Welcome to Librarium Online!
Join our community of 80,000+ members and take part in the number one resource for Warhammer and Warhammer 40K discussion!
Registering gives you full access to take part in discussions, upload pictures, contact other members and search everything!
The Beareded One
The burden of failure
Dark elf Lord Drakan paced in his high-arched hall. Occasionally throwing a paranoid look from the windows of his tower towards the city below, as though the buildings themselves spied on him. He had failed her. He had failed the supreme sorceress, in the simple task to defeat a rival noble. How could he have lost? How could he have let victory slip from his grasp. His traitorous opponent should have been the one to have lost, his opponent should have been suffering a slow painful death at the hands of the sorceress while he should have been rewarded.. now it would be him, lord Drakan of Hag Graef of the Helbane dynasty, to suffer a cruel death.
The sorceress’s agents would most likely be there soon, either to kill him or to bring him before her. He could not risk leaving his tower either and expose himself in the streets below. Death could lurk behind any corner. Drakan grabbed a crystal glass from the table and poured himself some wine to calm his nerves. The crystal reflected the ashen grey light that fell through the windows in dark purple tints. Drakan brought the liquid to his mouth to drink but stopped himself. What if his end came not by wicked blade, but by insidious poison? Drakan flung the glass away against the windowpanes and started pacing the room again in the unbroken silence, hearing naught but his own footsteps.
Drakan Helbane resolved himself to slay the inferiors that would be sent to take him away and then make his escape. Thus he could avoid pursuit for as long as possible while the sorceress would wait for her slain minions to return. Drakan halted. He noticed something, he realized something….
The glass, which he has just thrown against the window…
… he had not hear it shatter.
He threw a furtive glance over his shoulder to find the windows wide open. He was certain that they were closed a moment ago. Someone, or something must’ve entered through them.. Drakan swiftly drew his blade and looked searchingly through the room, looking behind corners and furniture for the intruder. As though trying to surprise the curtains Drakan swiftly and repeatedly stabbed into the purple fabric, only to have his strokes find the stone walls behind them.
It was then that he heard a whispering voice, as though a snake had slithered unto his back. Drakan shivered and turned around just in time to see the assassin appear from the shadows of an empty corner.. He was clad in dark shadowy clothes and had been all but invisible in the shadows. He bared a vicious dagger from which triklets of red poison dropped.
“You have failed lady Uthuri, Helbane.. “ Drakan took several steps backward, as the assassin pointed his wicked knife towards his him. “..prepare to receive your punishment, for it is decreed by Khaine!”
When the assassin spoke the deity’s name he let loose a flurry of poisoned throwing stars. Drakan barely managed to evade them as they flew past his face and impacted a shelf with trinkets behind him.
“You will not take me.. I am a Helbane!” Drakan raised his blade, “and Helbanes never lose!”
Blows were exchanged faster than the eye could see and it was as if a storm of blades raged around them. The assassin was more skilled than any opponent Drakan had ever faced, but he was not a helpless child either and managed to evade most thrusts of the poisoned dagger, but in doing so he suffered numerous cuts from the other dagger, which was sharp and cruelly barbed. The assassin was so fast that Drakan could barely keep up!
In a desperate attempt to gain the offensive he managed to grab the assassin’s hand and wrestle the poisoned dagger him, while parrying the other dagger with his own blade. He brutally stabbed his opponent in the side and when he sank to his knees in pain Drakan kicked him back. The kick sent the assassin tumbling into a table where he lay still between splintered wood and broken glass. Blood flowed from the wound and Drakan did not waste any time to make his escape.
When the assassin opened his eyes his vision was flooded with piercing red light and dark deep shadows, as he was dragged away by bloodied witch elves. He groaned in pain as he realized that the burden of failure now lay upon him, and lady Uthuri would not show him mercy either..
Let all who hear this tale remember that in the land of chill.. failure ends in death.
The Rise of Orexis Gore-Lust, Demon Prince of Slaanesh
Imperial Calendar, year 211
Snow-flecked wind howled through the wastes. The muffled thump of a thousand boots marching the only sound that echoed out of the blizzard. Out of the wind-tossed ice, the image of rank upon rank of tall, broad-shouldered warriors appeared. As an army, their dark plate armour shifted in and out of the fog, as if some malevolent aspect of the wastes.
From his post high up in the watch tower, Morsus could see the vast, menacing horde spread out over the plains. War horns rang out, and the dark elves around him hastened to don their armour and load their crossbows.
Morsus could see that the chaos force was far too large to be repelled, by now, riders would have already been sent to nearby encampments and watchtowers. The call to aid would be answered, though he doubted that it would arrive in time.
Orexis smiled to himself, revealing needle-like metallic teeth. Ahead, rising out of the blizzard was the dark elf watch tower. All over the thin structure, dark figures could be seen preparing for the battle ahead, scurrying in search of something to create some semblance of a meaningful defence.
Orexis’ men stood beside him, silent save for the occasionally soft flicker of a long tongue against cold steel. His clawed hand reached for his long, fine blade and slowly drew it from his daemon-skin scabbard, a gift from the Dark Prince himself. The curved weapon ended with a sinister hook that had tasted the blood of man, elf and beast alike. He raised his sword, and as one his men began cheering, rejoicing in the blood-letting to follow. Already, the chaos knights galloped ahead, eager to bathe in the revelry of slaughter.
A near-silent death rattle echoed out from yet another bloodied set of lips, as the razor-sharp sword bit into the elf’s flesh. Kicking the now-limp body aside, Orexis continued to climb the winding stairs on the outside of the watch tower. Trickles of blood had pooled on the steps and were now beginning to run as streams of sanguine ink. Stepping forward, a hail of bolts rained down upon Orexis’ armour, though none pierced the thick plates. Lunging forward, he caught an unsuspecting elf across the neck. Arterial blood gushed out over the stairs and over the faces of the elves standing nearby. Using his shield as a weapon, Orexis threw another of the hapless elves off the winding tower, his screams of terror fading away as he fell. Ducking beneath the swing of a long-bladed spear, Orexis stepped back. Coming at him again, the crazed elf prepared to stab at his helmet, hoping to catch the champion of chaos in the neck. Yet instead Orexis caught the blow upon his shield, swinging upwards with his sword, he tore the elf in two. Organs spilled out onto the steps and over the sides of the tower. Taking delight in viewing the elf’s interior, Orexis chuckled to himself.
Already, the tower was under their control. Only on the upper-most floors the last elves remained, still waiting to die. In less than a day, Orexis had already claimed this spire as his own, and soon the rest of his forces and those of his allies would arrive to continue his campaign against the damned dark elves. For thousands of years they had taken this land for themselves, exiled from their own home. And by the will of the gods, they would be forced to flee again while chaos grew stronger in the nightmare realm of Naggaroth. From there Ulthuan would fall, and the world would be free of the high elves meddling. Then Lustria, where the servants of the Old Ones would suffer for their resisting of chaos. And so on, until the world itself would become a realm of chaos, a gift to the dark gods from their loyal followers. But for now, Orexis would keep himself preoccupied, enjoying the bodies of those he killed.
Atop his cold-one mount, Arceil raced over the slate-covered plains. The beast was beginning to tire, but already Arceil could see the thin spire ahead. His contingent of cavalry beside him, he pulled at the reins harder in haste. He hoped that he was not too late.
Leaping from his mount, Arceil untied his halberd and shield and ran to the base of the tower. Expecting to be attacked, he paused with his weapon held at the ready. No noise could be heard from the tower. The only sign that anything was amiss was the sight of the blood upon the walls and stairs and the chaos steeds that had been left behind during the attack. Slowly, Arceil began to climb the stairs, silently, wary.
The last thing that Orexis could recall before losing consciousness was the soothing feeling of a gutted witch elf beneath him. Opening his eyes slowly, he inspected his surroundings. The only light came from a small window built into the iron door on one side of the room. The stone floor, walls and roof around him gave no clues, yet the chains and cuffs holding him to the wall did well to explain his situation. A soft, cold laughter echoed out of the shadows of his cell.
‘So, awake are we?’ A high-pitched giggle arose as a skeletal and pale elf stepped forward into the light. Scars criss-crossed its body in a lattice, and its nose, ears, lips and eyelids had all been removed. Its shaven head glistened with sweat under the dim light. It moved slowly forward and stared into Orexis’ eyes. It was clear from the cold glint in their eyes that they were kindred spirits. And they both smiled as the elf-thing began its work with blade, needle, whip and brand.
And so Slaanesh smiled, for there was indeed pleasure in pain. And a slow death is just another sensation to be experienced. Through our pleasures we triumph, failure truly does have its benefits.
Perhaps the topic was jsut more difficult this time, but I feel that for both of you, your previous stories were stronger.
TBO's 'The Burden of Failure'
What worked: I liked the ending, and how it really stuck to the theme, and added a twist. When we already know that the story will end in failure, it'ss difficult to surprise us.
What needed improvement: Need some question marks instead of periods in the first paragraph. Also, I would have liked to hear how he had 'lost' to his rival. Did they duel? Was it all political intrigue? I think what got me out of the story though, was when the assassin appeared. I jsut cannot see myself an assassin making a monologue like that before he commits the deed. Maybe once he poisons the noble and there is no way to escape death, but before they even fight seems premature. The other line that really hit me the wrong way was ' The assassin was so fast that Drakan could barely keep up!' Maybe it's just me, but I generally hate the use of exclamation marks outside of dialogue. Tell me the assassin was so swift that Drakan couldn't even see the blade. Tell me the assassin's movement's were like the wind. Don't throw an exclamation mark at it.
Cannibal God's 'The Rise of Orexis Gore-Lust, Demon Prince of Slaanesh'
What worked: you kept to the theme very well.
What needs improvement: I couldn't get into any of the characters. You said Orexis enjoyed killing more or less. So? How did it make him feel? Smiling tells me nothing. Did he feel lustful? Was killing the only thing that gave him any pleasure any more, desperate to gain some feeling? Was feeling the hto blood of his enemies like a warm blanket arond him, comforting?
Also, there were gaps in the story. Who was Arceil? Was he also the elf torturing the demon prince at the end? How was the demon prince defeated? Why was the title 'The Rise of...' when it seemed it was actually 'The Fall of...'? Each paragraph change I had to figure out where the story had jumped to, and had to figure out what all I had missed.
TBO: 3/5 for making a decent story, but one that needed some refining
Cannibal God: 2/5 for having the start of a story, but having gaps that needed to be filled
I am heading off to the Peace Corps. It is bery likely I will not be back. Good luck to all of you endeavors.
I really liekd the first entry - TBO has taken failure from a very Druchii perspective - where the failure of the lordling has been turned on its head to the failure of the assassin. Its a twist that allows one to really see teh pysche of teh Druchii - the fact that both of them have failed in their asigned tasks or endeavours and hence fear the outcome is very Dark Elf. None of this noble chance for redemption crap in DE society!!
I didn't like some of the fight sequences, and the rerpetiotion of words like shadow marred the flow, but a rousing read.
Cannibal God - your story is very descriptive, I can possibly picture some of the disturbing imagery..:-S
Orexis revelling in his "failure" was interesting, but Arceil and his cavalry force - it seems somewhat idistracting to teh story - we don't know who that Elf is, nor do we know how it sruvived the battle and subsequently subdued Orexis for its own ends..
I just wanted to follow up on my comment's for Cannibal God's story, particularly the character of Arceil. The problem I had with him was that the Arceil I pictured at the beginning ohis entrance did not seem like the same character at the end. In fact, I didn't think he was until kithre's comments. What I knew of Arceil was that he led a contignet of cold one knights, and could climb a tower (rather than take the stairs). This made me think of dashing, reckless, possibly heavily armored, noble caste, willing to put his life on the line for gain. At the end, I saw a different elf that was cold, Slaaneshi, missing facial parts, with a high-pitched giggle and enjoying torture. Although these two things are not mutually exclusive, I had two very different images. I think what could have fixed it was to give a trait to Arceil that was included in both parts. Give him the 'cold glint in his eyes' at the start, or give him the stench of a cold one at the end.
Hope this helps.
I am heading off to the Peace Corps. It is bery likely I will not be back. Good luck to all of you endeavors.
The Bearded One
If anything you seem to lean too heavily on the theme in this story... Just seems you're constantly trying to remind us what you're writing about, not letting the story do the telling. I do like the transition of failure at the end, though.
Again, I like the imagery in this entry. The cutting back and forth is alright, though it did catch me off-guard at first. I do question why Arceil is in the story, unless of course he's the one who takes the Chaos dude captive at the end... That bit's a little unclear, the only flaw to an otherwise decent effort.
I think Cannibal God has a slightly better entry than The Bearded One, at least in my eyes.
The Bearded One - 3/5
Cannibal God - 4/5
hmm... It's a tricky one to score.
The Bearded One, I liked your story, though it seemed a little short. I do think the time delay between him throwing the glass and noticing is a little off - I would've expected him to turn around almost immediately, and still find a blade at his throat. The reversal is a bit odd to me as well, it seemed like it was thrown in for some extra failure in the story. Especially since the noble had been cut by the poison dagger repeatedly - in the AoD, that's pretty much a sure-fire kill. I would've liked to see the poison being adressed later on in the story to wrap it up properly - and though I haven't counted, it looks like you have words to spare. BUT I enjoyed the story overall, so it's still a 3/5
Cannibal_God, I think you made a mistake I've seen a lot of in this competition - switching between protagonists. In a story of this length, you can create one good progtagonist, or two if the second is featured alongside the first and is introduced with him or her. In this you have Morsus, Orexis, and Aceril. You simply don't have the words to set them up as meaningful protagonists and fit in the actual story.
Also, you have five different scene changes, and an implied battle scene we missed. That's a lot of jumping between scenes, and it made it harder for me to get into the story, because I had to keep stopping and saying 'where are they now?' so I'll give it a 2/5. Not because it's bad, but because TBO's is a 3/5 and his was slightly more enjoyable for me.
This is entirely IMO, and may be completely wrong.
Daelrog, on the other hand, always speaks words of wisdom.