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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-09-13, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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Default Heresy-Online's Expeditious Stories 13-08: Absence

Welcome to the year's eighth




For those of you that are unfamiliar with HOES, here's how it works:

Each month, there will be a thread posted in the Original Works forum for that month's HOES competition. For those of you interested in entering, read the entry requirements, write a story that fits the chosen theme and post it as a reply to the competition thread by the deadline given. Each and every member of Heresy Online is more than welcome to compete, whether your entry is your first post or your thousandth. We welcome everyone to join the family of the Fan Fiction Forum.

Once the deadline has passed, a separate voting thread will be posted, where the readers and writers can post their votes for the top three stories. Points will be awarded (3 points for 1st, 2 for 2nd, and 1 for 3rd) for each vote cast, totalled at the closure of the voting window, and a winner will be announced. The winner will have his/her story added to the Winning HOES thread and be awarded the Lexicanum's Crest award for Fiction excellence!

Theme

The idea with the theme is that it should serve as the inspiration for your stories rather than a constraint. While creative thinking is most certainly encouraged, the theme should still be relevant to your finished story. The chosen theme can be applied within the WH40K, WHF, HH, and even your own completely original works (though keep in mind, this IS a Warhammer forum) but there will be no bias as to which setting is used for your story.

As far as the theme goes, please feel free with future competitions to contact Boc with your ideas/proposals, especially given that his creative juices may flow a bit differently than yours. All we ask is that you PM Boc your ideas rather than posting them into the official competition entry/voting threads to keep posts there relevant to the current competition.

Word Count

The official word count for this competition will be 1,000 words. There will be a 10% allowance in this limit, essentially giving you a 900-1,100 word range with which to tell your tale. This is non-negotiable. This is an Expeditious Story competition, not an Epic Story nor an Infinitesimal Story competition. If you are going to go over or under the 900-1,100 word limit, you need to rework your story. It is not fair to the other entrants if one does not abide by the rules. If you cannot, feel free to PM Boc with what you have and he'll give suggestions or ideas as to how to broaden or shorten your story.

Each entry must have a word count posted with it. Expect a reasonably cordial PM (and likely some responses in the competition thread) if you fail to adhere to this rule. The word count can be annotated either at the beginning or ending of your story, and does not need to include your title.

Without further ado...

The theme for this month's competition is:

Absence

Entries should be posted in this thread, along with any comments that the readers may want to give (and comments on stories are certainly encouraged in both the competition and voting threads!) 40K, 30K, WHF, and original universes are all permitted (please note, this excludes topics such as Halo, Star Wars, Forgotten Realms, or any other non-original and non-Warhammer settings). Keep in mind, comments are more than welcome! If you catch grammar or spelling errors, the writers are all more than free to edit their piece up until the close of the competition, and that final work will be the one considered for voting. Sharing your thoughts with the writers as they come up with their works is a great way to help us, as a FanFiction community, grow as a whole.

The deadline for entries is Midnight US Eastern Standard Time
(-5.00 hours for you UK folks) 6th September, 2013. Voting will be held from 6th-12th September. Remember, getting your story submitted on 10th August will be just as considered by others as one submitted on 5th September! Take as much time as you need to work on your piece! As a change from previous challenges, any entries submitted past the deadline will not be considered in the competition, regardless of whether the voting thread is posted or not.

Additional Incentive
If simply being victorious over your comrades is not enough to possess you to write a story, there will be rep rewards granted to those that participate in the HOES Challenge.

Participation - 1 reputation points, everyone will receive this
3rd place - 2 reputation points
2nd place - 3 reputation points
1st place - 4 reputation points and Lexicanum's Crest

If you have any questions, feel free to either PM Boc or ask in this thread.

Without further nonsense from me, let the writing begin!



Table of Contents

FFiremahlazer - Turning Back

Lord of the Night - Lost Memories

Romero's Own - All that is left

The Meddler - Abscence

Ye Olde Grandma - The mortal affection

Last edited by Dave T Hobbit; 09-15-13 at 02:41 PM.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-21-13, 04:46 PM
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Lost Memories - 1088 words

I awake. The darkness recedes, I feel like I have seen this before but I cannot remember where or when or why I would have. Data scrolls down in my optics, systems coming back online. I remember what I am, and the momentary tinge of sadness that passes through what remains of my heart is another thing that I feel I have felt many times before, but I do not remember. I am a Dreadnought of the Adeptus Astartes, specifically the hallowed chapter that is the Howling Griffons. My name is Gabriel Kuroso and I know this and one thing. There is something absent within me. But I cannot remember what it is. My systems are all active and working at near maximum capacity, my organic parts or at least what little remains of them are still functioning, in some cases barely but that is the way it has always been, I think. Something is absent, I know it. But what it is escapes me at the moment, but I feel that it should not.

In front of me scurry a mixed group of the living, some are servitor slaves that do the main work of reviving me from my dreams of war and death, some are serfs recruited from those that failed the initiation trials, and some are Techmarines of the Chapter that are responsible for my care. Suddenly a face flashes in front of me, it is a stern face with short blonde hair and piercing green eyes that promises honest and fair judgement. I cannot remember who this is. Perhaps he was a serf that I knew in life, or a Techmarine that cares for me even now, but I do not see his face among the mortals and brethren around me. It will come to me, I am sure of it. For now I focus on my surroundings, I am in a great bay of machines and forges. This is where the Techmarines work at their weapons and repairs, and where I live when I am not called upon by my living brothers. It is a functional place, we are not a chapter for beauty or form but rather function. If it works, then that is enough. I am unsure where that phrase came from, someone once told it to me but I can't remember who or when or even if I was alive when I heard it.

This is the first time I have been awoken by my brethren, and will be my first mission as a Dreadnought. I feel a fierce pride in my surviving heart that I will soon bring death to the Emperor's enemies and gain revenge against... what? I do not remember what crippled me, what was it that put me in this shell of adamantium and mechanical parts? Was it one of the Traitor Legions? Perhaps the brutish greenskins or the arrogant Eldar? Perhaps even the disgusting Tyranids or one of the minor races that clamour for our deaths and our souls. I cannot remember. No matter, it will come to me I am sure of it. And yet I still feel as if something is absent. I run another internal systems check, which comes back and reveals nothing. I am fully functioning, and yet my heart is telling me that something is wrong, that I am missing something important but I cannot fathom what it is. Could it be my memories... no they are fine. Merely hazy from my reawakening, they will return shortly.

One of the Techmarines approaches me. His armour is as I remember it, the rusty-red of the adepts of Mars while his shoulderpad carries the rampant griffon that is our heraldry with the quartered yellow and red that are our colours. They make me feel proud, we are a mighty Chapter and though the perils we face are many it is good to see that we still stand even now... whenever now is. I think back on my years of service, I can't quite recall when I began my service but I am sure it was long and fruitful. He begins to speak to me, addressing me by name.

"Venerable Brother Gabriel, it is good to see you among us once more. Once again you awake with little difficulty."

His words make me pause, again? But I have never awakened before this, and why did he call me Venerable Brother? One has to serve as a Dreadnought for at least two thousand years to earn that title but I have not served that long... I think. No! I am sure that I only fell in the last century, fighting... whatever it was that slew me. I think about correcting him but I am not sure that would be a prudent move, so instead I reply.

"It is good to be back."


My sharp voice is a shock to me. It is completely emotionless, which is good as I did not want my hesitancy to cross over into my reply, but it surprises me that it is so deep. But should it? I feel for some reason that it shouldn't surprise me, that I have heard it many times before and my shock is wrong. But that can't be, this is my first mission isn't it? Yes! It is. I look forward to it, in fact I can't quite remember why I was apprehensive anymore. I am sure it was of little matter. The Techmarine continues to speak with me, telling me mission parameters and the reason I have been awoken once more. I find it odd that he continues to call me Venerable Brother but perhaps he is new and it is a lapse of judgement, I will speak with the Master of the Forge later and have his error corrected.

For now I look forward to my first mission as a Dreadnought, but I still cannot escape the feeling that something is absent. I try to remember what but I can't, my memories will return soon. I am sure of it. They have to... don't they?

...Battle Report: 11927.8327 "Battle of Hybriday"
2nd, 3rd and 6th Companies deployed to planetary capital, designation "Granitehole"
Venerable Dreadnought Gabriel Kuroso, once 2nd Captain, deployed alongside 2nd. Eleventh deployment on record for Brother Kuroso.
Enemy Target: Orks.
Addendum: Kuroso's crippling at the hands of Orks can be avenged once more.
Addendum Secundus: Kuroso once again awakes with no memory after internment. His inability to retain memory is permanent, according to Chief Apothecary Vincento. Continue to monitor. Praise Guilliman. Praise the Emperor.


LotN



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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-22-13, 04:58 AM
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Hope we see some more entries up before this HOES is over.

Turning Back-1100 Words

Former Lieutenant Helen pondered the memories of her own epic, every rekindled moment made her continually question her sanity. "I miss my home back in Conorag. Sometimes when I close my eyes, my palace on top of the great cathedral spires and the rest of the hive becomes visible. Almost as if I never left it a decade ago to go to war for the lost colonies.

My comrades have no doubt gone back, at least those who hadn't been buried on this unfamiliar soil. It is Imperium soil none-the-less, they should be all the more proud by the Emperor's side for dying on it."

Nyst was lounging idly beside her master's throne, the centaur like creature was lying on her side, tail wagging back and forth lazily as she listened to Helen recall her memories of the recent war. She seemed to be at least paying attention to Helen's voiced reflections, occasionally looking up to the figure seated on the throne to gauge her own expression.

The Master gently inclined her head and Helen continued her tale, “I don't know how we managed to survive like we did. We killed a lot of brave men and women: twisted Eldar, cultists, and the Tau. By the Gods, the Tau were the worst, I'm glad we eventually prevailed against those aliens even if it was only because of our Eldar allies. I still remember the battle for Shailon, less than five thousand Imperial soldiers standing against the onslaught of the Tau armada. I remember fighting in those abandoned streets, once untouched and standing proud. Our resolve dwindled away as the reclaimed capital became decimated by the war."

The Master saw fit to comment on the final climax of the Tarmathon conflict, “Imperial Commander Dran's last stand at the palace was truly a sight to behold. I only witnessed the bloodshed there as the Tau and the Archons of the Blinded Blades laid siege. I knew those pesky Eldar of the craftworlds would poke their noses in sooner or later. Shame their schemes put up so little effort against us. Good thing you were guided to safer places under my influence."

"I am not safe!” Helen dismissed the notion entirely. “I abandoned them because I lacked the strength to use my own free will. I betrayed a decade of my life on some creature's whim!"

"Possession is rarely done by choice no matter the will," Casary quipped emotionlessly. The long raven haired Eldar studied Helen from her throne atop a small dais. Helen's eyes squirmed every time she was forced to hold her master's gaze, every infernal mark burned deeply into her skin and painted on her clothes made her vision fluctuate involuntarily. "You will get used to these things as you learn them, just be happy that you are no simple pawn to me. You have done me a service by succumbing to Nyst's web of temptations and turning the tide at the Communication Spire. One moment later and all may have been lost to those craftworld imbeciles. That and she seems to have taken a liking towards you."

Nyst seemed to perk up at once, realizing her turn to speak had come. "I think the two of us are quite dazzling together when we're at our best. Your valiant and misguided determination, my charming wit and barely restrained power. I always get to slake my inner thirst for bloodletting when I am by your side, it's always an adventure attempting to guide mortal champions. Very unlike my master, who keeps me by her side for idle talk and menacing displays of intimidation toward her lackeys."

Casary chuckled in her haunting moan of a voice, honed and sharpened with a millennia of practice. "Idle talk aside, Hel'xata, allow me to show you something, my mournful acolyte Helen."

Helen moved from her place beside the dais at her master's beckoning. A ring of warp ooze suddenly began to leak from the grooves of the risen platform in alien patterns and characters. Helen involuntarily hesitated and made to step back, but found herself held in place when Casary lashed out and gripped her by the elbow.

Casary only steeled Helen’s courage with a small frown of annoyance. "Do not be afraid, as long as I'm here no harm will come to you. Unless you and I have done something to displease the Changer. I will show you the harnessed power of chaos."

The moment Casary stood up beside the Lieutenant, Helen's world was engulfed and phased out in an instant.

Casary’s palace in Shailon had left her vision and in her next waking moments, she was peering through a sea of stars beyond a thick foggy veil. Helen was no longer alive in the physical sense, possessing no mortal shell to use.

She would’ve quickly given in to panic before her master’s voice and weighty presence was suddenly felt all around her. “The reward of ascension was never a fickle gift granted to us by the Dark Gods. While it may appear bitter sweet to others, the scope in its entirety is vastly limited by not only a narrow mind, but an inept one at that. Sadly, the galaxy is vastly impotent in matters such as psychic potential, but all aspects of sentient life are molded by the warp. The universe is slowly tuning into another reality, with each passing century the mark of chaos leaves an even larger imprint on the lesser races. What do you see?”

“Things,” Helen gasped with a raw sense of fear, but could feel her emotions being shaped into a form of calm, serenity even. “Thousands of things staring back at me. Holy Emperor, are they waiting for my soul?”

“They are not looking at you, my servant,” Casary’s physical form was beginning to materialize in front of her, but in a phantom state. Her voice echoed with benign arrogance with a knowing smirk on her lips. “So long as you bear the mark of possession, consider your soul already leased to their master already. Unlike you, they are observing our mortal plane: the universe. Say that you’ve chosen to accept my warp-talent and I could teach you to harness it as an apprentice.”

“What would become of me?” The officer of the Guard shuddered.

“Well, you would be like me, if you could master it and attune yourself to Tzeentch’s divinity. Your soul will become your own and guarded jealously within the Impossible Fortress. Tempting, isn’t it?”

In Helen’s mind, she knew there was only one good decision for the desired outcome.

“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
-Glen Cook, The Black Company


Tales of Heroism and Bravery, in the 41st Millennium and the Old World. Perhaps some Realm Gate Wars in the future .

Gods' Hall (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=161618

The New Word (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=121879

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-28-13, 05:44 PM
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Both these entries are really good. I'm planning on making this the first HOES I enter, but I've been struggling to come up with some ideas. Maybe an Inquisitor-based short?

Anyway, good luck to both of you


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Quote:
Both these entries are really good. I'm planning on making this the first HOES I enter, but I've been struggling to come up with some ideas. Maybe an Inquisitor-based short?
Send me a PM about your ideas and I'll see if I can help you out.

“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
-Glen Cook, The Black Company


Tales of Heroism and Bravery, in the 41st Millennium and the Old World. Perhaps some Realm Gate Wars in the future .

Gods' Hall (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=161618

The New Word (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=121879
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firemahlazer View Post
Send me a PM about your ideas and I'll see if I can help you out.
I think I'm OK now. I'm doing one about an Inquisitor's first mission, and it's going pretty well. Thanks anyway.


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Can't have this being a two-horse race can we?

Here's my first entry for a while.

All that is left (991 words)

Two men were all that were left to hold the planet, to uphold the Emperor’s honour. Two men, albeit gods amongst men, could not hope to hold a planet. But they would pay; the traitors would pay, for they had the blood of a hundred of their brothers on their hands.

Ceramite boots landed heavily upon the large marble flag stones, shattering the rock beneath them, as they charged across the court yard. Armon held his ground. The traitors would pay. He turned to Huskar and forced a smile as his battle-brother turned to him. There were no words for the two Space Marines to share, but they nodded to one another before turning to the foe.

Armon stepped forward, sending fractures shooting across each pure white slab of rock, drawing his shining sword, hints of light licked at its edges with inconceivable power. He shifted the weapon in his hand, feeling its familiar weight as it moved through the air.

His breathing was calm

His mind was focused

His duty was clear

Armon could hear the echoes of his mentors whispering into his ear, telling him how to use the sword, how to feel the sword. A bygone age of the greatness of humanity reverberating in his subconscious. But that age was gone. Only darkness remained.

The hulking traitor space marines were advancing rapidly. Great crimson red forms blasphemous against the purity of the Emperor’s Holy Light, chain axes buzzing into life as they closed in for the kill, desperate to finish the last of their loyalist brothers. The thud of the traitors pistols as they discharged bolts echoed around the courtyard.

Thumping into Armon’s armour, the Space Marine barely flinched as the bolts left pot marks of silver across the shining golden surface, the bolts barely registering on Armon’s sensors.

He took another step forward.

He whispered a final prayer, “Emperor, I ask redemption for my sins, that I may join my honourable brothers in death.”

The first Berserker reached him, savagely swinging his axe as it roared through the air. Armon ducked beneath the blow, moving forward and slamming the pommel of his sword into the helmet of the traitor. The foul Berserker stumbled back, temporarily off balance.

But before Armon could move in and take advantage, the other Berserker was upon him. Barely blocking the first blow, the second drove the proud Space Marine to his knees.

The traitor roared in victory, the noise echoing around the temple as it struck once more.

But a clash of metal sounded as Armon lifted his own weapon to block the traitors.

Driving his body forward, Armon slammed his fist into the armoured stomach of his foe.

The renegade took a single step back, shaking off the blow, but that was all that Armon needed. He was on his feet before the Berserker could regain his composure, and it was too slow to block the well-timed strike. The sword sliced through its power armour, cutting it from shoulder to waist. The renegade keeled over, dropping face-first onto the floor. Dark red blood staining the pure marble, blood spilt in honour of the Emperor.

But there was no respite, no time for victory, as the other traitor fell upon Armon. The axe roared as it dug through the Space Marine’s shoulder. The blow sent Armon hurtling into the ground, cracks leaping across the marble in all direction. At the last second Armon rolled aside, leaving the Berserker to shatter the white slab with his chain axe, sending shards of marble through the air.

Armon swung blindly with his sword, rewarded with a hideous shriek of agony, piercing the air with indescribable noise as the weapon cut through the traitors ankle. Bent double in agony from the screams from his shoulder, Armon struggled onto his knees. His mind was as weary as his body as the Berserker lifted his fallen chain axe and moved over to him, ready to deliver the final blow.

Armon could feel his armour pumping adrenaline and drugs into his system, his sensors with his helmet were flashing in front of him, sending spikes of pain through his head.

Armon reached up with his left hand and tore the helmet from his head, the glorious majesty of the temple hitting him an instant. Great white pillars surrounding a courtyard of cracked and fractured marble, stained with blood.

Armon turned and looked upon the traitor with his human eyes. He felt pain, and sorrow, and pity.

Pity was for the weak.

Lashing out with his right foot as the Berserker made one last desperate attempt on his life, Armon sent the traitor tumbling to the ground heavily.

Rising to his feet, Armon stood over the downed traitor. Armon placed his foot upon his enemy’s chest.

“May you be redeemed in hell for what you have done”

Armon’s words echoed around the courtyard as he gave the inhuman creature his final rights as the Space Marine forced his sword between helmet and chest plate, piercing the creature’s throat and putting an end to it’s struggling.

Armon stood there for a moment, before slowly pulling his sword free from the Berserker.

The Space Marine allowed himself a smile in victory. A sudden flash of remembrance hit the Astartes, and he turned to where Huskar should stand. But his brother was gone, his brother was not at his side.

And then Armon truly remembered, remembered the day that the Chaos forces had fell upon the Space Marines. The day he had watched Huskar be killed by the foul traitors. The day he had grieved.

Huskar was dead.

Armon was alone.

One man was all that were left to hold the planet, to uphold the Emperor’s honour. One man, albeit a god amongst men, could not hope to hold a planet. But they would pay; the traitors would pay, for they had the blood of a hundred of their brothers on their hands.



The Silent Lions Chapter

Winter Falls

Darkness

Give a man a match and he will be warm for a day.
Set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life.

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The mortal affection - 1099 words (excluding title)



”I assume there is a point to that”, Aetius said, indicating Cecilia’s dress. During their previous meetings she’d come in her simple remembrancer robes, but tonight she was clad in a scarlet silk dress that left her arms, her back and a lot of her chest bare.

Cecilia smiled. “Perceptive”, she said. “I thought it well-suited to further illustrate the points I believe I’ll be making tonight.”

Aetius frowned. “Explain.”

Cecilia kept smiling as she glanced across the room. La Fenice was, as always, filled with people, and though Astartes were not uncommon here, Aetius was the only one present tonight. At this hour though, the spirits had taken their toll on the patrons, and Cecilia felt certain they’d be spared most of their attention.

She’d indulged in a few drinks herself while she waited and couldn’t help but giggle as a server came over with two fluted glasses and a bottle of wine. His gaze lingered on her exposed skin.

“That”, she said to the Astartes when the server had left. “That’s your explanation.”

Aetius poured himself a drink and leaned back. Clad in a simple toga he looked every bit the magnificent hero, with skin pale and smooth like marble. Reclined as he was now, wineglass in hand, Cecilia found she saw him less like a warrior. He almost fit in, among artists and philosophers. Almost.

“I saw arousal”, he rumbled. “I heard an increase of heartbeat from that man and saw his breathing quicken. That is the carnal desire, yet no more than so. It is not, from what I’ve learned, the full extent of the mortal affection.”

The mortal affection. He’d taken to calling it that, because the word love already had its meaning to him. It was the bond between battle-brothers and, in particular, the affectionate fealty to their Lord Fulgrim. That made sense in his world, though it made things harder for Cecilia to explain.

“You are correct of course”, she said, “though one shouldn’t underestimate the part played by mere arousal in the greater concept that is mortal love. Remember that the next time you indulge yourself in such poetry and prose.” She smiled a wicked smile.”For the most part the author merely covets the recipient’s body.”

Aetius took a sip. “So it’s lies then?”

“No, no, no”, she laughed. “Well, sometimes.”

Aetius frowned. Cecilia drank deep while weighing her next words.

“To be fair”, she said, “such desire is for the most part a complementary factor. A man may love a woman, and in doing so he loves all that she is, body and person both.”

“We know that the server loves your body”, Aetius said. “Approach him, and he may prove to love the rest of you.” He cocked an eyebrow, unsmiling. “Correct?”

“Indeed”, she laughed. “Then again, I am looking my best tonight.”

“I noticed. During our previous meetings you evoked behavior such as that shown by the server merely once, while tonight men and women have laid eyes on you three times already.”

Cecilia coughed, barely keeping the wine behind her teeth. She looked at the Astartes before her with wide eyes, staring up at his face. His calm gaze flitted momentarily to the side, quick as lightning.

“Four times now”, he added. “You blush. Are you well?”

“I honestly never thought…” she mumbled. “I mean, four times?” She looked down at her dress, realizing that perhaps it was too much.

She resolved to plant her elbows on the table and lean on them, covering herself as best as she could. Aetius simply stared as she shifted her posture.

“It’s a strange thing, your mortal emotions.”

“So you’ve told me”, Cecilia muttered.

“Over the years I have delved into some of the finest art and poetry of the human species. By decree of my betters I have sought perfection in culture as well as in warfare. And…”

Cecilia put down her glass. “And?” she said.

“I see easily the magnificence in the statues of old heroes. My heart soars to look upon the landscapes of Chemos rendered in imagists’ paint. Even the ruminations of Karkasy are not beyond me.”

Aetius lowered his gaze.

“Yet the true meaning behind the poems and prose which discuss the concept of… of what you would name love; that still eludes my understanding. I study the matter as frequently as I can, but the words remain dead to me. They do not kindle in me the recognition as other things do.”

The subject had been hinted at during their previous talks, but this was the first time Cecilia had witnessed anything like this candour. Aetius had put his wineglass down and laid his massive hands on the table. His voice was as level as always, but she saw something new in his eyes, something haunted. A shiver ran through her and she instinctively raised her own glass to her lips. She’d had a lot to drink, in fact, and her mind had probably been dulled by it. Perhaps she’d only imagined what she saw.

“I will not lie and say that it doesn’t vex me”, the Astartes went on. “For all our talks I am still in the dark. The mortal affection seems to lie at the core of much of human existence, and yet mortals often shy away from it. As you did.”

He fixed her with a stare and said no more. Cecilia found her voice.

“Pardon?”

“You were shamed when I informed you of the looks you drew. Why is that, when the encounter with the server gave no such concern?”

Cecilia struggled with her thoughts. Once again she was reminded of how thin her dress was.

“That’s different”, she mumbled. “I can’t be thought of as easy, as some cheap...”

“Why?” Aetius interrupted. Cecilia cringed.

“There is no honour...” she began.

“It makes no sense”, he stated. “What rulings would seek to hinder you from pursuing your purpose in love and reproduction? What hypocrisy is it to condemn you if you do? Know that I shall gladly aid you if I can; I still recall everyone that found you desirable, and their names can be yours if you wish.”

Cecilia blinked. The room was spinning around her. Aetius’s massive frame filled her vision and somewhere far away someone laughed.

“No”, she whispered. “Please.” Her cheeks felt wet.

Aetius’s eyes flashed with annoyance. “Perhaps it is for the best that I do not understand. Mortals are weak, and your reasonings as well.”

“Be glad then”, she heard herself answer, “for you will never understand.”

She saw the haunted look return.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-05-13, 02:13 PM
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Just some quick comments prompted by the soon-to-be-closed submission window.

Lord of the Night: You have a thing where you sometimes put commas where there should really be either a semi-colon or a period.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord of the Night View Post
Suddenly a face flashes in front of me, it is a stern face with short blonde hair and piercing green eyes that promises honest and fair judgement.
I think this would read better as:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord of the Night View Post
Suddenly a face flashes in front of me; it is a stern face with short blonde hair and piercing green eyes that promises honest and fair judgement.
or
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord of the Night View Post
Suddenly a face flashes in front of me. It is a stern face with short blonde hair and piercing green eyes that promises honest and fair judgement.
Firemahlazer: When I first read it, I couldn't keep track of who was talking when, especially since the characters hadn't been fully introduced by then. It became clearer on a second read-through , but still I would ask for a little more clarity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firemahlazer View Post
"[..]The universe is slowly tuning into another reality, with each passing century the mark of chaos leaves an even larger imprint on the lesser races.” “What do you see?”
This was also a bit confusing, since the same character's speech was divided into two paragraphs, with separate quotation marks. I realize the stylistic choice, and I approve of it, but clarity suffers because of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firemahlazer View Post
Our dissolve dwindled away
Resolve?
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-05-13, 10:35 PM
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HOES: Absence
1092 words (including title)
Kenall hadn't lost his smile. He was always happy, filled with the joy of raising a family. And, perhaps, a hint of pride, for the brother who had risen so high. The brother, who was too late to save him. I turned from the coffin, brushing past the mourners who stayed a traditional ten paces away. One of them, dressed from head to toe in black, raised a beseeching arm towards me. I hesitated, my eyes flickering to her.

"Please," she rasped. "Stay."

As I continued to dither, the woman rested her fingers on my right gauntlet.

"He would want you to stay."

Fury rose up in me. I jerked my hand away, my will solidifying as I made my choice.

"He doesn't want anything," I said, teeth clenched. "He will never want anything again."

I left our mother there, crying. When I reached my team, I ignored their concerned expressions and focused on the Administratum adept who had joined my force when I first became an Inquisitor.

"Where is he?"

The adept glanced at his datapad. "The Arbites have found the man who smuggled our target on and off the planet. He is a minor noble from Hive Ferrous, who seems to have had a grudge against your brother for some perceived slight. From the looks of the evidence gathered from his residence, he was amply rewarded. He-he wouldn't say where Gordax went."

I nodded, heading towards my shuttle. "Where are they keeping him?"

=I=

With a scream like the death of a star, the Vigilant tore its way into the warp, heading for the location I had ripped from the nobles mind. He had resisted, true. But not when I injected him with the substance found in a sealed container buried in his yard. I'd extracted the information mere seconds before the daemon-virus painted the cell with his insides. The last thing I did was collect the parchment held in a stasis field before me from the evidence locker.
I heard the doors hiss open as my interrogator strode in. Her mouth was pinched, as if she had an unpleasant taste in her mouth.

"What was that down there," she snapped. "We could have broken him without..." she cut off, grimacing.

I looked down at her. "Gordax would have gotten away. We didn't have enough time to wait."

I saw her steel herself. "My lord, I know you blame yourself for your brother's death. We were the ones who chased him to your home world. But you can't let that-"

"Enough," I said. My tone hit her like a slap, silencing whatever she was about to say next. "While you are my interrogator, you will do as I say. I appreciate your concerns, and they are noted. However, that does not you can question my commands. Is that understood?" With a jerk, she nodded her head. "Good. You are dismissed."

She turned, fury and embarrassment rolling off her in waves. As she stalked away, the door hissed shut behind her.
I thought I should feel something at my treatment of her. Shame, perhaps. But I felt nothing. The void in my soul wouldn't be filled by anything . Not once I completed my work. With a sigh, I opened the drawer next to me, withdrew a mirror and a rune-marked blade, and set to work.

=I=

Shouting. Beta squad were caught in a crossfire, cultists up amongst the gargoyles and grotesques pinning them with las- and solid-shot. Gamma was already dead, slain when the same daemon-virus I had used on the noble was released into the air around them. Their screams lingered in my ears. Alpha was the only one still moving forward. We still had an objective to complete.

I had known he would set a trap. It wasn't in his nature to run and hide. We would expect it, but the one factor that he was relying on to make it work was my hatred for him. He knew the way hate could slip through your defences and make you nothing more than a pawn to fulfil its desires. And he was entirely correct. It would have made me risk everything to get at him. Except, he made a mistake. He knew how my mind worked, and he knew what I should do when I finally tracked him down. But he hadn't figured for the parchment. He couldn't have; when we found it he was already off-planet. He couldn't know that when I made the preparations for the assault on his position, I was feeling nothing at all.

=I=

The door blew inwards, peppering the cultists inside. My team swept the remaining enemies with hellguns, blasting most of them off their feet in the first volley. The rest offered little resistance, and were quickly dispatched.

I looked around the courtyard, meeting the eyes of my Interrogator. She was still angry at me, but she was hiding it with remarkable skill. She wanted to be an Inquisitor with every fibre of her being.

"We need to move sir," she said, scanning the surrounding area with a practised eye. "This place is too exposed."

I shook my head. " We will stay. This is where I will fight him." I studied her one last time. If I had been able, I would have felt sorry for her. She would have made a fine Inquisitor. I saw her frown, and open her mouth to phrase another question.

With a click, the grenades triggered, releasing a mixture of shards and scorching flames into the courtyard. What was left of my team died instantly, leaving only blackened remains. I barely held on, the force inside me keeping me alive for just a few more moments. All at once, it stopped. I was alone in the courtyard.
Gordax stalked into the killing ground, his followers staying just behind. He saw me and smiled, a terrible expression. "What do you think of me now, o mighty one? I have slipped through your fingers, murdered your brother, and now everyone who joined you is dead. And your soul will go straight to my master." As he spoke, he drew a jagged athame from his belt, and advanced on me.

I didn't reply. Instead, I released the bonds in my mind that I had held since I had completed the sigils on my flesh, and let the daemon inside take control. The last thing I saw was Gordax and his men collapsing in on themselves, before the absence inside swallowed everything.




My first HOES entry! Please tell me if the plot doesn't make sense, I tried to imply a lot of stuff but I may have gone overboard.



Last edited by The Meddler; 09-09-13 at 09:25 PM.
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