Brilliant stories, all!
For me, reading the HOES tales is becoming more and more like watching one of the "The Fast & The Furious" movies: Just when you think people have hit the top gear, they surprise you and find another higher one.
Apologies if the comparison seems a bit 'lame', but it's the most apt one I could think of. It's supposed to be a big compliment and 'Thank You' to the writers, as I think the quality of people's writing and descriptions here now truly rivals that of actual BL & published novels/novellas/short stories.
Romero's Own ("Apostasy")
I think I understand about the exploration of words, but I'm not sure it fitted into a battle scene.
However, an interesting concept and maybe it could have worked a lot smoother if it was set during a discussion between preachers or scribes and one kills the other for even mentioning heresy/apostasy?
Son Of Azurman ("The Return Of Knight Brightsword")
I'm not sure this was about loyalty so much. Certainly intriguing to see a Tau story here, though.
Vulkansnodosaurus ("Written In The Steel")
I liked the idea that even the one spared from the avatar's wrath isn't quite sure how he has been loyal.
Adrian ("Inquisitor Repentant")
Really good description, quite liked how the words were a bit Lovecraftian (eg "things slithering", etc).
Rems ("Flickering Embers")
A good story, but seemed a bit more like "resolution" and/or "hopelessness" rather than "loyalty".
Dave The Hobbit ("Freedom")
I think I got a bit confused with this. Was Horus saying "I'll be evil, so as to draw out the evil in other Primarchs (if it exists)"?
I do like the hypothesis on "What started it all off?" and whether Horus was always going to be a Traitor (e.g. from gentics), or whether it's a course that someone/thing prompted him onto.
Zinegata ("Where True Loyalties Lie")
Well-written and I enjoyed the concept of ongoing loyalty. Not just one-off displays, but the cost of such things, even against people who could be allies.
Liliedhe ("The Choice")
I didn't get much of a sense of "loyalty" here. Bravery and resolve yes, but not so much about the theme.
However, I think you definitely have potential (and skills) to expand this and put in more about the unit and why she is loyal to them (or about her background and her loyalty to The Imperium) and this might mean it is a lot closer to the concept.
I'd be very interested to read a longer version of this, with more details about this unit, the main character's fall from grace, etc.
Bloody Mary ("Of Beasts And Men")
I liked the idea here, but (like Liliedhe) maybe could have done with more focussing upon the theme...e.g. more background about her history with the dogs, maybe she 'barks' at people when losing her temper, withdrawing from society, resentful towards them due to humans' potential for treachery/lack of constancy/etc?
However, I'd really like to read an expanded version of this going into more depth (both before and after these events).
It seems crude to try to separate people, but I guess it's what we do(?):
1st place (3 points) = Zinegata ("Where True Loyalties Lie")
2nd place (2 points) = Vulkansnodosaurus ("Written In The Steel")
3rd place (1 point) = Adrian ("Inquisitor Repentant")
Once again, fantastic stories and characters; many thanks for giving me the opportunity to read these.
Urgently trying to trace any living relatives of Private Sam/Samuel "Jock" Wilson (Black Watch, No. 6 Commando, UK Army Service ID 2764432, died 10.06.44). Any info/suggestions gratefully received.
"Mockles! Pent on silpen tree, blockards three a-feening. Mockles! What silps came to thee, in thy pantry, dreaming?"
Please check out the HOES (Heresy Online Stories) threads and vote for the tales.
More feedback = better stories for everyone.