thing we are and I doubt they will take kindly to us getting our hands on it first.”

“Then we are simply there to watch your back?” Brother Graphin asked in a somewhat confused tone.

“If that makes you feel better about this mission, Space Marine, then yes, that is what you are there to do. I am placing to success or failure of this task in your hands. My faith in you is not misplaced, is it?” Inquisitor Andiron asked, his gaze fixed on Graphin’s helm.

“No, Inquisitor, it is not,” Graphin finally said after giving it some thought, “We will see this mission done and see you on your way.”

“I expect nothing more of you than that,” Lucian said before turning back toward the Thunderhawk, “You have about ten minutes, gentlemen, I suggest you use the time wisely.”

“You heard him, grab your gear and load up, we are moving out,” their Sergeant ordered, which spurred the gathered Astartes to action. Give that their mission was intended to be somewhat covert, most of the Astartes had chosen to bring with them close quarters weapons, such as chainswords and lightning claws. Brother Terenis had opted to bring a stalker bolter with him, which spoke of his preference to be farther away from the enemy when he made his kills. Having no real idea of what they were up against made such a selection a wise enough one.

Within five minutes of the Inquisitor giving them a deadline, each of the Astartes were geared up and in their individual positions aboard the Thunderhawk. Each of the six had been outfitted with jump packs, an item Inquisitor Andiron had specifically asked them to bring. The terrain of the landing zone had been specifically chosen to give them a good deal of cover and allow for them to leave the gunship on the ground rather than have the pilot return to the Strike Cruiser and strand them on the surface should they run aground of trouble they couldn’t easily control.

“Pilot, is everything ready?” Sergeant Silinus asked through his vox communicator.

“We are almost in position, Brother-Sergeant. Once we receive word that we’ve entered the shadow of the moon safely, we will depart,” the voice of the Thunderhawk’s pilot called out over the intercom vox system within the craft.

Inquisitor Andiron nodded upon hearing that, his fingers idly tapping the arm supports near him. Though it might have looked like he was somehow nervous, the rhythmic tapping helped Lucian focus his thoughts and shape them into something constructive. Since he could remember, Inquisitor Andiron had trouble keeping his mind locked solely on one thing. It tended to wonder hither and yon much the same as the wind. At times, his lack of singular focus had been a blessing and made the difference in missions past when he was still an apprentice of his mentor. Other times his lack of focus had nearly been the death of him.

“Is something bothering you, Inquisitor?” a voice Lucian had yet to hear called out to him. The source of that voice was an Astartes secured in the holding slot just to his right. His voice sounded young… almost too young to be a full-fledged battle-brother.

“What is your name, Space Marine?” Lucian inquired.

“Brother Falkeris, Inquisitor,” the young man replied.

Lucian nodded and held his gauntleted hand out to the Space Marine, who seized it and gave it a firm shake. The Inquisitor withdrew his hand and sank back against the bulkhead that was behind him. The question hadn’t particularly bothered him; Lucian was fairly used to people questioning things. His time as an apprentice Inquisitor had been utterly full of suspicious glances, questioning looks, and a host of inquiries as to his methods and actions. But, that had been before he’d received his Inquisitorial Rosette, before he had been given the full authority of an Inquisitor…

“It helps me think, Brother Falkeris. I have a tendency to let my thought flutter about like a bird. When I tap against something, I force my thoughts to follow the rhythm of the tapping and it tends to stay on task. A trick my mentor taught me after my fickle thinking nearly ended me,” the Inquisitor finally remarked.

From across the compartment, the remaining five Astartes watched their young Battle-Brother speaking casually with their Inquisitorial guest with no small amount of disdain. Because Falkeris was speaking through his helm and not via his vox, his brethren were not privy to their conversation. This made them all the more uneasy.

“What do you imagine those two have to even talk about?” Brother Terenis asked of his fellow Astartes as they continued to watch the Inquisitor chat almost familiarly with their young Brother.

“I am sure that it is of no consequence. Falkeris is young and curious, and I think this is the first time he’s ever seen an Inquisitor. Inquisitor Andiron, perhaps to his credit, is not the typical member of his order. The fact that he is not the tyrannical task master most in the Inquisition tend to be makes him easier to approach,” Brother Graphin commented with a dismissive shrug.

“The Inquisitor may not be of like temperament to his brethren, but he is still of the Inquisition. To trust him simply because he has a calm demeanor and a respectable attitude is folly. If it came down to it, I doubt he would hesitate to brand any one of us heretics and order us slain if it suited his needs,” Brother Revee reminded his comrades.

“Enough, Revee,” Sergeant Silinus admonished his subordinate, “None of us know anything about the man and his methods. Let him prove himself friend or foe through deeds and not solely on the reputation of his brethren. We will see soon enough just what this man in capable of.”

Silinus’ squad all nodded their agreement, and as the Thunderhawk began to vibrate with the sudden activation of the engines, everyone aboard turned their thoughts to the planet waiting just beyond.



Last edited by jonileth; 02-26-12 at 06:35 AM. Reason: All segments added, work is complete.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-22-12, 03:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonileth View Post
Something I've been working on and decided I'd like to develop the character a little before committing to a full blown novel. Comments are welcome, criticism as well, and technical flaws being pointed out would be nice too.

I

“I wonder if the events that unfolded during my first excursion as an Inquisitor were planned by some unseen powers. The details seem too perfect looking back on them… almost unnaturally so. Perhaps it is merely my imagination that makes me think such things…” (This part seemed kind of forced/stilted. Maybe make it more natural sounding? Just doesn't sound like how people talk.)
-Excerpt from Inquisitor Andiron’s private journal

“I don’t like this,” one of the assembled Raven Guard Astartes bemoaned beneath the pitch black helm of his power armor.

“None of us do, Brother Revee,” the squad’s Sergeant remarked from behind his own helm. Their leader, Sergeant Silinus, had only recently broken the news about their pending mission on the hanger deck of their small strike cruiser. The group of six Astartes had been handpicked for the mission given their experience with covert insertions and their overall battle prowess. None of them, however, were overly thrilled about the mission or their mission’s overall leader.

“Why does it have to be us? Why can he not simply use the Imperial Guard for such a mission? Is that not what they do? Just throw bodies at their targets until they get what they want?” Brother Yaris inquired rather abruptly. (Del. abruptly, it's obvious that it's abrupt.)

“Because I am trying not to let them know I’m coming or what I’m after,” a voice called out from behind the group. The voice belonged to no one that Sergeant Silinus knew aboard the Talon which meant that it had to be their passenger.(This is directly telling the reader something that is fairly obvious, try to show not tell.) Silinus turned and was greeted for the first time with the form of the Inquisitor whom they had been ordered to accompany to one of the Exodite worlds not far from their home world. Compared to the towering Raven Guard, the Inquisitor was not an overly imposing sight, standing a mere six feet tall. The only thing that stood out about him was the gear he wore.

When the Inquisitor stepped fully into one of the spot lights that illuminated the hanger, the Raven Guard were witness to a rather unusual sight. Many an Inquisitor wore flowing robes, or other loose fitting attire that added to their mystic or their already intimidating presence. The man standing before them was different; his attire was ordinary in terms of the Inquisition. There was no flash, no stylization, nothing that stood out or brought much attention to him if someone were to simply glance in his direction. The fact that he was clad in jet black power armor seemed almost fitting, like he had been born to such trappings. The Inquisitorial Rosette that sat embedded in the chest plate of the armor was the only real giveaway that the man standing before them was actually an Inquisitor.

“Why ask for our aid then? Could you not have found some assassins that better suited your needs?” one of the Astartes remarked, his stance one befitting someone who was rather unhappy with his current lot in life.

“I didn’t ask for your help,” the Inquisitor remarked rather flatly, “My Ordo(His Ordo? Saying his superiors or something similar might be more appropriate.) instructed me to depart from my previous base of operations and make for the world we are now heading to. I was also instructed to make use of your squad to ensure the success of my task. I am not in the habit of questioning the orders passed down to me by my Inquisitor brethren. Do you make it a habit of questioning the Emperor’s will?”

The Inquisitor’s words cut the Raven Guard Marine rather deeply. Without actually saying it, the Inquisitor had just accused him of heresy. Even his own Battle-Brothers turned in his direction as if seeking the answer to the unspoken question of whether or not he was indeed declaring himself a heretic. Tense seconds drifted by before the silence was shattered by a voice, the voice of the Inquisitor.

“Of course you don’t. You simply question me,” the man remarked without a hint of ire, “I suppose it is only natural given the stigma the Inquisition suffers under. I would warn you, however, that not everyone in the Inquisition would so casually brush aside your words. It might be wise to govern your thoughts more closely if you should ever deal with my brethren.”

Even as he was speaking, the Inquisitor continued walking along the hanger toward the Thunderhawk that would eventually take them to the surface of the Exodite world they were quickly approaching. As he passed the Astartes that had been rather vocal in his displeasure over being called upon to serve with an Inquisitor, the man couldn’t help but chuckle. For reasons known only to him, the Raven Guard’s words and reactions seemed humorous.

Sergeant Silinus made his way after the Inquisitor, “If you don’t mind my asking… what do we call you? Even I wasn’t privy to many details about our involvement in this mission.”

The Inquisitor halted and turned around to face the group of gathered Astartes, “I am Inquisitor Lucian Andiron, and you may make use of whatever variation of the name that fits the moment. And I assume you are Sergeant Silinus, the leader of this group.”

“That is correct,” Silinus nodded.

“Well then, Sergeant, I believe you have a squad to prepare. We’ll be taking the Thunderhawk to the planet, as the Strike Cruiser can’t be seen in the system. We will deploy from the dark side of the planet’s largest moon and will be inserting ourselves near the outskirts of one of the largest settlements of Eldar on the southern continent. I believe what we are after will be found there, since it is the last place the Eldar fleet in orbit hasn’t visited yet,” Lucian explained to the veteran Astartes.

“And what will be our role once we get there, Inquisitor? Are we meant to assault an Eldar encampment with just the six of us?” Brother Graphin spoke up. He had been silent the entire time, choosing that moment to speak as if to voice the concerns the rest of his squad weren’t likely to after Brother Terenis’ admonishment.

“Hardly, my good man,” Inquisitor Andiron chuckled, “We aren’t going there to pick a fight with the natives. Indeed, I doubt very seriously they will even care that we are there. According to my sources, the local population has taken in many a human refugee over the years, which tells me they will not be immediately hostile, even to us armed as we are. I’m more worried about the Craftworld fleet and the warriors they’ve dispatched. I have it on good authority they are looking for the same thing we are and I doubt they will take kindly to us getting our hands on it first.”

“Then we are simply there to watch your back?” Brother Graphin asked in a somewhat confused tone.

“If that makes you feel better about this mission, Space Marine, then yes, that is what you are there to do. I am placing to success or failure of this task in your hands. My faith in you is not misplaced, is it?” Inquisitor Andiron asked, his gaze fixed on Graphin’s helm.

“No, Inquisitor, it is not,” Graphin finally said after giving it some thought, “We will see this mission done and see you on your way.”

“I expect nothing more of you than that,” Lucian said before turning back toward the Thunderhawk, “You have about ten minutes, gentlemen, I suggest you use the time wisely.”

“You heard him, grab your gear and load up, we’re moving out,” their Sergeant ordered, which spurred the gathered Astartes to action. Give that their mission was intended to be somewhat covert, most of the Astartes had chosen to bring with them close quarters weapons, such as chainswords and lightning claws. Brother Terenis had opted to bring a stalker bolter with him, which spoke of his preference to be farther away from the enemy when he made his kills. Such skills were nothing to scoff at, and given their size and their mission, covert killing of an enemy was far more preferable to full on contact if it could be avoided.(This is good, but try to imply why they brought these kinds of weapons rather than stating it to the reader.)

Within five minutes of the Inquisitor giving them a deadline, each of the Astartes were geared up and in their individual positions aboard the Thunderhawk. Each of the six had been outfitted with jump packs, an item Inquisitor Andiron had specifically asked them to bring. The terrain of the landing zone had been specifically chosen to give them a good deal of cover and allow for them to leave the gunship on the ground rather than have the pilot return to the Strike Cruiser and strand them on the surface should they run aground of trouble they couldn’t easily control.

“Pilot, is everything ready?” Sergeant Silinus asked through his vox communicator.

“We are almost in position, Brother-Sergeant. Once we receive word that we’ve entered the shadow of the moon safely, we will depart,” the voice of the Thunderhawk’s pilot called out over the intercom vox system within the craft.
So far it's very good. There were only a few parts from the overall picture that seemed out of place, and I marked them for suggestions. You did a great job of showing the characters and their attitudes, and the story is very interesting as far as I've read. I'll probably go through the rest a bit later, but anything I've put is mostly nit-picking.
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I appreciate the commentary so far. I believe I can incorporate the changes easily enough.


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II


“Among the Exodite worlds, Yidrin is a rather strange place. Rarely have I ever heard of a place where Eldar and humanity can live together without conflict… but it happens there. Many of them are refugees from the Hive Fleet that ventured through not long ago, displacing many in the Imperium fortunate enough to flee before their worlds were consumed. I wonder sometimes if this is an anomaly or a sign of what might yet be possible…”
-Excerpt from Inquisitor Andiron’s private journal


Against the darkness of the night sky, the Raven Guard Thunderhawk seemed almost invisible if not for the engine exhaust. As the gunship leveled itself off and came to a semi-smooth landing, the craft did indeed disappear from view. Even the most nocturnal of creatures roaming the hills around the machine would have had difficulty finding it under the moonless blanket of darkness. Several silent moments passed before the front access hatch of the giant machine creaked and dropped open, allowing the passengers aboard to depart. Aside from the access hatch closing shortly after the small group had departed the ship remained silent, almost inert, and hidden from the unaided eye.

The Raven Guard Marines and their Inquisitorial passenger, with their helmets securely in place, received a much-enhanced view of their surroundings. The auto-senses of their armor displayed the world around them in the infrared spectrum, differentiating earth and plants and animals with vivid clarity. Each of their suits had been linked together for vox communication, allowing them to move silently without actually having to hold their tongues.

“How far is this encampment from here, Inquisitor?” the voice of Sergeant Silinus filtered to each of the helmets of the various members of the small insertion team.

“About half an hour’s march from here, Sergeant, down this hill and through a small cluster of trees then across a small stretch of grasslands. We should arrive well before the dawn lights the grasslands,” Inquisitor Andiron replied.

The news of grasslands separating them from their objective did not sit well with the Raven Guard Sergeant. Regardless of what the Codex might say of such terrain, his own experiences in battle told him clearly enough that such ground was primed for ambush. They would be exposed, and depending on the lay of the land they would have very little in the way of cover to minimize any potential losses. Sergeant Silinus wondered silently if the Inquisitor had taken such things into account when he’d chosen their landing area or if he was simply ignorant of such details. As much as he might have wished to, Silinus thought better than to raise an objection at the moment as they were already on the ground and little could be truly accomplished for the objection.

The band of seven forged ahead, the gently sloping hillsides proving to be of little challenge to the powerful motivators that aided the Space Marines in moving. Even Inquisitor Andiron, with his much more compact Imperial power armor, appeared to glide over the terrain with no hint of difficulty. The gently sloping hill met the tree line some ten minutes into their hike, the foliage proving to be of no great hindrance to their progress.

Through their enhanced field of vision, the group could make out dozens of animals, most of them not unlike others they had encountered on various planets elsewhere in the Imperium. Outlines of vaguely reminiscent species from a dozen different worlds crossed their path, though none of them seeming to pay them much heed or appear too spooked by their passing. The starlight above them only occasionally broke through the canopy of leaves as they continued through the vegetation. It seemed that the forest would continue on forever until suddenly, the vegetation gave way to the rolling landscape of the grasslands beyond.

Sergeant Silinus, with little more than a gesture, arrayed his Space Marines in a staggered formation; all the while Inquisitor Andiron continued his march as if heedless of potential danger. The battle-hardened Raven Guard at first considered allowing the man to continue on while they waited to see if someone picked him off before duty got the better of him and he motioned his squad to advance. A few minutes after they left the relative safety of the tree line, it became painfully obvious that there was nothing in the grasslands before them. Not a single heat signature revealed itself, not a single shadow moved without having been bidden to by the gentle breeze passing between them.

“It is too quiet…” Brother Revee finally broadcasted to the squad, “Do they not send out patrols? Are these Eldar that trusting?”

“Trust has nothing to do with it,” the Inquisitor remarked, “This tribe is reportedly the only one on this part of the continent. They do not plan for intruders because they receive none. I’m sure they will have sentries posted along their walls, if for no other reason than to keep the wild beasts at bay.”

“It does not seem tactically sound…” Brother Falkeris remarked. His confusion was almost expected. Humanity had known war and strife for millennia. Even before the Xenos and the forces of Chaos threatened to destroy them, humanity had done a fair job of nearly wiping itself out. Notions like peace and safety were just as alien to most in the Imperium as anything that could be encountered in the galaxy.

“To a group that has known very little of external strife, Brother Falkeris, the concept of planning for something that has never happened before seems equally unsound. It is all a matter of perspectives,” Lucian explained.

“That is probably why they have not stood much of a chance against the Craftworld Eldar that have been raiding this planet,” Brother Terenis added to the conversation.

“I think it is much more likely that the Craftworld Eldar take offense to citizens of the Imperium tainting this world. You would be surprised just how like-minded most of the Xenos are about the subject of co-existence to us. Most in the Imperium, and indeed many in the Inquisition, would say that such a thing as co-habitation and cooperation is an affront to the Emperor… an abomination worthy of an Exterminatis order. Most of the Eldar of the Craftworlds would say exactly the same thing, that the planet should be purged of the alien taint, if not outright destroyed,” The Inquisitor responded to Terenis’ interjection as he continued toward the location where the settlement had been spotted.

“I never thought I would have anything in common with the Xenos…” Terenis muttered in poorly controlled disgust.

“Why does it shock you, Terenis? You are already as stubborn as an Ork,” Brother Graphin chuckled over the vox.

“Perhaps so, but at least he shoots better than an Ork,” Brother Revee chimed in, sharing the joke at Terenis’ expense.

The entire squad had a good laugh about that, and even Inquisitor Andiron couldn’t help but smirk at the jovial turn their conversation had taken. Lucian had worked with his share of Astartes in his time with the Inquisition, and each time he was amazed by just how close they really were. On many a Hive world, the Inquisitor had seen men kill over being compared to an Ork or other such Xenos. The very idea was an affront to the sensibilities of a great deal of the Imperium. Strangely, and perhaps without even meaning for it to be so, members of the Space Marine chapters had taken some small step toward tolerance despite all appearances to the contrary.

At the end of the half hour mark of their journey, the squad happened upon their destination. A huge wall of timber and stone stood before them, brief glimpses of heat being given off by the heads of sentries traversing the walls visible from time to time. Thankfully, the small torches they carried with them did little to illuminate the enveloping darkness that wrapped around the large encampment. The black pigment of the power armor the group wore gave them a decided advantage despite the lack of cover.

“How shall we announce ourselves, Inquisitor?” Sergeant Silinus asked after the Inquisitor had stopped just short of the extreme range of the torchlight.

“I was thinking of simply walking in the front door,” Lucian remarked as he looked over the walls, “These fortifications look to be for keeping animals out, and the sentries don’t look to be armed with more than spears. What would you suggest?”

“I would say we take the walls first, give us a solid platform to defend from should they prove hostile,” the Raven Guard Sergeant answered.
Inquisitor Andiron continued to observe the wall for a little longer before pointing to a small observation tower off to his right, “Have Brother Terenis set up a sniping position on that tower since he brought the stalker bolter along. The rest of you, take up a position near the entrance. Should they be hostile to my entering their camp, you can attack from the air in a blaze of fury and deal with them. If they prove less than aggressive, you can simply walk in behind me.”

Silinus was marginally impressed with the Inquisitor’s plan. The course of action he’d suggested employed elements of surprise with no sacrifice to the effectiveness of the squad’s choices in armaments. The Sergeant motioned for Terenis to take the suggested position before marking positions for the rest of his squad just outside of the main entrance’s sight line. Brother Terenis engaged his jump pack, the short burst just brief enough to get him airborne and on target for a landing without drawing too much attention to his presence. Once he was in position, he informed his squad over the vox and began sighting distances in the event he would need to take out targets.

“Ready when you are, Inquisitor,” Silinus reported from a crouched position just behind Lucian.

Inquisitor Andiron nodded and grasped the pistol grip of his plasma weapon to reassure himself that it was within reach and ready. Once he was suitably assured the weapon was positioned just right for a rapid extraction, he forged ahead. He crossed the threshold of the torchlight without being spotted, and made it several feet inside the compound before noticing that there were very few heat signatures being displayed, all of them looking outward and not in.

Lucian continued forward, passing several grass and mud-brick huts that sat along the outskirts of the encampment, his only solace in the form of the Space Marine perched atop the tower waiting to cut someone down should they try to assault him. Lucian’s mind began to wonder as he considered Terenis perched in his sniper’s nest. Would the Space Marine defend him properly? Would he allow an attacker to get a blow in before taking him out simply for spite’s sake? The farther he continued forward the more the Inquisitor’s mind strayed from the task at hand, so much so that he nearly slammed into a lithe figure in the darkness just in front of him.

“Eyes forward, Andiron!” the voice of Terenis chided through the vox. It had been the difference between him remained undetected and being caught by surprise by the sudden body in front of him. Lucian stopped short just in time to avoid colliding with the form before him, and had just enough time to react as the figure turned to confront him. Lucian lashed out, his gauntlet covered left hand pressing firmly over the Eldar’s mouth, his right hand seizing the spindly arm to prevent the alien from fleeing.

The Inquisitor pushed the alien against a nearby wall, pinning the frail form against the surface to keep the Eldar still. The heat signatures told him that the figure was female, her garments flimsy and barely covering the more private areas of her flesh. The odd thing about her behavior was that she didn’t resist him. She made no attempts to break free, no struggle, nothing. She merely stared at him as if waiting for something, expecting him to act in some specific manner.

What disturbed Lucian the most was the lack of fear in her features. She looked at him unflinchingly, held his helmeted gaze almost defiantly. The darkness surrounding them made it difficult for Lucian to make out a great many details about the Eldar girl, but he knew without question that she was neither shocked to find him there nor did she seem worried about what he might do. He needed to act, lest someone else discover them and raise some manner of alarm.

Lucian glanced around him and found the opened domicile she most likely had come out of and leaned forward just enough so that his voice didn’t need to be cast to loud from his helmet, “Is that your home behind me?”
The girl nodded without making so much as a sound, her eyes never moving from his gaze.

“Do you live alone?”

Again the girl nodded. Lucian ran the scenarios he could fathom through his head. She could have been lying. A host of warriors might be just inside waiting to strike. Her calm demeanor and almost defiant attitude were evidence enough that it might indeed be true. There was also the possibility that she was being honest with him, that nothing lay in wait but an empty domicile. And if that were indeed the case, what could she hope to gain by willingly being taken into a secluded place with someone that was effectively holding her hostage.

“There is a sentry coming your way, Inquisitor… you need to make a move soon or you will be discovered,” the voice of Terenis advised him from within his helmet. Lucian frowned; the choice was being made for him. He jerked the girl free of the wall and hurried into the open doorway, pulling her along with him clumsily. While she wasn’t intentionally impeding him, the position they had been in left little room for such a rapid shift from standing still to movement. Before they reached the safety of the house, the girl nearly fell over, forcing Lucian to take his hand off her mouth to steady her. Rather than yell out and give Lucian away, the girl picked herself up with his help and they managed to retreat inside before the sentry made it to their former position.

“Where are you?” Terenis’ voice asked urgently.

“I’m safe for the moment,” Lucian said tersely before turning his attention toward the girl, “Why didn’t you give us away?”

He didn’t mean for his tone to sound like he was accusing her of something wrong, but it ended up sounding very much like he was. He’d never before encountered an Eldar that had willingly concealed the presence of a human, least of all an Inquisitor.

“I saw you in a dream…” the girl replied in little more than a whisper.



Last edited by jonileth; 02-22-12 at 10:25 PM. Reason: changed some speaking parts
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-22-12, 04:13 PM
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Very readable.

I disagree with Vixus about the diary quote; the stilted diction seemed perfect for a diary written in High Gothic.

I would even suggest use of more formal language for the Space Marines as they are often portrayed as being very formal outside of combat. For example you have Sergeant Silinus say,
“If you don’t mind my asking… what do we call you? Even I wasn’t privy to many details about our involvement in this mission.”
The contractions particularly seem out of place; I suggest making SM speech formal so they contrast with humans even when they are not performing superhuman feats.

Last edited by Dave T Hobbit; 02-22-12 at 04:21 PM.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-22-12, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dave T Hobbit View Post
The contractions particularly seem out of place; I suggest making SM speech formal so they contrast with humans even when they are not performing superhuman feats.
I had been toying with whether to use contractions or not. In my head it didn't seem... natural, but I suppose that's the whole point, SMs aren't 'natural'. I will kill contractions shortly.


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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-24-12, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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III


“I do not envy the psyker… To know of events that will come to pass must be a terrible curse. Better that I never know how events will play out, at least then I might feel as if I had some say in the matter.”
-Excerpt from Inquisitor Andiron’s private journal


The declaration the Eldar had made was not, in and of itself, all that unusual. Being a psychically gifted race, many of the Eldar Lucian had encountered professed some measure of foreknowledge about events. Most of them, however, had made proclamations that were later proven wrong when measured against the tip of a blade or the business end of a bolter or plasma gun. What was disconcerting about the young girl’s declaration was that it seemed almost a comfort to her that he was there. The feeling of foreboding festering in the Inquisitor’s chest could not be ignored.

“What did you see in your dream?” Lucian asked her. The mystery surrounding her behavior demanded explanations, even if time was not his ally. If she had been granted some forewarning about his arrival and his purpose, it might spell disaster if he didn’t act carefully.

“I saw the coming of an Inquisitor,” the girl replied, “Though I did not know what you were at first. I had to ask several of the newcomers what your symbols meant.”

Lucian’s hand strayed reflexively to his Inquisitorial Rosette, his thoughts again fluttered to the possibilities of the mission being compromised. The Inquisitor let his hand fall to his side, his fingers grazing the pistol grip of his side arm to reassure himself that it was still where it ought to be.

“Did you tell them what you saw?” Lucian asked with a glint of impatience.

The Eldar girl cocked her head to the side as if she were suddenly confused, “I did not believe it to be for them to know the reasons. They were happy enough to provide the answers without them, even if they seemed unusually nervous.”

While the Inquisitor was slightly relieved, that didn’t eliminate his suspicious entirely. He had no way of knowing what kind of relationship the Eldar had with their human guests. For all he knew, the humans in the village might fall under the auspices of a slave labor group like some of the reports regarding other settlements have outlined.

“Why didn’t they need to know?” the Inquisitor asked, his voice becoming more heavily laden with emotions.

Again the girl’s countenance shifted slightly, “I did not wish to worry them. Not all of my dreams have come to pass, and I was unsure of whether this one would after time had passed and you were not forthcoming.”

If the Inquisitor had been confused before, everything he was hearing just made things all the more muddled and strange. She had shown prudence in the divulging of her vision and concern for the humans who had shared with her the meaning behind his symbols. Despite efforts to the contrary, Lucian was starting to doubt his accepted beliefs about the Eldar race. Such doubts did not sit well with him at all.

The Inquisitor looked around the small domicile and found a sturdy looking bench not far from where he was. Without thinking to ask, he settled onto it and began drumming his fingers rhythmically on the surface of the table that sat a few inches away. The Eldar girl seemed puzzled by his behavior, but not overly alarmed or put out by having him sitting at her table.

Lucian’s mind was rebelling against even the rhythm of the tapping as he tried to discern the meaning behind this strange development. He couldn’t focus… too many random possibilities consumed him and none of them made sense. He waged an internal war between everything he had ever been taught about the Xenos and what he was experiencing. No profound insights could be pulled from his memory; no words of reassurance could be recalled in all the years he had been an apprentice. Nothing made sense…

“Are you ill, Lucian?” the girl’s voice pierced the haze of confusion and shocked his mind into sharp focus.

“How do you know my name?” the Inquisitor demanded an answer as he slowly stood from the bench.

“I told you… I saw you in my dreams,” the girl replied, the earnestness in her voice doing much to compound Inquisitor Andiron’s confusion.

“Tell me everything about your dream, leave no detail out!” Lucian growled, reaching the limit of his patience.

The girl flinched at the forcefulness behind his request, though she did an admirable job keeping the shock from her face. Slowly, the Eldar moved to a chair near her bed and sat down. It took her a moment to start speaking, as if she were collecting thoughts that had not been needed for some time.
“In my dream, you came to our village under the cover of a moonless sky. You arrived to our village in the company of six others, though I could not make them out too clearly in my dream. You spoke of a mission, and of the Biel-Tan who seek what you have come to find. You wished to take what they sought, which would draw their eyes away from our village and bring us salvation,” the girl explained.

“But that isn’t what happened here today,” the Inquisitor countered, “I was alone when I found you. Your dream isn’t entirely accurate.”

“That may be true,” the girl relented, “But it was you I saw, and here you stand.”

Lucian had no argument for that. He was indeed standing in her home, which spoke well enough of her prediction even if the events had played out differently. It occurred to the Inquisitor that she might very well be a psyker in her own right. He’d seen dozens of accounts of Librarians and other sanctioned psykers making predictions and divining the outcome of many a battle or important event with vivid clarity. It stood to reason that the girl might well be similar, which presented him with a unique opportunity.

“Do you know where I might find what the Biel-Tan seek?” he asked.

“Yes,” the Eldar nodded, “And in my dream I took you to it.”

Yet another unforeseen obstacle presented itself. It was bad enough that he was stuck in the middle of a village full of Eldar, and now suddenly the girl sitting before him had just volunteered herself into his entourage. For a moment, Lucian thought pull his helmet off and slap himself to make sure that he was not in the middle of a dream of his own. The urge was fleeting and his helmet never left his head, but he did have a decision to make.

“How far is it from here? The place where this object lies?” the man inquired as he took a few steps toward her.

“Far enough,” was all the girl would say.

“You don’t seriously expect me to bring you along with me, do you?” the Inquisitor was more than a little perturbed at her sudden glibness.

“I have to take you there. If I do not, you shall never find it,” the Eldar declared firmly.

‘Wonderful…’ the Inquisitor bemoaned internally before finally letting out a sigh, “If that is what you truly wish, I won’t stop you. I won’t make any promises about your safety should the Biel-Tan Eldar find us.”

“I would not ask you to protect me. I can do that for myself,” the girl remarked, abandoning her chair to retrieve two daggers from within a small nightstand. The girl strapped them to the small leather belt that wrapped around her lithe frame. The Inquisitor half expected her to pull some hide armor or other protective garb from some closet, but the girl instead headed straight for the door. Before she reached it, however, she turned back to face the Inquisitor.

“Aeliel,” she stated.

“Pardon?” Inquisitor Andiron said, puzzled as to what that statement had meant.

“My name,” the Eldar clarified, “I am called Aeliel. Now you know what to say when you wish to get my attention.”

“I see,” Lucian remarked curtly. He wasn’t sure if he had even cared to know what she was called. For all he knew of this little adventure, she would only play a minor part in it and he would soon forget all about her and her odd behavior. That was his hope at least.

The Inquisitor followed Aeliel to the door, and watched as she eased the door open slightly to look outside. A few brisk turns of her head seemed to confirm the way clear, and she was out the door. Lucian left the safety of the domicile and closed the door behind him almost without thinking about it. In the brief span between her leaving and his own departure, the Eldar girl had managed to get nearly a dozen feet ahead of him. The Inquisitor grumbled to himself and hurried after her, hoping that she would lead them out of the compound without incident.

“Who is that Eldar you are chasing, Inquisitor?” the voice of Terenis asked suddenly.

“She’s coming with us. It seems she knows the way and is eager to take us there and have us get on our way,” the Inquisitor answered, making sure that he sent the message over the vox.

“Do you trust her?” Terenis asked in a tone of displeasure.

“I am an Inquisitor, Space Marine. It is not in my nature to trust anyone but the Emperor,” Lucian responded to the question without leaving any room for misinterpretation.

“Very well…” the Raven Guard Marine relented.

Aeliel lead the Inquisitor out of the small village by nearly the same route as he had entered, a detail that was not lost to him. By the time they made it away from the walls, the sun was starting to brighten the starlight sky in a haze of crimson. Terenis had abandoned his perch at about the same time the Inquisitor and his Eldar companion had made it out of the encampment, and was just approaching his brethren when Lucian and Aeliel arrived.
“What is the meaning of this, Inquisitor?” Sergeant Silinus demanded upon seeing the Xenos.

“She is to be our guide, Sergeant. And just to make things clear, she demanded I take her with us, I had no say in it,” Inquisitor Andiron enlightened the Raven Guard.

“And why would she help us?” Silinus asked, his helmet shifting to stare down at the Eldar girl.

“I came because that is what I am meant to do. It is no different for you, Death Angel,” Aeliel answered the Space Marine’s question.

Silinus balled his fist in anger at the presumptuous attitude of the Eldar. He had tolerated a great many things in his time, but never had he felt so slighted as to hear an alien speak of their role in a mission directed by the Emperor’s will. It took every drop of restraint he could muster to keep from ripping her heart out, and even then he couldn’t help but step forward menacingly.

“We don’t have time for this,” Lucian growled, “Our cover is receding quickly. Let us get moving, lest we have that entire village on our heels as well as the Biel-Tan Eldar.”

Silinus grunted indignantly and turned away, heading off toward the tree line that they had come from. The rest of his squad started to follow after him, giving Aeliel a wide berth as they did so. Lucian started to follow after them when the Eldar reached out to stop him.

“They are going the wrong way,” she said in a low voice.

Lucian turned to see her pointing in the direction of a cluster of large peaks intruding on the otherwise flat horizon. The trees the Raven Guard Astartes were headed for did not stretch in the direction she was indicating. The Inquisitor let out a long breath as he silently lamented the twists of fate that had culminated in him having to deal with angry Space Marines and a spoiled Eldar girl…



Last edited by jonileth; 02-25-12 at 01:08 AM. Reason: Removed formatted text
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-25-12, 12:35 AM
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i am really likeing this so far, u seem to have a real grip on the character of an Inquisitor and its nice to see the Raven Guard involved look foward to the rest of it
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-25-12, 01:02 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gothik View Post
i am really likeing this so far, u seem to have a real grip on the character of an Inquisitor and its nice to see the Raven Guard involved look foward to the rest of it
Thanks for that. I actually included the Raven Guard in the story because the planet I set it in, as far as my telling in concerned, is not far (relatively speaking) to Deliverance. It seemed like the best choice to me, and it is working out well so far.


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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-25-12, 02:00 AM
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it certainly is, not enough RG stories or tales with them in it as far as i am concerned so well done i look foward to seeing how this pans out.
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