Title: The Librarium
Description: Leon's fiction archives
Leon Carter - February 9, 2011 04:12 PM (GMT)
I'm quite new to this board, so I believe it would be time to submit some contributions of the worthy kind (or at the very least, attempt to), which I would like to start with this thread.
A few notes:
- the purpose of this thread is twofold, first, to entertain those who wander in here from other sections of the site, and second, to serve as a little corner for me to hone and improve my writing skills. I've noticed there are opportunities for submissions during certain periods of the year, which is, judging by the latest entries, a great challenge and is admittedly temtping. (And for which I'd need enough work put into practice that I'd out-sweat an ork while I'm at it, but don't be afraid to aim high, as they say...)
- comments and suggestions are, of course, always welcome. Though, keep in mind that English is not my native, so I ask for leniency in your judgement, before chasing me all the way to Terra with a chainsword whirring and angry for blood, for grammatical heresy. :D Grammar mistakes and vocabulary misinterpretations are bound to occur, though I'm giving it my best to avoid them.
- however, if you like what you read and perhaps would like the characters you have created for your armies appear in a scene (or a complete story), drop me a line. I welcome all opportunities for practice and improvement, and it is always better to have too many ideas than none at all. I must warn you that it takes me quite a lot of time to write up fiction, though, an undesired side-effect of a very tight schedule.
- updates will be regular at best and scarce at worst. Note that I also intend to submit a longer work for Black Library around may (also on my desktop already), when they accept submissions, so that may just steal my focus from these more leisurely writings.
All in all, I hope you enjoy the fluff and have a good relaxing time while browsing! :)
Leon Carter - February 9, 2011 04:20 PM (GMT)
Here's the first. Word count: 964
LAST OF THE LOYAL
The grille of his helmet rasped heavily, each breath a knife thrust into his lungs. Blood dribbled in his mouth. He tried to move, but his broken body denied him. The bone shield protecting his chest cavity had been punctured, shards of it deeply rupturing his primary heart. His left knee was broken to splinters, while his shoulder dislocated.
Alarm signs flickering on the display of his left helmet visor, the one that remained intact, interrupted sporadically by surges of static, showed him that his power armour was in no better condition either. Life support was failing, leaving many of his wounds unclotted. Painful warmth washed over the many gashes and fissures torn into his ravaged and battered plate as his blood escaped through them unrestrained. His right pauldron had exploded to shreds, along with most of his upper arm, hit by a bolter round.
Garthe grunted in annoyance at his own momentary inability, another bolt of pain striking his lungs.
The stench of death around him was suffocating. He sank into the middle of a pile of cut down bodies, about two dozens, all clad in full plate of power armour, Astartes just like him, glued together by drying puddles of blood. Heads savagely cleaved in two, mutilated limbs scattered about, torsos mangled and disembowelled, flesh and ceramite ripped open by chainsword teeth. The battle had been fierce, leaving only a gory mess.
The contrast between Garthe's own cracked, dented, crudely maintained battlegear of white and dark blue and the elegant regale of the slain warriors, shimmering in violets and gold outlines couldn't be more evident.
A blood-soaked chainsword lay a few centimetres away from Garthe's crippled hand. His retribution given form, it was that very weapon that had cut a way through the ranks of the now fallen, slaughtering and butchering them.
His right eye exposed behind the shattered visor, Garthe cast his glance high up to the sky. The azure field spread through his vision sparkled with the clarity of refined crystal. Peaceful and tranquil, remembrancers called such sights, but he felt differently. Inside him, the static view only ignited rage. He refused to lie down, motionlessly and die here. He had a vengeance to deliver.
Dull thumps of footsteps found their way to his ears. All too familiar. The unmistakable, whining noise of power armour servos.
Garthe gritted his teeth as he made another attempt at forcing his arms to move and reach for his chainsword, but again, his body defied his will. The steps drew closer. If his enemies wanted to visit death upon him, there was no stopping them.
A face appeared above him. A face of an old man, an Astartes, whose presence had not been diminished by the long centuries he had undoubtedly witnessed. His scarred, stiffened features carried with them a streak of nobility, hard-learned wisdom glimmered in his eyes. For a moment, even Garthe paused in his breath at the sight of him.
'It took a while to find you, lad,' the old warrior said. There was no hostility to his voice. 'Garthe The Bloody Vengeance.'
'Who... are you...?' Garthe forced a question through the blood and drool gurgling in his throat. As much as he could move his eyes, he tried to get a measure of the older Astartes and identify him by the pattern and insignia of his armour. He was unable to decide for sure.
'A faithful soldier who was betrayed by his legion. Him and all he swore an oath to uphold. Just like you.'
The word lingered in Garthe's mind, arousing waves of boiling rage. Rage formed from hurt, helplessness and refusal.
'You are one remarkable and stubborn lad, you know that?' the old man nodded appreciatively. 'Completely alone, without a legion, without a primarch, you wander from planet to planet, leaving only heaps of dismembered traitors in your wake.'
Garthe grunted. He would have smiled, had his lungs not been in constant pain. He took pride in the havoc he had wrought among the ranks of his chosen enemies.
'You remember the ways of past ages. The valor of those times. That is why this shameful treason hurts you so,' the other Astartes continued, and looked the wounded, crippled warrior in the eye. Within that gaze, everything was told that ever could pass between two warriors of honour and that no words could possibly convey. Garthe nodded, even the small gesture painful and difficult to perform.
'The Emperor needs his loyal sons, Garthe Erklan. Will you answer his call?' the old man asked and dipped a finger of his gauntlet into the blood seeping from Garthe's chest wound.
'I... will,' Garthe sighed heavily.
'Will you swear to me, Iacton Qruze, last of the Luna Wolves, to serve Him, beloved by all, to protect the Imperium of Man from the threats it faces, and bring down His wrath at the traitor and the betrayer?' he intoned as he wrote the words on Garthe's marred plate with blood.
'I... Garthe Erklan... last of the World Eaters... swear it.'
'Then it is done,' said Iacton and waved with his hand. An Astartes, his power armour distinctively white, arrived after another series of thumping steps, only visible from the corner of Garthe's eye. 'Apothecary Callon, do what you can for the lad here and prepare him for transfer.'
'Yes, sir,' Callon said firmly and crouching down, immediately set to his work.
Garthe felt faint stinges through the layers of pain already enveloping his body as the Apothecary injected him with sedatives, and slowly drifted into unconsciousness. But he would not die. His rightful vengeance would be carried out and his honour purged of the blemish it had suffered by the betrayal.
A blemish he intended to pay back in thick blood.
cypher104 - April 7, 2011 11:13 AM (GMT)
Hey, really liked the idea for this, keep up the good work!
Hero of Istvaan - April 7, 2011 03:56 PM (GMT)
good stuff dude! i really liked it. Moar, MOAR I SAY! ;)
MrBojab - April 9, 2011 01:01 PM (GMT)
tis totally awesome, as for da ideas, how about includin my salamander(Bolter and Chainsword, mark VI plate) Brother N'lrik.
Leon Carter - April 16, 2011 08:57 PM (GMT)
cypher104 & Hero of Istvaan: Thank you, I'm glad you found it entertaining. There will be more, but right now, I prefer to channel every ounce of muse I can spark towards the short I'm writing up for the Black Library submission. Though, of course that does not leave me without ideas for 31k.
For instance, just a slight thought that occurred to me under the shower (where else would creativity strike, really?), an intriguing 'what if' angle in my opinion... what if the Great Crusade would have been won? What would have come afterwards? Where would the Primarchs and their sons have gone? What would have happened to them without an entire galaxy before them to conquer?
MrBojab: A Salamander... I have never dealt with them before, to be honest, but I would gladly change that. Just don't expect Nick Kyme quality at my first attempt. :D
Do you have a little bit of background on Brother N'lrik? What kind of a character is he, what are his strengths, shortcomings, or anything else you feel he should be recognizable for? Or should he be developed from a sort of 'totally-average-marine' to something more? You can just post it here or send me a PM to discuss the matter in detail, if you wish.
Hero of Istvaan - April 17, 2011 08:54 PM (GMT)
|QUOTE (Leon Carter @ Apr 16 2011, 08:57 PM)|
| Just don't expect Nick Kyme quality at my first attempt. :D|
really? its not that hard! :lol:
Leon Carter - May 14, 2011 08:11 PM (GMT)
Here's the next one, featuring MrBojab's very own Salamander N'Irik and his squadron. My thanks for entrusting the character to my care, and I hope I will be able to do him proper justice. :)
N'Irik froze still at the sight of Brother Gren'Hir's head exploding in a red shower of meat, bone and ceramite. The armour-clad body clattered on the rocky soil in less time than it took a heartbeat. His swift death spat upon the ubiquitous impression of Astartes invincibility. And not alone he fell. A wall of Salamander-green power armour battered from a long and exhausting fight, collapsed in rows, and the vox-net suddenly became dense with ear-rupturing death screams, curses and calls of confused desperation.
'Take cover!' Sergeant Zu'Tsun bellowed, somehow rising over the static-riven madness.
Shaken back to his senses, N'Irik immediately dropped prone, complying the order with preternatural speed. No sooner than bolter shells began to whistle and explode around him, mowing down his battle brothers in a merciless hailstorm. Like lightning, vivid streaks of heavy lasgun fire raked across the field, vaporizing all in their path and melting through vehicle armour plate as easily as the rays of the sun burnt wood when focused through glass lenses. A Predator rumbling forward detonated before it could bring its turret to bear and greet the sudden assault with barrage of its own, the smoldering shrapnel it sprayed its surroundings with carried far by the shockwave of the explosion. Astartes and tracked armour were devastated in equal measure under a sky turned red and ashen grey from violently dancing flames and billowing funnels of smoke.
The death raining down on the retreating Salamanders came from where they had not expected it at all. N'Irik swore he could see, at maximum magnification through his retinal display, Iron Warriors manning the gun emplacements erected atop the fortified positions encircling the drop site and throwing their gauntleted fitsts into the air in a wild cheer as they hurled volley after volley relentlessly at the ranks of the retreating Salamanders and Raven Guard.
'By the Forge! This is treachery!' Brother Ir'Gen cursed, giving voice to the realization that hit N'Irik at the same moment. The vox channel remained open but the silence that befell it was all to audable, even through the cacophony of the raging battle.
'Yes it is, brothers,' Zu'Tsun answered after a few seconds that seemed like an eternity. His voice was bitter and angry, boiling like the great magma flows of Nocturne.
'What do we do, brother-sergeant?' N'Irik asked, an edge of weariness creeping into his tone, that would have been so characteristically level and composed under less dire circumstances.
'We fight,' the sergeant replied, his teeth hammering the words like a smith's hammer did the blade of a sword. 'We stand true to our oaths of loyalty and take with us as many of these bastard whoresons as we can.'
'For Vulkan and the Emperor!' acknowledgements came in a chorus, and the shock that had gripped N'Irik, Ir'Gen and their squad borthers as they had been betrayed was gone, replaced by a grim, but satisfying sense of final purpose. They were to perish here, on Istvaan V, in a last stand against the treasonous hordes of Horus and his lackeys. There was no hope for victory, no hope for gory, only the contentment of staying unabased by betrayal.
'Regroup at the given coordinates,' the sergeant ordered, and a nav-point indicator flickered up in N'Irik's blue-stained vision, marking a spot behind the charred remains of a Rhino a couple of dozen metres away. N'Irik began crawling, pushing himself under and amidst the bodies of his fallen brethren, plates of ceramite producing a painful, grating sound as they were gritted against one another. As he was digging through the heaps of armour-clad warriors metre by metre, N'Irik muttered silent words of gratitude to the dead for protecting him like a trusty, battle-worn shield even after their untimely and inglorious deaths, then begged for their forgiveness, dishonouring them so undeservedly. Small explosions still spattered everything around him as bolter shells penetrated either the barren, craggy rock upon which more and more bodies fell by the minute or shredding the diseased to chunks of bloody, ravaged flesh and fragments of armour plate.
Zu'Tsun and two of his warriors were already tugged behind the Rhino, the other side of the devastated vehicle withstanding mostly stray but still dense weapon fire that battered against it. N'Irik clambered over to them, a short burst of shells ripping into the ground one step behind him as he rose, threw off the cover of bodies and broke into a short sprint.
'N'Irik, aye,' he reported as he crashed against the metal bulk, then slid down into a crouch and gripped his bolter. The ammunition counter flashed in his heads up display, the numbers telling him of his nearly exhausted ammunition reserves as he brought up the weapon. He had less then a third of a clip left, and no spare magazines.
Another brother dashed for the relative safety of their position but he was not as quick on his feet as N'Irik. That, or the traitor gunners had not yet turned their weapons away from the tortured husk of the vehicle to seek another target. Either way, a round punched through the unfortunate Salamander's knee, breaking his advance and surrendering him to the subsequent barrage that ground him down. One striding step away from the Rhino, he slumped clumsily upon the carpet of dead.
Zu'Tsun's visor rose slightly above the edge of the vehicle’s hull where steel curled haphazardly in all directions from a heavy shell that had penetrated it, and zoomed in on the far side of the field, trying to cut through the plumes of smoke and clouds of dust that swirled in a veil of haze above the bloody frenzy. He made an attempt to assess the situation and determine what course of action to take while there was time left to determine anything at all. In the face of so overwhelming opposition, there was no doubt in the sergeant's mind in regards to his own or his squad's demise, but as pointless it would be to charge at the entrenched enemy only to be cut down before reaching them, he wished no such meaningless end for the men under his command. If they were to fall, they would inflict as much hurt upon their adversaries as possible.
The Salamanders in the front ranks were not granted with such choices. They waded forward in the sea of their own dead brethren to die fighting instead of fleeing, and met the enemy head on, hammering, crushing, dismembering them with fists and chainswords, locked in a brutal whirlwind of combat. The hailstorm of ordnance from the Iron Warrior gun pods was re-directed and streaked right into the center of the fray where fighting was the thickest and shredded Salamanders, Night Lords and even some of their own into pieces indiscriminately. Nothing could diminish the battle-fervor of the Astartes in deep lizard green at this point, but they were fighting a loosing battle against insurmountable odds.
One more of their brothers, Se'Lkon, made it through to Zu'Tsun and his squad, dashing behind cover, with a burst of bolter rounds stitching a path into the rocky ground behind him. He fell onto his side from the momentum and skidded a few metres, the remains of his mangled and deformed right arm pulling a trail of red into the dust. Ir'Gen moved to help him up, but he waved the hand away.
'While I breathe, I can fight on my own,' was all Se'Lkon said, his voice without a trace of the pain evidently clawing at his right. He gripped his bolter in his left and sat up, resting the weapon at his shoulder. 'Se'Lkon, aye.' The sergeant glanced at him briefly and nodded, an acknowledgement to the young brother's resolve before returning his attention to the field.
Zu'Tsun's eyes scanned further, reticules and runes flickering in his optical display, trying to cope with the rapidly changing environment and combat statistics. Small groups of targets, identified as allies popped up as he gazed away from the front, pocketed behind similar makeshift covers and barricades just like the sergeant and his men. Retreat paths were formed to these rally points, allowing those in the middle and rear to break off and re-establish a foothold. Voices rasping in the vox-net began to direct troops to form a sensible resistance.
'I can't see the Primarch,' Zu'Tsun said. His men all turned their heads in his direction.
'Could he have... fallen?' a brother bearing the name Daiym'En asked but his tone was hollow enough to suggest that he had not considered that for a moment to be the case.
'We would have felt that.' N'Irik tapped his helmet with a ceramite-covered finger. There existed a psychic bond between Astartes and their Primarch which, if severed abruptly by the Primarch's death, would have sent a tremendous, mind-rending backlash through the entirety of the legion.
'No, he's alive somewhere,' Zu'Tsun nodded with a hint of amusement in his voice. N'Irik was tempted to guess he was smiling under his helm. 'He is fighting the battle his way, like the magma lizards of Nocturne. Bastarduously, ambushing the victim with fire and savagery.'
Another bolter round singed the side of the Rhino only a few centimetres away from Zu'Tsun's helm. He felt the metallic reverberation even in his cheekbones. He slumped back behind the safety of the vehicle's frame and turned to the warriors that knelt there with him, giving them each in turn a thorough look. Four brothers remained alive, of the ten he had marched to battle with at dawn. N'Irik, Ir'Gen, Daiym'En, Se'Lkon. All good, loyal sons, who could have achieved so much more, had they not been stranded on this abandoned rock of a planet, in the theatre of twisted fates.
'Brother-sergeant,' N'Irik began as his gaze wandered to their rear, 'if you have a plan, we should hurry with it.' His armour encased hand slowly rose and an index finger straightened out from a clenched fist, pointing in the direction of the fortress where Horus and his followers had dug themselves in. The sergeant followed the gesture with his own visored eyes, his sight almost completely blotted out by the mass of targeting symbols and threat analysis runes that flared into view.
A tide of featureless grey approached, dauntless, relentless, unhurried and with disturbing finality. The evening glare of the sun glinted on sturdy, unpolished armour.
The Death Guard came for them.
MrBojab - May 15, 2011 12:30 PM (GMT)
Awesome so far.
For reference Vulkan survives the battle.
Leon Carter - July 6, 2011 07:26 PM (GMT)
So, after a longer break, here's the continuation to the story of N'Irik and the gang. It has been really, really long overdue.
Whatever makeshift entrenchment was there to improvise, Zu'Tsun and his squad did their best to make use of it and fortify their position. And no sooner than they rested their weapons against hastily erected piles of rock that was supposed to serve as cover, took up poistion inside the Rhino's torn open belly, the sea of grey already licked at them.
Zu'Tsun kept his squadron steady. All held fire and allowed the Death Guard to come close, so they would make clearer targets. As low as the Salamanders were on ammunition, every shot had to make it count.
At a waving sign of sergeant Zu'Tsun's hand, bolters chattered up and poured the opening salvo into the approaching lines. Explosive rounds whistled forth and back as the fire was returned. Death Guard staggered and crumpled to bite the dust, but were trampled underfoot by those behind them before they even hit the ground. Valiantly, unerringly the Salamanders aimed and fired, felling their former brothers in arms, fueled by burning anger at their betrayal, but even their wrathful precision stood no chance against the enemy's vast superiority in numbers.
Daiym'En dropped an empty magazine from his weapon and slammed the last of his reserves home, presenting a momentary lapse in the fire-lane that lasted less then a second, but a charging Death Guard already took advantage of it, and slipping past, he dashed at Zu'Tsun, chainsword raised.
The sergeant offered only a grunt of annoyance and without braking his cover, blasted apart the right half of his assailant's head with a single shot from his bolter. They grey-armoured warrior fell off balance mid-step and crashed on the ground, the weapon he held clattered out of his grip, still whirring angrily.
Though the stride of one Astartes was broken, several more followed in his wake as the tide of crusted ceramite flooded forth to overwhelm the Salamanders. N'Irik's torso and hands slid in fluent, systematic motion and dropped those Death Guard that threatened to get too close one by one with well centered headshots, a testament to his examplary marksmanship, while his brothers tried to slow the general advance with coordinated sprays of suppressive fire.
'We can't keep them away forever!' Ir'Gen warned without taking his finger off the trigger. The ammunition counter in his visual display was dropping rapidly to dangerously low levels.
'Then let them come! We will embrace them with fire,' Se'Lkon snarled and as his bolter clattered after releasing the last barrelled round. He dropped the weapon from his unruined left to reach down and detach an incendiary grenade from his belt. Pulling the safety with a finger, he hurled it into the oncoming wave of grey, then went on to reload his gun.
A searing sphere of red ignited, throwing Death Guard aside. Seething, liquid prometheum splashed and burned everything it touched. Horrified death screams were audible even through the unceasing, violent chatter of firearms.
Se'Lkon, managing to clasp a fresh magazine into the bolter with a single hand by sticking the
clip into the slot, then rather ungently slamming it against the ground so it would slide into place, almost smiled at the destruction he had wrought their foe.
Seemingly to rob him of even this small satisfaction, a hulking figure stepped through the dying flames, completely unmoved by the heat and the devastation around him. Encased in stained bronze plate, a ragged, browned tabard flapped behind him, the blade of the giant man-reaper resting in his grip and looming in front of his head bobbed maliciously at his every step. Amidst the striding, charging Astartes, he marched with dreadful coldness, like the personification of death itself that he was.
N'Irik, Daiym'En and Ir'Gen all felt their grasps slacken and their weapons slowly fall off aim. Se'Lkon suddenly felt the pain searing his mangled right. A creeping sensation startled them all, an uncertainty they had seldom, if ever, experienced before.
To raise arms againts a Primarch was as incomprehensible a concept to them as any alien culture they had encountered and subdued. Fighting their own brothers, out of inevitable necessity, out of desperation, to stand against their treachery and to survive, they had come to terms with. There was no other way. But a Primarch, a Demi-God, one of the Emperor's own sons, the Death Lord himself, no less...
'Do not let up!' Zu'Tsun's voice cut through the paralysing weariness that Mortarion's presence cast upon the squad. The sergeant levelled his bolter and unloaded a short burst, aimed directly at the Death Lord's brazen-helmeted head.
The man-reaper moved only a fraction, nearly imperceptible even by Astartes senses and the rounds ricocheted off its blade with sharp, metallic clangs and flew wide, leaving their target untouched.
Still, through that simple, if ineffective gesture of defiance, Zu'Tsun achieved to shake his brothers up, his unwavering determination bringing their courage back. Their confusion was gone, and they accepted that which they had no way to avoid. Salamander bolters returned to aim, spitting explosive death again and cutting down even more of their enemy.
Se'Lkon's weapon surrendered with a dry clank, nothing left to dispense. No more spare clips on him either. Flinging the bolter aside, his hand grabbed at the hilt of his chainsword.
Ir'Gen cried in anger and fired into the heaving mass of battle plate engulfing him like a microscopic organism annexing its prey, then smashed the butt of his gun against a visor, shattering it, then expending the last of his ammunition into the head behind it before he drew his combat blade.
Dayim'En trained his own gun at the Death Guard Primarch with careful aim, discharging each shot at precisely the right time but still he was unable to score a single hit.
Mortarion broke into a run, a blurring bronze of emotionless calamity, and leapt high up.
N'Irik was sure he heard the reaper blade shriek, crying out for blood as it rose, the Death Lord descending on them like a murderous shadow under the burnt evening sky.
Zu'Tsun finger was stuck squeezing the trigger, a vengeful roar shredding his throat but no matter how accurately the targeting systems of his armour calculated fire trajectory, he inflicted as much damage as he would have hurling rocks at the Death Lord.
What was there, save for the Emperor's own wrath that could have at the very least, hurt, or even downed a Demi-God?
Mortarion landed with a loud thump, thick bolts of cracks spreading through the rock beneath his feat, his man-reaper about to scythe down the Salamander sergeant in a single swipe.
It never came.
Instead, the Death Lord was suddenly slammed aside by a massive, crushing tidal wave of deep, scaled green and arcs of crackling lightning, the force of the impact tossing all nearby to their knees and reverberating across the vicinity of the battlefield.
A mighty battle hammer as intricately adorned with lizard symbols as the man-reaper was crude and featureless hovered in the air, azure bolts slowly dissipating around its robust head, held in the hands of a giant clad in deep green full armour plate intricately crafted to resemble a lizard's scales, sporting an enormous, thorned pauldron in the shape of a dragon's head.
A pair of burning red eyes, sitting in a charcoal-shaded face of thick, granite-like features stared at the Death Lord as he got back to his feet and dusted himself off like the strike that would have rent a Land Raider open with no great difficulty had not done him any greater harm than a scratch.
The only thing there was to down a Demi-God was another Demi-God.
Vulkan, Primarch of the Salamanders, hefted his hammer and stomped onward to meet his brother in battle.