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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-23-08, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Hi all, I had started planning a Chapter out previously for my Space Marines, called the Architects of Malice. While not rave reviews, I did have some requests for some more work on Andronus, the Chapter Master. Well, here is his Story;
Chapter 1
Chapter 2

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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-23-08, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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I remember the choosing well. It was violence, right the way through.

We knew these men among men – huge men, armoured men, noble men – were there to take use to become one among them. They were men, for that was what the Bard had said. The bard was not one of us, yet he was not one of them.

We are a proud tribe’s people – this planet, our world, we are told, by the Bard, that this is but one among many. I did not know this, but the Bard had spoken. It must be true. He had been with them. He told us, that despite our factions, our tribes, our alliances and allegiances, we are but one people, one people among many. There was many a time when I wondered at what the Bard had said, what he meant, but it was not my place to wonder. It was my place to do.

I remember many a time, when I was but a wee bairn, cradled in my mother’s arms, glancing up from that soft embrace, to see the shimmering, flickering of starlight, gliding across the heavens. We knew that somewhere among that blank field, they were judging us. From the moment we were born, to our dying day.

The Bard had come down over 200 winters previous, though he looked not a day over 25, edging on the side of ancient. Many men were lucky to survive past their 16 birthday on our world. He had told us all of what to expect. We had seen them before. Gigantic men, 3 heads taller than myself, and I was no small man, coated in exotic armour, shimmering bright and polished amongst our drab greys and green to blend in with our surroundings.

In the past, they had come and taken a few of us, maybe 1 in every 4 generations, and taken them, disappearing in the blink of an eye. We knew not where, but they had been taken, and never seen again.

I liked the Bard. In my 8th winter, I had heard him tell my father about a hunt he was intending to go on. My father, the tribe’s leader had been ready to follow the Bard, eager to impress him, after my Grandfather had died, leaving the tribe in his name.

My dear Grandfather. He was the oldest man in the tribe, nearly 50 winters old, when he was attacked after settling a blood feud, claiming the lives of nearly 20 of our best warriors. He had fought bravely, so I had been told – his assailants all dead around him, but the poisoned arrow had taken its toll on the ancient, and he succumbed. It was a sad time for me - I had loved him, but time waited for no-one. I had to a new responsibility, and I would do what I could to earn the respect of the tribe.

My father quailed when he heard what Bard was intending to hunt. The Carcharadonts, huge creatures, the size of the Devlar Trees, which surrounded the forests of my home, huge great beasts they were. 4 limbed lizards, with razor sharp claws, and a mouth, spilling over with literally thousands of teeth. A tribe’s wealth and power was seen by the number of Carcharadont teeth they had. We had fallen on lean times, and we had heard tales of a family of the beasts moving into a nearby mountainside. It took the whole assembly of the tribes finest warriors, fully equipped and fit for war to kill even one, and the lean times we had had these last few winters had been hard on us all.

My father agreed when the bard said it would be foolish to attack them, and risk his men. Bard left, and gave me a wink as I lay hidden in the bush. I was amazed he could see me – I had spent years practising my hiding and hunting skills.

I followed him then, full of brash, boyish talk and over inflated sense of my worth, sneaking along – pointless, now I think of it, but what seemed to be the right thing. He whispered some words to the sentries on the ponies around the Gers, and slipped into the cold night.

It was barely spring, but to prove myself, I still went around in summer clothing, while even the more hardy veterans of war sat huddled in furs. Foolish as I was, it was nothing to this. I followed Bard for a week, maybe 10 days, I lost track, and the nights grew steadily colder as we moved into higher terrain. Looking back, I realised he was giving me a subtle hint to turn back, but I could not see it, too caught up in the chase was I.

When we reached the Montbardian Mountains, and Razor Tooth Pass, I realised we had found the Carcharadont lair; the smell was unmistakeable. These super predators could eat anything they wanted, but they had been picky, leaving scraps to rot in the open.

The Bard strode out, and for the first time in that time I had been away, I felt fear. A roar came from the Crevasse, shaking the whole mountainside, the loose gravel giving way beneath my feet. With strength born of desperation, I leapt forward, and held onto a rocky outcrop, fist closing over the sharp edge, knife edged flint scarring my hand. That was when I saw the Carcharadont. 25 metres long, head to tail, and twice the height of a man. This was the male, its body frill jutting out, blood rushing through to dye the skin a warning crimson.

With a roar, the beast launched itself at the Bard. He had seen it, and put down his pack. Armed only with his fists, he charged the creature, a mighty swing to the side of the jaw saw bloody spit and broken teeth flying as the heavy head swung away from the impact. In a flash, the rope tying the robes of the Bard’s cloak came off. Leaping up onto the beasts back, he looped it round the neck, and pulled as hard as he could. I saw the eyes of the beast widen as its air flow began to get cut off.

The salty tang of its blood began to steam into the air, as this unnaturally strong cable began to saw through its scaly armour. As I scrambled up onto the outcrop, I saw the blood vessels in the eyes pop, turning its socket red. Blood seeped out of its eyes. The wrestling between the two grew fiercer and fiercer, but the bard could not be shifted. With a great sigh, the beast collapsed, dead.

Suddenly, the ground began to shake under the heavier tread of something larger. The Bard, who had been busy sawing away with his knife at the foot long teeth looked up, then looked at me.

“Gur’Tark, quickly, pass me a straight branch, hurry lad, hurry!”

So shocked was I at being addressed, I hurried to the trees behind me, and drew my short wood knife. A few quick strokes, and I had cut the branch down, and I hacked the leaves and stubs off. Throwing it down, the Bard caught it. A nod of thanks, and then I saw him set to, and lash a tooth to the branch, making a makeshift spear.

“Stay right there! This beasties a big ‘un. Can’t be doing with you getting hurt” he said. I was scared, really scared by this stage. I had never seen the Bard like this. He had always been friendly and jovial – like a favourite uncle, whisking you up in his arms, and tickling you until you were both helpless with laughter. But this, this was different. He stood immovable as a Mountain, as dangerous as a tensed bow. Shifting his hand along the shaft, he waited until the mother of the Carcharadonts moved into the open space.

Seeing, or rather smelling her mate’s death, she stood up on her hind legs. I had stayed near the opening to the ravine. Standing as tall as her mate had been long, a clawed hand, talons the length of my arm slammed down, flattening the tree behind me.

With a mighty effort, the Bard launched his spear. It flew wobbling through the air; the impure lance nonetheless flew like a bolt of lightning. The beast had opened her mouth to scream a roar of defiance when it struck her, spearing straight through the top of its mouth. With a whimper that was as heartbreaking as the roar was terrifying, it toppled, lifeblood seeping from its eyes. Feebly, it tried to stand, but despite she was paralysed. I saw my opportunity, and dropped out of the tree. The creature felt me land on her shoulders. She knew the end was near, and feeling her pain, I summoned what little strength I had, and drew the spear through. She groaned with agony, but not a flutter of movement was there to encourage me to dive for cover.

Standing on her muzzle, I looked into her eyes. She blinked once; it looked like she was crying tears of blood. Drawing back, like I had seen my father do, I threw the spear.

I cried then. Although I had heard horror stories about what they did, I realised it was because they had to survive. It took the bard to physically pull me away. I was scared, cold, hungry, and upset. The adrenaline pumping through me the last few days disappeared, leaving me empty. The fact I had made our tribe rich and the pride of my father meant nothing, to what I had just witnessed.

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-23-08, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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Needless to say, I returned a hero. My mother scalded me as I walked into the village. The Carcharadont hide cloak draping my shoulders meaning nothing to her, as the wooden spoon flew through the air to hit me. I just smiled and hugged her. She meant the world to me. I had been so far from the village; I had forgotten what it was like, even in that short span.

My father greeted the Bard like a long lost brother. The village was happy for a long time, until 3 winters came to pass.

The land had grown harsh. News of our success had not gone unheard. Clans and other Tribes began to try and beg for food or teeth, but my father realised it would lead to simple thievery and crime, and did not take the opportunity to become a lord of the people. I could not see why, and grew temperamental with him.

I distanced myself from him. In the spring raids, I had killed several men, earned myself the right to wear the swords of a man. I had carved a name for myself among our men, as a skilful fighter. My father grew jealous of my rapport with the men, and found it hard to contain me. I’m sad to say we grew apart.

When I was 15, my father went to raid a nomadic family which plagued our Ylop flocks. They were important to us – Ger sized quadrupeds, with a woollen summer coat, and a dense winter fur, they provided us with our main trading stocks.

However, it was an ambush. The furious tribes had allied themselves together, as they were jealous of our wealth, and were refusing to share it.

They had come to kill us all, and share our wealth. Seeing my father’s body sent back to me day by day in little pieces, tied to the saddles of the dead men’s horses was demoralizing, but it brewed anger inside. Calling the men out, we began to set off, leaving the women and children behind. We were still powerful in numbers. The land we were on proved to be plentiful, and the guidance of the Bard ensured we were blessed by good fortune. The bard came with us. He had spent the past week in meditation, fasting before the fighting. He carried his Carcharadont spear with him. He looked haggard and tired. He mustn’t have slept. Despite his seeming endless youth, he was an old man.

We left the ponies at the village for the women to escape if need be. We did not expect to survive. Bard had been around in these parts for a long, long time, and had spent years scouting paths and hidden trespasses.

We used one of these paths, taking us on a similar route to the one where I had followed the Bard when I was a wee lad. Then I recognised it. The Bard had taken me when I was younger on a wide looping path, but tonight, he took us straight to the Crevasse; Lizardbane pass as it was now called, the skeletons of the two beasts still there from what seemed a lifetime previous.

I looked up, my wraps covering me against the harsh wind ripping through the valley. At first, I heard a muttering coming from the Bard, hand covering his mouth. Glancing at him, his eyes crinkled in a smile. “Just a prayer to those who are listening. We’ll be fine, son. Together, we can come to a new light.”

Sighing at his strange ways, I shook my head with a smile. Looking back up to the night skies, the pinpricks of light glided smoothly, wispy tendrils of some far away comets glided over our head. The peacefulness was beguiling.

Then, there was a quick twinkle, and a star detached itself from the inky blackness, and rushed towards the earth. And another, and another! As it got closer, I realised it akin to a meteor. I had found a small one in a crater near to the village when I was a child. It was no bigger than a cabbage, but it had created a huge dint in the floor, blowing over a recently settled Ger. These were bigger, glowing cherry red instead of blazing up white hot. Following the trail of one, I saw it land in the plains. As the others hit the earth near to it, I saw mushroom clouds of smoke billow up hundreds of meters. From this precipice, I could see all over the plains. The assembled tribes were nearly 500 strong in warriors, by my quick estimate. Wheeling to investigate, several troupes of riders spurred away. As the sun steadily rose, turning the blackness to grey, I could see the roiling mass of riders milling around. Then all of a sudden, the area nearby the meteors exploded in crimson light, beams of scarlet criss-crossing into the dark riders.

Gathering his men, he moved forwards, gently. Walking through the pine trees, quiet as a fox, I came upon the camp site of the tribes. It had been nearly an hour by the colour of the sky since the meteors had landed. I looked around, and waited for sight or sound of the Bard. He was nowhere to be found. Cursing, I set off through the dense underbrush. I found a crawling rider, wearing the red and green of the Jovellian Marshes Tribe. They had caused much trouble for us over the last few years. Stepping down, my knife took out his throat, a spray of magenta christening the new dawn.

Moving forward, I saw some strangely attired individuals. One of the group was one of them. He stooped down to speak to a hooded character, his features hidden. It was then when the Bard stepped out of the tree line. “I’m Sorry” was all he said when the 20 men, with ‘Him’, the hooded man and the Bard opened fire with their strange equipment. They looked like short spears, with long blades, but they merely pointed them, and light came out of the end. With each connection came the smell of burning flesh.

With a roar, I charged, I reached the soldiers with 30 or so of my warriors. My sword took the throat of one, and the reverse stroke the hand of another. Readying it for a thrust, I saw one of them lunge its bladed weapon at me. Dancing past the strike, I stabbed his heart. But instead of piercing the chest, he had some armour which halted the blow. So shocked was I that I lost concentration in wonder, when Tor’krav, an old warrior, who had been born on the same day as my father stepped in front of me. The blade pierced his eye, instead of mine. With a roar, I punched the man, like I had seen the Bard do when I was a child. I had never been able to do it as well as him, but I still managed to kill the man, the snap of his neck satisfying.

Although we had lost a great many men in just that attack, we had killed more than a few of them. The strange armoured soldiers then fell back. Looking at the hooded figure, I saw a nimbus of light play around where his eyes should have been, blue lightning licking the edges of his fur lined hood. We all stared in wonder – I noticed the huge man, ‘Him’, shake his head, and turn away. Spreading his gloved hand, the hooded man sent spirals of lightning arcing through the air. Standing in front of my men, I stood awaiting my doom. At the last second, the bolt dissipated, the smell of salt and blood stinging my nostrils in my hyposensitized state. The body language of both the ‘Him’ and the hooded man suggested shock, despite lack of facial expression. However, the Bard just smiled.

Raising his hand again, a corona of green-white light played around it, forcing his fingers into the shape of what was unmistakeably a stop sign. Throwing back his hood, I saw a horrifically scarred man, immeasurably ancient, but with no dullness in the eyes. He showed anger instead of shock. Looking around, wondering at what had happened, I saw men frozen in mid stride, sweat prickling on their brow as they fought whatever was stopping them moving. With a contemptuous flick of the Sorcerers hand, they flopped to floor, prone, as if begging for mercy. They were like rag dolls compared to his power. I roared with anger at this humiliation. Drawing a curved throwing knife from my belt, I launched it at the sorcerer, and ran on, drawing my arm back to sweep the final stroke. The man turned to face the whirling knife – with a blink the blade stopped in mid air, before dropping to the floor harmless.

He whispered one command – “Bring him down.”

I felt impacts on my chest, legs and arms, but that would not stop me. My skin blistered, and ripped open as muscles moved again and again. I was inches from the man, swinging my sword; I connected with some kind of force stopping me from swinging. I let go of my blade, and did something that surprised him. Throttling the old man, I began to throw him around, when a vice like grip descended on my shoulder. Turning around, I was looking around at ‘Him’. He slapped me once round the face, and I blacked out for a couple of seconds.

Loosing my hold on the Sorcerer, I dropped onto my back, vision swaying in and out of focus. The old man stepped over, and leered down.

“Ahh, this one has spirit. Tecarine, you were correct about this one. He has potential. What did you say his name was again?”

An out of sight mumble came fuzzily to me – The Bard was answering the sorcerer.

“Excellent. Gur’Tark, welcome to the Inquisition.”

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