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Dawn of Thunders - Rising Leviathan
The grim face of Surinvai Arrowcatcher left no doubt in the hearts of his men, and his rallying call turned their burning desire to crush their foes to a channel of power running through them. Swords glittered and arrows darkened the skies as the dwarven throng slowly advanced, cutting down every elf in it’s path. Though the elves fought with the bitterness and cunning of their race, the dwarf’s host dwarfed the elves’ manyfold.
In the midst of battle the Captain of the elves lead his brave companions in a desperate charge to secure ground for the defenders. Whirling blades from sword and axe alike threatened to harm the brave warrior, but in his magnificent armour of ages long gone no blow could harm him. One by one, his fellow elves fell to the dwarfs’ sharp axes and many an elf had the horror of hearing a slight thump as their last sound, as the bolts of the dwarfs pierced their armour.
”My Captain! The short ones are setting up some sort of barricades right outside our walls! They seem to be preparing some sort of ranged attack, Sir, but none on our side are brave enough to guess what sort of device can get to us at that distance. Orders, Sir?”
Surinvai parried an axe from an expected angle and dogded another before spitting his reply.
”Tell the men to withdraw to within the walls! We shall meet them with our own range!”
The elves slowly began to move, as one individual, towards the nearest gate, and as the gates opened without a sound, the dwarfs ordered a charge against the retreating elves. Axes were thrown as soon as the first elves turned their back to the short ones.
Enraged by the cowardly act of slaughtering his kin while their backs were turned, Surinvai turned to face the beardlings and charged headlong into their ranks, only dodging an axe by an inch. His warriors kept withdrawing as his commands were, and though a huge number of dwarfs now lay at his feet, Surinvai felt his strength dwindling. Three of the shortlings charged him at the same time and dragged him to the ground, axes and daggers in hand ready to finish him of. Their eyes glowed with hatred and grudges for their fallen brothers, grime covered their faces and Surinval thought they looked evil in the awkard light.
The sounds of battle disappeared completely for a second, and a loud, flapping sound caught Surinval’s ear. Majesticly, a huge creature descended on the surrounding dwarfs and as if summer had turned to winter in a matter of seconds, the beardlings froze on the spot. The tall elf on top of the eagle waved his staff at the dwarfs and unleashed a shock wave that tore at them and pushed to the ground. A clearing appeared around Surinval and the mage signalled him to mount the eagle that recklessly tore at the short ones and howled its curses at them. Surinval had never before mounted such a creature, but his fear quickly turned to gratefulness towards the creature and its master who had rescued him. Feathers loosened as he climbed on top of the eagle, and it took his full effort to hold on tight as it ascended. Bolts from crossbows almost pierced the eagles wing, butt he bond between beast and master was that of magic, and together they avoided every single bolt. The mage wrought death from above at the unsuspecting dwarfs, but eventually they returned to the walls of the castle.
”Someone give me a report!”
Surinval sounded more harsh than he wanted to, but to his surprise a young elf stepped up and said:
”Sire, the grudgers have brought with them some sort of machine. They expect it to blow up our defences and storm the castle.”
”I would like to see the device with the power to do so,” Urinval laughed, but as he did, a thundrous sound echoed through the air and the ground beneath him trembled and cast him off his feet. As he regained his balance and sprinted to the walls, a horryfying view met him. Hundreds of elves, massacred by a single, powerful blow that left the walls shattered and unstable. He picked up a horn shaped as a dragon’s claw on the ground, but the yet again the ground trembled and he found himself on the ground. Walls built eons ago collapsed in front of him, and the warhost that caught is eye on the other side brandished their axes before charging at him. Surinval had but one last duty, and he raised the horn to his lips. The pure sound echoed through the stone itself, and he threw back his head.
”FLEE! FLEE! FLEE!”
The Challenge - Sigelus
Gunnard the Master Engineer, looked out over the crenellations at the top of the watch tower. Dawn was rising on this crisp spring morning without a cloud in the sky. He was unable to sleep the night before due to the noise of the enemy, who had arrived late afternoon yesterday and were busy setting up a siege. It was unlike Elves to resort to a siege, but then Gunnard’s expedition had captured their commander to answer a list of grudges against his long dead great grandfather.
The camp was a dwarven mining camp set up in the foothills of the Grey Mountains and was used to being regularly besieged by the Grobi. Gunnard was confident that they could hold out until reinforcements arrived. He knew they were being chased by the Elven force when he sent the Gyrocopter off to get help.
Raising his telescope to his eye Gunnard surveyed the besieging force for any sign of weakness in case he could sally out disrupting their preparations. Noticing a spot in his field of vision he cleaned his lens. Looking through the telescope again it was still there only slightly bigger. Gunnard’s jaw dropped as he focused on the horizon where it seeming to be floating. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes he looked again.
“Sarath, Gort, come here quick,” roared Gunnard as leant over the parapet and beckoned the slayer and rune smith to join him on top of the tower. “To arms everyone!”
“Load the bolt and prepare for battle,” he ordered as he turned to the Dwarfs who were cleaning their bolt thrower, which they had brought to the top of the tower the previous night.
“What is it?” asked Gort who had bounded effortlessly to the top of the tower. The orange Mohican of the experienced slayer was a vivid contrast to the blue tattoos that covered every visible part of his body.
“By Grungni, it’s a Dragon!” exclaimed Gunnard dragging his mottled white, grey and black beard on the tower floor.
“May I see?” asked Sarath holding his hand out for Gunnard’s telescope, now that he had arrived. Holding the telescope to his remaining good eye Sarath could see that it would not be long before the dragon arrived.
“It looks like it’s ridden by a fire mage.” Sarath informed his companions. “They like to get close up and cast their wild fire magic at anyone brave enough to stay near a dragon. They are easy to antagonise though.”
Gunnard’s voice lightened a little as his mood lifted with an outline of a plan forming in his mind. “This is what we are going to do .....”
The High Elves stayed out of range from the weapons in the camp as they were in no mood for being shot at and they were certain that their commander was still alive. Dwarfs were so predictable, they would want to hold a show trial for someone so important. Well they’d at least read out the list of grudges in the halls of Karak Norn before they pronounced judgement on him.
There was no way out of the camp without besieging sentries noticing. Any force that charged out from the main entrance would be cut down by the eagle headed repeater bolt throwers set up to strengthen the elven line. There were shadow warriors keeping watch in the woods behind the camp in case the Dwarfs tried to sneak their captive out the back under the cover of night. The Ellyrian Reavers and Dragon Princes patrolled the surrounding area what with cavalry being useless in the immediate vicinity a siege.
Stauros was a young proud dragon mage dressed in bright red robes, who impetuous as he was did not want to hurt the Elven captives in the camp. Arriving at the siege he decided to fly over the camp to locate the enemies prisoners. He would then report back with this information to the besieging force commander. As he urged Rathik, his blue scaled ancient dragon onwards Stauros noticed a flash of sunlight reflecting off something on top of the camp tower.
Rathik rolled to one side allowing the bolt to pass over his right wing. The bolt was so close that despite the speed they were travelling at Stauros could feel the disturbed air in the wake of the heavy tipped bolt. As it passed he picked up on the tang of magic residue in the metal of the weapon. This was a challenge that he could not ignore and he prepared to cast a fearsome ball of fire at the tower. After that he would create a flaming sword to strike any Dwarfs that survived the melting flames breathed by Rathik on their final approach.
Sarath stood in the corner of the tower top so that he could see the approaching dragon. He held his rune stave held firmly in his hand ready to use its power to counter any spells that would inevitably come their way. He had lost one of his eyes to a spell from an elven mage and had no plans to get hurt by one again. He heard Gunnard venomously mutter something under his breath as the bolt sailed past its target.
The crew worked fast to reload while Gunnard recalculated the required trajectory for his next shot. Gort lovingly held his ornate rune carved, gromril axe and it appeared to all around him that he was talking to it. He was crouching low behind the parapet ready to leap up and strike the dragon as it passed over should Gunnard’s next shot miss. The runes on the axe head began to glow as Gort traced his thick fingers over them.
Gunnard nodded to Gort as he took aim. Taking his cue Gort turned and tensed his stout muscular body. These three heroes would stop this dragon or die trying.
“Fire!” cried Gunnard, and the rest lives on in the Book of Grudges.
Both stories are very interesting, and also both seem to take up the losing side of the battle. Rising Leviathan had more action, but it seemed weird to say 'no one is brave enough to charge'. It's true, but I can't see soldiers ever admitting it, especially the proud elves. Sigelus lacked action, stopping just before the battle started, but the final line is one of the best this round.
I have to narrowly give this one to Rising Leviathan.
Rising Leviathan 4.5/5
Last edited by mynameisgrax; April 15th, 2010 at 14:24.
"Any job worth doing, is worth doing with a powerklaw."
Rising Leviathan I really liked your story. The eagle was a good surprise too.
I did not feel that I could do a siege justice in 1000 words so I went for setting the scene rather than action, and then Butch and Sundance took over at the end - am I showing my age now?
"The nature of Mon Keigh was irrepressible!"
Dawn of Thunders - Rising Leviathan
Seems to capture the hopelessness of battle rather well - I really though Surinvai was going to cop it there, for a second.
The Challenge - Sigelus
While still a decent effort, I don't quite think it holds up against Rising Leviathan's. And I know the end feels very clipped because of the word limit but it still just doesn't sit right with me.
Rising Leviathan - 4/5
Sigelus - 3/5
You aren't showing your age, Butch and Sundance is a classic (sorry if this makes you feel old, old friend haha). I love the ending of that movie, if that is indeed what you are trying to capture.
You do a good job painting the scene and also using the more obscure Dwarf lingo, but I have to agree with Deadstar that it does seem quite clipped. I also chalk that up to the word limit, but we've all got to make do.
I don't know if it's an advantage or a disadvantage that I'm familiar with your work in the arena, but the stuff that you've written for Algrim makes this look like a bit of an off day. Fortunately, no matter what, we'll all get a second chance to write some more.
You and I both play Elves, and you write us in the losing role! Haha.
Well, you do a good job covering a flow of events. When I write battles, I've always tried to keep them confused and choppy, but yours flows smoothly and makes for a light read (good when I've read through about 5 stories tonight).
I will point out that you seem to have "written-in excuses" for things. The statement about 'nobody being brave enough to guess what it is' would be one. It's sort of copping out- saying "I didn't want to look up any dwarven siege tech, so I eluded to a mystery weapon". Don't cheat us like that. Dwarves have access to cannons, so at the very least it could have been a 'great-cannon' or you could have described some kind of weird contraption. I had no idea that a stream-drill was man-portable when I wrote for it in my arena, I made it some hulking machine. However, if you don't know what it is, assume that the rest of us don't either, and use that as your chance to B.S whatever you want. It is your story after all- if the dwarves have a giant gremlin with a breath attack... we may not agree, but if you say it, it must be true.
Ditto the magic bond between the eagle and rider- that would've been a great chance for some suspense or action. Maybe the rider had been struck, and it was with his dying breath that he sounded the trumpet to retreat. Or perhaps the pair managed to dodge out of the way. 1000 words keeps a cap on these things, but try to break up the story with highlighted action whenever you can.
That's quite a nitpicking from me though. You did do a good job capturing a truly flowing battle, with characters moving across your landscape. That is what I feel edges you out over Sigelus on this occasion.
It's not bad for a first time out. I'll let you both in on a secret though: action and battle sequences eat up words. That's why a lot of books have peaceful lulls in one character's fight, during which the rest of the battle is alluded to.
Sigelus: Thanks alot! I really liked your story too, infact, I think our stories could be seen as quite alike
Just one note on the comments: My story is supposed to describe the Elves' first encounter with cannons, sorry if this didn't reach out.
5000p. High Elves
Oooh... Hard choice.
Rising Leviathan (4/5): Knowing that you were trying to describe the unveiling of the cannon really bumped up your score for me, but I would have liked it even better if you had described it, mentioned that this is a much earlier battle in the Warhammer world, etc. Also, I couldn't tell that you were writing about High Elves until reading Sigelus story. Since I play high elves, I love reading about them, and if I had been able to say "Oh, these aren't Wood Elves" My natural prejudice against Dwarves would have brought you to the top. I liked your combat-prose. It was easy to follow and its smooth style turned the clash of battle into the tide of battle. Tragic heroes are great too. Good job.
Sigelus (4.5/5): Once again, I love the writing style. Also, I like the fact that you focused more on a few characters and less on the whole army. You also captured the attitude of both Dwarves and Dragon Mages perfectly. Telling the story from both sides was a little jarring at first, but I came to like it. The balance of (impending) action and calm also was really nice to read when all the stories I've read have been polarized between the two. Yes, the end seemed a little clipped, but I think you dealt with it with a very good line.
Good job to both of you.
Rising Leviathan brings it home by 2:
Rising Leviathan - 15.5/20
Sigelus - 13.5/20