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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-09-09, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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Ok guys and girls, I'm working on a number of pieces that are all inter-conected with reccuring themes and characters that crossover. I imagine them eventually fitting together as a short story collection.

The first piece (though not chronologically in the series) is The Last Testament of Captain Sandeman. (If anyone would like to comment on it, I'd appreciate it.)

So, on to this piece, The Summit, which I shall post in mini-chapters...

The Summit

“I hate this place” whined Porter, pulling his blanket even tighter as he shivered against the biting wind.

“Ha! You haven’t been here long enough to really hate it, believe me. Scelus is cold and un inviting I’ll give you that much, but once you’ve been out on an extended recon in the mountains you’ll wish you’d been posted on a deathworld!” The Sergeant stifled chuckled, briskly rubbing his arms up and down to keep warm.

Porter looked out at the barren plains of Scelus, the foreboding peaks looming in the distance. The meagre comforts of the makeshift command post did little to make any of the Cadians feel any less isolated. The planet was cold, but its heart, if it had one, was far colder. Such was the relentless gloom that morale was at an all-time low. Suicides had been reported. Porter put the thought from his mind.

"They still sending teams out? I thought most of the ferals had been dealt with."

"Any of the tribesmen still up on the mountains will be making ready for the long winter, I doubt they're what's brought him here."

Porter noted Sergeant Russel's tone. "Brought who, sir?"

Russel grunted. "You'll find out soon enough, so I might as well tell you; an Inquisitor has requested aid from the 331st. Says he wants to lead an expedition to some of the more remote regions."

"I've never seen an Inquisitor before," Ported confessed, his youthful eagerness momentarily dismissing the cold, "can't imagine why one would have business here."

"You forget lad, Scelus was a Space Marine homeworld! No doubt about it, that Inquisitor'll be looking for something nasty the Sons of Malice left behind. Given the stories going round about the ferals' eating habits and the gruesome shit the Sons got up to I'm amazed anymore evidence of their heresy is needed."

A heavy tent flap rustled behind them. "Sir, a message for you."

Russel shot a glare over his shoulder at the head bobbing out of the tent behind him "good of you to inform me the comm unit was working again."

The comm officer gave an embarrassed half smile.
"Alright Anders, I'm coming." The wearied sergeant said. "You too, Porter. Get in and get warm, tell Matthews he's on lookout duty."

* * *

Thadius lit a fifth candle and placed it on the table before him. The warm yellow light gave the simple cabin a much less stark feeling, putting the Inquisitor at ease. The Glory of Terra had arrived at his destination and preparations were underway to shuttle the Inquisitor to his rendezvous, apparently though the poor weather conditions on Scelus had made communications difficult.

Thadius welcomed the delay. His investigations had taken him years of patience and study, and he wanted to be fully prepared for this next endeavour. From a storage crate he took out and placed on the table an ornate mahogany box. Tracing his hands across the mother-of-pearl inlay he felt the tingling anticipation of the power contained within. As he undid each of the clasps Thadius considered the losses the Relictors had taken at Phaedron acquiring this prize, losses they could ill-afford. He opened the box and slowly lifted back the black velvet cloth, revealing the blade. Brother-Captain Caiphus had been reluctant to relinquish the daemon weapon, but Thadius and the Relictors shared a similar outlook, so out of mutual respect the blade passed to the Inquisitor.

He lifted the elegant sword, its balance was perfect. Then came the whispering, barely audible, unintelligible. Thadius was aware of the bound daemon's growng influence on him, yet he was more perturbed by his willingness to overlook the subtle taint of chaos that was worming its way into him. The blade was a necesary evil, a tool to fight the unholy, as well as a key to the secrets of the warp. On the trail of the 'lost god' Thadius had had to resort to more and more dangerously radical methods. The binding and interrogation of daemons, the theft of ancient relics, the murder of a fellow Inquisitor.

Were it not for the newly forged alliance he had made with the broken Relictors Chapter, Thadius would have by now been brought to justice by his fellow Inquisitors and surely exicuted. His time was running short. Somewhere, on Scelus, lay a vital clue to the answer, to the explanation of the meanings behind the fragmented texts, long forgotten folk-tales and whispered secrets.

He had studied the reports of the small search parties he had ordered to comb Scelus for clues and had deduced the relative whereabouts of the enigmtically named 'forgotten resting place'.

"In a few hours..." Thadius said quietly.

The Glory of Terra's comm system crackled. "My Lord, your transport to the surface awaits."


* * *

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-09, 12:25 AM
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Excellent story bud! If anything, it lends weight to my solemn belief that the Relictors and all horusians (radicals) inquisitors should be burned at the stake

Good luck and good gaming,

Nate

"If you can't stun them with your tactical brilliance, baffle them with your superior grasp of BS."

"I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed man."

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Originally Posted by TheAllFather View Post
Well, seeing as how you capitalize your characters, use proper grammar and punctuation, I'd say you qualify.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-09, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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Sergeant Russel stood just ahead of his assembled squad as they watched the Arvus land. He'd explained to them that they'd been seconded by an Inquisitor by the name of Thadius and that their orders were to escort him and lend assistance in his mission, whatever that may be. Russel's change in tone from his usual jovial self to a more disgruntled and official mood had deflated any enthusiasm Porter had had for working alongside a member of the Inquisition. Anders, Matthews and Cole seemed equally unmpressed. Having been camped idle for a fortnight in a makeshift outpost the five Cadians had hoped to be recalled to the somewhat more comfotable command HQ, instead they were off mountian climbing at the whim of stranger.

Russel snapped to attention as the door of the small transport opened, his men instantly did the same, a prideful sense of the 331st dismissing all previous thoughts.

"Welcome to Scelus, my Lord," the sergeant announced formally.

Thadius approached the assembled men looking like some specter of death in his heavy black fur cloak and hood. He pulled back his hood to reveal his aged pale face and bald head.

"Sergeant," he replied in a manner of gratitude. A moment of silence lingered as the winds buffeted the small gathering.
"I am Inquisitor Lord Thadius of the Ordo Malleus," he began, "I am here on business of great importance. Not far from here, upon the mountain side is an... anomaly, it must be investigated. I requested a small detail of guardsmen to aid and accopany me on this climb. I can see you are all prepared and ready to proceed. And so we shall."

Thadius reached to an inside pocket and handed Sergeant Russel a dataslate.
"Sergeant, please have your Chimera transport us as close as possible to these coordinates."

Porter looked round at his commrades, wondering if they felt the same mix of excitment and trepidation. If anything Anders, the comm operator, looked completely blank, as if frozen to the spot.

As they filed into the Chimera Porter lent over to Anders. "Are you ok? You look a bit, well, out of sorts."

"Can you hear that? That low voice sort of chattering?" Anders replied softly.

Porter gave his friend a quizzical but amused look as they secured their kit bags and took their seats.

"I don't want to hear another word about the damned 'whispering winds', ok?" said Russel, clearly still disgruntled by being at the beck and call of an Inquisitor.

Thadius looked round at the five Cadians, each of them avoiding his gaze. "I am aware of the superstitions that have plagued the men stationed here on Scelus, the garrison duty has clearly taken its toll on the 331st. I hope you men are fit to make this ascent."

"My men and I are the finest examples of the 331st on Scelus, my Lord, we will not fail you!" replied Russel, though in the back of his mind he could swear he heard the whispering too.

After an hour of travesing the solemn plains of Scelus the Chimera had begun a slow ascent up an increasingly steep and uncomfortably rocky trail, twisting around and up the mountains.

Inquisitor Thadius was concentrating on asserting a greater control over the tainted blade sheathed at his side. Could the guardsmen really be feeling its power already? The reported slump in morale, attributed to the vile planet they were on, had seemingly worn down their resistance. Besides the despicable legacy of the Sons of Malice something about the place had an unnatural presence, a hateful and mournful mood that had crawled inside the Cadians.

Thadius made a mental note to research the phenomen more thoroughly when he returned to his library.

"This is as far as I can safely take us," said the driver over the internal comm-link as the Chimera slowed to a stop.

"Ok men, fix your climbing and severe weather gear, rifles slung" ordered the sergeant, "Anders, check that comm unit, I don't want to be cut-off half way up a mountain!"

"Aye sir, we're good to go."

Upon the mountainside the six men slowly and carefully followed the narrow trail, bludgeoned by the icy gale. Thadius held an auspex, hoping some sort of signal would suggest the whereabouts of the enigma he pursued. The green-lit screen flickered with interferance. Cursing under his breath he returned the malfuctioning device to his pocket.

"I assume this is one of the trails once used by the indiginous tribesmen of Scelus?" Thadius had to raise his voice above the wind.

"You're correct, Inquisitor," replied Matthews, "the Ferals had networks of caves all up and down these mountains, this trail presumably leads to one. It will be an excellent place to establish our first camp."

"No, we're not stopping, time is short."

Porter caught the disapproving look in Russel's eyes, but the sergeant bit his tongue, not wanting to get into an argument with an Inquisitor, at least not yet.

"Are there any tribesmen still in this area?" Thadius asked

"Not that we know of, there have been no sightings or engagements with the ferals in months," said Russel, whilst in the back of his mind he welcomed a chance encounter to get his blood pumping again. It'd been too long since his men had seen combat. They were getting sloppy. Not just his men but all the Cadians stationed on Scelus. It was another three months until they were scheduled to be relieved by another garrison force.

Up ahead a few rocks tumbled down the trail towards them.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-09, 07:16 PM
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Good read so far, I don't often have the time to stop in here but I will definitely try and remember to come back to this one.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-09, 09:31 PM
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Part One:

High quality, again (having read the pre/post-cursor). There is one little niggle that I noticed, though.

Quote:
"I've never seen an Inquisitor before" Ported confessed, his youthful eagerness momentarily dismissing the cold, "can't imagine why one would have business here."
Comma after before. You always need to put some type of punctuation at the end of a set of quotes - most of the time, a comma or period. Imagine what would happen if you cut out the text between the two sections of speech and fused them together? It would look like so:

"I've never seen an Inquisitor before can't imagine why one would have business here."

Not very pretty, see? A simple comma fixes this.

Also, shouldn't the ship's name (Glory of Terra, right near the end) be italicized?

To finish: very good. I have to agree with Shogun - the fact that our good inquisitor is willfully acknowledging the fact that the sword is tainting him is more than reason to put a bolt round in his head.



Part Two:

Quote:
...had deflated any enthusiasm Porter had had for working alongside a member of the Inquisistion.
Inquisisition? Slipped through the proofreading net, methinks.

All of the following are missing commas, for similar reasons to that one in Part One.

Quote:
"Welcome to Scelus, my Lord" the sergeant announced formally.
Comma after Lord.

Quote:
"Sergeant" he replied in a manner of gratitude.
Comma after Sergeant.

Quote:
As they filed into the Chimera Porter lent over to Anders "are you ok? you look a bit, well, out of sorts?"
I would actually change this one a decent amount, to:

As they filed into the Chimera, Porter lent over to Anders. "Are you okay? You look a bit, well, out of sorts."

Quote:
"This is as far as I can safely take us" said the driver over the internal comm-link as the Chimera slowed to a stop.
Comma after us.

Quote:
"You're correct, Inquisitor" replied Matthews, "The Ferals had networks of caves all up and down these mountains, this trail presumably leads to one. It will be an excellent place to establish our first camp."
Comma after Inquisitor, and "The" shouldn't be capitalized.

Quote:
"Not that we know of, there have been no sightings or engagements with the ferals in months" said Russel,
Comma after months.

Nice cliffhanger, though I have a feeling that I'll enjoy the next update even more!

(and to assure you, I most certainly did enjoy this one. It was good quality and well-written, and I will certainly be looking forward to reading more of it)

Edit: +rep

CSM Plog, Tactica

What sphinx of plascrete and adamantium bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination? Imperator! Imperator!
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-09, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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Ha! Yep, I spotted those mistakes and realised I altered them in my main wip manuscript after copying and posting here
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-09, 10:50 PM
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Another wonderful addition bud! Keep 'em coming!

Good luck and good gaming,

Nate

"If you can't stun them with your tactical brilliance, baffle them with your superior grasp of BS."

"I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed man."

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAllFather View Post
Well, seeing as how you capitalize your characters, use proper grammar and punctuation, I'd say you qualify.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-09, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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* * *

Without warning they were surrounded by hunched, wiry looking men. They were dressed in tatty furs, scraps of cloth and a few scavenged pieces of uniform and armour, looted from the corpses of fallen Cadians no doubt. Many of the tribesmen wore a number of skulls strung together like grizzly necklaces, each skull had one side painted black. In their hands were rocks, sharpened sticks and other crude improvised weapons. A couple of them wielded battered lasguns.

Sergeant Russel didn't need to give the order, already his men had their lasguns trained on the nearest tribesmen. For a brief moment the winds died down and in the stillness the two opposing forces sized each other up. The Cadians were outnumbered nearly two to one.

Porter felt a prickling sensation and the hairs stood up on the back of his neck, he could hear a voice, but he couldn't understand the words. Glancing to his left he saw the Inquisitor draw a foul-looking twisted blade. Porter blinked, and the sword appeared normal.

Thadius held his sword high, adopting an authoratiative stance. "Men of Scelus! Leave this place or meet your doom!"

Russel tensed up at the Inquisitor's ridiculous dramatic tone and shot the closest of the Ferals square between the eyes. The tribesman's body fell backward in slow motion and tumbled down the mountain trail. The winds roared as in unison the tribesmen began chanting: "Ma-la-la-la-ma!" "Al-a-la-ma-ma!"

Matthews and Anders swiftly felled two more of the enraged warriors before they were pelted with heavy stones and spears.

Thadius spun round to face a vicous looking Feral armed with a crude axe. The blade of Phaedron was screaming and wailing through his mind feeding him with a dark malice.
The axe swung, narrowly missing Thadius's head, the Feral closing in, a grim smile playing accross his face. The crude axe loomed high ready to strike downwards as the Inquisitor ripped upwards, splitting the tribesman from hip to shoulder with a speed and strength no man could possess.

Porter missed his only chance at a clear shot and two tribesmen were upon him, swinging wildly with large rocks. Adrenaline pumping through his terrified young body, Porter smashed the butt of his lasgun into the jaw of one of them. There was a sickening crunch as the tribesman stumbled, spitting teeth and blood. Before he had time to register his success a heavy blow struck the back of his head sending him face down into the dirt.

Sergeant Russel shot down the tribesmen standing over Porter's unconcious form.
"Sir, lookout!" Matthews shouted as another pair of Ferals sprung the Sergeant from behind. Russel fell as they set upon him, bludgeoning away with clubs and stones.

"Fuck you!" Matthew screamed as he opened up against the Ferals, spraying las fire randomly.

Anders stuck by the Inquisitor, fumbling with the comm unit. Thadius swung for another Feral, the sword's relentless noise building pressure behind his eyes as he decapitated him with ease.

"Damn it, it's not working!" Anders cried, the static hiss from the comm unit mocking him. He realised the others were further down the trail, out of sight. "Sergeant?" he called, "Matthews?"

A single scream replied as the sound of lasgun fire stopped. Anders knew they were dead. He could feel it, the emptiness. The voice whispered to him. Anders fumbled for his las pistol, throwing the comm unit aside. His body shaking, he brought the gun's barrel up to his mouth. Glancing upwards he saw a tribesmen standing over him, a long knife pointed down ready to take him. Blood sprayed accross Anders' face as Thadius leapt at the tribesman, his sword cleaving down through his torso.

"What are you doing ?" the Inquisitor yelled, knocking the pistol from Anders's hand. "Get up, move!" he said, lifting the Cadian to his feet. The two of them turned and made up the trail as quickly as they could leaving the carnage behind them.

* * *

Porter came round slowly, feeling drowsy from the blow to the back of his head. For a brief moment he was lost, confused by the warmth and the comforting smell of food cooking. The pain in his leg, clearly broken, snapped him back to the vile reality. As his vision gradually returned, Porter realised he was lying in a cavern, arms and feet bound.
"Sergeant?" he whispered.

The sounds of a fire crackling and people busying themselves around him became clearer. He shuffled round and tried to sit up.
There were three of the ferals gathered around a campfire eating a few yards away, just by the entrance to the cave.
He moved too quickly and cried out in pain. One of the tribesmen looked over at him, putting down the meat he was eating.
Porter came to the slow realisation they were eating what looked like human arms.

Sergeant Russel's bloodstained uniform lay scattered around.
Porter screamed uncontrollably in horror, trying not to throw up. The tribesmen walked up to him, an inhuman glazed-over look in his eyes. The feral picked up a rock and smashed away at Porter until long after the screaming had stopped.

* * *

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* * *

Having reachd the end of the trail, Anders and Inquisitor Thadius roped themselves together and made use of their ice axes to better ascend the steep and jagged sides of the unforgivinf mountain. The bleak, grey sky and snow-flecked wind matched Thadius's deepening mood of looming faliure. Like some emotional leech the daemon bound to the blade of Phaedron seemed to purr along with the Inquisitor's depression, contented by his misery.

Anders too was succumbing to dread. He had fled and left his fellow guardsmen, his friends, to certain death. Only the pressing need to concentrate on the upward climb kept him from descending further.
"The whispering winds," he said, "to think I mocked the stories."
Thadius called down to him. "There's ledge above."

The Inquisitor stood on the small snowy surface looking down.
"We've made good time."
"What? Is that all you care about?" Anders choked catching hs breath.
"My friends are dead, the comm unit is busted, we're stuck on this freezing rock with Ferals crawling around, and all you care about is the time?"
"Don't question me, soldier. You forget I am an Inquisitor on a mission vital to-"
"To save the galaxy? Up a fucking mountain?" Anders shouted cutting Thadius off.

Thadius reached to draw his sword, darkness clouding his eyes. Seeing the sudden change in the Inquisitor Anders stepped back, hands raised in submission. The Inquisitor relaxed his grip and instead reached for his auspex, turning his back to the infuriating guardsman.

"If you wish to make your way back alone, so be it, but we stand a better chance of survival together." Thadius said over his shoulder
For a brief second an object not more than 100 feet away flashed on the auspex.

"Look up ahead!" Anders pointed to a dark obelisk protruding from the mountainside.

Thadius stopped for a moment, catching his breath "could it be?" he rasped.

"This must be it, surely this is our goal" Anders said as he enthusiastically quickened his ascent, forgetting the recent aggression. They hurridly continued climbing, eager to reach the ominous object.

As the two climbers reached the obelisk the slope became less steep and they continued warily on foot without need for the axes.
It was twice the height of a man, roughly hewn from obsidian stone, a defiant spike of black in a landscape of white.

"It's a monolith, a tribute-stone" said Thadius, as he placed a hand on its jagged surface.
"There's some writing, look." Anders pointed to the top of the monolith, "Ba'Kel Draak, what does that mean?"
The Inquisitor looked intently, noticing the daemon blade's whispering becoming more frenzied.
"So, he is dead."
"Who? The person you're looking for?" Anders's curiosity was wearing thin on the tired Inquisitor. His lack of knowledge and respect was insufferable. The whispering grew louder.
"The infamous Chapter-Master of the Sons of Malice, Ba'Kel Draak, disappeared." Thadius stated gruffly.
"It says here; 'from the labyrinth he emerged, first amongst the doomed ones.'" Anders looked blankly at the Inquisitor.
The sword spoke in tongues. It was too much.
"Well, what do y-"
The stroke decapitated Anders with ease, the severed body and head staining the snow red. Realisation slapped Thadius in the face hard, the blade of Phaedron's voice returning to a low whisper.
"What have I done?"
In one of the smoother , more polished areas of the monolith Thadius caught sight of his reflection, dark and twisted.
"I have chosen my path," he said softly. "There can be no turning back."
The slope was less steep up ahead, the peak not so far off. With the wind picking up and sunset approaching, the Inquisitor resumed his climb.

* * *

The cold was taking its toll on his strength, the noise from the strengthening winds battling with the growing moans and groans from the accursed sword. Still he pursued his goal, to which the fragments of the Great Book of Despair had led him, and the research of his fellow Inquisitors had alluded to. The key that linked the pieces of the puzzle of 'the lost god' awaited.

The insane babbling of the daemon blade reached fever pitch. The pressure behind Thadius's eyes made him wretch. He bent double falling to his knees in the crisp snow.
"Unh - Shut - UP!" His trembling, weakened hands wrestled against the weapon's malign power, unable to remove the sheath from his belt.
"Must - must continue".
He crawled upwards, hands numbed, burning with cold and exhaustion. Summoning what little strength he had left, Thadius pulled himself ever closer to the top of the mountain. The roaring wind battered him, the blade of Phaedron screaming in rage and pain. Every step taken felt a mile long, seconds became hours.

Slowly, lifting his aching head, the Inquisitor watched the distant sun descend. Night beckoned and the rapidly dropping temperature would soon claim his life. The wind died down. The screaming sword was suddenly even more terrifying in its silence.

He had reached the top.

Standing up straight Thadius felt a portion of his strength return as his curious mind realised his prize was at hand. The answer, whatever it was, would be here atop the mountains of Scelus. Decades of work and study. The deaths of so many friends and enemies had brought him here to the summit. He looked around at the snowy peak.

There was nothing. Nothing but the cruelty of the homeworld of the Sons of Malice.

"No!" he screamed.
"No, I defy you! Show me the truth!" tears of anguish and exhaustion welled in his eyes.
For an eternity it seemed the Inquisitor stood motionless staring at the empty white snow. Dig. Dig, he thought, feverishly stumbling to his knees.

He gouged at the ground like a maniac with the small shovel from his kit bag, scraping away snow and ice, searching for something, anything.

The clatter of metal on metal spurred him on. A shape began to form. With renewed vigour Thadius dug around the growing object in the snow. It was some sort of cylinder, large, like a torpedo. Bigger even than that it seemed.

Carefully removing the compacted snow from the tube's surface the Inquisitor uncovered what appeared to be a small window.
It was cracked. Inside he could glimpse the impressions of ancient technology and detached tubing, like in some form of stasis pod. Working further down past the window he began to reveal a brass plaque riveted to the surface of the tube.

The tips of lettering came into view, Thadius willed his freezing body to move quicker, to reveal all.

Fully visible, the brass plaque simply read 'XI'.

As the magnitude of his discovery reached him, Thadius's body gave in to the cold.

*

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-12-09, 01:01 AM
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I didn't expect that.... "XI".... Hmm...now my curiousity is getting the better of me. It's like a LEGION marching through my head...

It was a great read bud!

Good luck and good gaming,

Nate

"If you can't stun them with your tactical brilliance, baffle them with your superior grasp of BS."

"I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed man."

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAllFather View Post
Well, seeing as how you capitalize your characters, use proper grammar and punctuation, I'd say you qualify.
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