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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-01-10, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Default A Box

Just a short story I wrote for a competition over on DA a while back:

Hrothgar stirred, groaning in pain. He had lost all sensation in his legs, his left arm was crushed, a mangled mess by his side, and his right arm was missing, torn out at the socket, the chill of the afternoon air blowing in through the rent in his armour. Cautiously he took a breath through bruised lips and immediately coughed up blood – his second and third lungs clearly torn to shreds. Turning his inspection inwards he could feel the steady beat of his heart in his pulped chest. To any other man this would have been a small comfort, but to the space marine it was a worry – why was only one of his hearts working? The wind picked up, and an icy blast told him there was a puncture in his armour over where the second heart was – had been he corrected himself. How he was still alive baffled him. Even with his advanced physiology and the state-of-the-art armour he wore, he should have been closer to death than he was. Not even an Astartes could experience the trauma he obviously had and survive without entering a healing coma.

A shadow fell across his face and Hrothgar squinted up at the figure that loomed over him. A hand pressed into the puncture where his second hear had been, pushing a warm object deep into the flesh. Though it was not that hot, in the flesh cooled by the arctic breeze, it felt like a tank of flaming promethean, and the Space Wolf growled in pain, gritting his teeth.

"Good," cooed the figure in a soft voice, "You're awake. This will make things all the more enjoyable." Hrothgar could only gurgle blood in response. The figure clucked in disapproval and said, "Do not struggle if you wish to live." The Space Wolf lay back and concentrated on slowing his breathing. He wondered if this was a friend, but it troubled him that the voice was soft spoken and well enunciated, rather than the gruff and forthright tones of his battle brothers. Could another Chapter have come to the aid of the packs garrisoning this world? He dismissed the thought – only the Wolves of Fenris had any business on this world, and no distress call had been sent, so no-one else could be here, only....

Hrothgar rolled his head to the side and squinted at his 'saviour' who squatted over a casket inscribed with runes that were painful to look at. The 'man' was indeed a space marine – the sheer size of him and noble air he bore could belong to none other than one of the Adaptus Astartes – but the heraldry of his armour sent waves of alarm through Hrothgar. The Marine wore crimson armour, edged in golds, silvers and ivory. At his feet were a high crested helm, and a tall ebony staff rested against the casket. On his left pauldron was an eye, wreathed in flames that formed an eight-pointed star which morphed into an ouroboros as the pauldron shifted position.

Hrothgar's eyes widened in horror and he tried to rise, but his body failed him. The Thousand Son glanced up and shook his head. Pulling a coronet from the casket, he stepped back to Hrothgar's side, and, placed the artefact on the dying marine's brow. Hrothgar felt his body go numb, and he could only watch helplessly as the 'witch' continued whatever vile ritual it had planned.

His preparations complete, Jormungand the Thousand Son hefted the remains of Hrothgar effortlessly. He smiled; sure he could see a gleam of fear in the Wolf's bright eyes. Ten yards from where the Wolf had lain squatted an empty dreadnought, its shoulders slumped and it's weapons hanging limply, resting on flurries of snow that had built up around the immobile vehicle. In front of it rested an open sarcophagus, the life support system that kept a dreadnought's pilot alive. Steam rose from its open top and green fluids bubbled within. Jormungand gently turned Hrothgar's head so that the Wolf could see the fate that awaited him.

To a marine, being enshrined within a dreadnought's sarcophagus was a usually a great honour, but it could also be a burden. When not in battle, the sarcophagus was disconnected from the main chassis, and the pilot was little more than trapped in a tight coffin, devoid of sensory input, unable to move, smothered by the life sustaining nutrient bath within. In such a state you could scream for an eternity without being heard. The only release was the joy of battle, but even then, not all were suited to the task. For one not prepared, the shock of their new body could fractured their mind. To those used to speed and agility beyond that a normal human could dream of, the sluggish movements of a dreadnought could feel just as confining as the sarcophagus itself, forever trapped in an adamantine box on stubby legs.

Blood frothed on Hrothgar's lips as he desperately tried to cry out. Jormungand laughed, enjoying his foe's fear. He now stood over the open sarcophagus, and with a smiled, reverently placed the near-corpse into the nutrient bath. Slowly the Space Wolf slipped beneath the surface, his head resting on an iron cradle, only his broken nose and bloodshot eyes were above the liquid which lapped around his face, burning his tear ducts. Gently, Jormungand began to connect cables to Hrothgar's body. More blood frothed on the Space Wolf's lips as each connection lance pain throughout his very being. Eventually, everything was connected, and Jormungand began to draw the lid into place. Hrothgar could only watch in terror as inch by inch, darkness enveloped him. Part of his mind told him that the Thousand Son was toying with him – if he wished, the witch could have shut the lid quicker with ease.

With one last clang darkness and with it silence and isolation enveloped him. Now it was just him and a box for eternity....
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-02-10, 02:30 AM
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Too short.... But rep for grabbing my attention to the very end....

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-02-10, 04:23 AM
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Title is a little vague but your writing skill is excellent.

"Consequence of Mercy" - Written for KingOfCheese
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-02-10, 06:23 AM Thread Starter
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@waltzmelancoly_07: Thanks. The shortness is due to it being written for a short story comp and hence typed up quickly over an hour or two.

@Davidicus 40k: Thank you. The title is due to it originally being an entry in a writing competition where the theme was 'A Box' - basically I'm to lazy to come up with an imaginative title for it when the original title works for it lol
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-03-10, 08:41 PM
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Short but sweet. Just about anyone can get their point across in 20 pages but doing it in this kind of short format is good. Good stuff!

Good luck and good gaming,


"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."

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 #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-03-10, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you S_N
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