Heresy-Online's Expeditious Stories 12-08: Loyalty
Welcome to the year's eighth 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 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:
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)Monday, 27 August 2012. Voting will be held from 28 August - 3 September. Remember, getting your story submitted on August 8 will be just as considered by others as one submitted on August 23! Take as much time as you need to work on your piece!
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 - 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
Romero's Own: Apostasy
Son of Azurman: The Return of Knight Brightsword
Andygorn: Purpose Renewed
VulkansNodosaurus: Written in Steel
Adrian: Inquisitor Repentant
Rems: Flickering Embers
Dave T Hobbit: Freedom
Zinegata: Where True Loyalties Lie
Liliedhe: The Choice
Bloody Mary: Of Beasts and Men
now heres a loaded one...so many connoations to be used....
I was inspired by Dave's topic from last month (as Duty is one of the US Army core values as well as one of my alma mater) so decided to pick another from that same avenue of thought. And it's certainly broad enough to be interpreted in enough ways that we should get some great stories :)
well done mr Boc and nice to see you back, just wherever you get deployed be safe i have cousins in the military so i know the worry that comes with it
Just looking through a dictionary (as you do :P) and realized the meanings kind of did contradict. So i wrote a story. YAY.
997 words in total, you can check
Chen Lopez was confused.
It wasn't good to be confused on the battlefield, especially when said battlefield involved battle against Sisters of Battle bringing battle to those seeking to battle against Man, the Emperor and the cult based on said emperor. But it was where his confusion stemmed from nonetheless. Why the realization that the citizens of Fodera were not alone on the fringes of the galaxy wasn't the momentous event it was supposed to be. Why the alien ships were actually crewed by fellow humans, said to have originated from the lost homeworld of Foderan myth. Why those humans had descended to the surface and declared that they were purging heretics.
Ducking down in his trench, one of many outside the last bastion of hope that was the planet's capital, Chen reflected that the way the battle was going, it soon wouldn't matter, that they were as good as dead already. Still, as he raised his rifle over the ridge and began pounding away at the approaching enemy, he supposed he might as well take out as many of the bastards as possible.
"Keep up the fire!"
More screams on his end. Screams nearly drowned out by the war cries of the invaders. Invaders that were all female for some reason, armed and armoured far better than Fodera's defenders and apparently more devout to their cause as well. A cause that had "the emperor" uttered in seemingly every sentence.
"For the Emperor!"
"Forward Sisters! Saint Sebastian demands it!"
Yeah, you do that, Chen reflected, managing to pop off one of the warrior women as she exited from what was apparently called a Rhino. You do that…
There were other reasons behind this invasion, or at least according to intelligence. They'd been monitoring the invaders' communications as best they could, and apparently their state body (called the Imperium) had emerged from what their scholars were calling the Age of Apostasy. Some kind of religious civil war where their homeworld had been usurped by someone called Vandire, only to be cast down by Saint Sebastian Thor. Right now, the Imperium was engaged in the "Age of Redemption," cleansing apostasy from the stars and delivering death to those who rejected His divine word.
People like those of Fodera…
Chen opened fire at the invaders, but it was like casting stones into a stream in the hope it would stop the flow. Here and there one of the women fell, but their armour absorbed most of the shots and their own return fire was notoriously accurate and deadly. His comrades were falling alongside him and all Chen could do was dive for cover as a grenade cleared out the rest of the trench section. And as he steadily rose to his feet, he saw two things-warrior women surging up through the trench…and one of them levering her oversized pistol at him.
"Die, heretic…" she uttered.
Surprisingly, she did. Surprisingly, she lowered her pistol. Surprisingly, Chen lowered his rifle as well. And to add to his surprise, he managed to keep his gaze on her face rather than her armour-covered chest area.
"Speak, heretic…" the woman said. "I may hear your words and judge you."
The pistol was raised again.
"Just…just…tell me why!" Chen burst out.
"Why are you attacking us? Why…why does this Age of Redemption you speak of have to amount to this?" He gestured around the trench. "Why just attack? I mean, we have open minds, we would have heard you out and-…"
"An open mind is like a fortress with its gates unbarred and unguarded."
Chen blinked. Was that a quote? Certainly it seemed a bit forced in for casual conversation. Still, at least the Battle Sister seemed intent on talking more with a bit more clarity.
"This is a crusade," she explained. "To erase the shame of the Age of Apostasy. To bring redemption to heretics, and-…"
"Wait…apostasy…heretics?" Chen asked. "You know, those are two separate things you're talking about."
"Well…" the soldier began, trying to think clearly and ignore the screams emanating from further down the trench. "The definition of heresy is when an individual or group's beliefs stand in contrast to those of the accuser. By that definition, in your eyes, we'd be heretics."
The woman smiled. "Good. You admit your fault."
"Um, sure. But apostasy's different. Apostasy is formal disassociation from a religion after prior association. But Fodera has never been part of the Imperium. We've been cut off ever since the warp storms of the distant past, before your Imperium was apparently founded. You can't accuse us of apostasy when we technically never committed it."
The sister remained silent. If he was making any chinks in her intellect (or lack of it), Chen couldn't see. Still, her pistol was still lowered, so that was a plus. Maybe…just maybe…he could end this war right now.
"So, under these definitions…" the 'heretic' began, "this isn't a war against apostasy, but mere heresy. So in light of that, surely you could give us a chance to repent and all that rather than charging us with an action we never actually committed?"
Chen met the woman's gaze. Her pistol was still lowered. Her mouth was still silent. Her chest area was becoming more and more appealing. Perhaps this would be the turning point in the war. Perhaps a chance for peace existed. Perhaps…
"Die heretic," the sister whispered, raising her pistol. "You won't confuse me with your definitions and heathen logic."
Chen fell silent.
That's what happened when a depleted uranium round shattered your skull.
As the sister turned away for a second she found herself questioning her loyalty. But these people were heretics, their mind games would not work on her.
will probably get it up tomorrow
wont be entering, we finally got a completion date for our move and it means no internet after the 16th for a while, so i would not be able to vote.....good luck guys
The return of knight brightsword
14 years,14 years its been since i had set foot on my own home planet and now this happens, i should never have left. mau’kraal was my home,my birth place and my childhood.i did this,if i had never have left than maybe i could of helped them,i could of helped them escape but now its too late.
as a tau i was born on the world of mau’kraal,born to a loving family and a breathtaking land.since a young age there has always been a fire in my heart,a fire that allowed me to travel great distances and overcome large obstacles and when i became a shas’la i used that fire to gun down my foes and impress my superiors.upon reaching the rank of shas’ui my superiors noticed me,they noticed my talent and saw my fire.an ethereal called aun’vre vior’la shi’shas approached me,he asked me if i wanted to follow my heart.at first i didn't understand what he meant but i answered,yes i said and before i knew it i was fighting for vior’la.
i spent the next 10 years fighting for my new sept and spilling blood in the name of the greater good.My name is shas’el mau’kraal or’es m’yen var (fire knight mau’kraal powerful unforeseen brightsword)my home is in danger and i will defend it whatever the odds.my duty to the empire,my fire as a shas’vre and my loyalty to my family these are what drive me and now it will drive me into the heart of this evil.
“shas’vre we are approaching the surface now,the demon forces broke threw the defenses before anyone could respond leaving the civilians an easy target.the civilians and remaining shas’la are making a stand 11 tor’kan from the landing space.we are landing here as it is the only place on the surface that the chaos forces are not monitoring,try and make your way to the survivors outflanking the demons and distract them enough that our reinforcements can land,”came the pilots voice.
“i understand,hover here and i will drop down to the surface.i don't want to risk you getting shot down,”i replied
“very well,for the greater good.”
“for the greater good,”i muttered as i prepared my xv9 for battle.
with an ion gun on one arm and a burst cannon on the other i was ready.
slowly the doors of the orca opened to reveal the rocky,sandy surface of mau’kraal.
as the hazard suits legs approach the edge of the ramp i gaze around to look upon what remained of my home.mau’kraal was once a land of tall mountains,long green fields and clean blue water falls but it had since been transformed into a rocky,corrupted world were dust and ash had replaced the grass.the cataclysmic arrival of chaos was killing his world but i still had time,time to drive back there forces and send them to whence they came.
as i dropped to the surface the orca that had dropped me off closed the ramp and set off back into space,before it could return a demon prince swooped at the orca crashing it to the ground and then flew off again.i slowly gazed around hoping i hadn’t been noticed.the horror of seeing my home like this was murderous like a claw around my heart,but i will not yield no not wile i could save them.the faces and corpses of tau littered the surface,there bodies scarred and there faces were filled with horror.how could they,how could something be so heartless.as my hazard suit navigated its way around burning wreckage and skull piles my eyes looked forward as i knew that looking back would bring only despair.
as i passed the wreckage of a mau’kraal orca i heard it,something was moving in amongst the wreckage.a demon?no,this was no demon it couldn't be. as i opened up the remains of the cargo bay i saw him.he looked up at me,never before had i seen such fear.my own father how could it be,his scarred blue face covered in dirt and blood splatter.his clothes torn and burnt,his legs crushed under a fallen drone.slowly i removed my helmet,this was my father i could not deny him to see his son for the last time.as my head was free of my helmet i placed it on the ground and gazed down at him,upon seeing my face his eyes became flooded in tears.the joy that appeared on his face was more than anyone had seen,hope had returned to his weakened face.i quickly grabbed the drone and threw it across the orca,i reached out and carried his body outside like a new born baby.
“o how very touching,”chuckled a corrupt voice.
i looked up and there he stood,his armor blood red with gold trims.along his waist dangled severed heads and skulls of tau and men,on his chest and shoulders lay the same gold symbol.his head corrupted and evil,a star shape had been cut into his forehead and wires inserted into his neck.this was a lord,a lord of chaos and destruction,a lord who had committed atrocities so large that they ad been heard across the galaxy.this was a minion of blood and his gold symbols showed it.
“welcome to my new home,i hope you like what ive done with the place,”he mocked.
“how could you,they were innocent and you hunted them for sport.
oh im sorry but i think its a little to late now,once that last group are finished this world will be taken by he glory of khorne.join me and you will rule the stars.”yelled the khorne worsipper.
“Never will i join a pawn of chaos!”i screamed charging into him.
Hi all, glad to be back here after a short absence and looking forwards to seeing people's thoughts.
As ever, these are not my thoughts, they are the thoughts which came to me. I usually put things down as they come to me, but I think it makes the tales quite a lot stilted and 'bitty'...there's often many different things and I should realise by now that there's not enough space in 1100 words to put them all down satisfactorily.
I haven't read everything published by BL/GW, so I hope you'll give me a bit of ''artistic licence'' if any of this obviously contradicts the published/canon background.
**********1st Draft in case of typo's**********
“Purpose Renewed" (1097 words)
Upon a field of bleached bones, beneath impossibly azure skies, a warrior falls...the last of her tribe. Screaming in agony, the intended death-blow spins her around and her spear impales the head of the man who thought to kill her. He had not been very wrong, but hers is the last body to crumple amongst the ashes of millions of fallen.
Limp fingers try to stem the flow of vitality, holding onto life as it spurts from her ruined side. Yet -like all human emotions here- it is a childish and futile gesture at best.
On her knees amongst the dessicated and the decaying, still her spear does not fall from her grip. She tries to let it go, but her hands are robbed of energy and nerves refuse to respond.
Vision fades and blackness descends as she thinks of the army on the right flank, their cheers resounding as longed-for victory is theirs at last. Their shouts of triumph are the last thing she hears. Almost.
The pressure from years before re-enters her head, trying to crush her brain against the inside of her skull, she feels talons grip the back of her mind, squeezing and forcing her to open her blood-covered eyes in despair.
In response, she hoarsely shouts: “I am tired and weary of this life...leave me alone!”
The familiar growl howls at this disobedience:
“A true warrior would never lie down and beg for death! Was I wrong to raise you so highly in the eyes of others? Do you deem yourself worthy enough to dictate to the Commander of all soldiers?”
The earth shakes beneath her prone form, scattering boulders from the sick and twisted terrain as the Old World feels the incredulity of a Living God.
Battered and broken, she can barely move except to emit a barking laugh. At this, the tumult instantly ceases and silence descends over the dying and the disembowelled, alarming the carrion-animals and the expiring man-beasts upon which they gluttonously feed.
“You are my Favoured, esteemed above almost all your race. Who do you think you are to spurn such Gifts? A true warrior...one who is worthy of the name...knows neither pain nor lethargy, not whilst there are foes to end! Speak. I would hear your pathetic excuse.”
The bellows reverberate not only through her head, but also her entire being, energising it despite her mortal injuries.
Her stilting reply: “You seek to goad me...questioning my skills and spinning tales of my own frailty and also of revenge. Yet your challenges mean nothing to me! I have killed across five dukedoms, innocents and guilty alike fell to my blades. I reaped more than my fair share for you; more than most will ever do in Your name. Let me rest now. I am but a mortal -with all human weaknesses- and lost my pride at the end of that Slaaneshi’s lance years ago.”
“But it did not end you...I kept you safe to wreak vengeance in later battles, slaking your desires in the lifeblood of former victors.”
Thunder roars in the distance and lightning streaks across the plains, turning victor and vanquished alike into dust, leaving barely any remaining.
“Look upon these few faces. I have left your lieutenants alive, ready to accede to your every command. All you have to do is to say the words and be returned.”
Despite many wounds, she strains up to see the bloodied and maimed -yet undefeated- forms of Graangar Lord of a Hundred Beasts, Earl Osric Rathan the Despot from the Northern Wastes and the fallen Elven Princess, Jalerienne, Mistress of The Gore-Cults. Three heads bowed in supplication and obeisance.
“Jussst three ssstrokesss shall remove their heartsss...a mossst fitting offering to Him in thisss place” whispers the spear held tightly in her grasp. Like some feral hunting-beast, it's obsidian blade twists around, trying to taste their leaking blood upon this realm’s ethereal winds.
“I have no need to return...that place holds no more interest for me.”
A shrieking wind envelopes them all, clouding the scene in the choking bone-dust of innumerable slaughtered. When vision returns, only three remain: Jalerienne is missing, swept away by the whirlwind.
“What need have I for further victories when my name is already lamented in a dozen of The Empire’s cities?” the dying woman continues.
A huge sucking sound deafens the survivors, the sonic wave sending them sprawling into the dirt and relics of long ago. As hearing returns, Graangar’s mane -the last trace of him- disappears out of sight beneath metres of sand and ash.
Unbowed, she continues: “All I loved are dead and forgotten. None remain who hold me in any esteem.”
A shout of agony stirs her from selfishness...horrendous ripping sounds as the Earl is sheared vertically, showering her in crimson liquid, his jagged remnants littering the landscape.
“Now it is so.” her Lord’s voice booms out once more, then begins The Twelfth Catechism of Hatred:
“When your body twists and thrashes; as your mind cracks through the strain, who shall be there to ease the pain..?”
“...naught by my comrades’ fury.” she concludes.
From any other mouth, the response would be automatic, but it is just as heartfelt as when she swore the oath that brought her here. On the horizon, a long-disused castle crumbles to final ruin under the shockwave of a God’s victory-smile.
“When heart breaks and last darkness approaches, what guides you to the final test..?
“...naught but the hate of the warriors at my side.” Her faltering voice steadies as their words suffuse her being. Mountains rise in a neighbouring realm, permitting armies to undertake new crusades.
“When loved ones die, mind splinters, voice snaps from wailing and loss. You resist The Gods for one more minute with them. Who calls you to such clarity of purpose..?”
I]“...naught except the brothers and sisters whose lives shield me and whose skulls I shall take during The Endtime.”[/I] she whispers.
“Correct.” The God answers. “Now, three call your name from that side. Take up arms against my foes, reborn anew. Regain your feet and your armies. Become my Champion, greater than before.”
Instantly regaining her newly-clawed feet, she begins to glide upon freshly-formed wings back to the portal which brought her here.
“I do not fight for you. I fight for my comrades-in-arms. I fight for the loyalty of my subjects.”She warns Khorne.
Had His Brother not claimed such emotions, The Blood God might have looked upon his most exalted Champion with fatherly pride as Valkia The Bloody returned to the lands of the living.
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