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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-01-14, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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Default Heresy-Online's Expeditious Stories 14-10: Wealth

Welcome to the year's tenth




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 me with your ideas/proposals, especially given that my creative juices may flow a bit differently than yours. All I ask is that you PM me 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 me with what you have and I'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 from me (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:

Wealth

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 GMT, 31 October 2014
. Remember, getting your story submitted on 22nd will be just as considered by others as one submitted on 11th! Take as much time as you need to work on your piece! 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 ask in this thread.

Without further nonsense from me, let the writing begin!

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-25-14, 11:51 AM
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Memory and Vengeance
1100 words.



He would not fail again. He could not fail again.

Sanguinary Priest Aliandro's armored hands, the left dwarfing the right inside of its bulky power fist, clenched the arms of his command throne.

“Has the overlap been plotted yet? What of our firing solution?”

One of the technical officers laboring over the logic bank immediately to his right snapped off a salute. “It's going to be close, sir. Target is closing on the rift rapidly. With generators three and five still offline-

“Will we have a firing solution?”

The human swallowed, and attempted to wipe away the sheen of sweat that had gathered on his brow. “Extreme range, sir. Very extreme range. Into their rear arc. It is conceivable that were one of our torpedoes to hit their engines—very slim chance, sir.”

Aliandro spasmed convulsively. He bit down hard on the bitter oath that had risen to his tongue and tasted blood in his mouth. So close. So close to vengeance. And to know it was slipping from his grasp.

“I don't care what the tech magi say. Generator three took less damage—I want it back online.”

The officer paled. “Sir-”

Aliandro raised his oversized fist and activated its power field. “Obey,” he snarled. “I will not see these Black Legion scum slip my grasp.” The officer nodded his tremulous assent and Aliandro let the power field fade.

He jerked his gaze to the display console, where the hovering holo-sigils depicting the remnants of the battle blinked. A handful of crippled Imperial vessels, the husks of the Archenemy's escorts... and the Heritor of Blasphemy, the fleeing Repulsive class Grand Cruiser, its weapons banks savaged. Aliandro's Innocent Blood, a battered Vanguard Cruiser, limped after it. What Aliandro wouldn't have given for a Strike Cruiser's bombardment cannon.

Bastis, standing beside Aliandro's throne, laid a cautionary hand on the left shoulder of the sanguinary priest's Terminator armor. “My soul calls for their blood as much as yours, sir,” his power-armored equerry said quietly, “but we cannot avenge our brothers if we destroy ourselves in pursuit of this foe.”

Aliandro jerked his shoulder away. “You are young, Bastis. Young like so many others among the Blood Angels. Were you alive to see us brought us so close to extinction? Were you the first to touch ground on Mackan and see the desecrated bodies of eight hundred of our chapter?

“I will not suffer these sons of Abaddon to live, even if it means the lives of everyone on this vessel to stop them. They. Will. Die.”

“It is not only our lives you gamble, sir. Would you risk the Chalice as well? One of our few remaining links to Sanguinius?”

Aliandro reached up with his right hand and unclipped his helmet, then looked over to meet Bastis's eyes.

“No worldly wealth is too great a price for vengeance, brother,” he snarled, trembling with emotion. "I would risk even that."

Bastis bowed his head. “Do not lose yourself in this pursuit, brother-priest, or we are all lost.”

“Sirs! Extreme firing envelope reached. Enemy will be lost in the rift within fifteen minutes of ordnance reaching them, by best estimation. The tech magi say-”

“The tech magi will do their duty. Hold course for five minutes then fire.”

His head throbbed. Memories of great heaps of broken, red-armored corpses, their gene-seed despoiled, haunted him. Of hallways warped by the excesses of the Archenemy, on Mackan and...

“Firing,” the officer said. New runes, ordnance in flight, blossomed on the holo-screen. “Whether we hit them or not, now, it's out of our hands and in the Emperor's, sir. Slackening power to the engines and bringing generator three back offline.”

Aliandro backhanded the human, sending him sprawling bloody-faced to the deck. “Hold the damned course. If we disable them, I'll not have them limp into the rift and escape because our resolve wavered.”

“We need to power the reactor down,” the officer said mushily, through his shattered cheekbone and jaw. “Sir. The generator is going critical.”

It. Will. Hold. Remove this man from my sight.”

Bastis knelt, gathered the human into his arms, and cast a reproachful glance at Aliandro. “I will take him to the infirmary.”

Blinking runes threaded their way across the holo-screen. The bow torpedoes would not be reloaded in time for another salvo.

The waiting. The recollection, dredged up, now, of the smell of rotten and scorched flesh—the flesh of his brothers in arms. “Come to me,” he growled beneath his breath, eyes not wavering from the rune marking the Heritor. “Come to me you bastard, you traitor, you fallen brother.”

He remembered the fighting, slaughtering his way through those hallways in the putrid darkness of... no, that was not Mackan. There had been only forsaken silence and stillness among the slaughter, on Mackan.

The runes collided, combined. Torpedos winked out as they were intercepted, overshot, or detonated. Officers shouting at the edge of his hearing. Report readouts of hits and damage dealt. Aliandro's focus on the enemy was a blade; all else washed over him unseen and unheard.

The enemy flagship's pace hardly slackened. It plunged into the rift and was gone, lost from sensors.

“After it,” Aliandro grated, his voice an iron wall. “Into the rift. I will chase you beyond the jaws of hell, brother. I will catch your Vengeful Spirit—ah, the walls. They bleed. You cannot hide or flee.”

He was surrounded by clamoring voices, alarms wailing. No matter, them. The servants of his brother threw themselves at him, wailing as he pulverized their flimsy bodies with flaring power fist. They could not sway him from his path. His Father, Brother Dorn—they had been lost after teleporting into the bowels of the traitor's vessel.

The ship shuddered, began to tear itself apart.

Horus could not escape his grasp. For the sons he had lost on Mackan, on Signus Prime. He would avenge them.

There were none more to kill; the bridge was empty but for him and corpses. The Black Rage dimmed, thinning just long enough that Aliandro could surface from the memories of Sanguinius and see the carnage he had wrought. He staggered back, slumped into his command throne.

He didn't have to check the vid-screen to see the warp rift, any longer: it loomed through the bridge's windows, vast and all-consuming. Warnings from the command terminal. The generators were in total meltdown, a cascading chain containment breach. No hope of raising a Gellar field.

They fell down, down into the rift, where the carcass of their vessel would float at warp's mercy.

Aliandro wept.



(inspired by the "dead Sanguinary Priest on a throne" miniature from Space Hulk who has the jeweled chalice relic beside him)

CSM Plog, Tactica

What sphinx of plascrete and adamantium bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination? Imperator! Imperator!

Last edited by Mossy Toes; 10-25-14 at 08:56 PM.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-31-14, 11:57 PM
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The Currency of Power (1095 words)

“Retrieve only the best” was the order which sent them across the hell-spawned deserts.
Barely a handful had survived the death-march to the library, yet their speed was in vain.

Dismembered corpses hung out of each window and doorframe, each hand driven into the wall by a nail of cold-iron; the unmistakable mark of his mistress’ nemesis, Ghuralk.
Although the deaths did not faze him, just the thought of Her favoured foe filled his mind with revulsion and his mouth with hatred-bile.

The Eighty Four Hymns of Thaalace had been burned to a scant four volumes prior to their rescue from the flames, evidence that the defilers of this place were long departed.

It took days to scour, but each room had already been picked clean of treasures. Having previously memorised the inventory and location of each statue and ancient tome, all were smashed or rent asunder.
Even so, such meagre scraps as could be salvaged would have to suffice...surely She would be pleased with the offerings and sacrifices involved?

+++++
“Answer the question, Acolyte!” the harsh bark in contrast to his mistress’s luscious curves...the same barely-robed form that he had longed to experience...the one which had made him abandon friends and family for damnation.

’No...must resist...this is all part of The Testing’ Alloysius told himself, rallying his resolve against the obvious distraction.

“When we entered, there was little but dust and corpses, ma’am. We recovered what we could, but The Enemy had been there before us and carried away the main treasures of the vaults.”
“Nothing left of true wealth at all, young man?”
“Mistress, I saw for myself that the very bars were cast wide open. The bodies were long-cool, too dead for us to give effective chase and take back the prize.”

An askance glare told him he had erred somewhere along the line; did she know about the warpdust locket he had purloined for himself?

He shuddered at the touch of her inch-long nails across his bare torso, his ears ached at the softness of her whisper: “Money is frippery. The gold was not the treasure I sought. Surely you know me by now, ‘favoured one’? The Eleventh Psalm of Joining!”
Her swift order took him by surprise, as did her armoured knee which crashed into his midriff, sending him sprawling having failed to respond immediately.

“There shall be no servitude except joy: no joys except those lauded by my master, which are infinite!” Alloysius intoned with more fervour than ever before whilst regaining his feet.

“You see, you DO remember after all!” her soft applause and childlike laughter flew throughout the chamber, careening off the myriad lenses of crystal chandeliers, bouncing from blue-veined floors polished with the saliva of those who has displeased her.

“The four books then, milady? A repository of knowledge unknown elsewhere on this continent must surely please Him?”
A sharp elbow to already-bruised ribs robs him of breath and doubles him over: another mistake, more grievous than the last.
“Unsatisfactory excuses added to wilful disobedience! He has no lover comparable to me! Nobody knows His mind like I do, cretin!”

A choking gasp wracks her frame and she falls to the floor on hands and knees, spasming at his feet.
With reactions conditioned by years of painful training, he throws himself to the ground, preserving his status as lower than her by means of his posture.
With a crack, his face lands in the small pool of spittle and blood she has vomited forth.

Realisation hits him first, then paralysing shame: she had not sought the wealth of mere coinage, but the riches of the flesh instead.
Avoiding any sight of her as she stands, he hands over his kris.
“I am unclean to walk the earth with you...I am unfit to see the same skies. My life in your hand-”
His worthless apology is cut short by the rasp of the razor-edge against his artery and the soft gurgle of his vitality spurting across the floor.
Archdominex Dalessia hisses in barely-held anger at having to kill yet another failure.

The sounds and light in the room dull at the mere presence of her age-old master and she drops to one knee in subservience, hoping she was swift enough for his capricious tastes.
A hand shoots out of the darkness, digging into her collarbone, threatening to crush it in his superhuman grip; an iron strength which belies it’s withered appearance.
“You performed your task well, my dear.” His voice coughs and wheezes, whilst his chest shakes as though drawing another breath might break even his constitution in two.

“You are incautious, master. Your lies drip too easily now, I have heard them all before; you are incapable of affection” she spat back in reply.
++‘I agree’++ adds the voice which comes to her on the coldest nights.

His incisive reply cuts down her defiance in an instant: “Yet, despite such rebellious fire, here you kneel: just like before...just like always...”
Tears of shame sting her cheeks, for they both know her willpower melts when confronted by the lure of further surgeries.

“However, the custodian was NOT to have been harmed: your tardy lackeys arrived too late to collect my prizes; those books were invaluable to my research. It will take decades to trace copies.”
Immobile in his grasp, unbidden the voice screams back ++‘No! MY prizes!’++
Her faltering apology: “The four books might prove helpful and I shall serve another century...two...whatever it takes to satisfy you.”

His soft chuckle is almost swallowed by phlegmy gurgles from invaded lungs:
“The hunger clutches you so tightly, doesn’t it? Do the implants function as you wanted? Of course they do, who are you to doubt -or even answer to- the likes of ME?"
“You long for more enhancements at my side and so you shall have them, but only whilst you fund my discoveries. The flesh of the strong and the learned is the only currency which matters here...the only thing which I crave...the only thing you shall provide.”

“Then you shall be wealthy indeed, master.” Her wide smile promises fulfillment, accepting this solitary chance for redemption.

He turns and leaves her alone in this place with the cooling corpse, her devotion almost tangible upon his tongues.

++He imagines himself your equal? His time shall come to be broken up on the wheel, but not today++

“Yes, I agree, my Lover. One day, the old man shall learn that true power comes neither from gold, nor from books, nor even flesh, but in knowing the secrets of your enemy.”

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.

Last edited by andygorn; 11-01-14 at 12:01 AM.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-01-14, 01:03 AM
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Those Who Count
(956 words)


“Do… do you know what it means..?”

Macharis could just barely hear it; Just a pained whisper amid a din of crumbling earthworks, bellowing explosions and the chatter of guns and lasers alike.


He looked down over his shoulder with a kind of horror and disgust, suddenly aware that the body at his feet had not yet met peace.

It… he looked up at him, cracked lips in the barest of smiles, eyelids hanging as if about to pass into sleep. The impression was beatific, the scene almost picturesque, all a startling contrast next to the trailing gore that stemmed from what was once the man’s lower half.

“What?” Macharis yelled. He could not keep the wince from his face now that his mind registered just where that stench was coming from…

“Do…”

The fallen soldier seemed to lapse into the abyss for but a moment. Then, with a groan, he heaved his torso up against the shattered remnants of the wall nearby.

“Do you know what it means to be alive...?”


Somewhere across the next block of habs there was an explosion and a series of screams. Macharis flinched despite himself; the sound of shrapnel ricochet echoed around him.

“You’re… You’re alive,” the fallen one said, gaining volume with his conviction, “Don’t you understand…?”

The smell was getting worse. Or maybe it was simply his imagination. Or maybe the animated corpse at his feet was possessed, seeking to toy with his mind. Or perhaps… perhaps…

A three-story domicile across the street caved in with a deafening roar. A mouth of burnt gold punched through the nearest end, followed by a cannon’s barrel, and finally the hulk of a glacis plate adorned by spikes and wire.

Macharis’ eyes were bulging now, the prayer to his God-Emperor caught in a dry throat caked with dust and debris. He had heard stories of daemons and creatures of all kinds on this campaign, but the sight of this contorted and blasphemous image of a once blessed fighting vehicle gnawed at his innards…

“You think… think that it’s all hopeless and you’ve lost…”

A kind of claustrophobia set in, his mind running wild at what seemed like creeping death from all directions. Knees buckled and knuckles turned white around the stock of his rifle, both without his awareness. All that remained was that stench…

“No idea what… you have…”

He almost heard his nerves as they shattered, mixed in with the clattering of treads against tortured earth.

“What do you want from me?!” Macharis screamed, half at the approaching tank, half at the bloody pulp at his knee, “What do you want?! For God-Emperor’s sake!

“Live…”

He finally looked down at the man, wild-eyed and on the verge of frenzy. Shades of green and khaki mixed with the brown earth and caked blood, and it was only then, when the image of this broken man filled his whole sight, that Macharis saw the offering in his hand.

It hung there from a limp and shredded arm, held up by the last vestiges of this man’s strength.

As Macharis grabbed it, abruptly and by instinct, the man’s arm fell for the last time.

“Live.”

A terrible howl drowned out all thought as the tank’s engines gunned. It powered through the remains of rockcrete and twisted beams, pitch and volume increasing from within a shroud of black exhaust. Its turret leveled in his direction and stabilized on the way up the small embankment.

Die.

Macharis’ took a step back and found that his balance had left him. Tumbling backwards over a legless table, he rolled into the crater at the center of the rubble and looked up in time to see the window frame ruthlessly crushed between a dozen tons of unholy iron.

Time seemed to wait, to drag out this scene just for him. His heartbeat slowed despite his adrenaline, and for a moment he felt his own life leave him where he lay.

He looked to the item in his hand, the gift of a corpse now thoroughly churned into oblivion.

A krak grenade.

He screamed.

It wasn’t the scream of an animal, or of a man being tortured. It wasn’t a scream of desperation, or of horror. He couldn’t describe what the scream was about, but it no longer mattered, because he had already gone over the top of the crater, grenade primed.

In mere meters he had reached the front of a tank which could not depress its cannon enough to hit him from such close range. Its sloped glacis plate seemed to beckon him onwards. And so he went, sliding between the spikes and cutting his body through the wire.

The cannon was at his feet, the commander’s cupola before him, and an instrument of righteousness firmly in his hand.

Yes, he was alive. And so long as he was alive he could fight.

And that was the greatest gift of all.

He saw to it that such a gift was not wasted.

-----

Somewhere behind the front lines, a Munitorum servitor sorted a pile of twisted and bloodied identification tags. Many had been charred beyond legibility. Others came clutched in dismembered hands, as if those who returned them for sorting were reluctant to defy the wishes of the dead.

It picked one up with a pincer apparatus and examined it with the calculating stare of an algorithm. The tag was still caked with burnt flesh, atomized in the explosion of some such mechanical device.

The servitor detected only the word “Macharis” and deftly tossed into an adjacent pile for unknown and irretrievable data.

In another age, the one doing this work would have cared. But what did a machine care for the labors of the living?


"There are old heretics and bold heretics, but there are no old, bold heretics. How do I know? Because I make sure of it myself."

Wing Commander Silo Barstad, Imperial Navy 3355th Fighter Wing

Last edited by Warhawk; 11-01-14 at 01:09 AM.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-03-14, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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