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Nob Skullbursta was angry. He got angry a lot; when squigs weren’t cooked properly and tried to eat his face, when he stepped on a grot and had to wipe it from his boot and especially when all the humies kept running off and wouldn’t come fight him. It was boring and being bored made Skullbursta angry. Except now they could have some fun!
He’d found some beakies sneaking about the camp at night and whilst several had met gory deaths on the end of a choppa, 3 had been knocked unconscious and bound by some glowing cuffs found in the meks workshop. It turned out the cuffs were charged and the boyz entertained themselves by shoving the prisoners, giving them a good shocking.
“Oi, you ladz! Bring da beakie prisoners over ‘ere. Da boss is getting restless, he’s got nuffink to fight and wants to kill sumfing bad see!”
“So?” replied one of the boyz under Skullburstas’ command
“So we’z gonna give him these weedy beakies to execute!” replied the nob.
The “weedy beakies” in question were Sergeant Sifos and the remains of his scout squad, part of the Doom Eagles 10th company. They’d been sent to eliminate the warboss Bonebreaker before the 4th company launched a full scale attack to destroy the steadily growing Wagghhh. However the mission had gone wrong from the start. Now they found themselves prisoner and powerless. It went against everything Sifos knew as a marine; he was superior to these barbaric xenos scum! He swore a vow to the Emperor to kill as many as he could when he was freed.
The harsh guttural grunt of the nob cut across his wrathful contemplations.
“I told you lot to get movin’ didn’t I? The boss wants a show and we has to set up quickly. Go on you worthless grot spawn take them to da fighty pit!”
Sergeant Sifos spat as he was lead away. His captors dragged him to a huge circular pit dug into the ground around 100 meters in diameter and brutally tossed him and his squad into it. Among much guffaws of laughter the greenskins scrambled down too and began taking up guard positions. Occasionally one would throw a punch at one of the scouts to pass the time. Sifos was proud to see not one of them so much as grunted from the vicious impacts.
Hours passed and nothing appeared to be happening. However as the twin suns began to set more greenskins began to arrive around the pit. Steadily the throng grew and grew until the horde began to spill down the sides of the great pit. Sifos realised they were stood at the foot of an arena… it seemed they were to be made sport of for the greenskins vile amusement. A grim smile spread across the sergeants’ scarred lips.
Skullbursta suddenly strode right into the middle of the pit. Immediately the arena fell silent, and Sifos could feel his heart pumping with adrenalin.
“Oi! Shut it! I gotz an announcement for yas!” the nob bellowed. “Today, we’z gonna kill some humies. But not just any humies… shiny beaky humies!”
This was met by a great roar of approval from the horde of spectators.
“So I gives ya…. WARBOSS BONEBREAKER!!!!”
Skullbursta pointed his axe at a cavern on the far side of the pit. From it came a monstrosity of greenskin, bellowing pistons and clanking machinery. Bonebreaker himself.
The great beast strode forward and began to speak. “Listen up! Because I iz so great, we’z gonna kill these humies in honour of me!” he proclaimed. “We’z gonna kill em indifferent ways too. Dat one wiv squigs, and dis one wiv boomy sticks!”
This was met with another roar from the crowd
“Dis one though…” Bonebreaker pointed at Sifos menacingly, “I iz gonna fight!”
The crowd burst into what Sifos felt must be laughter. His throat constricted in anger. How dare they mock a Doom Eagle!
“Now” shouted Bonebreaker over the laughter of the crowd. “Lets. Kill. Humies!!!”
All hell broke loose. A pack of squigs was released over Arix, the first scout. They began to rip and tear at his armour and flesh, tearing great chunks of meat from the scout with razor sharp fangs. Arix died in seconds.
The second scout had several explosive devices strapped to him. They were primitive but no doubt could go off with lethal force and as the timers began to count down in the strange Orkish font, he seemed remarkably calm. With only seconds to go his captors released him and began to flee the area. The scout meanwhile ran forward, right into the crowd of Orks who came to watch him die. The fire ball wiped out at least 20 of the brutes. Sifos was proud. The warboss found it hilarious, clapping his meaty hands with glee and chortling at the mindless destruction.
Finally the boss turned to face Sifos. With a wave, he ordered the captors to remove the cuffs binding his arms and legs together. Sifos swayed for a moment, regaining his balance and control. Anger blinded him for a brief second as thoughts of his dead squad flashed through his mind.
Bonebreaker smiled sadistically. He wouldn’t bother to move, taunting the scout. This was entertaining, it had been a while since he killed something.
Sifos charged forward, a prayer to the Emperor on his lips. The Ork braced itself, as Sifos leapt into the air and drew the combat blade his foolish captors hadn’t thought to remove from his side. The knife slashed down and embedded itself into the arm of the warboss.
Bonebreaker didn’t even notice. His arm drew back, claw opened as wide as it could go before rocketing forward right into the face of Sifos.
The crowd gave an almighty cheer as the sergeants head flew across the arena to impact on the far wall with a messy squelch. It had been a good day’s entertainment and tomorrow, they would march back to war.
Karl La Roche
Into the Fires of Battle
Pracus let his hammer fall again; he had been in the forge for the last three hours he felt at peace here. The sound of hammer on metal came from all around; the sound was music to his ears. Not only was he surrounded by his battle-brothers but the smell of a Nocturne forge was the smell of home. Pracus was one of the finest artisans the Salamanders had and as such his work was in high demand.
Pracus pounded on the newly forged blade in front of him, his biceps and shoulders bulged with the prolonged hammering. A human would never have lasted this long but six hours in the forge constantly hammering was nothing for one of the Emperor’s angels. Pracus put the blade to one side and wiped down his overly muscled torso. He strode from the forge and took in a deep breath. Pracus had been all over the known universe and even a few places that were unknown but there was no air like that of Nocturne, no air like that of home. He started to jog down the track leading away from the forge ahead of him was one of the huge sanctuary cities but this was not his destination, Pracus needed to clear his head and although he felt at peace in the forge nothing cleared his head like a good run.
He passed normal people going about their business, greeting each of them with a nod as he passed. He started to ascend onto a track that he quite frequently travelled, this was his track and he loved every inch of it. There were still small patches of snow on the ground, but the new plants and saplings were pushing their way through and now added some much needed colour the landscape. As he descended a small hill he came to the edge of a cliff where he paused to look out over the horizon, he never really appreciated the graceful power of the ocean. So much of a Salamanders life revolved around fire and heat that many forgot that water was essential to life. After admiring the beauty of the raging ocean he turned away and walked away. Slowly gaining speed Pracus emerged from a group a trees overlooking a small logging camp, he passed though the camp but everyone was either out working or inside preparing food for the hungry workers. Several hours later Pracus arrived back where he had started all those hours ago.
After having a whipping the sweat from his huge shoulders Pracus changed into a loose fitting outfit and proceeded to dismantle his bolter. He was given this bolter on his first day as a full battle-brother and it had never failed him. Sure it had been repaired a few times, the most recent was due to a gruelling duel with an Ork Warboss. Who’s massive power klaw had almost severed his bolter into two pieces. Luckily his master skills had saved his precious bolter that day.
Pracus has seen many brothers come and go many dead, some become Librarians and others Firedrakes, he had stayed with his beloved 5th company. The 5th company had been where he had started all those years ago and now it was his and he wasn’t about to let it go without a fight.
Pracus opened his eyes but he wasn’t staring at the walls of his cell, it was a blank screen. Suddenly the screen flickered on and all manner of lights sprung to life around him. Through the screen he could see the metal plating of one of the huge holds on the Vulkan’s Wrath. Two Hundred years he had been here and now once again into the fires of battle, unto the Anvil of War!
well played Heirodule! i was worried yours would be good but damn its awsome!
Karl La Roche: 3/5
Karl, I liked the focus on this one marines experinces, the peace he feels in the forge and the excitement of an upcoming battle! I just felt there wasn't enough on why he loved it, how it let him relax and how he lives amoungst the populace of Nocturne. It was almost to happy and normal for me, I guess I'm too familiar with more grim fiction, it's a nice change though
The ending climax seemed a bit odd too, Pracus declaring that he wouldn't let the 5th company go without a fight, then a call to battle. Was there a leadership challenge? Was his skill as a blacksmith contended by another? An imminent invasion perhaps? I'd like to see how this works out in a future piece!
Heirodule, once again a quality finish and true to the Orkish custom of finding some way to get more violence into their short lives! Sifos certainly seemed the tragic character, a noble warrior trying to make his death meaningful, Bonebreaker enjoying this pittiful effort very much. Good structure and pacing as well, very easy to read and grasp what was going on. I'II be looking forwards to the next one for sure!
GLORY TO THE DICE GODS!
Heirodule - Beaky Bashin’!
I guess this is fairly standard fare in terms of Orky entertainment! Decently written, but nothing that really stands out about it. I'll have to see how Karl's entry stacks up against it.
Karl La Roche - Into the Fires of Battle
Well... While I liked a few elements of this story, it didn't seem to be that cohesive overall. A bit too repetitive at the start, and while you've worked to the theme I can't help but feel you needed to be a little more creative or have a more interesting character.
I guess Heirodule might have had it a little easier this round – for Orks, fighting is their recreation, whereas for marines you have to be a little more creative. But, regardless, I feel Heirodule's was the better story of this pairing.
Heirodule – 4/5
Karl La Roche – 3/5