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Deadstar_MRC: Dark Elves
Where loyalties lie
The faltering screams of the agonised slave under the care of his sorceress brought a cruel smile to Orethan Herbore's thin lips, despite their current predicament. A mystical fog, undoubtedly magical in origin, seemed to have settled on their ship. No matter where they turned, what speed they carried, they could never see more than ten feet ahead.
His sorceress, Maitith and her able assistants were attempting to divine the source of this meddlesome mist, and the screams of the victim through which they worked their magic went a great way to lightening Orethan's mood.
“East,” Maitith flicked her tongue across blood-speckled lips, shivering in delight as her probing fingers twisted another scream from her victim. “East, as fast as you can...”
Orethan adjusted the ships course, despite a derisive scoff from the opposite rail of the ship. Darwraith, his second in command, seemed in a sour mood. Even more so than usual.
Despite the obvious dangers in doing so, Orethan decided to bait him, “Enjoying the weather, Darwraith?”
The younger elf snarled in response, “Of course I'm not! You and your tame witch have been leading us aimlessly around in this fog for hours! Your incompetence is near intolerable!”
Orethan noticed the corsairs on the deck glancing their way, some even beginning to wandering closer. Their interest in this particular argument was curious, and suspicion put an edge in to his reply, “Why, Darwraith, it sounds to me as though you think you could do better.”
The lengthy pause told Orethan all he needed to know. Darwraith wanted him dead, and it looked as though he'd talked the crew in to towing his line.
Anger twisted Orethan's lips and put fire into his words, “You maggot-ridden cur! This is my ship!”
“Only while you still draw breath, Orethan.”
“So it's come to this then, has it?” Orethan edged away from the ship's wheel, fingers already itching to close around the hilt of his blade. Darwraith was already unslinging his weapon, the heavy two-handed sword he carried on his back. He was lethal with such a weapon, far faster then he had any right to be, but Orethan knew the younger elf lacked... inventiveness...
Cocking his wrist slightly, Orethan closed his fingers around a throwing star and let fly, letting the momentum of his throw spin him forward. Darwraith was caught flat-footed, barely managing to avoid his throat being slashed by the spinning blade. His grunt as the star painted a red line across his neck was reward enough though, and Orethan savoured the sound as his blade came easily into his left hand, reversed along his arm. Still dancing forward, half-way through a spin, Orethan lifted his other hand to the hilt of his blade and homed in on the reeling usurper.
Darwraith tried to dodge but only made it so far, the wicked sabre ripping along his thigh as he rolled away. Orethan smiled as Darwratih finally found his feet and went on the offensive. While still fast, the wound to his leg and the poison introduced by the throwing star had taken their toll, and his furious blows were not so difficult to turn aside.
But he was still dangerous, still a skilled opponent. Orethan, after a slight misstep, felt the wind of a passing blade and noticed a lock of his raven hair drifting to the decks. Darwraith saw it too, and the surge of adrenalin drove him forward once more, his vicious blows now even harder to defend.
Now on the back foot and struggling to fend off his fiery opponent, Orethan decided to turn the tables. Letting Darwraith back him towards the wheel of the ship, he dodged away from a wild swing and wrenched the wheel into a rapid spin.
The groan of strained canvas, ropes and wood accompanied a heaving of the decks as the vessel lurched around, beams and sails swinging to chase the wind. Orethan took two long strides and leapt for a passing beam, snaring it easily and swinging up into the rigging. Darwraith attempted to follow, snatching at a trailing rope that flicked him off his feet.
Orethan smiled down at his opponent, raising his blade and waiting until he was swung out over the water. With a flick of his wrist, Darwraith spun away into the choppy seas, his defiant curses quickly swallowed by the waves.
With a shrug Orethan packed back along the beam and dropped onto the decks, brandishing his blade even as he set them back on course, “Anyone else?”
He was answered only by silence.
With a satisfied nod he sheathed his blade, “Right. Then let's get out of this damned fog and find something to kill!”
8people: Dark ElvesWords Said In Anger
The clicking of pointed heels echoed along the cold marble corridors of the outskirt tower of House Karathin, the whisper of nervous slaves stood in the shadows, unnerved by the woman storming through their domain. Their master owed the Coven and they had claimed the tower as a ground for experiments, the servants were understandably concerned. She moved unheeded to the apprehension, focused on her task, two ragged humans opened the door to a large circular room. Inside a woman lay languid upon a couch, surrounded by delicate meals and foreign sweets, slaves hidden in the shadows waiting nervously. She was adorned heavily with tight-fitting jewellery, decadence taking its toll upon her figure, she didn't even respond to the sounds of a rival approaching.
“Khaeryn! You foul harlot, get to your feet and face me.” Khaeryn sucked upon her fingers after swallowing a small fruit
“And who should I be standing for?” Still, she refused to face the intruder.
“My name is Saurneth, I am your successor in this place.” at once Khaeryn turned to face the woman before her
“I have sent all the reports required. You have no business to threaten me here.” she arose from the couch, the jingling sounds of many chains and pendants rattled into place over her form, settling heavily on the sparse silk draped in the name of decency. Saurneth merely smiled
“Your reports do not concern me, you are a disgrace and an embarrassment to our coven.” Unlike Khaeryn, Saurneth had silk robes covering more of her form, she had less pendants and chains about her person, but was linked and embedded within her very flesh, embedded painfully and carefully, a thick staff of dark metal in one hand, an elegant sword at her hip. Khaeryn ducked down and seized a thin silver staff from under the couch and brushed her hair aside
“You! You have not been sent by the coven!”
“Correct.” Saurneth raised a hand lazily and uttered a few sibilant syllables and drew her hand into a fist, the talisman resting around Khaeryns' neck blackened and hissed, deforming under supernatural heat and cracking into a useless lump of charring metal. Khaeryn screamed and drew back in horror
“A practitioner of Chamon? I'm meant to be the only one here!” with a snarl she drew back her hand droplets of white hot lead materialised in the air around her and shot towards the challenging sorceress, Saurneth deflected the first wave but Khaeryn was swift, another shower of hot lead struck her, leaving small circular burns on her neck and chest.
The servants had left the room in a fearful hurry, the two sorceresses screaming arcane words, channelling their fury towards one another, scattering the precious food across the chipped marble, blistering the carefully painted walls as the room heated to vicious levels with the arcane power. Saurneth ducked beside the couch as a shower of molten metal flew over her head, landing in cooled droplets and sending showers of stone chips rebounding off her cloak, a swift incantation later and the brazier behind the laughing Khaeryn exploded into liquid, coating her unprotected back. The look of shock on her opponents face was satisfying for the briefest of moments as her opponent suffered, her exultation was premature, however, rewarded by a burn of her own, her staff, the channel of her power, glowed white as it was targeted by the vehement spell. Saurneth threw it aside and drew her sword.
“Fool, Khaeryn, you may be the stronger in the art, but this leaves you weak. You are slow, your body aches and cannot hold.” Saurneth hopped over the couch, blade readied, she watched Khaeryn carefully, her pain was visible, and her rage was building. Excellent.
“What is wrong, Khaeryn? You cannot tackle me? A mere apprentice?” Khaeryn gritted her teeth
“Finish me, Khaeryn! Claim your place! The master of Chamon!” Khaeryn screamed and drew back her hand, staff raised, muscles tensed in restrained fury, Saurneth pounced like panther, blade held defensively as she weaved across the debris to the screaming sorceress, eyes half closed as she trusted her instincts and focused on the feel of the weave surrounding her. There was a tightness, a suspense ready to snap at any moment, all it would take is a slip of a tongue, the loss of composure. The weight of expectation hung in a fog around her mind, Khaeryn finished her incantation and Saurneth hesitated. The silence was deafening.
There it was, a snapping sensation and a look of horror flashed upon Khaeryns' visage the briefest glimpse into the darkest depths of chaos as it reached out into the material realm. There was a deafening crack and a flash of golden light that left Saurneth seeing sparks in her vision as she recoiled behind her blade and drew her cloak about her. She counted her breaths, waiting for the pounding in her chest to subside, listening with care to the silence about her. Nothing, until the briefest sound, a soft, wet sound, a gentle gurgle of escaping breath. Saurneth relaxed and unfurled from her awkward fighting position to her upright, prideful composure. She laced her sword back into its belt and sauntered over to her opponent. Khaeryn lay, her limbs askew, her flesh reamed and raw from the vengeance chaos drew from her skin, blood foaming from her mouth and chaos ravaged her from the inside. Her eyes full of defeat, Saurneth smiled at the ruin of her enemy,
“One thing you should know, Khaeryn. I could never have beaten you with magic. I could barely have challenged you with my blade. I am a nobody Khaeryn, yet you lost control, you are pathetic, killed by words of anger, your own.” Khaeryn choked on a scream of rage as she writhed the last moments of her life. Saurneth watched until satisfied her foe was dead, turned on her heel and left.
- Voting ending in 98 hours
Last edited by Tashin; April 25th, 2010 at 19:29.
Of the two, Deadstar_MRC's story is easier to get into and stay with it. I like the backdrop of Deadstars story better, however, the rich detail in 8people's story wants me to take my time. I like that, even though at points I feel like I fall out of the story. The ending was a nice touch in that the duel was won by means other than sword and sorcery.
This is kind of a weird contest though. Rating creativity. I think we should just say that everyone wins!
The legions of Palos[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
Nice work, 8people. I can't help but feel you know so much more about the Dark Elves than I do! A duel between sorceresses is an interesting departure from the norm, too.
Best of luck with the votes!
I agree with Palos that it isn't quite fair to vote on the stories. I would much prefer if we all wrote for entire duration of the contest, and tallied all the votes at the very end- and not just because I feel I'm going to be knocked out in this round, haha. Mostly, I find myself critiquing writers on their technical skills, rather than on their ideas.
For this reason, I am tempted to put 8People on top, because her story idea was the most innovative I've seen. However, although Deadstar's story seems more akin to something we'd read in the Armybook, his execution was better. On to critiquing I suppose:
Deadstar- the story was all there, and you executed it very well. I could easily follow the action, the dialogue, and everything. You did the one thing that I feel nobody else had the simple-mindedness to do: you recounted a fight. I shied away from focusing on the action because I already write the Arena. The others, and myself included, seem to have shied away because they felt that the audience would expect more from them. Ironically, it made your story stand out as not only interesting, but one that was enjoyable to read. Politicking and dialogue is all well and good, but it was nice to get a break and just read about somebody getting thrown off a masthead into a rolling ocean by a guy who clearly knows how to use a weapon. Well done, in your own way.
8People- Knowing a bit about your personal life (what you've shared on the forums, I'm not a stalker I promise you), made your story much more interesting. I like that it was neither magical nor physical prowess that carried the day, but rather wit and karma. As I said- Deadstar stands out for the simpleness of his story and for his ability to convey it, but you match him in all counts for your innovation. Deadstar himself pointed out that you dig much deeper into the fluff than he had, and Palos applauds your attention to detail. I agree with both of them, in addition to the things whcih I've already said.
Your downfall, and what has kept you from eding out Deadstar, is that you suffer from lack of proofreading. I'm not sure if you were rushed or what happened, but you have some snags in there where I had to go back reread the passage and make sure that I had been following "who said what" correctly. Snags like that are what I think were pulling Palos out of the story. Give it a quick reread, preferably out loud to yourself. You'll find that hearing it makes your hang-ups stand out more readily, and you can add in commas or spacing wherever you need it.
Good work to the both of you, and just like I told Palos I wasn't going to give anyone a 5/5 in this round, I have to break another intention and give you both a tie.
For Deadstar having the cajones to just "tell it like it is," and do well at it, a solid 4/5.
To 8people for her creativity and attention to detail, yet another 4/5.
Deadstar_MRC- Sometimes people forget short and sweet makes a great story, myself included. Saying that you had the who, what, where, why and how all packaged nicely and in a nice short story. Nicely done. 4.5/5.0
8people- Liked the fact that this duel was different. Nice to read a story expecting something to go one way and it goes a different path. Have to agree with the Cap'n about the proofreading. In your defense though I remember you saying you wrote this while doped up on cold medicine. 4.0/5.0
Green iz da' BEST!
Orkz is made fer' two fings! Fightin', and winnin'!
I agree that the battle was tight, but I disagree over who came out on top. Deadstar's story was good, but I think 8people's was a little better written, and significantly more innovative. In fact, I have to say that 8people's story was the best this round.
"Any job worth doing, is worth doing with a powerklaw."
Shoot! Grrrrr... I can't decide... Okay... Deep breaths.
While I decide, I agree with Palos to a point. The voting should only be there to encourage people to do their very very very best and teach them how to be better. Everyone wins! I declare it and it is so!
Okay, now on to that silly, nigh pointless activity, the voting.
Deadstar_MRC (4/5): Your sentence fluency really earns you some excellent points. Your setting is good as well. Your characterization isn't bad either, and I know it's always characterization that suffers in a short story, but 8people had just a little better characters which is why:
8people (4.5/5): Yes, I have to give the round to you. The characters and innovation really sell it. Oh, and maybe it was all in my head, but I could definitely see Drow influence in your Dark Elves. As a fan of high literature, I love seeing parallels and inter-literary connections so kudos. Your fluency isn't as good as Deadstar_MRC's, but you still get the half point.
Good job to both of you and thanks for the stories. I'm a High Elf player, and I needed this excellent look into the mind of my mortal enemy!
no wonder dark elves are top tier!
These stories are ace!
Deadstar: i love your story, you have a nice plot setup yet kept it simple.
What springs out is your writing style. This is definetly a good read at the level of black library books, i felt pure hatred against the traitor elf.. or any other elf actually..
8People: very good writing
the fight is well displayed and i have a good view of the sorcerers, in fact i think none has given us such a good description of thecharacters as you did. And i have no doubt Saurneth is hot :p
Im not sure why saurneth suddenly is in a hurry to kill Khaeriyn though. that bothers me. good story, but i fear deadstar was just slightly better :o
Deadstar 5 / 5
8People 4,5 / 5
Warchief Diggah o da Bloodmoon Squiggahs
8 people 4.5/5
Always was a sucker for a clever wizards duel. Very reminecsant of the battle of the colleges of magic in the empire, guile carries the day over power.
Yet another close close matchup, Deadstar_MRC managed to score 31,5 point, but with a massive 32,5 points 8people wins this match.