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Note: this match was originally set to be against different opponents, however, TripleJ did not submit an entry, and Zond dropped the contest outright.
Cannibal_GodKithreThe Enemy Within...
The column of soldiers moved briskly through the forest. They were wary of the Great Forest, for all manner of beasts and beings touched by the corrupting power of Chaos dwelled within, and it was only the sight of the thick walls of Verfluchtstadt in the distance that calmed them. Riding at the front of the procession was the aged witch hunter, wrapped tightly in his thick, dark, robes. He had his head down, brooding. One could only imagine what dark and terrible things he was pondering. Beside him rode a young, broad-shouldered man, a twin-tailed comet tattooed upon his forehead, and a heavy hammer across his lap. Mathias looked across at the old man with concern. He had known Helmut for many years, saw him as a mentor and a friend, yet despite all his experience as a witch hunter, Mathias still worried for him. For months now, reports had come trickling in that ill deeds were taking place in Verfluchtstadt, tales of bodies being found with arcane symbols and runes carved into their flesh, with their eyes burnt out. It was clear that something evil was occurring in this quaint town, and the sinister witch hunter had been called in as soon as the snow had begun to thaw.
The shrouded figure stirred, Helmut Todgeber’s eyes rose and considered the town ahead. The dark walls rose high, and of the town, only a single tower could be seen rising above the battlements. He sighed.
“Your thoughts, young priest?”
Helmut didn’t bothering replying.
Marius looked forward again and scrutinised the thick wooden gate directly ahead of him for a moment. He looked back upon his years of training and contemplated.
“I don’t feel anything at all. Not a thing. What is it that you sense, old friend?”
“Just as much as you. Nothing. And that is indeed troublesome.” Helmut scowled, and returned to his thoughts, just as the gates began to open ominously, inviting them in.
Alfricht crept slowly down the muddy, moonlit laneway between the dilapidated buildings; his now-filthy cloak hung off his shoulders and kept him hidden in the shadows. He leant against the worn stone and peered around the corner. Up ahead stood the tower, unlike any other building in the town; for its walls were not aged, it looked as if it had been built only the day before. A faint light shone through the windows. Keeping to the shadows, Alfricht quickly moved towards the base of the tower. Leaning forward, he peered into the room. The room was only lit by candles, so Alfricht was left to discern it only by the shadows. Yet the moment he peered through the window, the candle was snuffed out, and Alfricht was left looking at the reflection of his own frightened face in pane of glass. Alfricht could feel his heart beating in his chest, his hands now sweaty. He clenched his fists tightly to stop them shaking, and for the sake of his pride. He wasn’t sure if he had been seen or not, all he knew was that he had to leave this place. He walked quickly, subtlety having been left at the window. Alfricht could almost imagine someone behind him, knife poised, ready to strike and steal his life away. And just as Alfricht was imagining this, a hand grabbed at his shoulder, and a flash of silver slit his throat. The sanguine ink poured and emptied out, the corpse known as Alfricht was roughly dragged, back towards the tower; the moon his only witness.
The witch hunter stood over the scraps of parchment before him. They were worn, the ink fading in some areas, and wax had been spilt on others. In the centre of the desk lay a large map of Verfluchtstadt and the encroaching forest, a smattering of sinister crosses marking the sites where the tortured and carved bodies had been found. Marius sat in a dark corner of the room, in silent prayer. The candlelight flickered for a moment, as the door to the room opened silently.
“Sir, a man is here to see you. Said he was sent for.”
“Then let him in.”
“He won’t give us his name, Sir.”
Helmut waved the soldier away, and if he had a response to this, it wasn’t given. A moment later, a tall man entered silently. He was tall and slender, though his steely gaze garnered underlying strength and will. His pale blonde hair, likely the outcome of purity-justified family-interbreeding, hung low. Yet, despite these traits, it was his attire that drew the most attention. His tight, leather tunic, held together with buckles and leather straps would have looked more appropriate upon a women than a man, and his footwear defied definition, by rising halfway up to his knee, held together in the manner of a corset at the sides. Whatever shock the witch hunter had, he did not display.
The man nodded.
“I do hope, witch hunter” he spat with revulsion “that this shall not take too much of my time. I have important deeds to attend to.”
“Not at all, I must only ask your permission to use your humble town as a place of safety while we must finish our, uh, work. It would be rude of me to presume your cooperation without first consulting you.”
“You brought me up here to say that! Whatever you need, you will receive while you stay in my town. Is that all? Or must I stand through further unnecessary proceedings?”
Helmut remained silent.
Stefan spat on the floor and turned to leave, he paused with his hand upon the door knob “Although, Helmut Todgeber, I must ask that no more of your men dare attempt to enter my tower. It would be unwise to continue to do so.”
He left as quietly as he had entered. Mathias reached for his hammer, just as Helmut took his pistol into his hand, and smiled.Voting begins now, and will end next Thursday (Jan 20) at 4pm GMT. Remember to give each entry a score between 1 and 5.Blood dripped from the obsidian blade, as the craven creature shrouded by un-light trailed it through the bloody ruins of the fallen soldier.
Whilst Cromech had no real need for this weakling human puppet, his strength in the dark arts was useful to him for one purpose only, for Cromech was a son of Abhorash, and touching the winds of magic was somewhat...difficult at times.
Such as this, when a hostile army lay before him, their strength augmented by the presence a distant cousin, one of the daughters of Lahmia.
A Bretonnian army from Gisoreux had been trailing the small band of Blood Dragons who had raided a nearby grail chapel, slaying the Grail Knights who had been praying there for sport. Unbeknownst to the self-righteous Knights , their lord was firmly ensnared in the clutches of one of the Lahmian sisterhood. Cromech knew that she saw the Blood Dragons as rival predators, and would not suffer them escape so easily.
"Master, the ritual begins. Prepare to bind yourself to the summoning.."
Cromech looked across the pavilion, lit only by smouldering embers from a brazier, the long shadows pierced easily by his witch-sight. His brother Blood Dragons tore open their wrists as one, pouring the precious blood of warriors into a golden chalice. Cromech nodded to each one in turn, as he supped from the goblet, feeling the strength of the never-dying coursing through his veins, warming his unbeating heart. Their allegiance in this battle was assured and his own standing was heightened. "I thank you all once more, my brothers, for joining me in this fight. Tonight is a night for ritual and sacrifice; tomorrow we shall dine on these cattle as Kings!"
The creature Zarafius, more worm than man, fawned at the side of his master, eager to partake in the dark communion. Cromech allowed him one brief sip of the vitae, the intoxication evident on the man's wizened face.
"The power, it returns to us, the winds blow strongly. Come, let us summon our servants, those who have fought here in lost ages."
Cromech raised a charred sceptre, its head blackened by lightning strikes and eldritch flames. He reluctantly handed the artefact to the human, his own powers still too weak to lead the ritual. What powers had that witch invoked?
The wizard raised it over his head, the dark winds gathering at its head, the friction with the air causing bolts of electricity to spark even within the pavilion. The blood seeped into the ground around the sacrifice, flowing like water, as the dark energies flowed into it and pooled around it. The floor of the pavilion glowed in Cromech’s eyes as the still-living blood saturated the sodden earth.
Cromech snatched the sceptre from the necromancer just as the earth started to move around the pavilion, Zarafius collapsing exhausted from the exertions of chinning so much energy.
Reciting the words he had learned in ancient Lahmia, Cromech began the invocation of Nehek, his followers joining their voices to his as the winds of magic lashed and screamed around them. As violent as the storm of magic was, it was spent quickly, the flows dissipating into the blooded earth. Dark shapes began to rise around them. A huge warrior clad in ancient mail clawed his way out of the soil before the vampire lord, dragging a massive glaive from its resting pit. The beast had once been a powerful and evil aristocrat or warlord, but would serve anyone with a strong enough will now. Outside the dread pavilion, hundreds of warriors – long-dead commoners, guards of kings wielding deadly axes, ancient horsemen on insubstantial steeds, began to array themselves, only the clattering of ancient plate or the dry creaking of ancient bones marking their presence in the dark.
“Command us, my master”
Cromech allowed a faint smile to cross his lips, the fangs showing briefly.
“The army has arrived my brothers. I believe our sister will be very much displeased at what she has observed this night…..”
Even if you are not participating in FluffWars, we all still encourage you to vote!
Cannibal God's The Enemy Within
Things I liked: The characters had some fleshing out, which made me want to learn more about them, especially Mathias for some reason. I felt the same way at the end, really wanting to see how the fight went. ALthough there was some confusion in the story, questions were answered. (Ambiguous endings are not bad, but over used. Glad you did not go for that).
Things that could be improved: The scenes did not match up. THe first scene saw a whole collumn of people marching, worried about the horrors they might face. The second saw one man who we were uncertain as who he was, or who he was with get his throat slit. The last scene was... cordial. Each alone worked, but together they had conflicting tones. I also found the scene with Alfricht confusing at first. I was too busy asking who is he?, why is he at a tower?, what is this tower?, who is he serving?, who is he spying on?, who slit his throat?. These questions were answered, but I couldn't feel the suspense at that moment with those questions. Lastly, I was uncertain on how the vampire spoke. 'Spat with revulsion' makes me think of actually spitting, not speaking.
Things I liked: Eve of battle was captured perfectly here. I also liked the minor story of who they were fighting. After all, the different vampiric bloodlines hate each other. That story added depth to the story and the characters. I also enjoyed the ritual itself, you added some details, but also gave room for us to use oru imaginations.
Things that could be improved: What is "un-light"? Moonlight, or just shadow would have been better. I also never learned anything about Cromech other than he was cranky, and was willing to admit that he needed assistance with magic. Then again, this story was more about the event than the characters, which is a valid choice.
Cannibal God: 3/5 for a good story, but one that needed more coherance
Kithre: 4/5 for hitting the theme, and making an enjoyable scene
I am heading off to the Peace Corps. It is bery likely I will not be back. Good luck to all of you endeavors.
A bit of action, but there doesn't seem to be a great deal of tention. Helmut and Marrius seem like decent characters, though, and I like the relationship you've managed to build between them in such a short piece
An interesting take on Vampires and their summoning rituals, and the rivalries between the bloodlines.
Tough to split these two. At first I favoured Cannibal_God's entry, but there were a few minor 'imperfections' (I have a pet hate for phrases being repeated too closely together, probably because it's something I catch myself doing a lot) that made me reconsider. Kithre's seems a more solid entry, overall.
Sorry about the harsh scores, but I know the standard improved over the last fluff wars so I have to leave room for higher marks!
Lol Unlight - reference to a magic item in the Vampires list, a nightshroud that coils its wearer in dark tendrils, making their form insubstantioal. Also probably been reading too much 40K as that is used in Dar Eldar reference a bit!
Cannibal_god, your story was... odd. It jumped around a lot, and was difficult to make sense of at times. I think you tried to cram too much into it and made it weaker as a result. It also missed the theme a bit, I thought. 2/5
Kithre: It was fine. Nothing particularly stood out for me, but there weren't any real flaws either. I did like the ritual though, and the first sentence was a bit... off. 3/5
The scores are low, but that's because I need to leave room for improvement. If we had half-points, I would add 1 to both of them.
EDIT: Kithre, you forgot to post scores on FW Rnd1: 8people vs. Avatar of Khaine.
This might be harsh, however I read almost the entire middle paragraph before I realized another person was the narrator, and I didn't quite get why the man had to be killed. However, you write well, and your language was easy to understand.
The three parts seem very chaotic and the middle part doesn't seem to fit in with the other two, however I think this is due to a lack of transitions in each paragraph and could easily be corrected. As a last remark, I enjoyed reading your story, I think it was good, however I see a lot of ways to improve it.
I really enjoyed reading your story. I like the descriptions of your characters, they are easy to imagine from your descriptions. I didn't get that the creature descriped in the beginning was Zarafius, untill after I had finished reading the story and had begun to rate it. I really like your descriptions, especially in the quote beneath.I can almost see it happening. Keep up the good work.Originally Posted by Kithre
That means Sir Isaac Newton is the deadliest-son-of-a-bitch in space!
Cannibal_God - 9pts
Kithre - 14pts -4 for penalties (no title, -1 each vote) 10pts
As far as writing was concerned, both of you were new faces for me. The first round matches were all randomized, and the second round will feature slightly better seeding. I did enjoy both stories, Kithre's definitely hit the topic a lot harder than Cannibal's did, and I think that it impacted Cannibal's scores by comparison. Cannibal definitely tried to fit a great deal into the story, and I think the word limit may have crept up on him a bit. Like the others though, I'm very interested in how this would play out later, as it sounds like the introduction to a 'Gotrek and Felix' novel! Well done both of you!
Ouch - harsh penalties - there will be a title next time