Heresy-Online's Expeditious Stories 17-02: Awe
Welcome to the year's second
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, totalled 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 and be awarded the Lexicanum's Crest award for Fiction excellence!
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:
AweEntries 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 GMT, 29 February 2017. Remember, getting your story submitted on 22nd will be just as considered by others as one submitted on 11th! Take as much time as you need to work on your piece! Any entries submitted past the deadline will not be considered in the competition, regardless of whether the voting thread is posted or not.
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 - 1 reputation points, everyone will receive this
3rd place - 2 reputation points
2nd place - 3 reputation points
1st place - 4 reputation points and Lexicanum's Crest
If you have any questions, feel free to ask in this thread.
Without further nonsense from me, let the writing begin!
Sons of Guilliman
It was a cold, winter morning when the soldiers came.
A small group watched from the Bunker as the townsfolk gathered in the square. Big trucks arrived and disgorged rough-looking men from the Imperial Guard. A tall figure in black stood in front of them.
“That’s a Commissar,” said Isaac. “He’s calling up the county levy.”
“… the front line will not hold for much longer,” the Commissar continued. “So all able-bodied men are required to take up arms and drive back the Xenos hordes.”
“He mentioned Orks.” Apothecary Obrien added.
Roberto turned to his friends.
“This is it brothers. The war has come to us. Our Chapter will drive back these Ork-things. Gather your weapons and armour and meet me back here. The Bunker is now our command Centre.” He turned to a figure to his left. “Brother Benjamin. Your Terminators will hold the bridge.”
They quickly dispersed to their various lodgings but within minutes they had formed up outside the Bunker again. Roberto was impressed, their training had paid off.
One of the terminator squad was missing.
“Brother Benjamin, report!”
“I am sorry Captain; Joel was caught and is…”
Roberto raised his hand.
“I understand. He is now imprisoned, probably in the root cellar. Brother Joel will receive his penance after this is over.”
He surveyed the ranks. There were only six of them, but they were all true Sons of Guilliman. They would make these Orks pay.
“We are Ultramarines,” he roared and raised his power sword. “On this sacred blade, forged by the Primarch himself, I Captain Roberto, slayer of the Ork Warboss... Shag-Bag the Horrid, do swear that we will defend this village to the end.”
Brother Benjamin stepped forward and swung his Warhammer in a wide arc.
“I swear on Smasher-Basher the Hard hammer, forged by the Emperor himself…”
The rest of the group groaned and Obrien shook his head.
“No he did not Benjamin. Stop ruining it. The Emperor did not make your hammer.”
“Alright,” Benjamin whined. “But Roberto said Guilliman made his so I thought…”
“I am the captain Brother Benjamin so I always carry a sacred weapon. I am famous in battle so at least I can say that it was blessed by someone, not you.”
They were interrupted by one of the Marine scouts who had been watching the trucks with interest. He skidded to a halt, a Sniper Rifle over his shoulder.
“They are leaving.”
The Levy had been collected and the trucks were loaded up. Roberto and Brother-sergeant Rowland marched up to a soldier who was pushing up the last tailgate. He was from the Abellio 44th, the ‘Fighting Fours”. He turned in shock and his face paled when he saw them. He looked about in confusion.
“What are you doing here?” he spluttered. “You need to get out of here, you need to hide.”
“Space marines do not hide. We are Ultramarines, the Emperor’s finest warriors.”
The soldier spread his arms wide in placation.
“Listen, this isn’t no game. This is for real. Those greenskins are coming and when they do, they will kill everything and everyone.”
“We will hold them here,” said Rowland. “Our Bunker covers the only approach to the village. Our Terminators will hold the bridge.” He smiled at the soldier. “Sergeant. Don’t worry about us.”
A voice barked out from one of the other trucks. The Commissar was eager to go. The soldier turned back to them.
“No heroics, do you understand. Just run away as fast as you can, do you here? Run away.”
Roberto drew his sword.
“Coward. I should take your head for that.” But the soldier had already gone leaving the two of them standing at the entrance to the village.
Roberto passed a practiced eye over the defences and nodded. The Bunker was a huge construct made of rockrete that guarded the approaches to the settlement. A small wall navigated the perimeter and a moat completed the defences. A draw-bridge, guarded by the two terminators, could be pulled up if the enemy got that close. The defences were only supposed to give protection from bandits and predators, not a fanatical horde of maddened Orks.
When the attack came, it was in the form of monstrous green-skinned Orks on bikes and battered vehicles. Everyone but Roberto fled, leaving him alone and afraid.
The Bunker was overrun in a few seconds in a flurry of grenades and flashing blades.
When he woke up his head hurt and his mouth was full of dirt. There was a ringing sound in his ears but apart from that, he appeared unhurt.
Something heavy slammed down in front of his face, something blue. He looked up and a huge figure blocked out the light.
“Are you an Ork?” Roberto sputtered and heard a metallic click and then a hiss of escaping air. A large hand and immense strength lifted him to his feet and then Roberto was face-to-face with a God of legends.
“You have done well little one.” Said the deep voice from a round face ravaged with scars, cuts and scratches.
“Were we victorious?” Roberto whispered, and then added “Sir.”
The face studied him.
“Indeed we are victorious,” said the man smiling. “Tell me little one, who are you?”
Roberto was gently placed down. His armour was riven and dented and most of it missing. His helmet was crushed and his blade broken, but his spirit was unbreakable.
“I am Captain Roberto of the Ultramarines.”
The huge man smiled again and then, surprisingly, shook his hand.
“Well met Captain. I am sergeant Gardinier of the Eagle Warriors. It is good to meet a hero from the original Chapter.”
“Wow!” Roberto smiled. “A real Space Marine.” He pointed at the marine’s weapon. “Is that a real bolter? How many medals have you got? Have you fought the Eldar?”
The marine laughed and patted Roberto on his shoulder guard.
“I thought that your armour was real too.”
“Nah, we tried to get it right, we did our best, but now I see it up close, it’s not so good.”
The marine guided Roberto out of the Bunker. Outside, more Space marines in blue and white power armour threw the bodies of dead Orks onto a large fire. They looked up when the two approached.
Roberto gripped the marines hand a little tighter.
“Where are we going now?”
The marine stopped and then looked up into the evening sky.
“Little brother, we are going up into the stars and beyond.”
* * *
Upon the Anvil
Word Count: 1097
An ashen rain poured from the blackened skies of Aqshy. The Realm of Fire. Brother Dacian remained as still as the void even as the fiery-laced earth quaked beneath his feet. He hefted his sigmarite hammer in both hands—the haft decorated with golden leafy patterns—and waited for the rising tide of flesh to collide into their battle lines.
Dacian looked around him. A hundred warriors encased in onyx sigmarite, trimmed with burnished gold, were gathered on the Plains of Desolation for a battle. Rain tainted with the soot of old volcanoes streaked grime on their tabards of crimson cloth and scale-mail. Each of them wielded a mighty hammer that arced with traces of volatile lightning. Even among their immortal brethren of the Anvil of the Heldenhammer stormhost, the Retributors were all giants of another caliber.
And across the battlefield, an Arcanite Cult sounded their brazen war horns and charged through the land cracked with lava-geysers. A horde of Kairic Acolytes—mere mortals who had sworn a pact to the Changer of Ways—bore their naked skin against the sweltering heat, shielded only in a white robe that wrapped around their waists and came down to their knees.
On their flanks, the avian creatures of the Tzaangors—Beastmen changed and blessed by Tzeentch—squawked savage battle cries as they churned the ground beneath their cloven hooves. They were a mess of multi-colored feathers and sharpened beaks half-encased in the shimmering armor wrought from Change Metal.
Dacian heard the command to brace as the over-zealous Acolytes hurled bolts of bruised flame across the battlefield. The Retributors were spread out some feet away from one another, giving them ample room to bring their lightning hammers to bear. Fireballs rained down upon the Anvil of the Heldenhammer, engulfing swathes of the battlefield in bruised flames.
A crooked smile crossed Dacian’s lips from beneath his helmet. A spark of pride kindled in his great chest as his brothers strode through the flames—some with their armor blackened and charred—and toward the charging horde.
The horde had seethed within an inch of them. They were so close that Dacian could see the brilliant dazzle in the eye sockets of the cultists’ masks. In a deafening noise of clashing steel and sundered armor, the two armies clashed into each other.
“For Heldenhammer!” Dacian sang. “Sigmar annihilate these wretches from our realm!”
Dacian advanced and ground the bones of a half-naked Acolyte beneath the momentum of his charge. A fireball seared across the sky and slammed into his flank. Dacian pushed through the pain and swung his lightning hammer in a great arc. A clutch of cultists caught in the hammer’s trajectory were cast aside like childrens’ dolls. A further burst of lightning arced from the hammerhead and crashed into the foe as they reeled.
A storm of cursed blades stabbed from every direction. Dacian could feel sword blows bounce off of his armor like a volley of broken arrows. Around him, Brother Regar crushed the chest of an avian beastman with a vengeful blow. Ferengar screamed to his death, reduced to ashes in a rush of bruised flames.
“Fear the eternal retribution!” Qaron snapped from beside Dacian.
A courageous Tzaangor shouldered into him and cut his hammer in twain with a swing of a great sword. Qaron reached out in order to pulp the creature’s skull in his mighty hand, but the Tzaangor snapped his beak through the soft metallic surface of his palm and punched into flesh. Qaron cried out, but in that moment found himself swarmed by the avian beastmen in a storm of sharpened beaks and blades.
Dacian suppressed a shiver as Qaron finally collapsed—eyes pecked into mush and his head severed. He charged forward into the thick of the foe. A Kairic Acolyte cried out when his knees were swept out from under him—literally. A cursed glaive sliced through the air and penetrated his armor where it had been burned.
Dacian followed into his swing with an uppercut into another robed cultist’s chest. Lightning arced from the hammerhead and burst his foe into smoldering pieces.
“Dacian!” Dacian recognized Avistus’ voice through the chaos.
Dacian whirled around on his right flank and was greeted by a Tzaangor who had taken a hammer haft through the gut. The Tzaangor squawked ferociously and managed to bring one his blades upon Dacian’s skull with the last of his strength. He grunted and felt blood trickle down the rent in his helmet.
“Are you well?” Avistus snapped the beastman’s neck with the back of his gauntlet.
“Fine.” Dacian laughed.
Dacian’s laughter became caught in his throat as whispers began to assail from seemingly everywhere. He scanned the carnage and saw dozens of his fallen brothers scattered among hundreds of the dead foe. Over the chaos, more Tzaangors rode into the skirmish on great flying Discs of Tzeentch. These beastmens’ horns curved in more elaborate patterns, their feathers more pronounced and fiercely colored. Each wielded fell spears, but what they whispered into being was something far more horrifying.
Avistus, when your village was razed, you murdered your own family rather than have them burned alive.
Dacian, your children were sacrificed by the Mighty Lord Dagon the Black, and yet you let their murders go unavenged.
Your efforts have all been in vain, their souls were great gifts for the Dark Gods.
Memories once long-forgotten kindled in Dacian’s thoughts. Of his former life before the re-forging had changed everything. Sigmar had told him to forget the past, but some old habits die hard.
“Avistus!” Dacian called after his friend, who stormed toward the Disc-riding Tzaangors in blind fury.
Dacian cried out in denial as Avistus miss-timed his hammer swing. The razor-sharp teeth of a rotating Disc sheared Avistus gorily in two. One half of his friend’s corpse still clung to the disc and the Enlightened he fought speared him once through the eye for good measure.
“Heldenhammer!” Dacian heard himself thunder and charged. The Enlighted that had slain Avistus rode toward him. Dacian leapt into the air, far higher than any immortal in his armor should be able. As he soared over the Disc of Tzeentch, he brought his hammer down in a death knell blow that obliterated his foe and brought the Disc of Tzeenth clattering to the ground.
“Heldenhammer!” Awe-inspired, less than a hundred voices echoed his battle cry. And for all of their ferocity, they sounded an entire stormhost gathered for war.
“Champion of Sigmar!”
“Back! Back into the fray, my brothers!”
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