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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-04-16, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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Default Heresy-Online's Expeditious Stories 16-01: Sadness

Welcome to the year's first






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:

Sadness

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 January 2015
. 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 3 (permalink) Old 01-31-16, 01:24 AM
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Grey- 1031 words

Wind stirred the ocean into a frenzy, waves lashing at the volcanic sand of the beach. It tore at Aethel’s coat, whipping the thin garment around him; with a curse, he grasped the lapel and tore it free from his carapace armor. The rain was harsh, yes, coming down at an angle hard enough to leave little red marks on the inquisitor’s face, but he didn’t need the coat.

There were worse things than a little water.

The ever-present frown, graven on his face like lettering hewn into a tombstone, deepened. Tossing the coat into the wind, he brought his hammer up, gauntlets sliding along the checkered haft; at a thought, blue arcs of electricity crackled around the weapon’s black marble head. The weapon had claimed the lives of many a heretic gladly, but very few with regret.

This would be a regrettable one.

The enemy stood twenty paces down the beach, tall, thin, clad in dark steel, his own weapon clutched tightly in hand. It was a sword, single-edged, golden hilt worked into an eagle’s talon. That too hummed with power, sputtering as fat raindrops struck its blade; as the enemy brought it up to guard, the pitch of the hum changed. The eyes, Aethel noticed, were bloodshot, open in a manic stare.

He didn’t recognize them anymore. It only lent more resolve to his own glare- he no longer knew this man. It was something else, shrouded in the guise of familiarity.

Good. It’d be easier to kill that way.

The enemy’s blade changed angle suddenly, right foot coming forwards. Aethel widened his stance, moving his bottom hand up the hammer’s haft. They’d fought each other before, although not like this, not with life on the line. They’d done this dance a hundred times- but this would be the last.

“Damn you.” Aethel hissed, words carried away by the howling wind.

The enemy strode forward purposefully, both hands white-knuckled around the grip of his sword. Aethel stood his ground grimly, waiting; with a cry, the enemy broke into a run and closed the distance between them.

The first blow was high; the inquisitor smashed it away with the haft of his hammer, turning inside and lashing out with the back of his gauntlet. The strike made contact, sending the enemy staggering back, dark blood streaming from his nose.

With a snarl, he came back with a vicious slash at Aethel’s legs, and when that was blocked, another at his head. The second strike cut a thin line across the Inquisitor’s brow, and, blood pouring into his eyes, he barely managed to avoid another follow-up blow.
The enemy was quick. Aethel was not- a short, powerfully built man, weighed down even further by his carapace, it was all he could do to stay out of the way of the enemy’s flurry of blows. He’d gotten better since their last meeting, no doubt skill given him by the dark powers he’d sworn himself to. Still, the inquisitor wasn’t dead yet.

The sword arced by once more, flicking the inquisitorial rosette from its mounting at Aethel’s neck and into the wet sand. There- an opening. The enemy had meant to take his head off at that last blow, and had swung wide. With a grunt of effort, he drove the butt of the hammer’s haft into the enemy’s face, bludgeoning him down to one knee. Following with a kick from an armored boot, he knocked him over onto his side.

The power sword came up as Aethel lifted his hammer for the final blow, slamming into his abdomen, through the armor, and bursting free from his back. It hurt- hurt like the fires of the warp itself, but he managed to keep his footing, letting out a strangled cry of pain.

This was over.

With a shout, he brought the hammer down with all the force he could muster. It struck the enemy’s right shoulder, driving him down into the sand with a crack like that of thunder; Aethel followed, sinking to his knees.

The enemy wasn’t dead, not quite yet. The shoulder was mangled, arm torn free, ribcage probably smashed. He was wheezing, legs kicking spastically, eyes wide with pain, intact arm clutching at the mess that had been his right side. It was piteous, and Aethel resolved to end it.

He withdrew the sword from his abdomen, casting it to the side; the blood spilled forth, but he paid it no mind. They’d patch him up again aboard the Azter, like they always did.

Wincing, he crawled over to the writhing man in the sand, and seized his void-dark hair in his gauntleted left hand. The other arm went around his neck, squeezing tight.

“It didn’t have to be like this.” Aethel growled, gritting his teeth with effort. “Why?

It wasn’t a question that would ever be answered. He clutched at Aethel’s arm to no avail, booted feet kicking violently. The struggles began to lose strength slowly, heels drumming in the sand; exhaling sharply through his nose, the inquisitor hauled back on the enemy’s neck.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the struggling ceased. Aethel kept squeezing, counting out sixty seconds in his head, and then another sixty, just for good measure. Letting go after that, he collapsed backwards, the dead man’s head in his lap.

It took a lot of effort to kill someone that way, some clinical part of his brain noted, as he breathed in heavily. It was tiring- as if all of this hadn’t already been.

“Aethel to Azter.” he said, shouting over the wind, bringing his right gauntlet up and activating the vox-link embedded there. “It’s done. Get me off this planet.”

“He’s dead?” came the reply, crackling with static.

“Yeah.”

“Copy. On our way.”

With a grunt, Aethel hauled himself up into a sitting position, and pushed the corpse off of him. It landed in the sand face up, sightless eyes staring up into the slate grey of the sky.

His interrogator had always had very distinctive eyes, a blue like the clearest of skies. Aethel recognized them now, in death.

He reached out, closing them with gentle touches of his armored fingertips.

"You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honorable man."

Last edited by HonorableMan; 01-31-16 at 05:52 PM.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-31-16, 11:11 AM
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The Pain of Sacrifice
By
Brother Emund
1080 words

THE ETERNITY GATE.
The forbidden entrance to the heart and soul of The Imperium of Man.

Pilgrims from all over the galaxy tramp the long road to see the sacred entrance to the holiest of places. Most of them will never finish their journey or reach their ultimate goal. Uncounted billions will fail and millions will die on the way.
It is a pilgrimage that only the truly pious will attempt.

Three figures, a small group amongst thousands, trudged slowly along a road worn to the sheen of glass by countless feet. If one looked carefully they would notice that the group wore uniforms of a sort which were now threadbare and faded.
Many soldiers made the journey. They had fought for their God and now they wished to be near him at the very end.

It had already taken this group the best part of two years to get from the spaceport at the Katmanda Gate to the outer walls of the Imperial Palace.
There appeared to be no end in sight. They might not make it in time.

Please my beloved Emperor, bless those who have made this most Holy journey. Look upon your devoted children and grant them safe passage.
Et beatus est quicumque non tuetur nos.
Blessed is he who protects us.


To sergeant Norog, pulling the Commissar was an honour and not a chore. Lord-Commissar Anton Scheuer was not heavy.

For what seemed like a lifetime, he had hauled the old man along in a small, improvised rickshaw made from scraps he had fixed together. It was barely roadworthy, its wheels battered and worn by the endless miles they had travelled. By land, air and sea they moved slowly towards the ultimate goal; The heart of Holy Terra and the Sanctum Imperialis, the Legendary Golden Throne, where the master of Mankind watched over Humanity.

“I can feel His presence,’ Scheuer would often mutter. ‘I feel his warmth and see his guiding light.” Sergeant Norog would smile and reverently stroke the old man’s grey hair.
“Soon be dere Boss,” he would always reply. “Soon be dere.”

Trusted Tamachi, the erstwhile Chorgoris scout, lead the way, weaving them along a path that only he knew, and keeping them clear of the curious or the foolhardy who dared stand in their way. Norog was physically imposing, but Tamachi was a hidden weapon that killed and maimed without pity or compunction. It was after all, his sworn blood-oath to get Norog and the frail Lord-Commissar to the journeys end.

“I want to see it,” said the Commissar. “I want to be near him at the end.” And his loyal Norog, the tough Ogryn sergeant who had fought alongside him in countless battles across the stars, was determined to grant his dying wish.

Terra was not a pleasant place to be, and the roads that lead to the Imperial Palace were fraught with dangers. Even near the heart of an Empire and close to the citadel of a God, there was lawlessness and evil.

Bodies lay everywhere.
Most of them were pilgrims, dressed in white robes and wearing broad hats. Some of them were in rags stained with blood and filth. Some, like these men wore the uniform of the Guard, proud and true.
Scavengers stripped the dead clean and recycling teams took them away. There was no dignity here in the mountains on top of the world.

The smell was unbearable.

They kept going, one foot in front of the other, mile after agonising mile, ignoring the dead and the extended hands of the destitute and needy.

When they ran out of food, Norog would fight in the Pits against all-comers. Sometimes Tamachi would slip out at night and come back with exotic foodstuffs that none of them had ever seen before. They never asked him where he got the stuff from. It was best not to enquire.

Hard faced Arbites moved them on with shoves and threats, sneering at their uniforms and bearing. No one was special here, no one deserved better treatment than the rest.
Scheuer tried to protest and he threatened all sorts of retribution on these men, but his medals and decorations meant nothing to them.

“Move along citizen. Move along.”

Then one clear morning they passed through a massive bastion of adamantium bristling with weaponry, its walls lined with grim troopers in carapace armour bearing the winged Aquila emblem of Terra.
Scheuer’s eyes were closed, but he had a wide smile on his face. His fingers were crossed across his chest.
He whispered litanies and prayed for more time.

Onwards and upwards through crowds of chanting pilgrims and then further and deeper into the Palace where wonderful murals lined walls of gold and silver depicting the Lord of Man with his vaunted Space Marines. Battles. Wars. Victories.

Then there were gargantuan statutes of heroes from antiquity and Incredible works or art that were the size of small Hives. Sights that no man had ever beheld, nor ever would again.

Then finally one day, they were stopped by the masses who were now silent and in awe.

“Dere is a door Boss, a shiny door wiv two big men.” Said Norog enthusiastically.
Scheuer smiled, gripping the ogryn’s arm.
“It is the gate sergeant. The way leading to it is a mile long. Those...” he coughed a deep throaty cough. “Those men are Imperial titans.” He tried to laugh but the effort caused him distress. “Titans... the big metal walkers…”
“I will lift you up Boss, so you can see dem. Me and Tachi will help you up.”

But when they went to him, the Hero of the Augustus Gate and the Siege of Andromeda was gone. Lord-commissar Scheuer was with his God now and forever at peace.

Across that sanctified mile. Past the millions of banners and flags and the statues of the Heroes of the Imperium. Beyond that golden gate, the greatest man to have ever lived looked down on all he surveyed. Was that a sigh in a place without sound? Was that a whisper in a place that no spoken word was uttered? If one of the hundreds of golden warriors of the Custodes dared glance in His direction, and upon that grim, mummified face that none dared to look upon, would they have seen a tiny sparkle in the corner of one of those empty eye sockets?

A tear of sadness perhaps? A tiny sign from He who watches over all…


.

"Death occurs when a lethal projectile comes together in time and space with a suitable target, in the absence of appropriate armour or protection”


Check out my 40K 'Epic' about the Hunted verses the Inquisition: https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...98#post2184698

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