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VenDraciese: DwarfsBoradar Ironbrow Tells a Tale
"They don't make beardlin's like they use to," I grumble as I roll another unconscious dwarf off our table. All the other longbeards nod and take a swig from their tankards.
“They take one good knock ta the noggin and they’re out faster’n a wet fuse,” agrees Dorvak Blackspanner. Behind him a tankard-wielding dwarf is patiently pummellin’ another dwarf senseless.
“Nonsense!” Exclaims Trorborak Cogwalker, his face twistin’ into a scowl, “ ’S not them that’s getting’ weaker, it’s us that’re gettin’ tougher.”
“Ach, is the kennin’ o’ the vi’als what sooses our gaskin’, aye,” proclaims Gundar Brickbeaker. We all nod at the clear wisdom o’ his words and take another swig of ale, ignorin’ the two dwarves that crash inta the table next ta us.
“Our wisdom makes us tough, aye,” adds Dorvak, “but it’s our honour that makes us strong.”
“Hear, hear,” we all say, poundin’ our tankards on the table. We take another swig of ale for good measure as a splintered chair soars over our heads.
“Ya know,” says Torborak, wipin’ his mouth with his sleeve. “If’n other creatures had so much honour as we Dwarves do, maybe they’d be as strong as we dwarves are.” Dorvak and Gundar exchange uncertain glances, but I slam my fist on the table and agree heartily.
“Aye! It’s the truth! I fought an honourable rat down in the tunnels to Karak Ungor just last month an’ he was the toughest rat I had ever fought.” Dorvak and Gundar scoff at the idea of an honourable rat, but Torborak shushes them. Still, they look skeptical.
“Skaven aenour dinae be a-tournin. Ae dinae be’ieve it,” States Gundar. Dorvak just gives me a long hard look.It was back when you three were still on that expedition ta Mount Gunbad. I was leadin' a patrol o' the ol' grumblers. We found some o' the vermin sniffin' around the tunnels. After we killed 'em all we looked into it and it looked like the rats were gettin' ready to attack Karak Kadrin. To make a long story short, we figured out what tunnel they were goin' to attack from an' fortified it proper.
“I wouldn’t o’ believed it meself if you had told me last summer, but this clan-rat had real honour sure as you and I were born” I answer. “Let me tell you about a rat named Squikk…”
* * *We grumblers were the first ones to hear the skitterin’ horde come up the tunnel at us. Soon after, the bolt throwers started shootin.’ Apparently that didn’t deter the rats one bit, because soon we could see their eyes glitterin’ in the lamplight. We just had enough time to unlimber our shields before a chitterin’ wave o’ clan rats was upon us and we were in the fight. For a while it had a good feel to it, almost like workin’ in the smithy .You raise yer shield, then bring yer axe down, then raise yer shield again. It’s the rhythm o’ war, an’ -- in its own way -- it’s beautiful.
Suddenly I noticed the chitterin’ was growin’ in volume. I realized that they were tryin’ to chant somethin’ in Dwarven. It sounded like they were tryin’ to chant “Challenge!“ but they were too stupid to get the word or the rhythm right. In any case, I saw a tall brown rat push his way to the front o’ the line. All the other rats were gettin’ out of his way, formin’ a semicircle around me and him. I guess they had pegged me as the leader o’ the grumblers, and the rat in front o’ me was the leader o’ their group. Lookin’ at him I saw that his fur was well groomed an’ he was wearin’ a hat with a big black feather in it. He bowed low, sweepin his hat across the ground.
“Master Dwarf-thing,” he squeaked, “Squikk challenges you in the most dwarfy-honourable of traditions: A fight-fight to the death.” Then he brought his jagged sword up in a salute. I wasn’t sure what ta say ta this, so I returned his salute and stepped up ta meet him. He struck first, swingin’ his sword straight at the bridge o’ my nose. I barely brought my shield up ta block it, and I’m ashamed ta admit that the force of his blow made me stagger a bit. I didn’t expect it at all. This wasn’t just some ordinary clan-rat. He was stronger than most. Still, he wasn’t as strong as me, and I managed ta step right back up and give a nice stiff swing at his pointy face with my axe. He ducked and stepped into my guard. I caught his sword with my axe head, and for a while we stood there, both of us tryin’ to push the other away. I was just about to win when somethin’ big tackled my legs and I fell.
I thought for sure I was dead, but nothin’ attacked me as I hurried ta my feet. I saw that what had tackled me had been a big stormvermin rat, and to my amusement this little clan rat had picked the stormvermin up and seemed to be chewin’ him out for interuptin’. Lookin’ around I saw that the rest of the skaven were already in full flight. The clan-rat seemed to have realized this too because, settin’ the stormvermin down, this strange clan-rat turned ta me and gave me what could only be described as a sheepish look.I do not look down on him for goin' to the aid of clan, but I know we will meet again, an' when we do I'm goin' to teach him a thing or two about the honor o' the dwarves. In fact, I'm kind o' lookin' forward to it.
“Squikk is sorry-much. Squikk must be helping guard the horde's retreat, quick-quick. Squik will see Master Dwarf-thing again, and then we will fight-fight again. Goodbye!” And with that he was gone.
The bearded one: Skaven
A balanced engamement
Chieftain Skritik Squeektail rushed through the underway with a band of his most loyal stormvermin and clawleaders, after urgently being summoned back to the city of pillars, stronghold of the great clan Mors. In his mind he furiously tried to think of a reason for this most untimely summon, for he was about to wipe one of the beard-things fortified mine-workings off the map when the messenger came. The messenger was promptly slaughtered by Skritik after he read the message, following the old Skaven tradition of ‘killing the messenger’ , especially those who brought bad news. This vicious kill however did not in the least help to ease his mind. Many enemies had undoubtedly had their filthy paws on the message and would take advantage of Skritik’s absence to take the glory and credit of the beard-things’ demise.
“ Fool-Fools, I will learn the schemers a lesson when I return,” he murmured to himself.
Skritik abruptly stopped and held up his paw. His band of warriors halted immediately as Skritik sniffed the air. He smelled something, a dreaded scent. He wondered how it was possible here, but quickly wondered what ways there were to use it to his advantage when facing his superiors.
“What do you smell-smell, most cleverest of warlords,” the Fangleader inquired, “what things?”
Skritik turned to his subordinate. “Beard-things, I smell them, they are nearby!”
In his mind Skritik considered whether he should engage the beard-things. Taking a dwarf’s head as trophy to clan Mors would suitably impress them, yes-yes. But what of the risks? The dwarf-things battle prowess is to be feared. The balance would have to shift in his favor, preferably by having a wounded foe, or with his back towards him.
The band of rats moved stealthily through the tunnel, yet this proved to be of little use, as the Skaven stumbled upon a band of dwarfs when they turned the corner. A group of warriors, not even half the size of Skritik’s. They could take them. Skritik had his finest storm vermin with him, and he had a trick up his sleeve. Grasping his weapons tightly he bellowed at his enemies. The dwarf-things roared guttural challenges while the Skaven squeaked furiously. Skritik proudly swung his weapons through the air as he surveyed his opponents. Surely the beard-things were merely hiding their fear. Yes, the musk of fear was probably already spreading amongst them. These inferior beings would most likely scurry away because of his intimidating squeaking.
A stormvermin stepped forward in front of Skritik and wildly swung his halberd around towards the dwarfs, squeaking louder than Skritik. Skritik did not take kindly to this, because obviously this vermin was undermining his position.Perhaps he should strike the traitorous rat down, while his back was turned towards him, or maybe send him in against the beard-things first.
Amongst the dwarfs one halted the bellowing of ancestral challenges. A wicked smile formed on Skritik’s lips. The musk of fear started to overcome this dwarf. Surely he would turn tail and run any moment now. It was beyond any doubt the beard-thing’s morale would break. Yes-yes, beneath his beard the dwarf’s lips were probably shaking from fear.
The dwarf merely pulled something from his belt however. It appeared to be a pistol. Fools! Such primitive beard-thing technology is no match for Skaven-ingenuity, especially with its lack of warp stone to augment the capacity to kill. The dwarf aimed at the stormvermin and fired. The shot echoed across the tunnel, tightly packed with warriors, and both sides fell silent. The stormvermin fell to the floor and his whimpers died away quickly after.
The beard-thing put away his pistol and took his axe off his belt. It was encrusted with runes and a pulsing light came from them. A single blow would even crush the skull of a rat-ogre pr dispatch a dozen Skaven. It was the fact that this beard-thing bellowed a furious challenge towards hím that concerned Skritik. No, there is no way this dwarf would challenge him, he must’ve meant someone else. Skritik frantically looked around to the other Skaven, but these had already scuttled back several steps. He had no choice! Skritik squeaked in response and pulled out his own superior Skaven designed pistol and aimed at the dwarf steadily stepping towards him.
“Die-die, beard-thing” Skritik yelled as he pulled the trigger.
The pistol failed to fire and instead green sparks erupted from the firing mechanism, blinding Skritik. How was this possible! Skaven technology was infallible! Skritik suspected sabotage. He rubbed his aching eyes to see the dwarf nearly upon him and grabbed his blades to block his opponents first blow. This dwarf was unlike the others. He had a runic axe, better armor and his beard flowed to his knees, bound with iron rings. The dwarf was a skilled warrior. Did the dwarf-things denote stature by useless facial hair instead of true assets like cunning and treachery?
After several moments of fighting Skritik decided to play his trump card. He circled the dwarf so that the beard-thing had his back towards the other Skaven. Skritik lashed his tail on the ground twice as a signal and a black assassin leaped out between the other Skaven, thrusting two wicked daggers forward towards the dwarf. One bounced off the armor but he managed to plunge the other near the base of the neck. The dwarf groaned in pain, but swung his axe around, killing the assassin in one stroke. This couldn’t be! What amateur was this, surely clan Eshin hired him a mere nightrunner? Words would be had with them.
The dwarf had his back turned towards Skritik, and taking full advantage of the situation he hit the wounded dwarf with all his might.
“Die-die, dwarf-thing, die! Die now!” Skritik furiously screamed.
The dwarf-thing held on and with his last strength he swung around once more, knocking Skritik against the floor. The last thing Skritik saw was the runic axe descending on him.
- Voting ending in 98 hours
Last edited by Tashin; April 25th, 2010 at 19:30.
The bearded-one, you write both races very well. VenDraciese, you had me laughing. Both stories have great momentum and each had me jumping ship, that is, I couldn't make up my mind. I almost don't like the honorable skaven, but I always welcome the unexpected so I'll accept it. Why not? I am sure there's an Orc out there that would rather dance than......anyway.
Looking back at both stories, I still can't decide. Both are excellent and strike me as being like an exciting duel themselves, in the sense that they both keep swinging. I've gotta give both full marks.
The bearded one:5/5
...this is starting to be a habit?
The legions of Palos[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
They really are both lovely little stories I just watched Shrek 2 last night so can't help but feel the Skaven in "Boradar Ironbrow Tells a Tale" is like a ratty version of Puss In Boots It's good to see someone employing self referencing storytelling, it is difficult to ensure clarity in reading but I must concede you were most successful in this portrayal, the light hearted nature led to a very 'imagine this' sense of a pub tale as described.
"A Balanced Engagement" was satisfying to read and had a lot of character. It was well written and very in character all the way through, including narration which was very lighthearted and amusing Feel sorry for poor little Skritik though! :o
The bearded one:4.5/5
Fantasy: Wood Elves, Dark Elves, Beastmen and Tomb Kings.
LotR: Misty Mountains and Rohan
Ah, I hate to be the tie-breaker in this one.
VenDreciese- you're writing has impressed me since the first round. I'm not ashamed at all to have lost to you, and I was surprised that The Bearded One challenged you.
I have only one complaint with your story, from a literary standpoint, and that is the language. I understand that you were writing linguistically, much as Twain would have, but Gundar's accent is so incredibly thick compared to the other dwarves, that I can hardly understand him. I like that you repeat Gundar's comments in some form, with another more intelligible dwarf, but I also know that we are on a word contraint. I feel that with your incredible wealth of talent, you could've made better use of those words elsewhere.
It is from a fluff perspective that I find the most fault with your story. It is a great story, full of colorful language and imagery, but you have to remember that you are writing within a predetermined setting. Skaven don't wear plumed hats, nor do Dwarves find them honorable. Again, I'm not discounting your story in the least, but I think that The Bearded One carries the preexisting lore moreso than what you did.
Perhaps a bit more research next time into your opposing race? It's hypocritical of me, as I procrastinated extensively in both rounds, but I really enjoy your writing and I hope that you continue on in this contest so that I can see more of it.
That was a gutsy challenge you made, but it paid off. Of all the votes last round, VenDreciese got the most, and his score was the highest out of all the contestants.
Your story was good, I quite liked it. There were moments where I had trouble wrapping my head around the thought of a Skaven smelling dwarven fear (dwarves feel fear?) but then I remembered that Skaven are probably deluded with their own thoughts of grandeur. Yours certainly was.
Both stories made me laugh, but yours did tikcle me more. The point about killing the messenger was appropriately Skaven-y, and all I could think of whenever something in Skritik's life went wrong was the character from the Princess Bride shouting "Preposterous!"
I feel that as a teacher, but also to be fair to Ven (who I railed upon much harder than was truly warranted) I should criticize you on atleast one point. And so I shall. It's hard to correct, but your word choice seemed... off. Some of it felt simplified. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, and as I said- it can be difficult to correct. You could maybe go back through your story and read it out loud to yourself, and ask yourself how it "feels". Like I said- I have little at all to criticize with your story, and after this post, I'm actually going to return to your Round1 story to see if I had voted on it as well. I think that perhaps you had gone unnoticed.
Trust me, I'll be keeping my eye on you, haha.
I should note that my final scores are not lower than the others because I feel that you did a job any less than stellar, but instead because there has to be a clear distinction between who has come out on top. I loved both stories, but you've both still got a lot of untapped potential. So...
The Bearded One: 4.5/5
On behalf of Myself and Vendraciese; we thank you for your generous voting so far. It makes writers feel appreciated.
@CaptainSarathai: A dwarfs player always requires a worthy adversary.
And indeed it was mostly Skritik's thoughts of grandeur and his self-illusion that made such preposterous narration.
You didn't notice my first story because I haven't written one I jumped in for someone who dropped out of the fluff-war, but too late for round 1.
English is not my native tongue, so I was suprised I got to the level of talent present in this fluff war. This little writing 'handicap' might be the cause of me using some simpler wording, simply because I can't come up with any fancy words
Hmm...another tough one. Both stories were quite good. The main flaw of VenDraciese's was that the 'dwarven speak' got so thick that I had trouble understanding it. The main flaw with the bearded one's was that I felt it was very similar to existing warhammer fiction on the market, and didn't quite have enough of a voice of its own.
Still, ties are a sad thing, so I'm going to give this one to the bearded one, just for being a little more clear.
The bearded one 4.5/5
"Any job worth doing, is worth doing with a powerklaw."
I like how both stories almost went together, since VenDracieses' story had the skaven running away and The bearded one seemed to pick up as the skaven were running to something.
VenDraciese- The accent thing didnt really put me off as much when I read it the second time considering you kinda repeated it with another char. Honorable skaven seems far-fetched but not too far out there. I liked it.
The bearded one- Loved the writing from the Skavens point of view. Was amusing to read. Makes me sad the rat lost though. Should lower your score for making me sad!
Green iz da' BEST!
Orkz is made fer' two fings! Fightin', and winnin'!