Heresy-Online's Expeditious Stories 12-02: Into the Fire
Welcome to the year's second Heresy-Online's Expeditious Stories (HOES) Challenge!
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, totaled 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.
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.
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 either 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:
Into the Fire
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 US Eastern Standard Time (-5.00 hours for you UK folks)Saturday, 25 February 2012. Voting will be held from 26 February - 3 March.
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.
Partipation - 5 reputation points, everyone will receive this
3rd place - 10 reputation points
2nd place - 20 reputation points
1st place - 30 reputation points
If you have any questions, feel free to either PM me or ask in this thread.
Without further nonsense from me, let the writing begin!
Table of Contents
Zinegata - Trust and Loyalty
deathbringer - The Tale of the Red Cape
Adrian - It Laughed
Andygorn - Neither Sweet Nor Sorrowful
Gothik - Trial by Fire
Davidicus 40K - With Body and Mind
VulkansNodosaurus - Judgment's Heat
Jonileth - Day of Reckoning
Serpion5 - A Different Life, A Different Time...
Brother Emund - Into the Fire
Gothik - Until it Sleeps
Dave T Hobbit - Kidnapped
Aaand Theeeen Into The Fire!
Well, I was more going off the fact that you said "And Then" would be the theme in the other thread.
Still, I have a good idea for this. It'll mesh nicely with both this and the "Desecration" theme for RiaR.
I'm definitely waiting for a few others to submit their stories first this time 'round :biggrin:. I think I was a bit too eager the last time.
Hmm, I'm going to have to sleep on this on. I'm so resisting the temptation to do a Salamanders story. I'm thinking about revisiting my story from November since we last saw her heading back underground armed with a flamer. But I had been considering that story about gretchin selling roasted squig. Decisions, decisions....
I got a bit inspired last night, so I managed to finish this quick piece.
It has some minor spoilers for my first 40K piece, Legacy of Steel, so people may want to read "Legacy of Steel" first :):
Word count is at 1,039, including the title.
Trust and Loyalty
The entire city was already ablaze, but Brother-Sergeant Medeus still refused to leave.
What remained of his squad was likewise honor-bound to stay with him. Together, the Medeus Team held the main plaza against countless cultists that were emerging from hiding, even as Marauder aircraft from the Imperial Navy dropped their bomb loads dangerously close to the Space Marine positions.
Brother-Logis Pythagoras knew for a fact that this was madness. He was trained to assess every combat situation from a cold, logical perspective, as befitting a Chapter with such close ties to the Mechanicum. And as second-in-command, it was his duty to relieve Brother-Sergeant Medeus for grossly neglecting his duty. The Estimates in this case were incontrovertible: Risking the lives of six Steel Wardens did not justify a forlorn attempt to rescue one.
"Our ammunition is depleting rapidly," the Brother-Sergeant suddenly reminded, even as he gunned down yet another screaming Khornate fanatic, "Have you found his location yet, Brother-Logis?"
Pythagoras did not respond, choosing instead to focus on his instruments. Though his mind was certain that Medeus had gone insane, his heart sympathized with the Brother-Sergeant. They had lost two Battle-Brothers in as many days in this accursed city, while young Brother Belisarius had failed to return from his solo deployment at Helvetica last month. Losing yet another Battle-Brother was a burden that would be too painful for all of them to bear.
But fate decided to be petty, and one of the Imperial bombers finally missed its mark. The errant bomb fell right on top of Brother Sentunius, who was in the midst of reloading his boltgun. He was blown to pieces by the explosion, but the other Astartes carried on as though nothing had happened. Their armor had protected them from physical harm, and they were saving their grief and rage for later.
“At best, we will only break-even now. We lose one Marine to save another,” Pythagoras finally said, as he stared at the crater where Sentunius once stood, “I must strongly advise a withdrawal. The Thunderhawks have been waiting for nearly an hour.”
“And you have done your duty to the Chapter by informing me of The Estimates,” Medeus responded, his attention still focused on the attacking enemy, “Now do your duty to me and find Brother Varrus.”
Pythagoras suppressed a growl and went back to his instruments. They had been damaged by the explosion that killed Sentunius. Yet just as how fate could be cruel, it could also be fortuitous.
“I am receiving the signal from his armor! Along with life signs!” Pythagoras shouted, “He is not far away, approximately five hundred meters to the west.”
“The Emperor protects, while the Omnissiah watches over us!” Brother-Sergeant Medeus chanted, which was followed by his remaining squad members, “Now, let’s bring Varrus home.”
Like a machine, the Medeus Team sprang into action and plowed through the cultists that were standing in their way. Brother Titus laid down a fearsome wall of fire with his Heavy Bolter, while the rest of the Wardens picked off the survivors. In less than ten minutes, they covered the necessary distance and slew nearly two hundred of the enemy, only to find a blazing building where Brother Varrus should be.
“Are you sure that Varrus is inside?” Medeus asked, scanning the structure with his helmet-mounted auspex. Pythagoras tapped his instruments again, and confirmed what he feared.
“He is, but his vitals just flatlined,” Pythagoras started, “It is unfortunate, but...”
The Brother-Sergeant didn’t let him finish. Instead, Medeus smashed the building’s door open and charged inside. He shouted for his men to follow him into the fire.
Pythagoras and the others hesitated, but only for a moment. It was not fear that stopped them; for the Astartes felt no fear and their armor was proof against fire.
Instead, what stopped them was instinct. They all sensed the danger; but they could not tell its source.
“For the Emperor!” Pythagoras finally shouted, choosing to trust and follow his Brother-Sergeant to the end. He drew his combat knife and stepped into the inferno, the rest of the squad following close behind him.
Pythagoras’ loyalty was rewarded with a blade that sliced off his head.
In quick succession, two other Steel Wardens fell. One was decapitated like Pythagoras, while the other was cut in half at the waist. Only Brother Titus managed to raise his weapon in time to defend himself.
“Varrus! You traitor!” Brother Titus shouted as he pulled the trigger, aiming at the false Warden in front of him. To his surprise, his Heavy Bolter failed to fire. He then realized that his opponent was wearing the insignia of a Sergeant.
“I’m afraid Varrus is already dead,” Medeus said as he plunged his sword into Titus’ throat, “And so are you.”
Without another word, Brother Titus fell dead on the ground, his sabotaged Heavy Bolter lying right beside him. The flames quickly began to lick at his lifeless corpse.
+You have done well, my champion,+ said a daemonic voice in Medeus’ head.
The treacherous Astartes smiled at the sword. It was such a fine weapon – a long sword engraved with arcane symbols that were simply beautiful to behold. It hadn’t tasted his touch for too long.
“With these bodies burned, the Chapter will not suspect,” Medeus told it, “And it is time for us to leave this place and continue our work.”
+Us?+ the voice asked suddenly.
Medeus was about to respond, but found that he couldn’t speak. He tried to move, but found himself locked in place – with the sword still clasped firmly in his hand.
+I’m afraid that you are mistaken. I am no weapon to be wielded by a mere mortal,+ the voice said wickedly, +For I am the Nightblade, and it is I who wields champions.+
The fire in the building began to engulf the Brother-Sergeant’s body, allowing the daemon-sword to transform it according to its whims. In his mind, Medeus tried to scream.
But there would be no escape for Medeus. Unlike the brothers he betrayed, he would not be granted the release of oblivion. Instead, his soul would be thrown into the fires of a Warp-spawned hell, damned to serve the Dark Gods forever.
not really my style of writing but couldn't resist
The tale of the red cape (1089 words)
I is a slave, but they say I is a cunning one, much thinkin is done in my head. My master he does thinking too, but not as much as Garlak, oh no, a lot less than Garlak. When master does thinkin, he is thinkin about flesh, roasting and spitting, flames dancing up walls, tearing across floors, but Garlak has to be thinkin about other things.
Garlak has to stop master splitting his skull, is very difficult sir.
Master is good to garlak, lets him gnaw the flesh off the bones once he's done with them, a good master he is sir.
They say he isn't good, they say he's bad, that he's going to leave Garlak here when the ship is finished. Garlak doesn't believe them though sir, but maybe they...... no, master lets him fill the tanks. Lets him watch the flames as they gnaw at flesh, pretty flames curling, coiling smoke, languorous spirals floating.....
Unless Garlak spills the precious nectar for the flames, lets it seep into the dust..... gork have mercy.... Garlak must scrape the flaming juice up, it seers my arms, agony, leaving me writhing and rolling, pleading for relief, death give Garlak death, split my skull, cleft it you heathen brute, end my torment..... please.
More of them is saying it, more and more, Garlak doesn't want to hear it, master is good, scrap of squig meat today and another tag around master's neck. Lots of them now, lots and lots, one for Garlak amongst all them. Maybe even two for Garlak if he is good.
Revolushun they say, they mutter to Garlak, trickery and deception. They would not say it if master was here, no sir. Garlak is hungry, no food for Garlak while master is fighting in the wasteland, just parts to sort. Master will come back before Garlak starves.... they doubts it.
Garlak is holding boring cans of bright red, he does a good job for master, lots of red, very fast truck. They say red is the color of the revolushun, they will wear the red of master's blood. Madness, Garlak could not hurt master, master is too big, no no Garlak like master, he would not hurt master. The paint is running out, not enough for the whole vehicle, but master says if not enough Garlak must use his blood. Better get Garlak's long knife.
Garlak is working, master is watching him but Garlak does not like masters eyes, the way his fingers runs across his choppa, blood is seeping down the edge of the blade, yet master doesn't care. He is fixed on Garlak, Garlak must work faster, quicker, harder. Master is standing up, massive muscles uncoiling their bulge becoming leaner and meaner, the axehead that I sharpened is glinting in the light I created. I is running, fleeing but master is taking 1 stride to every 15 of mine. The flames are dancing in his wide staring eyes, eyes that scream of my demise, my end, enveloped by those flames of hatred.
I am falling, curling, raising arms like willow branches before my eyes, desperate to block out the behemoth pounding towards me, to stop the nightmare. A massive cry of challenge echoes through the door and sends master twisting round, a great crescendo of salvation as he leaps around and thuds away.
Garlak is trembling, Garlak is wet around his eyes and between his legs. They say Garlak means nothing to master, he would have killed Garlak just cause master was bored. He would not waste a tag on Garlak. Garlak knows, but why do they tell Garlak of this? Garlak must tell the others, Garlak is popular. The others will listen to Garlak. Garlak must help the revolushun.
Garlak is holding his masters cans, lots of other boyz around, lots and lots, a long, long line, Garlak can barely see the end of it, but must not lean too far, master hurt Garlak if he lean too far, but who is master fighting?
Garlak is shocked, tis a line, 3 times as thick, Mad gretchin, silly gretchin, they shout at master but glinting choppas make silly gretchin flinch.
"You wantz tags little uns" bellows master, he leans down snatching one of the tags from his neck and bends towards Garlak the chain held out. Oh sweet mercy a tag for Garlak, Garlak's eyes are wide and wet, streams of joy pouring down Garlak's chest.
Words escape Garlak's mouth, stuttering and mutterings of pure ecstacy. It is round his neck, oh sweet master, how could they doubt.... but wait, the chain is choking me, I am rising, I cannot breath, no..... no, master is lifting me, my salvation twisting into a noose that is choking me, strangling the very life from my body. I writhes, legs beating upon air even as air ia forced from my lungs, hands beating upon empty air. The fire is in his eyes once more, a foul strench burning the back of my throat as goblets of spittle smash against my cheeks washing away my joy, my hope, my devotion in the ringing sounds of raucous laughter.
My long knife is near my hand and I grips it's hilt in tremulous air starved fingers, sudden strength is granted in death, conviction granted in the face of mortality. It is a sudden movement, a sweet singular stab straight into the epicenter of the inferno. The whole eye suddenly in view, ocular jelly oozing as I withdraws the knife, the fire now embers naked and empty.
Delight, a second stab and I slice deeper thudding against something fleshy within. A third stab, forth, fifth, I forget the numbers but the stabbing is intoxicating. The chain is loosening, I am falling as master begins to crumple like a towering oak under the woodsman's axe. Desperately I lash out the knife hitting flesh, a shower of viscaera loosening my grip yet I am fighting against the force desperate to break my body upon the dunes. Would it matter to die, in this shower of sweet red viscera, in this beautiful rain... would it matter? Master hits the ground, with a tremendous thud, dust flying around him even as I hit master with a thudding crunch that jars my very bones.
I is standing atop master cape drenched and sodden in deep red blood. They are laughing and I laughs with them even as the dust fades away. I can see the silly gretchin looking at us with awestruck eyes as we shout
"Red is the color of the revolution"
In the end there was none to rescue her, she was alone, cold and scared… and out of options. Her breath was ragged and wheezing as she took in the icy night air, but she could not wait here and lick her wounds, no, she had to keep running. There was none to comfort her any longer, none to keep her from the dangers of the darkness; she could smell death upon the air… and the scent was getting stronger.
Lissa Bolaun wiped the moisture from her eyes fully aware that it was not caused by the snow but by her own blood as well. It was a wonder that she had escaped at all, but her freedom would not last. It was not that she was being fatalistic, but realistic.
It was clear that they had her scent and were closing in. They were hunting her and once they found her it all would come to an end, quickly she hoped, but most likely her death would be slow and brutally painful.
They had come from the stars and their descent was like lightning from the heavens. There had been no hesitation once they had reached the atmosphere, no pause as the world-defense lasers came on line and rained untold amounts of energy upon their pyramid crafts.
Two of the pyramids fell, crashed and burned in the opening moments and a third was wounded badly but was still able to land. There were twenty of them, twenty glowing-green pyramids that descended through the hail of las-fire, but they did not fire a single shot in return, they just descended with purpose, unrelenting in their approach.
Upon Bolkahes there was five continents separated by vast oceans and thousands of isles. Three pyramids landed upon each continent while five descended below the aim of the world-defense lasers and hovered above the others, as if overseeing the despair their armies would reap upon the land.
The pyramids had no doors, but somehow they still streamed down the ramps that flanked their sides. There must have been millions of them marching. They marched in columns of thousands and moved like men, but not like men at all.
As part of the local PDF, Lissa Bolaun hefted her las-rifle and fired when the command was given. She had received three marksmen awards over her career so she was not surprised that her rounds found their mark. She was surprised that when the las-fire hit the abominations, the wounds they inflicted faded away as if they had never been.
Some of the green robots did fall under the din of firepower, but they got up again. They had not even fired a single shot yet, but they marched onward absorbing everything the PDF could throw at them.
Their glowing eyes stared out in the night, green pin-lights that pierced the darkness and haunted the defenders. They marched onward for what felt like hours, but were only minutes in time, before they stopped.
They stopped so abruptly the PDF stopped their firing unsure of what would happen next. The only sound that could be heard was the winds that blew from the east and the flapping of banners and cloths in the wind.
Then, quietly at first and growing in strength the scuttling of trillions of metallic feet could be heard. Like a tide of water they scurried around the feet of the robots, but they did not stop, no, they jumped and opened their wings and ascended into the sky so thick, like fog on a spring morning and that fog engulfed all flesh upon the land.
Their tiny mandibles cut through PDF armor, cloths and undergarments as if they were not there. They cut through flesh and chewed it away from bone in moments. Blood and flesh fell in sickening spatters and the sound of it combined with the screams of the human defenders.
Before the PDF could even attempt to regroup, the Necrons were among them. They did not make a sound, did not utter a single word as they killed. They did not breathe or show any type of emotion as they advanced.
Razor fingers, swords of energy, spears of wrath and scythes of star-metal sent limbs flying, flesh falling, torsos collapsing and blood swirling to the ground. Energy nets were cast upon screaming soldiers as they attempted to run, the energy strings cutting their bodies into blood drenched cubes upon the ground.
What mechanized armor the PDF did have fired heavy bolters and cannons into the advancing hosts, but it was like shooting into the ocean. The robot beetles landed upon their iron hulls and chewed through them in moments. The screams of the crews blended with the screams of those outside.
Lissa Bolaun Slammed her las-rifle into the unfeeling face of one of the robots and then backed off as it swung its razored hands at her. Its movements were too fast to see clearly, they were like glowing green blurs, afterimages left from bright lights flashing in the night.
She felt the razors cut through her face and through her chest-plate. The cuts were so thin they did not even start to bleed until she stretched backwards to avoid another swipe of the Necron’s fingers. She fired her weapon point-blank into the face of the automation and it fell.
There was no excitement in the small victory she had fought so dearly for, only terror unlike anything she had ever felt before. The wounds she had received now bled freely and she was soaked with the blood of others and her own. The wounds stung like a fekker and she staggered back as a body-part smacked her in the face.
Panic overcame her and she ran. It was stupid to run. She knew that, but she did it anyway. The screams behind her slowly fell away as the last of the worlds protectors died. She looked behind her and saw robots fallowing her wearing the flesh of those they had killed.
She knew now that this same thing must be happening all across her world and that this was not an isolated incident. The citizens of Bolkahes would suffer greatly and there was nothing she could do about it.
She was hiding now, covered in blood, terrified beyond understanding and hot even though the snows had begun to fall. She could hear their metallic feet closing in, crunching upon the ice cold ground. The feet stopped and she looked up. Torments a thousand fold filled her mind as she looked into the fires of the Necron’s eyes.
1,100 words not including title.
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