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Why Do We Fight?
“Why?” asked Johann as he knelt by the broken body of Walter Heinrich, “Why do we fight, Friedrik?”
Friedrik did not answer. He too was in mourning for his friend. His helmet was pulled low over his brow and his eyes were shadowed.
The three friends had known each other for as long as Friedrik could remember. They had been raised in the same town. They had all gone to work for the same company. They had all been to each other’s weddings and each one was loved like an uncle by the others’ children.
Then the ogres came over the mountains.
They came without warning, straight over the World’s Edge Mountains. They marched right down the Blue Reach, raiding farms, destroying and devouring everything in their path. The mountainguard were defending Black Fire Pass against a greenskin invasion, and so every able bodied man in Averland was called to defend Pfunzig.
When the call to war came, Friedrik, Johann and Walter signed up to do their duty to Sigmar. Each was given a rifle and a uniform. Each was proud to wear the uniform and each was proud to march up the river to stop the ogres’ advance.
And now one of them was dead, killed by an ogre on the first charge. The knights had driven the ogres off before too much damage could be done, but it was still too late for Walter. The ogres would be back. Everyone knew it. Handgunners scrambled to find more ammunition. Warpriests raised up prayers to Sigmar for both the dead and the living. Sergeants shouted for order. Friedrik and Johann heard none of this. For them the world was completely still and silent.
After what seemed an eternity, Johann stood and turned towards Friedrik.
“Why?” He asked again, his eyes brimming with tears, “Why can’t we have peace? Why do we fight?”
Friedrik pulled his helmet up so it was no longer over his face. There were no tears in his eyes. His face was set in an expression of grim determination.
“Why do we fight? Johann, you know why we fight.” He said. His face was only a few inches away from Johann’s, and his voice was barely more than a whisper. “We fight to protect our friends. We fight to protect our wives. We fight to protect our children." Tears were flowing freely down Johann’s cheeks now, but Friedrik didn’t stop.
“We fight to protect our homes. We fight to protect the widows and the orphans. We fight to protect our churches and our religion and our way of life. You ask ‘Why do we fight?’ I say ‘How can we not?’’’Johann did not stop crying, but in his mind he could see the face of his beloved wife. The image gave him strength, and when he heard the cries of “They’re coming back! The Ogres are returning” he and Friedrik shouldered their rifles and formed up with the other handgunners, never looking back at the body of their friend.
A few minutes later the ogres came into view, their imposing figures silhouetted by the setting sun. Gnobblars gibbered and swarmed around their feet, and the howling of a tyrant boomed over the rolling hills. Opposite the host was the army of the Empire. Though they were mostly made up of militia and reserves, they faced the coming battle undaunted. One block of handgunners, near the center of the line, was particularly resolute.
Friedrik and Johann stood at the front of the line with their guns at the ready. As the ogres came into range Johann heard Friedrik say something off to his left.
“Why do we fight?”
“We fight for our friends!” Responded Johann as he pulled the trigger.
The rifles all went “Crack!” and smoke filled the air. An ogre stumbled, but continued forward. Everyone rushed to reload, and Friedrik spoke again, his voice louder this time.
“Why do we fight?”
“We fight for our homes!” Was it Johann’s imagination, or had the soldier on the other side of Friedrik also responded?
“Crack!” went the rifles. More ogres stumbled, but did not fall. Friedrik was practically shouting as he poured powder into his rifle.
“Why do we fight?”
“We fight for our families!” All of the handgunners joined in and, somehow, they all knew what words to speak.
“Crack!” went the rifles. An ogre slowed, stopped, fell. Friedrik bellowed once more, and a few voices joined him.
“Why do we fight?”
“We fight for the Empire!” It seemed to Johann that the whole army had taken up the cry. Perhaps it was a coincidence, or perhaps a miracle, but each man somehow knew or guessed what the others would say.
“Crack!” went the rifles. Another ogre fell to the ground and lay motionless. Friedrik's words had taken a life of their own, and they swept across all of the men on the field.
“Why do we fight?”
“We fight for Sigmar!” Every voice was lifted up in a sort of primal human battle cry. It was the chorus of war, and it swept through the souls of the soldiers like a wildfire.
“Crack!” sang the rifles. More ogres tumbled to the earth and swaths of gnobblars were laid low, but now the enemy was so close that Johann could see their eyes clearly. As the soldiers hurried to load weapons, draw swords, and prepare for the charge, the mantra changed, evolved, became more urgent.
“What do we give Him?”
The ogres hit the line. Shots rang out all across the battlefield. An ogre swung at Johann, knocking him to the ground. Johann did not lose his rifle, however. He raised it to his eye, pulled the trigger, felt warm blood spatter over him, watched the ogre die. He tried to scramble to his feet, but another ogre stepped over the first.
“We give Him our lives!”
The last thing Johann saw before the darkness washed over him was the face of his wife.
Mynameisgrax (Ogre Kingdoms)
DINNER FOR TWO
I could barely believe it. Chef Ivins wanted our restaurant closed on the most romantic holiday in the Empire. As his head waiter, I had to protest, but he quickly cut me off.
“It’s a blasphemous holiday! In the old days, young men would spend the day dressed in animal skins, while whipped young women with goat tails!”
With several huge tips quickly disappearing from my future, I continued to argue. Under the strain, Chef Ivins finally explained why he detested that romantic holiday, making me wish I’d never asked.
A few years earlier, Chef Ivins was caught prisoner by Ogres, led by a powerful Tyrant simply named ‘Jack’. The Tyrant was less a barbarian and more a bandit king. He was bald save for a long silver beard, and curiously lacking in scars, a testament to his fighting ability. He wore fine leather clothes, and bore an oversized musket on his hip. When he spoke, his voice was booming, and shockingly eloquent,
“Prepare a feast, man-thing. I do not trust the wicked, magical cooks of my own kind, so you’ll have to do.”
Ivins knew of the danger he faced, yet the sight of the unprepared food almost destroyed him. Even years later, Ivins still couldn’t bear to describe what sort of ‘meat’ he would be preparing for the Ogres, but I could well imagine it.
At the time, he pretended it was just the meat of animals, and managed to finish the grotesque feast in time, thanks to the scampering gnoblars. To this day, he claims they were the best kitchen staff he’d ever worked with.
The Ogre village was little more than an assortment of tents, and the dining area was out in the open. Instead of one large table, it was several small ones, each set for two. The brutal Tyrant, who only moments earlier stomped several gnoblars to death for moving slowly, was now nervously pacing back and forth, and preening his beard for bone fragments.
Just as the feast was carried to the tables on massive platters, the terrifying bulls of the tribe stepped forward, each with a female companion on their arms. To put it gently, they looked a lot like a male Ogre…only more so. I’ve heard of animals where the female is larger than the male, and the Ogres were certainly no exception.
To say they were ‘fat’ is selling it far too short. They were massive, nearly to the point of being perfectly round. Their long dark hair was tied back in a tail, and each either wore a loose fitting robe.
Ivins did his best not to stare at the Ogress’ mountainous chests, which they casually rested upon the tables in front of them, landing with loud *thumps*, knocking several goblets over. If anything, their grooming and smell was worse than their male counterparts, save for the last female Ogre to approach.
She wore fine makeup, expensive jewelry, flowery perfume, and a silk dress that looked suspiciously like expensive sheets, stolen from a human bed. Her hair was finely braided and her gown was spread wide open at the top, not only to reveal her ample bosom, but also to proudly display the bright purple mark of Slaanesh upon her chest.
Jack immediately raced over to his bride, and planted a gentle kiss upon her swollen, bulbous hand. In response, the well groomed Ogress giggled softly, and began to blush.
Throughout the feast, each pair of Ogres lovingly gazed at their mates as they devoured the delicious…meat. Ivins trembled as he directed the gnoblar waiters, while telling himself that he was serving pork, chicken, and beef.
Jack playfully led a long link of grey…sausage…up to his mate’s mouth. She eagerly wolfed it down, slurping it up like spaghetti, while coyly pressing a large…drumstick…up to the Tyrant’s lips. He eagerly wolfed it down, fingers and all.
I almost pointed out to chef Ivins that drumsticks don’t have fingers, but I thought better of it.
The Ogre seemed to like the meal, but honestly seemed far more interested in their mates. Jack eventually took the initiative, and somehow managed to sweep his massive giggling bride up into his arms, and off to their tent. The other Ogres soon followed suit, leading the giantesses off to the tents, and momentarily giving chef Ivins the chance he needed to escape.
Luckily for him, the Ogres were all preoccupied, as the disgusting sounds echoing through the camp revealed, and the gnoblars were all too busy cleaning up. The only resistance Ivins encountered before his escape was an Ogre child, almost as tall and wide as himself, that snuck up and bit him.
Chef Ivins stopped telling the story to point out the deep scars on his arm, where the Ogre child got him. Thankfully, the monstrous babe only had a few teeth, otherwise I probably would’ve been looking at a stump instead of a scar.
Frightening as the story was, the want of money led me to try reasoning with the chef once more,
“But surely you can see the difference between the Ogres and ourselves?”
The chef grumbled, while looking out toward the customers,
“No, I honestly can’t. They seemed as truly and passionately in love as any human couple I’ve ever seen.”
At that moment, we both noticed a beautiful young couple in the center of our restaurant, sharing a romantic dinner by candlelight. Slowly, the dashing young man rose a juicy piece of steak up to his lover’s crimson lips.
The chef flinched as the young damsel’s teeth tore into the morsel, causing it to rip open, and dribble clear red juice down her pale chin.
Needless to say, we were closed the next day.
Voting ends in 98 hours.
Last edited by Tashin; May 4th, 2010 at 20:11.
Huh? I'm not Empire, I'm Ogre Kingdoms.
"Any job worth doing, is worth doing with a powerklaw."
A difficult one. One of the stories is from the storm of battle, passionate, driven by a speech from the heart of men. The other is comical, a tale just as apalling due to the eating of...pork, chicken and beef as it is due to the grotesque lovebirds. The imagine became so disturbingly clear I was relieved you didn't describe any of the sounds eminating from the tents.
Vendraciese swept me up with this emotional battlecry and it made me think of the space marine commander's speech in dawn of war soulstorm which was very catchy despite the bad voice acting ( it gave rise to memes like "Spess Mahreens" and "Empra's Fureh" )
In the end I've got to give it to Mynameisgrax, although by just a slight margin. I liked both, but I am a natural fan of warhammer humor.
"he claims the gnoblars were the best kitchen staff he’d ever worked with."
"A long link of grey...sausage"
"Drumsticks don't have fingers"
excellet guys, excellent.
Vendraciese: A stirring effort, to be sure. Very well written, and quite inspiring.
Mynameisgrax: Well... I like the idea behind it. I quite like the dark edge of humour within the tale. At times, the story seems a little... scattered, perhaps, is the best term my mind can conjure. Like it doesn't quite know where it's going next, or like you've had to go back and explain something from earlier on. Still quite well written, though, although I think Vendraciese may just have the edge over you (in my eyes, at least...)
Hmm, I have trouble with both of them within the setting (working for a company, or a restaraunt) but that aside, they are both decent stories.
VenDraciese- you write somber topics very well. This one is quite rousing, and is the same type of soldierly comradery that I've seen growing up around the military, and just brotherly love in general. It's moving the way that the entire doomed regiment picks up the battle-cry. It reminds me a bit of the old litany in the Armageddon book, when Black Templars first appeared though.
The story seems a little thin in places, and all together it feels short. You met the word limit, but for some reason it feels like there wasn't a lot of meat to the story. Perhaps shuffling some words around here and there would've helped you- you seemed to spend time repeating yourself.
Grax- I liked your story. I work in a gourmet restaraunt myself, and I'm about to get slaughtered with customers on mother's day. I like that you took the topic of love and downplayed it into something quite vulgar. Your story had weight and thickness to it as well. I was squirming the whole way through, thanks to the grotesque imagery of Ogres and their mates. It's not something you hear of often in fluff, if at all. The story sits oddly with me though. Maybe its the handling of the fluff, or the lack of what you'd normally expect in a warhammer yarn. I sort of see where Deadstar is coming from when he says the story seems scattered.
I think that this vote is down to academics/form vs. message/intent. That makes it hard to vote indeed, so I'm going to duck out and take the most obvious route and maintain the tie between the two of you:
Ah this is unfortunatly a tie, so it'll have to be up to me to deside who gets the win and who gets the strike. As others have said both stories are really good, and i quite enjoyed both of them - but - i must admit that im a true sucker for heroic epos, which really comes in VenDraciese's favour.
Vendraciese wins with a total of 13,01 votes against Mynameisgrax's 13 votes.