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Fiction Scalenex's Old L-O Story Contest Entries

Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by Scalenex, May 10, 2016.

  1. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I haven't been posting as many new stories in the fluff forum. So I thought I could boost my content by lazily reposting my old work.



    Completely Anonymous Entry (January-February 2015, theme was 'Recovery of Lustrian Artifacts")

    I spent far more time on this piece then I did for any contest entry piece.

    Arli picked the topic "Recovery of Lost Lustrian Artifacts" Bob made a smartass witty comment that the topic should have been egg shell helmets, so that got my wheels turning. My goal was to mess with Bob's head and lampoon his stories mercilessly but make it funny enough that he wouldn't be mad. I wanted to make the piece so Bob-like that his fans wouldn't believe he didn't write. I wanted to make sure no one died in this piece because, well @discomute

    [​IMG]

    As if I'd settled for one emotional death? 8 out of 9 of the Fellowship of the Ring came back alive. Any of my protagonists would be over the moon if they knew they had an 89% chance of survival!

    I brainstormed jokes. I wanted to include Monty Python, paper thin disguises, Game of Thrones, X-Men and more. Most important was multiple references to the hand weapon vs. spear debate. Robert and Joe were obvious derivatives of Bob and Joe. W’yss’ans W’il’dfo’rm was an exaggerated use of apostrophes, cheap pun, and subversion. Hen’ry Mc’Coy had all that in his name plus an X-Men reference. I figured it'd be funny to have the until this point mute seeming monstrosity reveal himself an intellectual.

    I decided fake mustaches would be a good repeating gag. I looked up a transcript of the Dead Parrot Sketch and hewn my dialog as close to that as I could. Then cam the W’yss’ans joke. Then the throwback to hand weapons versus spears. Then I arbitrarily threw in a Chess scene for Hen'ry's debut including actual historical Chess players and a Game of Thrones reference. Then I threw in a silly emotional breakdown. Then I mixed D&D and GW parody with a Frankenstein reference and monkeys on typewriters. Now came the hard part. I had to switch everything to Bob's capitalization conventions and proper UK English so my piece would have armour against casual ID checks.

    Then I had to fit everything under 2000 words cause I always obey the rules. I really went fine tune here. I was in love with every joke, and I could bear to part with one gag, so I had to trim almost every paragraph. Turning a 13 word sentence into 11 words. Tiny adjustments like that got me well over 100 words pruned.

    Interestingly enough, Bob doesn't quite pack in the jokes as much as he used to, at least in his Bob and Joe narrative. He's moving from action comedies to action stories with comedic elements. Also, the overall writing quality of L-O has improved. I almost feel bad reposting this now. Almost. I'm still proud of it in it's own way. I certainly worked hard on it.

    Two saurus warriors, a skink priest, and a kroxigor continued their trek through the human lands. Moe and Robert, the sauri were concluding their discussion.

    “Well that’s settled.”
    “Yes, we have finally settled the hand weapon versus spears debate once and for all. When we return to Lustria we will share our solution and the flawless reasoning behind it.”
    “No need to rehash it now.”
    “Of course not, the four of us know, so we won’t repeat it now.”
    “Quiet, I sense we are nearing our goal!”

    The third speaker was the skink. At his signal, the companions cautiously peered over the ridge.

    The Lizardmen saw a fortified tower surrounded by three dozen human guards wearing light armour and armed with halberds.

    “Too many for us to fight. We should contact the other Lizardmen for help,” Robert suggested

    Everyone looked at the skink.

    “How am I supposed to contact them?”
    “Weren’t you supposed to buy a carrier pigeon in the last town?” Moe asked
    “I tried, but the pet store was…difficult,” the skink replied.
    “Did they only serve human customers?” Moe asked.
    “—Did they try to sell you as a pet skink? That would have been a hilarious bit!” Robert said excitedly.
    “No, I had a brilliant human disguise. They had quality control issues…”


    “’ello!”
    “Do you remember me?”
    “The talking lizard wearing the fake mustache, yes.”
    “I’d like to register a complaint about this carrier pigeon.”
    “Oh yes, the, uh, the Norseland Blue...What's,uh...What's wrong with it?”
    “I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. 'E's dead, that's what's wrong with it!”
    “No, no, 'e's uh,...he's resting.”
    “He’s not resting, ‘es stone cold dead!”
    “He’s just pining, pining for the fjords!”
    “Pinin’ for the fjords?!? What kind of talk is that! The fjords are controlled by Chaos and infested with ‘orrible monsters. ‘oo would pine for them?”
    “Pigeons are na’ that bright and there must be some nice things up north.”
    “That’s beside the point. This pigeon is dead! Not pining for the fjords.”
    “Well, ‘es pining for somethin’…”
    “No he is not! This pigeon has ceased to be! This is an ex-pigeon!”


    “Too bad, the pet store could have led to a hilarious encounter,” Robert mused sadly.
    “I know!” said the skink.

    The human soldiers snapped to alertness and began marching to the party’s position.

    “Oh, Marhlect! They spotted us.” Robert said. “We need some magic to solve this! W’yss’ans W’il’dfo’rm, this is on you.”

    All eyes, both reptilian and human turned towards the skink. The humans all tensed.

    “Careful men, the lizards are about to get much stronger and tougher!”
    “Sir, where is that wind coming from?”
    “Is that toilet humor, private?”
    “No, sir! I meant the question literally sir!”

    The wind picked up and carried the four Lizardmen were buffeted over the bewildered human soldiers who were then carried away by a new set of winds.

    “Those humans look confused,” Robert noticed.
    “I guess the humans don’t speak Saurian, so they don’t know that ‘W’yss’ans W’il’dfo’rm’ means ‘He who is unsurpassed with Heavens magic’.”
    “Stop it, you are embarrassing me! I’m not nearly as famous as the mighty Beast skink, F’ireb’all!”

    Once they landed, the two sauri bashed in the door to the tower with their hand weapons then barred it shut with their spears. Their kroxigor companion barricaded the door with heavy furniture. The human soldiers caught up to them and pounded on the door in vain. Unfortunately the cost was high. Moe articulated the problem.

    “Our hand weapons were broken breaking the locks, and we can’t retrieve our spears without undoing the barricade!”

    W’yss’ans W’il’dfo’rm looked around the room. “There’s a small armory here. Lots of two handed weapons to choose from here.”

    The two saurus replied simultaneously.

    “I’ll take a great weapon!”
    “I’ll take a halberd!”
    “Great Weapon!”
    “Halberd!”
    “Great Weapon!”
    “Halberd!”
    “Great Weapon!”
    “Halberd!”

    “Excuse me! What is going on in here!” asked a human sounding voice from across the room.
    “Quick! Everyone put on your fake mustaches!” W’yss’ans W’il’dfo’rm said in a carrying whisper.

    The elderly human man raised a hand calmly.

    “No need, for that,” said the human. “I care not about your race.”
    “You don’t?” Robert asked incredulously.
    “My name is Obi S. Pun. I allow for all merit based entry. To progress further in the tower, you must first beat me at the Game of Kings.”

    The saurus looked at each other confused.

    “Monopoly?” Moe asked.
    “No”, said Obi. “That is the Game of Thimbles and Tiny Cars. I mean chess. If you defeat me, you may pass. If not you will all die.”

    A set up board on a table appeared in the middle of the room with a chair on either side.

    “You are an unarmed elderly unarmed human and we are powerful warriors. Why should we go along with your ‘Game of Thrones’ when we can kill you easily?” Moe asked.
    “He said ‘Game of Kings’, whoever heard of a ‘Game of Thrones’ where characters are killed off early?” W’yss’ans asked.
    “How would I know? It’s not like I can afford to watch the premium channels on a saurus warrior’s salary!” Moe said.
    “I still don’t see why we can’t just beat him up and walk into the next room?” Robert said.

    Lightning and fire flashed around the room.

    “Magic!” exclaimed the human.

    “I’ll give this ‘chess’ a shot. I never met a game I can’t win!” Robert said.
    “You can’t do anything right!” Moe countered

    The saurus warriors fell silent as their kroxigor companion raised a gigantic hand. He lumbered to the table, sat down in a tiny chair, which promptly splintered into tiny pieces. The kroxigor grunted and repositioned into cross-legged position directly on the floor. The massive reptile nodded for the human to take white and proceed.

    They began rapidly moving pieces. A few turns in, Obi scoffed loudly and grinned

    “You are trying the Latvian gambit. You foolish blue coloured Beast!”

    As more moves were made and the game progressed, the grin on Obi S. Pun’s face gradually began to fade then turn to a look of distress.

    “Checkmate,” the kroxigor grunted.

    The room flashed lightning and the wall behind them disappeared revealing a spiral staircase. The two saurus warriors and the skinks all applauded their friend.

    “Good job Hen’ry Mc’Coy!”
    “I didn’t follow a move of what you did, but I’m glad you won!”
    “You are the blue Beast of chess!”

    “But…How?” stammered Obi.

    Hen’ry Mc’Coy, the kroxigor, sighed patiently.

    “Your Réti Opening and early accompanying moves were all strictly by the book, both elementary and predictable.”
    “but…”
    “You tried to emulate the styles of the famous chess greats of old, but you combined them in a contradictory and a haphazard matter that was ultimately self-defeating. You attempted to combine the brash offensive strategies of Anderssen with the reactionary defensive techniques of Steinitz.
    “But I had more pieces than you!”
    “Yet I had better control of the board. By midgame, I came to realize that you are averse to loss and were reluctant to make sacrifices. I could sense inner turmoil even when you lost a pawn. I suspect this is a result of losses early in your life subliminally causing you to insulate yourself from risk of further loss later in life.”

    The human was clearly fighting back tears.

    “I am sensing that you lost someone close to you when you were a young man. Perhaps a mentor?”

    The human broke down completely.

    “Why did Master Timothy had to take that stupid bar bet to eat that pickled egg! It was in that jar in the dirty saloon for at least ten years! It was for five coppers! I would have given him five coppers to NOT do it! Why take the bet! Why! Why!”

    The Lizardmen proceeded up the stairs while the old human curled into a fetal position and sobbed in the corner. W’yss’ans was the last to ascend the stairs, pausing briefly to wrap a blanket around Obi and gently pat him on the head.

    The Lizardmen walked up the spiral stair case and opened a thick oaken door. The hinge creaked as if it hasn’t been opened in a very long time. A small hunchbacked human did a double-take, then shouted out in a nasal raspy voice.

    “Master, we have visitors…Bipedal lizards wearing fake mustaches”
    “Sound like respectable folk. Let them in, Forgor.”

    The room smelled musty and filthy as if the occupants had no human contact in years. Dozens, if not hundreds of monkey were mashing buttons on strange contraptions. A well-groomed man in a white lab coat wearing a large monocle turned towards the party. He spoke with a deep authoritarian voice.

    “Greetings Lizardmen! Welcome to my workshop of games!”

    The kroxigor spoke first.

    “Greetings to you, fine sir. Might I inquire as to what type of devices those primates are manipulating?”
    “They are called ‘typewriters’. Only the best tools will do for our staff. Unfortunately despite the great skill of our staff, it will take quite a while to create a coherent FAQ document. Still, we must be patient, we must make products to defeat our vile competitors. Especially those terrible wizards,” replied the doctor.
    “Terrible wizards? What wizards?” said Robert.
    “The ones who live on the Coast,” wheezed Forgor.
    “I think we met them on our travels,” said W’yss’ans
    “Yeah, in that dungeon,” said Moe.
    “No they were the wizards with the dragon,” replied Robert
    “Dungeon!”
    “Dragon!”
    “Dungeon!”
    “Dragon!”
    “Stop this infantile behavior,” Hen’ry Mc’Coy ordered, “We seek to recover a sacred artifact taken from our people. May we pass?”

    At this question, the monkeys all stopped their button mashing. Some drew impractically large, but kewl, swords and axes. Some inexplicable materialized with futuristic tacky-looking overpowered skull cannons. The monkeys resumed typing when the lizards backed away. The doctor sighed audibly.

    “I would love to help you, but the monkeys insist on impossibly steep costs to for new people to enter the hobby—I mean the lobby. The lobby where we keep our artifacts.”
    “Perhaps we can wait till the monkeys leave.” Moe suggested.
    “Sadly no, the monkeys will never leave till they finish their FAQs, and that won’t happen until sometimes after the end times,” replied the doctor
    “How can you write something after the end times?” Robert asked.
    “It’s physically impossible! We have to fight them!” Moe declared.
    ‘Their numbers are too great for us to overcome. Alas, I fear their Chaotic assortment of weapons is poorly balanced in a matchup against Lizardmen.” said Hen’ry Mc’Coy.
    “We need to distract them—I have an idea,” said W’yss’ans.

    The skink pulled a sheet of parchment from his pack.

    “Monkeeeys! Look! Its announcement of across the board price increases!”

    The monkeys all stopped working and looked at the skink expectantly. The skink used his origami skills to form the parchment into a banana shape and tossed it down the stairs. The monkeys sprinted down after it.

    “That won’t hold them for long! They’ll want another one soon,” warned the doctor. “Forgor, bring me the key to the door! The monk’s key!”
    “The monkeys have it!” replied the hunchback.
    “Didn’t see that coming…” remarked W’yss’ans.
    “What are we going to do now?” Robert despaired.

    After a few seconds of awkward silence, Hen’ry Mc’Coy spoke up.

    “Fear not my compatriots. I believe I have a solution to our delicate conundrum—KROXIGOR SMASH PUNY DOOR!”

    The Lizardmen ran in as fast as they could. Ffortunately they found a second door that was unlocked that they could barricade behind them to keep out the vengeful monkeys that were racing towards them. The primates were furious that the supposed announcement of price increases was actually a list of consumer recommendations to aid their competitiveness.

    The Lizardmen sensed they were near their goal. Reverently W’yss’ans opened a wooden chest and carefully removed the grand artifact stolen from Lustria.

    “At last! We have recovered the Sacred Eggshell Helmet of Invulnerability!”
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
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  2. spawning of Bob
    Skar-Veteran

    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    The actions of a Lord of the dark side. But who is the apprentice and who the master?

    I love Totally Anonymous, and still do. Strangely it was only one of three SoB parodies in that comp, one of them written by me.

    This was early days for "guess the author" and Scalenex had plausibly denied authorship and there were three stories good enough to have been his in the comp, and up to that point he had deemed redundant "u"s to be dishonoUrable, so the author reveal was a surprise.

    I was happy to see that Scalenex can write silly - I bet it made him feel dirty. It also almost made me feel justified in my constant baiting of him. Almost.

    Sadly it is still one of my favourite Scalenex stories.

    Maestro, I say write on!
     
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  3. Slanputin
    Carnasaur

    Slanputin Well-Known Member

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    I can't help but feel that I'm the Dark Lord here. Sadly enough.

    I really like the trend of author's thoughts that are arising here, first appreciated on @Bowser 's thread and now here. I may have to retro-actively add some in my own "Acts" post.
     
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  4. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Is the Anglo spelling of "favourite" baiting? Probably not. In any event, I can write silly. I did it here and here too. I tried to sneak in jokes to break the tension in most of my serious pieces, but I never set out to say "Let me write a funny piece." I have to get an idea in my head first.
     
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  5. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Chameleons in the City of Mists (April-May 2015, theme was "Chameleons")
    I am on the fence about Arli's topic. On one hand the breakout piece from last contest was a Kroxigor when we rarely see Kroxigor-centered stories. I felt like highlighting lesser portrayed groups within the Lizardmen community would be interesting. On the other hand I feared a theme like that would be more constricting than one based on a trope, mood, or conflict.

    Also, since the first contest had some people cough @Crowsfoot cough placed fast and loose with the contest theme. I feared if it happened again because of this narrow theme then themes would become meaningless. My fears were ungrounded this was a very diverse crop of stories that all involved Chameleons.

    Nevertheless in the name of broad directions I decided to REALLY stretch the theme without breaking it. The concept was "Chameleons" not "Chameleon Skinks." I went with the term Chameleon referring to a spy who pretends to be something he's not to blend in with his targets. There was a current discussion on Fimir and I just read the unofficial Fimir army book. Not a coincidence because I was on a Fimir. I believe I read the Fimir army book because of the discussion not the other way around. I was not super impressed with the Fimir book. It overly fixated on Fimir raping human women and didn't build up much on Fimir society besides who formed what kinds of units and what beasts made up their Rares. There was also a discussion on a sacrifices to Old Ones other than Sotek that served as my muse. I wanted to use a religious observance to Old Ones as a framing device.

    Also, I've long toyed with the idea of including Fimir as villains in one or more of my longer narrative pieces, so this was a test run.


    “We honor Tzunki whose waters cleanse and nourish the world….”

    Kaleroc repressed a bored sigh while he watched the Skink Priest pour a small quantity of blessed water into the artificial canal linking to Xlanhuapec’s tributary to the Amaxon. Symbolic of lesser waters feeding greater waters much like how the community of the First works together…but Kaleroc didn’t care. To him, Tzunki’s honorifics signified that the ceremony honoring the Old Ones was slightly over halfway done. Kaleroc wanted to scream that water will continue to act like water with or without the blessing of some dead god.

    "We live through water and the Old Ones!” chanted the crowd

    Kaleroc maintained his outward expression of solemn reverence as more Skink Priests gave symbolic offerings to various Old Ones and the assembled crowd replied with rote archaic Saurian chants. As boring as this was, Kaleroc could not let his mind wander. If he was even slightly late for his part in the ceremony, the Skink priests would get suspicious.Kalerocloathed these ceremonies, butTlaztopoziwas a loyal High Skink in service to the City of Mists. Kaleroc had been pretending to be Tlaztopozi for over a year.

    Finally his turn came up.

    “Blessings be to the ever vigilant Potec! Potec who wards off the darkness as surely as the sun warms the earth!”

    Kaleroc/Tlaxtopozi poured his package of ceremonial herbs into the bonfire.

    “Praise be to Potec!” chanted the crowd.

    Even the crowd seemed slightly bored. After praising the most important Old Ones for almost two hours, praising the Old Ones was becoming old even for the true believers. Despite this, Kaleroc couldn’t let his boredom show. The lesser priests put in charge of leading the worship of the minor Old Ones generally showed enthusiasm during the few moments they took center stage. As the city’s premiere priest of Potec, he had to act like a good little Skink who was proud of what he was doing.

    Kaleroc, or rather Tlaztopozi, lit a torch with the ceremonial fire and energetically waved the torch about the perimeter of the assembled Skink priests ceremonially warding off hidden evils. This was the always the hardest part—performing the warding ritual without smirking. If the ritual truly kept evil away, Kaleroc wouldn’t be here.

    “Let Potec’s benevolent warding protect us another season!”

    “Praise be to Potec,” chanted the crowd.

    After Potec’s ceremony was done, Kaleroc sat through the praises to remaining Old Ones. He was pleased when it was over. He blinked a gnat out of his eye, confident that the glamor remained making him appear as a normal Skink. He had made it through another ceremony without blowing his cover.

    Kaleroc reluctantly admitted that Xlanhuapec was wisely selected. Only the four largest Temple Cities had what his People needed and Xlanhuapec was deemed the most vulnerable. Hexoatl was clearly not an option. Hexoatl had a fully awake second generation Slann a general siege mentality. Tlaxtlan was nearly as dangerous. The Slann were not as powerful or alert as in Hexoatl, but the highly active population of Skink priests could have easily caught wind of hidden ones in their midst through routine divinations. Tetto’eko could probably see through their disguises without trying.

    Kaleroc suggested infiltrating Itza, believing it would be easiest to blend into the largest population, but the elders disagreed strenuously. Itza’s Slann may not be fully awake, but they were many. The odds of one of them accidentally piercing one of the People’s disguises was high.

    Xlanhuapec was ideal. Its Slann were few in number and were largely focused on maintaining the magical mists the city was known for. The city’s lesser population was so focused on misdirecting and fooling outsiders that they took their own security for granted. The culture of misdirection permeated daily life, so a “Skink” could be withdrawn and aloof from his brethren without attracting attention. It never occurred to Xlanhuapec that someone could be obscuringthem.

    Still, the risk was great. If the First Children of the Dead Ones knew that their eldest foes were still in Lustria, they would crush them utterly. If the End Times were not so close, the People would never have attempted such a feat at all.

    Kaleroc saw some of his lesser brethren amongst the city’s rank and file Skink, but he made no sign of recognition. Kaleroc could afford no slipups since he maintained the glamour disguising all of his fellow infiltrators. He did not like the plan, but he had no choice in the matter. It was rare enough for one of the People to be able to manipulate two separate winds of magic at once, but it was even rarer for one of them to be the Wind of Azyr. This, combined with his affinity over Shadow magic, meant there was no one else who could impersonate a Skink priest.

    While the First were largely blind to motives of the warm blooded raiders, Kaleroc knew the warm blooded races used gold as currency and a status symbol. Still, Kaleroc suspected more was in play. There were easier ways to get gold than to sail across the World Pond, cross a deadly jungle, then fight a self-righteous army of isolationist warriors on their home turf. Even sacred objects made of low value materials such as stone tended to get grabbed by looters far too often. It was almost as if the First’s sacred objects had an intangible allure that attracted thieves.

    Thieves sought golden plaques for the precious metal or as a tool to enhance spell casting, but they remained ignorant of what was written on them. Kaleroc was not like other thieves. He had no interest in the plaques themselves. He only sought their words.

    Most of the information from the sacred plaques was written down on scrolls. The papyrus only lasted a few years, so scribes constantly transcribed them over and over again. Because the scribes worked so often on these transcriptions, the writings were available to any Skink who could read and write almost by default. Kaleroc figured he and the rest of the People had accounted for the near entirety of these writings.

    Some plaques held information that was kept away from the general populace, but still kept on papyrus copies, generally plaques with vague or open interpretations. Priests were encouraged to read and debate these writings, but the general populace was not allowed to read them. These were not particularly difficult to obtain either. Kaleroc was impersonating a junior priest and the most common chore assigned to junior priests was transcribing sacred writings. Kaleroc estimated he had read three quarters of these semi-restricted texts.

    He did his best to commit their writings to memory, in case his own elders wanted to debate their meanings, but Kaleroc doubted it would help. If the First couldn’t derive clear meaning from these writings over millennia, he doubted the People could do any better over a few short years. His true goal was the forbidden plaques, the ones only consulted on direct orders from the Slann. Kaleroc wanted to find out what the Slann would not tell their own servants.

    All the while he had been impersonating a Skink priest, he had been studying the layout of the sacred temples and their guard details. He manipulated the Winds of Azyr to narrow down where his objective lay. He was hoping if he bode his time long enough, Xlanhuapec would give him the opening he needed. Unfortunately his fellow infiltrators were not cooperating.

    They were all clearly tired of hiding amongst their hated enemies. The People had many common enemies with the First. The hidden warriors were able to vent some aggression as part of Xlanhuapec’s armies fighting the various warm-blooded usurpers, but these battles were few and far between. They lacked Kaleroc’s patience and restraint.

    Great One?”
    “Saurian please, lest we tip off a casual observer…again.”
    “Apologies, Great One...uh High One”

    Kaleroc glared at his underling. Despite the fact his underling was nearly as large as Kroxigor (and disguised as such), but the great beast flinched under his diminutive master’s glare.

    “What did you want?”
    “We need you to help dispose of another pair of bodies.”
    “Of course you do. Who was it this time?”
    “Ralchochi and Itkarloq.”
    “Those are Skink Chiefs.”

    The hulking warrior looked confused as to what the issue was.

    “Youdorealize two dead chiefs will be harder to quietly sweep into the swamp than two dozen ordinary Skinks.”
    “You swept at least three dozen—”
    “Not all at once! I can buy us a little time, but I’m going to have to accelerate our plans. Stop grinning! If we survive I will tell the elders your impatience nearly killed us all”

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Kaleroc already divined the temple most likely to hold the needed plaque. Still, he could only attack one temple with any chance of making an escape afterward.What if it’s not here? No, I have to be right. Focus on the immediate problems.

    He had six “Kroxigor” and twenty “Skinks.” He was able to get them into the entrance to the temple on the pretense of blessing a new Sotek statue. The First really gravitated towards Sotek. The only one of their gods who mostly ignored them as opposed to completely abandoned them. Yet the First continued to worship the Old Ones in the vain hope they would return some day. Staying true to gods who had forsaken them, Kaleroc shuddered when he realized just how much The People had in common with the First.

    Getting in the first chamber was easy. The next chamber of the temple Kaleroc could enter freely as a priest, but he could not take a pack of Kroxigor in tow. After that even a priest could not enter further without permission. He’d have to force his way in. Once inside and the entrance was shut tight, his warriors retrieved the weapons hidden amongst the recesses of the statue.

    He approached the Skink attendant and the four Temple Guard behind him.

    “We need to proceed to the next chamber.”
    “With a fully armed cohort? Why would I let you all in?”
    “You wouldn’t.”
    “You need to leave right n—”

    Kaleroc muttered an incantation forcing magical silence. Then he exhaled a dark mist which sapped the speed and coordination of his foes. He calmly pointed at the Temple Guard and the six “Kroxigor” advanced towards the weakened warriors. Even the Temple Guard hesitated in confusion for a split second when the enemy seemed to be friendly Kroxigor. They fell quickly to the superior numbers of mighty attackers. Meanwhile the Skink attendant was opening and closing his mouth, mutely attempting to shout for help against Kaleroc’s silencing cantrip before the faux Skinks surged forward and filled him with more sharp objects than a Razordon.

    Kaleroc dismissed his silencing spell. He heard no cries of alarm. They remained undetected. He looked over his minions. He separated out the four largest of the Shearls, then directed them to put on the Temple Guard’s helmets and pick up their halberds. Their real forms were slightly bigger than the Skinks they impersonated, but they lacked the build of Sauri. Using the stolen gear as a focal point, Kaleroc was able to modify their disguise to make them look like Temple Guard, at least temporarily. Then he directed the others to haul the corpses out of sight.

    Cloaked in shadows, Kaleroc scouted ahead, only encountering two unarmed, easily dispatched, Skink attendants. He reached the entrance to the next chamber, guarded by sixteen Temple Guard. He backtracked and carefully guided his minions toward them, then he cast another silencing cantrip, though he doubted it would hold long for a battle this size. Once again he summoned a miasma over his foes. Then he braced himself for the impending inner chill as he followed up his miasma by summoning a localized rain of ice. Though moving at a fraction of their speed from the sapping miasma and the restraining ice, the Temple Guard were resolute defenders bringing down two “Kroxigors” and three “Skinks” before falling in battle.

    Kaleroc set his remaining minions to guard positions and proceeded into the next chamber. He should have hated everything he saw, but he couldn’t help himself, Kaleroc was impressed and awed by what he saw. The almost circular room was made up of at least twenty equal wall segments, each with a plaque embedded in the wall. A small shaft of sunlight poured in from the ceiling and reflected across numerous golden plaques illuminating the room. The plaques brimmed with latent power. The room itself seemed to warm his blood.

    Kaleroc cursed himself for time wasted gawking. His cover would not last for much longer, and the First outnumbered his pitiful force a thousand to one. For all he knew he only had minutes before the defenders of Xlanhuapec came down on him like a comet. His minions were expendable but the mission would fail if Kaleroc couldn’t report what he learned. His escape plan was based entirely on magic. He was doomed if a single Slann was roused by his incursion.

    continental alignment, not important…

    He skimmed over two more plaques then couldn’t help reading through a plaque on the mighty Coatl in its entirety. He heard fighting outside. Kaleroc cursed himself for wasting time yet again.

    He heard battle cries from warrior caste Skinks. Then he heard thunder, followed by silence. Kaleroc had stolen a staff that duplicates the effects of the spell Sky’s Bite and did not require a wizard to use. He told his minions to only use in an emergency. The immediate threat was gone but they alerted half the city that something was amiss in the temple. Kaleroc looked at his dark scaly hands, realizing his disguise was worn away by the ambient magic of the room. Ifhisdisguise was gone, so would his minions. Once the First realized who they were up against, their fury would double.

    Kaleroc couldn’t waste time reading irrelevant plaques, but the dialect was so vague and dense that he couldn’t skip any plaque outright, or he might miss something essential. What are the Slann planning to do when the End Times arrive? How can the People defeat them and prove their worthiness to the Four great gods? Kaleroc must prove the People never should have been abandoned in favor of the usurping men. Then he saw a heading.

    “The Old Ones Plan for the End of Days”…what I’m looking for cannot be this obvious.

    Thunder rocked the temple again and the sounds of Saurus battle cries could now b heard, but Kaleroc continued to devour the words on the plaque. His eye gleamed. Despite the sound of his enemies nearing, he gave himself time to read the plaque over a second time just to be sure of its contents.

    The Fimir Balefiend threw back his head and laughed.

    Basically I didn't spend enough time edting this piece. I really needed to reduce the exposition. The conflict that forced Kaleroc to expediate his plan was too brief. The search through the plaques was WAY too brief. I basically was running out of available word count so instead of Introduction, Conflict, Resolution I made Introduction, conflict, resolution. I really needed to trim the religious ceremony and Kaleroc's grumbling down. I needed to expand the meat of the story. I just did not give myself enough time to do this. I either needed more time at the end for a rewrite or more time at the beginning so I could sketch an outline.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
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  6. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Cross posted from Fimir Discussion

    Subconsciously this is what makes Fimir frightening to me and I blew it by not having Kaleroc have any meaningful interaction with a Skink or Saurus.
     
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  7. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    The Last Slann (October-November 2015 Entry, theme was "Spirit of Horror")

    I wasn't intending to write a piece of this contest. I came up with the contest theme so it felt weird entering. Not that is that big a deal. @Y'ttar Scaletail has entered in his own contests more than once and he does it with integrity. I feared we were going to have a small turn out for this story contest. Turned out this had the high turn out, most of the entries came in the last 48 hours but by that point my story was already done, so I thought, "Why not?" I wasn't trying to win, I aimed for interesting to read. I figured with a theme like "Spirit of Horror" the winner would be a first person story of personal horror, not a mass horror story like I wrote.

    I was also mildly curious if anyone would out me as the writer. I used bold italics for telepathy and color coded Daemon speech that have become a recurring element in my stories. I also wrote it about the Lore of Undeath, and it's no secret I REALLY like that lore.

    I wrote this relatively fast, but I learned my lesson from my last contest piece and I made a broad outline to try to keep the beginning, middle, and end in roughly the same. Set the End of the World, Slann sacrifices his remaining minions to flee, narrowly escapes major astral Deamons. Briefly describe journey, form new body, establishes himself with new Slann, set up spooky/awesome anti-hero-esque Undeath use with potentially chilling unforeseen consequences.

    I also chose to write about the End of the World (or a world) because I've pondering my own End Times saga for a loooong time. Nowadays everything longer than a short story takes a long time. Also I keep updating my End Times notes with new things I want to include or remove. Not sure I'll ever write it. 1) My busyness and growing editing/perfectionism is making my pieces take a long time to finish. 2) I have a lot pieces I want to write before the End Times because 3) when and if I do release my own End Times story I will probably quit writing Lizardmen stories (barring periodic short stories) and move on to Salamanders or my own fiction world.

    Interesting side note, Bob mention that I use Daemons fighting amongst themselves a lot in my stories. I don't plan to change this. The Daemons are really power and have infinite numbers. The only reason they ever lose is because they fight amongst themselves. More than any race except maybe the Skaven, Daemons are their own worst enemies.

    From atop the apex of his stepped pyramid the Slann Chosiloqol saw Itza, the First City in flames. The pyramid and the area around it was an island of blue and green defenders surrounded by a sea of attackers in twisted purples, browns, reds, and colors not meant to be viewed by mortals.

    Chosiloqol hurled waves of deaths at the minions of Chaos. While the magic was of a scale undreamt of by lesser mortals, the effect hardly caused a ripple in the demonic host. Over a hundred daemons were banished back to the Chaos Realm not to reform again for several centuries. Too little too late. With better range, Chosiloqol could have hit ten times as many foes, but his last Skink Priest vassal had been ripped to pieces hours ago. Firing spells from the top of the pyramid was the best he could do.

    Daemons had already enveloped the last of the other fortified pyramids. Chosiloqol (Chose-eey-lo-cole) felt telepathic death screams of the last of several more fellow Slann. It seemed the golden plaque that the Slann decided to hide from the Skinks was coming to fruition. Chosiloqol wondered absently if there were any Skinks left alive to keep the prophecy hidden from. His attendant may have been the last Skink left in the world. The forbidden prophecy foretold that Chosiloqol was to be the last Slann of this world to have his spirit depart his body.

    His mind drifted and thought of millennia ago when the Slann discovered that the Old Ones had made their presence felt on many other worlds. The Slann had all agreed they should concentrate on their world as the Old Ones commanded.

    This world is doomed, but I can help others. I cannot fight fate, my spirit will depart, but I will not die!

    Chosiloqol sensed the determination of his guardians. He had little more than a thousand defenders arrayed against at least a twenty times those numbers. The defenders refused to give up an inch of ground as long as blood flowed through their veins. The Slann reached out telepathically and drank deep of his followers’ loyalty and courage and willed his astral form to ascend.

    His Skink attendant cried out in despair as his master’s body slumped forward and the palanquin came crashing down on the temple apex. The distraught Skink didn’t even notice the simultaneous collapse of hundreds of Saurus warriors and Temple Guard. The Daemon hordes paused briefly in confusion at their stroke of luck then promptly swarmed the prone Sauri eviscerating them in frenzied excitement, uncaring whether they were already dead or merely unconscious awaiting death at their hands.

    Slann often astrally projected their wills, but never without tethers to their bodies. Chosiloqol had abandoned his physical shell so completely that he wasn’t even aware when a Bloodthirster consumed it. That should have ended his journey, but he was brimming with the power and devotion of the Itza’s strongest and bravest defenders. He locked onto the distant source of the Old One’s presence, and willed his spirit to go in that direction. Unfortunately, his spirit was not the presence in astral space.

    Tadpole of the Old Ones. If you had fought and died as a mortal does, your soul might have been able to escape and return to the Old Ones’ realm, assuming it still exists. I foresaw waiting patiently in the astral space of the last temple would be profitable, but I never dreamed I would get to devour the last Slann. I rarely get to feed because my power is too great to manifest on your pathetic world, but now your soul is fully exposed. You will have the honor of being consumed by the Right Hand of Tzeentch!

    The spectral daemon threw a blast of pure malice, pure warpflame untainted by having a physical substance. Chosiloqol summoned a cocoon of pure light around himself dissipating the warpflame harmlessly though he knew he couldn’t maintain that defense for long. He telepathically shouted at his foe.

    You are the Right Hand of Nothing! I am Chosiloqol of Itza! I was taught the secrets of the universe by the architects of Creation. I have witnessed continents rise and fall. I will be not be consumed by the likes of you!

    Your power is nothing compared to me—why are you calling out? There are no allies to come to your aid.

    I wasn’t calling allies here.
    Hand of Tzeentch! You will not steal the last prize after sitting out the battle. I will claim this prize for Slaanesh.
    A pox on all of you! The Slann’s essence will be the fertilizer for new glorious putrescence to define a new age!
    Death to all you vile manipulators! Souls for the Blood god!


    As the lieutenants of the Dark powers fought, Chosiloqol made his escape. A multitude of astral daemons came when their masters arrived in numbers beyond counting, mostly fighting their daemonic rivals. Though only a fraction of a tithe of the Daemons turned their attention to fleeing Slann, their numbers would have constituted a small army in the physical realm.

    Light magic is the most effective magic against Chaos, but the Slann had already drawn upon this magic calling up shields. Now that he was little more than a discorporate mind, he had to balance his magic or he’d weaken his essence. He lashed out with waves of Death and severed several Daemon’s minds from their bodies. Lacking a Slann’s will they could not survive this separation and were lost foreever. Life magic cleared away even more attackers. While it didn’t destroy the Daemons it forced them out of the astral plane back into bodies in the Chaos realms and too far removed to be an immediate threat. Chosiloqol alternated wielding every wind of magic he could until he had finally destroyed, banished, disoriented, or outran every Daemon that sought to bar his way.

    Even rationing his magic through the Wandering Deliberations technique, the effort almost exhausted his spirit, literally. What started as a purposeful flight had turned into something of an astral free fall as Chosiqol’s soul plummeted like a meteorite dying on impact on the very world he sought refuge on. He sensed his saviors, foreign Slann created by the Old Ones to oversee their own world.

    His distant brethren sensed his approach. Several Slann had astrally projected themselves out to meet Chosiloqol. They gently caught him and shared enough of their spare energy to guide him to their temples.

    We do not recognize you brother? From where do you hail?
    His mind has been pulled too far from his body. Without an anchor he will fade soon.
    Quick, tell us what news of the Old Ones do you bring before you leave?


    I…will…not…leave…

    He pulled out mentally taking a tiny portion of the life force of the Slann communicating with it but drew the bulk of his power from the jungle itself using their mightiest temple as a conduit. Chosiloqol willed himself a new physical form to house his formidable will.

    First a toad-like skeleton emerged on the Temple apex then slowly it grew sinew, blood, and skin. Within minutes a new Slann lay sprawled on the apex gazing at the stars his spirit once traveled.

    Naturally the Skinks were awestruck, not only by the new arrival but by the reaction of their own lords. Never before had they heard of a Slann literally dropping his jaw in astonishment. One of their lords recovered before Chosiloqol did and muttered out loud.
    “Only the Slann of the First Spawning could reconstitute their bodies like that…”

    The Skinks all stared at him.

    “What are you waiting for? Bring forth a palanquin!”

    Once he rested and recovered Chosiloqol told his story to the Slann of the land called “Lustria.” Chosiloqol was now in Itza. The second “First City” he had ever had a physical body created in. The Slann had long suspected that the Old Ones had left their mark on many worlds, so Chosiloqol revelation of different spawnings of Slann on a distant world were not alarming. What was alarming that the Old Ones’ Great Plan could fail on any world.

    Many Slann wanted to discuss the paradox of two “First Cities”, but Chosiloqol wouldn’t stand for it.

    Now is not the time for contemplation. Now is the time for action. My brethren were too slow to save our world, but we have the opportunity to act before this Itza, this First City, becomes the Last City. Before this world becomes the Last World.

    When news came that the Skaven were reemerging in Lustria, Chosiloqol stunned all of his hosts by insisting on taking command personally. Even Mazdamundi was rarely this aggressive. He surprised everyone again when he delayed a direct confrontation and had skirmish forces harry the Skaven towards Quetza, the Defiled City. Skink priests and Oldbloods alike quietly questioned the outlander Slann’s mental acuity. Surely the ratmen would have the advantage in the Defiled City.

    Once reaching the outskirts of the Defiled City, Chosiqol bid his army to halt. He addressed the commanders.

    “We don’t want to risk our forces being tainted by the lingering pestilence here.”

    Then encased by a warm cocoon of white light, the outlander Slann floating his palanqin away from his guardians and soldiers and floated towards the center of the ruined city.

    While many of the commanders privately had misgivings about the foreign Slann’s plan, none dared to question him. While Chosiloqol fulfilled his inscrutable plan, the Saurus and Skink leaders prepared battlelines as their scouts had reported the Skaven army neared.

    Visibility was unusually good because the lingering taint of the Defiled City had thinned out the local foliage. Despite this, their foul foes could be heard and smelled well before they could be seen. A force of ratmen four times that of what the First had assembled. The Skaven army was no mere band of wretches. It included many mutated abominations and mechanical monstrosities to match their scaly counterparts many beasts of war. This would not be an easy battle but the First Children of the Old Ones had triumphed over Skaven facing far worse odds than this.

    “For Sotek!” the Skinks, Sauri, and Kroxigor yelled as one. The Anathema answered with their own snarling battle cries. As the two armies surged across the field towards each other both paused for a split second in confusion when an unearthly wail came from beyond their western flanks.

    From the midst of the Defiled city rank after rank of skeletons emerged. Fallen Skaven, Sauri, and Skinks picked up rusted weapons and formed a massive host outnumbering the Lizardmen and Skaven armies combined. These dead warriors were joined by skeletal Kroxigors forming ranks with skeletal Rat Ogres and less recognizable skeletons. The skeletal remains of giant rats scuttled forward along with the spike covered skeletons of Razordon. All the skeletons moved with nary a sound other than the creaking of bones and the clank of rusting armaments. None of them had wailed.

    The source of the wailing became apparent as blue and purple spectral forms emerged walking through the skeleton cohorts. The spirits emitted cries of pain in Saurian and Queekish alike. The spectral Skinks all bore bulbous sores of infections or other grotesque mutations bearing witness to the Skaven’s worst poisons. A few Skaven spirits, slaves by the look of them, had similar mutations upon their spectral forms, but most of the Skaven spirits showcased the worst of what Lustria had to offer its enemies: the scorched bodies of Salamander victims, swollen limbs from Skaven hit by poisoned darts and left to die over the course of hours, Skaven who had been slain by hundreds of tiny bites from snakes, bloated victims of drowning.

    The First were not about to let the arrival of a horde of undead stop them from fulfilling their duty, the Saurus and Skink commanders ordered their charge anew, figuring they’d attack the undead after slaying their hated foes. Before the Saurus warriors could reach the Skaven’s frontlines the wailing specters hit them first. The Skaven warlocks struck down a few but on the whole the ratmen were totally unprepared for screaming incorporeal creatures slicing into their army center.

    The Skaven lines buckled as the Saurus and Skink Cohorts charged into them. Minutes later the skeletons had followed the specters into the fray. Pincered between two armies, the Skaven broke into a rout only to discover a skeletal Carnosaur, somehow still able to roar impressively despite having no lungs appear behind them cutting off their retreat. The incorporeal soldiers, still wailing in agony fanned out to catch fleeing stragglers.

    With the Skaven obliterated, The Scar Veterans and Skink Chiefs prepared to reform their battle lines against the undead menace until one of the Skink Priests shrieked.

    “Stop!”

    The undead horde closed ranks and stood to attention. The remaining quiet Skaven corpses all rose anew and were absorbed into the undead army. From behind the dark force rose a palanquin.

    Chosiloqol floated his palanquin forward towards the Lizardmen ranks as the undead parted for him. He turned quietly to the ranking Saurus general

    “Very few of our troops were lost today. If you held back completely like I ordered we would have lost nothing. That’s why we let the dead fight for us.”

    He addressed the whole army magically amplifying his voice, simultaneously projecting his message telepathically to Slann for hundreds of miles.

    “With this magic we will turn the very bodies of the Anathema into tools of the Old One’s will! I have prevented the end times of our world!”

    The Kroxigor cheered listening to his tone alone and marveling that a Slann had bothered to say something encouraging. The Skink Priests and those around them cheered loudly, but the applause from the bulk of the Sauri and Skinks was fairly tepid. They weren’t all entirely sure they liked what they heard. In their stepped pyramids temples the Slann shuddered as they tried to gather and control the new magical energies they felt released.

    Few wizards among the lesser races sensed anything at all given their weaker power and greater distance relative to the Slann, but an ocean away one wizard felt the winds of magic stir. In a pyramid very much unlike those of Lustria, Arkhan the Black felt the barrier between life and death quiver under the Slann's distant unleashing. If he still had flesh on his face, he would have smiled. Nagash’s final resurrection was surely nigh.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
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  8. spawning of Bob
    Skar-Veteran

    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Hey, I didn't comment about chameleons yet!

    You attributed me with making an insightful critical component, but surely reference to recorded fact would make you realise the chances of that were slim to non existent.

    I think the story benefited greatly from the fimir's perspective on the LM rituals - he was so un-categorisable and intriguing. I liked the need for an accelerated plan given the mounting body count. All of the set up was terrific. Yeah, the break in and search were compressed, but I accept your apology. The pay off at the end was all it should be- a surprise which made sense and didn't waffle.

    Putting chameleons into perspective with some later comp entries...

    ... Who wouldn't want to see a scene with this fimir, the priests from @thedarkfourth 's Blasphemy and the ones from Watching Things Burn.
     
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  9. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Watching Things Burn (April-May 2016, theme was "Anti-heroes")

    I wasn't intending to write a piece of this contest. I blame/credit @Warden as my muse. He was visiting a lot of the Lustriapedia discussion threads and thread necromancing them, so I started re-reading and the religious observances thread. I was pondering the Biblical story of Caine and Abel because I am a classic White Wolf nerd. I thought about running the twisted sacrifice version of the story. God liked Caine's offering more because Abel gave up what he treasured. Caine hated and loved at Abel and God and came up with a way to honor and spite them By justifying that Abel was what he loved most, he killed him and defiantly offered him to God sacrifice. I thought about doing this with spawning brothers months ago. Then the threads on sacrifices and religious observances swirled through my head. I somehow decided to take out the spite and turn this from fratricide to patricide. I've been pondering different ways to include Dark Elves into my longer pieces for years. While my work is agonizingly slow for my loyal fans, my next two pieces will involve Dark Elves. Because of these various brainstormings the whole story kind of fell into place.

    Every contest before this one where I entered, I tried to write out of my comfort zone. But the story popped into my head, it occurred to me that this was an thematically appropriate Anti-Hero story so I couldn't not write it. What's my comfort zone? Taking a character, making him or her relateable an unspeakably inflicting horrible death or crushing angst upon them. This one had one of each! And I almost won. I don't know if I'm unhappy I couldn't best Bob in our latest skirmish, or if I'm relieved I didn't get saddled with picking the next contest theme. My slogan used to be. "Scalenex's Fluff pieces: killing beloved characters since 2012." Apparently by the vote count, that's what my audience wants to see. You asked for it. All sadness all the time! On rare instances, one character will get a happy ending. That way you'll have false hope for a happy outcome EVERY SINGLE story making each tragic ending that much more painful.

    Now for the cherry on top. Many months ago, after reading through all the Death Tropes on TV Tropes I had the idea that I should make a list and check them off. .I opted out for three reasons. First, some of the Death Tropes are offensive. Second, some of the Death Tropes transition very poorly into written fantasy. Three, deliberately packing in tropes for the sake of packing in tropes usually weakens a work. I decided not to clear the checklist BUT there was one trope that I believed was not blatantly offensive but was ill-suited to a Lizardmen suited nonetheless. Well, there's one trope off of my list. Sorry son of Bob. It was NOT natural causes that killed Huaraz.


    “PRAISE BE TO CHOTEK!”

    The chant echoed around the arena. Every one of the First stared intently at intricately carved stela. The wooden structure stood nearly twenty feet tall, nearly every inch covered with mosaics to the Old One Chotec. Now it was set ablaze. The seats were mostly filled with Skinks and a few Kroxigor that rarely left their smaller spawning brother’s side—even when they did things that were somewhat boring. The few Sauri in attendance were mostly older Spawn Leaders and Scar Veterans who made a point of attending religious observances when they were off duty. There were only a handful of the younger rank and file.

    The red-crested Skink chief turned to the priest sitting next to him.

    “I think the younger Saurus warriors are only here because they just like watching things burn.”
    “Hush, that is not respectful.”

    The priest meant to come across as stern but the younger Skink could tell he was suppressing a smile.

    As the fire grew in size and intensity, the beautiful carvings on the stelae became less distinguishable until one brief moment when the relief blazed bright red making the carvings fully visible to all before the glow faded and the fire intensified incinerating the offering once and for all. The priest nearest them addressed the crowd with a megaphone.

    “Chotec gladly accepts our offering!”
    “PRAISE BE TO CHOTEC!”

    The sun was setting as the crowd departed. This was as intended. Most rituals in Chotec’s honor were timed to end with the sun’s rising or setting. Gartol, the red crested Skink Chief and Huaraz, the Skink priest of Itzl were among the last to leave.

    They were not very high up in the stands, but it was still slow work guiding Huaraz down the stairs. This wore on Gartol. Not from impatience or unwillingness to aid his elder, but because he didn’t like the idea that Huaraz was getting so old.

    Huaraz was not like the other priests who closeted themselves away in private chambers contemplating the vaguest utterances on the Slann. He was a priest of Itzl, a passionate and brilliant warrior. Not just empowering his allies with spells but leading them in battle clawing the enemy with magically empowered attacks. When he wasn’t leading massed units of Skinks and Kroxigor into battle, he was helping train the city’s newest spawned to fight. He didn’t have the raw talent of the warrior castes Skinks but he had a patience they lacked making him an ideal teacher.

    The priest last major battle made it clear Huaraz's place was no longer on the front lines. Even during training, his advancing age was beginning to show. Gartol didn’t like to think of newer spawnings not having the guidance that he had.

    Rather than fixate on this, Gartol decided to strike up a conversation.

    “I never understood this ritual, mentor. Why burn the tribute?”
    "As you mentioned, some people like to watch things burn. Fire is beautiful and warming much like how the sun which Chotec embodies is beautiful and warming.”
    “Over a dozen Skinks labored for weeks to carve a beautiful tribute to Chotec and we burned it. That has to be galling for the artisans to watch”
    “They were proud to serve, Huaraz. The stella was a labor of love.”
    “Then why not keep it? It was a beautiful tribute to Chotec that could have stood for decades. We should set Skaven on fire as an offering to great Chotec.”

    The elderly priest chuckled.

    “Spoken like a true exemplar of the Sotek caste. Sotek is a being of action and valor. The Old Ones are beings of wisdom and contemplation.”
    “Mentor, I faithfully serve Sotek, but I do not forsake the Old Ones who came before and prepared his Coming. We can’t contemplate a carving very well if it turned into a pile of ashes. Why not dedicate slain Anathema to all the Old Ones and not just Sotek”
    “Sotek demands we give him that which we despise. The blood of our enemies, the fruits of the battlefield. The Old Ones demand we give them the fruits of peace, that which we love. Being willing to give up what we love most is the essence of our mission to serve the Old Ones and the Slann.”

    They finally made it to the ground. They were quiet for several minutes before Gartol spoke again.

    “They say great Sotek is harsh because of the bloody sacrifices he demands. The demands of the Old Ones seem far harsher.”
    “Sotek doesn’t have a monopoly on harshness or slaying enemies. You’ve seen what the power of my patron Itzl can do on the battlefield first hand. Huanchi is no slacker at spilling blood of the Old One foes either. Really, there isn’t a single Old One that isn’t harsh when the situation requires it, much like all the First.”

    Huaraz stumbled on the road and nearly fell. Gartol steadied him while his mentor grumbled.

    I’ll be harsh if I meet the worker chief who allowed this loose pavestone on his watch!”

    Gartol stopped walking. Huaraz took three steps before he noticed his companion was no longer matching his stride.

    “Yes?”
    “Mentor, it is getting late and we are still a good ways from the Temple of Itzl. I’m not carrying any weapons or gear at this time. I could…..carry you home….if you’d like.”

    Irritation flashed across the elder Skink’s face, then appreciation. He waved the younger Skink off.

    “I’m old, but I’m not that old.”

    Huaraz noted his protégé’s look of concern did not cease. He removed his satchel and offered it to Gartol.

    “You can carry my pouch if you want, but no one ever carries me.”
    “Never?”
    “Okay, one time, but the rules change when you are gushing blood from a battlefield wound. Thanks for that by the way.”
    “Just paying you back when you helped me my first battle, mentor.”
    “You were a good tadpole, I could see your potential. I knew you’d pay me back later, and you did, so we are even now. You aren’t carrying me anywhere tonight!”

    Both Skinks laughed as they continued walking down to the temple district. The city was quiet, most of the residents had already settled in for the night. Gartol had another burning question in his mind.

    “Should not one of the Slann attended the annual Chotec festival. Or the Tzunki festival before it. Not one Slann came for our last ritual honoring Tepoc. A major Tepoc ritual without a Slann present is like a large Kroxigor gathering without any food present.”
    “Hah! You are spoiled with the Slann always floating about. Back in my day, The Slann spent a lot more time contemplating and a lot less time guiding us.”
    “I thought they rotated between contemplations and leadership much as the lesser First rotate between rest and our various tasks. Why the change? What are they contemplating now, mentor?”
    “Not so much contemplating as arguing. The Great Plan and how it accounts for the warm blooded races. In this case they are concerned about the Second Race.”
    “The Elves? What are they doing now?”
    “This doesn’t leave the two of us, but the so-called Fallen Elves in the land north of Lustria are launching a massive invasion of the Elves’ original homeland. Some Slann want to wipe out or convert all the Fallen so the Second Race isn’t tainted by Chaos further. Some Slann want to force all Elves, Fallen and otherwise to return their original homeland.”
    “The island that is a ring?”
    “Yes. The first group of Slann fears that letting invasion proceed unhindered will weaken the Second Race as a whole and spread the taint of darkness to those who are still relatively pure. The second group Slann sees the invasion as the fulfillment of the Old Ones plan as the northern Elves are returning to their original homeland of their own free will, at least most of them are.”
    "That sound complicated.”
    “It gets worse. Some Slann have given up on managing the Second Race at all. They just want to stop the Elves from raiding Lustria. Some of them think we should stand back and let the Elves reduce each other’s numbers. Others think we should side with the ring dwellers since they are the far less threatening of the two groups.”

    They discussed the details of the various viewpoints all the way back to Huaraz’s cell in the Temple of Itzl.

    “Mentor, what if we act and break the Slann’s stalemate?”
    “You know better, Gartol, the Slann decide and we act…with their orders.”
    “If they can’t decide amongst themselves how do we act?”
    “We wait till they decide.”
    “And if they don’t decide?”
    “Then we wait longer!”

    The pair were silent for most of the rest of their walk to the temple. Garok hung up the elder priest’s satchel and helped him into his bed.

    “Mentor I’ve been thinking. The Slann thinking and we younger children of the Old Ones acting. That is somewhat like how the Old Ones think and Sotek acts.”
    “That is probably why he is largely a Skink god. But still Sotek’s bold actions were foreseen and planned by the Old Ones. Much how our bold actions are still guided by the Slann. It is good to know your boldness is tempered with wisdom.”

    Huaraz’s eyes began to droop.

    “Thank you for the kind words, mentor. It is clear that though I am a child of Sotek in many respects I must always seek the blessings of the Old Ones.”

    He paused and watched his mentor begin to doze. He stooped and picked up a spare pillow off of the floor.

    “The Old Ones demand we give up that which we love.”
    “What’d you say?” Hauraz asked his speech slurred.
    “I said sleep well, mentor.”



    Huaraz the priest of Itzl lay peacefully on a pile of dry wood in the middle of a delicate raft carved in the likeness of a Salamander. Gartol lit the pyre and pushed the raft gently into the middle of the spawning pool. He turned to the crowd of mourners. Almost every Skink of rank in the city along with a small number of Saurus leaders. They all watched in respectful silence as the raft became consumed by flames and finally sank.

    “We commend a wise and mighty priest to the Old Ones’ hands. Huaraz has served as a mentor and guide for almost everyone here. His loss diminishes us all. We take solace in the fact that he lived a long life and died peacefully in his sleep. To honor his memory, we must follow his last wishes which he confided me to on his last night.”

    He paused a moment until he was sure he had every individuals complete attention.

    “He told me, ‘While the Second race resumes their civil war, we must march north, to the land the Second Race calls, Naggaroth. This will please the Slann who believe all Elves belong on their ringed island by denying these wayward warmbloods their adopted home. This will please those Slann who call the Naggaroth Elves “Fallen” as this will reduce the Fallen Elves’ numbers and resources. This will please those Slann concerned with the safety of our lands as the Naggaroth Elves will no longer have a nearby base from which to launch their raids upon us.’”

    Most of the priests nodded agreement along with several skink chiefs. A small number of priests and chiefs a like looked doubtful. A lot of chiefs looked confused. The Saurus leaders’ expressions never wavered.

    “We will advance the Great Plan! No more will the pale Elves from the north raid our temples! No more will they sacrifice our spawning brothers! No more will they enslave Cold Ones and other beasts of the jungle. We are the First Children of the Old Ones and will not be denied! We will not stop until every warmblood in Nagaroth is dead and every tainted structure, every blasphemous monument to their false gods is leveled.”

    The assembled cheered. Even those harboring some doubts were swept up in the rising energy.

    “For Sotek! For the Old Ones!”
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
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  10. spawning of Bob
    Skar-Veteran

    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Kerching! A new death trope checked off.

    Without being humble, you picked a very good writing competition to be co-winner of, and Watching Things Burn was my favourite entry.

    I said on a couple of places that this had your fingerprints on it - specifically the relentless logic applied by the characters as they justified their points of view. None of your characters ever do anything without a very sound reason. There have been chapters of yours where the lesson has overpowered the story, but not this time (possibly because the pace of this one is more measured than your usual).
     
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  11. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Thanks Bob. I put a lot of effort into a measured pace this time. That was a major failing of my last two contest pieces, but I'm learning. Also, since everyone else is addressing all their critiques, I thought I'd follow suit.



    Special thanks to @Crowsfoot for his help. Two of the times he read it were to help me spot typos and minor rewrites. He was my proofreader because he was the only one online and I was running out of time before the contest deadline a really awesome guy.



    I found the speculation on Killer Angel writing this piece funny. I also found it funny that Crowsfoot egged them on when he was the only one who knew I wrote this.



    Gnar Clawtooth basically set the standard for reviewing this piece. He hit all the good points I was aiming for, managing to give me a swelled head with the compliments then brought me down to earth pointing out the pieces shortcomings. I was able to parrot it back to make my self-review easy to write.




    Thank you, I was pleased with that line too. I was pleased with that line myself. Still I wasn't aiming for a brilliant solution. I was aiming for a foolhardy solution. I don't see Gartol's plan of having much chance of working without Slann backing it up.



    Thank for the compliments on my articulation. I was proud of those as well. I was saving the Kroxigor joke in my vault for some time waiting for the perfect opportunity. "A ______ without _____ would be like a Kroxigor gathering without food." You area also right in that I could have colloquialized the speech at the end a bit. "Maybe I’m just upset at having the author’s intelligence and manipulation of the medium rammed down my throat like an antok down a carnosaur’s gullet. Now, that is another instant classic, right?" One not sure I like the visual. Two, you forgot to mention my handsomeness and humility along with my intelligence and skill.



    While it was not in my top five, I enjoyed Chosen a lot. I found it odd that our two fine pieces were lumped together. "Chosen" involved large scale conflict whereas my piece worked on a small scale (though I suppose invading the Dark Elves realm is fairly big). Also the ending of Chosen was optimistic and uplifting ("Get it off me! Get it off me it burns!"). They both focused on loyalty as a motivating factor and both pieces failed to decisively defeat Bob's




    Thank you for the compliments. I did not mean a modern megaphone. People have been shouting into funnels for centuries before the invention of electric (or magical megaphones). I’ve even seen them used in my lifetime as a child. I also like fans of betrayal. I like betrayal almost as much as horrifying deaths.



    First off, the phrase “breath taking” made me happy. Of course I also like making filthy Skaven innocent and well-respected visiting dignitaries sad. Many have mentioned this piece needed a haircut. I stand by the pillow. I’m sort of silly about wanting to include the death trope, but I do think it builds character. You can’t use the vorpal pillow unless your would be victim is already very weak. That both makes the betrayal worse while possibly softening the blow by insinuating a mercy killing.


    But the megaphone? Again. Look megaphones were used in the Coliseum, and that can’t be the first time it was used. If you can make a bronze sword, you can make a wooden or metal funnel and shout into it! I could have described the low-tech Mesoamerican megaphone in more detail but my piece was already pushing the envelope for being unacceptably long.



    Given the murder and angst, I thought it was odd no one guessed this was mine. I guess I don’t enter every contest and Crowsfoot covered my trail. Bob should have known. He knew I was covering Dark Elf scenarios and had recently commented on the similarities between this piece’s religious observance and the one in “Chameleons in the City of Mists.” I also figured Bob’s piece was obvious to all (it’s funny, polished, and clever.). Discomute’s piece was obvious (it’s efficiently crafted and subtly disturbing). Ratty’s piece was obvious (It was well-written but he was scant on his usual heavy compliments for this piece.) Slantaclause’s piece was obvious (it involved an extra-fat Slann who had extra magic powers and lived up north where his existence was doubted by nonbelievers). Tlac’Natal’s piece was obvious (it used his excellent established setting).


    Then again I knew all the answers, of course it seemed obvious to me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2016
  12. spawning of Bob
    Skar-Veteran

    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Sorry about that. I wrote that whole I was still deluded that Discomute was the author, and "antoks" are one of his creations. I was trying to salute the author for great use of simile and metaphor while proving I was on to him. Fail on both counts.

    And what's with everyone thinking my story was funny? I was distressed writing it and the least you guys could have done was show some respect and not enjoy it.
     
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  13. thedarkfourth
    Cold One

    thedarkfourth Well-Known Member

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    Sorry mate, Watching Things Burn is also optimistic. It ends with the main issue resolved and the protagonist in no doubt about what to do going forward for the glory of the Plan. You have become what you most despise. Both stories are technically about deciding to do things we would judge as morally wrong (murdering a mentor or deciding to continue with a plan that calls for mass genocide of "lesser" races) but which the drama causes the reader to see as good and worthwhile, because that's how the character sees it. That's why they're anti-hero stories.
     
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  14. Killer Angel
    Stegadon

    Killer Angel Well-Known Member

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    well, for other pieces the connection was more "objective", while in this case, they were put together mostly for my strong emotional reaction to them. ;)

    But anyway, in the end, they're both about a future conflict, fueled by the twisted reasoning of a single being... :D
     
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  15. Y'ttar Scaletail
    Chameleon Skink

    Y'ttar Scaletail Well-Known Member

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    In retrospect, you are right. It's just at the time the first image that popped into mind was the more modern version. Not sure if I could have done it any better, but I suppose I would have either given him a powerful voice that acted in stark contrast to his size and age or a voice amplifying charm that Gartol is seen wearing at the end or throws it upon the burning pyre.

    At least I know not to trust you around pillows now! :p
     
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  16. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    In Pursuit of Freedom (October-November 2016, 'theme was Freedom and Slavery")

    I had an idea for this piece almost immediately after I got @thedarkfourth excellent theme. Problem I got sick around the time work got busy. I eventually got sick enough to not be able to work and that's when I coughed up my actual story. I didn't have a plan for a gladiator themed short story but I was toying with the idea of a gladiator Saurus in Naggaroth as a minor throwaway character in a long piece I'm working on.

    I must confess. I was late getting this finished. Half the reason why the entries were posted late was because I was behind on polishing my piece. I almost opted not to include my piece, but boosting the contest from 11 to 12 pieces would give readers a fourth vote and my piece was mostly done. The hard part was word count. My first draft was about 300 words over the limit.

    My inspiration from from the 1990s Superman the Animated Series, the last episode. it's pretty common for a hero (or anti-hero, or villain) to leave a defeated foe at the mercies of his victims. It's a common trope. It's not commonly an averted trope but it's not unprecedented. The last episode of Superman, Superman goes on a darkness bender and beats the crud out of Darkseid, then offers Darkseid to his slaves for vengeance, only to find that Darkseid's victims want to help their master. I wanted to apply the same principle.

    I created an outline. I needed to establish the setting: the cruelty of the Dark Elves, the personality of the crowds, the Saurus' report with the Human slaves, I needed an actual arena fight of course, then I needed an escape and subversion. Without an outline trying to pace all this, I would have probably been 1000 words over.

    So that was my story arc plan. I also had plans for details. I wanted to showcase issues with translation. I wanted to have taunting back and forth between the gladiator and the guards. I wanted to make my Saurus a methodical planner but keep the warrior spirit. He thought complicated thoughts but his thoughts were still bent towards fighting.

    Minor thing, I did not like the name Grifiel. My original plan was to use Grifiel as a place holder and then use "Find and Replace" to change the name afterwards. But the name grew on me. Anywho, I lifted the name from White Wolf's gameline Demon: the Fallen and those writers probably lifted Grifiel from some obscure book of Judeo Christian folklore.

    I'm overall pleased with how this turned out. I wish I could have got my draft done before the last minute. Then I could have got a second person to take a look at it and give me some feedback before I posted it. I did not expect @spawning of Bob to sit this competition out, or I would have asked him. I also didn't ask Bob because I kind of wanted to see Bob would finger me as the culprit for this piece.

    I didn't bother to disguise my voice at all in this piece. i commonly write about Lizardmen versus Dark Elves, this involved a ceremony like "Watching Things Burn" and "Chameleons in the City of Mists." I used Scalenex style capitalization. I capitalized Human and Saurus as race names. I'm not sure I've seen anyone else capitalize "Human." Also my story was full of misery and suffering from a noble struggling protagonist. @thedarkfourth was on to me though and I guess it was my underlined font to distinguish Eldarin from Saurian. I was thinking of using italics but that's more commonly used for italics. Comic books use <these tabs to show someone speaking in a different language> but I didn't think that would fit well in this medium.


    Grifiel heard a mild tapping on the bars of his cell door. The stooped human called Gofer was there. He brought Grifiel his meal. The manacled lizard bent towards the small human.

    Next challenger is ogre.” He whispered.
    Thank you.

    Grifiel rarely thanked skinks. It felt weird to thank a human. He pitied the humans, but he recognized a sort of kinship. They lacked his strength, but they were victims just as he was. Gofer and Tad were willing to give Grifiel information. Grifiel in turn maimed their least favorite guard, Beluar, last year. At least he thought it was last year. Seasons do not pass normally here; time was difficult here.

    Grifiel understood some Eldarin, but he struggled to recall what “ogre”. Ogres are what elves call the larger members of the Fifth Race. The Big Eaters.

    The Crowd loved to see death, but they also liked interesting fights. Grifiel had won most of his fights. Without the Crowd’s support, Grifiel could not survive even one loss. Exotic fighters were prized. An ogre gladiator was almost as rare as a saurus.

    Grifiel remembered what he could about big eaters. Back home, He fought a group of raiders that included some Big Eaters. Their weakness is their stomachs. Skinks scared away most of the easy game to make the Eaters hungry and irritable. The saurus solution is to cut open the Eaters’ stomachs and watch them die.

    Eaters are strong on the charge. Faster than kroxigor but softer. Must deny him the charge. Too many humans and elves, don’t remember the last time I fought something with a longer reach than me. Need to get in close. Eater will protect stomach. Feint for limb, THEN hit stomach.

    Tad brought his next meal.

    They will put Gofer in Blood Rites.
    “Mahrlect!”
    What?” the Human asked. Grifiel switched back to Eldarin.
    I not want Gofer die like that. Set him free”

    The Blood Rite involved slow torture of slaves inflicted by the Witch Elves for the Crowd’s delight.

    What he do make angry the Master of the Games?
    I not know. No talk more. Not want be next!

    Grifiel pondered the events. The elves liked to cause pain on the humans. They tried physical pain of all sorts on Grifiel. This did not work. Saurus are used to pain.

    The elves often make humans harm their friends. They tried to hurt Grifiel by making him fight captured skinks in one of his first arena fights. This did not work. The skinks did not fight back and Grifiel was happy to set them free, they could not endure like Grifiel. They tried to make him fight a Cold One. The saurus joined with his “adversary” and the two killed or crippling several guards before Grifiel was incapacitated while the Crowd watched. The Crowd was so amused that they demanded Grifiel get to live to fight again.

    Grifiel won three fights after that the elves intended to be his execution. The last was against, Abarat, a guard who lost a hand to his Cold One. He affixed a sword to his stump and held a shield in his other hand. Grifiel was unarmed and had had his claws manacled behind his back. Abarat walked away missing both hands. The crowd demanded both fighters. Grifiel earned his title: Bloodjaw, the Flesh Biter. Abarat began a celebrated career as a professional gladiator: Two Swords, the Terrible, winning seventeen fights before perishing. He was free of his ridicule. The Crowds decision to let him live was not out of mercy.

    Grifiel knew making it home was impossible. Lustria was too far away the wilderness was too cold to survive. His escape attempts had a different purpose: Destroy the Fallen as the Sotek intends.

    Grifiel would eventually kill enough elves that they would no longer justify keeping him alive, then he would be free. His ultimate goal was to kill the Master of the Games or else enter the stands and lay waste to the Crowd. Both the Master of the Games and the elves who watched the games were a pox on the Great Plan that needed to be cleansed.

    Eight guards came to drag him to the arena. Beluar limped to the fore.

    You’re dead! Unlike you, the ogre never lost a match! I’m just sorry I won’t get a chance at you first!

    He hit the saurus with a scourge. It would have stripped flesh off a human’s back, but the saurus barely felt it. Grifiel laughed.

    After I give ogre first defeat, you can go next. Get nice title like Two Swords the Terrible. One Leg the Wondrous!

    The other guards all laughed. Beluar drew a blade. Another Elf interjected.

    D’arvit! Beluar, take it easy.

    The guards laughed some more, Beluar drew bashed the other guard with his blade hilt sending him sprawling to the floor.

    Don’t tell me what to do!

    He raised the blade towards the manacled Saurus. The guards shouted out, some admonishing, some encouraging.

    Stay your hand, Beluar!” the Master of the Games stepped forward from the shadows. The guards fell silent.
    I would not see our prize fighter damaged…not here.

    The guards began leading Grifiel away. A stern look from their leader signaled Beluar was not follow.

    See you in the Arena, Beluar.” Grifiel grunted.

    Grifield heard Beluar mutter “D’arvit” as he was led away.

    The elves love to deliver cuts and cutting remarks, but they cannot take what they serve.

    Grifiel was led to a cell adjacent to the arena. He peered through the bars. He could see the arena and hear the roaring of the Crowd, their chants, boos, cheers, exclamations and curses. Above them rang augmented voice of the Master of the Games.

    The pompous Fallen liked to make up elaborate stories about each fighter. Grifiel usually tuned it out. First some human slaves were fed to hungry animals. Next two elves fought to the death for either a title, a mate, a pile of coins, or something else equally worthless.

    Next was reenactment of a famous battle against the Elves of Ulthuan. The Prodigal “elves” played by human slaves armed with shiny and functional weapons and armor but absolutely no training.

    Next some untrained slaves fought each other, the Crowd found this hilarious. Next came an actual warrior. Grifiel forced himself to pay attention in case they had to fight later.

    NEXT UP WE HAVE A WARRIOR OF THE EMPIRE. EXILED FOR MURDERING A COMMANDNG OFFICER, HE BECAME A PIRATE HARASSING HIS FORMER KIN. THEN HE TRIED TO ATTACK ONE OF OUR SHIPS! ONLY THIS HUMAN SURVIVED! CAN HE SURVIVE HIS NEXT CHALLENGE? FOR HIS FOURTH AND GREATEST BATTLE IN THE ARENA, ALDRIK OF THE CRIMSON BLADE!

    Aldrik fought seven untrained Humans in a loose circle around him. If they all rushed him at once they could have beaten him, but they hesitated. A seasoned warrior, Aldrik did not hesitate. Grifiel carefully studied his fighting technique carefully.

    Grifiel was dragged on deck for the match after next.

    DEEP WITHIN THE JUNGLES OF LUSTRIA—

    Bloodjaw! Bloodjaw! Bloodjaw!

    —THERE WAS A CROCODILE WARRIOR SO SAVAGE, SO BESTIAL THAT HIS TOAD-LIKE MASTER DROVE HIM OUT OF HIS CITY OF GOLD AND LEFT HIM IN THE JUNGLE TO LIVE A SAVAGE BEAST—

    Bloodjaw! Bloodjaw! Bloodjaw!

    TILL HE WAS CAPTURED BY OUR BRAVE SOLDIERS AND BROUGHT HERE. PRESENTING KARON KARR’S OWN CHAMPION, BLOODJAW THE FLESH BITER!

    BLOODJAW! BLOODJAW! BLOODJAW!

    The elves made human slaves unlock Grifiel’s manacles. Today it was Gofer. Gofer handed him a shield and a weapon.

    I not want go Blood Rite.” He whispered
    I set you free.

    Now unshackled, the saurus raised a massive fist and brought it down on the human’s head, crushing his skull instantly. A quick death. The Crowd roared in delight. Grifiel shouted the line he was forced to say before every match followed by his favorite Saurian line disguised as a bestial roar.

    Blood for Khaine! Sotek consume all the false gods!”

    BLOODJAW CANNOT WAIT FOR THE CARNAGE TO BEGIN! BUT CAN HE DEFEAT HIS NEXT CHALLENGER? DRIVEN FROM HIS TRIBE AS A THREAT TO THE CHIEF. THIS OGRE HAD SLAIN NUMEROUS MIGHTY BEASTS IN THE WILDERNESS BEFORE FALLING TO NAGGAROTH’S MIGHTY HUNTERS. ALL THE WAY FROM NAGGAROND, THE UNDEFEATED WINNER OF FORTY-TWO CONSECUTIVE MATCHES. GARLOCK, THE CRUSHING FIST!

    GARLOCK! GARLOCK! GARLOCK!

    The ogre had his own shout to the crowd.

    Khaine can bite my tail!

    The crowd booed at the insult to their deity.

    He has spirit. Tail, he couldn’t have meant “tail” Didn’t translate it right. Not important. What do I have? Shield, that’s good. A Bloodstick. Stupid gimmicky weapon.

    Bloodsticks are sticks studded with blades. The blades small but razor sharp. They drew blood easily, which the Crowd liked. They were fragile, so the blades broke easily, which the Crowd liked. To keep the blood stick from breaking, a warrior had to strike fast, shallow, and often, slowly bleeding his foe to death. The Crowd liked this best.

    The ogre charged. Grifiel jumped to the side. He’s not as big as a kroxigor. He’s as big as a big kroxigor. The ogre charged again. Grifiel side stepped him again. The Crowd was not pleased.

    Quit dancing and fight!

    The ogre had a massive spiked club. He certainly had the reach advantage. Grifiel raised his shield to fend off the Eater’s first blow. His arm ached, and he staggered.

    Garlock! Garlock! Garlock!

    He dove forward and swung his blood stick and the Eater’s gut…only to stop it an inch from contact not wanting to break his weapon.

    Mahrlect and D’arvit! They gave him some kind of stomach shield?

    He swung at an unarmored leg drawing several gashes and rolled away out of club range.

    Bloodjaw! Bloodjaw! Bloodjaw!

    The Eater shouted something hostile in his own tongue and advanced swinging his club. Grifiel dodge a blow and blocked another, but his shield shattered under the second blow.

    Garlock! Garlock! Garlock!

    Grifiel swung at an exposed arm and drew blood. He drew blood from the ogre’s right leg and Garlock’s counterattack missed the saurus by less than an inch making a gouge in the dirt. The crowd shouted themselves’ hoarse cheering on both fighters.

    Grifiel was faster but Garlock had better reach. They tried and failed to hit each other several times. Some of the crowd started to boo. The ogre backed up to get ready for a full charge. Grifiel prepared to sidestep the next charge. This time Garlock anticipated his move and jumped sideways to meet the saurus swinging his club. Grifiel instinctively raised his blood stick and when the two weapons connected the blades came loose and tiny blades went flying in all directions. The bloodstick was now simply a stick. The Crowd went wild.

    If some of the loose blades didn’t fly into Garlock’s forehead he could have ended the fight there, but hot blood was pouring over his eyes. The saurus dove for the ogre’s uninjured leg opposite the club and bit into the Eater’s calf. The ogre instinctively kicked him loose. Bloodjaw fell backward with a jaw full of bloody tissue. The Crowd roared. Garlock swung his club down but missed. Grifiel pounced on the club, drawing small cuts from the spikes but wrenching the weapon from his foe. He rolled the club away and bit into the ogre’s other leg sending him crashing to the ground. The fight was over. He couldn’t tell if the chants of “Live!” or “Death!” were more numerous. Grifiel spoke to the wounded ogre in Saurian out of respect.

    “You have a strong spirit. I set you free now.”

    I CHOOSE—

    Before the Master of the Games’ decree was finished, Grifiel ripped out Garlock’s throat.

    —DEATH!

    Elves came to re-chain him while several weapons were leveled at the saurus or aimed at Grifiel as a precaution. Tad, an expendable slave, was made to lock the manacles within range of Grifiel’s biting distance.

    If I picked to the Blood Rites, will you set me free?
    Yes.

    The human left the manacles closed but unlocked. Grifiel waited till the Games were over and the Master of the Games came to speak with him. He would not be pleased that “Bloodjaw” did not wait for the Master to pass sentence.

    Bloodjaw, greater fights will come—
    RIGHT NOW!” Grifiel replied

    He swung the empty chain ring straight at the Master’s face stunning him and confusing the guards as their leader fell back to the ground. The saurus punched one guard in the gut while biting deep into another’s collar. He grabbed a set of keys and freed his legs. Two guards were already striking him but the wounds could not penetrate his hide. His tangled his closest attackers’ blades with a chain and began biting, punching, kicking and tail slapping every bit of elf flesh within reach grabbing a spear Beluar’s dead hands.

    Soon all the guards were dying or dead. Grifiel turned to the Master of the Games and tossed his spear aside. After working him over with his bare hands, he grabbed the master’s keys and opened every cell, freeing every human. The saurus tossed the bruised elf into the mob of humans.

    Here is your tormentor. Do as with him as you will.

    …..

    Let me help you up, Master.
    I’ll clean your wounds.
    "Lean on me."

    Every human moved to help the elf, even Tad.

    NOOO!!! Humans too broken to be free. I kill you all. First the elf!

    Shadows congealed revealing a female elf. More shadows poured from the sorceress’ fingers and the saurus crumpled to the crowd weak as an infant. The witch taunted him.

    Not today, reptile, though I am pleased I got to watch you rough up the Game Master.
    Necessary to prove a point, Valna. I am many things to many people, but to my slaves, I am Sotek.”

    He switched to Saurian.

    “Some elves collect trophies, I collect broken wills. I’ve broken many creatures but you are my first saurus.”
    “I’ll kill you first, and your minions will set me free!”

    The elf laughed.

    “When you address me as ‘Sotek’, then I’ll allow you the freedom you seek.”[/SPOILER]
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2016
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  17. thedarkfourth
    Cold One

    thedarkfourth Well-Known Member

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    Actually I thought it was Discomute because the dialogue lines are not spaced. I thought he was the only one who did that!
     
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  18. Bowser
    Skink Priest

    Bowser Well-Known Member

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    This one was definitely one of my favourites. Such a great story! I liked the idea of the Saurus being merciful to the fellow slaves while still keeping with the showbiz persona given to it.
     
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  19. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Can I claim @discomute as a protégé? His first L-O fluff piece was Scalenex-verse expansion and he has a knack for writing downer endings. Perhaps her learned from my inspiration He return, discomute has inspired me to write new levels of visceral horror. We don't actually collaborate much but we do have similar styles.

    So this was me trying to critique my piece without revealing I wrote this. How'd I do? I thought it was clunky but maybe because i have a dose of @Y'ttar Scaletail 's tendency to be disappointed with his own work. I don't loathe my work the way our rat friend does. I tend to second guess my work for a few months but if I re-read something I wrote a year or more ago I tend to look on it fondly.

    Well I can't say anything bad about a review of my work that includes the word "perfect" twice, as well as other compliments. Well I don't think it's perfect but I'm glad meticulously planning worked. I aimed for a solid mix of action, description, and inner dialog and it's nice to know someone thought it was well. I think I could have used a bit less description and more action but that's a small misgiving.

    I don't know what you are comparing me too but I'll take the compliment as intended.

    I like twists and I like extinguishing hope. Glad it worked.



    Also fun fact, this is the first short story I wrote for an L-O Contest that can fit into Scalenex-verse without editing (okay I may have to move his arena to a different city depending on what setting my dark elf protagonists need, my friend has my Dark Elf book at this time.). I will admit my writing of longer epics is glacially slow, but as my longer connected sagas continue, readers will see Grifiel again.

    "Completely Anonymous Entry" was a forcible invasion of Bob-verse. Probably a non-canon story in Bob-verse or a separate parody realm.

    "Chameleons in the CIty of Mists" can fit into Scalenex-verse with modest editing. I have been planning to introduce Fimir spies, I think the City of Mists would be easiest to infilitrate and I know what the forbidden plaque that Kaleroc read has written. I don't know if I'll recycle Kaleroc as a character or create new Fimir.

    "The Last Slann" is a standalone universe. Now granted, I have the "last" Slann arrive in Scalenex-verse and not break continuity. I considered having the last Slann refugee from another world being the catalyst that introduces the Lord of Undeath the Lizardmen and through synergistic connections and ley lines, the rest of the Forces of Order, but I'm considering more "local" ways for the Lore of Undeath to come to my literary universe.

    "Watching Things Burn" is a standalone too, but it borrows a lot of elements I've been brainstorming for Scalenex-verse. Also, I am very proud of this piece above all others and am tempted to adapt things to fit this in because I like this piece.

    All four of my Skaven pieces could fit into Scalenex verse without making ripples.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
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  20. thedarkfourth
    Cold One

    thedarkfourth Well-Known Member

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    Scaleverse?

    I've always meant to ask, is it pronounced Scah-len-ex or Scail-nex?
     

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