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8,544 Posts
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Welcome to the year's eleventh

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.

Word Count

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 GMT, 31 December 2015
. 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.

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.

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!


1,547 Posts
Don't count your chickens...

925 words​

Lieutenant Sébastien Dembélé did not feel like celebrating.
In the aftermath of battle, even in victory, all he could feel was grief, pain and a deep ache in his soul.

An ancient Terran Warmaster once said that a battle lost is only a little worse than a battle won.

They had won here today, but at a cost. He had lost half his command.
He sat down on a sandbagged wall and placed his face in his palms. He was exhausted, utterly drained. He let his feet hang down into the communication trench, which was now filled with the corpses of both his men and that of the enemy.

The damn Orks had fought well today, and despite being outnumbered and outgunned, they chose a last-ditch charge to a slow death, pounded into the earth by artillery and airstrikes. Not one of them survived, but oh the cost…

He felt the urge to be sick so scrambled quickly to his feet and turned towards the breeze that was blowing in from the south. The air was fresh from this direction, it came from the distant sea and not from the killing fields around him.

“What shall I write…?”, he said out loud.
“You write what you always write… sir.” Came a gruff voice behind him. He turned quickly, shocked that anyone was even in the vicinity. A dirty, bedraggled soldier stood in the shadow of a knocked-out Leman Russ and gave a weary wave.

“Sergeant… Timonen. I did not realise…”
“’Sis’alright Sir. I did not mean to startle you, especially after all this.” The NCO stopped amongst the detritus of the battle field and spread his arms wide.

“I was thinking what to put into the letters, you know, the letters to their kin.”
Timonen stood tall to his right and gazed out across the field.
“You tell them that their boys died like heroes, that they died for their beloved Emperor with a Lasgun in their hand and righteous zeal in their souls.” He laughed, but it sounded gruff and forced.

Dembélé tried to smile back but his facial muscles seemed to be paralysed. He pointed to the body of a Guardsman slumped face forward over a Lascannon.

“How about Candella there? Dear Missus Candella. I regret to inform you that your son was killed in action at, blah, crap-hole on blah-planet. He was a brave soldier and fell protecting his comrades in the finest tradition of the service.” He shook his head at the NCO. “Or shall I say that his weapon jammed and an Ork split him in two with a cleaver before he could fire a single shot.” He stood up and walked over to a young Guardsman lying on his back who appeared to be sleeping.

“And what about young Jorjadze here? Dear blah, your brave son did not die with his spine hanging out of his back after a frag exploded behind him,” he paused. “Thrown by one of his own friends in panic. No, he died leading a bayonet charge against a whole battalion of greenskins.”

Timonen shook his head and then crouched down on his haunches.
“Or Lebona. Decapitated by an Ork boss while he struggled to get up… with no legs. Or…”

“I get the picture Sir.” The NCO interrupted aggressively. “But you will do your duty and do your duty well.” He placed a reassuring hand on the Lieutenants shoulder guard. He paused then looked into the officer’s eyes.

“All these men are heroes, every damn one of them. You will tell their kin that they saved this and helped that and deserved a medal, and you knew him well and he was well-liked, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Because that is what the folks back home want to hear. They are being fed crap back there but we know the truth, but they should never know what happens out here amongst the stars. They must never know about the horrors we endure and the bitter enemies we face."

The young officer smiled. The old NCO was right of course. Yes, his men were heroes and the battle was worth the cost. He would not hang his head in shame and remorse, he would celebrate their sacrifice.
“Very well said sergeant.” He stood up and stretched his aching back. Timonen shrugged.
“Besides Sir, the likelihood is that their folks will never know of their fate anyway. The Administratum mail system would struggle to find the final destination, the math is too complicated!”
They both chuckled.

“A bit naughty sergeant, such things could get you flogged.” Timonen shrugged again.
“Commissar Gaustad is not going to care. He’s somewhere out there in the mud with a slug through his forehead. Now he is a real hero… or was.”

Dembélé decided that the conversation was becoming too risqué.
“Did you come here to find me specifically sergeant?”
“Yes sir,” the old NCO straightened up. “The boys have found a warehouse full of Amsec and are wondering if you would like to join them in a wake?”

Dembélé knew that he should not. Fraternising with the junior ranks was frowned upon. But today?
“Of course. I will just retrieve my hat which I lost leading a charge against fifty-thousand Orks…” They both grinned. He had lost it when a short artillery round exploded behind his trench. “Ah, it’s here, battered, dirty, but still serviceable…”


… We regret to inform you that Lieutenant Dembélé was killed in action during a heroic rear-guard action against a vast horde of xenos …


368 Posts
Unveiled (1095 words)

Unveiled (1095 words)

"So, how would you describe my effigy to our latest triumph, Brother Feran?" Halex watched his comrade in arms for signs of trepidation or fear.

Casting a critical eye over the piece, Feran responded: "The shading is crude and too basic - there are areas too touched by darkness...that should not be with a figure of our glorious Primarch."

"Good, you seem to grasp the essence of the work...it is unfinished of course, yet I always seek critique from my peers. How proceed your own travails?"
Although genuinely interested, Halex could no longer keep an acid tone from his voice; the deadline approached and pride was everything...to be "second" meant "being last".

Casting aside a dirt-smeared cloth fascia from the nearby table, Feran revealed his own art: Halex could not contain his discomfort at the work and baulked at the sight of the offal-pile presented to his eyes.

"You would...gift this..this thing...to our Lord?" Halex inquired incredulously, coughing as the stench assailed his nostrils, even through his autosenses.

Feran snorted arrogantly: "Of course, Halex! This is the artifice of many years, each item arranged alphabetically and then in order of size. Can you not see it's perfection?"

It was one of the most debased things he had ever seen (let alone for it to be classed as any kind of gift apart from to swine). This would be a sheer insult to their Lord and Master.
Trying to cast an objective view over the steaming piles of meat, Halex used the brief lessons he had overseen in the apothecarion to judge the "work".

Perhaps it was his inner competitive nature, or maybe he was just looking for any excuse to avert his gaze, but he seized upon the opportunity to discredit his fellow entrant: "If they are alphabetically arranged, you have got some of these incorrect; 'eyes' should go after 'cranial sections', not before...even a novitiate should understand that concept....your usual standards are slipping, Brother."

Feran gave a toothy smile in return "You mistake the point of the organisation altogether, Halex, but you will...one time soon..." and walked away, leaving the cuts to dribble redly onto the once-pristine marble of their crafting chamber.

Seeing no other option, Halex put the covering back over the remains, yet the sight had troubled him deeply. That night, even the somno-inducers could not assuage his restlessness: no stranger to gore, there was something "other" about his comrade's offering that set his teeth to grinding and unbidden shapes to flit at the edges of his vision.

Unable to rest, his memory kept replaying over and over the bloody mass which had been so casually heaped before him:
'What could possibly be thought of as a gift? How could anyone in their right mind appreciate such gobbets?'
Then he suddenly felt a twitch of realisation: there had been a glint of metal in amongst the mound of entrails...perhaps Feran had mislaid it and even now walked the corridors in search of it?

Returning to the artisan quarters, he lifted up the grime-stained covering.
Although only several hours had intervened, the pile now seemed to be bigger than before, but he paid it little attention, sinking his fingers into flesh, thankful the armoured gauntlets prevented him from feeling all the sensations of being wrist-deep in body-parts.

Scattering several pieces to the floor, his fingers finally found purchase upon hard metal..wiping off most of the detritus, he pulled out a small metal disc engraved with two heads.
Astartes had no need for money, so perhaps it was an item crafted by Feran between battles? Surely such an item was valuable and worth returning?

He found his friend's dormitory uncharacteristically bathed in shadow; calling out the name, Halex heard a somewhat unwelcoming reply from the darkness: "I am in session with my muse, who goes there?"

"Feran? This is Halex, I think you left something behind and need it returning.."
"Did I?" the voice enquired, uncharacteristically dispassionate. "Bring it here and I shall peruse..."

Halex was unused to attending inside other's chambers...this was something which always seemed to be 'an intrusion too far', especially amongst their Legion, who valued their supremacy and individuality, even (and perhaps especially?) when measured against comrades.

His footsteps clomped across the floor, then suddenly there was a *squish* at contact with something yet unseen.
Halex had strangled Ogryns with his bare hands, yet something about this room made even him fearful to look down at the unnameable thing which he had trodden in.
Concentrating upon the task in hand, he passed the coin to his friend, eager to do his duty and be away from the place.
Feran turned on a lamp and his outstretched gloved hand glistened. His eyes widened ever-so-slightly in recognition at the proffered disc, then displayed a feign of ignorance.
"Where did you find this trinket?"

"You mislaid it in your 'artwork' my friend." Halex replied quickly, the speed of his voice betraying his eagerness to be away.

"No, I didn't discard it, but I have seen it's likeness somewhere else..."

"Where? Upon that last claimed world? Those savages possessed no metal" Halex laughed deridingly.

"I love you like a brother, Halex, but I cannot say." Feran paused, as though expecting a reply, yet Halex seemed confused at the lack of further explanation.

Feran shook his head, turning away to hide his sorrowful look:
"It pains me, but my muse calls once again, please leave. Now!"

Turning slowly, still confused, Halex slowly left the dormitory...perhaps now sleep could return and his friend would be sufficiently recovered in the morning to resume their conversation?

He did not hear the squelch of quick footsteps behind him, nor did his brain register threat until his head was pulled back and serrated blades delved into his carotid artery; no time to even gasp in pain.

Hauling the corpse to his workbench, Feran continued his artistry.

Later that month, Feran revealed his latest work to a baying crowd who revelled in their depravity; little more than beasts-in-armour than formerly proud Astartes.

At their centre: a Living God, basking in adulation and delighted screams...one whose fall abased him even more than those of all the lesser minions combined.
Picking up a selection of oozing morsels, Fulgrim's soul-spearing voice enquired: "...and these? What are they supposed to be?"

Feran's voice trembled with barely-suppressed delight:
"I call them gifts of obedience worthy only of your majesty. In order, I name those particular ones: Acastus Ultramarine, Bellegeren Iron Hand, Garen Salamander, Halex Emperor's Child."

The Astartes howled in triumph once again; Legionnaires and Primarch.

145 Posts
Dance Night for the Dwarves
J. D. Barbera

wordcount: 1026
(Original Fantasy Setting)

After draining one mug and starting on the spare she had intended for Y'Salnos, her Announced, he walked over to her.

"Come join me. I want to dance."

Side by side, they took the traditional positions of the work dance and the musicians began to play. The work dance had no words for it. It was a song of heavy drumming and it complexity was elementary. All the beats were provided by the dancers' foot stomps and those were performed at the tempo of a hammer. Leg up and stomp, slide and stomp, clap and clap. Leg up and stomp, slide and stomp, clap and clap. Determined steps, slow turns, measured claps. It was the fall of the working hammer; Heavy slam, heavy slam, and two quicker taps to realign the aim. Again and again. Even Y'Salnos could manage the work dance. Around and around they moved through the dance. Doriama could feel her legs warming up and her claps fell to a more proper cadence. Her mirror beside her, Y'Salnos's robe twirled and swayed to the turns and stomps. Faster than she expected, the music ended.

The music began again and Doriama stepped away. Somehow, Y'Salnos had managed to divine traditional dwarven songs from the musicians. The second piece was for a healer's prayer. Y'Salnos began his dance and Doriama watched as he gave thanks for the successful healing of Narent, praised the Soulforger, and begged for the god for his continued support. Y'Salnos's robe flared up and back as the spins and hops caused it to fly away from his legs and boots. As the piece ended, Y'Salnos began a rumbling staccato of steps that lead into the Victory Dance which called Doriama back to his side. Together they danced the victory of the previous day's events. Dancing down the vanquished, and parading home. Extolling the strength of their clans and the alliance between themselves. Locked arm in arm, they spun and leaped. They smashed the floor with heavy jumps, so much more satisfying on the raised foundation of the inn's tap room where the mugs jumped in response to their dancing.

It took all of Doriama's strength to hold Y'Salnos up and keep his feet beneath him. In over twenty years she had only seen Y'Salnos take up the Victory Dance once, and over half that long for the Hall to stop talking about it. Though not a difficult dance, its speed and changes were more than her partner could navigate easily and it was only her knowledge of his shortcomings along with her strength and agility that kept them on their feet in more than one exchange. By the end of the song, she found herself overheated and shaking from the effort. Yet the musicians simply moved onto another song and, shocked, Doriama retreated to her mug of beer while Y'Salnos began an unprecedented fourth dance.

A slow dance began. A far cry from the stomps and leaps of the Victory Dance, this was a dance Doriama did not expect to see for some time. From the center of the floor, Y'Salnos bent and bowed to the humans who had been filling the tap room, unnoticed by Doriama as she had held Y'Salnos through the dance. The tables were all filled, while more patrons stood at the bar and along the walls watching the dwarves, though now focused on Y'Salnos. A harp began to play alone. Quick notes like raindrops rang out through the room, breaking the silence as none of the patrons spoke. Short little steps in time to the notes, Y'Salnos minced about the floor and Doriama cringed in anticipation. He was going to give her his Announcement dance. In a human inn. Months from the Hall. Miles from home.

It would be a dance he could not complete.

The harpist's fingers flew across the strings. Falling down through the notes before dancing back up, only to fall again. The individual notes blending together, no two strings plucked together, the music swirled about as Y'Salnos danced in vain to keep his heavy tread in sync with the harpist's own efforts. The bends and spins, twists and pirouettes, they were all beyond him. His strength, born of hauling water to the mountain's top when the pumps were down, was a thing of brute force and lacking in all finesse, could not save him in this dance. Nor his beauty. His flaxen hair or downy beard. The heart tugging blue of his eyes could not make his feet find the floor in any way other than ruin. Partnered, he stood a chance in the dance, but Y'Salnos was not shaped by the Soulforger for anything solo.

Doriama watched Y'Salnos dance his Announcement. His promises to guard and provide. To shelter and entertain. To cherish and love. To be there and give her the children that would strengthen the Hold and their clan. She watched him dance and stumble and fall. As she knew he would. As he knew he would. She watched his feet fall behind on a turn and spin back to the middle of the floor. Watched as his hands flew out to try and grasp anything to break his fall, and as luck would have it, watch as one found purchase on a table she had not pushed back quite far enough. The table flew out from beneath the mugs that rested upon it. Not heavy enough to slow his descent, his unrelenting grip dragged the table across the floor with the fall, the loud crack of splintering wood as the legs snapped, giving way as he fell to the floor.

Y'Salnos threw back his head and let out a great bark of laughter that broke the surprised silence of the tap room. The few others in the room joined in, though the barkeep scowled at the mess made. Doriama could not find it in her to laugh. She moved over to the sitting Y'Salnos and as he grasped her proffered hand, pulled him to his feet. Sliding her back up to his chest, as the music began again, she lead him though the first steps of her Acceptance Dance.

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