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Ok this is my first ever attempt at writing fiction so apologies if it's poo
"In acient times skillful warriors first made themselves invincible, and then watched for vulnerability in their opponents" - Master Sun, The Art of War
The acrid stench from the spawning pool was bitter to the taste, and the skink winced as he staggered weakly towards it. He took a moment to try to steady himself, but his head was spinning too violently. Repentant, he dropped to his knees. Where once the jungle was a kaleidoscope of colour there now was nothing, save the black slime of rotting vegetation and the repugnant reek of dead reptiles. Head hung low; he tried to come to terms with what had happened in the last few days…
The Skaven had attacked without warning. Striking at the heart of the Lizardmen and securing vital victories. It was obviously a planned attack, and one that had escaped the attention of the vigilant chameleons and omniscient Mage-Priests. Somehow Clan Pestilens had managed to infiltrate the Lizardmen infrastructure: cutting off supplies, barraging lightly guarded areas with waves of hellish plague monks and, perhaps worst of all, succeeded in infecting one of the highest ranking skink priests with whatever abhorrent disease these wretched creatures brought with them.
Swarms of saurus were dispatched to try to counter the problem, but the Skaven attacked in their droves. Even these fierce warriors were losing to sheer weight of numbers. Many suffering an excruciating death at the hands of the plague priests. Soon the forest floors were alive not with lizards and snakes, but with masses of unclean rats: creatures teeming with infection - biting and scratching at anything that moved. With the odds stacked against them the saurus fell, and the Skaven pressed forward, moving implacably toward the great temples and spawning pools of the inner cities.
Finally the Mage-Priests were called to battle, accompanied by the ever-present Temple guard. It caused the Priests great anguish to see the forests engulfed in flame, as countless comets were summoned by the great mages in an attempt to suppress the invaders. Balls of searing fire and bolts of lightning lit up the skies as night became day. The torturous screams from the burning rats providing a morbid antithesis to the silent and racking deaths of the plague victims.
Eventually the Skaven wavered, and their attacks became sporadic and desperate. The seemingly endless horde was notably stifled by the fury of the Slann; and after many days fighting the incursions ceased altogether. Although exhausted by the fighting, the Lizardmen could ill afford to breathe easy; for they knew the dreaded vermin would return in bigger numbers. Thousands of saurus were spawned in an attempt to replenish the jungle’s defence. Skinks scouts were deployed twofold, in the hope that when the next attack came a few would make it back to the inner city to raise the alarm. However whilst the cities had remained untouched, the surrounding area had been made a wasteland. The combined effects of the Skaven plague and the Priests’ inferno had all but wiped out any traces of life. Exotic plants which once dazzled now hung limp; withered and rotting. Those corpses which weren’t cindered were deformed, the faces contorted into an expression of final agony as the plague had overcome them.
And the problem of infection still remained…
“We have no choice sir; the forests must be burned to thwart the risk of further infection! You’ve already seen what this…” Skink Chief Kotl struggled to find an appropriate word, “sickness” he continued, “…has done to Head Priest Tluxtl; we cannot afford to have any more of our leaders succumb”
Kroq-Gar didn’t reply. Instead he looked straight past Kotl, deep in thought. After a moment of prolonged silence, he took a deep breath.
“I know what must be done” he sighed regretfully, “but convincing the great Mages of this will be no easy task. You’ve already seen the rue they suffered in setting ablaze our great forest, burning the rest of it will be the last thing they want to do right now”
“The mages will come around” Kotl persevered “once they have seen that there is no alternative, we only need to convince them that this is the case before the next attack”
“We must, however, respect their decisions,” Kroq-Gar replied, “these great beings have seen more in their lifetimes than we can ever hope to see, I’m sure they will not let the great cities come to any harm. For now you should return to their side and find out what their plans are, I haven’t seen the Slann this active for as long as I can remember. I’ll help proceedings in the south city of Axlotl. These creatures will attack us where we appear weakest, so we need reinforcements in Chaqua, Xhotl and Itza as well. Let it be known to the Great Mage-Priests.”
And with that, Kroq-Kar effortlessly mounted his carnosaur, Grymloq, and with a deafening roar, echoed by his mount, disappeared through the wilting growth.
Kotl stood motionless for a split second, his mind awash with recent events. Never before had he seen such turmoil in Lustria. The attack from the Skaven had caught everyone off guard and they were paying the price. It did, however, strike him as odd that the Slann had not foreseen the invasion. Kotl had seen many an outsider try to penetrate the jungle and pillage the Great Temples, but never to any avail. Those who didn’t perish at the hands of the inhospitable forest itself were easily dealt with by the ferocious saurus warriors and their intrepid generals. But whatever way the intruders were banished; the Lizardmen were always prepared. This was different somehow and Kotl knew it. Clan Pestilens were far too clumsy to sneak up on them like they did. There were two possible options that Kotl could think of: Either the Skaven had had inside help, or another party was involved…
Kotl closed his eyes as the realisation swept over him like a python: Clan Eshin.
Skink Priest Tluxtl exhaled slowly. It was a good few seconds before he inhaled, feebly, again. Lying on his bed of leaves, he waited to die. His skin was teeming with fetid blotches and he could feel the maggots already eating into his wasted flesh. He didn’t even have the strength to move from his own mess, which attracted yet more flies to land on his near lifeless body. For one who held such respect amongst his kind, what an undignified way to depart.
Tluxtl was the oldest and wisest of the skink priests. Of course his intellect was nowhere near the vastness of the Mage-Priests’, but even by these great beings he was held in high esteem. His understanding of the Slann and his ability to commune with them almost effortlessly had enabled him to turn the tide of famous battles single handed by simply enunciating the Great Ones’ orders. All the while standing majestic on his great Stegadon, forks of brilliant white lightning sundering around him.
Now his dishevelled body was a mere shadow of its former self. Even for a skink, his frame was wiry and gaunt.
“It won’t be long now,” a skink attendant whispered to Kotl as he entered the small mud hut, which was to be the final resting place for the Great Shaman. The hanging grass, which provided a makeshift door, fell back into place behind him, creating a cool shade for the Priest to lie in. Around Kotl, all kinds of artefacts and pendants hung: intricately carved figures of the great Lizardmen Gods stood surrounding Tluxtl’s bed, watching over him, waiting for his final passing. Kotl kneeled down beside the Priest,
“We will find these vermin, and we will purge them,” he said in a hushed tone, unsure if Tluxtl could even hear him, “your death will not go unavenged”
Tluxtl stirred and opened his eyes, looking upon the young Chief with fond affection.
“Do not let vengeance cloud your mind. Listen to the Great Mage-Priests, for they will know what to -”
Tluxtl erupted into a sudden coughing fit, spluttering and choking on the thick mucus which now filled his mouth. Kotl leaped back quickly enough that he managed to escape the projected beads of afflicted phlegm.
“Come, it is not safe for you to be here!” one of the skink attendants pulled Kotl away, “we can ill afford to lose another to this plague”
Kotl kept his eyes fixed on the hacking priest as he was bustled out of the hut.
Hopefully more to come
Last edited by Sammy the Squib; August 27th, 2006 at 22:23.
Originally Posted by Stonehambey
An interesting read, It'll be neat to see what comes next. I especially like the look at lizardman political life, too often I end up thinking of them as robotic servants devoid of personality.
A couple editorial notes, I think the above sentences would be better served by commas. I think as they stand now the second sentence lacks a subject, they just look kinda odd. Like so?Skaven had attacked without warning, striking at the heart of the Lizardmen and securing vital victories.
Even these fierce warriors were losing to sheer weight of numbers, many suffering an excruciating death at the hands of the plague priests.
Arena of Death Champion: Nexim of the Guldskullz Tribe. Fear my wrath!
Hey thanks Koosh,Thanks, i found myself having to revise the use of colons, semicolons, etc. so i expect there are a ton of grammatical errors littering the story^_^Originally Posted by Kooshlord
Ah well, i can only get better i guess
I love to see people writing about their hobbies!
Here's a thought or two, prolly worth what they cost you
I don't know much about the lizardmen, but skinks sound like they are at the bottom of the food chain in that society. During your first section, I found myself wondering if a skink priest would be smart enough to say/think the fine writing you did there. Are they informed or bright enough to have such command of the political/military situation?
I like to see the viewpoint of the lessers in societies, since so many stories revolve around the doings of the great and powerful. Mixing in their 'little picture' with 'big picture' stuff is fine too!
When writing about a different species, really spend some thought on how they are different than humans, and how those differences would affect their cultural viewpoints and conduct.
Once you have these behaviors/attitudes firmly in mind, hold yourself in character when writing. As you reread to edit, keep a watchful eye out for 'human' sounding sentences, phrases and attitudes. Be merciless in eliminating them.
A strong piece of the sort you are creating will only have depth if you can really capture these differences. As of this point, and I know it is early in the tale, it seems we could replace the lizards with humans and it wouldn't be vastly different.
Writing good fantasy is hard work, but it can be big fun if you get in the right mindframe. I hope you keep going with it!
Last edited by Aiglos; September 1st, 2006 at 12:34.