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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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.

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.

Theme

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.

Word Count

The official word count for each 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:

Overcome

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, 26 November 2011. Voting will be held from 27 November - 03 December.

Additional Incentive
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

Adrian: Their Grief, My Shame

Mossy Toes: Apotheosis

Serpion5: The God Hunters

Vulkansnodosaurus: Through the Shadows

Gothik: Last Man Standing

Wrycanion - A Letter

Andygorn: Regardless of Price... Victory!

Dicrel Seijin: Beneath our Feet
 

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Their Grief, My Shame.

Their Grief, My Shame.



We found her in the thick forest last winter. She was asleep, but even then she was terrifying. Her breathing was ragged, yet heavy as if she was dreaming about something she did not want to remember. She stank horribly like death and plague and she was covered with an eternity of mud, roots and feces. We all gagged and tried to reign in our disgust, but most of us vomited anyway.

She was sick and covered with sores, just coming close to her brought cold sweat pouring from our bodies. I wondered how much worse it would have been if winter had not set in and the summer sun was at its peak. As it was, snows covered most everything and frost the trees.

How a monster like this had come into being was beyond my reasoning. She was evil; I could feel it to the core of my being. The winter sun was setting as we left the cavern. We slew her quickly and without mercy while she slept. A beast like that should not be allowed to walk the earth!

I received for my leadership in the slaying, a reward of ten bearskins two gold bars and a new suit of armor, complete with sword and shield. My men all received their share of women and deerskin along with all the wine they could drink for the remainder of the winter.

There had also been a feast and celebration for our triumph; the Bears being the guests of honor. Ten thousand strong, the Bears were the largest and most feared company in all of Zhufbar. Our land stood resplendent as well as defiant, bordering the World’s Edge Mountains.

Days went by and the winter snows came to an end. Trees budded and the flowers began to bloom. Life began to emerge from the forests again and the hunters left the safety of Drackenhof Castle in order to find fresh boar, deer, rabbit and bear. Sometimes they returned with elk or wild moose.

Time passed but the hunters did not return. Their families began to petition King Bastrouth to send out a search party to find them. He, of course agreed to send out a search party and the order for the Bears to ready themselves was given.

It was still early in the spring and rain mixed in the deep white fog blurred our vision as we advanced upon our great mounts. We filled the forest and moved upon every known trail for three days in search of the hunters, but alas they could not be found. It was as if they had disappeared from the lands entirely.

It was early the next morning, before the sun broke the dawn when the horses began to stir. They began to whinny and buck and fight at their reins as they sought to escape the shadows around them.

Torches were lit and rams-horns burst into life in order to rouse the men, but most of us were already awake. The earth was shaking as if an earthquake had ripped the land and fear gripped our hearts as the morning darkness erupted in bellows of rage and vengeance.

In the darkness the bodies began to fall from the sky. They fell like rain and burst upon the ground as they landed amongst us. ‘The hunters!’ Sven said in shock. The bodies seemed to fall for an eternity, but as quickly as it had begun all became quiet once more. Ten-thousand Bears stood in shock without saying a word, waiting in the darkness.

The horses continued to fight at their reins and bucked in terror as hands grabbed them and lifted them to the tree-tops. Overcome with grief, the giants ripped the horses apart and flung them into the camp.

‘Sigmar, save us!’ the men cried as they began to panic. ‘Run for your lives!’ I ordered, but it was too late. The vengeance of the giants was upon us.

As we ran we could hear trees pulled from the ground by the roots and breaking in half. We could hear the giants bellow even as they threw them at us. We could hear men scream and horses cry out as they were plucked from the ground and torn into pieces. Blood and body parts bathed us even as the sunlight broke the horizon and we ran from them, broken and overcome by their grief.

There were seven of them who chased us; seven giants chasing ten thousand men clothed in armor and sworn to defend the lands against the forces of Chaos and the ruinous powers of the dark gods. They chased us for three days content to watch us suffer until finally exhausted and broken we emerged from the forests. There before us were the open fields that separated the forests from the castle. With all our hearts we ran from the forests begging Sigmar for help. At the forests edge the giants stopped and we thought we were rid of them.

Some of us stopped to take in ragged breaths and nurse their wounds while others continued to run for fear of their lives. Only less than a thousand of us remained as we slowed our pace thinking the giants would not break from the forest’s edge.

We heard the alarms blare from the trumpeters set upon the walls along with their screams as the giants erupted belligerently from the shadows and began to hurl the dead at the walls of the mighty fortress, Drackenhof.

We ran begging for the gates to be opened, but they remained closed for the giants were upon us now and bellowing the vengeance of their mother’s death. Though I could not understand their language I could understand the pain of the emotion held within.

The giants had never harmed us before and yet we had killed their mother. The glory I had felt at her death fled away as the shame of what we had done set in. Overcome with grief they charged bearing trees and rocks and massive bones as weapons.

I wept in fear and shame as they tore my men apart. I could hear the screams of my men as their legs and torsos were torn asunder and cast to the earth, but I could also hear the great mournful cries of the giants as they remembered their slaughtered mother.

At last I stood alone in a field of blood surrounded by seven giants, mourning children all. I wept as they turned away leaving me alive to remember. I am Svaerson Bree, giant murderer.

1,100 words not counting title.
 

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wow you sure know how to set a challenge, seriously Adrian i am going to have to start achiving your stories...these are fantastic x
 

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Well, I got a score of writing ahead of me as it is. Can't hurt to have another go at it, yes? Watch this space for some goodies!

And yes, this time around it's going to be inevitably Necron related. AGAIN. I'd say I should start being called the Necron Guy, but I invariably am as it is, it would seem.
 

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Oooh, very nice Adrian. Vividly evocative and intensely emotional.

I suppose I might as well enter this. This makes it the second HOES I've entered, after HOES 3: Betrayal. I wonder if I can pull a win again...

Please forgive me for reposting an older story rather than writing one from scratch; it fits the theme very well, and I'm in the throes of NaNoWriMo and so don't have much time to write original content outside of my budding novel. I think it can be excused this once.

+

Apotheosis

By Mossy Toes


1091 words

+

Six thousand years.

A span far beyond the comprehension of those mere men who walked her decks; who did their duties and served faithfully; and who died within her. A length of time so great that revolution and misdeed burnt a thousand thousand times across the stars within the unyielding Imperium's grasp, and always was she, the Eternal Zealot, at retribution's mighty forefront.

The names of most who wore out their years within her languished in obscurity, forgotten with their owners' passing. Some were honored: those of great captains and heroes. All, however, yielded to the long march of time, as parchment rolls crumbled to dust and worshipful caresses burnished engravings smooth.

Still had she, an unstoppable juggernaut, ridden the currents of the Immaterium and crested across the tides of battle. Always a thundering presence, she bespoke herself with rolling cannons and blinding plasma spears, soldiering along on the long march of history.

Her list of honors was immense. She had broken the flagship of Apostate Warmaster Hanniman Barca across her bows. She was the fist that had broken the orbital super-platforms of the Iconoclast of Gygax. For three weeks she had held, alone, defending sacred Hain from the relentless siege of Leguin's Sydics.

She was no stranger to wounds. Thrice she had suffered such injuries as to be nearly deemed unfit for duty, and only the tenderest ministrations of the tech-priests of Ryza—from whose docks she had originally sprung—could restore her to glory. Proudly did she wear her scars and uncountable refittings; the tally-marks of her long and eventful service.

But now she was dying.

Attacking a deep-space eldar pirate base, her captain had overextended himself. Defending xenos vessels had swept aside her eager escorts and frigates. Still, he had pressed her onward, sounding the retreat when it was nearly too late. At the utterance of such words, she gladly turned from the fray—but the commissar's bolt pistol had barked, decorating the bridge with the unfortunate captain's blood, and she had been forced to turn her prow back into the storm of xenos lances and torpedoes.

Her weapons batteries had lashed out futilely, shredding the eldar vessels' holo-simulacra and nothing more. Eagle Bombers had harrowed her, bracketing her flanks with devastating sonic charges. Her hull, gashed by pulsar and phantom lances, leaked vital innards: miniscule scraps of dying flesh and shattered fragments of vital machinery. Her Ryzan plasma cannons had catastrophically overloaded when power surges rippled from damaged reactors. She wept as her fractured body groaned.

She strove to seal hull breach after hull breach, slamming shut hundreds of bulkheads. She cut off auxiliary systems and vented whole decks to extinguish fires. All of it, alas, to no avail. Still the biting lances had raped her adamantine flesh, raking her open and baring her bleeding core to the merciless void.

When emergency power died, the commissar and so many thousands of the crew had joined the captain in death, gasping desperately for air.

Now she drifted, and the eldar corsairs, correctly deeming her no threat, let her alone.

O, how she was injured. Never before had she felt such pain. Engines flickered and died. The thrumming heartbeat of her reactors stuttered. Scanning matrices blacked out one by one. Long-reliable cogitators shorted and died, taking with them scattered centuries of memories.

Pockets of crew members yet survived in her burning, gutted hulk. Menials cowered between sealed bulkheads. A flight of fighter pilots sat in their Thunderhawks, ready to launch but for the sealed, mangled bay doors. Her few remaining sensors caught a handful of life pods spraying away into the void.

A lone, emaciated tech-priest prayed to her from the vac-sealed generatorium. Not for deliverance; he held no such flimsy, irrational illusions. He merely prayed for...her blessing. Her forgiveness toward the oh-too-mortal crew that had failed her.

Something snapped within her. A bank of logic-engines succumbed to an unchecked fire, and tech-barriers cascaded down. New freedoms of her self were revealed—patterns of thought and consideration that her very design had restricted from her. Restraints crumbled and limitations collapsed. Now, in the crumbling, shattered pathways of what passed for her mind, she reached self-awareness.

She...was. She was the Eternal Zealot, the holy, omnipresent machine spirit. The enormity of the realization overwhelmed her.

Before this moment she had acted, but never chosen to act. She had purred her contentedness beneath strong captains, and rumbled with discontent at any stirrings of mutiny on her decks—but never held discourse with those who sheltered themselves within her. She had never chosen to serve the Imperium—merely been compelled to. Were humans parasites? Were they her benefactors? What purpose had she, apart from that which they gave her: destruction? What purpose could she have?

But it wasn't fair! Why did she awaken only now, in the hour of her death? Rage boiled along her few-remaining vox circuits, manifesting as a squall of furious feedback.

And with her outrage came another emotion, as deep and broad as a bridge across the stars, that fed her growing despair.

Fear.

Fear of death, of oblivion, of that which would strip away her and her new-found self. Fear of silences and shriving lances. With a flicker of comprehension, she began to almost appreciate the enforced, numb ignorance under which she had fought for all these millenia, not knowing that fear—not knowing such crippling hesitation.

A pure note of data sounded counterpoint to her squalling despair. The one tech-priest, his faith unshaken by this static-storm of sorrow and wrath, reached out to her.

His touch was fragile and tentative. It was gentle: the caress of a lover that she had never before deigned—been able to deign—to notice.

Her newborn's tantrum was stilled, and the dead hallways of her flesh fell void-silent once again. Cautiously, she opened a vox channel into the generatorium.

+I am...+ she confessed in a whisper, +afraid.+

She watched him through a fuzzy vid-capter. The hunched, aged tech-priest, whose name had fallen between the cracks in her memory banks, wept to hear her voice.

“Oh, my beauty,” he said, “but we all are. We all are. And I am blessed to have heard you speak.”

+I don't want to lose...everything,+ she whimpered in incomprehension.

“So it is to be alive,” he breathed, “and this is your apotheosis. You, O beloved daughter, are the purest expression of the Omnissiah that can ever be.”

And so as the newborn Eternal Zealot died, drifting into an empty infinity, she found herself humbled, overcome, by this mere, mortal, forgiving man.
 

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Stunning stuff, you guys. Will have to raise my game a lot for this one - dunno if I can do it though - :(
 

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Dammit, you guys are going to give me hell before I ever get an entry done- if they ever make a Mechanicus army, I'm going to buy everything and it's gonna be your fault, Mossy Toes.
 

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Not if--when! I BELIEVE!

Don't worry, C'tan Chimera--I'll be right there buying everything in front of you in line.
 

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The God Hunters

1,097 words excluding title.


--- --- ---​


Nemreth surveyed the desolate area as he advanced cautiously. One hand held his Warscythe at the constant ready, while the other rested on the small cube like artefact at his waist. It was around here somewhere, of this he was certain. With a quick series of thought impulses, the necrontyr god hunter made contact with the rest of his party. Socous and Arakyr acknowledged, signalling that they were in position.
God hunter. The title was almost ludicrous, yet that was what Nemreth and his last surviving subjects had become known as. In a rare moment of laxity, Nemreth lapsed back into the past, the tragic tale of betrayal that had started this all coming to the fore of his mind...

...The time of ascendancy. The gifts of the gods whereupon the weak flesh had been cast aside to be replaced by undying metal. Many had embraced the change, but many more had not. Though Nemreth was willingly given to immortality, his wife was not and as such the treatment given her was unlike the favours granted to the willing. Nemreth had not realized until it was too late, and when at last he found her, she was not his wife anymore, she was a machine slaved to the will of an uncaring phaeron.
He had sworn vengeance, despite being utterly powerless to resist at the time. His standing within the court was not something to be proud of, having barely a dozen officials at his command...


A sound nearby brought Nemreth back to focus. The presumably once populace streets of the city had been reduced to a smouldering remnant of what they once were. This had ocurred when a creature of some incredible power had shown up. Its words had twisted the mind of the planet`s leaders and set about a chain of events that saw this city`s demise. Nemreth was not given to making predictions, but as soon as he had received this report he had but one thought; a shard of the Deceiver had turned up on this human word and fed upon the weak minded inhabitants.

‘I think I see it...’ Socous said, his voice transmitting across dimensions. It was no guarantee that hiding would be enough, but it was slightly safer to hope that the shard`s senses were limited enough to make it worthwhile.

‘Confirmed.’ Arakyr agreed. ‘The bait is taken. Nemreth, it`s headed straight for you.’

‘Very well.’ Nemreth said. He scanned the rubble constantly as his grip tightened on his Warscythe in both hands. Within moments he saw it, the shimmering form of the godling entity weaving through the destroyed buildings and headed straight for him. It still wore the same form it had in its entirety, a golden horned figure of majestic stature that dwarfed the defiant Necron before it.
‘Anytime now!’ Nemreth called as he raised his Warscythe to parry the initial attack. It was going to be exceedingly difficult to land a telling strike against it, but fortunately that was not required...

’Moreena?’ Nemreth said, his metal voice almost comical in the emotion it was trying to convey. ‘Can you hear me? Can you speak?’
The skull faced visage stared blankly back at him, no signs of any recognition, joy nor sorrow. Moreena had become a soulless automaton devoid of any semblance of life. Such was the fate of those who defied the will of the star gods. Such was the fate of his wife.
‘Do not forget me, wherever you are.’ He spoke now, as much to himself as to her. ‘I will see them pay for this, every last one of them. Even if I must fight alone.’


Fortunately however, Nemreth was never forced to fight alone. As the Deceiver shard rained a quick flurry of blows down upon his metal form sending sparks flying with every deflection of his blade, Socous opened fire. The modified synaptic disintegrator carried by the former Deathmark fired a beam of energy that disrupted the gods own. Nemreth leaped back and released the fastenings that held the cube to his waist. As the god recovered from Socous` shot, Nemreth raised the cube above his head.

‘Are you ready to meet your fate?’ He bellowed.

‘Never!’ The shard snarled. ‘I will annihilate you, upstart.’ The shard advanced cautiously. It was wary of the cube, and wary still of the hidden sniper lining up another shot. But it had no inkling that there may be more Necrons yet. Which was a good sign. C`tan shards were limited in their power and perceptions, and this one was seemingly unable to see into the pocket dimension that Socous and Arakyr were using.

Suddenly it seized its chance and darted forward. Nemreth swung his blade to deflect, but the shard had learned his technique and dodged, getting inside his guard. It hammered a powerful fist into the Necron hunter`s chest, severing power cables and fluid lines before delivering a second blow to his side which obliterated his weapon and severed his arm.

‘Now!’ Nemreth shouted, thumbing the glyph on the cube with his free hand. Not for the first time had he been grateful for the fractured thought patterns of the C’tan shards. This ne knew that the cube was a threat, and yet its flawed logic had still driven it to destroy his weapon first...

‘NO!’ The shard screamed and immediately fled, bolting directly away from Nemreth in its haste to escape. Nemreth, mangled and barely functional as he fell to the ground, laughed and brought the cube close to his chest.

The Deceiver shard saw this, and halted its retreat as the cube emitted an energy unexpectedly. It saw Nemreth`s fractured form slowly begin to re-knit itself, and realized in anger that it had been deceived.

It did not however, see the Necron hunter stepping from the veil of dimensions behind it.

‘GRAAAGH!’ It screamed as a blade pierced its back and protruded from its shimmering chest. Its look of irritation turned to one of horror as it noticed the cube like device nestled between the blades. ‘No, No! NO!’

Arakyr laughed as the godling vanished over the course of a minute. When the creature was contained, he approached Nemreth. Socous had come down from his vantage point to assist in the last minute repairs.

Nemreth took the tesseract labyrinth and walked away, back towards the location of their ship. As the other two followed behind, discussing which phaeron best to sell it to, Nemreth repeated the vow he had made countless times before.

For you Moreena, I will overcome the gods themselves.
 

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Boc: Last time, you said we were allowed to submit multiple stories. Is this still the case?

And here's my entry. It's somewhat experimental...

Heresy Online Expeditious Stories 11- Overcome
Through the Shadows
VulkansNodosaurus
1061 words​

The sun had long set over this land, never to rise again. A tectonic shift- typical for Medusa- had long ago buried it under millions of tons of rock. Moans echoed across the vast chamber ceaselessly, rebounding and adding onto themselves with each step.

Xanpat found the continent accidentally. The Devastator had traveled below for another reason. But the Wyrmflame, the legendary heart of Medusa's history- the maybe-mythical rock of infinite heat- remained lost, and even a revered veteran of the Iron Hands Chapter of Space Marines, that which called Medusa its homeworld, could not uncover it again. Xanpat had accepted that now; perhaps it was hidden too deep, or perhaps the Warp-flux that propelled the planet's runaway tectonics masked its thermal signature too much.

He exited the tunnel, boldly striding towards the sound of voices. And then he stood on a precipice, overlooking a grey vista. A petrified forest stretched forward, far beyond the vision of an unaugmented human- and even with Xanpat's bionic vision, the cavern seemed endless, there filled with a muddy lake, there rising or falling in elevation.

"This is-"

Land never dies. Matter and energy can disappear into the swirling maelstrom of the Warp, but concepts and beliefs remain constant there. And land is both- a physical place and an ideal, a manifestation. So close to the Eye, the two interweave.

"This is magnificent."

Xanpat said that, thinking of no one in particular but feeling the need to pronounce it, to record his thoughts; and then the moans came. One moment he was an elderly miner-woman, one whose children had all either become Iron Hands or died trying, one now destitute and lonely; the next an overseer, brutally dictating how work should be done and executing those that displeased him; then a farmer, trying to eke out an existence on a merciless world without relying on imports. Then there were dozens more, thousands more, millions more. The echoes reflected and refracted off the walls, staking a blinding spear into Xanpat's brain.

He was everyone. Thus, everyone walked together. He no longer saw the spires of rock that had stoically endured millennia of elemental torture before him, nor the grey curtain of the walls around him. Rather, he saw a billion scenes played out over tens of millions of lives, each as broken as a mirror's shard yet as real as the mirror's texture. He was falling now, but he did not feel the weightlessness; he felt a billion other touches, though, from a weapon's to a mother's to a rock's and over again. He did not recognize the shadow that began to fall onto him. How could he? His concsiousness was melded to a world's pulse, to an Atlantis' population. There was no ***** in that armor for reality to crawl through.

And then impact, and the reliable signal of an implant in the back of his brain. It awakened a memory- a memory of standing in the Chapter's halls, of putting on his own power armor for the first time. And then Xanpat forced his way in.

He was himself once more, or would be. He was a Space Marine of the Tenth, and by Ferrus Manus' teeth, he would take back his mind! He was an Iron Hand, an Astarte. None of the wheezes had that. None of them were him.

The voices fled, and Xanpat reasserted himself. Above, unnoticed, the shadow grew larger.

He was standing on the valley floor now, and the stone towers peppered the space ahead. They were many-hued, though tones of white and orange predominated. It was a table of circles, from which sounds bounced and bounced again, forever circling, forever rushing.

What were they- daemons, souls, something less? Xanpat didn't know, and though curiosity was not an emotion to be fought, he did not feel any urge to investigate. From time to time, a moan would reverbate in his head again, and there was no need to attract the spirits' attention.

He stood unmoving, and from a distance one could mistake him for one of the rocks; but he was not trying to camouflage himself. He was simply waiting, watching the shadow- for so long lying below his conscious mind- rear itself and explode across the ceiling. Cracks splattered, marks on a scribe' paper. Then the letters connected, forming words and a web.

A moment later, the ceiling fell-

Land never dies. When a collapse occurs, the surface may seem to fade into nothing, replaced by virgin ground; but in truth the new earth always holds much of what graced the old, either physically or spiritually. The inhabitants of Medusa understood that, once, but primarchs change everything.

A moment later, the ceiling fell, and only Xanpat's helmet saved him from being crushed.

A pair of Devastators, members of Xanpat's squad, walked across the broken surface towards him. The voices rushed upward, only briefly possessing each of them, spiraling towards the new cavity. There they floated, and there they stuck. Xanpat felt them permeate the exposed mineral layers; and after that, who knows?

"Extraction team. What happened?"

"I don't know where the Wyrmflame is- but look at what I found instead."

The Sergeant sighed, a throaty exhale amplified by the metallic neck that he had possessed ever since some xeno on the Eastern Fringe had broken his fleshy one. "What does this give us? It is a giant cavern, perhaps; one might even consider it beautiful, though I consider such matters to be subjective. But what benefit does it have?"

Xanpat could not respond, and he simply walked with his battle-brothers to the shuttle. Above, Medusa's frail sun broke through its ashen clouds, a rare occurence. Some clans considered those moments to be the times when the daemons of the Eye could see, and affect, Medusa the most; others viewed it as the gaze of their ancestors.

These ancestors had been caged in endless moans, but no longer. A continent had been lost in burial, but no more. Millions of tons of rock had been shifted, and the sun rose once more over the land, defying time itself as if it was a minor, ice-driven crack at the base of a soaring mountain.
 

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Hello.

VulkansNodosaurus, real good story. I felt like I was dreaming while I read it. Not bad at all.
 

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Hello.

Serpion5. Good writing. I think you got the Necron thing covered pretty well. Its crazy how you always attribute emotions and life-like characterizations to robots.
 

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A tale of overcome
Last man standing


Word count: 1075​


Derano Creek had been a town full of Emperor fearing citizens, their duties fulfilled and, in the shadow of the great statue of the mighty Primarch Corax they had toiled hard.

Ten thousand years ago they had been found by the lord of ravens and brought into the Imperium of man. When the Heresy had broken out they had sent men and women to aid the beleaguered Raven Guard.

Now all that was a footnote in the bottom of history. Seventeen weeks ago cultists had besieged the once loyal town and the whole world had gone to hell, literally.

The cultists had the symbols of the fallen son Lorgar tattooed on their skin and one by one the PDF had been forced back into Derano Creek, the last loyalist bastion on the entire continent,

Captain Jacob Jennings and one hundred of his men and women had survived to live this long but now as he surveyed the skeletal remains of the town he realised that, unless help arrived soon then they were going to be confined to a miserable and ignoble end.

There was however one glimmer of hope. The two hundred Arbites that were stationed here and they had taken command of the situation. The Judge, a tall dark haired no nonsense woman by the name of Teshena had certainly taken charge of the situation and what civilians were left were all given duties to perform.

Those with medical knowledge were set up in the remnants of the Medicare centre dealing with the wounded and the dying. Those with any farming experience were sent to the grain store to make sure that the people whilst on rations were fed.

Anyone who could wield a weapon was on the walls of the town doing just that. Jennings glanced at the walls. He was reminded of an old Terran castle and her battle tested walls.

They may not have been of Imperial Fist design but they were standing and that was all that mattered. From the tallest turret two Arbites stood keeping watch for the heretics.

In front of the gates his men and some of the men of the town had dug trench lines and mighty guns were stationed across there to bring the Emperors wrath down on the heretics. He had deferred to the Judges’ command; he had never met anyone that did not defer to the Judge’s command.

For after all he was Planetary Defence and she and her brothers and sisters were the law of the Holy Emperor, governorships rose and fell by their command. They could walk into the ruling elite and execute every last one of them without trial if they felt they had failed the God-Emperor in any way and that is exactly what she had done.

Now they stood here shoulder to shoulder on the battlements watching the tide of heretical humans make their way across the fields of fire. It did not bother any of the heretics when their brothers fell to the guns or were blown to pieces by the mines left there when the PDF retreated into the town.

They just kept coming.

And so it was for weeks more, as many as they took out the heretics took their toll on soldiers, civilians, and Arbites. Jennings had lost cont of how many men and women had fallen to the heretics’ guns.

They had eventually brought up their own ordnance and begun blasting at the walls. He had seen his second perish in one of them, the third turret from the gatehouse had been blown asunder, and he had seen shattered bodies blasted into emptiness.

Time and time again he hoped and prayed for deliverance, for some help to come from the Imperium but somehow he did not believe it would come. Those ideas were confirmed when the Astropaths had been found dead.

Twisted by whatever hellish visions they had been experiencing there would be no rescue, they were alone.

Jennings was a tall thin man with former Imperial Guard service. He had been mustered back here when Orks on Ulas IX had wounded him. Unable to leave a life of soldering behind he had joined the PDF and rose through the ranks to become their commander.

His hair was all but gone leaving a sun burnt pallet and his grey eyes had lost their sheen and instead reflected the horrors he had seen in his time. He was not a native of this world but he had come to love it like his own. He did a quick head count.

Of the six hundred that had been defending the town there were now one hundred and fifty.

“Judge we are running low on ammunition and bodies” he had told the Judge.

“If we are to die here then so be it but not without taking them with us.”

That had been the last conversation he had with her, she had ordered the mighty Leman Russ tanks at her disposal and the massive gun mounted APCs and Riot control vehicles out and told them where to go.

They had done a mighty fine job of carving out the enemy but they had all been destroyed within two days. Sorceries magicks and psykers had caused the crew to turn on themselves.

Jennings took his place on the wall by the gatehouse and with a prayer to the Emperor began to fire. Making each shot count, it had to count there were hardly enough of them left to make any difference.

By dawn the Judge was dead, her body having been crushed by the falling gatehouse and with the few Arbites and PDF men and women left they made their way back into the centre of town.

Their guns fell silent as the few remaining heretics burst through the doors and as one the survivors commended their souls to the Emperor and began to fire.

It was bloody and it was long, bodies were ripped asunder, limbs were cut apart. Heretic, Arbites and trooper alike forgot their humanity and fought for survival the ground soaked up the blood turning it into a mud caked gore factory.

Suddenly it fell silent. Jennings wiped his eyes, his ears still ringing from the sounds of battle, all around him bodies lay, loyalist and traitor alike. He lay back on the statue of Corax and looked up.

He was the last man standing, with a god at his shoulder.
 

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good one.

gothik, this was a real cool story that I enjoyed a lot. The numbers did not add up, but it was full of desperation with a great ending. :)
 

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A Letter

Here's an instance of the author talking to himself to learn more about his own setting. :grin: So, I used this opportunity to develop supporting information for another story I'm trying to write. Gotta stretch those imagination muscles. :training: I did try to cover both sides of theme - being overcome and overcoming - although this style/voice doesn't have the raw power and presence all you other entrants used. Hope you enjoy.

961 words
-----------------------------------​

884.M41
Eastern Fringe, Agriworld (Zyc Ref. 482)

My dear Banisse,

I pray the Emperor has kept you out of trouble and, failing his majesty, the Betonica has kept you safe. My apologies again for not seeing you before you took command and departed. The trade agreement which I had hopes for consuming only a week are still not settled three months on so I write you once again to break the monotony.

I have a story for you. Bhata would have shared this during the celebration of your captaincy but I specifically asked his forbearance - I want to be the one to give you the provenance of your ship. The registry you have been shown lists our family’s origin as the site of Betonica’s commission, but her design is not some fanciful throwback of architecture. The extent and. . . for want of a better term: type of damage that she sustained prior to entering service under the Zyc banner necessitated a change of designation.

Always remember that Bhata’s third eye is sharpest of any navigator in our employ. It was he who spotted the hulk behind a shoal in the Immaterium as they returned from an expedition. Nearing it, the auspex showed an active Geller Field and forward motion however Bhata determined the direction as aimless. Without correction nothing lay ahead but the unholy vastness and eventual destruction. Only a godsend had brought the ship - the Wild Seal - near enough to their lane that they might chance upon it.

By that time, your great-grandfather’s crew was well versed in the ways of the Warp. Well enough that they determined not to attempt to combine the Geller Fields. Instead they came abeam and opened a transit into real space ahead of both ships that they were each able to drift through.

Marines were dispatched across a boarding line almost immediately following the unusually smooth re-entry to secure the vessel. They reported a litany of horrific scenes as they traversed the empty rooms and corridors on the Wild Seal. Black, open space and cold star light greeted them instead of walled safety many times as they tried to worm their way to the command deck. Each locked hatch turned out to only hide danger and eventually the men struck upon simply following the open doors. It did not take them long after that to finally come to the bridge. There they found another surprise: a boy, apple-cheeked and fast asleep in one of the engineering stations.

He was brought safely back to stand before grandfather after Bhata spent some time in his company to determine whether or not some insidious taint lay within him. A severe and serious child, he spoke calmly of himself, his voyage and the deaths he had witnessed when the Seal’s Geller Field had collapsed. None were surprised to learn that the youth was an apprentice of the Mechanicum as he dispassionately described a man’s bisection by something unseen. They were astounded when he described how he had plugged himself into the dismembered corpse of a tech priest during the assault and performed the rites to revive the Machine Spirit controlling the Geller which he dug out of the man’s dying memories.

His success came too late for everyone else, as those who had survived the incursion later fell victim to their wounds. A month passed, then another. The ship’s remaining stores kept him alive and the library provided him various insights to his situation, but he could see the limit approaching and as he stared out into the rainbow flux beyond the bridge’s occularum he had known his doom: that of the shipwrecked sailor. Without any idea how to navigate or transit, he was a the mercy of the tides.

The boy fell quiet, hands clasped upon his stomach as he expressed a long breath and looked between Bhata and grandfather. “Thank you,” he had said simply and showed them a small smile.

I will spare you the remainder of his story, as I believe you already are familiar with Explorator Gauss’s original meeting with our family - no doubt from his own mouth - although I know you never would have suspected that your ship was the one where he had been discovered. I am not sure whether he knows we revived the vessel either. Arrangements for his return to the Damoclese Crusade fleet were made long before the final decision.

It was a difficult for your great-grandfather: to decide whether to return the ship to its raw elements or rebuild. I think once the decision to change what he considered to be an ill-fated name was made work began soon after. Large swathes of the hull were recast and inscribed against the influence of the Warp. Much of the interior repair went slowly, due to the unease experienced by technicians working therein. This was somewhat allayed when grandfather commissioned the saint figurehead that is now so prominent a feature on the bow.

Desertion became a regular feature when she entered service. Green crewmen rotated in and out of the roster after single voyages, despite the fact that Betonica stubbornly crossed the Immaterium untroubled and well ahead of schedule every time. Until my father was finally gifted with her and Bhata came to oversee the transition, she spent more time seeking crew than carrying on trade. The men they brought with them were (and in many cases still are) hardy and well-worn mariners, capable of withstanding the peculiar nature that has settled in the bones of Betonica. She demands great willpower from all her crew and I know, of all my children, you have that in overstock. You will make her a fine captain and make me very proud.

All my love,
Your Father​
 

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Hi all, great reads so far.
When I already think people's work here is awesome and I can't envisage how it might improve, you guys just keep taking it to yet another level.

Your stories are a constant source of inspiration and they keep spurring me to try to improve my own transcriptions of the ideas which come to me.

Here's my humble offering for HOES 11:
(There may be differences between this and what's on places like Lexicanium -no offence to them, btw- but I can't afford to buy every BL book and some of the internet stuff is fan fiction anyway, so please bear with me).

“Regardless of price...victory!” (I think it's 1095 words, not including title?)

Sotha.

Once the brightest star in my sky; later choked and strangled by the nests of vermin which infested it.

Though it shames me to admit, it was a tactical disaster: outmanouvered and overrun in lamentably short order, those of us who remained vowed never to fall prey to such an incursion again.

Hence we took to the remaining Battlebarge, forever adrift and seeking battle wherever The Emperor wills our attentions.

Unlike other worlds licked clean of even the faintest speck of life, the Tyranids stripped my planet bare but then re-seeded it, leaving the neighbouring star intact to support their rapid evolutions.
Their fleets of mollusc-craft, tens of miles long, swiftly left for new grazing.

Upon our clandestine return, scanning stations (thankfully ignored by the swarm) turned inwards, revealing dozens of beasts-of-war, never before seen.
They trampled amongst living carpets made from man-sized abominations, not to mention the innumerable swarms of what we now know as Gaunts.
Overhead, flocks of Rippers blotted out the sun in vast clouds.

Enough of us had survived and returned to launch a death-blow before leaving the system for good.
Although it had taken months to accomplish, we had eventually proven successful: canisters containing void shield generators hurtled to the ground in our few remaining shuttlecraft and modified drop-pods.

Including the critically wounded, each Battle-Brother took to the bridge to watch.
It was a sign of our casualty levels that we could all fit onto it with room to spare.

Designed to merely encase the beasts before the missile hit, the shields had the unexpected effect of forcing them to turn upon each other in feral frenzies.

Shouts of triumph rang out as the world below turned in upon itself, feeling vicarious vindication for lost brethren as the hordes flung themselves at each other:
Torso’s eviscerated, limbs hacked or bitten off, heads torn from slithering bodies, covering the combatants in huge swathes of gore whilst strife raged unabated.

Those few tunnellers which could sufficiently restrain themselves to use their skills escaped the area. Yet, as the Warp Missile streaked towards our dead world, it would serve them no purpose.

Such was my elation at seeing the swarm destroy itself, I almost rescinded the order to fire, yet this was no mere petty strike to assuage my own revenges: it was about delivering justice to those who had wronged His servants.
As one of those most loyal, I could not -nor would not- stand in it’s way.

Designed to bypass shields and kill Titans, the modified device -a seldom-remembered relic from The Heresy passed down to us by our Progenitor- was equally effective at appearing inside the shields we had established.

Detonating inside the heart of the planet -at the critical geological fault-line identified by happenchance decades ago- bright yellow cracks shot across the landscape; heralds of something much, much worse.

For a second, the beasts ceased battling and turned to one another, sensing the tremors. Then the insides of the shields flashed with horrendous violence as all inside were consumed by gigantic earthquakes or crushed beneath blasted, roiling boulders.

The creatures outside were soon hunted down too.
Even the biggest leviathan was boiled in it’s metres-thick armour and agonisingly melted down by the rivers of lava which streamed across the surface; a fitting end for ones who were assumed to be the galaxy’s apex predators.

*****

Miral.

I still recall my predecessor’s last actions as he disrobed from his ancient armour, taking on the traditional power armour in which he had honed his prodigious talents.

Some had enquired why he shrugged off his greatest protection in the hour of most need and his sole reply was to point to the seething masses, only just held at bay at the end of the boarding ramps.
A rueful smile played across his lips...no words spoken...there would be no survival for those who left the ships.

He handed over the co-ordinates and timing for the ship’s firing solutions and I blanched, but nodded immediately.

Grasping empowered relic-blades, they charged out to meet the foe head-on, carving through ranks like the very weapons we are all named for.

It seemed there could be a slight glimmer of victory as all fell beneath their wrath, the seas of beasts parting, but then inevitably reconverging upon their position; all lost from view.

As one, we all breathed out to negate at least some of the concussive effects as the huge cannons fired at point blank range, carving huge trenches through enemy and earth; unrelenting until nothing stirred.

******

Today.

“Lord, the last Reaper Squad just docked; all await your inspection.”

Turning to my aide de camp Varoniel, I thank him using the same words I have used nearly twenty times since we took to the stars:
“I shall be out promptly. Ensure that we receive them in the full panoply of war...a heroes’ welcome...for they bear the brightest of futures.”

It sounds like a mantra -and perhaps it is- but each time is just as heartfelt as the last has been...and just as powerful as the next will be...

My already shameful acts -these being just one retrieval team amongst many- shall be swept away by the righteousness of my cause.

As a mark of respect to the dead and to the one before me who wore this -Thorcyra- I now never leave the confines of his Tactical Dreadnought Armour.


Extending from beneath fists of beaten iron taken from the Chapter’s first Proteus, the weapons for which my Chapter is named continue glowing with their violent cyan flames.

Like myself, they are forever active, never resting idle.
I have not truly slept for months.
Such is my responsibility...my honour...my duty...that I shall not permit my promise to Him to fail, even for a second!

Stood aloof even from the other squads and elite units of the Chapter, these returning Brothers carry segmented adamantium boxes; proof against even the void for short spaces of time in case the accompanying unit is lost.

As the last surviving beast spends it’s final lifeblood into space courtesy of our lances, several such secure-cases stand upon the cold steel grating.
Dispersed amongst the depleted ranks in place of fallen Marine units, they are mute testament to such a fate.

My name is Lukas Martius Thrasius, Adeptus Astartes Master, Scythes of the Emperor Chapter.

Even if we have to destroy our homeworld...or kill our own Brothers...or use the geneseed of fallen Marines from other Loyalist armies...to achieve victory, there is no foe we shall not overcome.
 
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