Birth of a Living Ancestor (revised)
Birth of a Living Ancestor. A story I started some years ago as my middle son came of age to play 40K and in his surfing found Heresy. Anfo was his handle, and he wrote quite a bit here, and I think acquitted himself well. Cutting his teeth on Epic 40k, I let him bring out the Chaos army I had against the Orks. It didn't take long for him to find Heresy and get into the gaming and round robin writing found here. From there it was a short trip to modern 40K, and when 8th(?) edition came out, I bought the collector's edition for him.
As for me, returning and getting ready to field my 40k Squat army - we only played Epic since it was cheaper back in the late eighties/early nineties - was something I was all set for. The rest is history cuz by that time the Squats had been dead for a decade or so. In my time fugued anger, I started Birth of a Living Ancestor and then because Anfo and I had read the Dawn of War trilogy, copied the off-the-reservation style of the last book. I was going to change everything. What a laugh.
As BofLA spiraled out of control, and I disliked the sound and direction more and more, I found I couldn't continue and was unwilling to delete back to something recognizable. The story was shelved and sent down to the locker. Time to time I still think about it and wonder about how I much I'd like to continue it. I long since decided to swallow my pride and simply cut out the portions of the story I did not like, I still have plenty of squatieness to delve into. So I wrote to Dave for his input and will take his advice - that being, restart from scratch with a new thread and rewrite.
This came up as I have gone and touched up some of the posts and rewritten over the parts I didn't care for on my writing blog. Which got me to thinking that my writing blog isn't really read by Warhammer players and maybe I should add it to Heresy. That and get over my foolish embarrassment. Without further ado....
Birth of a Living Ancestor (revised)
Before the Battle of Today
In the early days of 745M41, the Enemy came unannounced. It took the Homeworlds of the Dwarven Mining Consortium without mercy or pause. An unstoppable flood that struck the Squats, their homes, their stongholds with such ferocity that within weeks, the military force that had withstood alone the combined aggression's of Orks, Eldar, and the forces of Chaos, was swept from the halls of power and into the dustbins of history. There would be no more conflicts with the Eldar over the ancestral mining rights usurped from the dwarves by the greedy elder race. Grudge matches against the greenskins that every dwarven child dreamed of getting embroiled in. The end of blood feuds between the dwarves who fought with the Emperor and their craven cousins, the Chaos Dwarves. Yet dwarves go not quietly into the night. Though the darkness gathers, a candlelight is carried on. To light other candles? History and the Emperor will be the judge.
745M41, The Loss of Durnak
Three meters high, it towered over the hapless Squat warriors that bravely stood in defiance of its charge. Fire discipline was a thing long lost. Great scythes at the ends of its four arms flew with lightning precision and warriors fell, their corpses falling only to be kicked and scattered as if leaves being danced through by a child in the autumn. Missiles streaked harmlessly by while heavy bolter rounds seemed to unable to bring the beast down.
A battle cry, amplified by a speaker on a dwarven berserker's back, cut through the cacophony of explosions and bolter fire. Twenty-five strong, the band scurried towards the great beast. Twenty-five of the Brotherhood's craziest. Twenty-five of the strongest and best fighters, even if they were impossible to deal with after a battle, here in the thick of everything they could be counted upon to pull the Botherhood's fat out of the fire.
The behemoth turned to the screaming band and the music blaring out of their speakers. The crazy fools charged as fast as they could, the towering nightmare, while the few remaining warriors at its feet scurried away, each trying to flee and not get cut down by the incoming rounds of the thunderer squad that had been holding their flank. The berserkers did not share that caution and more than one fell as they ran through the fields of fire in an eager attempt to engage what no one had ever seen, let alone fought.
Veghard pulled his heavy bolter up. The berserkers were engaged. It was time to find a new target. A target of something. His squad was formed up in a line trying to stop the strange creature. It was something new, but everything in the Emperor damned battle was. Even their progress though the terrain was damned. They only went in one direction. Back and away from the enemy. Whatever the enemy was.
"Veg? What's the plan? Where do we go?" Dagmar the radioman looked to him. The lieutenant waited for his decision too. This mess they were in had no solution. Headquarters could not be relied upon. Several times in the past day they had been dispatched on orders only to be called back, repositioned to oppose an empty field, then sent on an emergency dispatch to supply reinforcement, and called off again.
The first time they engaged the enemy, flying creatures the size of men dropped from the sky. They had been cut down quickly enough, but the Sixty-sixth Gilbaldum Brotherhood had been sighted and the artillery had began to rain down. The Grand Battery of thudd guns and mole mortars took the brunt of the first attack. Undeployed, the odd sphere shaped charges of the enemy fell with devastating effect. They also learned that should a round fail to hit a living target, the round would float until an appropriate target came within reach and detonate then. Even more disturbing , the artillery seemed to be able to continue to sight in on the location of unexploded ordinance as it floated aimlessly around the battlefield. Even odder, as they tended the wounded, the exploding rounds weren't even made of metal. Many died as the medics could not identify the shrapnel with their battle kits and had to seek out it by sight and touch. The shrapnel seemed to consist of naught but bone and carapace.
Then the gene stealers came.
Those at least were known. Veghard had read about them. His family connections gave him some education the average citizen did not even know of. Things that could grant an all expenses paid visit to the Inquisitor. Gene stealers was one of those dark horrors that Veghard had found fascinating as a young boy reading through the Clan's library files. Knowing about them didn't save the rhino compliment that had been brought along to move the Brotherhood. Or the guild force, who had been awaiting orders when the attack began. Robbed of their speed and movement, half the force had been put down before they could get underway and rocket out of the killing field. The combat trikes took the least damage. The motorcycles of the other two platoons came away so heavily mauled, they were no longer viable units. Like the bikes, the Brotherhood would have run, but when the enemy covers ground twice as fast as you, retreat is not feasible.
Veghard was not an officer, but his clan and name were well known in the Brotherhood, and when he spoke, the captain and lieutenant both listened. The warlord who had been formulating a plan to pull back ordered a solid defense and though the gene stealers tore down some deployed robots, they were stopped. They had been stopped long enough for the Two Hundredth Iron Breaker Brotherhood to arrive in their Leviathan. As the battle was reviewed, the Two Hundredth had quite the fun needling the Sixty Sixth for needed a fully supported brotherhood reinforced by a full Guild Force to bring down thirty gene stealers, and still managing to lose half the force and their Grand Battery. Three companies, one with full support. It took some time for the officers to pull the berserkers apart once they began to brawl over the insults.
The void shields of the Leviathan fell quickly and the resulting crater devastated the warrior brotherhoods. One hundred squat warriors were almost wiped out when the enemy tanks arrived and destroyed the great Leviathan in two volleys. Strange creatures with gun protuberances growing out of their backs had come up on the two brotherhoods in the wake of the gene stealers. Supported by dog like infantry that fired spiked rounds a short distance, the mocking stopped as the Leviathan ceased to exist in a devastating explosion as the containment fields on the void generator failed.
Not all was lost. Veghard, along with his thunderer unit, berserkers and squads of brotherhood warriors turned and fled the battlefield. Veghard had the distinction of being the first to break and run. His flight saved the Brotherhood, but not much else. When their flight was done, Veghard could not explain his actions beyond his adamant denial of cowardice and an unshakable feeling of needing to head back to their deployment zone. A claim that would earn the average Imperial trooper a round from a Commissar, but was an acceptable defense in the Squat army. Dwarves, as a rule, do not run.
The day ended with the berserkers dragging down the great four armed creature. One of the berserkers activated a melta bomb, strapped it to his chest and played keep away until it detonated and stopped the rampaging beast. The long night was a forced march that saw the loss of more men and equipment. Dawn found the sad remains of the Sixty Sixth Brotherhood at the edge of the tarmac and being boarded onto a transport along with panicked civilians were rushed into the ships. As the ship shot up towards the safety of space, Veghard watched the undulating mass of the enemy flow over the space port behind them. The paltry forces the Sixty Sixth Brotherhood had engaged was less than a drop of rain compared against the ocean that made up the main body of the enemy.
Only one thing was relevant. This Homeworld was lost. Not Veghard's, but his would face the enemy too. It, like the other Squat Homeworlds would fall, unable to outrun, out-shoot, or outlast the onslaught. Veghard found himself again and again sitting in a seat, peering out the window as the Tyranid Hive consumed world after world. It began to feel as if the bugs sought Veghard out, for he would no sooner arrive at a new world and the Tyranids would be close behind. As each planet fell, Veghard could feel a rope tied to his insides tugging him from one massacre to another, always keeping him just out of reach of the enemy.
Until one day there were no more Tyranids. Only marines. When the fighting began again, it wasn't against the Tyrnaids , but instead a force of Eldar. An odd comfort, Veghard found, to be faced with an enemy so simple.
No battle is as simple as it seems.
Hey, Treesnifer, this is a solid beginning to your revised story. There's a lot of potential here that I think you'll tap into ;). Though, I will say that I was a little confused who the factions were. I had forgotten you mentioned it was a squat story. At first I was thinking of Chaos Space Marines when you said Bezerkers, then Imperial Guard when you mentioned some of the troops. You don't really make a mention of squats until much later in your beginning. I would mention them earlier, imo:).
Overall, I really like it. Will be following:so_happy:.
Post 2 edited
:headbutt: Went back to add a wee bit in. Thanks, Myen' !
Chapter the First: Scattered Clouds pt 1 of 5
Chapter The First
White Shield Abelard threw himself down into the dust and grime below the ragged remains of a stone wall, a sharp jab in his shoulder told of a sharp rock he had not seen while scrambling for cover. The report of shots fired and the resulting pinging of ricocheting shuriken let the panicked boy know how close he had been to being shot. Dust caked his mouth and nose and he huddled atop his lazrifle, panting into the ground. Explosions peppered the ground beyond his makeshift cover, and he waited for the ill fated round that would fall on the wrong side of the stacked stone fence that was his lone protection from the Eldar forces arrayed against him.
Forcing his eyes open, he fought to turn his head to the side, looking down the line of the low wall to see how much of his squad made the mad dash. The artillery barrage continued to fall, and Abelard knew it was just a matter of time before he would be under the guns of the bombards that were blindly firing into the coordinates they had been supplied. It had been the sick joke of a common problem back at the barracks, artillery that failed to stay within the proper firing coordinates and troopers dieing by friendly fire. It had been a mad dash across the short field. Mad and bloody, for Abelard watched the men ahead of him, as they charged together, get cut down by the withering fire coming from the Eldar in the tree line ahead. Looking down the wall Abelard could see that he was the only trooper on station at the wall.
A slap to the back of his head caused him to turn to look the other way. There in the dirt along side of him lay Sergeant Michael, Germain, Gregoria, and Damon. The lieutenant was speaking to him, but the concussion from the barrage was still ringing loudly in his ears, there was no sound but an eerie quiet that masked all other sounds. The order was clear though. They were not stopping at this shattered wall. They needed to continue as the barrage tapered off. He was a moment slower than his fellows nearer the center of their platoon and again he was the helpless observer of death as those first brave souls made their last vault over the stones that made up the low wall that sheltered them from the barrage. The lieutenant reached back and grabbed Abelard by his webgear, dragged him out of his stupor and over the stones. Thrusting the boy ahead of him, White Shield Abelard stumbled forward, blindly following his fellows, mouthing prayers of protection to the Emperor that He ward him from the deadly rain of shuriken fire, or at least make sure there were far more guardsmen than Eldar. That and hoping the lieutenant did not shoot him for not being fast enough.
Of all his prayers, he realized as he suddenly found himself flung like an unwanted toy, he forgot to pray for protection from the bombards. With the world spinning crazily, it seemed even the ground reached up to hit him too. Blood was on his hand as he fruitlessly mopped at the side of his head, thinking it was sweat, and a fuzzy realization occurred to him that his helmet was missing too. His arms shook as he tried to lift himself up. Another helmet presented itself to him and as he prepared to put it on his head, in the band he read its previous owner's name; George.
Abelard continued to blindly crawl through the rubble and debris kicked up by the bombard’s barrages. His face was streaked from his tears and the grime of the battlefield. His lazgun was lost, as were his companions. The withering fire of the Eldar wiped out their charge and his companions after splitting him from his troop. Shame and fear were all that kept his body moving. Fear of the Eldar warred within him with the fear that one of the commissars who patrolled the army seeking bad behavior to make examples of would find him and shamed by his cowardice, for he never even fired a shot once from his missing lazgun.
His shaking hands dragged him around great boulders tossed into the air by the massive explosions that continued to pound the ground all about him. Abelard tried to think which way he was supposed to be moving, as well as how he lost his rifle. His last thought was a panicked blur of watching the fastest of his platoon getting cut down by their hidden enemy and a confused view of sky as the concussion of an nearby blast knocked him down. Now he was alone, unarmed, and lost. The One Seventy Seventh in their tan and black were reduced in number to a single white shield who was almost too terrified to even keep moving.
Good update, Treesnifer, I like your portrayal of the eldar. An elite force capable of hitting hard and mercilessly. So just to clarify, this update focuses on Imperial Guard? Also, there was one sentence that confused me, something about Abelard moving around boulders flying into the air by artillery barrages. But then I looked again and see you must have fixed it, because I cannot seem to find it.
In any case, good work:victory:.
Chapter the First: Scattered Clouds pt 2 of 5
Worming his way along the lip of yet another blast crater, he cried out in alarm as a strong hand reached out from behind him and hauled him away from the crater he was attempting to slide into. Abelard was tossed unceremoniously onto his back and found himself staring not at one of the elder, but a man. Abelard continued to whimper as he attempted to crab away from the newcomer. Still mostly deaf from his advance through the artillery barrage, he realized he must be making more noise than he thought, for the man who dragged Abelard into the small defile first clamped a hand of stone over Abelard’s leg, dragging Abelard again to his side and then clamping a gloved hand over his mouth. Bright spots of pain blossomed in Abelard’s teeth and jaw brought on by the punishing grip of his captor.
“Quiet!” though seeming far away, the command and glare that followed it pinned Abelard like a mouse beneath a cat’s paw. After ascertaining Abelard’s compliance, the other peeked around the rim of the debris that formed a tiny battlement. With one hand, the stranger reached over and with a grunt threw a heavy bolter onto his shoulder, and with a practiced hand reset the ammo clip and thumbed off the safety.
As he lay in the mud, Abelard began to regain his senses. The crushing fear receded, and Abelard found himself staring in shock at his savior. Though his uniform was of the tan and black of the One Seventy Seventh and he sported the crossed rifles of Abelard’s company, a third regiment patch was stitched below that. It was a hammer trailing a stream of fire over a green field, with the patch’s rim in silver. Several service hash marks covered the left sleeve, out of compliance with field regulations, but Abelard was unable to count them as he suddenly cringed under a shower of hot brass when the bolter opened fire.
“Veghard. Sixty-First Detatched Thunderers. Get out of my way.”
Veghard shuffled to the other side of the rock he had fired past. He kicked Abelard when he didn’t move fast enough and then bracing himself, fired several quick bursts. White teeth flashed though a coal black beard that was fuller and more meticulously groomed than an officer’s doxy as Veghard grinned down at Abelard. The short stump of an unlit cigar waggled its way from one side of Veghard’s mouth to the other.
Blazoned on the front of his blouse was his name tag, Veghard. An unknown chevron pattern at his lapel gave testimony of some rank beyond Abelard’s own White Shield. Thick gloves the widened out at the wrists covered his hands, but the bit of skin that peeked around the thick beard and from below the strangely billed combat helmet was pale. Arms as thick as Abelard’s legs held the heavy bolter, while legs near as thick as two of his own didn’t show the least bit of strain as Veghard moved back and forth now that Abelard was out of his way. A backpack, a non-reg modified piece of equipment, looked to be packed near to bursting with special pockets holding additional ammo clips. An odd looking lasgun was stowed along the side, within reach of Veghard’s free hand.
Scrambling to his feet, Abelard looked down at Veghard. With the heavy bolter on his shoulder, Veghard came up to Abelard’s chin, and Abelard was far from being the tallest in his platoon. Without the heavy weapon, Veghard would be hard pressed to be much over four and a half feet. Abelard began to giggle at the funny sight of Veghard’s diminutive height wielding a weapon that Abelard would barely be able to carry, let alone fire when a hand shot out into his gut, doubling him over. The loud report of the bolter accompanied by the musical chiming of the falling brass caused him to flatten himself to the ground while he tried to recapture the breath that Veghard had knocked from him.
“Time to move, boy”, Veghard reached down and pulled Abelard up to his knees as he gagged for breath. “On your feet! Shake it off!”
Another two bursts rang out and then Veghard scrambled out of the defile and onto the stretch of ground Abelard had been crawling along.
“On my six, boy. I’d give you a weapon, but I don’t want to lose Gracie quite yet. Keep up, or them scorpions will get you” Veghard laughed as he trotted off.
Veghard began to lope through the debris as if he had some destination in mind, seemingly to be oblivious that somewhere hidden in the tree line hid elder sharpshooters. After a moment’s hesitation, Abelard hurried after Veghard, easily outpacing the smaller man, only to be roughly grabbed and tossed to the ground.
“Keep your head down, or you’ll lose it, boy”, was all the gruff voice had to offer in apology.
“You’re one of them stunties!” blurted Abelard. “Aren’t all of you dead?”
He gulped at the sharp glare that was leveled at him, making him feel more exposed than he had a moment earlier. He waited for some retort or fist to add weight to the glare, but none came. Instead, Veghard turned from him and was looking along the lower portion of a slope Abelard remembered running over earlier in the day.
“Your artillery squads need a lot more training, I though White Shields weren’t used to man auxiliary units. They’ve messed up the lines of this battle” Veghard grumbled, and turned an ear to the sound of several distant explosions. “There they are.”
“Move out, boy.”
Without a glance back to see if Abelard was following, Veghard set off below the crest of the slope with a ground eating trot.
I just really had to say that I really enjoyed your last bit. I have already grown to like Veghard!
It's my kind of story, when it is violent and funny at the same time!
Keep up the good work. Can't wait to see the next part!
Good update, Verghard seems an interesting character. Hopefully, he'll be around for a while ;).
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