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Right time to get some nice short stories on these boards. WH40K has em, why not Warhammer Fantasy?
My Challenge if you choose to accept it, is to write a short story in 45 minutes. No pre-planning, just get on your key boards and start typing.
You are allowed 15-20 minutes afterwards for editing which means grammar, spelling and making sure you have the right name for things but no substancial changes to things. Anyway below is my first contribution written in just under 45 minutes (not including editing). Some of the story disregards the more wild myths around the Shadow King but then I didn't have time to look them up. Enjoy. (feel free to comment)
Alith Ainar walked from the entrance of the palace across the royal grove. It had been too long since he had been home. He was glad that it was Yurani that had called him back and not some urgent matter of state. A chance to forget the Shadow War and the violence of Northern Nagarythe, even for a few days would be welcomed.
The midsummer air was hot, the dew had not fallen and the grass was dry but cool on his barefeet. He had exchanged his coat of fine elven mail for a simple robe and a blue mantle sat upon his shoulders. His sword Spiritbane, as always, hung by his side.
He looked like any other noble in Nagarythe. The only concession to his position as Shadow King was the simple band of silver that he wore on his brow, the fabled Crown of Shadows.
Ahead of him Yurani sat waiting, admiring a particularly elegant piece of topiary showing two serpents entwined. The innocence on her face enamoured him. The day she had arrived with her uncle from Chrace he had made his feelings clear to her. She lightened the burden of what he done. He fought for his people, for the Phoenix king and for Ulthuan, but his actions were still a burden.
“The serpants are a symbol of the Khoril family. They have been ever faithful to Nagarythe”
Yurani turned and smiled “I know. I have read the history of your lands more than once”
Alith nodded “It is a sad tale and one with little mirth to it. But also a history of courage and the final chapters have yet to be written”
Yurani rose and stepped close to the Shadow King. She lent in to kiss him. Their embrace was passionate, and there was something urgent in the way Yurani held him.
Alith pulled back after a moment. His expression was slightly bemused.
“I was always told it was the maidens of Caledor who had fire running in their veins” he said not unkindly “Why did you call me back Yurani?”.
“Alith” she said “I loved you. I want you to remember that”
“You speak as if you are leaving” he said his expression still somewhat confused.
She looked up at him sadly “It is not I who am leaving.”
Alith felt a chill run through his veins. An instant of suspicion and inspiration ran together and he grasped her arm roughly, pushing the sleeve up to the shoulder.
On the elbow joint the mark of Khaine was branded.
“When?” he said his eyes boring into hers
“Last night” she replied tears forming “They came for my uncle yesterday. They said they would kill him if I didn’t serve.”
“He’s already dead” said Althanair savagely pushing her away. He looked around, the palace buildings beyond the grove were quiet and a number of the lights that shone in the windows had gone out.
“Its too late” Yurani said collapsing to the floor “They are already here. They will have killed the guards” she was sobbing now “I’m sorry”
Alith drew spiritbane. Even before it was out of the scabbard a black dart whistled towards him. He dived to one side. And came up with his sword in a defensive position. Another bolt came towards him and he knocked it aside with a flick of his wrist.
A shadow moved to his left and his keen eyes picked out the familiar movements of a dark elf shade wielding a wicked looking dagger. He didn’t hesitate leaping towards the intruder he swung spiritbane around in a wide arc, the shade parried the blow but left his right side exposed, with blinding speed Alith drew spiritbane down through his chest. Even as the dark elf screamed in pain and crumpled Alith rolled around as two more bolts thudded into a nearby weeping willow.
He looked out across the grove and saw another assailent aiming with a repeater crossbow. In an instant Alith picked up the dead shades knife and threw the finely balanced blade across the garden. It slammed through the dark elf’s throat and he went down gurgling.
The Shadow King stood up. Yurani was lying in a broken heap on the grass. Despite her betrayal Alith felt a lump in the pit of his stomach when he saw the thin feathered dart protruding from her midriff.
He had no idea how many more dark elves had come for him. Surely more than two shades.
In the midst of the Shadow War love was a mistake. If by the grace of Asuryan he found his way out of this it would be a lesson he would well learn. Spiritbane gripped tightly Alith Ainar strode towards the silent palace.
Last edited by Visitor Q; June 2nd, 2009 at 14:35.
I see your story and raise you... another story! (Not really a raise then, is it?)
Done in roughly... 50 minutes all up, including a bit of editing and detail checking at the end. Fun!
It was a scream that woke Yeagor from his slumber, a scream of absolute terror.
He was on his feet, his war hammer in his hand before his brain had a chance to impart its years of accumulated experience on him.
Armour, Yeagor! You can't help anyone if you're dead.
Cursing now as more screams and cries drifted up to the room he had rented above the local tavern, Yeagor dragged on his mailed hauberk and tossed his surcoat over that, eschewing the belt he would usually wear as he darted to the window and flung it open.
The street below was in turmoil. It had been peaceful when he went to bed. Now, dozen-strong bands of zombies were dragging panicked villagers to the ground, tearing their lives away.
Not while I still breath they won't!
Yeagor launched himself from the window, aiming for a knot of zombies closing around a terrified villager. The cold night air woke him fully before the impact threatened to send him back in to darkness. He felt bones break and flesh split, but thankfully most of it was beneath him.
Still tangled in his hastily donned clothes and the broken limbs of several of the infernal zombies, Yeagor slung his hammer around in wide arcs as he scrambled to his feet. In moments his assailants were all dispatched; the terrified villager acknowledged him with a fearful nod and scampered away, looking for safety.
Yeagor smiled, turning to face the rotting tide that was now shambling down the street towards him. Safety was the last thing on his mind right now.
He hefted his hammer and set himself to face his foe.
Jillian awoke from another nightmare, a scream ringing in her ears. It was the same as the one before, and the one before that; Darkness. A cloying, black... nothing. And then...
… And then... Clawed, rotting hands reaching from the mist, reaching for her.
But this time the scream didn't end with the dream. There were more screams. Outside.
Cautiously, Jillian went to her window, huddling down below the sill and peering out into the night.
There was a man out there, surrounded by zombies. A Witch hunter. She had seen him in the town. She had been avoiding him like the plague.
She knew what she was. She couldn't help it, though! And she'd done nothing to incur his wrath! But... best to be on the safe side. Best to keep out of sight.
Just as she was about to withdraw to the shadow of the room, another figure caught her eye. One who was different from the zombies. Different from the witch hunter. And not unlike herself.
He was watching. Watching as his zombies shambled forth. Watching as they surrounded the Witch Hunter. Watching, knowing they would slowly wear him down.
Fear twisted her belly. What could she do? She knew she was capable of being a witch... but she'd never drawn on her power. Not knowingly or consciously.
But she couldn't just leave a man to die, could she?
Her nervous fingers twined around one another, trembling, sweaty with fear.
She couldn't help him. He would kill her, surely.
And yet the zombies would kill them all...
Before she even knew what she was doing she felt a surge of power, and a blazing bolt of energy leapt from her outstretched hand. The window before her shattered and the Necromancer whirled in surprise...
Only to catch the full force of her spell. In seconds he was a pillar of flame ten feet high, and his zombies were crumbling around him.
Jillian was no longer concerned with his fate. She looked up at the window frame, at the roof above it. It too was on fire.
And the simple dwelling she was in was already beginning to collapse.
Yeagor stared in surprise, wondering what knew witchcraft he faced. Obviously not a very clever one; they'd managed to set their own hiding place on fire.
But they had saved him, it seemed.
He moved forward once more, using his hammer to clear blazing thatch and sparking timber, to uncover the woman who had immolated the necromancer. He dragged her out of the smouldering hovel, setting her down as she coughed and spluttered for air.
When she finally caught her breath she eyed him suspiciously, “You've not killed me?”
Yeagor actually found himself laughing, “Killed you? You just went and saved my life! Why would I be killing you?”
The woman looked at him, and edge of fear creeping in to her voice, “You're a witch hunter, no?”
“Aye,” Yeagor stood, seeing fear flare in the woman's eyes. He smiled and extended his hand and noticed it dissipate, “But only the bad ones, lass. The good ones I take to Altdorf, to the Colleges of magic. So how about it, eh?”
The young woman contemplated for a moment before taking his hand, “My name's Jillian.”
Yeagor shook her hand gently, “Yeagor. A pleasure to meet you, lass.”
Good stuff. Lets see if anyone else takes up the challenge. If they do I might gather them all together to make an anthology.
Incidentally feel free to make a new thread for your story and label it [Name of Story] (The 45 Minute Challenge).
Grand idea Vis Q!
Well, I've made my contribution. I feel like it might have turned out too much like Stormbreaker's "Hammer" though. It's a short horror tale about a traveling witch hunter. There's a bit of a twist, look for it.
Now damnit- LET'S SEE SOME MORE!