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!
This is my entry for a monthly fluff writing contest that I entered this story into. It is to be the story of a soldier's first battle. I've received some great advice from Shas'o Tau Dev'n Kauyon, but unfortunately the deadline is tomorrow so I can't do the rewrite!
Hope you like it!
Dripping with dark, foul smelling blood the young warrior dropped to his knees. Beyond the limits of his endurance, every muscle within cried for rest, for release. With a pained expression he drove himself forward onto his hands, cut in a score of places. With a wrench, he tore his protesting body from the ground and swayed to his feet. His light armor was scorched and dented, in one place an ugly tear revealed a grievous wound. With a groan he pulled his oversized shoulder pad off and cast it down. This gave a far too brief respite, but slightly less burdened, he stumbled forward. Overhead a raucous flock of oily black birds glared hungrily at the slight intruder broken and dying below them. Ahead he saw a glade thick with overgrowth, its beauty lost as his training took over. With one of his keen eyes still clear, he saw natural bunkers of moss and lichen-covered stone, jutting up like giants among the verdigris tree trunks. Crevices in the ancient stone left perfect slits to fire from, while the gigantic boughs above provided an excellent screen to light missle fire. Spying a tiny stream lazily crawling by behind the jagged wall of stone. Scrambling over, he landed hard on the other side; a dozen new cuts and scrapes raw in the crisp air. The brook provided clear, clean water, and an all too brief respite from the numerous burns from too many close calls. Resting back against the cool stone, he took little time in checking his rifle. An almost elegant weapon, the rifle was smooth and slender. It stood nearly as tall as the warrior hefting it gingerly, despite its extremely light weight. Despite his horrible appearance, the rifle remained relatively clean and devoid of imperfection. Tapping a few well-hidden buttons, he prepped the weapon, and felt reassured by its low hum. A scant few seconds later, and he was ready. Over the steady buzz of the wildlife around him, the first of low, guttural cries reached his ears. Reaching into a small compartment on his belt, he withdrew a small discus, bright silver in the leaf-dappled sunlight. Immediately it sprung from his bruised palm and hovered before him. Closing his rheumy eyes, he tenderly placed his head back on a mossy patch and spoke aloud:
:Transmission: Record: Shas'la For'ven
"Greetings Shas'o. I am reporting on our efforts against the horde discovered at Outpost Kal'eth'n. We have been overrun. Our initial drone reports revealed a 300 strong Ork horde. Pathfinder team Kor'bath confirmed this, and began a Marking Sequence on their crudely armored vehicles. The last transmission arrived 14 tir before the 300 attacked us. Our stealth teams were overrun in a matter of tir, driven from cover by the flamethrowers of the Orks. Commander Del'at'tyr sent in 3 full teams of Crisis Suits, which managed to flank and destroy many of the horde, but they in turn were ambushed by the Ork rokkits set further out to our flanks. In all, I estimate that 1000 to 1200 Orks filled the forests around us. We were ill-prepared to face them, as our contingent held a mere 150 Tau brethren." For'ven's voice cracked as he tried to continue, waves of nausea overtaking him he leaned to his side and vomitted, blood mixing with the remains of a hastily eaten piece of fruit taken while running from the slaughter. Retching, he struggled to continue. "My brothers fought courageously," Again nausea overtook him, as shudders began to rack his frail form. The memories of what he had seen in his first skirmish flooded back into his brain, the scenes of carnage and horror were almost too much to recall. He had heard of the Kroot, which his Commander never employed, how they would stop to gorge themselves on fallen prey. Disgusted then, he could barely countenance the thoughts of the Orks' desecration and savagery with the fallen of his fellow Warriors. Terrible howls of bloodlust seemed closer now, and shook him from his morbid thoughts. Fighting back his anguish, he managed to carry on with his report: "My, my brothers fought with honor. I did, did... Our lines held, and we dropped three and four times our numbers before they crashed into our lines. Shas'o Del'at'tyr fell beneath the Orks handaxes, and his team was, was...destroyed soon after. The Orks opened the suits, and, defiled, the brave warriors within. My Shas'ui, Inve'ta was recently promoted to wear a Crisis suit, as you know, he, brought four of the beasts down before..." For'ven struggled, and fought back the pangs of anguish. His training had been quite thorough, and prepared him for many things. Nothing could replicate the scenes burned indelibly into his mind, however. Closer cries shook him from his thought, and he continued: "You will be proud to know, we stood firm to fight them. Our rifles fired until the Orks had reached the last few steps before us. We braced for the charge, and our training saved us from instant defeat. I was knocked to the ground by what they call a "choppa", I turned away enough to avoid being sheared in half, but I'm afraid my wound is too deep. Before my attacker could close upon me, I brought the rifle up and fired through the creature's chest. I rose and fired, at point blank range around me. My shots didn't miss any greenskin I laid eyes upon. How I managed to survive that long I do not know, nor will I have the luxury of time to discover. One of the Orks mob leaders crashed into us, sending me to the ground. I saw my, my brothers ripped in two, two, three, four of them at a time." For'ven dug deep for the strength to continue. Shas'o, I-" For'ven paused, "I ran from them, from my squad. After their leader knocked me down, I clawed backwards, through the battlefield. I-I-I came across a great many of our dead, and closed my eyes against the carnage around me. Gaining my feet, I ran several kilometers before coming to rest here, where I shall perish. I know that my end is near and I am afraid. And I know that I go to my death with the darkest stain on my honor, on your honor. I will account for myself here as best I am able. Please Shas'o, know that your warriors fought with honor, they fought as their kin from ages past. I did not honor them; I did not fall as they did, as I should have. I know that I, that none of us stood much chance of surviving, however I will make my end now to be a sacrifice for those I abandoned, for those I-" For'ven opened his eyes, staring at the cold metal disk floating silently before him. With his transmitter shattered and useless, he had to use his assistant drone to relay this final report to his commanders. They needed to know what they would be facing, as he was the sole survivor of the slaughter. I hope that you will find forgiveness for my weakness in my final moments. I hereby recommend each of your troops for the proper respect and commendation they and their kin deserve. Please, know that I will do my best now to atone for my actions. Transmission: Conclusion: For'ven.
For'ven was dimly aware that his etiquette, ingrained deeply into his psyche from an early age, had been stripped in his report. In times past, his commanders would have reprimanded him severely for his breach of conduct; even now he knew they would frown upon his report. His shame was too great, and his time too short to dwell on such things now. A stiff breeze brought the noxious odor of the horde to For'ven. He said a low word to the drone, and it sped off without a sound, leaving For'ven truly alone in the glade that would become his tomb. Biting back another spasm of nausea and pain, he rose. Stripping his armor and vestments, he withdrew his Taliseera knife and set about the grisly work of peeling away the scar that had been his bonding mark. He had spent his entirety of training with the squad he abandoned, and to fail your brethren was the ultimate of sins according to For'ven's mighty Shas'o, known to the gue'va as Farsight. For'ven felt no pain, his shame and grisly wounds numbing his body even as his warm blood flowed.
With a surge of desperate strength, For'ven raised his weapon and found a small cleft of rock from which he could see the first Orks to break through the clearing he had just traversed. Forsaking the safety of the rocks, For'ven pulled himself painfully to the top of boulder, where his field of vision allowed him to see the immensity of the forces against him. He would stand here, and claim this rock in the name of his fallen brethren. Purposefully raising his weapon, he fired calmly into the scrambling Orks. In an instant, three dropped with clean, neat holes in their scabby foreheads. The mass of Ork was such that even blind, For'ven could've felled many. But his shame drove him to account for each of the Tau is his squad. Each would be avenged before he fell. Six more fell as they closed in, with little more than 50 meters between them and the smallish Tau that stood defiant on the rocks ahead. As bullets slammed into the stone around him, two more were stopped, their bodies crushed beneath the uncaring horde rushing behind them. For'ven allowed himself a faint smile as the distance closed, as each shot found its way into the heads and faces of the greenskins. Twenty meters, fifteen, ten, and still more Orks were hurled aside, dead on their feet, by their kin rushing to stomp this lone defender into the boulder he stood upon. An errant round drilled deep through For'ven's gut, with such power that he neither felt, nor recoiled. A second shot tore through his knee and he fell to his good leg, all the while firing. Amidst the hail of crude yet deadly gunfire For'ven's mind drifted onto a memory of the past, of he and his squad on their firing ranges. They had scored perfectly, and made a great deal of jokes about Orks ability to shoot. He dimly saw their laughter, which faded away to anger as he thought of them now, broken and bloody where he left them. He felt no more pain, and rained death on all who dared thunder forward. The indefatigble rush was slowed, as Ork stumbled over Ork, viciously throwing aside the dead to clamber forward. An Ork jumped into the air, raising his jagged and stained weapon, only to crash to For'ven's side, dying with a look of shock on his hideous face. For'ven's rifle slid from his grasp, clattering among the rocks soaked with the blood of his horrendous wounds as the unending tide swept over him.
* * * * *
Struggling almost imperceptibly, O'Shovah took in the scene of horror. His eyes had beheld many a battlefield and this one was no different, save that a single Tau Warrior's body lay trampled and broken among a bloodstained copse of rock. Tenderly O'Shovah lifted For'ven's body and placed it on a large medi-drone. The drone sped away, carefully taking For'ven's remains to be cremated. O'Shovah looked old and worn, a half dozen scars faded on his lined face. He spoke, slowly and reverently. "What is the count of dead here?"
A civilian Tau, from the water caste, approached O'Shovah and bowed low, before speaking:
"All told sire, it appears as though Shas'la For'ven felled 53 of the Orks. 17 of them died due to trampling, 23 were found with Ork ammunition in their backs, and 3 apparently were killed by their own axe-weapons. We can only surmise they were killed to clear the way for others. As we recently saw, this horde was particularly inept at shooting, hence the bodies with bullet wounds in the back."
"53..." O'Shovah shook his head slowly. That kind of marksmanship was unheard of. "Where were the shots located on the dead?"
"Sire, it is clear to us that Shas'la For'ven hit his assailants in either the brow, the throat, or directly through the center of the chest. It is truly incredible, sire."
The assistant drone felt cold and heavy in O'Shovah's hand. He had listened to its report several times, and felt deep pangs of sadness for his fallen warrior. Seeing the splay of dead Ork about him, he knew that his Tau clawed redemption here in his final moments. "See that his kin are informed of his bravery this day. His shame shall never be mentioned again, by any who are present. It is obvious he has repaid his debt tenfold. Shas'la For'ven's name shall be spoken as a word for courage, bravery and duty, as long as I draw breath."
:blush: Thanks for the shout-out. I hope the advice I gave and the advice I will give helps more than it hurts...Originally Posted by FistofManheimOriginally Posted by FistofManheimSound familiar? Same phrase, same story, small gap between. Deja vu action. I'm sure you can tweak it. Small break, slight recompense, etc. The thesaurus is a great thing.Originally Posted by FistofManheimThe transistion between those two lines doesn't make sense...I'm not sure what the purpose of the first line is. It's major problem is the lack of an action. I know that the only person tha tcould be "spying" is the main character, but since it starts with that action, their is no subject. Link the two sentences some way.Originally Posted by FistofManheim
In the rest of the section you also have several words in clsoe proximity to each other. For example, you use "rifle" several times in a row. Use "it" in the sentence describing the rifle. You've already identified it as the object of the characters current interest, it doesn't need further labeling and the duplication of the word is just...IDK, it screamed at me. Same with the word "despite." It was used twice in close proximity to itself, just irks me.You don't need both the comma and the word "and." Take out the comma or the "and." It'll work.Originally Posted by FistofManheim
In the second section, my biggest problem is your quotation marks. This is the first section to use them to denote speech. This is fine as it starts off with a very large chunk. Soon though, it begans to break down and you are losing quotation marks. Look over it again to make sure they encompass all "speech" and no "description." The actual "breaks" in his speech, denoted by ellipses could be better expressed through actual description IMO. Ellipses are three periods in a row used to denote a pause. This isn't what he is doing IMO. He's more of rasping a breath or cough, these can be described. This, however, is completly my own opinion, and you could probably leave it as is.Use a semi-colon to seperate the two "two's." Otherwise, it is very confusing during the initial read.Originally Posted by FistofManheim
The new beggining to the third part was nice, added some flesh to the character. Good job.You use "his" three times in one sentence. This happens a lot when trying to describe a single characters action, try to avoid it. I suggest using, "For'ven felt no pain, the shame numbing his body and mind even as warm blood flowed from grisly wounds..."Originally Posted by FistofManheim
The final section was a great addition IMO. This detaches the reader from For'ven and offers a fresh view to the story. This detachment is actually good because otherwise the reader is left stewing in the main characters woe's.That line is a bit confusing and breaks the tension of the scene trying to figure it out. Just simplify it, it'll still work IMO.Originally Posted by FistofManheim
Great stuff man. Remember, all of these suggestions are just that, suggestions. Once from a student and should be taken as such. If you don't like them are wrote something a certain way for a specific reason, keep it. I hope I don't hurt the story in anyway and await the result of the contest.
Last edited by Shas'o Tau Dev'n Kauyon; July 20th, 2005 at 04:14.
Thank you thank you thank you! All good advice. I have a tendency to jump around sometimes, embarrassingly enough some of those mistakes were from me writing one part, thinking of something else and writing it, and forgetting to come back to the original piece. D'oh! My wife caught the same shameful use of "brief respite"! D'oh!
Your comments are welcome, thank you again for just taking the time to read my work. You've inspired me to do better, I will take your comments to heart!
Last night I received the best possible review of all...my wife (a constant harasser of our hobby, all in good fun though) said my story made her want to play! She HATES wargaming, thinks its a bastion for nerds, all that, and she actually wanted to PLAY because of my story!
Yay for me, sign me up Black Library, lol.
Last edited by FistofManheim; July 20th, 2005 at 14:21. Reason: Awesome update
LoL, awesome.Originally Posted by FistofManheim