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Siege of the Heart - Palos
Across these walls of blue painted brick where twenty men can walk abreast my son raced his chariot when he was young and living. Each year since his death he’s re-enacted this ritual with living slaves my priests gather. He’d been jubilant when Mur accepted his hand, a princess from the Kingdom-on-the-Water, but death took his chance and she shunned his love from beyond.
My city, Luxor. The past three days its sky’s been black with smoke and arrows. A broken brass wheel bounces before me as I don ancient armor of jade and lapis lazuli. Mur’s brought her wrath on the tips of one thousand quivering spears. Skulls gathered from our distant burial mounds came whirling, bound in burning blue heaps and screaming as they crashed through white painted walls shattering murals and serenity. Arrows hissing like vipers and the dust clouds of chariots, banners of Sacred Mother fluttering, tatters re-woven, dyed like the sands before dusk, gold and red. Met’he’hemnet, my third son, took the wall above the Sphinx-gate.
“Mur. Whore. Think we shall yield to you?”
When Luxor fell to the curse of Nagash that roared like the
Million-Winds my sixteen sons were traveling west to the Kingdom-of-the-Water to offer treasures to Murs father and take the princess herself. It was thus that the
Kingdom-of-the-Water blamed Luxor for carrying the curse on its princes wings. Met’he’hemnet and his brothers, for their part, didn’t realize they’d died, nor did Mur when she met them centuries after they began their journey realize that her flesh was no longer part of her. She cursed his name.
“Met’he’hemnet. You and your brothers brought the death touch of Elkenah, your fathers’ high-priest. I vow to deal the same unto you and your people. See the bones beneath you? Fine mares befitting a prince of the dead.” The brothers were shaken from their stupor of death and if Met’he’hemnet could have made tears than surely a river would have borne he and his brothers back to Luxor. As it was the prince pleaded.
“My love, we’re the same. Flesh has fled yet our bones may mingle on hot desert sands. The sun may still lift our dreams unto the altar of the Sky-gods.”
“The same? Fool, life and death meet but once, across the deep black rivers of forgotten names. We’ll never be. I swear.” Than Mur saw the sixteen princes of Luxor, her dead fiancé among them pointing to waters that crashed against her island city. Her corpse too danced over the waves. She saw the dust and ruin all around her. Cracked and broken towers, blackened streets where fires suddenly untended raged long ago. She watched her love disappear into fading lines across the horizon and although it would become known that a spiteful wizard, Nagash, was harbinger of these dead kingdoms beneath us, Mur and her people thrust their hatred at Luxor. Sometimes people just need an idol to hate.
Three days ago my son raised his chariot to the wall and lashed the slaves who had helped behind it. The messengers he calls them. Selecting the most voluptuous of the women and draping her in flowers and gold he blows his trumpet as his steeds give a pantomime cry. He rockets along the battlements. Chains and ropes that bound the slaves soon clank and spark, stroking and whipping the stones in bloody trails of flesh that become smears after his dozens of circuits. Finally, at the height of his fury, always above the Spinx-gate from where he would watch Murs caravans approach when yet they lived he will settle. The carrion birds of our dead lands gather to feast when quiet has come and while at first my sons final proclamation would drive them away a moment, after decades they are use to the spectacle, never flying when he shouts and throws the woman, dead, from the walls.
“My answer to your acquiesce. My heart wasn’t true. I forsake, break the hand, piss on love asked of you!”
Kids. Elementary rhyme schemes and shaky logic. Roughly every three years for the past three hundred Mur has come with soldiers and priests to lay siege to Luxor. From what Elkenah says, rituals of resurrection takes that long for the number of soldiers she brings. Her parents never journeyed to this side, death by curse, far from home. Lost to time. I’ve tolerated these affronts because the damage is superficial and while dead men tell no tales, they are easy to repair for priests of Luxor. Today strikes me differently though with siege and ritual chancing to meet. My son, this girl; children. Babes. Dead babes yes, but babes backed by nations. I’ve been a horrible father.
Met’he’hemnet thunders over the sands crashing through ranks of frail bone. His ex-lover wheels towards his chariot whip raised, its many tails flashing with glaring light. An angry star whizzing through the day.
“Elkenah.” Rubies and dust, a sandstorm whirls open to reveal my highpriest. “Let’s end this.” He claps his cloak around us. We sail as a storm towards Mur sword out as we land and I cry. “My son or you, forgive me Mur I tire of games.” Dry snap. Her head in my hand. A heavy weight that my will bound with Elkenahs brushes aside. Clouds of locusts swarm from his hand leaping, over the plain, mandibles as hard as brass taking preserved hearts from rival priests, barbed legs prying open canopic jars to feast. Men once killed, killed again, fall, finally able to cross the river. I hand the head of Mur to Met’he’hemnet who’s toppled out of his warmachine sitting in the smoking sands.
“The dead can be shocked Palos.” Elkenah nods at my son. “She can be re-made.”
“If you take that course my son, I declare that you shall be delivered unto your love to give you her second chance.” I laugh, surprised I remember how, “Perhaps you’ll win her heart again.”
The Wheel Of Fortune - 8people
The king sat upon his wooden throne in the flickering light of torches held at a modest distance by skeletal servants, delicate linen resting on the thin frames of once feminine forms. A hunched figure leaning heavily upon a staff stood before the king, a man resting within formless armour and loose-fitting jewellery with a voice carrying the weight of darkness and eternity, he was Khaldun, the Eternal King.
“Priest, raise the rest of my army from my tomb. I sent my cavalry to patrol the city limits, there is a force approaching.” the priest bowed before his master
“Of course, my king, might I ask if you recognised this force?” the king shook his head
“I do not, now go, we have no time to waste.” The priest bowed and backed out of the throne-room, a smile playing upon his desiccated features as he stalked off into the dark corridors to prepare for the ritual.
“Master Hashaptra, they will not arrive in time.”
“Be still, my apprentice.” a taller man stood behind the old priest, his skin dark, pinched from centuries of stolen life, yet a touch of youth still remained upon him, he was not as withered as the priest clinging to the staff, trapped in eternal apprenticeship.
“Tumaini I am tired of your protests. Go and prepare yourself for the oncoming battle.”
A deafening crash turned both priests away from their private bickering up to the battlements where the king was roaring in fury at an amassing swathe of boned warriors teeming into the streets of the city.
“Who dares! Priest! Where is my army!” His rage shook the dust from every stone and at his will the force of warriors he had brought with him as he awoke lined the battlements of the palace, some readied bows while other started hauling broken rock and old furniture to barricade the gates. Sounds of arrows finding home caused the still night air to be filled with the sounds of dry crunching of bone as wooden shafts pierced skulls and unfeeling comrades traipsed over fallen bones. Tumaini join the archers on the walls calling upon incantations to assist the archers and take out masses of skeletons with a few placed words and gestures. Khaldun marched behind the lines screaming curses at the mass below and forcing the archers to fire volley after volley in a relentless swarm of bronze tipped reeds, blotting out the light of Neru as she watched over the clumsy battle below. The giant monstrosity steadily getting closer and closer to palace, enraging the king to greater heights of blasphemous insults that drove the priest nearly to distraction with his colourful array of language. The king turned to him, grabbing his black robes and pulling him close to his bleached skull.
“Where is the priest? Where is the priest that awoke my army?”
“Master Hashaptra? My king, I do not know! He was on the balcony raising your army.”
“Hashaptra? That was Hashaptra?” The king threw Tumaini away, disgusted, and continued cursing at his unhearing men.
A horn blasted pierced the air, Tumaini and King Khuldun approached the sound, there was a chariot below, another king bedecked in elaborate jewellery with a long, straight edged blade stood below, a large priest at his side – a man whose remaining skin was folded and rippled indicating in life his girth must have been impressive to behold.
“Who are you that attacks me in my city?” Khaldun roared to the relaxed triage below. A dusty laugh from the relaxed figure accentuated the pauses between banging bone and cracking wood.
“I am King Sefu-Hakhamn, ruler of this city for one hundred and thirteen years.” their was a pause as the besieged king considered his position.
“You may have ruled long, Sefu-Hakhamn, but I arrived here first! This is MY city once more!”
“Perhaps, but how will you hold your palace, with no army?” Tumaini and Khaldun both became aware of the stunning silence between piercing blows echoing in the empty palace and city below. Reinforcements from Khalduns' tomb should have arrived by now and the archers had been silent since the light of dawn. A dry laugh emerged from nearby. Silently Khaldun turned and thrust his blade into the shadow
“You have taken enough from me, priest.” he stepped away silently and disappeared to the throne-room unaccompanied. Tumaini ran to his master, clotted, black ichor oozing along the palace flagstones, his frail form still laughing hoarsely.
“Why, Master?” Hashaptra handed over his staff to Tumaini
“I was but a boy when Khaldun was alive. An initiate in the mortuary cult. I sabotaged the burial of his father, his sons, his daughter.” he shook his head, triumph in his eyes “They could never rise. They will never know eternal life.”
“What did Khaldun do to deserve such a thing?”
“My family died to build his tomb. I would not see the satisfaction of them to live forever – together- while such was denied to me.” the frail body in Tumainis' arms began to crumble, the last remnants of life exited his body and he crumbled into blackened dust and tar.
Tumaini and King Khaldun wandered the necropolis, the palace had been lost, the city was secured hours after the betrayer died. Tumaini stopped and listened.
“This way, my king.” the King followed his new high priest in winding alleyways until the chanting could be heard clearly, the King tensed and hissed as his sight settled upon the priest he had seen with Sefu-Hakhamn
“The tables have turned, priest.” he gripped his blade and leapt at the offending liche who fell with little resistance to the king's fury. Tumaini began to chant into the night, the clatter of bones echoed on stone as the army of Khaldun marched as one to fight to reclaim their city.
Commas, Palos, COMMAS! I feel he had the superior story, with nice characters and dialog, but there's barely a single comma anywhere, especially within the the beginning of the story, and it makes it difficult to read.
8people's story seemed a little jumbled, and seemed to lack emotion. Nice use of conversations, but without knowing what the characters are thinking, it feels a little dry.
Palos takes this one, despite the lack of commas.
"Any job worth doing, is worth doing with a powerklaw."
Siege of the Heart - Palos
I quite like the idea behind this story. The style is interesting but I found it somewhat confusing at times.
The Wheel Of Fortune - 8people
A solidly constructed story, but for some reason it doesn't do much for me. It's well written, just... not all that engaging.
Palos - 4/5
8people - 3/5
I like the story. I also really like the writing style, its almost like reading shakespeare xD
Was a bit turned off about the incomplete lines, my suggestion would be:
keep writing like this, but don't use internet slang (we're = we are don't = do not) It will make your story look awesome
Let's see, we have Tumaini, Khaldun, Hashaptra Khuldun and sefu hakham. Dont ever spell names wrong again it confused the heck out of me! >.<
I had to read it twice (yer im slow) to get who were in league with who.
Great start, i think you translated the scene very nicely, but later on that was lost.
The plot was brilliant. If every tomb king rises, then they will all be 'rightfull' rulers of the same place... *ponders a bit about the fate of tomb king ism*
writing of palos was cool, 8 people has cooler story
Warchief Diggah o da Bloodmoon Squiggahs
Palos wins by a nose:
Palos - 11.5/15
8people - 10/15