At What Price? - Warhammer 40K Fantasy

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Thread: At What Price?

  1. #1
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    At What Price?

    ---- What follows here is my first draft of this work, and is a stand alone short story. It is my first bit of 40K I ever wrote, although I have written a lot of fantasy (non-GW genra) type writings. I am most interested in any criticism or advice, as i'm sure I flubbed up somewhere. Please note, this piece was written really late in the night/morning, so there are likely repeated word choices and poor use of grammar, which I would appreciate pointed out!!---

    Within the raging battle, the men of the 2nd Aldan Assault Squad were horribly outnumbered. Gouts of flame flew from the soot covered tips of the flamer barrels of the twin brothers, Castor and Pollux. Bolt pistols barked and spat flames, spent shells pinging from the massive Astarte’s forms. Above it all soared the First Chaplain Antonius, armored in the darkest of black armored, his helm an ancient relic of the crusades, shaped in the figure of a leering skull. His own pistol spat blue-white bolts of plasma, each beam leaving behind a burning after image of a needle thin purple line in the air.

    With a roar, the nearby tank of the Chaos Marines fired all guns at once, all but a single heavy bolter shell dodged by the infuriated warrior-priest. Spewing smoke and roaring curses, Antonius began to plummet to the ground, struggling to aim himself in a suicidal dive, aimed straight at the massive predator.

    A roar and flare of heat, followed by simultaneous explosions, rent the air as a matte black and silver drop pod slammed into the ground. Amber warning runes flashed on the door frame, and within a blood curling scream echoed, and a towering figure charged out. Armored in ancient armor, he was a towering avatar of frenzied fury.

    A blazing sword was in his hands, runes from a lost language of man before the horrors of the Dark Age of Technology flowing across it’s blade, and an austere and plain bolt pistol roared in his hand, each shot piercing the crested helms of the hollow automatons of the Thousands Sons legion.

    The figure, it’s MK IV armor carved with motifs of lightning and winged skulls aglow with pearlescent warp energy, stopped next to the ailing assault squad, hauling Sergeant Dorian up by the built in helmet seal of his power armor, the fallen marines plate whining as broken servos strained to support his bulk, the left side of the armor largely ripped off in a duel with the slain sorcerer he had lain on top of. Setting the half-stunned marine onto his feet, the warrior pressed into his grip the very bolt pistol he had borne and, gripping his shimmering sword two-handed, charged onwards, hewing the relentless armored forms down.

    “Lidas, this is Dorian. Get to the south ridge now! Remus has been unleashed! I repeat Remus is charging the enemy advance alone! We need your devastators to the fore.”

    With that specific vox, Dorian reached up to the bead like transmitter on his neck seal and pressed the emergency transmitter, the tiny stud glowing red as it relayed an immediate emergency assistance signal. Relief flooded over him as the contrails of four separate missiles streaked forth from a hill nearby.

    Standing upon the rise, the ponderously armored devastators of Lidas’ 6th Idolan Heavy Support squad had trained their targeters and opened fire, bolters pouring round after round into the advancing horde of their heedless traitor brethren. Lidas stood in their midst, firing his bolt pistol with a steady, almost casual malice, each shot destroying a marine in a shower of sparks and splintered plasteel.

    The relief in Dorians veins froze as he heard the rumbling creak of treads, and cresting the rise came a massive land raider of ancient design. It’s sponsons hurled deadly beams of energy, and all it trained its guns on was no more. Checking the clip, and slamming a new one home, Dorian raised his massive left hand in the air, the fist crackling into blazing light as he assembled his assault squad, preparing for their final stand.

    But from under a pile of heaped corpses thrust a blazing bar of light, and a roar rent the air as bodies flew in all directions, flung into the air by a sudden wall of pure psychic power. Traitors and Loyalist alike were slammed back or simply destroyed, their bodies not even leaving ash behind as the wave suddenly expanded again, then contracted in a horrendous pinpoint of light that lanced out into the lumbering chaos land raider. Massive explosions ripped apart the thick armor plates of the tank, flinging massive plasteel and ceramite plates at the surrounding infantry.

    The reactors powering the lascannons of the tank, suddenly overcharged and overheated, detonated seconds after the hull was rent apart, spewing white hot flames and metal into the air. But forth from the smoke came striding a squad of terminators.

    Twisted and defiled beyond belief, their massive armored bulk was covered in wriggling runes of the foul powers of Chaos, each bearing the twisted mark of the Changer of Ways, Tzeenetch, in a stylized pendant hanging about their neck. Combi-bolters chattered and flared, as the lumbering squad hacked and smashed it way through the pitiful remnants of Dorians squads, Dorian himself was shot to bits, a near shredded pulp, gurgling something into the vox.

    In the midst of the oncoming assault, the blinding light began to fade, revealing the figure who’s drop pod stood a scant 100 meters behind him, separated by a mass of dead. Screaming as if in utter pain, the man fell to his knees, his face drawn and eyes closed. Wrenching a glowing force sword out of an armored corpse, he hefted the blade in a reverse handed grip and slammed it down into the ground. The moment of impact coincideded with the opening of his eyes, though they were orbs of pure white light.

    With his near death, the Chief Librarian had suddenly gained a measure of sanity long absent since the war against the sinister Dark Eldar, and his torture at their hands. With that modicum of calm, came a sudden clarity of mind that manifested itself in a crippling psychic attack that lanced out from every inch of his body like forked lightning, each curving bolt whipping and lashing at the oncoming horde, and each bolt leaving behind a molten slag heap adorned with burnt cloth and twisted runes of Chaos.

    Explosions rent the air as the heavy weapons of the foe detonated, their munitions heated and charged exactly right to explode them in a fury of death. This lasted for but an instant, and then there came a sudden calm. Ceramite shod fists halted in mid air, voices, halted in the midst of ringing command, and the glowing trails of the roaring boltgun tracers froze, looking for all the world like halted comets. In the midst of this, Remus blinked, and stood, surveying the battle.

    With grim determination, the Astartes warrior close his eyes and plated his feet wide apart, focusing all his will on the massive yet distant titan that marched in the fore, it’s once regal and proud form defiled and maligned beyond all imagining. Planting his sword in the earth, Remus brought his arms up, pointing in straight lines out from his side. With blinding speed he slammed armored gauntlets together, each palm flipping to face outward the instant they impacted the other.

    A rippling wave seem to spread from the Astartes, whose body strained to the utmost, his sweat bloody and every muscle tight. The force of traitor marines was hurled back onto the feet of the massive titan, at the same moment the arcane warmachine exploded in an eruption of violent purple and green flame, utterly consuming the force of Thousand Son marines.

    This massive output of warp energy left the entire battlefield static charged and smelling of ozone. Standing painfully, the First Chaplain Antonius limped to the prone form of Remus, who stared blank eyed at the crimson sky, foam trickling from his mouth as every muscle in his body seemed to twitch and convulse at utter random. Antonius shook his head and removed the ornate helm the rested over his features, and bent to close the eyes of the fallen Chief Librarian, flagging an Apothecary to him and the heroic psyker.

    “Apothecary… Remus has over-extended himself. He will need immediate attention. Divert all those who are not on life and death matters to see to him. See to it Epistolary Romulas is brought from the Western district of the city... He will know what to do if it happens.”

    Antonius turned to moved away, then caught sight of the mangled form of Dorian, and turned to the white armored marine who was already at work, narthecium whirring, multiple spindle arms injecting and probing at the Librarians flesh as two other apothecaries rushed to remove the Chief Librarians armor, with several standing around should one of the others run out of sedatives or synth-skin, for Remus’ form was horribly burned by the very warp flames that had consumed his body during his effort.

    “One of you who is just standing around,… Get that man, Dorian, into stasis, now. Tell the Iron-Seer and his acolytes to entomb him in the armor of a dreadnought. He deserves it. Without his signal to Adonis, we would not have had the Chief Librarian here… Bear his body in honor back to the Burning Spirit.”

    With a nod, a stationary apothecary rushed over to Dorian, who gurgled something and pointed weakly at the limp form of Remus, as if in plea to tend the Librarian first. As the spider like limbs of the narthecium began their work, Dorians mind slipped into a self-induced stasis. Fighting, he struggled again to point at Remus, but the drugs of the Apothecary and his own body defeated him, and comatose sleep claimed him.

    Bending, Antonius retrieved his crozius from where it had fallen and replaced it in his belt loop, beginning to walk through the wounded forces of his own Chapter. Stopping here and there to clasp the hand of a dyeing marine and bless them, or offer a benediction or praise to another. The Black Saints had suffered this day, but had emerged victorious. But at what price, he wondered, as he turned his head back to look at the fallen form of his friend. At what price to Remus, and the noble warriors own sanity?

    Shaking his head, Antonius slid back on the skull faced helm that was hooked at his hip, waiting for the hiss of the seals to sound before stepping up onto the assault ramp of the massive thunderhawk. Not a one saw the uncharacteristic emotions etched in his visage. And none would remember the regret in his eyes.

    Remus followed shortly after, and even sedated beyond moving and in stasis, his brother marines gave their Chief Librarian a wide berth, eying him as one might a pet dog that had contracted rabies and turned upon the family, though no such sin had been committed. Again, the First Chaplain watched the scene with sorrow in his heart for his maddened brother, and wondered... At what price had victory came?

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  3. #2
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    I don't think any Space Marine Psycher could destroy a titan, but thats just me. Otherwise, nice work.
    "What is Mercy? Does it taste Nice?" Hive Tyrant on Reth V

    "Kill-kill! Death to the Enemies of the Horned Rat!" Warlord Bweekq at the Battle of Hrad

  4. #3
    Swarm Queen of LO grimmtu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Commander Erus View Post
    ---- What follows here is my first draft of this work, and is a stand alone short story. It is my first bit of 40K I ever wrote, although I have written a lot of fantasy (non-GW genra) type writings. I am most interested in any criticism or advice, as i'm sure I flubbed up somewhere. Please note, this piece was written really late in the night/morning, so there are likely repeated word choices and poor use of grammar, which I would appreciate pointed out!!---

    Repetition isn't a bad thing if done right. People latch on to repetition and it gives a piece of art (any type of art) internal consistency and rhythm which people latch on to. It's enormously important in music, but also important in writing, poetry, painting, etc, etc etc.

    That being said, it's a good start but needs some work. I think there's a bit too much description that detracts from the narrative (I know it's popular these days in sci-fi and fantasy writing, but I don't like it).

    Also, it doesn't seem to be going any where, or the big revelation at the end isn't really foreshadowed or even particularly coherent with the rest of the story.

    Like I said, it's a good start.

  5. #4
    /botnobot/ DavidWC09's Avatar
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    Grimmtu gives good advice.

    I mostly read fantasy and little 40K but keep writing. You have good ideas and a good twist for words.
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